Archive for the ‘Around Home’ Category

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

November 4, 2010

It seems I’m a bit suggestible. Yesterday a Facebook friend made a couple comments about banana bread. I had some over ripe bananas that I’d put in my freezer a week or two ago, so naturally I felt the need to make banana bread.


Here is my original, never before published, Banana Bread recipe.  If you try it, I hope you enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

3/4     Cup     White Flour

3/4     Cup     Whole Wheat Flour

1/2      tsp      Salt

  1       tsp      Baking Soda

3/4      Cup      Butter or Vegetable Shortening

1/2      Cup     Sugar

1/2      Cup      Brown Sugar

  3                   Eggs

  1        Cup      Mashed Bananas

1/2       tsp       Cinnamon

1/2       tsp        Nutmeg

  1        tsp        Vailla Extract

1/2       Cup       Chopped Walnuts


Heat oven to 350°. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl cream sugar and shortening until well blended. Add eggs, bananas, spices, vanilla and nuts and mix thoroughly. Add shortening mixture to flour and stir until mixed. Divide batter between 2 greased 8×4 bread pans and bake approximately 45 – 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow bread to cool at least 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and store in refrigerator. 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your feedback is always appreciated.  To comment click here.

Images and text Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

A Different Direction

August 29, 2010
When I started this endeavor I said, “This blog will have a central theme of art, cooking, politics, philosophy and religion (from a non-religious point of view). Other topics may be introduced at my whim.” 

One of those topics I haven’t approached here yet is cooking. Today that changes. Those of you know me either in person or through reading my previous posts know photography is a major part of my life. Cooking may take a close second place to photography. I’ve been stirring things up in the kitchen at least as long (actually longer I think) as I’ve been making images with a camera.  Although I have never cooked professionally nor even worked for any type of food service, I have published and sold a few of my recipes under the name The Heartland Chef.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your feedback is appreciated.   Click here to leave a comment.

Text and image copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

Yeast Pancakes – A Kitchen Experiment

August 29, 2010
Although I have a ton of cookbooks I often avoid them completely or use them for inspiration and modify recipes to my own tastes. I frequently experiment in the kitchen and when I do I usually make notes on what I do, not so much so I can duplicate them myself, but so I can share my successes with others. Being a photographer I also like to document my culinary experiments visually.
Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods, and I am also fond of baking bread. I love the rich yeasty taste of fresh bread and for some time have been wondering if I could make pancakes leavened with yeast instead of baking powder. A couple weeks ago I tried it. It worked and today I share the recipe with you.

Whole Wheat Yeast Pancakes

1 Cup Water

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Yeast

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Vegetable Oil

½ Tsp. Salt

1 Cup White Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

In a medium bowl combine the water (should be warm, around 100 F) sugar and yeast. Mix it well and then allow it to sit for about 10 minutes in a warm place until it becomes foamy.

After allowing the yeast to work, stir in the milk and vegetable oil. Add the salt and begin adding the flour a little at a time stirring with a whisk or large spoon. I like to alternate between the white and whole wheat flours as I add them to make sure they are thoroughly blended. If you use an electric mixer, keep it on the lowest speed and do not over mix.

Once the ingredients are all combined allow the mix to sit and rise another 5 to 10 minutes and then spoon the batter onto a lightly greased hot griddle and fry as you would any other pancakes.

Serve with butter and syrup or the topping of your choice while still hot. If you have leftovers, they can be sealed I a large ziplock bag and refrigerated for about a week then reheated on a warm griddle or in a toaster.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your feedback is appreciated. Click here to leave a comment.

Text and image copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

Friday Was One Of Those Days

June 6, 2010

Friday was one of those days. I woke up early (well, early for me), feeling good and ready to take on the world.  I made breakfast, pancakes, bacon and eggs. I even had orange juice. I got it yesterday after having been out for a few days. Eating breakfast from a TV tray I kicked back in my easy chair, glanced through the latest issue of Mother Earth News, and thought about all the things I needed to accomplish before the art show I would be exhibiting in the following Friday.
 The plan. for the day included shaving  my head. Since I’m mostly bald anyway, I like to finish the job Mother Nature started. I tend to put it off though, so by the time I get around to actually doing it I’ve always grown enough hair that I need to take it down with clippers before using the razor.

After finishing breakfast I stacked the dishes in the kitchen sink and thought about how nice it would be when the dishwasher I ordered the day before arrives. I detest doing dishes almost as much as I detest shaving my head. Of course I don’t procrastinate washing dishes as long as shaving my head or I wouldn’t have any plates left to eat from.
Then I headed to the bathroom, got out a big beach towel and spread it on the floor so any hair falling while I buzzed it with the clippers wouldn’t get embedded in the bathroom carpet. In a final moment of procrastination I decided to check e-mail, Facebook, Flickr and maybe play a couple rounds of Free Cell on the computer before tackling the chore at hand. Procrastination is one of my greatest skills.
Finally returning to the chore at hand I pulled the clipper from it’s stand, pushed the switch and to the buzz of a small electric motor began removing my hair. The fuzz started floating off my head like down from a plucked goose. All was good. The act of actually grooming my bald head is ever as bad as the anticipation.

I paused a couple times to brush away some hair that was sticking to the head of the clipper, and each time promptly resumed the job of mowing my scalp. Suddenly, without warning, the electric whir ceased. I checked the clipper and there appeared to be a small amount of hair stuck between the blades. I brushed it out thinking by some strange quirk the hair jammed the cutter. With that accomplished I switched the device back on, applied it to my head, and again it abruptly stopped. After trying a couple more times with the same result I concluded my clipper had just died.

Reality slowly entered my mind. Only about a third of the hair that needed to be removed before I could use the razor had been cut. I wouldn’t be able to complete the job until I got another clipper. I don’t have a spare so the only way I could replace it would be to buy a new one. 

Then the final humiliation struck me. I would have to leave the house with my partially trimmed hair and go to the store. Swallowing my pride I headed out the door, made the 10 mile drive to the nearest Walmart, and looking like a kindergartner who had been messing with the scissors purchased a new clipper so I could go home and finish the task I had started.

My day that had begun with enthusiasm and a greater than usual determination to work past my normal procrastination tendencies had been seriously derailed. I finished trimming and shaving my head, took a shower, made a sandwich for a late lunch, watched boring afternoon television while I ate, then headed to the bedroom for a long nap.

Productivity be damned!!

Comments Appreciated Click Here

 Image and text copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the author.

This Time Of Year . . .

May 19, 2010

. . . one of the first things I do each morning is open my tiny bathroom window and look out at my little vegetable garden. On cold rainy days in May, like today, it is the best way to watch my garden grow.

Gardening is in my blood. I’ve done it most of my life. I think I caught the bug from my father who used to tell me, “Gardening is cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, and it’s a lot more fun.”

My first real memory of working the soil and planting things came the summer I turned 7 years old. That year we moved into a house with a large yard, and I remember Dad turning the soil with a spade getting the soil ready to plant. Then later I went with him to the local hardware store that had a large oak cabinet with many small drawers. Each drawer was filled with seeds, and as Dad selected what he wanted to plant, the store owner would remove a small quantity with a tiny scoop, carefully weigh the precious seeds, put them in an envelope and mark the outside to identify the content.

Beginning in early spring Mom and Dad worked the soil with hoes and rakes on weekends and in evenings when they were home from work. After making shallow furrows they sowed the seeds, marked the rows with sticks, and carefully covered the seeds with soil. It was then that I learned different varieties of vegetables were planted at different times. First lettuce and radishes, then peas, and later beans and corn. Not everything started from seeds. Tiny onions were put in the ground to turn into big onions. Old wrinkly potatoes were carefully cut into pieces making sure each one included one or two “eyes.” Those were planted to make more potatoes.

When the weather became a little warmer I remember going to the local nursery with Mom and Dad where the people who lived in a big farm house next to a green house helped them select plants that would be placed in the garden to grow and bear tomatoes and peppers.

That first year I was given a small section of the garden to plant and take care of myself. As I recall my little plot was not particularly productive because while I found planting fun, pulling weeds and giving my little plants the care needed to grow strong and produce was not nearly so enjoyable.

Mom and Dad had much greater success, and I remember the pleasure of eating fresh vegetables all summer long and having more left over that Mom canned and pickled and stored to continue providing delicious sustenance all winter long until once again spring came and the cycle started anew.

MyLittle Buddy Jordan . . .

. . . came over about a month ago and helped me plant tomatoes and jalapenos in my garden.

My Small Garden . . .

. . .  is only about 5′ x 6′ but in this space I grow an abundance of tomatoes, green peppers, jalepenos, onions, lettuce, radishes, okra, green beans, cilantro and chives.

Text and images all Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of  this article may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.