banana bread buddies

hayden has been asking for some banana bread for several days now, along with pretending to make all sorts of blueberry treats: pie, cake, you name it. but when i suggested that we bake some banana bread with blueberries in it, she balked. she wanted nuts in her banana bread, she informed me, and then of course her daddy also likes some chocolate chips in his banana bread. so this is what we made this morning ...

banana-nut-chip bread

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t fine sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
2 very ripe organic bananas, mashed
1 large organic egg
1/4 cup walnut oil, or canola oil
1/2 t natural vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans
turbinado sugar, liberally sprinkled on top

grease 9"x5" loaf pan with oil. bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, or until loaf springs back to the touch. be sure to turn halfway through to ensure even baking throughout.

my new baking buddy

durham has already proven himself a worthy companion, as he has twice this week been a most willing and agreeable baking buddy. today, we cleared a leftover can of pumpkin puree and bag of pumpkin seeds out of the cupboard by baking this recipe...

pumpkin-pecan bread
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1-1/2 t nutmeg
1-1/2 t ginger
1-1/2 t cinnamon
1-1/2 t cloves
1/2 t fine sea salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups natural cane sugar
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
4 large organic eggs
1 (15-oz) can organic pumpkin puree
1 cup water
1 cup raw pecan pieces

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 oz unsalted butter
2 t ground cinnamon
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease a 9x13 pan with oil, or line with parchment paper.

in a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients (flour --> salt) and set aside.

in a separate, large bowl, whisk the oil and both sugars. add the eggs, puree, and water, and whisk until combined. stir in the dry ingredients, then gently stir in the pecan pieces. pour the batter into the prepared pan.

to make the topping: place the butter, sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds in a small saucepan. over medium flame, heat the mixture until the butter and sugar have melted. spoon the mixture over the batter, distributing it as evenly as possible.

bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until the center springs back to the touch. be sure to turn the pan after the first 25 minutes to ensure even baking throughout.

acorn girl

hayden loves to scavenge for pine cones and acorns at nearby live oak park, so i really wanted to make her an acorn shirt for the fall. she was very excited about the idea, and for days on end would fling piles of fabric off my shelves in search of just the right patterns. at first she wanted something pink, but then she declared (much to my relief) that she wanted the more seasonally-appropriate brown. when I spotted this oh-so-autumnal vintage 70s cord on etsy, i told her that our search was over! thankfully, she took me for my word and left it at that, but secretly i was a bit nervous that when she saw the end result i'd hear "hay-nen no like that" ... something we hear more and more of lately. it's one thing if she rejects an article of clothing from old navy or the gap, but i'd be so disappointed if it was something that i'd made for her.

this morning, while she was out with the babysitter, i finally decided to make it happen, even though i'm still only halfway through with stitching together her panda softie. (can we say wip add?) then, i was so excited with how it turned out that i could hardly wait to show it to her ... so i brought it with me in the car when i went to pick her up.

i'm both thrilled and relieved to report that she apparently approved of my choices, as she immediately asked to put it on and has been rubbing her corduroy acorn ever since :-) like mother, like daughter?

in the autumn way

i love, love, love this time of year ... from hats and cardigans to corduroy and wool, from acorns and squash to pumpkins and gourds. halloween. thanksgiving. this time of year brings back some good memories of my college years in burlington, vermont, like walking down a leaf-lined street toward campus, wearing a vintage harris tweed blazer and munching on an apple. and it makes me want to run outside and recreate that memory all over again — and some new ones, too.

to that end, my big girl, hayden, helped me this weekend to whip together this goofy-looking, wool candy corn stuffie for her baby brother, durham. and she helped her daddy to pick some asian pears from our backyard. and i foresee an acorn-gathering trip with her later this week, at one of the local parks. we'll just have to dip into our collection of felted wool balls to make ourselves a bowlful of those little waldorf acorns that pop up all over etsy this time of year :-)

(please excuse the fuzzy photo; the boy just doesn't want to sit still anymore! he was eager to get back to playing his piano.)

like squirrels with acorns

building a fabric stash is just like squirreling away acorns, no? that's the realization i came to while making this skirt for hayden, using some supercute — kawaii, in fact — japanese corduroy fabric.

fabric that just happened to be studded with squirrels, acorns, bunnies, and deer. fabric that i purchased nearly two years ago for the purpose of making hayden a skirt, a skirt that i never imagined would take me two years to finally get around to making. (but as any self-respecting squirrel will tell you, i'm sure, there's nothing nutty about having a stash. the acorns all get eaten eventually.)

since i envision this skirt spending a lot of time in the sandbox, hayden's favorite post-lunch haunt at pre-school, i was sure to reinforce and finish off all the raw edges. this way, maybe it can hang around in her wardrobe for about as long as it hung around in my head.