Banana Bread

Banana BreadGoing Bananas

Next week my kids will be returning to school. I am both dreading and looking forward to the start of the new school year. I look forward to it because the kids will be occupied with learning new things, and getting back to their regular extra curricular activities. I also dread it because they will be occupied with learning new things, and getting back to their regular extra curricular activities.

The start of the school year is an adjustment. All of a sudden the lazy days of summer, sitting by the pool when questions like ” Yes, you’ve been in the pool but when was the last time soap touched your body?” turn into, “We need to eat by six because you have homework and you have to shower off the grime from soccer practice so that you can get to bed on time because I don’t want to have to tell you fifty times to get out of bed the following morning.” (This quote is one of many that can be found in the Mom’s Time Honored Phrase Library right next to “I am not the maid”, “Because I said so”, “You’ll put an eye out”, “Your Father said WHAT?” and “Don’t run with the scissors”

It is also a time when I try to think ahead so that I have different meals on hand for when it gets crazy. Mornings are usually the worst, so having something easy and available makes a huge difference. One of my favorites is banana bread. Because I always have bananas on hand, and because they don’t always get eaten in time, it’s easy to throw a batch together using the over-ripe ones. A slice of banana bread along with a fried egg and some juice make for a fast and easy breakfast.

Since I make it frequently, I play around with the ingredients. Sometimes I add nuts (usually pecans because I’m not a huge walnut fan). Sometimes I throw a handful of shredded coconut in the batter. If i’m feeling tropical I’ll throw some pineapple chunks in with the coconut. For banana bread with a bit of a praline flavor, I’ll substitute 1/2 of the white sugar for dark brown sugar and definitely add pecans. Blueberries are good too. Streusel topping or granola can make it interesting. So can some Rum, but that’s true of a lot of things. The bread makes pretty tasty french toast as well, or bread pudding…the possibilities are endless.

Below is the basic recipe I use for perfect banana bread. Try it out and give it your own twist.  

Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1/2 C Butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C mashed ripe bananas, about 3 large
1 1/2 tablespoon milk, preferably whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 C sifted bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time. Add milk and lemon juice to sieved bananas and combine with the creamed butter and sugar. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, and finally the nuts, if using. stir only enough to blend.

Bake in a greased loaf pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check the bread after an hour with a toothpick or piece of dried spaghetti. If it comes out clean when inserted, the bread is done.

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