Life has been a wee bit stressful lately. I picked up more work and was finally able to break away (hey, better late than never!) from the financial help my parents were giving me when I was in school, but it wasn't until I got my first amended paycheck, post-tax-gouge, that I realized just how much of a cut my monthly budget had taken. I have to admit, it knocked the wind out of me, and it's taken me a good month or so to begin to think I'm capable of managing.
But I am capable, and I will manage, and it feels so good being completely responsible for my own finances, and completely independent, that I don't think I could go back, even if my parents had a windfall and suddenly wanted to throw money at me like there was no tomorrow. I love the sense of pride I get from earning my own keep, and if the trade-off for that is a much tighter budget and a restricted social life, so be it. Everybody makes sacrifices and compromises in this world, and as long as I can afford to stay in my lovely flat and spend time with my lovely boyfriend and bake delicious comfort foods, then I'm doing pretty well I think.
Because of course, this post isn't just about financial changes and growing up – there has to be some food talk in here too! And there is, specifically more compromise talk (everyone's favorite!), but this time it concerns banana bread.
Now, you all know how I feel about banana bread: if it isn't my favorite recipe, it isn't good enough. To the point where I will never buy it from little cafes, and rarely even have a bite of someone else's unless it's expressly offered to me (I'm not rude, just picky). But then, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself with severely blackening bananas and no sour cream or butter, and rather than try to make the same bread with swapped-out ingredients, I figured I might as well try to find another recipe, a sort of backup or plan B for when I need to use up grody bananas in a hurry.
I turned to Allrecipes and found the highest-rated banana bread recipe in the joint, then, expecting little, I got to work. The recipe was easy, and adaptable – I didn't have buttermilk and didn't feel like making a substitute, so instead I used some plain cream cheese with a little milk stirred in for texture purposes, and that worked just fine – and in a little over an hour I had a very tasty Plan B on my hands. It's not as rich or delicious as my favorite, but I must admit this recipe plays a very close second fiddle. It was even tasty enough that I made it again the following week, as a backup dessert for a dinner party, and even though the front-runner dessert (which will be up here soon) was a complete success, the banana bread was devoured too.
So next time you have blackening bananas and you don't have sour cream or butter to hand, try this recipe. If nothing else, it'll get rid of this ugly sight in your fruit bowl:
Backup Banana Bread:
adapted from Allrecipes
Preheat oven to 325F/165C and grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, blend together:
1/3 c buttermilk (or a blob of plain cream cheese with low-fat milk stirred in to make 1/3 c)
1/2 c oil
1 c mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
Whisk together in a separate bowl:
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c (scant) sugar
1 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix dry and wet ingredients together and stir in:
1/2 c chopped pecans
Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 hour, then check with a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf. If the skewer comes out wet with batter, bake another 10-20 minutes, until the tester comes out clean.