Friday, August 31, 2007

Muffins for the Road

I should be packing for our weekend trip up to Chicago land, but I thought I would share a recipe with you all this morning. I made these yesterday to take with us . The photos aren't very good - but the muffins are!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup Splenda Blend
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 T softened light cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
Beat the eggs and sugars together, add
remaining ingredients and mix well.
6 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (dredge in a little flour to keep them from sinking)
1/2 cup (or more) chopped nuts
Blend well. Fill muffin tins (paper lined- makes about 18-24)
or 1 bread pan and 12 muffins.
Bake: 350 degrees
muffins 20-22 minutes
bread 50-60 minutes (leave bread in pan
about 10 min. before removing)
I've been experimenting with some of my standard recipes to make them a little more healthy. I've been pleased with the results of this one.
It is a beautiful day today, so it should be a good day for travel. Though I'm sure everyone else will be on the road for the long weekend.
I managed to get out and get my two mile walk in this morning. It certainly goes faster when it's not so hot and I put my MP-3 player on. I've got some good songs on there right now. Brad Paisley has a funny new song called "Online". I particularly like the marching band version at the end ! Another new song I've added is the Reba McEntire/Kelly Clarkson duet "Because of You". I've got quite a variety to listen too. Not just country but others like Josh Groban, Jewel, John Mayer, Jack Johnson (thanks J!) and Elliott Yamin plus many others ( but yes, mostly country!)
Off to find the suitcase now. Looking forward to seeing some our family this weekend. I hope to have some good stuff to blog about next week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kansas Girls on the Road

I am a Kansas girl. My sister and I were raised on a farm in Osborne County Kansas. Now that our parents are gone, I'm sorry to say that I probably won't get back there as often as I used to. But this past weekend, we had to finish up some business with our mother's estate, so a road trip was in order. My sister lives in Oklahoma, so she picked me up at the OKC airport and the next morning we headed "back home". We stopped along the way at the "World's Largest Ball of Twine". As many times as we've passed by here, this is the first time we've actually stopped and taken a picture in front of it. I'm sure the ball of twine was much, much smaller the first time we were here many decades ago on a school trip with our classmates of Green Valley School.

It was nice to visit family and friends back in Osborne. Our aunt and uncle were proud of their upside down tomato plant! Isn't this a strange way to grow tomatoes! But they certainly were delicious. I just might have to try growing one of these next year even though my vegetable gardening skills are slim.
We always try to make a trip out to the farm, but it gets sadder every time. This is the old family farmstead. It is hard to see with the weeds and trees growing up around the house and somehow it doesn't look near as big as it used to.

Several years ago, our mother moved to town and lived in this nice brick house across from the a city park. We now have it listed for sale. Let me know if you are in the market!

August in Kansas is synonymous with hot and dry. But this year the wet summer has left the pastures and roadsides unusually green and the lakes and ponds brimming.

Rock fence posts near Wilson Lake. These are just decorative here, but not that long ago the farmers and ranchers used post rocks to hold fencing around their properties.

On the way back to Oklahoma, we made a short side trip to have Sunday "dinner" at The Hickory Tree in the old Smolan High School Building. This is an interesting use for one of the many old school buildings that sit in small towns across the country. We enjoyed the buffet in the auditorium and then wandered around the old classrooms and displays.

Our next stop on the road to OK was along the Historic Route 66. The round barn is just one of the many interesting sights along this famous road. I can see possibilities of a motorcycle road trip here ! Think this is a photo of the bottom of a basket? Wrong. This is the view looking up at the inside of the roof of the round barn. Wonder how they did that!One more stop was Pop's. Check out their website. Lots and lots of soda pop!My posts are not complete without a picture of an animal or food. So here are today's selections.

Isn't Marnie a happy dog! She's my dog-niece.Mean Kitty. She's really not that mean, just mis-understood (and sometimes prefers her food to have four tiny feet!) Food photo of the week. After a quick trip to Kansas, the sisters were treated to grilled pork chops with mango chutney. Thank you brother-in-law J!

Thanks for a great road trip Sis! ( Plus everything else you've done)
Next time, we'll take a better photo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Weekend Jaunt and Beamer and the Hummers

The hummingbirds have taken over our deck! I bought this small feeder at Lowe's the other day and even tho it has a small dripping problem, it didn't take long for the hummers to find it. (Along with the ants and wasps!) Beamer loves to sit inside and watch from the glass doors, but when I let him have his "outside time", he's almost been attacked by the brave little birds. If anyone comes out on the deck, there are usually three of them chirping and defending their feeder. I've been trying to get some good photos of them. I'm surprised these turned out as well as they did ! I love my little Kodak V550. It is just the right size to stick in a purse or pocket, especially when we are on the motorcycle.

Our riding this week consisted of a few short jaunts and one longer trip on Sunday. We traveled to Kentucky via the bridge south of Corydon. It was a good day to ride with temps in the upper 80's, but slightly overcast so not such a good day for photos. We traveled over some windy, hilly roads (Dennis loves those, of course) but saw lots of pretty country. It is always interesting to see the different crops and farm animals that line the back country roads that we like. This trip we saw lots of tobacco being harvested. I always think of Daddy when we see different farm stuff, because I know he would have enjoyed seeing these things. I don't think he would ever have put tobacco in any of his fields tho! We saw buffalo grazing, lots of goats, mules and of course cattle and horses. One little foal with it's long legs was so cute, but by the time I got my camera on - we had sped by. It seems like on the motorcycle, you can see things so much clearer than in a car. I was amazed me to see so many tomatoes still on the vines in gardens along the way. I wanted to say - "hey if you're tired of picking them - send them our way!"

We made a stop in Cloverport, Kentucky for lunch at a little family restaurant. I'm not even sure of the a name, but we had a pleasant meal. But, we realized how much we appreciate the non-smoking policies that so many eating establishments have adopted. After crossing the Ohio River again at Tell City, we made our way back up through the Hoosier Nat'l Forest and were home by 3:30. We drove by the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, Indiana. We've made this part of the drive before and have stopped to enjoy the fried chicken dinners and the beautiful view of the Ohio.

Our weekend was completed with a wonderful authentic Cuban meal with our neighborhood "biking buddies" and their family. Wrapping up the day with a pleasant meal and good company, makes any journey a joy! Thanks Ramona and Monte ! One last photo for Monte --

Until next time --- Enjoy !

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

One Less Project In Progress

I finished it ! Just like many quilters/crafters, I've usually got several projects in various stages of construction. Today, I turned the television to the Travel Channel and made an effort to get something done. This is the end result. I found this pattern in August issue of McCall's Quilting Magazine that uses one of the neat little fabric charm packs that are available now. I picked these up at Among Friends Quilt Shop in Louisville. They have a great selection of all types of fabrics and I can hardly pass up adding to my fabric stash everytime I go over there. Now I need to complete my block for the Block of the Month Club for August. But - I might start something new too (since one is out of the way) so I can experiment with the free motion quilting that I learned a couple of weeks ago. So many projects...... so many ideas...... I need to make the time !!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the Road to Brown County

Story, Indiana is one of our favorite destinations in this part of the state. Our neighbors had never been to the Story Inn, so with an early start in the coolest part of the day we began our ride.

Ramona and Monte on their BMW and Dennis and I on our pretty V-Star wound our way to Brown County on some of the most scenic roads in this part of the state. We even unexpectedly came upon this covered bridge in one little town.

The little "town" of Story is one of those quaint places that time seems to have passed by. The Story Inn is an old general store has been turned into an excellent tho rustic restaurant. And most of the existing buildings in town have been turned into lodging. This is a favorite stop for motorcycles and tourists in the area to visit historic Nashville, Indiana and the surrounding state park.

We enjoyed a nice relaxed breakfast with our new biking "buddies" then rode on into Nashville for a little browsing and shopping at Pitt Bull Leather Shop. They are a shop full of all kinds of leather and motorcycle gear and clothing. The guys show off some of their new gear! One thing about riding the motorcycle - I am unable to make any purchase larger than our backpack ! I still enjoy browsing the little country style shops even though my decorating style has changed in the past few years.

We drove back home in the heat of the day over more scenic roads. Don't you like my attempt at creative photography! We pass lots of photo "opps"but it is hard to get Dennis to stop at every one of them. We feel like we are lucky to live in this part of the country where there is so much un-recognized beauty. Who knew that Southern and Central Indiana could be home to so may scenic byways.

We made a stop to cool off and have a nice light supper then Monte got in the lead to guide us to another road we didn't know existed not too far from home. The Clark State Forest has a nice road that winds through tree lined hills to a fire tower at the crest of one. We trudged up the stairs to a wonderful view of the area. You can tell by the zoomed in photo of our bikes at the base of the tower, it was no easy task after a day of riding in hot sun but a pleasant ending to an enjoyable day!

In the few months that we've had the motorcycle, we haven't had a bad ride yet ! We love watching the interesting scenery go by, finding out of the way places, looking for wildlife along the way and making new friends. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of motorcycle they ride, we've found that most everyone is helpful and friendly. A far cry from some of the stereotypes that exist.

Thanks for letting me share part of our most recent adventure. I'm still learning this new art of "blogging" and every time I learn something new. I'm not pleased with how long this takes me sometimes, so I need to do a little more research(especially on photos and links) before I feel comfortable here.

Until next time -

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Star Days 2007

Back in June of this year we became the owners of new Yamaha V-Star 1300 motorcycle. After joining the owner's group, we signed up for Star Days in Chattanooga, TN. Since we hadn't been to that part of TN before we thought it would make a nice little trip. We didn't ride the bike all the way there, but instead used the new enclosed trailer and drove the truck south on I-65. After a major traffic jam in Nashville, we finally made it. We stayed a Hampton Inn that ended up being quite a nice place. Our little motorcycle trailer was quite the conversation piece and even led to us meeting a nice group of folks from south Georgia. We enjoyed riding and visiting some of the areas tourist sites with them. We rode the Incline, visited Ruby Falls and even Rock City. As a side trip on our way home, we drove to Tellico Plains, parked the truck, and ventured out into the Smokey Mtns on the bike. Even though the heavy fog on the Cherhola Skyway obscured the beautiful scenery, we made it to Deal's Gap and the "famous" Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles) The weather had cleared up by then and we conquered the "dragon". Despite my fears, Dennis proved he is a competent biker and we really enjoyed ourselves. We got only slightly wet on the remainder of our ride back to the truck and we made in back to Southern Indiana by 10:30 that night.

I am still experimenting with the this sight, so please be patient.

Learning How

Here we go! I am experimenting with creating this blog/website to journal about some of our travels and everyday events. But I guess this first entry will be about traveling down the road to becoming a "blogster" ! I'm not sure what I am doing, but will just have to experiment until I get a little more knowledgeable. Please be patient with me.

Here is a photo of Beamer the Bengal. Now I know that I can post a few pics here and write a little explanation around them. Beamer doesn't travel much so he probably won't make many appearances other than in an "everyday event" blog! But sometimes he's the only one to talk to during the day. He does listen well, but sometimes he doesn't respond! Adding photos seems pretty easy, but slower than I expected. Not sure what will happen if I try to post several at a time. I'll save that for another day. I will try to complete an entry for our Chattanooga trip soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

This is a sample post.

This is a sample post.

This is a photo from our trip to Chattanooga, TN