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.
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.
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)
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