Thursday, May 12, 2016

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Extended Edition

   {pretty, happy, funny, real}                          


It's Thursday, so I'm linking up again with the terrific Like Mother, Like Daughter. As we celebrate Mother's Day, a number of birthdays and a couple of marriages in our family this month, I thought I'd share a few bits about my extended family that are {pretty, happy, funny, real}. 

My beautiful niece, Jeanette looking {pretty}
This pillow made me {happy}
Unfortunately, circumstances would not allow me to be present, but I spent the day of the wedding working on their gift and spending the time praying for their marriage. I came up with this idea of a pillow using linen and a photo from their engagement pictures. I'm so happy with it that I will probably be listing custom made pillows like this on my Piccolo Di Luce Etsy Shop soon. 

More {happy}
The quilt top
I also got the chance in the last few weeks to make a baby quilt for Thomas More College professors, Mr. Andrew and Mrs. Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs, who are expecting their first baby next month. As they teach The Way of Beauty course, and Mrs. Thompson-Briggs is an artist, I thought I would make a vintage style red-work embroidered quilt. My mom had given me a large container of vintage, hand-stitched strips, so I used those for the sashing and binding. I wasn't sure what color to do the border, so I sent a photo to Mary at school. She suggested mustard which was seconded by Sylvia, the owner of Greenbaum's Quilted Forest. I took their ideas and then machine quilted the whole thing before making the label. The best part was being able to pray for their family and especially the new baby as I worked on this {happy} quilt!

This is one {funny} little girl

My mom and I headed down to southern Oregon last weekend for a bridal shower for another niece and to celebrate Mother's Day with my sister. Normally, I wouldn't have gone, but since my kids are all at school until next week, I thought it would be fun. I was so right! One of my other nieces was visiting from Virginia with her little one, Zephora. She is so {funny}, and they were a great joy to be with during the weekend. The best part was they needed a ride to the airport in Portland, and a place to stay for a couple of days, so my husband and I got to host them during that time. While they were here, I took them up to Mt. Angel Seminary to visit Joshua and have a little tour. We ended up not only having coffee and walking around, but he invited us to join him and the other seminarians for lunch. My niece, Jael, loved it plus the baby was awesome!! I then took them to Fordyce Farms for the first strawberries of the season, and then we came home so I could teach Jael how to bake bread before they headed off early Tuesday. We also got to feed ZuZu (her new totally cool nickname that Unky Brian and I came up with and got the mom approval) her first taste of rice cereal. She wasn't sure about the spoon or the texture, but I'm pretty sure she'll be liking it a lot in just a little while. What a blessing it was for us to open our home and share the love and mercy God has given us!

{real} Gluten Free Banana Bread
So I mentioned the kids will all be home next week- did I mention how totally excited we are?!?!? 
Both Brian and I are looking forward to them being home for a number of reasons. I am sure he'll be glad to have others to do chores plus someone other than just me to talk with. To be honest, the talking thing works for me too- just keeping it {real} here, folks. As part of the preparing for them to be home, I did a little baking today. Now, for any of you that have read any of my posts, you may remember that we have a wacky eating family- I have one child who is celiac, one with a tree nut allergy and one with lactose intolerance plus I have to eat low sodium. Thankfully, Brian and Joshua don't have any food issues, so that makes it a bit easier. With that in mind, I made a couple loaves of banana bread, being sure to mark them well before popping them into the freezer. Since so many of you have a great recipe for regular banana bread, I thought I'd share this Gluten and Lactose Free version. I did make some with regular flour and no nuts for David, so everyone should be happy. Here's my G/F Banana Bread for you to try. Oh yeah, it tastes {real}, so don't be afraid to try it!

                                                        {REAL} BANANA BREAD

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (roughly two medium bananas) 

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil (I use rice bran oil, but use what you have) 
1 1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups G/F baking mix   
2 teaspoons baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 cup walnut pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray 9" loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, beat the mashed bananas with the eggs, oil and brown sugar till combined. Add G/F baking mix, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat until well combined. Stir in the walnut pieces.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly. Stud the top with some extra walnut pieces, if desired. Bake on the center rack for 55 to 65 minutes, if necessary, until the center is done (a wooden cake tester should emerge clean).

Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.

Eat right away or wrap in wax paper and foil and freeze for up to a couple of weeks.

Makes one 9-inch loaf

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you are having a wonderful month so far. Be sure to stop by Like Mother, Like Daughter to see what everyone's up to today at {pretty, happy, funny, real}.