Ally

At one point last year, I kept getting these wicked charlie horses in my legs everyday. At the most inopportune times, my calf would start spasming causing me to double over while clutching my leg and shrieking in pain like a banshee. It hurt--- a lot. Finally when enough became enough, I emailed my doctor and he suggested that I try adding more potassium and magnesium to my diet. To get more potassium, I started eating bananas but then eating bananas everyday got old...I'm not a chimp afterall. So I moved onto banana smoothies, frozen bananas and banana bread...yep, thanks to a phase of agonizing charlie horses I can now make a mean banana bread. To be honest, banana bread has to be one of my favorite things to bake. It uses up those decrepit, old bananas that have been sitting on your counter and have begun sporting brown spots (you know and I know, you're not going to eat those nasty looking bananas) AND banana bread makes your house smell amazing while it's baking. Anyhow, after about a month or so of Banana-rama, my leg cramps finally disappeared---thank goodness...but my appreciation for banana bread still lingers and I like to whip some up from time to time.

Banana Bread (from The Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients
(all at room temp)

1 1/3 cups AP flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

5 1/3 tbs unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans


Instructions

- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

- Preheat the oven to 350F.

- Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

- Whisk together throughly: flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

- In a large bowl, beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture,  2 to 3 minutes: butter and sugar.

- Beat in the flour mixture unril blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in eggs.

- Fold in just until combined: bananas and nuts.

- Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

- Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

* I substituted a 9x9 pan and reduced my baking time to 40 minutes.
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