I’m Not L’oven This Weather

It’s been cold here. A blogger I follow recently referred to such bitter cold as Brass Monkey Weather. We’ve had our fill of brass monkey weather recently in the Chicago area. Just yesterday, we endured temps of -14F/-25C. During weather this cold, I like to use our oven as much as I can. After I am done with the oven, I open it a bit and let hot air (not from me) flood the kitchen. I love that feeling of warmth enveloping me. But I can’t anymore since my dog set himself on fire. He’s ruined it for me, because now we have these on the oven.

These oven knob covers supposedly will keep our dog from turning on the stovetop and immolating himself. It turns out that it will also keep me from opening the oven after use and filling the kitchen with heat. The first time I tried it, my wife told me that it was going to melt the plastic knob covers. So, I am denied another one of life’s simple pleasures.

My wife accidentally ordered two sets of the knob covers, and she wasn’t sure about returning the extra set. I am glad she finally figured out how to arrange the return. My solution of buying a second stove was a bit pricier than I had hoped.

So, what am I cooking in the oven? I’ve been baking more these days. I tried some cookies with varying degrees of success. We go through a lot of bananas here, but at times we leave a few old, spotted, brown bananas remaining uneaten. I turn those into banana bread using this recipe, with the following modifications:

  • I add a few chopped walnuts.
  • I use just a bit less melted butter.
  • I use under a 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • I add a 1/2 tsp of baking soda.

Okay, I guess it’s no longer the same recipe, but close. And what happens on a day like yesterday when we don’t have old bananas to use? I substituted the following:

  • 10 chopped extra large frozen strawberries that I thawed.
  • 4 chopped extra large frozen blackberries that I thawed.
  • 1/2 an apple chopped.
  • A few carrot shavings chopped.
  • A handful of dried cranberries.
  • A dollop of crunchy peanut butter.

The resultant batter was dry and gritty, kind of like drying mortar. In this case, the mortar wasn’t the merrier. I threw in some of my daughter’s mango juice until the consistency improved. I probably could have used milk, but the juice was in front of the milk in the refrigerator. Could have used the wine instead. Woo-hoo! Anyway, the fruit and nut loaf that came out of the oven is delicious, chock full ‘o fruit flavor.

The deliciosity almost makes up for no longer being able to wallow in the warmth of the oven after use.

Is the fruit and nut loaf ready to win an award at the county fair? Probably not. But my book of short stories won an award. Click this link to check it out.


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