I know this is going to come as a shock to anyone reading this so brace yourself: Most people think I'm crazy. I know, I know - SHOCKING! Now I don't think that means incapacitated-crazy, or lobotomy-crazy (well, perhaps), but extremely eccentric-crazy, or largely unconventional...and they are right! Oddly enough, I am very old-fashioned and nostalgic to antiques and history and the things that give them (and me!) character as well. I know those two things don't always connect, but it's what makes me, me.
With my history comes the fact that I did not grow up affluent; in fact, we were raised to accept and appreciate hand-me-down clothing, sharing a room, and liver and onions for dinner because it was cheap. My favorite lunch when my parents were out working was to smear ketchup on a piece of bread. To me, that was a rare delicacy, and even if I was hungry, I would painstakingly chew every bite until it melted in my mouth because it tasted so good. I suppose I was a foodie before my time!
That history makes up who I am today. Though I am quite certain my palette is much more refined (organic ketchup on rice bread?), I still have a little panic button if I see that the "staples" of the pantry are dwindling. I am one of the most frugal people I know. It is part gift, part skill. I can shop for all the healthy food that will restock my pantry without paying a mortgage to do so. And I do. I also don't like to waste. Not anything. So I will freeze just about everything; leftovers, bread, tortillas... I don't know if that is the frugal side of me or the unconventional side of me, but either way, it has saved us from a pinch a time or two!
So! Where is this frugal / unconventional She history lesson headed, you ask?
BANANAS. Yep. Bananas. Not like me-being-crazy bananas, but real, wholesome, packed-full-of-potassium bananas. Most people love them. I do. The downfall of bananas is that they go black QUICK. Now, that doesn't mean they're bad to eat, necessarily, depending on how mushy or firm you like your banana, but it does mean fruit flies or gnats, or sticky counters or bowls. Every grocery trip, I buy organic as-green-as-I-can-get-em bananas. But rest-assured, they turn yellow and then black before we can eat them all. What to do with the bananas so that the history in me doesn't let them go to waste?
At the risk of sounding like Bubba Gump, there are LOTS of things you can do with bananas! Banana bread, banana cookies, banana pancakes, banana smoothies. But the question is: do we want that every day of our lives just to keep the bananas from going South? Of course not! The solution? FREEZE THEM. That's right. "She must be crazy" you're saying to yourself. Well, I established that early on in the post so you can't say I didn't warn you.
I put my bananas in the freezer to keep. They turn black almost immediately, but trust me, they are still usable for a very long period of time. I devote the entire top shelf of my freezer to leftover bananas. They don't go to waste and they are there for healthy, delicious snacks or recipes. I posted a couple of my favorite below, so if you're a banana-lover, feel free to indulge. I even included one strictly for serendipitous purposes and the nostalgic sake of the story above - banana ketchup!!
Our past makes us who we are for our future. My living legacy is as important to me as the one I leave behind; that not only means my faith or how I treat people, but the little things in life that make me rich...REALLY rich. I don't have to have a lot of money to tell you I'm one of the richest people I know - even if I AM bananas!
THREE-INGREDIENT HEALTHY BANANA COOKIES (quick, easy, healthy and DELICIOUS!)
- 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup of uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, scoop up the batter and place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
ROASTED BANANAS WITH BROWN SUGAR WALNUT GLAZE (Good for a side dish or a dessert!)
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice $
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 large firm ripe bananas
- Cooking spray
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
- Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Place banana halves, cut sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes. Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over banana halves, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Bake an additional 3 minutes. Cut each banana piece into thirds crosswise. Serve bananas with frozen yogurt; drizzle with any remaining sugar mixture.
BANANA KETCHUP (I love to baste my chicken with this stuff before grilling!)
- 2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño from (about 1 small jalapeño)
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Water, as needed
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger, turmeric, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in bananas, vinegar, honey, rum, tomato paste, soy sauce, and salt; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer ketchup to a food processor or blender (processor is better if you have one) and process until smooth. Thin out with water as needed to reach a ketchup-like consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.