Lavender 3: Multitasking

Yeah, I let the day get away from me. I have to keep writing this book, but I have to get the stuff to New York to promote Maybe This Time because that’s gearing up and then there was some business stuff plus we’re still coming back from some bad stuff here and . . .

No Lavender blog yesterday. I’ll do one today. I just have to figure out a banana bread recipe, write an article on how to base a new book on an old classic, type up the MTT soundtrack, find my camera so I can take a picture of the MTT collage and . . . what was that other thing? Oh, right.

Write a book.

I know, I’m lucky to have a job. Shut up and type, Crusie.

74 thoughts on “Lavender 3: Multitasking

  1. Ah, found it —

    Jerry McGee’s Banana Nut Bread:

    2 c. sugar
    1/2 c butter (or oleo)
    2 eggs
    2 c. flour
    1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda (put soda into milk & stir well)
    1/2 c butter milk (I use regular milk and add about 1 tsp. vinegar, stir well & let sit a minute or two before I add the soda to it)
    1 c. chopped pecans (I usually use Bergeron pecans, don’t know if it matters)
    3 ripe bananas (very ripe, soft but not too mushy – skin spotty brown)
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 or 1 tsp cinnamon

    Soften or melt butter in microwave, add sugar & mix til sugar is absorbed, then add eggs, mix well, add flour & milk (with baking soda in it), stir. Mash bananas thoroughly, add bananas, pecans, vanilla & cinnamon to other mixture, mix just until blended together.

    Spray pans with Pam, bake at 325 degrees, approximately 1 hr.

    This makes 6 of the breads the small loaf pan size.
    Fill pans about 1/3 to 1/2 full – divide batter evenly between the six pans.

    If you use the individual small pans, put them all on a baking sheet so it’s easier to take them in & out of the oven.

    Can put all the batter in a bundt pan to make a cake. Or you can put it in 2 regular loaf pans.

    Of course the smaller the pan, the faster it cooks, For small pans should start checking it in about 45 minutes. Can take it out of the oven & stick a toothpick in the thickest parts to see if it’s done. If the toothpick comes out sticky, needs to cook longer!

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    1. It’s here, but the post is to you guys so it’s not the kind of thing I’m supposed to put up for PR. I’m supposed to sound professional. I gave up trying to fool you all about that a long time ago.

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  2. Whoever came up with the idea that women are masters of multitasking? At least, I am not. At all. Maybe I should have been a man? Yesterday I came across one of those TESLA sports cars (the one that’s powered by electricity) and boy, was I fascinated. I’d say that’s two strong indicators. Makes me think.

    That recipe sounds good, by the way. How can anybody make banana bread without pecans?

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    1. My mum does banana bread with hazelnuts – actually, I think that’s pretty common out here (I don’t like nuts, so I go for the plain nut free banana bread, or even better, banana choc-chip muffins)

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    2. I heard a study that says your IQ drops ten points when you try to multitask… maybe that’s why I find it so hard!

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  3. …write an article on how to base a new book on an old classic…

    Oooh, nifty. Where will this article appear?

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    1. Probably on this blog some day. Right now it’s scheduled for something called Maximum Shelf/Shelf Awareness which goes out to booksellers and librarians. Once that hits, I’ll put it up here.

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  4. I put in both nuts and chips.
    Here’s the problem: Andie Miller Archer makes the best banana bread in the world. Everybody in her family says so. It’s SPESHUL. Moral: Be careful what you put in books.
    So now I have to find a banana bread recipe that has something speshul in it. I’m already there with the nuts and chocolate chips. I’m going to try Toni’s Mom’s recipe and see if I can swap some stuff out so people think, “Ooooh, never tried that.” I tried one with almond flour. Do not go halvsies on the flour in banana bread with almond flour. I also used too much buttermilk, I think. So I’ll futz with Toni’s recipe and futz with another one I’ve got and then I’ll pick a recipe and send it to NYC. Because life is not about banana bread, it’s about deadlines and playing Go Fish after dinner.

    Either that, or I’ll send them Toni’s Mom’s recipe and call it Toni McGee Causey’s Mom’s Banana Bread. Because I do not steal recipes. At least not for publication. ARGH.

    Thank you very much, Toni.

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  5. Well, she (and I) would be honored, so have at it, if it works for you. And no worries if it doesn’t. I’ve put chips in it (extremely good) and I’ve also added almond slivers (also amazing).

    These come out very moist, by the way.

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  6. Crusie, don’t think you can put up a title like “Lavender 3…”, make the briefest mention of the book and think we’ll let you count it toward the 12. Ok. Maybe we will. But we’re suckers like that.

    My husband makes a mean banana bread from his grandma’s recipe. I’ll get it from him when he gets back.

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    1. oleo is short for “oleo-margarine” which other people shorten to plain ol’ margarine. (-: My grandmother used to use the word oleo . . . very happy nostalgic feeling to that word (-:.

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  7. In The Cake Bible, Rose Levy Biranbaum has a wonderful recipe for a banana cake. The difference in her recipe and others I’ve read for banana cake or banana bread is the addition of fresh lemon rind. It really enhances the banana taste and keeps it from tasting all gloppy-cooked bananas can taste gloppy I think. For a two layer cake, her recipe adds 2t of lemon rind.

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  8. Oleo is a butter substitute (I, er, think–I only use the butter). I think it’s like a margarine, but honestly, I’ve only had it when it was baked with butter.

    Mikaela–I’m not sure–but can’t hurt to try.

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  9. The latest issue (July/August) of “Cook’s Illustrated” magazine has a stellar recipe for banana bread — you break down the bananas, save the liquid, and concentrate. Uses 6 large ripe bananas in one loaf.

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  10. Totally making that today. With walnuts, though, I’m allergic to pecans. πŸ™ And I do believe I have some nice bittersweet chocolate chips to put in it.

    Jenny, have you tried peanut butter chips? Banana bread a la Elvis.

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  11. I’ve been tweaking the William Sonoma Baking Cookbook banana bread recipe. It’s very similar to the recipe posted above.

    The WS recipe calls for 6 Tablespoons of Butter, but I use only 2 tablespoons of butter and substitute sour cream for the rest. Lowers the fat but I think it adds moisture. I don’t use buttermilk since I’m using sour cream.

    My recipe also calls for nutmeg, but I’ll definitely add vanilla on the next go around.

    I’ve been using 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose flour instead of just AP flour. It seems to give it much more body.

    My favorite thing that I’ve tweaked, though, is I use candied nuts instead of regular nuts. I didn’t have regular nuts on hand but I did have a jar of candied nuts for a salad I was going to make, and boy was it a nice addition.

    OT, but I’m listening to the audio book of “Manhunting” and nearly crashed my car on my commute when they had the lusty scene on the lake. It was 60 degrees outside and I had to turn on the AC full blast just keep my composure. I guess that’s what I get for insisting that I only listen to any Crusie book unabridged.

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    1. LOL I love the AC for Manhunting part of this, totally know what you mean! Sometimes when I’m reading a “heated” moment and my 2 young boys come in the room I catch myself feeling embarrassed like I was actually in the middle of the act πŸ™‚

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  12. I love the idea of lemon rind in banana bread – brightens it up some; but then, you might not want to do the chocolate chips. I’d do white sugar with lemon and brown sugar if one were to go the other way.

    It may not be proper, timewise, but if I did lemon, I’d probably put in dried cranberries. Because I usually put raisins in banana bread (I love raisins in baked goods, I know many don’t), but the dried cranberries would, again, be brighter in flavor, AND very pretty.

    Enough about you – I may be heading up to N. Ohio tomorrow: a friend decided to take 2 days off for her birthday. She’s in Ann Arbor, I’m in Oxford, so we try to meet in between, spend the afternoon together, then return to our separate corners. We did Toledo last year and Saugatuck the year before that. This year, we’re considering Sauder Village. AuGlaize Village is not, according to their website, open on weekdays. Rats.

    Any other suggestions? Mostly we want a pleasant place to wander around and look at things – we’re keeping expectations low. We said “no” to the amusement park in Sandusky.

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    1. Sorry, I’m in the south. Newport Aquarium is fabulous if you wander down to the Ohio River. Lake Erie: I got nothin’.

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  13. If it helps, I always substitute part of the sugar in my banana bread by sugar beet molasses. I don’t know if it makes a big difference in taste, but it sounds speshul.

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  14. re; banana bread without nuts – well, if you’re baking for toddlers most people are baking nut-free these days. And we always had lots of ‘nanas that needed to be ‘repurposed.

    This is a pretty basic recipe but I can say it was the tastiest/ total foolproof banana muffin recipe I ever found. I’m pretty sure you can put it in a loaf pan for banana bread. Seriously, these are so tasty that we have to limit the number that the kidlets eat or they get banana-tummy issues.
    http://www.catcancook.com/awesome-banana-muffin-recipe/

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    1. I KNOW. But the bananas are a huge plot point.
      You think I’m kidding, don’t you? Read the book. The bananas are a huge plot point.

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  15. Trying to avoid nesting so…
    @ jenny – ok, love the hidden compliment (too smart to be fooled) but at least names and singers are typed – saves you SOME work don’t it?

    That’s the second time in two posts I’ve sounded like a speaking extra in Firefly. I’ve got to buy that dvd set, especially since nobody bought it for me yet.

    I like to eat good, firm, fresh bananas. I dislike banana-flavoured-anything-I have-tasted-to-date. From banana flavoured bubble gum to milkshake and bread – can’t ingest any of it. But real bananas? Yum.

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    1. Eh, well, if I didn’t nest this it’d just be weird.
      I agree completely on fake-banana flavoring. Awful stuff.

      But if you’re near SoCal, I’ve got the firefly DVDs in rotation right now. I need to concentrate on distance viewing (aka, not reading) as my eyes heal after getting Lasik and Nathan Fillion is easy on the eyes, so it seemed like the best time for it.

      I’m planning to check out Jacie and stephs recipe tweaks. I need to do my baking goal for June, afterall. Although as a note, the pediatric doctors have completely recinded their suggestion to withhold foods from toddlers, unless you’ve already confirmed the allergy. All the data shows that it does not help to avoid small amounts of varied foods young. (where young starts at 6 months and cow’s milk is avoided in kids with high allergy risk until after that time).
      http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=108

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  16. Good luck with all the work, including the writing and all the non-writing work. I’d be happy to judge your banana bread except you put chocolate chips in it which makes it intolerable. Pecans or hazelnuts get that nice creamy-chewy texture and really make for a great taste, but the chocolate is either melty and inappropriate or waxy-hard and inappropriate and I do not know why you all want to ruin perfectly good banana bread with the things. Honestly, some people.

    When I make banana bread, I usually double the bananas because I often have more old bananas than new ones and I sometimes freeze old ones for banana bread emergencies. I either don’t have issues with too much moisture, or I cut out other moisture or add in more flour. I haven’t yet tried it with some almond flour, but I have the almond flour and that could be good, unless it makes it too dense and gloppy. I like mine fluffy.

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  17. Instead of adding chocolate chips and nuts, what about adding cocoa-roasted almonds? (or sprinkling them, coarsely chopped, on top, if they don’t taste good incorporated).

    Reason #341 why I’d like to live in the Crusie-Rich household: taste-testing recipes to see if they’re special enough.

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  18. @ CrankyOtter

    Which of my suggestions were you thinking of trying? The candied nuts, or the blast-the-ac-while-listening-to-the-lust-bits-of-Crusie-novel tip?

    BTW – when I bake banana bread, hubby always thinks I’m making a honey-baked ham. Does anyone elses banana bread smell like cured meat?

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  19. One thing I do for banana (I-don’t-do-nuts) bread is sprinkling sugar on the buttered sides and bottom of the pan, as well as top of the loaf. Adding some rum to the batter helps, too- it doesn’t last longer than 20 minutes at a gathering at any rate.

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  20. Is there anything in Andi’s background that would lend itself to SPESHUL ingredients? The school trip to Hawaii could explain the Macadamia nuts and/or fresh pineapple. The Syraian family that lived next door contributed dates, etc. I make kitchen sink banana bread which starts with the basic recipe and then deteriorates into what might be in the frig. Banana yogurt and chunky applesauce made up for a missing banana. Penzy’s killer cinnamon worked great. And diced dates really tasted great. Luckily my beloved husband will eat literally anything and is always ready to try my experiments. The same can also be said for the geriatric Golden. But if it were up to Maggie, she would add bacon. πŸ™‚

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  21. OMG banana bread with nuts? Blasphemy!

    Coconut and rum, I can see. As long as there’s enough butter to counteract the rum sorta evaporating (learned that the hard way).

    But nuts?

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  22. I think I would use the teaspoon of cinnamon and the chocolate chips. Cinnomon and chocolate are excellant. My husband does not like big hunks of nuts so he grinds the pecans very fine (almost meal). The DH makes all our bananna bread. Everyone thinks his is really special. I think it’s good and special only because he made it.

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    1. The banana bar recipe I’m using right now has cinnamon and chocolate flakes, and it is DELICIOUS! And super-fast, because it’s baked in a tray, instead of a loaf-pan that takes a freakin’ hour. I think I got it from Woman’s Day. I am going to have to try banana bread with chocolate flakes and coconut, though . . . sounds just right for summer breakfast!

      I think a Crusie banana bread would have dried pineapple and orange rind in it . . . if it were a Fakin’ It banana bread (-:. It’d probably be a muffin, too, but times change . . . . LOL!

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  23. We usually use walnuts, and add nutmeg to the cinnamon. Also I would use brown sugar rather than white. Could you add golden syrup to it for that slightly caramel flavour?

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  24. today i made a collage to go with my whoppin overlong draft. I LOVE it. The collage, that is. The draft, in fact, blows.

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  25. @inkgrrl… LOL… how can you not have nuts? The world needs more nuts. πŸ˜‰ Except for coconut, which is just wrong and should be outlawed. But I am totally trying my next batch with rum.

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  26. Just want to say here that if you’ve always substituted milk with vinegar for buttermilk, you really owe it to yourself to get a small container of buttermilk to try. There’s a HUGE difference between buttermilk and buttermilk substitutes (don’t even mention dried buttermilk solids either. Tried ’em, didn’t work as well as buttermilk). I had leaden pancakes before I discovered buttermilk. It’s amazing stuff. I put a little splash of it in just about anything these days. Cake mix with water? Buttermilk’s better. Want a slight tang to your mashed potatoes? Buttermilk. I buy it by the half gallon around here (well, some of that’s because it takes a quart to make enough pancakes for my family), which is the largest it comes this far north. My husband’s favorite banana bread has chocolate chips in it. I’d give it to you, but it’s pretty much straight from my Betty Crocker cookbook, so it’s not all that special (though lots of people have asked me for it). The lemon rind sounds like a unique twist on it. I’ll have to try it when my husband’s not eating it though, as he’s not fond of lemon.

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      1. I can’t get buttermilk (except unfermented buttermilk when I make butter), but I find a good yogurt makes a nice substitute . . . sometimes I mix 1/2 cup of yogurt with 1/2 cup of milk for a buttermilk substitute, when I don’t need as much . . .bulk? There’s a difference.

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  27. Who knew that banana bread could incite such passion? Nuts, no nuts. Choco chips, no chips. Etc. I’d try it all! Anyone want a taste tester, just mail it on down to Houston …..

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  28. Mikaela, way back when, I think WWII, there was this stuff invented called oleomargarine as a substitute for butter during the war shortages. It came as a pound block of white stuff. It also came with a pellet of orange coloring. The housewife (were there any other kind then?) mashed the white oleomargarine and orange stuff together so that it became yellowish and looked more like butter. Oleomargarine has too many syllables to say; so some people called it oleo, and some called it margarine, and some called it not fit for the hogs. And that’s what I remember my mother telling me.

    About that time nylon was invented as a substitute for silk. Thus stockings were called nylons.

    I also use the BC recipe. Pecans, almost ripe bananas. I just mix the whole mess up, and it leaves smallish chunks of banana. Tasty. Hmmm. I wonder if a handful of frozen raspberries thrown in would taste good. The mixer smushes them to smitherines.

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  29. Huh. I forgot that she’d had the buttermilk substitute option there. I’m so lazy, I just buy the buttermilk. But I hadn’t heard of using it in mashed potatoes. That makes me want to go make mashed potatoes, the old fashioned mac and cheese (the pioneerwoman’s version is where I start, but I spiff it up with Tony Chacheries’ seasoning and add a couple of other cheeses, and a full pound of bacon, because, seriously, at that point, what the hell does a little more fat and salt mean?)

    Dang it, now I’m hungry.

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  30. Mmmm. Bacon.

    (Why no, I have nothing better to do than comment on the blogs while I work on my soundtrack. Only I get sidetracked and forget to listen to the songs.)

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  31. Another possible addition to the banana bread concept is dried/dehydrated banana chips. Our family has too many nut allergies to use the traditional Southern pecan thing, but I missed the whole texture difference so I added crushed dried bananas. I also create a crunchy streusel topping with the crushed dried bananas, brown sugar, butter, and just a little bit of flour. It caramelizes a little and almost makes a candied banana crust on top.

    Now I need to bake. Gee thanks. πŸ˜‰

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  32. And I’m dying for a good macaroni and cheese . . . but alas, no Velveeta. (When I make mac and cheese with real cheese, it always winds up as a ball of string cheese. What’s up with that?) The bacon . . . the bacon . . . OMG, I’ve just eaten, and I’m already overrun with cravings . . . . No time for mac and cheese today; must make BLTs to satisfy the needs instead. BLTs with cheese.

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    1. You need to make a rue first Micki and then add your cheese into that. I have a great recipe if I could find my pasta cookbook… sheesh.

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    2. Micki, this is the one I start with:

      http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/04/macaroni-cheese/

      It’s not spicy (at all), and we like a little more kick, so I added a couple of teaspoonfuls of Tony Chacherie’s (a Cajun seasoning blend that’s terrific, but there are other brands.) I also fry a pound of bacon and crush it and mix it most of it into the mixture there at the end. I used cheddar cheese and added a little cream cheese and pepper Jack. I also sprinkled some of the bacon on top when I baked it. People hurt themselves going back for seconds and then thirds.

      That site is addictive. I should warn you. πŸ˜‰

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  33. For those of you who like raisins in their banana bread, try soaking them in rum first until they plump up; it’s a two-for-one. The rum doesn’t dry out the bread when it’s been soaked up by raisins first!
    Also, cardamom is a vastly underrated spice.

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  34. So tonight I work on Anemone and make two more pans of banana bread before I give up. I will be using many of the suggestions from above. And you guys rock, but then we knew that.
    Thank you!

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  35. Sorry I’m so late here but I just found the recipe for Hippie Banana Bread…..I’m pretty sure this beaten up recipe card came from Laurel’s Bread Book.

    Lacatan Banana Loaf

    INGREDIENTS

    1 cup soft tofu (1/2 lb / 450 g) crumbled
    2 cups bananas, mashed
    1 T lime or lemon juice
    Rind of 1 lime, grated
    1 t vanilla
    1/4 cup barley syrup or corn syrup or maple syrup or golden syrup, etc
    1/2 cup oil
    2 cups whole wheat or unbleached flour
    1 1/2 t baking soda
    1/4 t cinnamon
    1/4 t ground ginger
    1/4 t ground nutmeg
    1 cup dried tropical fruit (such as dried papaya, pineapple, etc)
    1/4 cup cashews (optional)

    METHOD
    Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
    In a blender, combine tofu, bananas, lime juice and rind, vanilla, syrup and oil. Puree until smooth.

    Sift together the flour, baking soda and add the spices.

    Combine the dry and liquid ingredients, then add the dried fruit and cashews. Pour the batter into well greased 9 inch / 23 cm baking tin or loaf pan, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

    Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the loaf.

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    1. I am making this sometime this summer. I don’t think Andie would work with tofu, or that Alice would see it on the counter and not say, “What’s that?” She has a fit about the nuts.

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      1. That’s so cool you are going to use the recipe. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is good enough for your household to enjoy. I was the token junk food kid at a health food store where I worked…i.e. the only woman who hadn’t shaved her head. For some reason people thought I was safer to talk to if I had hair. Especially the men. They were wrong.

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  36. So, I’m probably too late here to help, but I turned to my favorite baking place, King Arthur Flour’s blog. Here’s two recipes:

    banana whoopie pies good for kids, yes?

    Cinnapineapanana – doesn’t look like normal banana bread, but hey, it’s SPESHUL.

    If the html doesn’t work, sorry.

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