Monday, August 31, 2009

30,000 Pounds of Bananas

Well, not quite 30,000 pounds.

Last week I decided to do a banana bread smack down.

In this corner, from Cook for Good, fighting in the whole white wheat flour, weighing in with four bananas. Made with brown sugar and containing less sugar and oil than most quick bread recipes... Ladies and gentlemen, More Banana Banana Bread.

And in this corner, from the recipe cards at Starbucks around the world, weighing in with three bananas. Made with more oil and sugar than his opponent. Ladies and gentlemen, Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread.

Now fight fans, "Let's get ready to rumble!"

Interestingly, the More Banana recipe and the Starbucks version contain the same amount of liquid. One has 1/2 cup of milk and a few tablespoons of oil and the other has 1/2 cup of oil and a few tablespoons of milk. Both recipes contain walnuts.

After careful review and thoughtful deliberation, the winner was the Starbucks version. This more traditional version was described by reviewers as having more banana flavor. It could be that the vanilla increased the intensity of the banana. In addition, it was more moist (hardly surprising since it had a bit of oil in it).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Biltmore photos

Hannah and Emma had a great time at Biltmore. I took a lot of photos -- more than were appropriate for yesterday's post.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mountain Vacation

Last week DH and I went to the North Carolina mountains for a vacation. We rented a cabin in Bryson City near the Deep Creek entrance to the Smoky Mountain National Park. We were sure to get a place that allowed dogs so we could bring the Girls.

The first night there we went to dinner at Relia's Garden at the NOC. The next day I went running the the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and then we did the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad thing. Some of the views from the train were really great but there sure is a lot of kudzu out there! Yikes!

After the train ride, we took the Girls on a short hike to see some of the local waterfalls and explore the Deep Creek area. Hannah and Emma enjoyed that very much. Hannah got into the water and had a blast.

The next day I was able to bike up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and ride on it some. I found a route from Motion Makers bike shop in Sylva that went from Sylva to Waterrock Knob. I thought I could do that in the time allowed (the training plan was for 2 to 2.5 hours). Well, I got to within about 3 miles of my goal and decided that I may have been looking at a 3 hour ride rather than a 2.5 hour ride since I had already been on the road for 90 minutes. I decided to turn around. Almost immediately, I realized that I could probably have gone on without going too far over. It took about 55 minutes for the return trip and that was with a wrong turn that involved a heart rate of 195 (when my max was supposedly 194!) Oh, the other five minutes was just looping around the one way streets in Sylva so it was close to 2.5 hours. I calculated over 4100 climbing feet.

While I was riding, DH met up with some friends to go kayaking on the Pigeon. I hurried back to the cabin to get the Girls and then we had Girls Adventure Day. I took them to Mountain Dog Bakery in Dillsboro. The original plan was for us to go wading in the Tuckasegee River but it started to pour out so we scrapped that plan. Instead we went to Greater Bryson City and relaxed and then explored the Road to Nowhere before meeting up with DH for dinner.

During our final full day in the mountains, we went to Biltmore. DH and I toured the house while the Girls were at a kennel and then we picked them up and took them through the gardens. We wrapped up the day with dinner at Ironstone in Sylva.

We rounded out our vacation with an O.A.R. concert near home.

It was a great week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

100 miles and Moore

Earlier this year I participated in the Tarwheels Bikefest Rural Hertitage Tour 100 mile bike ride. Last year I did this ride for the first time and I remember saying to my friends, "I hate Person county!" OK, I really don't hate it but the route this ride takes through Person county is awfully hilly for people who have already gone 75 miles. It was hand to remember that because I saw the sign to enter Orange county and then got the the rest stop about 82 miles into the ride and I felt like I was home free!

The Bikefest crew! Fred, Doug, Chris, Me, Jonathan, Chuck
After the ride

Bikefest is one of several rides that I have done as part of my training for Bike MS ride next month. In addition to our regularly scheduled Team CBC rides, I have one more organized ride before MS -- my first ever Tour de Moore on Labor Day. The Tour de Moore is also a 100 miler. I'll have to let you know next month if it is insane to do a 100 miler on September 7 and then another one on September 12 and a third on September 13th!

Fundraising for Bike MS has been harder this year with the economy and all. I'm really looking forward to first Tour de Moore and then Bike MS and then Cycle North Carolina.