Sunday, March 22, 2020

Calming activities during the time of COVID-19 and the best banana bread recipe ever...(yes, they are related)

Image result for banana bread

In last week's post I shared some coping mechanisms for worry. One of the mechanisms to use when worry translates into tension/anxiety is to engage in activities that calm you and distract you from your anxiety producing thoughts. In that post I suggested several activities. Activities such as: 

  • Yoga:  for some now free yoga classes click this link to  Core Power Yoga
  • Fitness:  Planet Fitness is live streaming a daily workout at 7 PM ET on their Facebook page, to join in click here. Orange Theory (my absolute favorite gymn ever) has daily at home work outs. For the March 22 video click here
  • Journaling
  • Prayer: for a prayer in the time of COVID-19 from the Anglican Church in Ireland, click here
  • Art projects: Michael's has a page that lists several make at home projects. They are also currently offering 30% off supplies for on line or curb side pick up. Click here for more information. 
This past week I found myself turning to one of my go-to coping mechanisms--stress baking. We have three generations together right now isolating in my home, and I've found myself turning to baking as a distraction when my worries start to become overwhelming.  This morning I made banana bread--it's a family recipe that my grandmother gave me when I got married. If you find baking calming and you have bananas that are starting to brown, consider heading to the kitchen. You could even make a double batch and share with someone else, even a neighbor you haven't met. 

Ethel's Banana Bread

2 cups mashed bananas (usually about 3-4)
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (not mandatory if you don't have it)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar (can use less if desired)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Optional ingredients: 
grated lemon or orange peel 
dried or fresh fruit cut in small pieces (about a handful--I use cranberries or blueberries)
chopped nuts (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Wash your hands thoroughly. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix the sugar into the oil  and let sit a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.  Add  flour,  soda and salt to the mixture. Stir to combine. Stir in any of the optional ingredients if desired. 
Grease (or use cooking spray) a 9x5 loaf pan. It comes out best if you line the pan with greased/sprayed wax-paper. Bake for about 50 minutes. Insert a knife into the center and if it comes out without batter stuck to it, it is done. (I like to leave the very middle a little gooey). 

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