A few days ago, I unintentionally took quite a walk down memory lane. I opened my computer and, for some reason, began to look through old notes that I had written years ago. If you’re like me, you have dozens of messages, reminders to yourself, church sermon notes, recipes, etc., that you’ve probably completely forgotten about.
As I began to read, I rediscovered all kinds of things I had forgotten existed. I found recipes, ideas for dishes, notes to myself about existence, phone numbers/contacts, old grocery shopping lists, songs, and teachings I found impactful. I found lists of books I wanted to read, lists of places to see while visiting a city, rambling thoughts, encouragements, reminders, among many other things.
In many cases, what I had written was only a phrase. No explanation, no context - and just reading it was enough to bring me back to another time, on a different continent, when I was surrounded by a different culture and language. I could remember the exact moment I wrote it ... has that ever happened to you? Maybe reading an old journal entry transports you back in time to the moment you wrote that entry.
Some notes reminded me of good seasons, others not so much. Some were full of happiness, others full of sadness and reminisced of times of loss and difficulties. Still others were full of excitement for great moments of success and amazing experiences. All those notes reflected one thing: L I F E.
I found dozens of recipes that were either taught to me b y local friends, or that I created while substituting ingredients because my budget didn’t allow me to purchase anything more. I remember some of my invented recipes came to me simply because I absolutely hate wasting food, so I was forced myself to use what I had on hand, or simply because I couldn’t find the right ingredients at markets in random areas of the world.
One of the cool things I found was this note:
"I don't have many failures. If I'm making a cake and it fails, it becomes a pudding"
I heard this a few years ago while watching a documentary about centenarians (people who reach the age of 100+) who were asked about the things they regret in their lifetime, and the lessons from their years walking on this earth. I remember the answers being so fascinating! They were so full of wisdom, and funny at times, but this phrase really stuck with me.
Mr. Crozier said that even in his old age, he baked his own bread, and for some reason, that phrase – If I’m making a cake and it fails, it becomes a pudding – took so much weight off my shoulders and gave me a new perspective about what I was going through at the time. It was encouraging and impacted me, so I decided to type it and make a note to remember!
The funny thing is, before I had finished reading through my archive of old notes, I had tried to make one of the old banana bread recipes that I found. I didn’t realize until I had already started, though, that I didn’t have enough bananas. So, I changed a few ingredients here and there, and by the time I finished baking it, it became a Fruity Almond-Banana Bread. I guess maybe now I have a story to tell for when I become a centenarian!
So, from my old notes, I created a new delicious bread, and I wanted to share my recipe with all of you during this holiday and fellowship season. Try to make it! And, of course, if you are allergic to almonds, just omit them.
Joha’s Almond Fruity Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (2-3 bananas)
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons spiced rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk.
3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended.
5. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until moist.
6. Stir the blueberries and almonds. Mix carefully with the spatula.
7. Poor the batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan coated with butter and flour; sprinkle almonds - or nuts of preference - on top
8. Bake at 350° for 1 hour (you know the bread is baked through when you insert a wooden toothpick in the center and it’s clean when you pull it out).
9. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes and move to a rack.
10. Mix lime juice and powdered sugar and whisk it. Drizzle over the warm bread. Let it cool completely on the rack.