On Monday morning, just out of the blue, Bradley asked if we could make banana bread. I’d been sick all weekend and still wasn’t feeling well, so, much to his disappointment, I declined, but did promise to have everything ready to go on Wednesday (today) when he got here. When I made that promise, he and I got three old bananas out of the freezer and put them in a dish in the frig to thaw (freezer/pantry challenge!). By this morning, there were three more on the counter that were “banana bread worthy”, so I figured while I was making the effort, it was just as easy to bake up two loaves instead of one.
Usually I would just get out all the ingredients and measuring tools and let Brad help measure and combine it all. That’s great math practice. This time, though, since I’m still dragging from the influenza, I decided to have him mix the bread in a plastic zipper bag – less mess with fewer dishes, and he works those hands and finger muscles (think pre-handwriting), and gets to feel the textures of the ingredients while keeping his hands clean. That last one is pretty important to him. He will get his hands messy, but if he doesn’t have to, he’s happier. Anyway, I went ahead and measured the dry ingredients into the zipper bag, and measured the milk into a canning jar for him to use later. As I measured the ingredients for Brad’s bread, I did the same for that second loaf, only in a bowl. I got my loaf in the oven and baked and my bowl washed before the boys arrived. This worked out great, because we snacked on that loaf all day and Brad got to take his loaf home.
Anyway, as soon as 17 month-old Silas saw the step stool come out, he ran to the kitchen like his hair was on fire. He wanted to HELP. I was able to talk Brad into letting Silas have a quick turn to squish up the bananas in a separate small bag. He grabbed the tablespoon measure and beat that bag of bananas to a pulp. LOL. (This boy is tough to get a good photo of – he never stops moving!)
First off I showed Brad the recipe in the cookbook. I asked him if he knew what a recipe is, and he answered, “It tells you what to do.” Yea! (Maybe I need a recipe book for cleaning up the playroom…)
Brad squished up the bag of dry ingredients, and when they were pretty well mixed, we moved on to the wet stuff in the canning jar. He helped crack the egg and held the spoon to measure the oil, then used a fork to mix those up. We talked about “dry”, and “wet” or “liquid” before combining the two. A little more squishing around with the bag and it was time to add the bananas. After it was all mixed together, I cut one bottom corner off the bag and we squeezed the batter into the baking dish.
An hour later he was very happy with his final product! (And see the clean counter?)
The recipe is linked above if you’re interested. This is the one I’ve used for almost 32 years. The only change I made today was to use half white all-purpose and half white whole wheat flour. I used 3 bananas for each loaf, and did put chopped walnuts in the one I made myself.
There are lots of recipes that can be mixed by squishing things up in a zipper bag. When I was teaching preschool at Head Start, we made chocolate chip cookie dough in the bag, then cut the corner off the bottom and squeezed out pieces of dough for cookies. You can also make yeast bread in a bag – I just found that recipe online, and will post some links after we give it a try. I’d love to hear if you have a favorite “zipper bag” recipe!
A further note about the freezer/pantry challenge – I finally cooked from the frig/pantry last night for supper, making a toasted chicken, bacon, and cheese sub sandwich. Tonight we had chicken fried steaks from the freezer, along with the last bags of mashed potatoes and gravy leftover from the wedding. I also had some spaghetti squash I’d cooked and frozen into portions. Slowly but surely I’m getting back into the groove…