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Lettuce and spinach and cukes, oh my!

After a long garden hiatus, I am back on the growing bandwagon. The first things to pop up were spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers. No red tomatoes or peppers yet, so those had to come from the store. Still, it’s always enjoyable to eat food you’ve grown. Healthy and pretty, too!


Don’t discard overripe bananas

Published the week of April 23, 2015

When it comes to bananas, most people have a preference on what stage of ripening is best for eating. Most, however, will agree that overripe is too late. While it may be too late for eating them, cooking with bananas at the overripe stage imparts the best banana flavor.

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You may find the pancakes to be a little darker than regular pancakes when cooked.

Banana Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil, and bananas. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

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This recipe also is good with chocolate chips instead of walnuts.

Moist Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Fold in the sour cream, walnuts and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 15 servings.

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Pantry Pointers

To easily mash overripe bananas, peel them and place them in a plastic zipper-top bag. Squeeze the bag several times to mash the bananas. Cut off a corner of the bag and then use that hole to pour the bananas into the bowl.

If you have overripe bananas but don’t have the time to cook with them, place them in the freezer with the peel on. The day you plan to use them, take them out of the freezer and allow them to partially thaw. When it is time to add them to the other ingredients, cut off the top of the banana and squeeze the fruit directly into the bowl.