Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, Monday...

It's hard to get my thoughts focused today, because as on all Mondays, I'm really, really tired.

But a few random thoughts are floating around:

Scrabble is fun

Members of the adult Sunday School class my husband teaches got together Saturday night for chili and games. Athletic types like my husband played volleyball; I was one of those who, in childhood, was always picked last for any team sport, and I stuck with board games. Scrabble in particular. (Yes, Scrabble has its own website.)

I had forgotten how much I enjoy playing Scrabble. Truth to tell, I had never owned the game before, and in past years I played it mainly with my step-mother-in-law, who was the Queen of Scrabble. In fact, it was when I began to beat her at Scrabble that I began to worry about her.

Shortly after this began occurring (me beating her at Scrabble), she was indeed diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and passed away this past March...not long after we bought the house she and my father-in-law lived in.

My father-in-law left a few things at the house, and one of them was his wife's Scrabble game. It was this game that I grabbed off a shelf before heading out the door for the activity. I kind of felt like I was paying a bit of a tribute to Charlene by playing the game, using the very board at which she had spent a lot of happy hours.

But have you noticed something about Scrabble? It really doesn't matter how great a vocabulary you have. I believe I have a fairly extensive vocabulary, but that doesn't do me a lot of good. What counts in Scrabble is knowing a lot of exotic words that contain high-point letters, and having the skill to combine words in all sorts of ways.

I played Scrabble with two people, Mike and Beth. Mike won; I came in second. But I really enjoyed playing. Another nice thing about Scrabble is, it's slow-paced enough that there is time for conversation. Often while one of us was trying to decide our next move, we were able to talk.

The whole evening was so pleasant, my husband and I decided we really need to have more times like that with fellow-believers. It really is refreshing.

By the way, do you have a favorite board game? Let me know in my comments section!

The best banana bars ever...

Besides a pot of chili, I took these amazing banana bars to the party. This is the second time I've made them, and they fly off the pan like hotcakes and get tons of compliments.

Credit where credit is due: I got this at, although it is exactly the recipe my friend Toni (one of the best cooks I know) has made for years. She tries to keep the ingredients on hand at all times, because she's often stuck with bananas that have ripened too much to eat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 (16 ounce) container cream cheese frosting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.

NOTE: I do one thing differently...I actually buy two containers of the cream cheese frosting and put about one-and-a-half containers of frosting on the bars. It just seems to make them more luscious. But they're great with just the one can, too, especially if you're not a big frosting fan.

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