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Count Down to Touch Down

By Gini Rainey

Apparently there is some sort of excitement in the Texas sports world today.  It seems there is this big play-off game about to happen between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.  This will, as my experts tell me, determine who will make it to the Championship Round and then on to this even bigger event called the Super Bowl!  Now, if you’re anything like me, win or lose, it doesn’t really matter, but what does matter to me on a Sunday afternoon is what I can whip up for dinner, because sooner or later someone is going to get hungry.  Game or no game, it just happens that way.

If you are the better half of a football loving couple, chances are you will be watching that big game, Super Bowl LI, in a couple of weeks.   So, now might be a great time to pull out some recipes to combat the game-watching munchies!  If you’re tired of the usual buffalo wings/cheese balls/popcorn choices, you might want to take a look at some of the appetizers I came across in the Cooking With Kenny Rogers cookbook.  Interestingly enough, this book was printed in 1987 by the Dole Food Company.  I had not realized that Kenny Rogers had been a spoke person for Dole, but here he is in full color photos plugging pineapple and bananas.  And, as difficult as it might seem to place The Gambler in a kitchen full of fruit, you would be amazed how many recipes there are that contain one or the other of these fruits.

Whether you feel like whipping up a Breakfast Booster yogurt beverage that has frozen bananas as a main ingredient or noshing on a crunchy Tropical Tostada that uses pineapple tidbits as a topping,  I think you will be amazed at the different ways Dole pulls their fruit into these recipes.  Some good ideas that will make your Super Bowl Spread refreshing and interesting is the recipe for Halakahiki Sausage that is made with smoky link sausage, crushed pineapple, apricot jam and mustard, or perhaps the Pineapple-Almond Cheese Spread that uses cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, soy sauce and crushed pineapple, or the one for Teriyaki Chicken (go ahead and just use wings!) that combines pineapple juice, soy sauce and honey.

The one recipe that really stands out for me, though, is the one for Banana Bread Pudding.  With your oven preheating to 350°, grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.  Slice 2 extra-ripe bananas into a blender and purée (should yield about 1 cup).  Then combine 4 slices of cubed bread (you be the judge on the kind of bread – French bread will hold up rather nicely in this dish) and ¼ cup raisins in a large mixing bowl and stir in the puréed bananas and 1 ¼ cup of milk.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Now slice 2 firm, medium-sized bananas and add to bread mixture.  Add 2 slightly beaten eggs, ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Mix well and pour into the casserole.  Sprinkle with additional nutmeg.  Place the casserole in a large pan containing 2 cups of hot water and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.  Serve warm.  Might I add:  since we are in Texas – serve warm with a nice dollop of whipped cream – or better yet – Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream.

Books

Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More

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From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out EGuideMagazine.com ‘s entire

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Books

Reading the Kids Back to School

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By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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Books

A Good Pounding!

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By Gini Rainey

Good grief, that’s exactly what I deserve.  I have been so over-whelmed with life in the past few months – okay, this year – that I have neglected to do what I love doing – writing!  So, apparently it took an email to our editor/publisher to get me off high center.  She forwarded this email to me on June 24th and it comes from an editor named Jess Miller who just happens to be associated with jenreviews.com.  Jen Reviews is the authority on everything food, fitness and home and has been featured in some mind-blowing (my mind, anyway!) publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Greatist, Reader’s Digest, MindBodyGreen, Livestrong, Bustle, Lifehacker, Wikihow, and oh my goodness, many many more. 

Jess email says “I was doing research on pound cake recipes and just finished reading your wonderful blog post: https://eguidemagazine.com/janies-cakes-finally-oprah-realizes-something-weve-all-known-for-years/ In that article, I noticed that you cited a solid post that I’ve read in the past: https://janiescakes.com/  We just published a delicious cranberry pound cake with orange glaze recipe complete with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. It is completely free and you can find it here: https://www.jenreviews.com/cranberry-pound-cake-recipe/.  If you like the recipe we’d be humbled if you cited us in your article.” 

The gauntlet was thrown and I tried it.  I baked it last night and it is yummy.  Of course, knowing me, you know I have to pull in a cookbook of some sort, and for those of you out there who don’t know where the name “Pound Cake” comes from, I pulled out my earliest reference that I have, which is a replica of “American Cookery” written by Amelia Simmons in 1796. It’s really interesting to leaf through this book and try to read some of the recipes.  It is actually a photocopy of the original and along with various spots and stains, the letter “f” is used in place of the letter “s.”  Originally, a pound cake called for one pound of sugar, one pound of butter, one pound of flour, one pound or ten eggs, one gill of rose water and spices to your taste. (Hence pound cake!) We are told to watch it well (remember – wood burning stoves/ovens back then) It will bake in a slow oven in 15 minutes. 

The recipe referred to by Jess is a bit different and perhaps produces a much lighter version than the 1796 version.  What you will need to do to make Jess’s recipe is to begin with a 350° pre-heated oven and a lightly greased and floured 12×4 inch loaf pan.  Then in a bowl, whisk together 1 ¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.  In another bowl, cream 9 ounces of softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon orange zest until light and fluffy.  Then slowly add in 4 eggs plus 2 yolks (at room temp), followed by 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar. Then alternating between the flour mixture and ¼ cup room temp milk, gradually add to the sugar/egg mixture.  Lightly dredge in flour 1 ¼ cups of washed and dried fresh cranberries (because fresh cranberries aren’t on the market at this time, I substituted rehydrated dried cranberries and I think they did well) and gently fold into the mixture.  Pour into the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For the glaze, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2 ½ tablespoons of fresh orange juice, and using a small spoon, drizzle over the completely cooled cake. 

This is one yummy cake – the unexpected tartness is a wonderful compliment to the buttery richness of the cake and would serve you well at a winter holiday meal – or even right now in the middle of the hot Texas summer along with a bowl of home-made ice cream! 

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