Banana Bread

My girls are 8 years old, just entered third grade. In many ways, they are becoming much more independent. They can read chapter books on their own, do their own laundry (major victory for mom over the summer!), they are becoming quite capable in the kitchen using the stove and oven (with supervision, don’t worry) to scramble eggs and bake cookies and cupcakes… they could practically move out of the house any minute now. But, just when it’s tempting think, ahhh, I can relax, they are so fine on their own, heck, if it wasn’t illegal they could even stay home alone, I’m noticing something else. I’m noticing that these two very bright, though drastically different young girls need me more than ever and, actually, in a more meaningful way than before. I may not need to tend to their physical, practical needs as much but I need to pay more attention than ever to their hearts and their spirits. I’m starting to notice that when I ask them about something, they are initially telling me everything is fine because they think that’s what I want to hear. They are beginning to hide their true emotions because they don’t want to upset me. They want to keep everyone happy. And that’s where it starts, right? If they do that with me, they definitely do it with their dad, their teachers, their friends. Looking back I can remember being their age and just wanting to keep everyone happy (and, no, I never quite got over that). I have to say though it took me by surprise to notice them doing the same. Notice. That’s the operative word for me these days. I realize I need to really put my attention to asking deeper questions and telling them it’s okay to be truly honest. Did you really like that dance class? Yes, it was awesome (unconvincing fake smile on her face). Really? Because you seem a little down. Sigh.. well, actually… no, it was really hard. Okay! That’s honest and I get it and it will get better! And, by the way, it’s okay that things are hard because that’s how we grow but we don’t have to pretend we’re having a great time. We don’t have to make everything okay for everyone else at our own expense. We don’t have to carry it all on our own.

I think it’s a good exercise for us moms to look at ourselves and what we are modeling and ask “what do we really want for our kids?”. Because if they see us martyring ourselves, making ourselves victims to our circumstances, putting everyone and everything else first, they are going to go in one of two directions (in my unprofessional, purely observational opinion). They are going to grow up to be narcissistic jerks, because they were the beneficiaries of our martyrdom, or they will be just like us and the cycle will continue. I think we are making progress breaking the cycle, I really do, but there is certainly more work to be done when our 8 year old girls are already in people pleasing mode. And, trust me, they are modeling what they see.

Just wanted to put that out there – for whatever it’s worth, mostly to remind myself. Now on to some delicious banana bread!

I’ve strayed from the family recipe I used for years and I couldn’t be more pleased. Not only is this easier and faster with less ingredients, it actually tastes better.

They sell coconut sugar at Costco now! I really like using it because it has great flavor and might even be slightly less bad for you than regular sugar.

Banana Bread
(2 loaves)

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup coconut sugar OR cane sugar
2 eggs
4 large bananas, very ripe
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground

Optional
chocolate chips or nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas then whisk in sugar until well combined.

Whisk in melted butter, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well after each addition.
In a separate, extra large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir in banana mixture.
Divide batter evenly into the prepared loaf pans.
If you choose to add chocolate chips or nuts, lightly coat with a small amount of flour first before folding them in. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom. (I’m not actually sure it’s necessary for the nuts but it won’t hurt)
We like to have one plain, one with chocolate chips.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 – 35 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  The top should be cracked as shown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
I am lucky to know many! So thankful for the support and wisdom of my fellow moms – it truly takes a village and we have an amazing one!