Banana Cake

All this week, sitting on the kitchen counter, were three large bananas that were getting riper and riper with each day. Bananas are not my most favorite fruit–I think they make me fat–and my dearest was out of town for a job interview all week and this uneaten bunch of bananas grew more spotty and brown every day. Each evening when I came home from work, the smell of ripening bananas would be the first thing to greet me, and I kept thinking to myself that I’ve got to do something about this. So, today I decided to put these bananas out of their misery. Not wanting to make the standard banana bread, I looked in my favorite cookbook for some ideas and came upon a recipe for Banana Cake. I had all the ingredients in my pantry, including lemon juice.

The ingredients are simple: flour blend, bananas, brown sugar, shortening, baking soda, cinnamon, etc. and, as already mentioned, a little lemon juice. I mixed up the batter, which was quite lovely to see in the bowl. I also used for the first time a new flour blend given to me for Mother’s Day by my daughter, called Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour. It’s not much different than what I mix myself, except it contains dry milk powder and it has xanthan gum already in it. This flour is not completely allergen free due to the milk, which means a lot of people can’t use it.

This cake recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, but I thought I would try baking in a bundt pan. I dredged the inside of the pan with flour and sugar to see if this might create a candy-like outer crust. We’ll see…

Finally, out of the oven. The bundt pan increased the cake’s cooking time by 20 minutes and the house smelled wonderful. My sweetie, who came home yesterday, called down from upstairs to tell me this while it was still in the oven. Dredging with flour and sugar made a crunchy coating, though not very discernable.

This cake is very spongy and light, and very different than banana bread. This would make an impressive dessert topped with custard, or a Bananas Foster sauce with sliced fresh bananas. I sprinkled a bit of confectioner’s sugar on top before enjoying. I highly recommend this recipe and the cookbook, Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal.

Recommended links:
Cup4Cup flour and recipes
Cybele Pascal’s Cookbook

I’ve hit the wall on Competency N

With nine competencies written and seven passed, I have absolutely hit a wall. I am attempting Competency N, which is about evaluation of library programs and services. I am finding that the material I need to write about was not really addressed in depth in the courses that I enrolled in at SJSU, so I am doing a lot of research just to get an understanding of some of the competencies. Thankfully, I can make most of my assignments work for evidence to support the competencies, but I’m not sure how long this will last as I get near the end. I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts and just cannot seem to do it, so I write on this blog to keep my fingers going. If I write about something else, I stay motivated to return to my required writing. This project has got to be the most difficult thing I have ever done. My confidence levels are all over the place. One minute I am telling myself I can do this. The next minute, I am thinking I am going to fail. I am a fighter though, and I think the best way to get rid of the negative thoughts is just to get this done and keep working at it. It’s like rock climing and I keep slipping and looking for something to hang on to.

My technique so far through this eportfolio project is to decide what competency I want to work on. I have all of my assignments organized into folders, so I take a look at these as potential artifacts/evidence. Next, I start a Word document and write out the details of the competency. I put a few key terms on the paper and some thoughts and points I want to make. I research the topic a little if I need more understanding. I write as much as I can and then I walk away to digest some of the thoughts. Baking and cleaning my house help me to think. I am a multitasker and need to be doing something else that is not too complicated when I am in thinking mode.

This weekend I baked oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies and banana flax seed muffins to help me think. I’ve made the muffins before, but this was the first time I made this recipe for oatmeal cookies. They are fantastic. Plus, they are gluten/dairy/egg/soy free. There is no lack of flavor though. The recipes are from the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook that I refer to so often on this blog. Here are a few pictures of the treats.

Blueberry Millet Muffins

To get myself in the writing mode and think about what I want to write for Comp D of my Eportfolio for San Jose State University, I decided to bake something. The Eportfolio is the capstone project for my master’s degree in library and information science (MLIS). I am halfway through the project with seven more competencies to write. So far, each submission has passed on the first draft. I don’t expect this to happen every time as I get to the more difficult competencies, which I am saving for last.

Deciding what to bake is easy when I get out my favorite cookbook, the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal. Every recipe in this cookbook that I have made has turned out great. I think I have made eleven recipes so far, and a few of these multiple times. These muffins are the Blueberry Millet Muffins (from p. 30) which are made with a gluten free flour blend plus a cup of organic millet flour. I have used millet flour in recipes a few times and it has a nice texture.

Now, back to writing about planning, management, and marketing/advocacy for libraries.