Go Bananas

The old saying goes that it’s better to give than receive. That is one of the reasons that each summer, I grow one garden and have a stake in another. I want to make sure there are plenty of vegetables to go around to friends and family.

The same goes with the meals I prepare. I love to have guests over to eat or to bring some lefotver to work to share with my co-workers.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the best thing about food is sharing it. But there is nothing wrong with receiving it, either, which brings me to another saying that says what goes around comes around.

Right now, I’m enjoying a slice of banana bread, courtesy of Roger Peterson of Grand Forks. Actually, Roger gave me a whole loaf, which his wife made. It was kind of a payback for a ring of elk sausage I gave him last week.

Now, I don’t expect to get something in return when giving away food, but it’s certainly a nice gesture that’s truly appreciated.

While eating the tasty morsel, it got me to thinking about some ripe bananas that I have in the freezer. That, in turn, made me remember a recipe for banana bread that I had come across not too long ago and wanted to try.

The recipe contained milled flaxseed, some of which I just happen to have in the cupboard and use occasionally on my morning bowl of oatmeal. (Flaxseeds are one of those foods that are naturally high in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that keeps your skin, nervous system and immune system functioning properly.)

Now, that’s sounds like a recipe that’s worth sharing.

Banana Flaxseed Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup milled flaxseed
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup fat-free skim milk
¼ cup canola oil
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
4 teaspoons flaxseed, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all-purpose flour, milled flaxseed, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk, oil, egg whites, egg and vanilla. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in bananas, walnuts and 3 teaspoons flaxseed, blending until moistened.
Spoon into greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle top of bread with remaining 1 teaspoon flaxseed. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to stand in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool.
Yield: Serves 9 (1 loaf).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 292 calories (39 percent from fat), 13 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 24 milligrams cholesterol, 39 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 211 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.
Cooking tip: To toast walnuts, spread walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Watch closely to prevent overbrowning.
Storage tip: Flaxseed can be stored at room temperature up to two years. Ground seeds require refrigeration in an airtight container up to 90 days. You can also freeze flaxseeds.