a clean slate

I don’t know what to say, really. I pressed the publish button on my last post with much hesitation. I’ve shared some tough moments here, but talking about my perceived faults as a mother was not easy. Regardless of how much I struggle with it, though, being a mom is the single most important thing I will ever do with my life. The Mr. used to often say a test should be required to have children. I knew exactly what he meant. It wasn’t about being perfect all the time, rather the ability to understand the overall responsibility. It’s so much easier to manage this delicate balance when you’re part of a team. You can hand over the baton when patience runs thin. There’s also someone else to remind you that one bad moment doesn’t erase the many good ones.

Thank you for being there, for reminding me that I’m not alone, even in the moments when the weight of my emptiness feels unbearable. A recipe for banana bread doesn’t seem quite the right thanks for the kindness and love you’ve all shown these last few years. And do we really need another banana bread recipe? If like me, you always seem to have overripe bananas in need of a home, then I think the answer is yes. I’d been staring at three of them on the kitchen windowsill for a few days, but just didn’t have the time to do anything with them. Really, I think it was because I’m not really a fan of banana bread. Sure, I have a few favorite recipes, but when I’m looking for a piece of cake to nibble on, and satisfy a craving, banana bread just doesn’t cut.

The girls love it, though, and the night I made this one was also that night I talked about in my last post. After I got them off to sleep, I went into the kitchen to clean up. I had such regret for the way our night ended, and aside from uttering the words, the next best way I know how to show someone I love them is to cook for them. So, I mashed up the bananas, and set about making them a treat for breakfast the next morning.

No matter how challenging they were the day before, regardless of how many times little feet shuffled out of bed, I approach each day as it is—a new one. A clean slate. My friend once told me a lovely story of how her mother, Helen, did the same thing, turning over a new leaf, when they had a disagreement. I think of Helen on mornings like this one especially, and can imagine her whispering those words to me.

A new leaf. A new recipe. There’s room for all of it in this hot mess of a life in progress.

photo

More ideas to use up ripe bananas:

Banana, Walnut & White Chocolate Chunk Scones

Brown Butter Banana Nut Muffins

Easy Banana Bread

Makes One Loaf

Music Pairing: Here Comes the Sun by The Runaways

PLEASE READ BEFORE SHARING MY RECIPES: I really appreciate that you like my recipe enough to want to share it with your readers. I work hard at developing them, and the only way to way to truly show your thanks is to LINK to the recipe. If you feel the absolute need to reprint the recipe, then you must rewrite the directions in your own words, and give credit as “recipe by In Jennie’s Kitchen” with a link back to this page. If you make sufficient changes to the recipe, then you may list it as “adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen”, again with a link back to this page. Thank you!

1 1/4 cups (180 grams) whole wheat pastry flour (white all-purpose flour will work, too)

1/3 cup (66 grams) packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt

Fresh grated zest from 1/4 of a lemon

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 large eggs

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (canola or vegetable oil will work fine, too)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line an 8-inch by 3-inch loaf pan with parchment, letting the paper hang a bit over the sides (this will act as makeshift “handles” to lift the loaf out once it’s cooled).

Add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest to a medium bowl. Whisk to mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, bananas, oil, and vanilla to combine. Pour over the flour mixture, and stir with a fork until just mixed, and there are no visible signs of flour (it’s okay if the batter is lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until deep golden, and a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Remove the oven, and set pan on a wire rack. Let cool for at least one hour before serving. I usually slice leftovers, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then store them in a ziptop bag in the freezer. This way I can take out what I need, and heat them in the toaster.

Comments

  • Maryea {happy healthy mama}: Amen. Banana bread can help damn near any situation. I’m sure all was forgotten when they woke to this lovely loaf.

    Thanks for reminding me of the importance of focusing on each day as new and with a clean slate.

  • Cherie: We’re all entitled to a fresh start. Don’t let your childhood memories overwhelm you – you are human, and you had a bad night – but you are a wonderful and caring mother and we ALL have those moments. Just sending hugs – from one single mother to another

  • Linda: I think if mothers were more honest with one another about how difficult some days are and how far from the mark we can be some days, we would all feel better about ourselves as mothers.
    Thanks for your honest post. We have all had days when we long for a rewind button to change some wrongs. Our kids know we are human–humans make mistakes–moms do and kids do as well.
    Enjoy!

  • Heidi: Jennie, Dont be so hard on yourself! All parents make mistakes and its doubly hard to be a single parent! Just the fact that you are trying to be the best you can be is heartening!

    heidi

  • Debbi: I wish we could have coffee and some of that delicious looking banana bread ( I can actually smell it through the computer) for about an hour. I would share the raising of my son ( now 43). It was so hard. He acted out at age 12 and I said things I regret to this day. So, you were just having “a bad day”. We all understand it.

    Thx for the banana bread recipe, although chocolate would be my preference. Lol

  • Rachel: You know, my father passed away when I was ten. Being the youngest of six children, my mother had a huge responsibility put on her shoulders. Reading your blog gives me some insight into her situation and her heart. Thank you. You are doing amazing, and I admire you.

  • Jennifer Perillo: Thank you for sharing that Rachel.

  • Jennifer Perillo: Debbie,

    The Mr. used to love when I put chocolate chips in banana bread. :)

    Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo: Thank you Heidi!

  • Jennifer Perillo: Linda,

    I totally agree with you about the honesty part. It’s so easy to follow someone’s instagram photos, and think they have an ideal life, or that it’s all good. I think that’s what nudged me to share that moment.

    Jennie

  • Jennifer Perillo: Thank you Cherie for the encouragement.

  • Jennifer Perillo: Maryea,

    They woke up happy and cheerful the next morning. It’s funny how the things that feel heaviest in the darkness of night fade away with each new sunrise.

    Jennie

  • Julie: I did not have time to comment on your last post but I wanted to. I respect everything you write about this unintended journey. I have one living son, who was born after his brother died and I cannot express how grateful I am for him and all the joy he brings to me life. Yet I too, lose it sometimes. Parenting is exhausting and frustrating. He was too rough with a board book this week and when he swung it around, it smacked me in the face. In shock, I threw it across the room and yelled “No!” Not my proudest moment as we try to teach him not to throw things and to control his emotions. But it happened. I apologized and explained (to my 21 month old) that I had made a mistake. I am sure there will be so so many more mistakes with bigger consequences, but we love our babies so much and we do the best we can do. Be kind to yourself. Whatever that means on any given day. Hugs to you!

  • Mallory @forkvsspoon: A new leaf with each day…I really like that idea. A clean slate with each sunrise and banana bread always helps. (even though I can’t seem to jump on the bandwagon, however it is the most baked thing in my kitchen…perhaps I should buy fewer bananas!)

  • Jennifer Perillo: Mallory,

    I always think the same thing about buying less, and then that’s just when they start asking to eat more of them. Can’t win. :)

    Jennie

  • Annie: At our house, in that moment just after the dust has settled. Someone will say, ‘let’s start over’. We all know what that means. We all understand that ‘let’s start over’ is the heartfelt short form for: “I’m sorry”, “I’m sorry too”, “I love you always no matter what”, and “let’s move on”. As my boys enter their teens, we might have to shorten it further to LSO.

  • Tracey A: Good Morning Jennie,
    Well I think that is what life is about, listening and helping and loving one another!
    Anyway, I have been making Zucchini Bread in the Crock Pot, as well as banana bread. Crazy, yes, but with the San Diego weather as it is, I j am trying not to fire up the oven.(that is hard for me to do). Thank you for the wonderful recipes and inspirational reading,
    Wishing the same stuff as I have before, (plus smiles)
    Tracey A.

  • Morgan: Thank you for being so open and honest. I can’t imagine what you have gone and are going through. I admire you though. I have a hard time making sense of suffering – the only answer I have is that it brings us deep joy when we walk through it with God. I don’t know your beliefs but your comment about the promise of a new morning reminded me of one of my favorite verses: “The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Hope that offers some encouragement.

  • Christina G: Parenting is difficult in itself. Adding stuff on top of that and it’s like swimming through a sea of molasses some days. At the end of the day I am sure your little ladies know you love them and that’s what counts. Keep your chin up. I sent this on instagram but you are my hero! Love from California.

    P.S. Did I read Zucchini bread in the comments? I’ll take it over banana bread any day. yum!

  • Miranda: Can’t wait to make this and I nearly burned the pecans I slid into the oven right before reading this! Oops. I’ll take the hot pecan-scented mess with a huge slice of good stuff on the side ;)

  • Rocky Mountain Woman: I like your comment about love. Cooking, to me, is simply love in it’s most essential form…

    hang in there, it’ll all be ok…

  • TINA COSENTINO: a big hug to you. Motherhood is soooo very hard and especially as a single parent. No advice for you, only a hug :) and just letting you know that you are SO not alone…

  • Carolyn: One of my favourite quotes is Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) – “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” Ain’t that the truth… :)

  • Miranda: This is in the oven now. Thank you!

  • Miranda: This was easy to make and I followed your lead of slicing/freezing it. It yielded a nice treat all week. Thank you!

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