A few years ago I met my Fairy Godmother, and she offered to grant me three wishes. She told me that the wishes had to be personal, that is, not things like feeding starving babies in Africa or the MN Vikings winning the Super Bowl. Fairy Godmother explained that the babies and Vikings had their own fairy godmothers, (some obviously better than others), and they were careful not to step on each others toes, so to speak. She also warned me that each wish would be granted with a provision.
My first wish was easy. I asked for Good Health. Nothing else matters much without good health.
Fairy Godmother said that would be fine, conditional upon my not taking good health for granted, ie: not drinking, smoking, eating junk foods or abusing my body in any way. Since I have always been pretty good about taking care of myself, (at least since I quit smoking), I figured that would be easy enough.
For my second wish, I asked for Good Friends. Life has no meaning without good friends to share it with.
Fairy Godmother agreed, on condition that I also be a good friend myself. This is also something I've generally tried practice anyway, so that was taken care of.
Then Fairy Godmother asked for my third wish. I replied that with good health and good friends I didn't really need to wish for anything else. Fairy Godmother informed me that rules were rules. She could not grant just two wishes. I needed a third wish. That's the way it's always been.
I honestly couldn't think of anything. I didn't want to get my fairy godmother in trouble though. Finally I asked her if she had a good recipe for banana bread.
"Why, yes I do!" she exclaimed. "I'll write it down for you."
As she wrote down her recipe, I asked her what condition would be attached to the third wish.
Fairy Godmother thought for a moment, then said, "That your friends and neighbors shall never want for banana bread."
So, every week when I bake banana bread using Fairy Godmother's recipe, I take some to my friends and neighbors.
For friends too far away for direct gifting here is her recipe:
Fairy Godmother's Universal Banana Bread
For one 9 x 5 inch loaf (double recipe to make three 4.5 x 8 loaves) (I usually make a double batch and bake one 9 x 5 and three 5 x 3 loaves because the smaller ones are nice for gifting)
All Ingredients at Room Temperature
Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees
1 Cup (10 oz) VERY RIPE Bananas*
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Cups Flour (AP/part Whole Wheat/KAF White Whole Wheat or, best of all Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
* VERY RIPE means as black as you can find. If mottled yellow is the best you can do, lay them on a baking sheet, poke a few slits on the top side of the peel, and roast them at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until they're black and leathery. Let them cool and squeeze from peel. (I freeze these in 10 oz portions)
Additions: (see other suggested adds below) (the important thing is that the additions be about Chip size and their total weight be not much more than 6 oz/loaf)
4 oz Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup (@ 2 oz) Nuts
Mash together Eggs/Bananas/Oil and Milk (I use an old potato masher) Stir until well blended
Whisk together Dry Ingredients
Toss Additions lightly with a bit of Flour to coat them
Stir Dry Ingredients into Egg-Banana MIxture until just evenly moistened
Fold in Additions
Pour into well greased pan. (If you use Chocolate Chips or Fruit it's a good idea to use Baking Parchment to line at least the bottom of your pan)
Bake about an hour, until center is dry to toothpick test, which will be 190 degrees (about five-ten minutes less for 4.5 x 8 loaf, ten-twenty minutes less for 3 x 5's)
Cool in pan on rack for ten minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges and remove loaf to rack to cool completely.
Here are some items I've used as Additions:
White Chocolate/Butterscotch/Cinnamon Chips/Toffee Chips
Raisins or Dried Fruit (Apricots/Dates/figs/Passion Fruit/Pineapple etc) in 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
Coconut/Dry Breakfast Cereal (flakes or shapes)/commercial Granola/Trail Mix
Sunflower Seeds/Soy Nuts
Semi-Sweet Chocolate/Toffee Chips & Sunflower Seed
Butterscotch Chip & Date
Dried Cranberry or White Raisin & White Chocolate Chip
Mini Chocolate Chip & Banana Nut Crunch Cereal
Pomegranate Arils & White Chocolate Chip (very good)
Raisin & Fruity Peebles Cereal aka Josephs Banana Bread of Many Colors (fun for kids)
Prune and Licorice (very ... interesting?)