Times Up! Yogurt based loaves

Banana Chocolate Chip Pecan LoafWondering where I’ve been? No worries. I’m exactly where I was last time we spoke. Which now that I think about it was quite some time ago. Here’s the thing. If you’ve ever lived through a pandemic you know that the concept of time has entered a whole new paradigm. Days feel like months, months like days. Remember last March when we all figured we’d be in the house for a couple of weeks while we waited for this whole thing to blow over? At first it seemed like a long time. Stuck in the house all day with nothing to do but source out lysol wipes and toilet paper. But then we realized it was just a couple of weeks. Who can’t stay home for a couple of weeks? There were fridges to clean and closets to sort. And what a great time to catch up on that reading we couldn’t find time for in our endlessly busy days. Surely those weeks would go by in no time. But as the weeks turned into months the paradigm shifted again. We had to adapt and some of us started to lose our perspective.

One day you get up in the morning and somehow, before you even realize what’s happening, the clock strikes five pm, you look down and realize, much to your chagrin, that you are still in your pjs. The next day, resolved not to let time pass you by, you wake up raring to go, eat a hearty breakfast and start to cross those “to do” items off your list. What seems like eons later, and feeling a little peckish, you check your watch only to discover that a mere hour has passed since those bacon and eggs settled in your gut. How, you ask, can that be? How is it that some days and weeks fly by while others seem to move at a snail’s pace? How did Christmas sneak up on us when we can hardly remember what we ate for dinner last night? Has it really been almost a whole year since we first had an inkling that “something was rotten in Denmark”? (his words, not mine)  And, if you don’t mind me saying so, in most other places across this wide world of ours as well. Did Mother Earth forget to remind Father Time to put a fresh battery in that clock of his and now the whole damn world has gone haywire? 

All of this time shifting is compounded if you happen to be, like me, a retired person. Because the least of my concern is what hour it might be on any given day. What I really need to know is what day it is and, if we happen to be near enough to a cusp, in what month. You see we no longer have any anchors. I mean I know I have to watch the Amazing Race on Wednesday evening but beyond that, what clues do I have? No more Thursday morning volunteer work. No more Tuesdays with the walking ladies. So how am I supposed to keep track? These days I often find myself asking why is this night different from any other night? Which I believe, is why I have run into my current problem and explains my need to bake an rather inordinate number of loaves. With yogurt. 

You see, about 6 weeks ago, give or take a few, there was a sale on yogurt at my local grocers. Now while those who know me know I love a sale, I’m not so enamoured with saving a few shekels that I would risk the perils of loading up on perishable goods. But on this day the deals were great and the expiry dates long. So long that I could not even imagine the contents going bad before we had a chance to use them all up. Between all the smoothie making and baking going on in this house these days we can literally go through buckets of the stuff before you can say “Jack Robinson”. So I went out on a limb and tossed not one, but two cartons of plain greek yogurt into the cart. Now I can’t even begin to explain how it happened but in the shake of a lamb’s tail I was faced with the stark reality that my calendar had caught up with that yogurts’ best before date. Hence the proliferation of yogurt based loaves currently taking up space in my freezer. The ones I’ve tasted are delish so if you have some time on your hands you might want to try one or two of these. The good thing is life should get back to normal soon. That vaccine is right around the corner. They say it could be here in a month or two. And if you ask me, that’s just a couple of buckets of yogurt away.

Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Recipe: Prep time:  15 minutes; Cook Time: 1 hour; Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Me: Prep time: 29 minutes; Cook Time: 61 minutes; Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: Using up some of that yogurt
Least favourite thing about this recipe: Waiting for my bananas to ripen before I could bake it. (See below)
What I learned: You can teach an old dog new tricks. I learned that you can ripen bananas by baking them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Who knew?

 

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Here’s a couple more to try if, like me, you have some yogurt to burn through:

Zucchini Carrot Bread
The Best Zucchini Bread

Banana Sour Cream Loaf: Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

It’s just the way it is. There are times, no matter how hard you try, or think you might like to try, when you really have very little choice about what you can do. Like now. How many of us would like to be doing whatever it was we were doing around the beginning of March? I mean who doesn’t want to go outside? Or have a little dinner party with a few close friends. Or never again have to hear “it’s the new normal” when you weren’t aware there was an “old normal”? But right now for the sake of all of us, we simply have no choice but to stay in, eat on our own, and resign ourselves to the distinct possibility that the next time we Zoom, someone will inevitably utter that dastardly phrase and you will resolve, when this whole thing is over, and all of the commercials tell me that one day it will be, that you will never, not ever, allow anyone to tell you what’s normal, be it old or new. Yes, I digress, but I felt I needed to illustrate why it was that I made this Banana Sour Cream loaf. It was, simply, because I had no other choice. 

Don’t get me wrong. I like a decent slice of banana bread every once in a while. But that’s not why I chose this specific recipe. It wasn’t even the two overripe bananas sitting on my counter that were quickly reaching the point of no return. Nope. What motivated me to search out this particular treat was the approximately half cup of sour cream left over from some other baking exploit of the past few weeks which was more quickly than I realized, approaching its best before date. Which might not be a problem in some homes but it certainly is in ours. I suppose I should explain.

A long, long time ago in a land so far away there was a young lad that worked in a cheese factory. And while it was a good job with the added benefit of all the free cheese one could reasonably eat, as the sun set on each day this lad found himself smack dab in the middle of a very large vat that earlier in the day had held, you guessed it, sour cream. Unfortunately, it was the job of this Cinderfella to ensure that not a speck of cream lingered, lest some tiny critters find their way in to feast on the remains. And so it was that he toiled away at this rather distasteful, yet very important task, with nary a thought of the consequence. At least not at the time. 

Now you might only be able to imagine what it would be like to find yourself in this situation, but since I know this fella quite well I can tell you, from countless hours of hearing about it, that this experience can lead to a distinct dislike of sour cream. Just the smell of it seems to be enough to set off an endless stream of stories recounting those days in the vat. And so it is, when sour cream comes into this house, and let me say it very rarely does, the only way for it to exit is in disguise. It must find a way to leave the premises with not even the tiniest hint of its heretofore existence. And there you have it. As you can plainly see I had no choice but to make this Banana Sour Cream loaf. Luckily for all of us, no one was the wiser.

Ok. I know exactly what you real bakers are thinking. You’re thinking, “why the heck doesn’t she just use plain yogurt instead of sour cream? That way she can avoid the problem altogether!” This is a new blog and many of you have just joined so I get that you might not yet completely understand where I’m coming from. Let me just say this once again. Even though you know, and deep down in my heart I know, that yogurt makes perfectly good sense, I am not a baker. And because of that, I make no substitutions. Yeah. You probably noticed, or soon enough will, that I added nuts to the recipe. Technically that’s an addition not a substitution but nonetheless deserves an explanation. So Mel, this is Mel’s recipe, kind of left a door open when she mentioned there’s a banana bread controversy which has divided aficionados into two camps. Those who add nuts and those who don’t. Far be it from me to take sides. I had some so I threw them in. 

BTW…If I do say so myself, it was delish!

Sour Cream Banana Bread (from Mel)
The Recipe: Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour; Total: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Me: Prep time: 37 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour; Total: 1 hour and 37 minutes
Favourite thing about this recipe: In the comments someone actually explained that the darker brown colour (as opposed to light) was a result of the Maillard reaction. It was heartwarming to learn there are actually people who know all about that!  Not to mention you can make the whole thing in one bowl.
Least favourite thing: The instructions could have been a little more precise.
Lesson learned: There’s a video! I suggest you watch it before putting the loaf in the oven. Would have helped with the instructions for sure. 

 

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