Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eyes, Fish, and Muffins

It always takes us a day to recover from Tuesdays, and today was no exception.  In the mornings, we do about an hour of "couch stuff"--we read Leading Little Ones to God, as well as some character book.  We've finished the Bob Shultz ones I so highly recommend, and we're back to Wisdom and the Millers, which is especially great for the younger ones.  We pray for a country in Operation World, we read a chapter in Story of the World (which is history--we're in book 4 right now), and we practice all our memory work.  Today I had to get up in the middle of it all to do something (change a diaper maybe?), and Jonathan and Faith were wrestling around on the couch for absolutely no good reason.  Faith managed to poke Jonathan in the eye, and he has been a weepy, miserable mess ever since. 

I really feel for him--when Caleb was about Drew's age, and we were still stationed back in Ohio, he was sitting in my lap on the floor when all of a sudden he jammed the end of a wooden tomahawk up into my eye!  I was totally not expecting it, and oh, man, did that hurt!  I had a book club meeting at our house that night, and I remember sitting there, with tears streaming down my face, trying to explain to everyone that actually it wasn't that the book was that moving, it was that I had gotten stabbed in the eye by a tomahawk!  It was literally at least a year later before I could reliably drive at night, with headlights coming at me, without my eyes watering away.  So I sympathize!!

But there's really not too much one can really do for a corneal abrasion, so I don't know that it will accomplish anything to take him in tomorrow.  They could give him some numbing drops, I guess.  We'll see how he is doing in the morning.  He went to bed early, although I did go in and get him up early to give him some bad news, which is that another one of his fish that he got back in June is not long for this life.  Poor "Skinny Pete" is swimming erratically, up and down all over the place, and occasionally floating belly-up until he can struggle to right himself.  It's not looking well.  I didn't want him to be shocked tomorrow morning to find him gone.  This is really tough because one of his bottom-dwellers died last Friday.  Then all of a sudden, the other bottom-dweller died on Saturday.  We read up on this particular breed of fish ("loaches"), and we were surprised to find out that they are very social fish, and if one dies, it really affects the others, such that the experts recommend getting 5 or more of these fish.  Well!  Learn something new everyday!  The 2 fish did seem to be big buddies, and they were cute together, but I had no idea they got so attached!  So we chalked that death up to a broken heart, but now that Skinny Pete is also doing poorly, and only a few days since the passing of the other 2--well, that doesn't look so good.  Jonathan's pretty upset about the whole thing, and actually, so am I now!  We've all gotten pretty attached to these little guys, and it is really hard to see Skinny Pete struggling in the tank, knowing there's nothing we can do to help.  His passing will leave 3 little fish, and one big one, "David".  If David dies, Jonathan will be really upset.  He is named after their swim coach, and he's just been such a nice, solid presence in the tank, swimming calmly around.  If only we knew what was wrong!

Well, before the day went so wrong, I did do something right--I made chocolate banana muffins!  If you remember, the flavor of the day last Thursday at Georgetown Cupcake was chocolate banana hazelnut.  The cupcakes were good, but still--they're cupcakes!  I had 3 bananas sitting on the counter, and I knew I could produce something good for a lot less than $2.95 a piece!  So I searched around and found a good muffin recipe here.  I'll just warn you though--the list of ingredients is not in the order of use in the actual recipe, which bugs me, so I'm going to copy the recipe here, in the right order.  But I don't have one of those nice "print" buttons, where you can just get the recipe and not all the writing!  Also, the recipe says it makes 12-16 muffins.  I made 18, but I think I could have easily stretched it out to 24.   These are not quite as sweet as an actual cupcake (and there's no frosting), but still, I don't think I'd just start the day off with just these!  Definitely more a dessert, LOL.  We had them as a mid-morning snack, although before the eye incident.  Yummy!!  Definitely a great way to use up brown bananas!

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Droste – It’s divine.)[Okay, that wasn't my note.  I use Hershey's--it's perfectly adequate]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups mashed, ripened bananas (~3 large bananas)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips [I used more than that, and Luke still said there should have been more, LOL]

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Butter and dust 12-16 muffin tins with cocoa powder or use liners. I made 12 muffins and one tiny loaf for the freezer.
  3. Sift the first five ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. I measure my flour by spooning flour into my baking cup directly from the bag until it is slightly mounded. Level with a sharp knife. Do not tap cup or in any way compact your flour.
  4. Mix sugars, egg and oil well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add milk and vanilla and mix until completely incorporated.
  6. Add dry ingredients and gently mix with wooden spoon until mostly incorporated but some lumps remain.
  7. Add bananas and chips and lightly mix only until banana is distributed throughout batter. You should still have lumps.
  8. Scoop batter into tins until ¾ full.
  9. Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only some crumbs attached. Make sure that you didn’t just hit a chocolate chip because melted chocolate can make your muffins appear underdone. We don’t want that!

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