Long weekend in northern Finland
One of my boyfriend’s close friends from back home in Ireland got married to a Swedish girl in northern Finland last weekend. Sounds complex doesn’t it? In any case, it was an awesome opportunity for us to make our way very far north and discover a beautiful and peaceful part of the world. Though the weather forecast initially seemed pretty daunting with highs of only 14°C and lows of 7 or 8 degrees, we actually got really lucky and had some incredible sunshine during the daytime hours that made it feel much warmer and when the temperatures dropped (though not the sun), we bundled up as best we could!
That weekend was also a crazy insight into those areas that are so far up north that it never properly gets dark. I had heard about this phenomenon before, but nothing can prepare you for what it’s going to feel like to be walking home from a night out at 2am, a little tipsy, and for the sky to still be light. It was really a great weekend and it was great for me to meet my boyfriends’ friends from home and their respective girlfriends.
Perhaps the single unfortunate point of the trip was a missed connection in Helsinki on the way back to Paris on Sunday night. When you expect to be home Sunday and be able to get ready for the coming week, news of spending the night in an airport hotel and having to rise at 5am for an early flight and having to go straight to work from the airport is a bit disappointing. All in all, though it all worked out smoothly, but I was mighty happy to get home on Monday night.
To summarize the weekend and the week has been pretty hectic and the contents of my freezer have really made my life much easier!! I was able to sail through the first part of the week thanks to lunches that had been frozen in ready-to-go portions and containers that I just tossed in my lunch bag to thaw by lunchtime…and being the sweet tooth I am, I was delighted to have some of this delicious Banana Bread in there as well ready to go!
A little sweetness
My theory is if you’re going to pack your lunch every day or even several days a week, there better be a little something sweet you can get excited about packed right alongside it.
Whole-wheat flour or all-purpose white flour?
This banana bread is super easy to make and while there is indeed a hefty amount of white sugar in it, I would argue that the negative effects of that are counter-balanced by the whole-wheat flour. Sound believable? I hope so because you owe it to yourself to try making banana bread at least once in your life. Once you’ve done it once, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
No loaf pan? No problem!
This recipe is really easy and requires only a large bowl and some arm power for the mashing of the bananas and the mixing of the ingredients! Takes 15 minutes tops to get the ingredients ready for the loaf pan. If you don’t have a load pan use a flat square cake pan, that’s what I did the first time I made this bread! If you go down that road, make sure you check the bread after 30 minutes, as the thinner spread the mixture, the faster it will cook!
Freezing leftover slices
Having a fresh loaf of banana bread might not be the kind of temptation you want to put in your own way., but the great thing about banana bread is that it freezes beautfiully. Once the loaf is cool, slice the bread into even slices and lie flat in one layer in a large freezer bag. When you place it in the fridge just make sure that the slices are still flat and not overlapping. Then, when you walk out the door in the morning, take a frozen piece and place it in a food container or resealable bag. By the time you are eating lunch, it will have thawed slowly and will be just right to assuage the craving for an end of meal sweet bite.
Whole-Wheat Banana Bread
Makes one loaf. Freezes well, slice and place in one layer in a large Zip-loc.
What you’ll need:
- 4 bananas, skin browning, mashed
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (all-purpose flour can be substituted)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (thermostat 6).
- Mix the melted butter into the mashed bananas.
- Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well.
- Mix in the baking soda and the salt.
- Finally, add the flour and combine well.
- Pour the mixture into a buttered loaf pan (10cm x 20cm, if you have it, but any size as long as it’s a loaf pan will do).
- Bake for 50 minutes. Bread is cooked if a toothpick comes out clean of the deepest part of the loaf. If still wet, return to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Let cool and remove from pan.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.