Paying it Forward…With a Loaf of Banana Bread

Snow tires in winter are a must in Vermont, so every April and November I find myself at  the car shop having them taken off or put on. I’ve been mulling over getting a new car to replace my ’03 Toyota for a while now, and since I got rid of my almost bald tires last fall, I knew I either needed to get a new car or new tires this spring. But I didn’t want to spend $400 on a set of tires that wouldn’t see me through the years, so to Craig’s List I went.

I spent a week looking for a set of tires that had been used for a couple of seasons. I figured I’d spend anywhere from $100-$150 for them, I was getting a deal either way I looked at it. Finally, late Friday afternoon, I had scanned far enough back to find an ad that had been posted a couple of days previously. The right size, used one summer, were $60(!), and about an hour from home. Perfect, and a response came Friday evening that they were still available.

I called Paul Saturday morning and he was fine with letting me stop by on Easter Sunday; we were going have dinner with family just a few miles away that afternoon, so the timing worked wonderfully. I was so pleased I found such a great deal on the tires that wanted to give him something additional.

Sunday noon we arrived and after getting the tires in the car, I paid him, then gave him a loaf of banana bread to share with his family. I think I surprised him with this a little bit, and as I left, wondered what if they are a gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free family? It didn’t matter. I hate to equate the adage “food is love,” but in this case, for me, food was just saying an additional “thank you.”

Banana Bread
I got this recipe from my mom  when I started baking many moons ago. Through the years I’ve tried to make it a little bit healthier with a combination of wheat and white flour and less oil, but the original is much tastier, in my opinion.

Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees, depending on your oven

1/4 Cup canola oil
3/4 Cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2-3 extra ripe bananas, mashed*

2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons buttermilk or sour milk**

1/2 Cup chopped nuts if desired

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the oil and sugar together in a small bowl. Add the beaten egg.

2. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

3. Alternate adding dry ingredients with the buttermilk or sour milk. When completely mixed, add nuts, if using and mix completely.

4. Place mixture in a well greased loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, depending on your oven.

This is served best warm with a little bit of butter and a cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning.

*Whenever I have bananas that are getting a little too ripe for my liking, I’ll pop them in the freezer, whole and unpeeled. When I decide I want to make something with them, I’ll just defrost them on a plate and then peel. They just slide out, and no mashing is necessary!

**If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make sour milk by taking 3 Tablespoons of milk and slowly adding lemon juice or white vinegar until it starts to become thick.

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