Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

Top hat and champagne glass held aloft for New Year's
I was chatting with Jennie and Loggins the other day (separately) and we've all had quite the year. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can safely describe 2009 as particularly underwhelming for each of us.
We are girls (women) with expectations, and I guess sometimes having expectations can lead to disappointment. But sometimes expectations are fulfilled - even surpassed! - which is what keeps us moving along. So, while the three of us look back at 2009 and give it a resounding "Eh." we look ahead to 2010 with a sigh of hope - and yes - expectation.
This is what I know: we can't have gotten to 2010 without 2009, and I think that when things unravel (in a good way!) in 2010, we'll see that's ever true ... 2009 was a year of slow, plodding progress for each of us. Jobs, relationships, purpose... that will all come to fruition in the year ahead. I really believe it. Watch out, 2010. We're girls (women) with expectations.

Boundaries SIMULCAST

I am really excited about the upcoming "Boundaries" Simulcast featuring the authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. Charles Townsend. It's going to be good. REAL GOOD.

Cost: $10 per person

If you're not local, check out a simulcast near you:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

and LAST but not LEAST, 12 Days of Christmas: Day 12

12 Days of Christmas: Day 12

Italian Cheesecake
courtesy of Giada from Food Network


* 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
* 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


* 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
* 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 large eggs, room temperature


* 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
* 1/4 cup whipping cream


For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil. Finely grind the almonds, cracker crumbs, and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press the almond mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan (not on the sides of the pan). Bake the crust until it is set and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Cool. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

For the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

For the topping: Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave until warm, stirring every 20 seconds to blend, about 1 minute.

Cut the cake into wedges. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the wedges and serve.

I didn't use the sauce and it still tasted amazing. It was a great Christmas Day treat after we stuffed our faces!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christy "Bakes"

So Jennie did her amazing 12 Days of Christmas, and I wanted to contribute something to the bunch. Because I can cook, too! Sometimes.
Anyway, we had an awesome blackout one night when freezing rain poured over our lives. Jennie and I were at my sister's house, and we pulled out the candles, sang songs (half true), told stories (100% true), and "roasted" "marshmallows" to make "s'mores" (you'll see).
Mini Marshmallows......

+ Chocolate Flavored Teddy Grahams.....

= S'mores. Kind of.
Voila! Bon Appetit!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

12 days of Christmas: Day 11

12 days of Christmas: Day 11

This recipe is compliments of the Mom Taught Us Blog. Super cute! Check them out at:

Reindeer Cookies

1 package Nutter Butter cookies
Melting Chocolate
Pretzel Twists
Mini Chocolate Chips
Red Hots

Instructions: Melt chocolate in double boiler. Dip Nutter butter in chocolate. Place on tray and use the pretzel for the antlers, mini chocolate chips for the eyes and red hots for the nose.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Years Resolutions...BEFORE CHRISTMAS

I am getting so excited about the NEW YEAR and the goals I have, I can barely contain myself.
One of my goals this year (a goal I try to accomplish every year) is:

1. Doing something out of my comfort zone.

I think it is very important to put yourself out there and do something that you don't feel comfortable doing. You never know who you might meet or what could happen.

2. Schedule a "ME" day.

This past year I was busy doing everything for everyone. I never had a night home to just relax and be with me. That is a huge goal for me!

3. Cross 2 things off of my "Life List".

A couple of years ago I wrote down a list of things I wanted to do/accomplish in my life. I have crossed several of them off, so I want to keep the ball rolling.
(some examples (that I have crossed off) include: Running a marathon, getting a tattoo, own a house etc.)

4. Be a more avid reader.

I do read a lot, but I would like to increase the number of books I read in a year. I would also like to read things I normally would not choose.

5. Explore new hobbies.

I have several hobbies (baking--not sure if you could tell from the 12 days of Christmas blogs, crafts, photography etc.)

I am so excited about my 2010 goals. I tried to set goals that were not outrageous but attainable. I think I can definitely reach these goals!

12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

Since I am an "Ohioan" I decided to add Buckeyes into the mix. YUM!


1 1/4 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup butter
12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
1 lb. powdered sugar

Combine Peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar. Knead for 10 min. Roll into balls and refrigerate.

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Use a toothpick to help cover the balls with melted chocolate, leave a little bit uncovered at the top (thus making it look like a BUCKEYE!). Refrigerate overnight to harden.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Banana Copenhagen Christmas!

Here at Banana Copenhagen, we wish you a Christmas filled with love, laughter and togetherness. And rhythm. And percussion!
(Yes, those are our lovely faces you see in that picture.)
Christy & Jennie
Banana Copenhagen

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9

I needed a little break from my difficult Caramel Cake. So this was a nice easy treat to prepare.

Ritz Peppermint Patties

Ritz Crackers
Melting Chocolate
1 tsp Mint Extract
Crushed peppermint stick

Instructions: Melt Chocolate in double boiler. When completed melted, add mint extract. Dip Ritz Cracker and cover completely. Place on wax paper and sprinkle top with crushed peppermint sticks. Refrigerate or leave overnight to harden.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8

12 Days of Christmas: Day 8

Maya Angelou's Caramel Cake
I made this as a gift for someone at a secret santa exchange.
This was a difficult cake, but it was delicious!

Ingredients for Batter:

Nonstick cooking spray with flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups Sugar

1/4 cup Caramel syrup, plus more for serving

2 cups Sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 cup Milk

2 Large eggs

Ingredients for Caramel Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

Instructions: Melt sugar in heavy skillet pan until boiling. Add 1 cup boiling water and mix until syrupy.

Ingredients for Caramel frosting:
Makes enough for one 8-inch cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 package (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, salt, and butter. With the mixer on low, slowly add cream; beat until smooth. If frosting seems too thick, stir another tablespoon cream into the mixture.

Preparation for cake:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line each with a parchment paper round, and spray again. Set pan aside.

2. Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add 1 cup sugar and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in syrup.

3. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with milk, beginning an ending with flour mixture.

4. Beat egg until foamy in another bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir until cake batter until well combine.

5. Divide cake batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until cakes spring back when gently touch in the center, about 25 minutes. If cakes do not spring back, return to oven and continue cooking about ten minutes more.

6. Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire racks and remove parchment paper round. Let cakes cool to room temperature before frosting.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 days of Christmas: Day 7

12 days of Christmas: Day 7

This recipe is courtesy of Risa from the Baked Perfection blog. I stumbled upon her blog and have tried several of her recipes. I have not found a bad one yet! Thanks Risa! Check her out at:

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
1 pkg (11 oz.) butterscotch chips

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350F
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in a medium size bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, molasses and brown sugar until creamy. Gradually beat flour mixture in until well blended. Stir in butterscotch chips. Drop a rounded spoonful on baking tray and bake for 9-11 minutes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 days of Christmas: Day 6

12 days of Christmas: Day 6

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups quick oats

In a medium saucepan, heat sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. bring the mixture to a boil. Stirring, boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla,salt, peanut butter and oats. After mixing, drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for 1 hour. Store in airtight container.

These are a very easy delicious treat for the holidays. You could even add in peppermint extract for alittle bit of a different taste.

Friday, December 18, 2009

12 Days of Christmas: Day 5

12 Days of Christmas: Day 5

Peppermint Rice Krispies

3 tbsp butter
4 cups of marshmallows
6 cups of Rice Krispies
2 Candy Canes

Instructions: Melt butter on stove. Add marshmallows until all lumps disappear. Crush candy canes and mix them into the Rice Krispies. Mix the Rice Krispies into the melted marshmallows. Stir until all rice Krispies are covered. Pat into a 13X9 pan. Let cool.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days of Christmas: Day 4

12 Days of Christmas: Day 4


Pecans Halves

Lay Pretzels out on foiled baking sheet. Place Rolos on top of pretzels. Bake at 350F for 5 minutes (depending on oven).
Immediately press pecan halves into chocolate. Let cool completely.

This is a great simple candy recipe, great for little Christmas gifts!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Real Conversation with Jennie and Christy

Men playing music on percussion instruments
Me: If you had a band, do you know what you would call it?
Jennie (nods)
Me (thinking): Wow! She's really thought about this!
Me: If you had a band, what would you call it?
Jennie: Banana Copenhagen.
Me: Crap! How did I forget that?!

So, the band is still together, pursuing progressive percussionism. But we haven't had time to practice lately, so STAY TUNED. We're going to have something special for our fans (mom), hopefully in time for Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3

Nama's Shortcake with Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tbsp. vanilla

Cream sugar and butter. Add vanilla and eggs; mix well. Add buttermilk and mix well. Add flour. Batter will be stiff. Spread into greased and floured 9X13 inch pan. Bake 350F for 30 minutes.

Whip Cream:
Heavy Whipping Cream
Pumpkin Spice

Beat Heavy Whipping Cream until small peaks form. Add sugar and pumpkin spice flavoring slowly to sweeten the whipped cream.

Spread Whip Cream on cooled Shortcake.

I am a little slack on the photos for the first few, but I will get all my ducks in a row!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 Days of Christmas: Day 2

Day 2: Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

I came up with this recipe on my own. So after executing it, I feel a few tweeks need to be made.
I made individual cheesecake cups in muffin pans, but I feel like this would be better in "bar form"--It can be scooped out easier.

1 1/4 cup graham Crackers
1 stick melted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Instructions: Mix and pat into a 9X13 pan. Bake at 350F for 10-20 minutes (until brown)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup eggnog
1 bar of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions: Beat together until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with a Whip Cream on top.

This is a very simple recipe and it tastes delicious!

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 days of Christmas: Day 1

So the 12 days of Christmas "Bake-Fest" begins. I plan to bake something every night for the 12 days prior to Christmas.

Day 1: PoppySeed Torte

This is my Grandma's recipe, and when I asked my dad what he wanted me to bake for the Holidays he said, "POPPYSEED TORTE!"
So for his birthday I baked him Poppyseed Torte. I have never made this before so I wasn't sure how it would turn out.

1 cup Graham Crackers
1 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Instructions: Mix well and pat into a 9X13 pan. Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes (until brown)

1 1/2 cup milk (use 1/2 cup to mix with cornstarch)
5 eggs (separated)
1/4 cup poppyseeds
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Instructions: Combine milk,beaten egg yolks and sugar. Cook in double oiler until dissolved. Add poppyseeds and salt.
Mix Cornstarch with 1/2 cup milk and combine with the rest. Cook until thick, stirring constantly.

2 Tbsp knox gelatin (unflavored)
1/4 cup cold water
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Instructions: Melt gelatin into 1/4 cup cold water. Add to cooked mixture; cool filling and add vanilla--DO NOT LET SET.
Beat egg whites--add sugar and cream of tartar
Fold into cooled mixture. Pour into crust and refrigerate.
Frost with 8 oz. Cool whip

I after cutting the torte--we realized the poppyseeds had floated to the top. I had never eaten Poppyseed Torte before--but I was consoled by my Father and Grandmother that it tasted the same. We tried to figure out what could have made them float. It still tasted delicious!

Dad enjoying his Poppyseed Torte!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's the Season. No, wait! Tis! Tis the Season!

Fraser, Colorado, USA
Every year around this time, I make crazy decisions. Not bad crazy, but life altering crazy. I think it has to do with New Year's Resolutions, and the passage of time and taking stock of life.
it was about six years ago that I began the process of taking my sojourn into Oz and quitting my job. It took a lot of paperwork and elbow grease, but a short 9 months later I was packing my car, filling a backpack and getting ready to climb aboard a QANTAS plane heading down under.
Five years ago, I was in wonderful Oz, so I didn't have to worry too much about making changes in my life.
Four years ago, I was planning a trip to Paris and looking for a condo.
Three years ago... nothing. Two years ago... nothing. Last year ... nothing. Which is probably why I'm feeling so unsettled right now. I like planning. I love making lists. Goals are my friends. And I've been stagnant far too long. As you can see from my timeline above, my crazy decisions often take form in fun vacations. I would love a chance to see Spain, Greece, the British Isles. Heck - I would be thrilled with Seattle/Vancouver, the Grand Canyon or San Francisco.
So, (sigh). Maybe in a few weeks, I'll have a concrete, crazy plan to share. Until then, I'll just keep searching.