Whir, whiz, chop, stir (anytime)

January 28, 2008

Now that S. is old enough to stand at the counter and “help” in the kitchen, I’ve discovered that forcing the two boys to take turns on the mini chopper doesn’t work very well. Ditto for stirring, sifting, dumping … unless each one has his own territory, I spend half my time playing referee. Fortunately, we have a lot of kid-friendly, small choppers and grinders and mixing bowls. I used to flip right past recipes that called for more than one bowl, but now the more kitchen implements we can get dirty, the more smoothly the project seems to go.

Lately we’ve been making a lot of quick breads (the kind that are leavened with baking powder rather than yeast so they don’t have to rise before baking). And a couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe in Eating Well that’s perfect for the boys. It’s called Cranberry-Nut Mini Loaves With Flaxseeds. (Yes, I’m the kind of health-fanatic mom who keeps that sort of stuff on hand.) We needed the manual hand chopper (for the cranberries) AND the coffee grinder (for the flaxseeds) AND the electric mini choper (for the nuts) AND the orange juicer AND the orange zester AND a couple of bowls.

If that’s your idea of a clean-up nightmare too, and you don’t have to worry about keeping two active boys happy while they work side by side, let me suggest a much simpler recipe that’s also a kid-pleaser: Nini’s Banana Nut Bread. Nini is a good friend of our family who made this for M. once when we came to visit, and when I heard how easy the recipe was I had to have it. One bowl, one chopper (and it’s optional!). My kind of recipe, back in the day.

Nini’s Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf

2 large bananas

1/3 c. canola oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

2 1/3 c. Bisquick

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or spray a regular-size loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas well. (You should end up with about 1 1/2 cups.) Add the oil, vanilla and eggs and whisk to combine them, then add the Bisquick and sugar and stir just until the batter is moistened. Gently fold in the nuts. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool thoroughly on a rack.

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