Goodbyes and Banana Bread

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6 days ago we drove a few friends to the airport, who were, “never coming back”. That is, college had ended, and although they may return to the bay for visiting, it was the realization that they were no longer living here which made them a bit sad. I don’t think it has really sunk in for me quite yet, but those words about never coming back, and it being the last time, made me pause momentarily [schoolisoverwhattheheckdoidonow?] And we said bye and hugged and they walked into the airport.

I’ve made a fair bit of friends and acquaintances these past two years. Some I will most likely keep in touch with and see again, while others are temporary friends, who filled up a meaningful spot in my life, and taught me things, but I will probably not see them again. This is sad, yet OK, because I suppose I have now learned–like I said before–that there are temporary friends and forever friends. Forever friends you may not see for years and then when you do see them, its like no time has gone bye. Temporary friends are situational friends, serving some purpose while they are your friends and then…they just kind of disappear and all you see of them are ditties on facebook. I am extraordinarily bad at keeping in touch with people via phone, which is definitely something that I should improve upon.

Its random moments when I am meandering through campus to walk to the bank, or walking down the street to get to the farmers market, or biking by the marina, that a few tears spring to my eyes behind my darkly tinted sunglasses. I am not necessarily tearing up for any specific reason, its more that, I am overwhelmed with feelings that are both happy and sad. Therefore, tears. I am excited for my summer adventure as a prep cook, although a bit nervous. I am excited to come back to berkeley and job hunt, although a bit nervous.

Said friends that we took to the airport, love banana bread. And so, a perfect snack to send them off with seemed to be banana bread. The recipe is from a book I have called “the cook’s encyclopedia of baking” by Carole Clements. It is actually the first baking book that I got (I think on sale at Borders…whoa) and it has a few recipes that I do like. It is your basic cookie, cake, quick bread, yeast bread, pie, etc baking book. And so, the recipe is your basic banana bread recipe  that uses half whole wheat and half white flour, 1/2 cup walnuts in it, and I sprinkled more on top.

It is not a vegan recipe. I used good butter and good eggs. And holy moly was I surprised with the rise I achieved in this quick bread. I suppose I am quite used to vegan breads that are slightly more dense and compact, but the eggs, butter, baking powder…must have done something right.

Unfortunately, said book is packed and tucked away in a box somewhere, since I am leaving my trusty room of 2 years tomorrow morning. So, enjoy the photographs. And if you want to make banana bread, there is always google to help.

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Pumpkin Trail Mix Bread

still have trail mix left over from spring break, where I was responsible for feeding a group of 12 people for a week. Something had to be done with the trail mix, so why not bake it into pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bread is most definitely appropriate to eat during the month of May, despite what people tell you about its being an autumn food.

This recipe comes from here (hell yeah its vegan). But since I don’t have maple syrup (always extraordinarily expensive) I used agave. And since I didn’t have brown sugar, I used regular sugar combined with a tablespoon of molasses. Also, instead of boring old walnuts, I threw in said trail mix. The salty peanuts and chocolate chips worked very well in this bread. I think I am going to start making trail mix everything bread (banana, pumpkin, zucchini, etc). Its kind of like those “kitchen sink” cookies. But maybe not quite as kitchen sink-y. Anyways…

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Ingredients: (for 1 loaf)

  • 1 C AP flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 0.5 t baking powder
  • 0,5 t salt
  • 0.5 t nutmeg
  • 0.5 t cinnamon
  • 0.5 t allspice
  • 0.25 t cloves
  • 1 C pumpkin puree
  • 0.5 C oil
  • 3 T agave
  • 3 T almond milk
  • a generous 0.5 C trail mix (consisting of almonds, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and date pieces)

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Method

  • preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan
  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices
  • In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: pumpkin, oil, agave, and almond milk
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until moistened. Don’t over mix or overwork the dough; it will be thick and its OK if a few tufts of flour remain (just not huge clumps)
  • fold in the trail mix, again taking care not to over mix. Over working the dough causes to much gluten to form and will yield a chewy loaf instead of one with a delicate crumb
  • Pour the dough into the loaf pan and flatten out with a spoon. Lick the bowl clean
  • bake for 45-50 minutes until an object (knife of toothpick) inserted into the middle comes out clean
  • Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then loosen the loaf and finish cooling on a rack. Its yummy warm with melty chocolate chips, and is a great snack the next day too