Category Archives: Family Stuff

I grew up with four funny, fabulous sisters who couldn’t be more different. We’re loud, creative, rambunctious, hilarious and competitive, especially when croquet or boardgames are involved. We’re a mixed bag, but we fit together really well. Yes, my family is kind of kookie, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

The Master Bath Remodel Project

MBR Project - Before - Tub & Shower

Until last month, this was our 24 year-old master bathroom (minus the decorations and 47 shampoo bottles). Sad trombone says ‘wah wahhhhhh’ and I agree. Here’s what was bugging us about our old shower/tub area.

MBR Project - Before - What is Wrong

Where to start? Old carpet (Q: Who carpets a bathroom? A: Everyone in 1989.) A huge 2-person garden tub that was rarely used except when the grandbabies swam in it. They’ll be the only ones to miss it.

MBR Project - Before1

Shower tile, some of which literally comes out of place every few years, a shower door so low The Complete Package has a history of banging his head on it, and glass so short water from every shower flies out and sprays the entire bathroom. Ugh. What are you gonna do?

That’s right… rip it out, baby!

MBR Project - Ripping out the old shower & tub

Boom. Gone! We found a contractor we enjoyed working with, agreed on every single decision (a rarity), dug in, and got it done right on schedule. Seriously, everything went like clockwork. The only minor hiccup was a corroded pipe behind the old shower tile, which was quickly replaced.

MBR Project - Corroded Pipe2 Collage

So here was our game plan:
1. enlarge the shower & add a bench
2. replace the tub with a smaller soaking tub
3. raise the shower tile & glass
4. replace carpet with new tile flooring

Let the framing begin!

MBR Project - New Framing Begins

Next up – plumbing rough-in for the new fixtures and a new concrete base for the shower floor. For the record, our old shower did not have a concrete base but should have. It also didn’t have a vapor barrier or waterproof backer board. The things you learn when tile is ripped out, man. We’re lucky we didn’t suffer a serious leak over the past 24 years. It’s kind of a miracle.

MBR Project - New Shower Concrete

This time around, we had a contractor that knew how to do it right and the difference between old and new is like night and day. We’re completely thrilled with the new stuff. One last look at the before photos before I start revealing.

Tub & Shower Collage1

First up, the new soaking tub. It’s smaller, deeper and rectangular versus oval.

MBR Project - Soaking Tub

Because it’s rectangle in shape, you can actually stretch out farther than you could in the bigger oval tub. Don’t ask me how. #Science

All I know is that I love this tub. When you want to soak, the water actually comes above your shoulders. As it should. Also cool – the front tile panel is held on with magnets, so if you ever need to access the plumbing, you don’t have to wreck the tile work. Genius! And that decorative border? It’s in the shower, too.

MBR Project - New Soaking Tub

But before I show you the shower, here’s the new floor tile. It’s the same tile used for the tub and shower, but in much larger 18″ squares. I love it. Goodbye nasty old carpet. Hello clean shiny tile!

MBR Project - 18 Floor Tiles

Other than the decorative band, we used the same tile throughout the entire bathroom in different sizes. This same floor tile is in the shower floor in a 3″ x 3″ version. Wanna see? Do you want to see it now? Okay… here you go.

MBR Project - Shower View

How do I love my new shower? Let me count the ways. I love the larger size – at least a foot deeper and about 18″ wider. I love the taller frameless glass. I love that the tile goes all the way to the ceiling. And I love the new fixtures.

MBR Project - New Shower Hardware

Old shower – small shower head. New shower – bigger shower head and a hand-held wand. Even better – there’s a new diverter valve so you can toggle between the two or use both at once. Love it! There’s also a new niche for shampoo and soap (his & hers, of course). But what I love most is the new granite-topped bench. (The next photo was taken before the shower glass was installed.)

MBR Project - New Shower Bench with Granite Top

No more bending over to shave my legs, or throwing a leg up and hoping I won’t slip and fall. (Don’t try to picture that last part, just move along.) It’s at least 4 feet long and 12″ wide, and we were able to hand pick our piece of granite, which includes some really cool streaks of gemstones. I could not be happier.

MBR Project - My New Shower

An unexpected bonus – because the new shower glass is much taller, it holds in the steam thereby turning the new shower into a steam shower. That’s going to be lovely this winter when our Houston temps dip to 45-ish. I joke, but it really is nice when the bathroom is chilly. Except that you want to stay in the shower and not come out. Like ever. Do they make wine racks for showers?

MBR Project - Before - What is Wrong

MBR Project - Finished Shower & Tub

Have I said how much we love our new bathroom? Because we really, really do. So we moved into the guest bedroom and bathroom for 4 weeks. Who cares? So we had to move our clothes and all of TCP’s computer equipment (since he works from home). Done! So we had to wrap our entire bedroom, study and both closets in plastic sheeting to protect it from construction dust. No big deal!

MBR Project - Taping Off the Bedroom

Unless you’re a big Dexter fan. Then that part got a leeettle bit creepy. :)

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Filed under Family Stuff, Miscellaneous Thoughts

DIY: A Pink Ombre TuTuTorial

Lilly Bug, our sweet spunky granddaughter, just turned four. FOUR! Can you believe it? We can’t. To celebrate her big day and her inner ballerina, I whipped up an easy pink ombre tutu inspired by Pinterest and just in time for her first ever dance classes. The best part – it only takes a few items from the store and about an hour of your time.

It starts with a specific type of stretchy headband. I found a set of 5 in various colors for only $3 at my local HEB (grocery) store. Two were pinks. Bonus!

Lilly's Tutu - headband starter
Next, you’ll need three shades of pink tulle, sold in 6″ wide rolls. I purchased a pale pink, medium pink and deep raspberry pink. To cut it into even lengths, I used a piece of cardboard that was 8 1/2″ x 11″ (or you can grab a picture frame off your shelf). Wrap the tulle around the 8 1/2″ side of the frame multiple times, then cut along both edges to create a handful of 8 1/2″ lengths of tulle. Start with 40 pieces in each shade, but be prepared to cut a few more, if needed.

I love how easily this comes together – NO SEWING! It’s all hand tied.

Tutu Collage1

1. Place the headband around a roll of paper towels to hold it in place.
2. See the gaps? We’ll be looping tulle through them, starting at the top.
3. Fold one piece of tulle in half and bunch it together at the fold.
4. Working along the top row, stick the fold through & make a 1″ loop.

Tutu Collage2

5. Grab both loose ends and pull them through the loop.
6. Gently pull the ends until it is firmly knotted.
7. Skipping one hole, start the process again.
8. Work around the headband until you have one row of the lightest pink, then repeat the process in the middle of the headband with the medium pink, and then around the bottom edge with the deepest pink. If your tulle is cut in advance, it will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete the tutu. So easy!

This is how it looks on the inside of the headband when you’re done. Clean, simple, with no loose ends and plenty of stretch left in the headband.

Lilly's Tutu - Tied On

This is how it looks on the outside. I love the ombre effect!

Lilly's Tutu - Finished

Lilly's Tutu - Ombre Detail

If you have any tulle sticking out in odd places, simply trim them with a pair of scissors until all of the tulle is uniform in length. That’s it! Easy peasy tutu breezy. Because it was for Lilly Bug’s birthday, I tied it to the top of her other presents and put a flower on it to create a big fluffy bow.

Lilly's Tutu - Flower On Top

Lilly's Tutu - As Gift Topper

She really had no idea it was a tutu until she untied it to open her packages. It was so much fun. And here’s our little ballerina showing it off.

Lilly's Tutu Collage

Oh, Lilly Bug. You really are too sassy & cute for words, girlfriend!

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Filed under Craft Projects, Family Stuff

Horchata at Home

Horchata - long grain rice

Rice. My family loves it. In fact, it we might even prefer it to potatoes. Sounds crazy, but we find ourselves craving rice more than french fries. This weekend, The Complete Package whipped up one of our favorite summer refreshers.

Horchata - Inside NanaBread's Head

Horchata: a refreshing Mexican drink made with rice & cinnamon.

So simple, delicate, and fragrant – a good horchata is a revelation. And it’s easy to make. It only takes a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. Horchata is best when allowed to sit and bloom overnight, so plan to start this a day in advance for best results.

Horchata - Ingredient Collage

TCP’s Horchata (updated 2/26/2014):
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 3″ Mexican cinnamon stick (canela)
4 cups whole milk (not skim or reduced fat)
1 can (12 ozs) evaporated milk
1 can (14 ozs) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice and boiling water in your blender; blend on medium to medium-high until the rice begins to break up into small pieces (about a minute or so). Add the 3″ cinnamon stick. Cover the blender jar and allow it to sit on the counter at room temperature overnight (or up to 48 hours).

Strain the rice water to remove the kibbles & bits and discard the rice. Rinse out the container to remove any debris and pour the strained rice water back into the blender pitcher. Add the milks (all 3), vanilla, and ground cinnamon. Blend on medium speed for one minute. Pour into a serving pitcher and refrigerate. Stir just before serving to blend all the ingredients, as the fine rice pulp tends to settle to the bottom.

Horchata - CloseUp

Notes:
1. Mexican cinnamon & vanilla really are different that the version you’ll find in most markets. If you can find it in your area, please use it. The delicate, floral aroma is heavenly and takes this recipe to a whole new level.
2. This recipe can be doubled for a crowd.
3. This recipe is adapted from Lola’s Horchata at AllRecipes.com.
4. Horchata is perfect on a hot day or paired with spicy foods.
5. Horchata will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
6 Horchata makes excellent coffee creamer.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes

I don’t know how this happened.

Remember my post from 2 weeks ago? The one with the pineapple update? The update where I said we probably had at least 4-6 weeks until harvest? Well, we went to Austin last weekend to visit the kids and came home to this:

Pineapple Harvest 6

I don’t know how this happened. They went from firm, mostly green and this:

Pineapple Close-Up - Aug2013

to completely, thoroughly golden-yellow ripe in 4 days. FOUR DAYS!

Side by Side Comparison - 4 days

I can only attribute it to:
A.) four days of intense Houston heat, followed by
B.) a good solid day of rain during drought conditions, and
C.) my lack of experience growing pineapples (even with 15+ plants)

We had no choice but to harvest them before they got too ripe, which was disappointing because we really had hoped the kids would be here to participate. Instead, The Complete Package & I cut them down. No kids; no celebration.

Pineapple Harvest 1

Pineapple Harvest 2

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at how we’ve accumulated so many pineapple plants over the past few years. Each plant, while it’s fruiting, puts off several shoots (ratoons) that can be removed and replanted to form new plants. Each of our four fruiting plants put off at least 2 to 3 ratoons.

Pineapple Harvest 3

Pineapple Harvest 4

I’m no math whiz, but if each pineapple plant produces 3 ratoons PLUS a pineapple fruit, that means you now potentially have FOUR (4) additional future pineapple plants, because you can replant the ratoons and replant the top off the pineapple fruit. We started six years ago with the top of a pineapple plant we’d bought at the grocery store. We now have over 15 plants because we keep re-potting the ratoons & pineapple tops. I joke about our mini-plantation, but it’s actually kind of true. They’re taking over our back porch. Two years ago, we harvested one lonely but gorgeous pineapple. This year, we got this:

Pineapple Harvest 5

Which brings me to our new little gadget I just have to show off. My friend Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic (my sister from another mister) and her four boys were so excited about our pending pineapple harvest, they sent us the new OXO ratcheting pineapple corer & slicer. Oh, baby!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Ready to Cut

To use it, lop the top off your pineapple, leaving about 3/4″ so you can replant it later and become a semi-obsessed mini-plantation pineapple farmer like me.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Lop off the top

We set the pineapples into a mixing bowl to capture any juice so I could make marmalade (always thinking ahead), then TCP set about coring those golden puppies. The OXO pineapple corer tore right through each pineapple in seconds.
It was amazing to watch and surprisingly fun to use.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- OXO Pineapple Corer & Slicer

Did I mention it ratchets? You don’t have to turn the bowl or move the pineapple or anything! Just twist the handle on top and it ratchets after each cut until it reaches the bottom. Once done, you simply pull the rings right out of the shell. That’s right – I said rings!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Rings on the Slicer

It cuts the entire pineapple into perfectly even rings. Shut up! I know!

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Perfectly Sliced Rings

We set aside one tub of rings for Jonah Bear & Lilly Bug, since they both said they’d like to recreate our pineapple upside-down cake from the 2011 harvest, and poured most of the pineapple and juice into the Dutch oven to make my first ever batch of pineapple upside-down marmalade (pineapple, brown sugar & maraschino cherries). With that, there was only one last task to conquer.

Remember that post I mentioned in the first paragraph? The one where I said we probably had a few weeks until harvest? Well, I may have mentioned in that post that I’d also like to make fruity cocktails with this batch of pineapples. And since the OXO corer/slicer did such a nice job of creating the perfect vessel, there was just one last thing to do.

Pineapple Harvest 2013- Pina Colada Fixings

You should know me well enough by now to know that I never turn down a fruity ‘pinkies up’ frou-frou girly cocktail. So here’s to you, and here’s to friends who send friends kitchen gadgets, and here’s to the great pineapple harvest of 2013.

Pineapple Harvest - Pina Colada

Oh, and just in case you’d like to join me:

Pineapple Harvest 2013  - Pina Colada Recipe

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Things I Love

A Week at My Mom’s

That's my niece, capturing the excitement of our road trip to Mom's.

That’s my niece, capturing the excitement of our road trip to Mom’s.

Hello, everybody… I’m back! My week-long visit to Mom’s was most excellent. I picked up Big Sis and her daughter in Dallas and we beat cheeks north to avoid the thunderstorms that chased me from Houston all the way to Mom’s. From my door to Mom’s is about 9 to 10 hours, which made for a long drive, but it allowed us to get an early jump on Saturday morning. To add to our excitement, Sister #4 drove up from Dallas late Friday night to join us for our first weekend because in our family, the more = the merrier.

Saturday morning started with a trip to the farmers market in Fort Smith, which totally blew my mind. The variety and quality we found was shocking and wonderful, and this from someone who visits farmers markets in Houston and Austin. I’m telling you, these folks weren’t messing around. We hit that market like we were preparing for the apocalypse and ate like kings off our bounty for an entire week. We had bags upon bags of field peas, carrots, kale, squash, heirloom tomatoes, okra, Asian eggplants, honey, homemade bread and more. In fact, Big Sis and I ended up bringing some goodies home. She ended up with kale, carrots and assorted other veg. I brought back peaches, blackberries, blueberries and Thai bird chilies. Win/win all the way.

We also hit a vintage flea market at the fairgrounds and picked up a few great pieces for great prices. I bought vintage kitchen utensils and pans for blog props (of course), including an antique cake comb for my friend and fellow blogger Anne of From My Sweet Heart. She should be getting that box any day now. Then it was on to Van Buren for lunch and more antiquing. So fun!

Overall, our week consisted of way too much really good food, including that Blackberry Cake I made for Berry Week. It died a noble death. We also whipped up a few cocktails, got in a few rounds of croquet when the oppressive Oklahoma heat wasn’t trying to kill us, played more than a few board games chased with a few rounds of Mexican Train dominoes, and tackled some crafting. (I tried to crochet but failed miserably.) There were also visits from our Baby Sister and her son as well as a day spent with our oldest niece. Mostly, our week can be summed up as: we spent our week running Mom ragged by dragging her to every antique and quilt shop within a 100 mile radius. And it was glorious.

Here are a few snaps of our week in the country.

Typical sunset over Mom's place in the country.

Typical sunset over Mom’s place in rural eastern Oklahoma.

One of the many cottontail bunnies that live in Mom's yard and terrorize her attempts at gardening.

One of the many cottontail bunnies that live in Mom’s yard and terrorize her attempts at gardening. It’s a good thing they’re cute.

Mom's yard is covered in these bushes - nicknamed Rose of Sharon.

Mom’s yard is covered in althea bushes – nicknamed Rose of Sharon.

Mockingbird eggs - there were four in that nest by the time we left.

Mockingbird eggs – there were four in that nest by the time we left.

A day trip to White Rock Mountain for a picnic lunch.

A day trip to White Rock Mountain for a picnic lunch.

Mom at the overlook gate at White Rock Mountain.  I'm comin', Ma!

Mom at the overlook gate at White Rock Mountain. I’m comin’, Ma!

Mom, Big Sis & my niece checking out the cliffs at White Rock Mountain.

Mom, Big Sis & my niece checking out the cliffs at White Rock Mountain.

34 miles to Fort Smith, Arkansas where I spent my formative years.

34 miles to Fort Smith, Arkansas where we spent our formative years.

Big Sis & my niece check out the treacherous drop at the overlook.

Big Sis & my niece check out the treacherous drop at the overlook.

A perfect peck of peaches from Poteau, Oklahoma. Gorgeous!

A peck of perfect peaches from Poteau, Oklahoma. Gorgeous!

What to do with a peck of perfect peaches - preserve!

What to do with a peck of perfect peaches? Preserve!

There was much, much more to our week – most of which I did not photograph because I was too busy enjoying it. We took a day trip to Eureka Springs, which was lovely and included a stop at an old favorite – Bubba’s Barbeque.

Photo of Bubba's taken by my Big Sister

Nothing says pulled pork like the pink pig at Bubba’s. Photo taken by Big Sis & used with her permission.

In the end, we had a lovely week and were thoroughly exhausted by the time we all got home; I can only imagine how tired Mom must have been. We totally wreaked havoc on her quiet country life for an entire week, but we had such fun doing it. We did it all – from feeding fruit to the cows to playing croquet with the bunnies. Our hearts and stomachs were full, even if our wallets were significantly lighter after all that shopping. Still, it was so worth it.

Since my niece kicked off this story, I’ll let her finish it. Even though she’ll most likely be horrified. Sorry, K. When you pose around a blogger, things happen.

The End.

The End.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Travel Tales

Even Grown-ups Need Their Mamas

I love this old photo of our mother. Look at her – she’s gorgeous! As a child, I used to stare at this snap and think my mother was a movie star. As an adult, I stare at it and wonder if Dad was trying to show off mom or his new stereo system. #glamourshotfail I can only assume this was taken pre-fivedaughters.

Mom - Dressed to Go Out - Edited

I’m showing it to you now because Mom’s on my mind, so I’m heading up there. I’ll be off the grid (aka – lost in rural Oklahoma) for the next 10 days. My mother barely gets television stations and her home phone service is always on the fritz, so I can only assume internet connectivity = none. Still, I’m excited! Big Sis and I will be driving up together. While we’re there, two of my other sisters are planning to drop in which means there will be food, board games, cocktails, arts & crafts, one-handed croquet and some antiquing. I can’t wait!

If you’re thinking “NO! HOW WILL I SURVIVE WITHOUT A NANABREAD POST THIS WEEK?” rest assured your check is in the mail & I’ll miss you, too.

Later, taters!
Jeanne (NanaBread)

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Random Thoughts Thursday

It’s early Thursday morning and I desperately need coffee. So while I’m making a cup, feel free to browse a few random things that came up this week.

1. Bake Sale for Beka (aka Cookies for Crohn’s)
My friend Megan from Country Cleaver is hosting this amazing on-line bake sale benefitting the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America for the second year running. I’m participating again by baking four dozen of these Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies dipped in dark Guittard chocolate. Holy yum!

Cherry & Almond Shortbreads - Inside NanaBread's Head

Made with flour & almond meal, dried Michigan cherries, toasted almonds & real butter these shortbread cookies stand on their own without any chocolate. But what fun is that? Seriously, when things can be dipped in dark chocolate, they absolutely should be. If these beauties have captivated you, you can bid on them! If you win, I’ll ship 4 dozen directly to your home, dipped in whichever type of chocolate you prefer – white, milk or dark. Winner’s choice.

To bid or browse the other selections generously donated by a plethora of fabulous food bloggers go to Megan’s website THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013. That’s right, folks… this is a one day on-line auction benefiting the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and celebrating Beka’s first half-marathon for the cure. For the record, on a scale of 1 to 10, Beka is a 15 kind of amazing. So mark your calendar and drop in on the Bake Sale for Beka to watch the bidding shenanigans. And if you end up with the winning bid on my cookies, I might just throw in a jar of homemade jelly. It’s been known to happen.

2. The Complete Package went to the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally in Austin and all we got were photos & disco light sabers.
Okay, that’s true but not entirely true. TCP (my beloved) DID attend the ROT Rally in Austin where his girlfriend (if I may brag a bit) took first place in the Metric Customs category. Yes, I refer to his motorcycle as his girlfriend. Here’s a snap in case you’re curious about her. Meh; she’s okay I guess. :)

TCP's Honda Fury

Each year, on Friday evening, participants in the motorcycle rally ride from the Austin fairgrounds into downtown in a bike parade that stretches more than 10 miles. MILES, people. And each year, My Baby and I take the grandkids downtown to watch the parade so they can see their Papi ride in. They get the biggest kick out of seeing him in the parade. It’s his rock star moment.

After he gets downtown and parks, we all walk Congress looking at the motorcycles and snapping photos. Here are a few from last Friday night. This first one is of Jonah Bear & Lilly Bug with ‘The Cat Lady’. She’s really popular.

ROT Rally 2013 - Jonah & Lilly with Cat Lady

ROT Rally 2013 - Strolling on Congress

ROT Rally 2013 - State Capitol

3. I took the kids back to Springdale Farm.
Remember last week when I mentioned I had the privilege of visiting Springdale Farm for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance dinner as part of the BlogHer Food conference? It was a wonderful, magical night under the stars and trees.

Springdale Farm - US Farmers & Ranchers Dinner

I enjoyed it so much I vowed to bring My Baby and the kids for a visit, and last Saturday we did just that. Despite the heat, the kids had a great time and enjoyed walking the farm, spotting fresh vegetables, and picking out some to take home. In case I haven’t been clear in past posts, I L-O-V-E a good farmer’s market or farm stand and Springdale Farm is now one of my favorites. If you’re in Austin, please visit and support a local farmer. Food doesn’t get any fresher.

Lilly & The Chickens - Springdale Farm

Jonah & Lilly - walking the herb garden at Springdale Farm

Farm Stand at Springdale

Ever wondered what an artichoke looks like when it’s left to bloom? Well now you know. You’re not going to see that in a grocery store, folks!

Artichoke Blooms - Springdale Farm

We also attempted to take Jonah & Lilly on a mural hop around Austin. More on that later, but here’s a glimpse of what we did before we died of heat stroke.

Lilly & Jonah at Austin Mural

4. Nothing rocks summer like the glitter polish.
It started with pale pink glitter polish over raspberry red and it has now morphed into pale teal glitter over a dark teal base. For a girl who doesn’t usually paint her nails, I’m totally digging the disco glitter. Hello summer!

The Megan - Teal Sparkle Nails

5. Don’t forget this weekend’s Bake Sale for Beka on-line auction!
I mean it, people. Buy my cookies and I’ll make it worth your time & money. We’re talking FOUR DOZEN HANDMADE FROM SCRATCH COOKIES and homemade jam or jelly. If I could ship a puppy, I would. I’m not above bribery. Whatever it takes. Just bid. It’s for a good cause and there are cookbooks & cookies to be had. LOTS of cookies. For a preview, CLICK HERE.

BakeSale4Beka

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Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love

TCP Cooks: Tiramisu Ice Cream Sundae

Coffee Ice Cream - Tiramisu Sundae - Inside NanaBread's Head

I know my husband, The Complete Package, loves me. How?

1. Because we’ve been married 30+ years.
2. Because he tells me all the time.
3. Because he makes me coffee ice cream.

Or in this case, coffee & mascarpone ice cream. It’s true… he really went there. Using his favorite recipe for Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base, he added espresso and mascarpone cheese to create the perfect tiramisu ice cream blend. And it was good. Really good. Like Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz good. Have you ever tried that one? It’s only available in scoop shops, not grocery stores, which is a shame. But also probably a blessing, because if it could be bought on a routine basis by the half-pint, there’d be long lines at stores and hand-to-hand combat if they ever ran low. But that’s just me. {wink} Here is TCP’s version.

TCP’s Tiramisu Ice Cream:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 container (8 ozs.) mascarpone cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee + 1 Tbsp. espresso powder, chilled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lady Finger cookies, chocolate syrup & Kahlua (optional) for garnish

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar a little at a time; continue to whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the mascarpone cheese & beat until smooth and creamy; add the cream, milk, coffee and vanilla extract; whisk until blended.

Pour the ice cream mixture into an electric ice cream maker and process according to the machine’s instructions. If you don’t have an electric ice cream maker, just put the ice cream into a bowl with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the freezer. Take it out and stir it every 15 minutes or so until it gets too firm to stir. Return to the freezer until it is firmly set.

When it’s ready, grab a bowl or plate and place 3-4 lady finger cookies in the center. If you’re bad like me, give them a light drizzle of Kahlua. Then top them with a big scoop of coffee ice cream and drizzle liberally with Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup. Finally, crumble up another lady finger or two and sprinkle them over the top because “More is more!” is TCP’s favorite motto, followed closely by “We Can DO This!” But that’s a traumatic series of family travel stories for another post. Somewhere, My Baby just shivered.

Tiramisu Sundae - Inside NanaBread's Head

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes

The Cathedral of Junk – Austin, TX

We recently spent a weekend in Austin with our grandkids and during that weekend The Complete Package took us out for street food and a sight-seeing adventure at the Cathedral of Junk. Never heard of it? Neither had I, and neither had My Baby who lives in Austin and attended college there {hook ’em}. How TCP knew is beyond us, but he did and we’re glad he did. The Cathedral of Junk is hard to describe, wonderous to behold, and one of a kind. Here’s a peek.

Cathedral of Junk - Front of House

From the street, it’s a bright and eclectic house with lots of color and character.

Cathedral of Junk - Front Porch Collage

But the main attraction is the back yard. It’s a tower of…. well, uh…. junk! Lots and lots and oodles of junk. Junk of all makes & models, shapes & sizes.

Cathedral of Junk - Front View of Tower

There’s metal junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Back Side

And nostalgic junk.

Cathedral of Junk - My Baby & the Trolls

And yellow rubbery junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Rubber Duckies

There is junk with a purpose, like this drum with the story of the Cathedral.

Cathedral of Junk - Story on Drum

And junk that inspires.

Cathedral of Junk - Coldplay Quote

I love me some Coldplay. I also love things that make me laugh.

Cathedral of Junk - Billy Bass & Train

Yes, that is a Billy Bass. He was mounted just high enough to prevent us from pressing the button to see if he would sing. There’s just plain ol’ junky junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Sample Junk

And Austin-themed junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Austin Mirror

The main attraction for some is the Throne of Junk.

Cathedral of Junk - Empty Throne

So kitschy and fabulous, some couples come here to have their engagement photos taken. Click here for a sample. We didn’t see any engaged couples posing when we were there, but we did meet a family who was taking graduation photos of their daughter at fun & funky landmarks all over Austin. What a great idea! This cute little group was willing to pose for a few snaps.

Cathedral of Junk - My Baby, Jonah & Lilly

Yep – that’s My Baby with Jonah Bear and Lilly Bug. My little munchkins.

Cathedral of Junk - Lilly & Jonah

These two cutie-patooties make everything more fun & fabulous. And surprisingly, that’s what the Cathedral of Junk is – fun & fabulous.

Cathedral of Junk - A Peek Inside

At first glance, it may inspire some to update their tetanus booster, but don’t let that stop you. The Cathedral of Junk is a monument to inspiration and creativity. It inspires others to visit daily, donate items or create masterpieces of their own. Jonah left dreaming of his next creation.

If you decide to visit, I hope you’ll stop to drop a donation in the box near the gate. It takes a lot of wire, mortar and cement to hold this cathedral together. If you’re curious about what it takes to maintain, Vince (the artist & homeowner) is always standing by to answer questions. He’s a really, really nice guy and proof that one man’s trash truly is another’s treasure.

Cathedral of Junk - Donation Box

If you want to know more about Vince Hannemann and his Cathedral of Junk, this article in The Daily Texan is a great place to start. Keep Austin Weird, y’all!

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Filed under Family Stuff, Travel Tales

A Pineapple Update

If you’re a regular reader, you might remember that in 2011 we grew and harvested our first ever homegrown pineapple. It was the best of times.

Our first ever pineapple; summer of 2012

Our first ever pineapple; summer of 2012

We’re such dorks, we called our kids & grandkids and invited them over for the weekend so we could harvest it together. The Complete Package helped our grandson, Jonah Bear, cut the first pineapple. Go Jonah Bear!

Jonah Bear puts some muscle into harvesting the pineapple.

Jonah Bear puts some muscle into harvesting the pineapple.

Then Jonah & I immediately cut it up and baked a birthday cake for our granddaughter, Lilly Bug. What a great adventure that was. And so much fun.

Lilly Bug blows out the candles on her homemade cake.

Lilly Bug blows out the candles on her homemade cake.

Well, this year – we have four baby pineapples. FOUR! It’s so amazing. Of the ten pineapple plants currently growing on our back porch, four have bloomed and produced fruit. We are so excited! Here are a few shots of the new babies.

This snap shows the baby pineapple on its stalk.

This snap shows the baby pineapple on its stalk.

This one shows the crown starting to form on top.

This one shows the crown starting to form on top.

If you look closely at the tips, you'll see the purple flowers almost ready to emerge.

If you look closely at the tips, you’ll see the purple flowers almost ready to emerge.

So hold on to your britches, folks. This summer promises to bring All The Pineapple Goodies. While I’m sure there’s another pineapple upside-down cake in our future (because last year’s cake was beyond delicious), there’s no telling what the others may become. Pineapple preserves? Pineapple sherbet? Pineapple tarts? Feel free to shout out suggestions! Like all other mothers with new babies, I’m sure I’ll post additional photos as they grow.

Ever the proud pineapple momma,
-Jeanne (NanaBread)

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Filed under Family Stuff, Food & Recipes, Miscellaneous Thoughts