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Stand still, look pretty

26 Jul

I get some of my best thinking in when I road trip. This week, after two trips to Marietta, I got a lot of thinking in. I lot of stressing and dwelling as well. I also listened to The Wreckers and belted their tunes while I drove.

On Friday, my mom and I had dinner. It was just the two of us, something we don’t do very often anymore. My mom is my best friend. It took me about 23 years to figure that out. It took me the better part of that time to also discover that my mom is always right. She’s very observant and is a good judge of character. She knows which of my friends are worth sticking around for. She’s good with reading boys and she knows what makes me happy. She always keeps these opinions to herself until exactly the right moment. How are moms so good at that? Are all moms good at that? Or is mine a rare type? On Friday when we were discussing some very serious things, she told me that before her mom got Alzheimer’s disease she said some things that weighed very heavily on her mind. My grandma told her how jealous she was of her relationship with me. She wished that she had had a better relationship with my mom, her daughter. A relationship like the one I have with my mom. My mom told me how blessed she had been to be able to thoroughly enjoy her time with me. We fight all the time, generally over silly things. She’s still my best friend and I tell her everything, even the things I probably shouldn’t. Being with her this week was something that I needed more than anything right now. It was also the hardest week of my life.

My dad is developing Alzheimer’s. Things are rough right now. To watch my mom go through this may be the hardest thing I ever do. It makes stressing out about teaching and getting exams graded seem insanely petty. My dad is depressed and there are very few things he seems to be excited about anymore. I’m trying to do what I can to make him happy… fortunately, like many guys I know, it’s easy to get to him through his stomach. He’s not picky so it’s even easier to do.

Strawberry-Banana Muffins (modified from Sunny Anderson’s recipe, Foodnetwork… I’m a little obssessed with her. She’s fun to watch)

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 lemon, zested

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, applesauce, sugars, strawberries, and lemon zest. Combine the dry and wet ingredients but be careful not to over mix. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups (I used mini-muffin cups). Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes cleanly out of the center (about 30 minutes with regular muffin size, 20 with mini-muffins).

I added a little crumble to the top (equal parts brown sugar and oatmeal and enough margarine to make it crumbly, like a strudel topping) before I baked them just to give them another texture. You could also add nuts or even another berry to the batter if you wanted (make walnuts or raspberries).

My dad loves banana bread but I didn’t have enough bananas to make it, so I played around with some muffin recipes. I really enjoyed these and I think he did too. And, since I replaced the oil and butter with applesauce, they’re healthier and they were light and not dry at all.