Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bananarama Cupcakes

Remember Bananrama?  Well, I still have “it”, but “it” is now Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!  Macarena cool. 

 "Almost Heaven", West Virginia… that’s what they are! 

(I’m just gonna see how many fieldtrips I can take us on while describing these cupcakes.)

Any who… So the men folk went off to the football game last Friday and left me and my friend to fend for ourselves with nothing but  too much time on our hands and a hankering for cupcakes. 

My favorite cupcake, at the moment, is the Banana cupcake at the naughty Sprinkles in Dallas.  Do check their menu if you plan to make a pilgrimage as the Banana cupcakes are only served on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.  And bring your piggy bank…  nibbling at Sprinkles doesn’t always make sound financial sense.  It’s a good thing that a lot of road separates me from this place. 

sprinkles Haute cupcakes!  I’m lovin’ everything about them.  The box, the sticker and the little wooden forks you eat them with.   Good times, good times.

All that road got me to thinking about how I could bring all that Banana cupcake goodness a little closer to my home. 

Things are now under recipe control and I’m going to share the Bananarama cupcakes with you.  This recipe is easy and moist with “made from scratch” taste.  Banana cupcake goodness is headed your way.  You got it!

Banana cupcake 3 wm.jpegBananrama Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frostingness

Adapted from Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor

(Monster Monkeys Cupcakes and Chocolate Buttercream)


1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas, from 3 medium bananas

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Put 24 cupcake liners into 2 cupcake pans.

2. Put all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Stop the mixer and scrap down the sides of the bowl.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed.  The batter should look thick and well combined.  Spoon or scoop batter equally into 24 cupcake liners.  Place the pans in the oven.

3. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring  back when lightly pressed with your finger, 16-20 minutes.  Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.  ***Do not overcook your cupcakes!  16 to 20 minutes is a guideline, akin to the Pirate code, and not a rule.  When you smell them, they’re done.  In my oven this takes about 16 minutes.  Overcooked cupcakes make people cranky.***  Then remove cupcakes from pans and place on wire racks to cool before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 to 5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds.  Stop the mixer and add the confectioners’ sugar., 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla.  Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if the frosting is too stiff.

2. Frost the Bananarama cupcakes. 

3. Gather friends and enjoy.


Friday, November 6, 2009

An artful weekend

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   It’s an artful weekend and you should be a part of it!  Do you live in the DFW area?  Need something to do that will definitely be out of the ordinary?  Then the Cross Timbers Artists Studio Tour is definitely for you.  You can get more info here.  I tell you what, you never know what you’ll come across.  Artists are an interesting lot! You can plan out your tour on the map and visit a few artists or go crazy and try to see them all.

   This tour allows you to go into the homes of these artists, talk with them and see how they live, work and where their inspiration comes from.  And, if the stimulus plan has worked in your favor… sigh… you can purchase yourself an original piece of art. 

   I really enjoy this tour and hope you will too.  One of the artists, Sweety Bowman, was my ceramics instructor years ago in another life.  She is too much fun.  She has led the most interesting life and the stories she tells are a hoot.  I don’t know if she finds them as amusing as I do as she had to live through them.  But you know how that goes.  Years later we can laugh at our tragedies.  Her husband, Alton Bowman, (on the tour) is also an artist.  He is a master craftsman and has restored furniture for the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas State Capitol and many others.  The pieces he restores are incredible and rare. 

   Here are some of my favorite pic’s from last years tour at Sweety’s house:

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“She makes pottery”

In Sweety’s studio.




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Bronze sculpture of Sweety’s mother.

One of Alton’s pieces in the background and Sweety’s ceramics.


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Sweety’s hand, her mothers foot.Very heart warming…



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The clay stage of a bronze sculpture.  This is huge!  It may be finished by now.





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The side view.  This idea has been floating around in Sweety’s head for years.






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Inside Sweety’s studio.  How did they get here?

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Big outdoor kiln.








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A desk by Alton.  All the Texas birds and flowers are inlaid wood.  Very pretty.



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Notice the hand turned legs.





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Alton restores very interesting pieces.  This happened to be in his studio when we visited, Lady Bird Johnson’s high chair.





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Alton’s studio.





That’s all for now.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spidey News

All the news that’s fit to tell…

Because inquiring minds want to know, I thought I would update you on the latest Spidey News.  A while back, I introduced you to the spider growing in our backyard.  If you remember, while I was trying to research her, I was completely rabbit trailed by the Spidey Silking nonsense.  Lo and behold, through life’s synchronicity, she showed up in September’s issue of Better Homes and Garden.  (I started this post a while back… backblogging, ya’ know.)

You might wonder about my curiosity with this spider but I can tell you it’s all perfectly normal.  Kind of.  For about the last 5 summers we have had one of these spiders take up residence in our backyard.  We call each of them “Cool Rockin’ Loretta”, or just Loretta for short.  All of them have the same name. Every year.  It keeps things simple.  The name comes from a song by Joe Ely called Cool Rockin’ Loretta .  It fits.  

BHG tells me that our spider is a female black-and-yellow garden spider.  Also referred to as Argiope aurantia.  Now you know why we call her Loretta.  We can’t say that other bit.  She is easily identifiable by her exceptional decorating skills (note the lovely zigzag pattern in her web) and her impeccable sense of style (her colorful markings).  She is perfectly harmless unless you are a grasshopper who has made the unfortunate mistake of hop scotching into our backyard.  The chilies get a kick out of throwing grasshoppers into her web to watch the show.  No, this is not cruel.  It’s nature and the circle of life, blah, blah, blah. 

This is where the updating part comes in.  I was supposed to show you her growing, moving (she moved from the basil to the hydrangeas) and then, finally, her moving on to spidey heaven. 

So, here it is.  I strongly encourage you to listen to Joe (You can do this by clicking on the underlined song title above, it’s a hyperlink)  as you read through this.  Then, one way or another, I’ll know you’ve been entertained.

Loretta growing… 

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Living by the basil. 






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It seems living above the hydrangeas agreed with her.  See how much bigger she got?





Loretta eating things… 

A few weeks ago the kids fed her a huge grasshopper that sort of looked like this:

grandin road larva ball I was gonna take a picture of the actual event but decided it was a little morbid.  I thought this wasn’t as morbid since we all know Martha Stewart doesn’t have real, dead, larva people hanging around her house.  Probably, is what I’m saying.  This is all just good Halloween fun. 

Loretta being scary…

(That’s her in front of the window)… 

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Who knows what is going through Beau Hiney’s head.  He eats a lot of weird stuff so it’s probably something like:  “Spider thingy, ummmm.”




Then, as the weather gets cooler, she’ll make her egg sac full of lots of tiny, (less) scary spiders…

Lorettas egg.wm jpeg

Finally, Loretta will disappear… 

Next summer, we’ll hope that another spider will show up.  We’ll name her Loretta too.  

Weird stuff.

More good fun with Joe:

Ely at DMA

Here’s some more good ol’ Joe to listen to:

All Just to Get to You with Bruce Springsteen

All Just to Get to You (Part 2)

Me and Billy the Kid

Carnival Bum