Twelve years, three schools, countless teachers, and the birthplace of lifelong friendships. It all came to this: graduation. That time of year where stress is in the air and hope is in our hearts. Each step had prepared us for the next one. We went to elementary to learn how to learn, how to get along with our peers, read, write and have an introduction to what the next six years would teach. In junior high, hormones raged as we tested out a little independence. We moved between classes on our own, but most of all, we kept learning how to learn. Come high school, each year was a build up to the next. We were always training for the next step. We still are. In high school, we had to decide what that next step would be. Were we training for university? For a trade? For whatever would take us? Each of us have our own answers. Choosing the stream of classes to fit us best, we worked towards our goal. However, there are always bumps along the road, so teachers were always there to steer us and provide options.
Now, with all of the diplomas complete, I’m starting to breathe. Those scary government tests worth half our grade are off to be marked. In a month, we’ll stand on our stoops and tear into the envelope with our marks. With any luck, those twelve years (well, 15 if you count preschool and kindergarten) have prepared us well enough for that one June morning. We’ll find out soon enough. The conditional acceptances will become full-blown ones. The gap years will begin. Planes will take off, and summer jobs will have orientation.
Somewhere along the line, we grew up. At least we started to do so. We’re stepping into that fabled “real world” which we have been warned of forever. We will fail. We will fail more times than we can count (which will hopefully make for some fantastic stories). Then, we’ll find the occasional wisp of success. If we’re lucky, our twelve years of school will have taught us to learn from those mistakes and failures. But who are we kidding – no one is hoping to fail. Who wants to fall flat on their face or lose what they’ve been working towards for so long? Graduation is our big celebration to say, “We did it. We made it through.” And that’s exactly what we did.
I just made it to the Graduation ceremony. These twelve years have been bursting with the unexpected, so it was only fitting that I made it to the ceremony with a dash of adventure and hearty handful of uncertainty. Alas, I made it. “I’m so glad you’re here.” She said as she shook my hand. “Me too,” I thought, “me too.”
Between graduation and my long list of exams, I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen lately. Luckily, I’m not the only one that enjoys baking in my house. This recipe is my mom’s. She adapted it to be gluten-free from Leite’s Culinaria. All I did was eat it (well, I made the one pictured yesterday morning, but she made it the other six plus times). It’s a regular at our house and never ever lasts more than twenty-four hours. It’s best when warm, with the scent filling the air and the chocolate chips in that perfect gooey state. I’ve been hiding bananas away just so they could age and we could make more.
Gluten-Free Banana Bread
1/2 cup sorghum flour (2.25 oz / 64 g)
1/2 cup sweet rice flour (2.15 oz / 61 g)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (2.60 oz / 73 g)
1/4 cup quinoa flour (1.00 oz / 29 g)
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour (1.10 oz / 33 g)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (5.30 oz / 150 g)
3-4 very ripe, soft large bananas, mashed well (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yoghurt (or vanilla yoghurt, but if using vanilla yoghurt, lessen the amount of vanilla extract used)
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter the inside of a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and dust with sweet rice flour, or spray your 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a medium bowl, mix together mashed bananas, yoghurt, eggs, butter and vanilla. Fold banana mixture into the dry ingredients. Once combined, it will be thick and chunky without wisps of flour. Fold in chocolate chips, then scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for five to ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue to cool.
Brown bespeckled bananas are always a spectacular place to start a recipe, in my opinion. I’ve never particularly loved bananas in their normal state, but mash ‘em up and bake them into a bread? I’m sold. I used about 3 1/2 for this recipe, but it’ll all depend on the size of your particular bananas.
Chocolate chips always sweeten the deal.
Not to mention this batter. Luscious and lumpy. It’s gorgeous. I think you need it in your life (preferably when it’s just about to be stuffed into the oven and baked to perfection). And as it bakes? A buttery aroma weaves its way through the house. You’ve been warned.
Yes. I think I shall go grab a piece. Well, another one.
See those perfectly gooey chocolate chips? Yes. I love those so.
Just like that, I’m no longer a high school student. I’m always amazed by how long the days are yet how fast the years go. We certainly live in a beautiful, crazy world. Now, summertime. Ah, how I love summer. I hope all of you have a fabulous summer (or winter, depending on where you are!), and Happy Canada Day!