Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Banana Oatmeal Crumb Cake - Full Hunter’s Moon

A little while ago I posted the recipe for Ma’s 
It is a great way to use overripe bananas.
And it makes an impressive dessert if you’re having the family over for a big meal.

But it is big if you’re cooking for a small family.
And it does take a bit of time to bake.

Ma had a a quicker recipe that uses the bananas.
This is a smaller cake, so it’s just right for a regular meal.


If you don’t like a caramel flavour use regular sugar.

If you’d like to dress it up you could dust it with confectioners’ sugar.

You could also make a quick glaze and squiggle it over the cooled cake.
This is a small amount and is a bit runny.
Don’t try to ice a whole cake with it.

In a small bowl combine
1/4 Cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
a dash of salt
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 Cup sifted icing sugar
Beat well until smooth.
You want it to be runny but still solid enough to hold its shape.
Drizzle over the cake.

If you’d like a mocha flavour add 1 Tablespoon instant coffee.

Still have a few more overripe bananas?
Why not make a few loaves of Ma’s Banana Bread?

                        Banana Oatmeal Crumb Cake

Grease and flour an  8 inch square pan

For the Crumb Topping

Place in a medium bowl
3/4 Cup rolled oats
1/3 Cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted 
Cut the ingredients together until crumbly.
Set aside.

For the Cake

Stir together in a medium bowl
3/4 Cup all-purpose flour 
1 1/3 Cups rolled oats 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda
Set aside.

Peel and place in a measuring cup (a 2 Cup size gives you room to work)
2 very ripe bananas
Mash well.
You want to have 1 Cup of mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 350º F

Combine in a large mixer bowl
1/2 Cup butter, softened
2/3 Cup brown sugar, packed  
Beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
Add the mashed bananas.
Add the combined dry ingredients.
Stir just enough to blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle over the batter
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts 
Top with the crumb topping.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

About the sky this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

The large, waxing Moon will be right between planets Uranus and Neptune. Because the Moon will be so big and bright, you might not be able to see the two planets. Look to the southeast in the evening.

October 26 – Venus reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun in the morning sky. Look to the east, before dawn: Venus is also very close to Jupiter and Mars, which will be the closest for all of 2015. We won’t see this close of a grouping of planets until January 2021. 
Bonus: look for Mercury near the eastern horizon while it’s still dark.

October 26— The nearly-full Hunter’s Moon will be at it’s closest point to Earth.

October 27 – Full Hunter’s Moon, astronomically full at 8:05 a.m. The entire disc of the Moon is fully illuminated by direct sunlight. Though the Moon is only technically in this phase for a few seconds, it is considered “full” for the entire day of the event, and appears full for three days.

I think the kiddies will be calling it the Halloween Moon!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happy Sixth Anniversary, I’m Turning 60! by Margaret Ullrich

Wow!!  Six years!!
Happy Birthday to I’m Turning 60…!!

And thank you for visiting...
whether you dropped in on a daily, weekly or occasional basis during the past six years!

I’m Turning 60… now has more visitors than 
I’m Turning 60…, with 907 posts, has had 306,000 visitors since July, 2010, when Blogger started keeping track of both blogs.
That's more visitors than its ‘elder sibling’.

The Winnipeg blog has had 2,571 posts and a little over 286,000 visitors.
Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate had 200,000 visitors by July 31, 2014. 
By this time last year I’m Turning 60… had had 209,346.
And now it has 306,000.
Quite the growth for this little blog!
Thank you for visiting and telling your friends!

Okay… enough with the numbers.
Let’s get back to the recipes which deserve the credit for all these visits!

I recently took a look at how this blog’s posts have been doing.
According to the all time top posts, Ma’s recipes are more popular than Carmela’s.

Here are the current all time top ten posts:

During the past month these have been the top posts:

Do try the recipes on these lists.
They’re not popular recipes because people don’t like them!

I'm also pleased to see that people have been reading the twice monthly posts about information about the moon and planets.
Yes, they are also the posts that usually have recipes, along with a few fun facts about the alcoholic drinks.

Back to the 306,000 visitors...
That’s almost 100,000 more than last year.
Last year the United States had 108,408 visitors, Canada had 20,729, Australia had about half what it has now!
The numbers for all the countries are way up from last year!
Thank you for visiting!
If you’re curious about the other countries, here are the stats from 2014.

I'm always amazed at learning where you live. 
Now the top ten countries and their visitors are:

United States………. 150,165
Canada………….………. 32,368
Malta……………..………. 18,336
Australia………………… 15,389
Russia……………………. 12,811 
United Kingdom……. 11,031
France…………………….. 8,025
Ukraine.………..……….. 7,683
Germany…………………. 3,752
Romania……….……..…. 2,695

During the years there have also been visitors from Turkey, Italy, Finland, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Bangladesh, Sweden, Israel, Moldova, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Greece, Kenya, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Brazil, Bermuda, Namibia, Cyprus, India, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Norway, New Zealand and China.

Since I don’t post on a daily basis, why not become a subscriber?
By submitting your email address you won’t miss a post.
And you won't miss anything interesting happening in the night sky.
It’s easy and free to sign up!

I'd also like comments.  Really.  
It's easy to do.  Just click on Comments and write. 
Or message me on Facebook. 
Tell me what you want to know about. 
Would you like more holiday recipes, or more easy, cheap, quick meals or…?

Thanks again for visiting!
Y’all come back again real soon!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Lost Bread & Berry Compote and Other Lost Things (French Toast)

Monday is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.
Ladies, I fell your pain.
Today I went to the grocery store and we housewives had that “Here we go again…” look.
The woman in the bakery section said she had scheduled her vacation to start next week.
Smart woman.

In the United States it will be Columbus Day.
All you have to do for that is shop the bargains.
Much better.

Autumn can be a bittersweet time.
The leaves are falling and the days are getting shorter.
Here in Canada the geese are leaving.
The big plans we had… all those things we planned to do this year… 
Well, we’re now facing the holidays and all that they involve.
Reality and responsibilities have trumped plans.
There isn’t time to do everything we’d like to do.

Well, sometimes loss is a good thing.
It makes us grateful for what we have accomplished.
And, if we’re honest, grateful that not all of our plans worked out.
Sometimes the surprises were better than the original plans.

There’s a recipe that’s a salute to the good that can be found in something that once was thought to be lost.
It is also known as eggy bread, German toast, gypsy toast, and Spanish toast.
Yes, everyone has had to cope with things that haven’t quite worked out as wished.
Or were past their prime.

The earliest known reference to lost bread is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the fourth or fifth century.
A fourteenth century German recipe called it Arme Ritter (poor knights). 
Also, at about that time, Taillevent had a recipe for tostées dorées.
There are fifteenth century English recipes for pain perdu (French for lost bread).

Trying to avoid carbs?
Frittata is an Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche.
And it’s nice for a dessert or a brunch, too.


Day old bread is better because the stale bread will soak up more egg mixture.
Stale or fresh - do not let the bread sit in the milk / egg mixture too long or the bread will get soggy and start to fall apart.

If you’d like it a bit sweeter, add a teaspoon or two of vanilla.
French toast can also be served with jam, honey or maple syrup; or, if you're serving it as a light lunch, with ketchup or another sauce.

Don’t have time - or berries - to make compote?
No problem.
Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup dark brown sugar
1 can of peach slices, drained
Stir the peaches until they are warmed through and the sugar has melted.
Serve on the French Toast.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional).

Both the quickie and regular compote recipes would work with thinly sliced fresh apples, peaches or pears - or a mixture of the three.
Compote is also good on waffles, pancakes or chicken.

                        Berry Compote

Melt in a nonstick skillet over medium heat
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Stir until the sugar has melted.
3 Cups berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries or all of one)
Toss gently and cook for 3 minutes, until the berries are warm. 
Serve on the toast.

                        French Toast

Place in medium bowl and mix together
2 large eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 to 3 Tablespoons cinnamon (optional)
Stir in 
2 Cups milk
Beat until blended. 

Melt in a skillet or griddle over medium high heat 
3 to 4 Tablespoons butter
Do not burn the butter.

Dip in milk and egg mixture
8 slices bread- dip 2 or 3 at a time
Place slices on hot skillet.  
Cook bread 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. 
Serve warm with your favourite toppings or Berry Compote.
Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional).

A dollop of whipped cream would also be nice.

About the sky this week…
According to the Farmers Almanac:

Starting on October 11and for the next two weeks, you can view the Zodiacal Light, or “False Dawn.” Look to the east.
On October 11before Dawn: you can see the tiny crescent Moon in the east very close to Mercury low in the horizon.

On October 12 there will be a New Moon. You can’t see it, so I hope you are enjoying the “False Dawn.”

On October 13 after midnight you’ll see a multicolored star in the southeastern sky.  It’s Sirius, sometimes called the Dog Star, in the constellation Canis Major. 

On October 15 after sunset look to the western horizon to see the tiny waxing crescent Moon, Saturn and the star Antares!

On October 16 – The gang’s all together!! In the sky before dawn, look for Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury (Mercury will be closest to the horizon).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Anna Sultana’s Banana Pound Cake With Caramel Glaze

Our grocery store recently had a pretty good sale on bananas.
So I got way more than we could finish before they started turning brown.
Which was just fine by me.
They’re perfect for making a cake.

Canadian Thanksgiving is next week.
Squash, carrots and/or yams are usually served with the turkey.

Now that’s quite a bit of orange coloured food for one meal.
Pumpkin pie - yes pumpkin is another squash - always seemed like just too much of a good thing to serve at the same meal.

Ma’s Banana Pound Cake With Caramel Glaze looks very festive.
And it uses four overripe bananas. 
Now would be a perfect time to make it.

Still have a few more overripe bananas?
Why not make a few loaves of Ma’s Banana Bread?


Have a fluted tube pan or bundt pan?
Now’s a great time to use it.

If you’d like a stronger caramel flavour in your glaze you could use only brown sugar.
Don’t like caramel? Use only regular sugar.

Don’t want to make a glaze?
After the cake has complete cooled, place it on a pretty platter and then dust it with confectioners’ sugar.

Hey, you worked hard enough making the turkey dinner!

                        Banana Pound Cake

Heavily grease and flour an angel food cake pan

Sift together
3 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt 
Set aside

Peel and place in a large bowl
4 large very ripe bananas
Mash well.

Preheat oven to 325º

Combine in a large mixer bowl
1 Cup butter
1/2 Cup vegetable shortening
2 Cups brown sugar
1 Cup sugar
Beat until light and fluffy.
Add the mashed bananas.

Add, one at a time, beating well after each addition
5 large eggs

Beat in
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with
1/2 Cup milk
(3 liquid, 2 dry additions)
Stir just enough to blend.

Stir in
1 Cup chopped pecans 
Stir just enough to evenly blend in the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
A toothpick inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.
Run a knife around, between the cake and the cake pan, to loosen the cake.
Carefully remove the cake and cool it on a wire rack.
Place the cake on a pretty serving platter.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze:

                        Caramel Glaze

Combine in a small bowl
1/4 Cup brown sugar 
1/4 Cup sugar 
1 Tablespoon cornstarch 

Place in a medium saucepan
1/2 Cup butter 
Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.
Stir in
the sugar / cornstarch mixture
Stir continuously over medium heat until it is thickened. 
Stir in
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 Cup heavy cream
Simmer for 1 minute.
Cool for 20 minutes.
Pour over the cooled cake.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Appletini and Hot Apple Pie Vodka Drink Recipes - Margaret Ullrich

On Sunday, October 4 it will be Vodka Day.
What wine is to folks in the Mediterranean area, vodka is to middle and northern Europe.
And to the North End of Winnipeg.
Yes, we’ve learned to enjoy it, too.

A few weeks ago I posted the recipe for a Pumpkin Smoothie.
Smoothies do not have vodka in them.
Today I am posting a recipe for two drinks, Appletini and Hot Apple Pie.
Yes they have vodka in them!

Vodka  is also used in the vodka martini, Cosmopolitan, vodka highball, Screwdriver, Greyhound, Black or White Russian, and 

There is also a cocktail called the Rose Kennedy, named after the matriarch of the Kennedy Family of Cape Cod and the mother of President John F. Kennedy.
It is a cocktail popular in the Northeastern United States, and consists of vodka and club soda with a splash of cranberry juice for colour and and a bit of sweeting.
It is garnished with a lemon or lime wedge.

The Appletini has had its moments on television.
In The King of Queens (aired 2010), Carrie becomes sweet after drinking Appletinis, a state Doug calls "sober plus".
Along with a rum and diet coke, it is also the favourite drink of Alan Harper from Two and a Half Men.


You could use a flavoured vodka, such as citrus, pear or caramel-flavoured.
A sweet and sour mix can also be added before shaking.
Vermouth may be included, as in a regular martini.
The appletini can also be made with martini bianco in a long drink glass and filled with apple juice.
A variation of the appletini is the Rumpletini, with a light rum in place of the vodka.

Want to eat your vodka?
Try Carmela Soprano's Penne alla Vodka / Penne in Cream Sauce


Dip a green apple slice in lemon juice to preserve its colour.

Pour into a shaker filled with ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce green apple schnapps or Calvados
1/4 ounce lemon juice or Cointreau (optional)
Shake very well.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with 
an apple slice and/or a maraschino cherry

Back to that pumpkin smoothie…
This drink will give you the taste of a hot apple pie.
This is for you, not the kiddies.  Seriously.
Along with the kick, it does have calories.
Well, nothing’s perfect.


You can also prepare this as you did the Appletini, by combining all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice cubes and served in a chilled glass. 

                        Hot Apple Pie

2 ounces apple cider

Pour into a shaker 
1 1/2 ounces vanilla liqueur
1 ounce vodka
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Squeeze of lime juice
Shake very well.
Strain into a mug.
Add the warmed apple cider.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick (optional).