I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction. I don’t mind history books or biographies (even then, I’d rather a good novel), but personal development books are the lowest on my list. But every now and then I come across a title that sounds interesting… usually I’m disappointed. This was not one of those times. I loved the anecdotal nature of this book; I appreciate story-telling on a personal level.
This is an easy and quick read. Filled with heart-warming stories, this book is a lovely reminder of little ways we can change the world. Some of the stories are personal to the author, recounting how people helped him and his wife during her cancer treatments. Other stories detail the history behind some incredible non-profit organizations, or how small acts of kindness spread much further than the single recipient.
My only quibble with the book was toward the end when the author mentions his decision to quit going to the synagogue when he was a teenager. It was weirdly placed in the book, and didn’t really have relevance to the overall story. It just seemed like an awkward jab at religion in general; when the book was clearly written from a secular perspective.
Overall I would recommend reading this book if you’re looking to be inspired or if you’re looking for new ways to serve others.
I should start this post by saying that I don’t actually like bananas that much. I like the idea of them, I guess. Or I like them in certain scenarios, like smoothies, banana pudding, and fruit salad. But to just eat a banana? Blech. And yet, I always buy bananas. My husband does eat them, but usually not fast enough, so I throw the brown bananas in the freezer.
And they sit. And they sit.
I’m always going to “make banana bread.” But I never make banana bread. Seriously. I’ve literally never made banana bread. They just sit in my freezer until I run out of room, and I might use them in a smoothie, but more likely than not, they eventually get thrown away.
I hate throwing away food.
Anyway, we have a member in one of our congregations that is in a nursing home. The pandemic has been really tough on her since she can’t have visitors, and she’s not really able to leave the nursing home either. We receive her mail for her, so Lewis was going to take her mail to her and I decided I wanted to make a special treat for her. I opened my freezer to see what ingredients I had available, and this is when I spied several bunches of brown bananas, just sitting there, mocking me.
I scanned the internet for recipes for banana bread, but none seemed to have all the ingredients that (in my mind) should go in banana bread…. so I made up my own. So here it is, along with photos of the process. At the end of the post I’ll mention some things that I would change.
8 frozen bananas (thawed)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 a cup of brown sugar
1/2 a cup of butter (softened or melted)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of mini chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease two loaf pans (I use coconut oil)
I always just throw my bananas into the freezer with peel and all, so I run the bananas under hot water until they are slightly softened; I peel them and then fully thaw them in the microwave for a minute or two.
Mix thawed bananas (along with juices) with softened butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla
Mix in eggs
Stir in all dry ingredients
Add chocolate chips and walnuts
Divide batter between two loaf pans
Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean
Things I would change: I think I would use more brown sugar and less white sugar, and cut down the total amount of sugar by just a bit (maybe 1 1/4 cup instead of 1 1/2 cup). I would do two teaspoons of cinnamon, instead of one. I would add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add another teaspoon of vanilla. I would use regular sized chocolate chips, rather than the minis. And I would toast the walnuts before mixing them in.
Otherwise, this is a decent loaf of banana bread. The texture is good, with a nice crust on the outside. The chocolate chips are a great pop of flavor and the walnuts add a nice crunch.