Sometimes I get frustrated by the constant mess in my house and get on my kids’ case about helping out, putting things where they belong, etc. Then I notice my one-year-old puts his milk cup back in the fridge and brings his empty snack bowl to the dishwasher, and I wonder where all the mess is really coming from.
I’ve realized the major mess makers are actually the older ones. They’re getting to the age where they notice (and point out) every little thing Carl or I leaves lying around, and somehow think that justifies their doing the same thing. I was trained early on to be pretty obsessive about putting things where they belong, but Carl has yet to figure out the purpose of a shoe rack or the hangers in the bedroom closet, so we’re fighting a bit of an uphill battle.
When things get messy in the bedrooms, playroom, living room, and basement, sometimes I don’t feel like nagging anyone (or doing it myself), so instead I go to the kitchen and bake. My work space is one area the kids know better than to clutter up with toys, so the floor between the island and the counter is almost guaranteed to be completely free of toys.
This baking escape is lately a little limited by issues of storage space and stomach capacity. My freezer is packed with the gorgeous bounty of summer – zucchini and rhubarb baking of all kinds, peach crumbles and frozen peaches, and, of course, plenty of hamburgers and popsicles. A full freezer rarely happens here, so I have only an apartment-size deep freezer because it’s really all we ever need. Right now, though, I could definitely make use of a full size freezer, especially when I do silly things like buy all the overripe bananas on sale at the grocery store and have no choice BUT to bake.
Banana bread is the answer when I don’t want to take freezer space, since it disappears quickly when left on the counter. I make 2-banana bread often, with a super simple old church cookbook recipe, since a couple of the kids think nothing is greater, and I often have 2 ripe bananas. But with bags of rapidly rottening bananas, I knew it was time for my mom’s famous FIVE banana loaf.
So much mushing and mashing, so many icky soft bananas, but it’s worth it if you really like a true banana-y banana bread. This loaf is not for those on the fence about bananas – the flavour is intensely banana-rich, and the texture is dense and moist and banana-packed. It is perhaps even better the day after you bake it, if you can wait that long to slice it, and excellent with a layer of butter.
My mom makes it with a delicious streusel topping, but I was out of brown sugar so I skipped that step. I’ve included it in the recipe anyway, since obviously toppings are always highly recommended :) If you like walnuts, they also make an excellent addition to either the bread or the topping.
Deliciously intense banana loaf aside, do any of you have ideas on how to get your kids to stay on top of clutter and take ownership of tidying their own spaces? Please enlighten me so I can cut back on the banana-mashing therapy.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 5 medium-large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- TOPPING (optional):
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or lightly spray a 9x5" loaf pan and set aside.
- Mash bananas well with a fork on a large plate, until very smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, sugar and oil. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir well, until no streaks of flour remain.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- For topping, melt butter in a small bowl and stir in flour and sugar. Sprinkle over batter before baking.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert to remove from pan. Put right side up on a cooling rack and let cool fully before slicing, ideally overnight.