Is it just me, or is this sidewalk made for us?

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life52 Comments


You're seeing this, right? I mean, I'm not just imagining that I have a giant letter 'Z' in my front yard, right?

Seriously so cool. Here's a wider shot to give you some context.


Our house is wrapped with a giant letter 'Z'. (Dan also pointed out it could be also be seen as a giant letter 'N', but I'm pretending he didn't really say that.)

We're—or rather, our contractor—is making steady progress our home improvement project. I will continue to share a few shots here and there as it progresses. Renovating nearly 100-year-old homes isn't without its surprises, and especially the ones that will cost more money than you planned to initially spend. Ay yi yi.

But at least we have insulation in our walls and a porch that won't sink into the ground. Soon to come? Front stairs and new siding.

Exciting stuff. Almost as exciting as sex muffins, but I think we can all agree that's gonna be a hard one to top.


Nevertheless, I share with you my revised and updated sex banana muffin recipe, which isn't mine at all, but I make it with an awful lot of love. Enjoy!

Jean Otteson's Banana Bread (or muffins!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 oz (1 package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened at room temp)
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups of sugar
2-1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix oil, sugar, bananas, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

Each muffin is roughly 180 calories of deliciousness.

Option: sprinkle a little sugar on each muffin before baking to give it a nice little sugar crust.

Option two: Bake two loaves of bread in a greased, floured pan for 40 minutes.

Best eaten warm and often.



Cathy ZielskeIs it just me, or is this sidewalk made for us?

52 Comments on “Is it just me, or is this sidewalk made for us?”

  1. #2

    That is totally cool Cathy, I see the Z. Great photos of the process can’t wait to see it when it’s done. Thanks for the yummy receipe.

  2. #4
    Kris Van Allen

    That Z even has a ‘flair’ to it! love it!

    you can’t “top the muffin”…..because you no longer HAVE a muffin top!! lol!!!

  3. #5

    I love love LOVE that letter Z! And in my head, I’m saying it “zee” just like you ‘mericans do. Because, somehow, Cathy “zed” just doesn’t work for me. 😛

  4. #6

    Zee it is! and that’s some fine looking concrete.

    Tell me about surprises! our house is also 100yrs old and each surprise came with a 5 digit price tag. Contractors still act surprised that our house is not level or perfectly square. Hey! it has charm,boys!

  5. #8

    Here’s a recipe for muffins that will love you back –
    Refrigerator Bran Muffins
    *Makes 48 muffins
    4 cups wheat bran flakes or plain wheat bran
    2 cups bran buds (look like little pebbles) or all-bran (look like little twigs)
    2 cups boiling water
    1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk
    8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, melted
    ½ cup (no-added sugar) applesauce
    2 cups sugar
    4 large eggs
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    5 cups whole wheat flour
    4 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid, place the wheat bran flakes (or plain wheat bran) and the bran buds or all-bran. Pour the boiling water over the bran and mix well. Stir every couple of minutes while the mixture cools to room temperature. The mixture will become very thick and sticky.
    After the mixture cools, add the buttermilk, melted butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well to combine all the ingredients together.
    The batter can be covered well and kept in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. To bake, scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins. Fill 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for about 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

    (I don’t refrigerate the batter – I bake them all, freeze them and then microwave a few at a time when my family wants to eat them – they are really good!)

  6. #10

    Cole really wanted to, but we said no. However, that didnt stop our neighbors cat from walking on it. Now we have cat prints. Sigh.

  7. #11

    You use the phrase “an awful lot”… Did you grow up with this phrase? The reason I ask, is that my family uses this phrase almost daily and when I lived in Seattle years back, people would always look at me like I was crazy when I used this phrase – having no idea what I was saying. It just something I don’t hear much outside the south.

    Happy Renovations!

  8. #13

    Been there, done that with unexpected home remodeling costs. It looks like you picked a good contractor. I hope you can enjoy the process. It makes the final results feel so much better!

  9. #14

    Weird, I grew UP in Seattle (20 minutes north) and I think it came from my family, who are Canadian.

    Now the phrase sounds weird! ha!

  10. #15

    Cathy, banana muffins are from now on and until forever dubbed Sex muffins for me…I am planning on making some for me and my husband this weekend…they just got a lot more enticing with the new name….I may take some sex muffins with me to work as well… 🙂
    One request to you: please don’t go back to calling them “banana muffins” again….

  11. #20

    So I just put the recipe in my WW points builder – um, those yummy little concoctions are 5 points each….YIKES! Sorry if I ruined it for anyone. I think I will just have to take your word that they are delicious!

  12. #23

    Wonder how bad they would be if you substituted applesauce for the oil? We make all our cakes and muffins that way. I’d say that it helps with the weight loss, but it really just allows me to eat more. It feels like a win, though.

  13. #25

    I TOTALLY see the “Z!” Tricky, tricky, CZ! (And yes, I would pretend that Dan didn’t suggest an N, as well.)

    Cream cheese? Interesting…. YUM-O!

  14. #29

    You are just too funny….sex muffins 🙂 ha!! thanks for the good laughs!!! by the way….good luck on the reno…and may it the outside be done before the snow really flies 🙂

  15. #30

    I love the fact that you have a “Z” sidewalk!
    Also- I use that phrase (an awful lot) an awful lot. Southern Utahan here.

  16. #32

    just think about the money you’ll save on not having to buy more blankets, heat, cooling, etc. etc. 🙂 i’m really enjoying the process of the reno.

  17. #33

    I just made banana bread and it is a little dry. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    I wanted to let you know that a while ago you posted recipes for Chicken Satay and an Asian Slaw. I made both the other night and they were fabulous. My husband was impressed with my “excellent” dinner.

    Thanks for sharing some of your yumminess!

  18. #36

    I found this on a blog I read and they really are good – and good for you! I hope you like them! I used Wheaties and AllBran!

  19. #37

    This is definitely not dry. Super moist. Especially second day when its been kept in an air tight container. I love this recipe.

  20. #38
    Missus Wookie

    Thanks for the loaf size – I made a batch of mini loaves (wilton air pans) and five muffins from the above. Even though I had to finely chop and microwave an apple until soft as someone (teenage and male I’d guess) ate the second black banana. But they were still deemed delicious.

    Oh and as another woman with wet concrete – you can put up signs, tape and planks and people still walk across it… plus cats. Hoping ours is dry tomorrow.

  21. #41

    My husband, the carpenter, refers to 100-year-old houses as “the crooked house”. They’re never easy to renovate. They require skill and determination. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  22. #42
    Margy Eastman

    I think your sidewalk looks like a bolt of lightning. See what living with a five-year-old boy does to your perception?

  23. #43
    Barb in AK

    It’s definitely a Z 🙂

    How did your house deal with the high winds we had in MN this week? My house is only 35 years old and the top floor shook each time a gust came by!!! :-O I’m in Rochester.

  24. #44
    Nancy M

    Yeah, having been through several home improvements I agree about the $… in my mind I double the estimate just to be safe, then figure we are ahead when we don’t actually spend THAT amount! Love the Z – though I like the N, too…

  25. #46

    It’s a Z.
    My house is 90 years old. The granddaughter of a former owner dropped by last year. I’ve heard of quaint tales of former owners of other old homes stopping by and chatting with current owners. Not so much for me. She was a bit deranged wearing her bathrobe, asking if I had found the prophesy written above the stairway. “Um, no.” Have you ever had former owners come by?

  26. #52
    Shelley Abreu

    I love muffins too! Before I started running and doing weight watchers I would also have trouble controlling myself (but counting points does help me keep it in check). My trick? I make a batch then throw the rest in a freezer bag. Then I defrost one each morning when I feel like a muffin (about 25 seconds in microwave is perfect).

    I’ve experimented with recipes that are filling, yummy, AND not huge in points. I just made these and they were good (my 6 year old approved too!) (and only 4 points). (the picture doesn’t do them justice–mine rose up beautifully and didn’t collapse)

    She (Ellie Krieger) also has an apple pecan muffin recipe that rocks)! (can’t remember the points — think 4 or 5?) Anyway, I eat these healthy muffins before my morning runs and they fuel me up and make me feel good!

    Just discovered your blog from RLAM. Love it!

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