Monday, October 18, 2010

Banana bread and the Windy City

Julie's Meltingpot is moving to Chicago! Lots has been going on... lots to fill you guys in on. SB got a promotion within his company and it is taking him to Chicago. YAY to SB!!!! Because I love him and couldn't imagine my life without him, I am going with him :) (everyone say aawww :). Since I have posted my last entry I have rearranged, repainted our apartment, moved a whole bunch of stuff to storage (because I felt inspired to make it cozier and prettier in our apartment) to only move all our stuff back from storage to be reorganized and packed up, paint the apartment back to white and get us ready to ship out to Chicago. Funny how life plays these little jokes on you sometimes.

Well, needless to say that life has been sort of hectic, trying to get organized and get ready for our pending move. While we are sad to leave our friends in NYC behind, we are truly looking forward to a new chapter in our life. We look back to our time and memories in NYC with a great sense of nostalgia and yet look toward our future in Chicago with a heart full of hope. Everything has been incredibly exciting and SB and I couldn't be happier about these wonderful changes that are happening in our lives but moreover to be so lucky to experience these things together. THAT is what makes all of this so special. Nonetheless, because of the type A personality I can be at times, I stress myself out a little more than is quite necessary.

When I get crazed there are only a few things that can calm me down and baking is one of them. For some reason baking has sort of a therapeutic effect on me. It is soothing to my soul. Especially baking something that brings back comforting or childhood memories like, banana bread.

I don't really quite remember the first time I've ever had banana bread. But as long as I can remember banana bread has been a part of my childhood. I've always asked myself as a child why banana bread was called bread when it always tasted and felt more like cake or a treat to me. To this day I still haven't quite figured out the answer. However, what I do know is that it's sweet, it's spongy and such a comforting treat, especially when it's fresh out of the oven. When you cut into loaf the steam that comes out is this heavenly fragrance that has this love affair with your nostrils. It's pure comfort, pure love. I really believe that the beautiful part of it is that it is simple and it is that which reminds people of the kind of simplicity of childhood. It's true for me. I have always believed that some of the most beautiful things in life are the simplest.

The recipe I use is straight out of the Pillsbury cookbook, which is my go to guide for a lot of baked goods I make. I have modified the recipe a little bit (of course!) - I always have to change things around. I have a hard time sticking to recipes exactly. (Hmmm, I wonder what that says about my personality LOL).

Here it goes:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened (I think vegetable oil is ok too - actually keeps the loaf moist longer)
  • 2 eggs (I use extra large eggs or 3 large eggs)
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2 medium mashed ripe bananas (but I always use 3!!!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional. I leave them out because SB doesn't really like them)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of 9x5 or 8x4-inch loaf pan. In large bowl, cream sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs; blend in bananas, milk and vanilla. In small bowl, combine flour, nuts, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add to creamed mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes; remove. Now, the Pillsbury cookbook that says "cool completely on wire rack" but I say: nonsense. While it is still warm, cut yourself a slice, put some butter on it and EAT! I think it tastes even more amazing when it is fresh out of the oven and warm!

Happy eating!!

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