Old Hippie Banana Bread

IMG_4837There are several reasons for this post–one is that having overdosed on Christmas cookies in the past weeks I know I should get on the treadmill and eat Ry Krisps–or, horrors, nothing at all–but I can’t quite bring myself to do that . . . yet. So this rough hewn cobblestone of a loaf of banana bread will help me segue to all things healthy. At least that’s the theory! The other reason is that I had a big pile of bananas rapidly turning brown on the kitchen counter. Banana Bread to the rescue!

The recipe comes from Laurel’s Kitchen, an old hippie cookbook if there ever was one. It’s from the days when I wore granny glasses, buffalo hide sandals, an army surplus t-shirt and patchouli perfume.

The loaf is loaded with wheat germ, from a time when they put bushels of wheat germ into everything and it works here, making the loaf nutty, speckly, and crunchy.

Banana Bread

Juice of one lemon
3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

handful of nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease a 9x 5″ loaf pan. You can line with parchment paper, if you like–it makes it easy to lift the bread out. Mash the bananas and mix them with the lemon juice. You can mash the bananas till they are smooth, or leave some lumps. Do your own thing!

Cream butter and sugar together and add the mashed bananas. Stir well. In a separate bowl stir together the dried ingredients, and then add to the banana mix. With wild hippie abandon, throw in a big handful of nuts. The dough will be stiff–don’t freak. Turn into the greased loaf pan; sprinkle with more wheat germ, and bake for about 40 minutes. Use a skewer to test for doneness. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing.

Baking notes: The bananas were about 6 inches long, and mashed up to about 1-1/2 cups, but a little bit more or less won’t hurt. The original recipe called for margarine, because it used to be thought healthier than butter. Not! It’s funny, but this tastes a bit too sweet to me now–times have changed. You could scale back to 1/3 cup brown sugar, and see what you think. In the past I have experimented with using Pyrex or ceramic pans, but metal is best for this dense loaf.

Yesterday was the worse weather imaginable (sleet pelting us and a low pressure system), and birds were nowhere to be seen. So I am posting some pix taken in the fall.

red-bellied woodpecker
red-bellied woodpecker
A starling: surprisingly elegant close up.
The blue jays are back!


I woke up sick yesterday with a cold/flu thing, but was able to cure myself by reading The Wind in the Willows by Ernest H. Shepard. This gentle story is the perfect antidote to after-Christmas illnesses or holiday let down. It really took me away to another world, and when I awoke this morning, was 100% better!  Peace. Fran





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