Sunday, November 30, 2014

Banana Maple Nut Bread (Muffin)!

Nothing like attending your high school reunion to make you feel old. Of course as the years go by, there's a number of clues that start to rear its ugly head anyways...

Here's a just a small list of helpful examples: 
  • Floppy disks - found some in my old desk drawer the other day... its unfortunate you can't even play frizzbee with them as they are square. 
  • VHS tapes - We have so many of these stored somewhere we can probably built a fort out of them. Oh the good times when someone watches a video and its the most annoying thing ever when they didn't rewind the tape so you get to sit there and wait while the tape gets rewound.
  • Tape Rewinders - I thought those were the most awesome machines ever known to man at the time! It rewinds your VHS tapes and it was separate from the VCR so you could watch something else while the tape rewinds
  • VCRs - I bet kids now don't know what theses are
  • Recorder players/CD players/Walkmans - the hippest things one could own for playing music... that wasn't even 10 years ago...poor things lost their titles so fast. 
  • Cell phones were just mobile phones you can carry around to make calls and certainly only a select few own these. As far as I can remember, my uncle had one of the first: that thing was as big as your shoe. Then I was introduced to my first cell phone the Nokia 3310, one model up from the original Nokia 6110... back in those days Snake was the most exciting thing you could do on it. Texting was definitely foreign... you can send messages like mini emails...what??!
  • Computers that weight a ton and had approximately 50MB of memory...I'm so glad its evolved. 
Crazy all how technology has changed and how its affected our very way of living. Seeing my old high school for the first time in the last ten years has really brought this realization full circle.

I remember having to write essays, homework, test taking all by hand but now everything is on the computer/online. Instead of having ancient chalkboards/white boards, they have this thing called 'Smart Boards' which basically serves as a large screened tablet. Move aside overhead projectors! Heck technology has made it so it was almost unnecessary to even have a 10 year reunion. Every moment is a reunion with things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram around. You know exactly what old classmates are up with a click of a button (or a tap of the screen, that certainly wasn't around until recent years). 

Personally I only went because I wanted to walk the halls again. I actually enjoyed my high school years. Though not the most exciting years of my life, I've certainly made some lifelong friends there. I'm pretty sure I was one of the nerdy kids, college bound and on the fast track, we loaded ourselves up with honors and AP classes, club activities, and even the tennis team. Its funny looking back, even with all of that we managed to still have so much random time to do random projects. Did I mention I use to make plush dolls and knit scarves? Not just one, but loads. Just thinking about all that makes me tired, oh how I miss that energy.

While there's been number of renovations, some things never change... for example: my old high school chemistry class. Walked passed it and remembered it like it was yesterday! I could go on for a while longer making me feel even more old, so I'm going to stop.


Back to present time, I present you: banana maple nut bread! I just felt like banana bread and so I made some, life is good. It was delicious and I was content. I also learned an interesting fact about making banana breads/muffins, apparently you can mash as many bananas as you want into it. Well from reading a few other blogs, perhaps no more than 3-4 although one blogger went up to 6. Notes on that experiment was that it was very banana-y and dense. I'd imagine anything past that point, you might as well just eat the banana on its own.

Banana Maple Nut Bread
adapted from Better Homes Cookbook: Banana Muffin

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 4 tbsp maple flakes (or maple syrup is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt (optional: I have no tried this yet, should make this more moist)
For Streusel topping:
  •  3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Procedures:
  1. For streusel, mix all the ingredients together until it becomes crumbly, set aside
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, make a well in the center of the flour mixture, set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients (egg, milk, oil, mashed banana, ricotta/yogurt). Stir wet ingredients into the flour mix along with the chopped walnut and stir until just mixed. Batter should be lumpy. 
  4. Spoon mix into a loaf pan (since this recipe is originally meant for making muffins, muffin pans can be used as well). Top with streusel topping from earlier. Bake at 400 F degrees for 25-35 minutes. Insert toothpick into the loaf, baking is complete once the toothpick comes out clean. 
  5. Best served warm.

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