Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When All Else Fails: Improvise

Today is one of those days when I have no idea what to make for lunch tomorrow.

We decided to make pancakes for dinner in honour of Shrove Tuesday, so leftovers are out.

I mentally looked through the cupboards and the freezer: nothing.

I asked The Husband and he had no inspiring ideas either.

So I'm going to try something I have never tried before; I'm going to make grilled cheese on whole wheat bread in the morning and wrap it in tin foil so it says warm-ish (or at least soft-ish). It may or may not turn out but really, I'm not too concerned at this point in my lunch-making career. My children are hearty enough that they won't starve if they have a disappointing lunch every so often. Plus, I'm rounding it out with apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon, red grapes, these popcorn-y chip things I bought at the grocery store last week and homemade banana bread. So they can eat all that if they don't dig the grilled cheese experiment.

My middle daughter and I made the banana bread an hour ago. There was much debate about the format: Loaf or muffins? Raisins or chocolate chips? In the end, we accomodated all. I used my loaf tin with an inferiority complex so that there would be enough batter left over to make 12 mini muffins, some with chocolate chips and some with raisins. There was a near disaster, mind you. I was just about to put the batter in the loaf pan when The Daughter asked me if she could add the smushed banana. I told her everything was done.

She gave me a look. I gave her a look. She pointed to the plate of smushed banana, sitting there on the counter, forgotten. Suddenly the sketchy consistency of my batter made a whole lot more sense. I really am very tired in the evenings.

Crisis averted though, you know? We added the banana and our other mix-ins and right now everything is baking happily in the oven. Tomorrow, even if the bread on the grilled cheese is soggy and the cheese is surly, there will be muffins (or loaf). And all will be right with the world. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

My friend Trish's Banana Bread Recipe

- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can sub in some apple sauce, but it makes the end product a little chewier)
- 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (I used s. cream tonight but have used yogurt, even vanilla in a pinch, in the past)
- 2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1.5 + 1/2 cup whole wheat)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- (Optional mix-ins: chocolate chips or raisins or both or *gasp* Craisins would be good too - about half a cup? I don't know. Just throw some in until your inner mix-in monster seems satisfied)

In large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, oil, ***IMPORTANT*** bananas!!, and yogurt or sour cream. Beat with an electric mixer or whisk until thoroughly blended.
In small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture. Stir until just combined. Add your mix-ins, if you are using. Pour into greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan (or loaf pan with inferiority complex and 12 cup mini muffin pan. Or, just make big muffins. It's your show -- nobody is going to  judge you).

Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Reduce baking time if you're doing muffins though -- 10 - 12 minutes for mini muffins and maybe 20-ish for big ones? I forget. I always set the timer a little short and check them with a toothpick and modify if they need more time).


  1. Making banana bread and forgetting the bananas is just exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me. *weary fist bump*

    I struggled mightily to pack lunches on Monday. We had a major winter storm here all weekend and the stores were completely devoid of fresh fruit by 6pm Friday evening... apparently when people are preparing for the apocalypse they buy All The Bananas.

  2. How did the grilled cheese sandwiches turn out? I've always wanted to try that, since grilled cheese is on the VERY NARROW list of foods one of my kids will eat.
    My kids get treats every day because school can be a grim sucky place and at least there's a cookie to look forward to, you know?

  3. I wondered about the sandwiches too!

    Banana-free banana bread....hmmm...that could have been lunchtime disaster!

  4. Verdict on the grilled cheese = 2/3 kids liked it. So that's a win in my books.