Saturday, January 10, 2009

Banana bread and riding

The weekend forecast called for warmer than normal temperatures. Last night we had howling winds from the North-N-East, which surprisingly enough, means temperatures rise. Nearly everything in the Bay Area is funny that way. Nature turns green in winter, winds from the North bring hot air, etc. After a while you get used to it too.

I rode 33 miles today, burning 1,713 calories according to my Ergomo. I averaged a good 225W with a normalized power (NP) well above 250, meaning I worked quite hard. That was necessary because the winds are still here. They were gusting in various places, sometimes even making it difficult to stay upright. Although the winds feel cold, they bring in warmer air and today was a super day more typical for spring than the middle of winter. And speaking of winter, some deciduous trees still have bright fall color, while others are already starting to bud new leaves.

I baked another banana bread today. Ever since Cindy's mom showed up in Arizona with a loaf of banana bread for the Ironman, we have been baking away. The loaf was so good -I did not get to eat much of it by the way- we immediately asked for the recipe. Cindy's mom makes a mean banana bread loaded with chocolate, nuts, and bananas of course.

Personally I have been experimenting to see what I can do with 2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder and one of baking soda, 2 eggs, a cup of sugar, and oil or butter to suit. I started out following the recipe closely, but since then I have done everything from substituting cherries for the bananas, reducing the sugar, using maple syrup and/or molasses, adding protein rich flour, spicing things up with jalapenos, trying out every conceivable nut including almonds, etc. Most of the time, the recipe has worked out fine although there have been some touch and gos -when too many bananas made things gooey,  but the kids sure love the contraptions I come up with. (I do too).

The banana bread, which at times has no bananas (we do live in the Bay Area), makes a great breakfast and an ideal before or after ride snack. It is also a great source of inspiration for new recipes.

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