What do plot points and bananas have in common? Honestly, not much. Except sometimes, it’s best to wait for both to ripen.
Feeling ambitious and still enjoying the high from this morning’s four cups of coffee, I decided to make banana bread with three extremely ripe bananas I’ve had far too long. I’ve been awake since before 4 a.m., working away on the last few scenes of my book. As I worked, it occurred to me that Chief, the stallion who plays a pivotal role in the novel’s dark moment, has a history of being impossible to trailer. That’s chapter 2. So now, in chapter 19, how am I going to get this four-legged fury into a trailer? Hmmm…
I wrote the scene where the villain, Mr. McInerny, tells Josey’s dad, Carl, that he wants Chief to compete in endurance rides so that he can sell him for big money. Okay. Plausible. Chief is an Arabian, the breed used by serious endurance competitors. Chief has great bloodlines. Chief is sound. But, in Chapter 2, he all but destroys a horse trailer. Gotta fix that.
So, I changed Chief’s training from arena work to long rides, five to 10 miles, a day. (Shout-out to Edith Poole: thanks for giving me a quick down and dirty on endurance rides). After one such training ride, Carl parks the horse trailer inside the arena while Josey walks Chief to cool him down. Carl pours grain in a feeding bin in the trailer and leaves the door open. Chief is leery of the trailer. Like my son and the bathtub, he’s not going anywhere near it willingly. So, Josey plays her trombone to coax the horse in. It works. Chief clomps in after her. The scene was fun to write; I hope my readers enjoy reading it. And I move one step closer to typing “the end.” Delicious! Kinda like the peanut-and-chocolate chip banana bread I made this morning. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (more won’t hurt!)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Place oven rack in lowest position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 3 disposable, aluminum loaf pans. Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Allow your 5-year-old to add the nuts and chocolate chips, being sure he doesn’t eat all of the chocolate chips instead of adding them. Also, please be sure he washes his hands before he helps. You know where those hands have been!
Bake for one hour. Take out of the pan. Enjoy!
(Stolen from Betty Crocker’s 40th anniversary edition cookbook)
Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next. BABY CHICKS!
(Yes, I meant to put those two last words in all caps. I’m so excited!)