Move over regular banana bread, things just got a little tastier!
I was in desperate need of comfort food so I decided to take my ordinary banana bread to a whole new level. I was NOT disappointed.
Why exactly did I need comfort food? Here it goes…
Let me start off by saying that I am simply sharing this story with you all in hopes that someone else will decide to take care of themselves, put themselves first and get themselves checked.
I don’t have the best genes. Let me rephrase that. I have my mother’s love of cooking and sense of humor and my father’s passion and smile. But along with those great qualities, I have some not-so-great ones.
My mom died at the very young age of 43. As I approach that tender age myself, I am beginning to reflect on many things, one of them being my health. I am a busy mom of 3 very busy boys. I am always worrying about their health, feelings, what time to pick them up, making sure they eat (mostly) healthy foods each day. I try to think of everything. Did I wash the baseball uniforms? Yup. Well, most days at least. Did I RSVP to the birthday party? Yup. Did I remember to pick my kids up from school? Yup. You know what I don’t think of a lot of times? Myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am really good at scheduling in exercise 4-5 times a week and meeting friends socially. But what I often forget is to actually take care of my health. I have had a few health scares in the past (part of the not so good genes) which often lead to my reflection about my own mortality. It’s not easy approaching the same age that your mother was when she died. I’m feeling sad, terrified, a little guilty and an overall just plain old weird. See, when I was a little girl when my mom died, I actually thought she was OLD! Yes! I thought my beautiful, strong, courageous 43 year old mother was old. And now, I realize that she was so young and probably scared out of her mind. Needless to say, this upcoming birthday in November will not be my favorite. I am a fairly intelligent, rational person, but it almost feels like this is the end for me. I know it’s not, but it’s scary.
So then there’s my dad, whom I look at much differently as well. He was only 42 when he lost the love of his life and raised my brother and myself on his own. He struggled at times but I respect the hell out of him and all that he did for us. He’s loving and has a generous heart and I love when his face lights up around my kids. My father currently has prostrate cancer and has had many melanomas (skin cancers) removed. My dad and his wife were recently visiting us and my father naggingly kept asking me to get my skin checked. I know he means well but doesn’t he realize I work and have three very busy kids?? I promised him I’d visit the dermatologist while the kids were still in school (and didn’t need to get a sitter) and I followed his wishes. They removed one small mole from my stomach (damn bikinis 20 years ago!) and I thought nothing of it. Until I got the dreaded phone call that I now have melanoma too.
My first thought? I don’t have time for this! The end of the school year is so busy. My youngest is already on half days until the end of the week. My second thought? Crap, this just got real. And absolutely terrifying.
Today I go in for my surgery to get all of the melanoma removed and hopefully they get it all out in one shot. I thank goodness that my dad was a good enough father to keep nagging me to go to the doctor, because I don’t like to think about what might have happened if I blew it off (like so many other things!) According to www.skincancer.org, “An estimated 73,870 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the US in 2015. An estimated 9,940 people will die of melanoma in 2015. Melanoma accounts for less than two percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.” Scary.
I will be fine and I will continue to take care of myself and schedule my appointments. It really is important and this has been a huge wake up call for me. So thank you Dad for bugging me enough that I went to the doctor. Now I will bug all of you to make sure you that you keep up with all of your appointments, including the dermatologist.
Let’s lighten the mood a bit….with this bread!
It seriously doesn’t get better than this combination of flavors. And since I am stressed, I am allowed to eat it all. Ok, maybe I will share some with my kids. And I guess my dad deserves his own loaf, right? It’s the least I could do for him.
I decided to take my go-to gluten-free banana bread recipe from The Everything Wheat-Free Cookbook and jazz it up a little. That will make me feel better and cooking/baking is usually like therapy for me. And most of you that know me know that peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite comfort food.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I might have gotten a little excited and accidentally stuck my fist in the center of this bread before it cooled off. Shrug. It still tastes great.
- 1⁄4 cup butter, softened
- 2⁄3 cup unrefined sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana (approximately 3 large bananas)
- 1⁄3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. add peanut butter and mix until combined.
- Stir in yogurt, water, and vanilla and mix well.
- In a separate bowl combine the flax seed, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this mixture to the butter mixture.
- Stir in the bananas and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
- Spoon the mixture into two or three greased mini loaf pans (51⁄2” × 3") or one large loaf pan (5" × 10").
- Bake 50–55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Cool in the pans for 2 minutes, then turn out and cool completely.
Thanks for stopping by and listening to my story. I hope it inspires some of you to make some doctor appointments and schedule your check ups! And if you are feeling stressed, angry, bored, happy or whatever, you need to make this bread!