I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. It was quite a weekend back at home. It started off with running the annual Drumstick Dash in Indianapolis. After realizing that the local McDonald's was only serving breakfast that day, we settled on homemade turkey sandwiches to hold us over until the big feast with our aunts, uncles, and cousins. Mom brought out the smoked turkey from Sam's, her no-frills asparagus, a giant plate of Korean dumplings, grilled up some Korean style pork to eat alongside her spicy rice casserole and the three types of kimchi. As I get older I realize how lucky I am to have this blend of cultures during the holidays. The rest of the weekend included both pizza and sushi the day after Thanksgiving, a hilarious painting contest between the cousins (Claire won, obviously), and a night trying to win at the Escape Room Indianapolis (which we didn't, but if you want a good laugh you should definitely try it out).
This year, I was especially grateful for the comforts of my home. This is the home I've grown up in since I was six. I still remember the tacky red wallpaper in the kitchen when we first moved in, and the playground in the backyard. I remember playing made up games with my siblings upstairs on the weekends, and practicing piano in the sunroom. I remember my dad eating huge breakfasts on the counter every morning - pancakes or waffles or eggs and his carrot and apple juice fresh from the juicer. I remember helping set the table for dinner and eating apples for dessert as quickly as mom would slice them. The red brick house on Oak Ridge Drive has slightly changed since then - we don't have a forest green front door anymore, the garage got a paint job, the playground is now a garden that grows sesame leaves and chives - but the memory making process hasn't changed one bit.
Which brings me to this easy, simple banana bread recipe. On Sunday, Monica and I went back home in the morning to say bye to Candice as she finishes out the semester at Notre Dame, and we ended up staying since home just screams "comfort," and we're all about that. I spotted two rotting bananas, a fairly common sight in our household since my parents never seem to finish them. I thought about all the times we've made banana muffins and bread in the house, using our Iowa neighbor Mrs. Halford's recipe that is still sitting somewhere in our house on an old, faded recipe card. Inspired, I brought out the brown sugar, sweet bananas, and chopped up the pecans leftover from the holiday pecan pie baking. In the end I was left with a super simple, but wonderfully pure banana bread. The flavor is not too sweet, and it is a moist bread that takes only minutes to whip up. Normally I'm one for finding a quirky ingredient or adding chocolate to a recipe to give it an extra oomph, but this time I let simplicity guide me. So now, I have this banana bread for you, perfect for cozy nights with your loved ones. Perhaps it will be a part of your baking repertoire this month if you have a couple of brown bananas lying around. But no matter what you do, I encourage you to make strong, lifelong memories this winter. Hope you've had a wonderful beginning to the holiday season, friends.
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large overripe bananas
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the flour, dark brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Mix until combined, and then set aside.
- In a small bowl, mash the bananas until liquefied but you can still see some small chunks. Add the egg, oil, vanilla, and milk and mix until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix carefully so you don't overmix the batter. You should see some flour streaks. Add the chopped pecans and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove bread from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Take out the bread from the loaf pan and place on a cooling rack, and let cool until ready to eat! Enjoy with your loved ones :)