After reading this blog, you probably understand that being a full-time student takes up a lot of my life—I typically spend, including rehearsal time and extracurricular activities, 45-55 hours a week at school. Even with all that, I manage to work on the weekends at the restaurant down the street from my school as a host and cashier.
Yeah, I know, it still doesn’t even make sense to me how that all goes down, but it does, so I just roll with it.
I love working in the restaurant business as a teenager. I get to develop great people skills by meeting all kinds of customers, customers ranging from the super nice and absolutely polite to the quirky crack-ups to the…well, we’ve all seen those certain kinds of patrons at restaurants, so I’ll just leave up that up to your imagination.
All jokes aside, though, my restaurant is great. My waiter, cashier, and host co-workers and I are like a big family. We’ve got the motherly waiter who always bakes and takes care of the rest of the staff, the kooky uncle-cashier who you always want to hang out with, and the rest of the clan, all ending up with me: the little kid of the whole bunch :). I think that spirit that patrons see is what keeps them coming back for more. Well, other than the scrumptious food, that is.
One perk of working in a restaurant? The cooks sometimes give me the old bananas from the week to take home! They’re overwhelmingly brown and black on the outside and mushy on the inside, but I think they’re beautiful. Do you know why?
Well, I can make this out of them:
Old bananas are the best bananas to use for baking bread, I’ve found. The peels are brown and unattractive, but the inside is mostly in tact, so by no means are the bananas inedible. Since the bananas have over-ripened, I can cut down on the sugar in the recipe I use them in while replacing the lost sugar with the natural sugars that are present in the ripe bananas, making what could have been packed with empty calories into a healthy snack or part of a healthy breakfast.
Orange Banana Bread
(adapted from this recipe on Fuss Free Cooking)
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cups of brown sugar
1 cup of whole wheat flour
¼ cup of walnuts (or any kind of nuts really), roughly crushed and pre-roasted
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
Just a hair below ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
Note: I haven’t tried this yet, but you could add ¼ – ½ cup of orange juice and then add about ¼ – ½ flour and a pinch of baking soda and baking powder to compensate in order to pack this with even more orange flavor.
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking pan with parchment paper and grease sides without parchment paper with vegetable oil or butter (or grease the whole pan if no parchment paper is on hand).
2. Mash peeled bananas and mix together well with honey, vanilla, sugar, egg, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon (use a hand mixer or an immersion blender to make everything easier on you).
3. Zest orange and fold zest and walnuts into batter with silicon spatula or wooden spoon.
4. Pour batter in pan and sprinkle on top with extra walnuts. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick (or wooden skewer, since a loaf of bread is thicker than, say, a muffin or cupcake) comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Wrap in foil to keep fresh.
Do you all have any comments or suggestions for my photography? Please tell me! I’m always looking for advice, I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert (I use a point-and-shoot camera, for goodness sake).