Banana bread is a holiday favorite and a comfort food any time of year. Baking in the oven, the alluring sweet smell emanates throughout the home like a warm embrace.
Banana bread for the holidays
The holiday season brings a bounty of chocolate, popcorn, cake and cookies. Banana bread is a welcome holiday hostess gift or a delightful breakfast surprise for overnight guests on New Years Day. Present this baked delight with a sweet accompaniment, like Stonewall Kitchen all natural jam or jelly, sold at Big Y supermarkets and the Big Y Pharmacy on 2 Bank Street in New Milford.
Health benefits of bananas
Last month, the Health & Wellness Resource Center, a Connecticut Digital Library database, published an article that credited bananas with the ability to combat multiple common ailments. Prevalent during the holidays are bouts of depression and anxiety, since the holiday season can be as stressful as it is joyous. In the article, entitled “10 Health Benefits of Bananas”, it is stated that “bananas contain norepinephrine and serotonin, which can help one relax. Also, the vitamin B in bananas helps to calm the nervous system”. 
This banana bread recipe contains no added oil or butter. In addition to bananas, it includes dried fruit and fruit juice. For a healthier version, use whole wheat flour instead of Bisquick; one-quarter cup of egg whites rather than one egg; skim milk as opposed to low fat milk; turbinado raw sugar versus refined white sugar.
Banana bread recipe
1 ¾ cups low-fat Bisquick
3 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 dried apricot halves, chopped
2 ½ very ripe bananas
¼ cup low fat milk
¼ cup apple juice
Heat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8” x 4” loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the Bisquick, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the apricot pieces.
In a small bowl, beat the egg, and add the milk and apple juice. Add the bananas and mash into the liquid. Do not over-mash; leave some small banana chunks in the mixture.
Pour the liquid ingredients over the powdered ingredients and stir just until blended.
Transfer to the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes to an hour.
Invert pan so bread falls onto a rack to cool. Cool completely on rack before slicing.
Per serving: about 114 calories.
(Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers “New Complete Cookbook,” Macmillan, 1998, page 61)
For another great banana treat, try Diana’s Banana Babies.
 Kashmir Monitor (Srinagar, India). “10 Health Benefits of Bananas”, Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd., November 30, 2011 pNA.