Like cookies and reading and the beginning of spring, banana bread is something I would tell you I’ve loved a long, long time. In this blog’s infant years, I baked Joy of Cooking banana bread, Boston bakery banana bread and a banana bread with streusel topping that stole my heart. I baked Mrs. Newman’s banana cake and, a month into marriage, banana muffins. I’ve baked banana bread waffles and, more recently, sourdough banana bread French toast. I love banana bread; I get banana bread; when it comes to banana bread, what is there that’s left to know?
But then a few weeks ago, some friends had us over for dinner and served homemade banana bread for dessert, saying quickly that it was “half almond flour and half quinoa flour” and made with “almond milk instead of regular milk,” and, a few bites in, I was looking at banana bread in a whole new way. Afterward, I, of course, went home and, two days later, pulled out (yet another) a beloved banana recipe, revising ingredients as I stirred and poured, and whipping up the version pictured in this post.
The whole experience reminded me of one of the kitchen’s best gifts to us, not unlike a gift I’m regularly given here, at this site: the ability to see in new ways. I never knew adapting a banana bread recipe would be as simple as a one-to-one flour switch with half almond flour and half quinoa or that doing so would create such you’d-never-know-it-was-gluten-free results. Likewise, I’ve learned so many things here about areas of life I thought I knew, like friendship and creativity and writing, all from sticking around and chatting with you all.
With that in mind, and to thank you again for your support, encouragement and feedback on the last two posts, I’m giving you not only a revised version of my friend Kelley’s banana bread, which was previously posted here, but also a list of links to recent findings that have helped open my eyes in some way. Hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I have; happy weekending, friends!
Worth checking out this Friday:
1. On Caring So Much about Your Craft
“With our business, our sparkling little baby business that we have poured so much heart and soul into, yeah we are going to feel things pretty darn intensely. If we didn’t feel impacted by these things, we would be, well sociopaths, and trust me, this is not something to strive for. It’s a complicated life trying desperately to constantly up the ante of risk to feel anything, and who has time for that when there is a business to run. Anxious? Worried? Stressed about your business from time to time? Good. It would be weird if you weren’t.” — Rena Tom
2. Advice for Young Parents, Which Is Actually Advice for Anyone
“It sounds like you are like me, and you really enjoy feeling useful and efficient. Every day you are probably feeling unsure about how successful your day was and feeling burdened by what was left undone. It won’t always be like this. And if you are worrying about what you are not accomplishing- stop. Don’t worry about anything! 🙂 Try to enjoy this short phase as freely as you can.” — Summer Harms
3. On Prioritizing in Your Season of Life (SO GOOD.)
“Whenever I find myself saying, “I don’t have time,” I mentally re-word the phrase into “That’s just not a high priority for me right now.” Because I have the same 24 hours as you do and your neighbor does and the uncle who took you to your first movie growing up had. But our priorities are different. My priority right now, this very second, is to maintain a healthy relationship with my husband, care for (and find enjoyment in) the early months of my daughter’s life and end the day feeling fulfilled, restful and at peace. (I have a theory that I, personally, can only juggle three priorities at once, but I know many folks who have plates that overfloweth and feel content in that state. I am not one of those folks.)
What this means is that I often check myself throughout the day to make sure I’m working toward those priorities.” — Design for Mankind
4. On Why Friendships Requiring More Effort in Adulthood Is Actually Not a Bad Thing
“I’ve also learned that friendship taking more effort is not a completely negative thing. It forces you to decide which relationships to invest your limited time in, and makes it clearer when you need to step away from one. You have to be honest and realize that physically and emotionally you can’t keep up with everyone’s lives, and intentionally nourishing a smaller amount of close friendships instead is more fulfilling and helpful to others anyways.” — Leslie Laughs
Banana Bread Remake
Adapted from one I posted here over four years ago (!)
Makes one loaf
I’ve loved so many banana breads, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but what I liked especially about this one is how adaptable it was to new ingredients. For that reason, it’s what I consider a good, classic staple to have around. That said, you don’t have to use this banana bread to use my friend Katie’s tricks of the trade: she takes her favorite recipe and replaces the flour with half almond flour and half quinoa flour; replaces the milk with her milk of choice; and, because her version doesn’t have butter or yogurt, is thinking about swapping the eggs with a flax and water mixture to make it vegan-friendly.
1 cup almond flour
1 cup einkorn flour (or you could try another flour, like quinoa flour as my friend Katie does!)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 to 3 bananas, mashed well
1/4 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 bar of dark chocolate, chopped well (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together coconut sugar and butter. Add eggs, one at a time. Add mashed bananas, yogurt, milk and vanilla, and beat until blended. Then add the flour mixture to this wet mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate
Pour batter into the greased loaf pan, and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.