Saturday, June 9, 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Banana Bread Throw Down (Recipes)

Recently we had some bananas that had to have something done with them NOW.

Everyone knows that black bananas mean it is time to bake banana bread.  But we wanted to do things a bit differently so I started perusing recipes on the internet.

I found two that looked interesting.  On Martha Stewart's site there was a recipe that used sour cream and on All Recipes site was one that used brown sugar rather than white sugar.

Which one to pick?  Why not BOTH?

When both were made and the pans filled, there was a little too much leftover from both recipes.  With a shrug we dumped them together to get a third loaf.

We did a side by side taste test of the original two recipes.

The Winner: 

All Recipes!

It had over twice the amount of bananas giving it a real banana taste.  Martha's was pretty bland.  The mixed recipe loaf came out tasting better than Martha's too.

Here are the recipes for both.


Banana Bread from Martha Stewart


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat to incorporate.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts and pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.


Banana Bread from All Recipes (Our Winner)

2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/2 cup butter
 3/4 cup brown sugar
 2 eggs, beaten
 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Taste of Racing Tradition

We did one last Churchill Downs tradition as we rolled out of Louisville.

We had lunch at Wagner's.

It located right across from the track...

 Did you see the movie "Secretariat"?

That's where they were sitting; where the waitress is taking an order.

A few tips if you want to go here:

Morning is the best time to see the 'horse' people.

Lunch time is packed mainly with tourists and folks from the university.

Sit in the front for the authentic experience.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Everybody Needs a Hug

June 4th is "Hug Your Cat Day" but in our household EVERY day is hug your cat day!  It was on May 30th three years ago that we brought Persia home.  She gets her hugs ~ like it or not ~ many times a day.  

And now there is even more of her to hug.  From that scrawny little 2.3 pound kitten we brought home we now have a 12.3 pound purr bucket.

“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place.' 
'That's why animals are so soft and huggy.” 
~Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Good Thing To Ponder On

A fun side note on our trip to Churchill Downs.  The Museum has a display where you can pull up the movies of all the Kentucky Derbies that were made.

In 1949 my grand parents went to the Kentucky Derby.

Running in that Derby was a long shot named "Ponder".

My grandmother's maiden name was "Ponder".

That's enough racing mojo to make a bet on!  ~LOL~  So she laid a $10 bet on the horse with her name.

... and Ponder came home!

A $2 bet made $34; Grandmother Doris came home with $170 AND bragging rights!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Look At The Sky: June

The Planets for June:
Mercury - tiny Mercury is far too close to the sun for viewing all of June, except for some quick views in strong twilight right before it sets in late June - in GEMINI

Venus - our brightest planet will be high in the dark sky about 7 p.m.. local time, low in western skies; telescopically Venus presents a "gibbous phase", about 20% less than "fully illuminated" as we see it from Earth.  Other than the moon, when in the sky, Venus is the brightest object visible in the night sky this month - in GEMINI

Mars - still getting larger and brighter as we see it from Earth, the Red Planet dominates the southern skies along with its yellowish counterpart SATURN, which is equally bright and west of Mars.  Mars is rapidly approaching opposition and is nearly 16" arc across this month and is south of overhead a dawn.  Telescopes can now reveal the dark maria surface markings and white/blue clouds can be seen streaking across the surface under high magnification on a very steady night - in CAPRICORNUS

Jupiter - just past opposition, Jupiter is now high overhead about 11 p.m. local time and an ideal target all night long for your local star parties; there has been very much transient massive storm activity on Jupiter in early 2018, so this is a great month to start viewing the largest planet in our solar system - in LIBRA

Saturn - appearing as a very brilliant yellow star, Saturn is nearly overhead for northern observers at midnight and reaches OPPOSITION on June 27....a very favorable June 2017 for viewing this magnificent planet.  Rising in the east at sundown, this is a perfect target for all star parties since it is visible from dusk until dawn, although a very low southerly opposition for northern observers - in OPHIUCHUS

Uranus - distant planet Uranus rises about 4 a.m. local time and shines at magnitude 5.9, bright enough to spot in good binoculars if one knows where to look; use a good planetarium sky program or GO TO telescope to locate this distant world; by sunrise it is high in eastern skies and will show a faint, blue disk in large telescopes - in PISCES

Neptune - look for faint Neptune in large telescopes at midmonth rising about 2:00 a.m. local time; in PISCES

Pluto - at magnitude 14.1, our most distant planet ( is a planet) rises in southeastern skies about one hour after brilliant SATURN, and follows closely to the ringed planet's east and is due west of reddish MARS.  It is very low in southern skies, south of overhead about 3:30 a.m. local time; only 12 inch and larger telescopes can spot this world visually. - in SAGITTARIUS

METEOR SHOWERS for June 2018:

Observe when the moon does not interfere and attempt to observe AFTER midnight for most meteors to be seen!  For June, there are no less than 13 (!!) meteor showers, some of which provide for wonderful spring sky shows, provided that the light of the moon does not interfere.  However, as with a months and times during the year, observers should always be aware that new sporadic meteor showers can occur at anytime from seemingly unknown sources and radiants.

June 3 - Tau Herculid Meteors - Beginning in late may and extending through June, this is a month-long minor meteor shower, overhead for mid-northern latitudes at about 10 a.m.; this will be a poor month for observing these meteors, since the moon will be gibbous and in the sky all night;  the meteor shower is overhead at midnight when most of the 15 meteors per hours might be seen.  

June 4 - Alpha Circinid Meteors - This southern hemisphere meteor shower does produce some long-trailed meteors that can be seen low in northern hemisphere skies, traveling from south to north; it was discovered in 1977 by Australian amateur astronomers when 15 very swift meteors were noted per hour; for southern latitudes north of the equator, the meteor shower radiant is actually above the southern horizon at Midnight, so only the brightest meteors can be seen....this shower is in need of observation and continued confirmation.  The moon will hamper observations this year.

June 5 - Scorpiid Meteors - A very interesting meteor shower with TWO radiants rather than just one as is typically found with annual meteor showers; both radiants are nearly on the meridian at midnight, so observers are suggested to put their feet to the south and look overhead for these meteors; about 3 a.m. local time (the moon will be strong in the sky all night this year!...); in dark skies observers should normally see at least 20 meteors per hour when the moon is absent.  Note that not only are the number of meteors impressive with this shower, but also the sky itself, since the meteors will be coming from near the summer Milky Way star clouds, revealing one of the richest star fields visible to the naked eye and camera.  Best to begin observations about 10 p.m. and continue until 3 a.m. local time; radiant average is at R.A. 16h 40m; DEC -17 degrees.   .

June 7 - Arietid Meteors - From the constellation of Aries, this is another month-long meteor shower, and can peak on this date with as many as 60 meteors per hour in dark skies. This has been confirmed by radar, but less than that number can be expected visually, perhaps up to 30.  Wait until about 3 a.m. local time to assure that the radiant (low on the eastern horizon) is high enough above local haze and moisture to reveal these meteors.  These are very fine, slow meteors which leave spectacular trains, and frequently split into Bolides, or "fireballs."  The fireballs should be easily seen in all areas of the sky, although the radiant is nearly overhead about the time of peak. This is a fair year to attempt to observe these meteors since the moon is last quarter....... the fireballs can typically be seen in spite of bright moonlight.

June 7 - Zeta Perseid Meteors - On the same night as the Arietids, this meteor shower is less spectacular, with perhaps 15 per hour visible in earliest pre-dawn skies; radar reveals as many as 40 per hour after sunrise.

June 8 - Librid Meteors - A very minor meteor shower from a very large constellation, expect only a few per hour; evidence suggests that this meteor cloud might be dissipating, and no known cometary source is associated with this minor display; observations are badly needed.  Coordinates of radiant:  R.A. 15h 09m; DEC -28 degrees.  The moon will slightly interfere after 1 a.m. with observations this year.

June 11 - Sagittariid Meteors - This is a two-week-long meteor shower beginning in early June; fortunately in 2018, the waning crescent moon will not be a factor in observing these meteors. The radiant rises in the extreme SE sky about 11 p.m. local time and about a dozen meteors per hour in dark skies might be expected.   VERY low in the southern skies for northern observers, at -35 degrees DEC.

June 13 - Theta Ophiuchid Meteors - Coming from the border of Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, and Scorpius, this radiant rises about 9 p.m., giving a window of good observing ALL NIGHT with no moon in sight this year;  hence, all members of this shower will be seen this year.  However, those that do grace our skies are bright and spectacular, so be alert to these meteors if you are observing and happen upon a fireball from this area.

June 16 - June Lyrid Meteors - This is a companion meteor shower to the more-active May Lyrid meteors; this year will be an excellent year for the June Lyrids, since the moon will be a tiny waxing crescent and will not interfere with this meteor shower.   The radiant is nearly directly overhead at midnight near the bright star Vega for mid-northern latitudes; since most of these meteors are very faint, observations will be excellent  this year with no moonlight interfering.  This is but one of many meteor showers that have been discovered by amateur astronomers since 1960....this one has been seen every year since 1966.

June 20 - Ophiuchid Meteors - A fair year for this shower, since the moon is now first quarter and will be setting about midnight.  The radiant rises highest in the sky at 11:25 p.m. local time.  The radiant sets about sun-up, so few meteors should be seen throughout our skies throughout this year's "window"; this is an interesting meteor shower since the number per hour can vary from as few as 8 per hour to over 26 per hour on any given year.

June 26 - Corvid Meteors - Very poor prospects this year, since the  moon's light will be dominating the night sky on this date.  This is one of the shortest duration of all meteor showers, lasting only 5 days at most, with perhaps 10 meteors per hour seen to any observer; these originate near the small constellation trapezoid of Corvus, the Crow and the last good showing was in 1937.  Astronomers speculate that these meteors are a product of some as-yet undiscovered comet.  Since it has been years since a good showing and since the source is unknown, this is a very important meteor shower for a group project.  Radiant: R.A. 12h 48m; DEC -19 degrees.

June 29 - Beta Taurid Meteors - Here is a different type of meteor you CAN'T see~!  This is a daylight meteor storm that is of interest to those with ham radios, or those with long-distance shortwave receivers tuned to a distant station toward the direction of the radiant (Taurus. R.A. 05h 44m; DEC +19 degrees); ham operators have recorded a dependable 30+ meteors per hour each year. least the moon can't interfere with THIS one!

June 30 - June Draconid Meteors - This is a poor year for observers this month in terms of sky position because moonlight will light the sky throughout nighttime  hours.   Known in the past as the "Pons-Winnecke Meteors" (from the comet of origin), this can be an incredibly spectacular meteor shower; in 1916 over 100 very bright meteors were seen in fireworks style, but it appears that the numbers may be waning as years progress.  Being irregular, observers are cautioned that there may be as few as 10 per hour or well over 100 per hour; with the high declinations (radiant:  R.A. 15h 12m, DEC +49 degrees), the shower will rise about the beginning of astronomical darkness and be in the sky all night long, highest just after midnight in high northern skies.  A poor year for this one.... but look for the brighter ones maybe high in northern skies!