Ahhh! The guests are coming! The guests are coming! Wednesday marked the completion of the cookies (thank goodness!), some more baking and preparation of the baskets. I had been collecting items for a while.
The baskets included:
- baskets from Canadian tire
- city maps
- bottled water
- fruit (bananas, apples and oranges)
- the lovely bride and groom cookies
- Oatmeal on the Go bars
I also added some more personalized items, depending on the needs/likes of the guests (e.g., nut free chocolate, wine for drinkers, pop for my dad, etc.).
At the last minute, Giz and I decided to add another baked-good and because I had a bunch of frozen bananas, we went with mini banana loaves. The recipe comes from Flour Bakery in Chicago.
Mini Banana Loaf
* 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup oil
* 3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
* 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I excluded this)
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. One recipe makes about 12 loaves.
Overall, the baskets worked over very well. The guests really liked them and I didn't regret the effort (despite the fuss R made about being anti-basket). The only problem was that the basket delivered to my uncle and Baba didn't make it to their room. While visiting their suite, I suggested that they use the map that I put in their basket and my uncle said, "what basket?"
Huh? What basket? The one that was delivered to your room.
Nope - no basket.
Went to the front desk to figure out what the heck happened. Turns out - they put a basket in the room ahead of time and ended up switching the room that my uncle and Baba were put in. They then checked someone else into the original room (where the basket was located) and the basket was never seen again. It's not like it was a random-looking basket -- it has the card attached with a welcome note from me and R saying how glad we were to have them in town to celebrate with us.
Seriously - who goes through a basket in a hotel room that clearly isn't for them? But really, it's the hotel's fault. To compensate, we're apparently getting a free night in the hotel. Quite disappointing too because this basket was one that had a number of unique items because this uncle is a health nut and Baba is fussy.
I'll leave you with this video of poor R. I can't remember what he was zesting lemons for, but he was already tired of baking/cooking and doing dishes. If he only knew what the rest of the week would bring...