Yesterday was a beautiful day, all day long, and today looks to be a repeat. While my family took advantage of the sun, I had fun experimenting, both inside and out.
Early in the day, with Pa's assistance, we covered several milk jugs with black plastic and set them on the shelves of Nathan's greenhouse. We watched as the temperature inside the greenhouse soared beyond what the thermometer could read, and hoped the jugs of water would retain the heat throughout the night. Last night we noted it was about 10º warmer in the greenouse than it was outside, about 8º warmer than without the jugs the night before. This morning, I checked the temps again. 2º difference. Hmmm. Looks like we're on the right track, but more experimenting to do. I've got some ideas floating around in my head, but need to figure out how best to turn those ideas into reality.
While the greenhouse and the sun were busy doing their little dance, I was busy in the kitchen. We picked up another 4 lb. bunch of bananas at the Grocery Outlet on Thursday, and still had 5 bananas left from the previous bunch which I needed to use up. Since last weeks experiment with the cornbread went so well, I decided to give banana bread in the dutch oven, on the stove top a try. It actually turned out pretty good, although not perfect. A portion of the bottom was burned, and the top wasn't quite done. I remedied the latter problem by heating up a skillet and plopping the bread in there, upside down, then heating until it was lightly browned. The burnt bottom portion, well, all I could do with that was shave it off. We all had a slice last night and everyone enjoyed it. Of course, like Nathan's greenhouse, it's got me scheming for future experiments ;-)
While the braead was baking, I pulled out the blender and started dumping the ingredients for cocoa mix in. 1 part cocoa, to 3 parts each sugar, powdered milk, and creamer. Gave it all a whirl and poured it into an empty creamer container where it now awaits cooler weather, and pleas from my children for a warm beverage.
Once that was done, I didn't want to waste a perfectly good, cocoa dusted blender container, and I had a couple bananas that still needed using, so I plopped them in, added some powdered milk, cold water, a wee bit more cocoa and a bit more sugar, along with several ice cubes. As the kids covered their ears, I gave it all a good whirl and filled their cups with the resulting sweet and creamy mixture. It made more than I was anticipating, so Pa and I got to split the remainder. It really turned out quite good. Just the right combination of chocolate and banana, with just enough sweetness to make it a treat while not being overpowering.
After all that activity, I had plenty of dishes to keep me busy while I waited for my banana bread to finish baking. It ended up baking on top of the stove, on a very low heat for about 70 minutes, after which I pulled it, and let it set off to the side, with the lid on for another 15-20 minutes, before finishing it off in the skillet.
Dinner last night was a throw together utilizng ground beef with plenty of onion, and the left over beans from last week. Tomato wedges and cottage cheese added some balance to the meal, as well providing some much needed color. Not exactly a highlight supper, but it was good and filling so did the trick.
Saturday Night At The Movies
The kids happily munched on freshly baked banana bread during their weekly feature event, The Indian In The Cupboard. Rated PG for mild language, violence and "brief sexy dancing", as a Mother I was looking out for these scenes. There was some mild language, as uttered by a rather upset cowboy, played by David Keith, from way back. Pretty much what you would expect from such a fellow ;-) There was some violence, which combined with the language causes me to agree with the rating. The "sexy dancing" must've been hiding pretty good. The only hint of that I saw was during the characters flipping through the TV channels, and then it was merely imagined (by me) in the background during a musical video. This film was enjoyed by all 4 of us, imaginative, enough action to keep the kids entertained yet not overwhelming, and even contained some moral messages. I would recommend this film for family viewing provided said family's younger members are at least 9-10 years of age.
This morning, Pa is heading to U-Haul to pick up the hand truck he reserved over the phone yesterday. Since there were no ramps available we'll be making do with some thick boards. I'm a bit frustrated as the weather the last couple days has been perfect for drying laundry out on the line, but am keeping my fingers crossed the sun will hang around a bit longer. This afternoon's unloading and manuevering could make for a rather entertaining sight!