Family = Friend

It has been said that friends are family you choose for yourself. My cousin Bradey is family that I would have chosen as my friend.

We have lived our lives at opposite ends of the province (she's in the North - Kenora to be exact) and I'm here in the South. When we were younger, we spent our summers together at the Camp (our family cottage) on Clearwater Bay/Lake of the Woods and those are the days I will remember forever!

From Barbies and learning how to water ski, to where we are today....we sure have come a long way and I know that if we didn't live 23 hours away from each other, we'd be a 'dangerous' combo (in a very good way!)!

Bradey has the entrepreneurial spirit most of us only dream of. Her genuine love of life and positive outlook are infectious! top it all off...she lives on a lake, in a log home her hubby built for her and her four boys...Talk about Super Mom!

Yes...this is her home...handcut logs, wrought iron and a bridge/walkway between the 2 upper areas/lofts.

Bradey with 3 of her 4 boys spending a day on the lake...

Bradey wrote this on her FB page today and it really does give you a snapshot of the amazing woman she is....

1. All four of my kids have the same blood type - A+. Same as their dad, NOT same as me (I'm A-). Go figure 

2. My top FOUR front teeth are veneers. And those of you who've been around long enough will remember the sad sad night of Pick It Up. Sigh.

3. I actually don't need vodka/wine/beer to tell me I can dance. I can and do at will....just do it 

4. I have started running. Again, those of you "in the know" will know this is some sort of voodoo magic. And I'm speedy 

5. I graduated as an Ontario Scholar and was nominated for Valedictorian the year I graduated. Which will remain a quiet, unnamed year in history.... 

6. I ALWAYS wanted 4 kids. Didn't matter what kind - despite the VAST myriad of people to assume otherwise - and I'm so blessed to have the ones I've been gifted.

7. I have been in love with my husband since I was 17 years old.

8. I collect aprons. Antique, vintage, new....I love aprons. And I wear them all the time 

9. I am content: with my life, my family and even myself.

10. For someone who talks a LOT, this was really a challenge. Apparently I must not talk about myself too much, because I had to THINK about most of this!!!

Number 6, 7 and 9 bring the biggest smile to my face... she just rocks!

I mentioned her entrepreneurial spirit as she has/had a home based business, making amazingly delicious home-cooked meals and selling them to the local community (ie. fresh, from scratch, wholesome, yummy and ready for you when you were home from work). She has put this business on-hold for now, but she still cooks and bakes everyday for her family and the pictures she posts make my mouth water every, single time!

There are just a few:

So if this doesn't have you salivating yet, this recipe will! 

I was looking for a tried, tested and true banana muffin recipe a while back and of course I turned to Bradey. This recipe that she sent me is FABTASTIC! It turns out every time and the muffins are absolutely delicious! I took a batch into work (ie. to a group of 12 guys) and they were gone before they headed out to the field for the day.

Bradey's Banana Muffin Recipe!
1 3/4 cups of flour (straight white or a mix of  3/4 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white)
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (can also use coconut oil - I usually do 1/4 cup butter &1/4 cup coconut oil)
1 1/4 cups sugar (can use all white or a mix of white and brown)
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
3 medium bananas
Chocolate chips, coconut...whatever extras you'd like to add
I also put a tiny bit of vanilla extract in too 

In a large bowl, whip butter/marg and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in (by hand or on low speed) sour cream and mashed up bananas. 
In a separate bowl, mix all the other dry ingredients together. If you're adding choc chips or coconut, add them in with the dry ingredients.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (by hand!) and then put into the prepared pan/muffin cups (ie. spray pans or use liners prior to adding batter).
Bake at 350 for muffins or a 9 x 13 pan or 325 for a loaf or bundt pan. Muffins or the 9 x 13 take about 25 minutes. Loaf/bundt take about 45-50. Test with a toothpick and if it's clean, you're good to go!!

There we go...I made a batch this morning and needless to say, they were breakfast (still hot, just out of the oven with the butter melting into them...yummmmm). Oh...they were lunch too!

Tomorrow is Bradey's birthday (Nov.17)...soo HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY! Cheers to another year and thank you for being the wonderful woman you are! Miss you lots and can't wait till we can get together again.