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Posts Tagged ‘Banana’

A Small Smackerel

Many years ago, when I first started collecting recipes, I allowed my obsessive compulsive tendencies to run wild and began to organize the recipes by type: entrees in one folder, desserts, vegetables,  and appetizers their own folders.  As the collection grew, I began to divide the recipes into subsets of those categories, separating the chicken recipes from the fish recipes in the entree folder, and clumping together the cakes, pies, cookies and so on in the dessert folder.  What can I say — I like to create order in a world driven by chaos.

But then my collection grew.  And grew.  And grew.  And before I knew it, dividing desserts among cakes, pies, cookies and custards didn’t really do the job.  “Cake,” for example, could describe any number of recipes — layer cake, cheesecake, coffee cake, fruit cake.  Imagine having to sift through a disorganized pile of all of the above.  Perish the thought!  So I started grouping those recipes together as well.

(If you’re wondering, no I don’t group my underwear by color.  I’m not *that* crazy…or at least I’d like to think I’m not…)

Needless to say, I have amassed a rather large and unwieldy recipe collection.  I think it’s safe to say I will probably never get to half the recipes in those folders, as organized as they may be.  But one sub-subset that I love and have yet to bulk up with recipes is the “snack cake” section.

Ah yes, the snack cake: perfect for when you want a nosh of something at, say, 3:30pm, when dinner is hours away but your stomach gets the rumbles.  In my opinion, a good snack cake should be more substantial than a coffee cake, less sweet than a cupcake but less wholesome than a granola bar.  I like snack cakes with some texture: maybe some nuts or bits of chocolate, or some oats or dried fruit.

I have a handful of these recipes, but recently I decided I wanted something new and merged a few recipes to come up with my own: chewy banana-oat snack cake with coconut.  I basically threw together three of my favorite ingredients — bananas, oats and coconut — and hoped the result would be equal to or greater than the sum of their parts.  It was.

Chewy, sweet and filling, this cake is just the thing when all you need is a little nibble — a smackerel, as Winnie the Pooh might say — to make the afternoon hunger pains go away.  But you don’t have to stop at a smackerel.  Sometimes my appetite is as big as my recipe collection, and the only way to bring that into order is to turn a small smackerel into a cake-filled afternoon feast.

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I’ve always been pretty good at keeping secrets. Let me qualify that. By and large, I am able to keep most juicy tidbits to myself.

However — and there is a big however — the longer those juicy tidbits are tucked away, deep in my little zone of secrets, the bigger they seem to grow inside me, until I’m bursting at the seems, ready to explode.

Why do I bring this up? Am I privy to information that has me ready to bust? Well, I wouldn’t be a very good secret keeper if I told, now would I? Stick around for a few more posts. Unlike some secrets, this one has an expiration date.

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But let’s talk about something else that is bursting at the seams: these muffins. They are chock full of bananas, prunes, poppy seeds and oats. Sound odd? Too much going on? I thought so too, even as I started tossing all the ingredients together.

But tasting is believing: they’re great.  The poppy seeds add a nutty, savory crunch, a nice alternative to nuts in the typical banana-nut muffin.  Next time I’d probably add more prunes, but a half cup was all I had on hand.

I could keep the recipe a secret too…but I don’t think that would be fair, do you?

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