You know how it goes. Those two overripe bananas on your kitchen counter have been attracting fruit flies for days, so you either need to put the bananas in the freezer where they’ll take up space for a month or two before you finally just throw them away, or, you can bake banana bread.
Two things usually stop me from baking banana bread. The first is that cup of white sugar that most recipes call for. A cup of sugar just seems like too much for something that calls itself “bread.” The second is that I usually end up eating 75% of the loaf myself, which make that cup of sugar seem extra evil.
This time around, I felt a little better about eating most of the banana bread myself over the course of 3 days because I made Smitten Kitchen’s Crackly Banana Bread (with slight modification). Made with white whole wheat flour, coconut oil, a bit of maple syrup and a handful of crunchy millet it’s just as good as regular old banana bread. I don’t see any reason to ever go back.
I made one modification to Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, cutting out the light brown sugar entirely and just using 1/3 cup maple syrup. The bread was still sweet enough for me. When it first comes out of the oven you might not think so, but wait a day. This banana bread tastes best on day 2 and 3, sweet and very moist. The millet is optional; I happened to have some in my pantry that I’ve been trying to use up, so I went for it. It adds a slight and appealing crunchiness to the bread.
The other reason I felt less guilty about having a slice of banana bread after every meal for 3 days is because banana bread isn’t the only thing I’ve got baking in the oven, if you know what I mean. And Mama is hungry.
This abstract belly shot doesn’t really capture the full glory of my growing midsection, 28 weeks (or is it 27?) and counting. Second pregnancies are much different than the first ones, aren’t they? For starters, I keep losing track of how far along I am instead of obsessively tracking and charting every minute. I’m sitting in a cafe right now drinking a blend of decaf and caffeinated coffee, although for the first pregnancy I swore off caffeine entirely. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older or because I’m chasing a 3 1/2 year old around or both, but my body just can’t make it through the day without at list a little hit of caffeine. Prenatal vitamins? I took them religiously during my first pregnancy. This time, I gave them up at week 8 when they were making my horrible nausea unbearable and never got back in the habit of taking them daily. Yoga? Ha! I have neither the time or the ability to twist my midsection, since this 2nd pregnancy belly is about the same size now, at the beginning of the third trimester, as it was the day I gave birth to O.
None of which means I’m any less in love with this little one. It’s not that I’m thinking less about this baby, it’s just that I’m more confident everything will be fine. Second children might get less undivided attention than the first born, but they also get the gift of less anxious, paranoid, nutso parents.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get out of this cafe. Three out of the four tables around me are talking about “the industry” and I can’t take it anymore….their latest project that was well received at film festivals, the set design that is completely wrong and doesn’t capture the mood, the script they’re working on bla bla bla bla. Sometimes I try to remember what people were talking about at coffee shops in Seattle when I overheard their conversations. Life, I guess?
The New Banana Bread
3 large ripe-to-over-ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut oil, warmed until it liquefies
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom (optional)
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons uncooked millet (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In the bottom of a large bowl, mash bananas with fork. Whisk in egg, then oil, syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle in baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom then stir until combined. Stir in flour until just combined, then millet.
Pour into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool loaf in pan on rack.