Blessings and Banana Bread

Mother’s Day could be considered a “Hallmark” holiday, but truly it’s a great opportunity to step back and give honor to our Moms and in my case my extraordinary Mother-in-law.

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For years we have lived in different parts of the country, but she always managed to keep our entire family connected.  She would surprise us with incredible care packages in the mail containing special treats from her heart and her garden, not to mention her famous banana bread wrapped in a shiny silver foil pouch.  Did you know you can send live roses in the mail?

The family table is usually adorned with gorgeous flowers she’s nurtured in her backyard oasis.  The food is beautifully delicious with a nod to the family’s Armenian heritage.  Her creativeness and artistry has been passed on to her sons and her grandchildren, each with their own brand of creativity.

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This is a picnic prepared for her grand daughter’s birthday on the beach in Santa Barbara in April.  She is the only person I know who can take a tin can and make a chic floral arrangement.  Our beach picnic included creamy hummus, and all that goes with it plus a traditional favorite salad called “Itch”.  The Armenian version of Tabbouleh.  Itch has been made in mass quantities for each of our kid’s graduation parties.

Itch (Armenian Wheat Salad)

(Abrahamian Family Recipe)

2 c. Cracked wheat (#1 bulghur)

2 c. tomato juice (V-8, crushed canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and water or any combination)
Rinse the wheat. with cold water, pour off excess.  Add the juice/tomatoes.  Stir well.  Set aside for 1/2 hr. (or overnight)
Add:
2 Red pepper finely chopped
2 Red Onions finely chopped
2 Ripe tomatoes chopped
6 green onions chopped (1/2 cup)
1 c. chopped Italian parsley (garnish)
add to bulgur mixture:
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. OIive oil
Salt to taste (2 tsp.)
(Optional) Aleppo pepper  1/2 to 1 tsp (nice kick)
Whisk together  pour over salad
Refrigerate.  Best over night.  Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves.

She makes so many dishes we love, and can whip together incredible tasting food in minutes.  One evening last summer my husband and I were taking a walk and landed on my in-laws doorstep conveniently at dinner time.  On the spot,  the four of us had a “grilled cheese date night*” out on the patio.  (* GCDN) we stole that concept from my son.  A simple meal built on being together and using good ingredients to elevate the humble grilled cheese sandwich.  It doesn’t hurt when a good glass of wine is on the side.  A cheap date!

IMG_6682 grilled cheese

*Tip Put some sliced tomatoes right on the skillet first and then using  nice bread, good cheese and a few basil leaves.  Viola!  An incredible meal.  (Yes, we took a picture because we were enjoying the moment and the excellent flavors)

Last but not least her magical banana bread.  It’s quite a blessing to have her as a mentor, friend and a second mom.  One thing I know for sure is that there are some things I will never quite attain, one being able to make banana bread as good as hers. (My kids say Grandma’s is best)  But now, we ALL have the recipe here!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

(adapted from Betty Crocker and Grandma)

3 c. whole wheat flour

2 c. sugar

2 c. mashed bananas (about 5 medium)

1/2 c. coarsely chopped nuts

2/3 c. vegetable oil

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

4 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (9x5x3 or 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches)

Beat all ingredients in a large bowl on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 45 seconds, scraping bowl frequently.

Pour batter into pans

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans.  Cool completely before slicing.

53 thoughts on “Blessings and Banana Bread

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