Monday, August 12, 2013

Small Town Goodness.

Oklahoma, as most people know, has its fair share of small towns. And, it also seems as if each one has its own claim to fame. For Rush Springs, Oklahoma, it is watermelon. And not just your run of the mill pink on the inside, black seed or seedless variety. We're talking every type of watermelon you can imagine- with stripes or without, orange or pink meat, big or small. All of them delicious.

Each year when the second weekend in August approaches, the town gears up for their festival. There's a watermelon queen pageant, a seed spitting contest, $1 watermelon slices {or free if you get there at the right time} and everyone in the town seems to be having a garage or yard sale to lure you with trinkets and treasures {as if the watermelon itself was not enough}.

When I was a young girl, my family loved {and still does} a good festival of any kind and we would occasionally make the trek to Rush Springs. This year was the bug's first visit and she loved it. Because, let's face it- she could probably eat her weight in watermelon if we let her.

My mom and brother are of the kind that enjoy salt on their watermelon- I used to enjoy it also {and still salt my grapefruit}, but I prefer to leave my watermelon as is now. 

What a pose from my little girl here! She looks so grown up.

David Payne's truck was there, but he was not. Go figure. We did, however, get to see Jim Gardner and the Sky News 9 chopper as seen below with Uncle Ray Ray.

It wouldn't be a small town event without some sort of contest. One tent was filled with all of the watermelons entered for judging. And, {drumroll, please} here is the Grand Champion of them all folks...

Just as my friend Jennifer {that I ran into at the festival too!} said on her blog, my brother and I wondered just what goes into judging a watermelon to make it the Grand Champion. We speculated that size, shape, color, and weight all had something to do with it. Too bad tasting doesn't appear to be involved. 

Black diamonds are my all time favorite type of watermelon.
They are the juiciest and sweetest of them all in my opinion. 

There was not a contest for carving, but if there was, I bet this lady would have won. I mean, wow.

I didn't do the best job of capturing all of this watermelon, but you can kind of get an idea of the scale of it just by seeing where it hits MC. My mom and her posed with this 163 pounder. The largest at the festival.

And, as if all of the craft, produce, and homemade goody exhibits weren't enough, there was a classic car show too. Love it.

After perusing the sights and eating our fill of watermelon, hot dogs {or sausages}, and tasting freshly made jellies, it was time to pack up and make the trip back to the big city. However, we couldn't pass by Chickasha {another wonderful small town} without stopping at the DQ. I mean really, we need to get one back in our part of the world. 

I love getting to share parts of my childhood with my daughter; remembering the old memories while making the new. Until next time, Rush Springs. Thanks for the sweets.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chocolate, banana, and M&M cookies!

The hubs had a night out to go and watch DCI {aka professional marching band minus the woodwinds} and I am only slightly jealous that I didn't tag along. However, the upside to not going was that the bug and I decided to bake some cookies, go out to dinner, and play hard. Cooking/baking is one of our favorite things to do together and a great time filler for when daddy is busy or away.

Earlier today we had two extremely ripe bananas clinging for life to their hanger. I knew it was time to bake up or lose 'em, so Adam and I talked about different things this afternoon that we might be craving/wanting. The usual suspects turned up- banana bread, banana muffins, etc...but there is just something about banana and chocolate. {Kind of like the genius combo of peanut butter and chocolate --although the family I married into would disagree.}Anyway- I have made a chocolate banana cake and chocolate banana cookies with white chocolate chips in the past, so that is where my brain headed and my love agreed with me. After seeing what I had to bake with in my fridge/pantry- this is what we got:

Chocolate, banana, and M&M cookies. Yum.
 {Definitely not Paleo, but hey, we do indulge every now and again.}

If you are feeling the urge to indulge in some chocolatey banana goodness- here's the recipe:

1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar 
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 over ripe bananas
2 c all-purpose flour {I used unbleached}
2/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
M&M's or white chocolate chips to your liking

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, bananas, and vanilla until throughly mixed. {You will still have some small chunks of bananas} Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the M&M's or chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. {I used a plastic spoon about the size of a tablespoon}
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets and then transfer onto wire racks to finish cooling.

Enjoy your delicious cake like cookies!
{This yields quite a bit - probably a double dozen. Eat within a day or two as the bananas don't allow them to keep for long}