I love Tuesdays. One reason Tuesdays are great is because I only have one client (albeit in the early am – so no sleep-in days across the board for me until Saturday or Sunday!) and the rest of the day is usually spent getting work done around the house; it’s great to have a dedicated day where you decide laundry will be done, the kitchen will get cleaned and even the oven will be scrubbed!
But another reason I love Tuesdays is because of what comes at the end of the day: small group! Every Tuesday night we host a group of friends from church at our house and share a meal and talk about life together. Mikey and I look forward to it every week, and soon we’ll be alternating months at people’s homes, and I think we’ll actually miss the hosting aspect – it’s been such a blessing to have a house for the first time and invite people over rather than always being the invitee. 😉 But the great thing is that we get to share life – regardless of at which house on which street – and share good food together. I’m always experimenting on these guys (they’re great guinnea pigs sports!) and tonight I tried out a recipe from Angela that I’ve been eying for a while now (click for original recipe).
Enter: Cherry Banana Bread.
Judging from how much of this little loaf is left (say that 3 times fast), I think it was a hit! 😉 So here’s what you do to create this gorgeous dense sweet bread:
- 1 3/4 cups flour of choice (I used a mix of white and whole wheat)
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
- 3 medium bananas
- 2 tbsp butter (slightly warmed; could also use coconut butter here too)
- 3 tbsp oil (of choice)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (I think this is the kicker!)
- 6-8 Cherries, pitted and chopped, for good looks and tasty bites on top!
- A sprinkle of old fashioned oats for the top…always adds to the look of any baked good. 🙂
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F. Take the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, spices) and whisk in a large bowl.
In a small cup, microwave the 2 tbsp of butter for just 10-15 seconds to warm. In a medium sized bowl, add the wet ingredients (banana, butter, maple syrup, oil), saving 1 small banana or 1/2 a medium banana for later, and mix very well, making sure to break up the clumps of butter.
Grab your extra banana and cut it up into small chunks (~1 inch).
Add to the wet ingredients and mix the remaining wet to the dry ingredients until the flour is mixed in well. Pour the batter into a pre-greased loaf pan. Now for the garnish: pit and chop some cherries and sprinkle on top – this not only looks delicious but tastes it (take my word for it).
I baked my loaf (which was smallish) for about 50 minutes and it was nice and golden brown when I pulled it out. Depending on your oven, it could be around 45 minutes or closer to an hour. Allow your loaf to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
We served ours with a small side of rainbow party cake ice cream (Mikey’s choice and personal fave!) although I ate mine with a bit of Stoneyfield organic vanilla yogurt (but only because we ran out of ice cream by the time I served 5 plates up and came to mine!)… 😉 Come on – if you know me at all, you probably know that I virtually never say “no” to ice cream.
The best part of all (besides having leftovers)? Catching up on life and being reminded of incredible truths and insights from Deuteronomy 24: 18-22 and finished the night encouraged to remember where God has taken us, how he’s guided and provided for us, and how much we have to be thankful for. A direct result of being thankful is giving to others, but not in a “we should serve” kind of feeling that Christ talks about in the New Testament or Moses in Deuteronomy, but an an outflow of where we’ve come from and a natural result that follows from a blessed life. It’s so easy to focus on the details of life, on the things we don’t have, on the moments where our days went terrible or overwhelmed us, but the simple act of remembering and being thankful brings us back to what’s important, puts our focus back on what God has done, and puts us in touch with others in raw, real ways.
What are you thankful for these days? Take a moment to reflect – it’s pretty hard to grumble and complain when you’re saying thanks. 😉 And let me know if you try the bread and what your results are! Have fun modifying it too – chopped pecans, dollops of almond butter, shredded coconut on top…the options are endless. Have a great rest of the week! Live well and be well,