Food & Drink Magazine

Banana Jam Bread

By Monetm1218 @monetmoutrie
Picture Busy. I feel like I'm just now sitting down after a week of activity and tasks.
My third semester of graduate school commenced on Wednesday.
We began fostering two, five-week old kittens.
I embarked on three sewing projects.
And I'm still attempting to work full-time.
As I sit and type I think of my father, and how he always finds ways to occupy his time...from the moment he rises at 6 AM to play a match of tennis to when he winds down with a glass of red wine, pouring over at least two newspapers before going to bed.
But this activity...and all it demands....feels restorative. Anything but  a burden. Brother kitten sits on my lap and his little body curls up as I stroke his head. The newly sewn curtains hanging in my office are loud and colorful. A perfect antidote to tired eyes. And the muffins that required an hour of my time this morning are the ideal evening snack. I know I'll sleep well in a few hours and wake up eager to begin again.
When my oldest sister died in April, I took a few of her things home with me. Her old green sewing box has become one of my most cherished possessions. Ryan and I have kept an unused sewing machine in our closet for the past three years, and only last week did I decide to take it out. Picture As I fiddled with thread, learned about bobbins and stitches and took my kitchen scissors to cloth, I felt like Pam sat in the room with me. Although I could have easily called my mom, or another one of my crafty friends, I trudged through the learning process with no one besides her spirit. In the past few months of grieving, I've found nothing more healing than running my fingers over the spools and pins my sister kept.
So it isn't surprising I had a hard time stopping once my machine began to hum. Over the last two days, I outfitted our bathroom, kitchen and office with brightly printed curtains. I'll think of Pam when the sun filters through the rust-colored curtains in my kitchen...and the thoughts will be happy ones.
This morning, as I stood in my newly clothed kitchen, I thought of muffins. A bunch of bananas was browning in my fruit bowl, so I peeled away the brown skin and began mashing with a smaller-than-ideal fork. Because banana bread is comfort in my family. We serve it during holidays and weeks in which we need an extra dose of love or support. If I had it my way, I'd eat banana bread (with my family) every Sunday morning.
I made this batch special by stirring in a few spoonfuls of raspberry jam. The sugared fruit bubbled as the batter rose and browned in my oven. These mini muffins were little gems of baked goodness--perfect with a tall glass of cold milk and a kitten by your side.
When you're as busy as I've been, taking a moment to sit and eat something crafted with care and love is priceless. Tonight, I'll have a few slices of banana jam bread as I watch the kittens play or while Ryan and I share a movie on our almost-too-small couch. And I'll smile because our rooms are warm and inviting, wrapped in love.
Picture Banana Jam Bread
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
3 bananas (very ripe and mashed well)
6 TBSP butter (melted and cooled)
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup of your favorite jam
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan (or grease 3 mini-loaf pans or a standard 12 cup muffin tin). 
2.  In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine bananas, butter, eggs, sugar and yogurt.  Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula (do not overmix). The batter will look thick and chunky.
3.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top.  With a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of jam onto the top of your loaves. Gently run a knife through the batter to swirl.
4.  Bake until golden brown and only a few moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted in the center (about 50 minutes for a regular pan, about 20 minutes for mini pans or muffins). Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour before serving.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores   

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