Coconut Rum Banana Bread

I’m not a fan of ripe bananas. If it a banana has even a HINT of a brown spot it’s inedible to me. Dead to me. I won’t eat it. I know, I know. It’s a quirk, but hey, I’m OK with it. The bananas I use for a quick bread are ripe but don’t have lots of spots. I prefer the less sweet taste and firmer texture of a yellow banana. If you like brown bananas go for it! It will be sweeter and probably taste more familiar. Not many people use yellow bananas for banana bread. That’s my special banana weirdness.

I recommend only lightly mashing the bananas. You will get some more tasty chunks of banana in the bread. If you prefer brown bananas you may end up with more of a liquid after mashing. It will still come out great, it’s more a matter of texture and what you prefer.

Note: With quick breads the standard is creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs one at a time and then alternating the dry and liquid ingredients, being mindful of not over-mixing. This recipe follows the same pattern. Measure out all ingredients before starting. I learned this lesson many years ago: mise en place, everything in its place. Read the recipe first, collect and measure ingredients, and THEN start your process.

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

Makes 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2C pastry flour
  • 1C sugar
  • 1 1/2C gently mashed bananas, about 3 medium-sized
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2C shredded, sweetened coconut + 2T for topping
  • 1/4C unsalted butter, room temp (4T)
  • 1/4C plain full-fat yogurt
  • 3T spiced rum
  • 3/4t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t vanilla extract

Optional Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2C confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2T freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

If you are making one 9 x 5″ loaf, preheat oven to 350°.

If you are making the smaller loaves, preheat to 325°.

Prepare your loaf pans with Baker’s Joy spray or butter and flour them. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the flour, 1/2C coconut, baking soda, and salt. Give a quick stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, yogurt, rum, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

In the large bowl of a mixer (or deep bowl good for hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until light and airy. Use a rubber scraper to scrape down the sides if the sides are not mixing well. Add the eggs one at a time and continue creaming them together until combined and light in texture.

Alternate adding the dry and liquid ingredients to the creamed butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Do not over beat.

Spoon the batter into your loaf pan or mini loaf pans (filling 3/4 full). Sprinkle the top with the 2T of shredded coconut that was set aside earlier.

Bake one large loaf for 60 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Bake the mini loaves for 30 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let sit in the loaf pan for 5-10 minutes until inverting onto a cooling rack. Once completely cool, make a glaze with the sugar and lime juice and drizzle over the bread.

 

 

 

 

 

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Indigo Bunting Sighting

Teachers have favorites. I hate to break it to you, but we do. For me, it’s usually the nature-loving, part wild child, book-loving child that finds a space in my heart. Sophie was that child for me eleven years ago. She arrived on the first day of Kindergarten with a whole lot of spirit and spunk. I loved her right away. As I soon found out, Sophie had many passions. Her mother told me that at 4 years old that she announced that she would be a vegetarian. No one else in her family was a vegetarian so there were lots of changes in the household, as you can imagine. But the parents honored her decision and from then on she was a vegetarian.

Children this age often choose to be vegetarians because when they learn where they food comes from (a long lashed soft-eyed cow, a clever chicken that can outfox a fox, a cute pink pig like Wilbur or Babe) they become very upset and decide right then and there they will be stewards of animals. We often chatted about Sophie’s vegetarianism at morning circle because some of the other children in my class didn’t understand what being a vegetarian meant. Sophie was kind and patient when she explained that she didn’t want to eat animals because she loved them. There was no judgement, just a simple and clear explanation. My heart swelled. I found a few picture books on being a vegetarian – I have no control when it comes to an opportunity to acquire more books – and this one was our class favorite.

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You may have thought that some of the other children would’ve decided to become vegetarians, but they didn’t. They simply accepted that Sophie’s lunch was just lunch and they ate up the Herb the Vegetarian book.

Sophie came to kindergarten with another passion: Indigo Buntings. Sophie had seen one in North Carolina and that’s when her passion for the Indigo Bunting began. So yes, at four years old, she had a passion for all things Indigo Bunting.

She drew them.

She talked about them.

She asked me at least once a week, usually on a Monday, if I’d seen one that weekend. Sadly, I always said no.

Sophie wanted (aka slightly demanded) to know more about them. Yay! Me too! I brought in my Audubon bird identification book and provided her with books and many Montessori lessons on birds, and since she learned how to read with me that year she began independently reading about them during D.E.A.R (drop everything and read) time. I presented lessons on the external parts of a bird and then she made her own bird book (she colored her bird blue), lessons on the internal parts of birds (and she made a diagram), lessons on geography (we researched North America and where the Indigo Buntings live), lessons on migration (we researched Central America), lessons on how birds reproduce, what they eat, and what their nests look like. I spent the whole year integrating Indigo Buntings into the curriculum areas for her and on every field trip the whole class was on the lookout for them. Everyone grew to love and appreciate the Indigo Bunting, and Sophie sealed her place in my heart.

I had never seen an Indigo Bunting live and in person

UNTIL

this morning.

Here’s what the Mister and I saw at 6:20 a.m. this morning!

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The blue is like a Lapis Lazuli color! So bright!
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Looking for a mate? If I’m really lucky there will be a nest nearby!
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They prefer insects, live mealworms, small seeds, and thistle.

Here’s a little bit about Indigo Buntings.

  • They have a conical beak that give you an idea of  what they eat: small seeds, berries, and insects. They will come to your thistle feeders and will really like your live mealworm feeder.
  • They are native to North America.
  • They are roughly the size of sparrows; small and stocky birds.
  • They frequent areas where the woods meet the fields.
  • Their nests are made of grasses, sticks, leaves, and wrapped in spider silk.
  • They lay a clutch of 3-4 eggs and can have up to 3 broods a season. Their eggs are white with some brown spots.
  • The nestlings fledge at two weeks old.

 

Thank you, Sophie.

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Have Time For That

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Recently, I was asked, “How do you have the time? Don’t you sleep?” Easy answer. I make time. Even when I worked outside the home for 40 hrs – plus another 10+ hours of commuting – I had time to do projects, take a class (or teach an additional class), and still shop, cook meals, clean the house, work the gardens, mow the lawn. You get the picture. I’m no superwoman, I certainly don’t have endless energy, and I definitely have my share of aches and pains.

This I know:  We make the time for the things that are important to us.

So when someone say, “Oh, I don’t have time for that,” what he or she really means is, “I don’t think that’s important enough to make time for.” And that’s OK.

Cheers!

Hellooooo

Hello friends,

I can’t believe it’s been two years. A lot has happened in the two-year break from blogging, but hopefully this is my return to writing, sharing my personal recipes, and sharing what I’ve learned in my – ah-hem – nearly 50 years (I turn 50 this July).

My interests have evolved so the blog may have more gardening and decorating posts, but who knows? I’ll try to write more often and hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and useful! I’m still making herbal remedies, but the business name has changed to reflect more of ‘place’. The new name is Farm44Herbals and you can find my single remedy tinctures on Etsy. I’m still involved with Montessori, Stott Pilates, cooking, and being a Mum to two adult daughters,  seven chickens, and one Labrador retriever. Life is good.

But, back to the immediate reality. I’m hoping the weather turns for the better. I have 10 yards of loam to mix with peat moss and and then put into three new garden beds. Those plants aren’t going to plant themselves.

Below is a snippet of what’s going on around the farm.

Thanks for sticking around,

Kim

Continue reading “Hellooooo”

Super Simple Sunday

I’m in the middle of labeling more batches of my herbal products for my Etsy shop, sipping on a tall glass of ginger honey lemonade and thought I should share this awesome recipe. I can get back to labeling later.

Making it by the gallon will make sense after you’ve had a glass. It doesn’t last long. This lemonade is super simple to make and is so good for you.

Here’s why:

Ginger is in the same family as turmeric and cardamom, making it very warming and stimulating to the circulatory system. Ginger is soothing to the digestive tract, is anti-inflammatory, and some resources show that it inhibits the growth of rhinovirus, the common cold.

Lemon juice is loaded with vitamins and minerals, stimulates the production of bile to help move toxins out of your body, is antiseptic and anti-bacterial, aids digestion, and as an added bonus makes your skin radiate. If you want to really boost your immunity zest some of the lemons into the lemonade!  The zest has five times more antioxidant power than the juice.

Raw honey is a miracle food created by the wondrous, hard-working humble honey bee. There is some truth to honey helping with allergies so it is best to get honey that’s been created from your local flora. Honey is antibacterial, anti-microbial, and reduces inflammation. And honey is lower on the glycemic index making it a much better natural alternative to white sugar.

Where do I get my raw honey? I am lucky enough to have my own apiary and access to raw honey, but if you’re looking for good honey you must seek out a local beekeeper. Google search for a local beekeepers club and give them a call. Better yet, go to your local farmer’s market. There’s bound to be a beekeeper or two selling their own honey and beeswax products. Make sure it’s raw, though. It may be crystalized or it may not. It’s not bad if it has crystalized; it’s a normal process that occurs after the honey is removed from the hive. We like the crystalized honey – it’s easy to spread on toast, melt into tea, and blend into smoothies and measure for recipes.

NOTE: Avoid pasteurized honey! It is no better than sugar. And don’t even bother with commercial brands of honey since many are imported and we are now finding out are not even real honey but high fructose corn syrup and other fillers. Yuck. Who needs it?

Cheers!

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Ginger Honey Lemonade

Makes 1 gallon

Ingredients: 

  • 1C peeled and freshly grated ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 ½C of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 7-8 juicy lemons, depending on size)
  • 1C local, raw honey (or more to taste)
  • 4 quarts of water
  • extra lemons for garnish

Directions:

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the grated ginger and simmer for 45 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for 2 hours. Strain the ginger out of the water, using a fine mesh sieve, into a serving pitcher or large container. Add the lemon juice and honey while the ginger water is still warm. Stir until combined. Taste and adjust sweetness. Serve warm or chilled on ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

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