Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Pink Eye and Banana Bread January 22, 2008

Filed under: cooking,motherhood,parenting,recipes — swimmom @ 2:30 pm
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My son awoke this morning with eyes, crusted shut and glops (like my medical terminology?) of crust clinging to his lashes.

Yep! Pink eye!

And to make it even better, in both eyes.

I think at his age, it is impossible to prevent, especially with my son, his fingers tend to always be in the dirt, in his diaper, up his nose, everywhere they shouldn’t be. And of course, he is always, rubbing his eyes. I am always stressing with him the importance of not rubbing your eyes, and washing your hands, which we do all the time, but what can you do?

I guess only the best you can do.

I can just hope my almost one year old doesn’t get it. Unfortunately she is always in his face, but lucky for us, her fingers are always going to her mouth!

So, I called the doctor and they just called in a script, I guess they want to keep all that highly contagious stuff out the office, so now our task is administering the eye drops, 1 in each eye 3 times a day for 7 days.

And trust me, it is a fight, not because we want it to be, but because my 34 month old son is 42″, almost the same in lbs and solid as a rock. He’s slender,there is not an once of fat on him. He has lead weights as hands and his back sports mini lat muscles.

He is tough, our little linebacker.

Even after explaining to George how it was just like water, which he doesn’t mind, and even after bribing him, which trust me I am not against, we leaned him over to administer the drops, he screamed bloody murder and clamped his eyes shut.


That means 3 times a day for 7 days, my husband holds George down and pries his eye open, while I put the drops in.

40 more drops, 20 more fights to go.

So, to make him feel better we went to the store and got his favorite things, a new Thomas the Train book and his favorite desert, believe it or not, a small scoop of cool whip with a little bit of rainbow sprinkles.

I know, I couldn’t help it

It breaks my hear to see him sick.

To make me feel better, I made Banana Bread. As you know, this isn’t the first time I talked about Banana Bread and it probably won’t be the last. I love baking, I don’t always eat it, but baking is stress relieving for me, kinda like Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy. I made 2 loaves, one with chocolate chips I thought the kids would like, just a little bit of chocolate chips (1/2 a cup) and one with walnuts for my husband. He loved it.

The recipe, I found today on Epicurious. The one bowl preparation is fast and easy.

You can literally whip it up and throw it in the oven.

With kids at your heels, what more can you ask for.

Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread

3 to 4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
Chocolate chips (as many as you want!) or Chopped nuts (both are optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and serve.


New Year, New Recipes! January 15, 2008

If you remember, one of the things I wanted to try for the New Year was making new recipes for my kids.

I wanted to get my 34 month old and my 11 month old to try new things without tricking them into eating it.

I ordered this recipe book at Barnes and Noble called The Big Book of Recipes for Babies, Toddlers, and Children: 365 Quick, Easy and Healthy Dishes.

So far it has been a big hit.

Our favorite breakfast recipe so far, for both kids, is the

Oaty Breakfast Pancakes.

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour

2 tbsp baking powder

1 c. oats ( I use Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal)

2 eggs, beaten

2 c. milk

4 tbsp vegetable oil

Place the flour, oats, and baking powder in a bowl. Add the eggs, milk, and oil and mix well. Heat up a large skillet/ griddle, adding oil if needed. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet/griddle, allowing room for the pancake to spread. Cook on medium heat until the bubbles appear and the undersides are golden brown. Turn and cook the other sides. Serve immediately or keep warm until rest are cooked. Top with berries or maple syrup. Makes 16-20 pancakes.

These are very quick and easy to make. For George, I top with a little Smart Balance and lite maple syrup. For Sophia, the 11 month old, cut into tiny pieces and top with a little applesauce. This makes them easier for her to eat. But these pancakes have been a big hit with both of them. My husband even enjoyed a batch.

One thing I made for my son which I didn’t think he was going to like, although he loves couscous, was the Warm Couscous Salad, he asked for seconds.

1/2 c. couscous

3/4 c. boiling water or vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small leek, sliced

1 green bell pepper, cored and diced

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced

1/2 zucchini, diced

2 stick celery, sliced

Place the couscous in a large bowl, pour on the boiling water or stock, and set aside to stand for 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and add the vegetables. Stir-fry them for 10 minutes until softened. Add the couscous to the skillet and gently stir as it warms through. Serve warm. Marks 4-6 servings

I absolutely love this cookbook. It has recipes from age 6 months and up. The sides can be cooked for the entire family, so it’s not like you are cooking one thing for the kids and another for you and your husband. They have recipes for purees for the babies, simple sandwiches such as Peanut Butter and Banana, tons of sides, main dishes and even deserts, I can’t wait to try.

I hadn’t heard of this book until I found it on Barnes and Noble, I don’t know how it has flown under the radar.

This is a definite must buy!

Tip:It’s out of stock right now on Barnes and Noble, but I believe you can buy a new copy Amazon for less than $13.


Mom’s Apple Cranberry Crisp January 3, 2008

Filed under: cooking,recipes — swimmom @ 9:24 pm
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My mom doesn’t do much cooking now. My dad does most the cooking, and who can complain, he’s pretty good at it. But my mom can cook a mean Apple Crisp, which is a perfect desert for the fall and winter seasons. The last time we were over she added Cranberries, which I wasn’t to sure about, but the combination of the sweet and sour makes for a nice bite.

Mom’s Apple Cranberry Crisp

8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 c. cranberries

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

lemon juice

1 c. flour

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. oatmeal

1 stick butter plus 3 tablespoons

1/2 c (or more) or chopped nuts (optional)

ice cream or cool whip

After peeling, coring and chopping the apples add the to a large bowl, mix with a couple dashes of lemon juice and the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cranberries. Set aside. To make the topping:In another bowl add the flour, brown sugar, oatmeal and 1 stick of butter. Combine with a fork until resembles coarse meal. Add a dash of cinnamon, and 1/2 c. of chopped walnuts, if you prefer.

Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter. Add the apple mixture to the dish. Cut up 2 remaining tablespoons of butter dot over the apple mixture, top with your streuseled topping. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 or until top is browned.

Top with ice cream or cool whip (the French vanilla goes great).


Banana Bread Weather November 26, 2007

Filed under: recipes,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 3:34 pm
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If you haven’t guessed, I love cooking.

More than cooking, I love baking.

I love this recipe and for the life of me, cannot remember where I got it. But, I make it during the winter season usually every other week. It is the only recipe for banana bread my husband likes, that is if I add a ton of Walnuts.

It is easy to make and one of the only recipes I found with strong coffee included in the ingredient mix. It seemed strange to me at first, but it works. Warning: I am usually very health conscious, but this recipe is not.

Here it is:

1 1/2c. butter

1 3/4c. brown sugar

4 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract

1 1/2 teaspoon Orange zest (I don’t always add this)

4 c. flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

2 c. puree ripe bananas (puree or mash the banana and mix them in 1 c. strong black coffee)

1 cup or in my case (or in my case 1 1/2c. ) chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (or and non-stick spray to bread pan)

In a small bowl combine with a whisk, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and eggs. Stir in vanilla and orange zest.

Then add banana mixture , dry mixture and walnuts.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until toothpick or fork in center comes out dry.

Tip: For an extra little something, I add a crumble topping(1/2c flour, 1/2c.brown sugar and 1/4c. butter) to the top of the bread before baking.


Family and Food November 24, 2007

Filed under: recipes — swimmom @ 6:43 pm
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I forgot to say, Thanksgiving was great. Now that I really have kids, I have a better appreciation for being able to spend time with family. On the other hand, my husband got stuck in the basement watching all the kids. From toddlers and tweens to teens, my husband became the “unofficial” referee of the rowdy bunch releasing all their energy.

Well, if you are looking for some recipes for Christmas or any Holiday party. I make a Sweet Potato Casserole and a Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake (for all the chocoholics) that seem to be a hit every year. I can take no credit for the recipes.

The Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole comes from Cooking Light.

14 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 5 pounds)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°.Place potato in a Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Combine the half-and-half and next 4 ingredients (half-and-half through egg) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add potato to egg mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine flour and sugar in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans; sprinkle over potato mixture.

Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.

Tip: I double the streuseled topping.

Here is the recipe for the Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. I found it on Epicurious. (This is a great search engine for amazing, gourmet recipes.) This recipe hails from Bon Appetit magazine and is easy to make. It says to use the Scharffen Berger chocolate and I would recommend, if possible, not changing that because it lends to an amazing, rich cheesecake that will be a great hit.

24 chocolate wafer cookies (from one 9-ounce package)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 9.7-ounce bar Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Scharffen Berger)
4 large eggs

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate,* chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

Bittersweet chocolate curls

*If unavailable, substitute another high-quality bittersweet chocolate.


For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend cookies in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling:
Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Chill overnight.

For topping:
Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated.

Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Top with chocolate curls. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.


Cookies and Texas Football November 3, 2007

Filed under: recipes — swimmom @ 11:03 pm
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My beloved Longhorns played today and once again tested my fan-o-meter. I must rate high because, yes, I still love my horns. And it wasn’t pretty, down 28-14 at the half. We did end up beating Oklahoma State 38-35 and it was ugly. But I guess on the win meter a win is a win. (Right? At least that is what we tell ourselves so we hang on until next time!) Anyway, while I watched the game. I made Oatmeal cookies with my son George. He was doing less of the cooking and more of the messing, but it took my mind of the roller coaster of a football game I was attempting to watch. Here is the recipe for George’s favorite Oatmeal cookies.

2 sticks of butter

3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

3.4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 c. old fashioned or quick cook oatmeal

1 1/2 c. raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined four, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, mix well. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.


I usually make them with George. I measure the sugars, flour and break the egg beforehand and watch in complete amusment as he enjoys helping me pour everything into the bowl. Sometimes more ingredients hit the floor than the bowl and I put them in the oven wondering how they turn out, but they seem to work just right every time.