February 14, 2013

When at first you don't succeed . . .

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Go eat chocolate.

Haha, I wish.  No, we are supposed to get up and try again.  Practice it until we get it right or just decide, you know what? there is absolutely no way I could ever, ever be able to do this.  Ever.  Then it is completely acceptable to go eat chocolate.  Or peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread.

My first version of peanut butter banana bread fell under the "at first you don't succeed" category.  I found out you can not just add peanut butter to a particular banana bread recipe.  Specifically, you couldn't substitute half the butter for peanut butter.  Although the batter tasted good (the batter always tastes good!) the bread itself tasted . . . odd.  I really wanted it to be the foil we wrapped it in, but that peanut butter banana bread had a taste of turkey.  As in Thanksgiving turkey.  Bad combination.

Really, I have no idea how it happened, but lets just say I hadn't tried that kind of bread in a while.  But I decided to try again. . . and I  succeeded!  My mom even liked it even though she was wary (turkey flavored peanut butter will do that to you.)  Maybe it was the chocolate chips, maybe it was the fact that it was dense and sweet.  All I know it was good.  And it is best eaten warm from the oven or heated up the next day. 

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cups mashed banana
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350° F. Grease and flour a 1-pound loaf pan.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs on slow speed until blended then add bananas and yogurt.  Mix until combined.
Stir in remaining ingredients then pour into loaf pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to cooling rack.

Notes: I would use a metal pan verses a glass one (I used glass) because it browned on the edges, but the inside was a little undercooked.  Me and my mom really like that:) but if you aren't a fan of a gooey middle, stick with the metal pan.

We are constantly trying again, constantly practicing. Some things, its obvious when you are practicing volleyball. You are setting the ball over and over again. Or when you are practicing the piano. But I learned from, several people "Practice does not make perfect." My violin teacher told me "perfect practice makes perfect" and my gymnastic coach insisted "practice makes progress."

We all have bad habits. Perfect practice makes good habits.  Bad practice makes bad habits.  And we reinforce them when we practice them. When I choose to say, “oh, you know, I’ll make a difference when I’m older,” I'm practicing to say that when I'm “older.” Or when I reward myself for completing part of my school by getting on the computer when really, I need to finish all my school first? Or when I brush off my siblings, why do I think I’ll suddenly become Miss Perfect Relationship a couple years down the road?

Practice is necessary to get better and there are so many ways to practice! You can repeat things, you can memorize things, you can add hand motions to words. We can get really good at a song by playing it over and over. We can get really good at a verse by adding fun hand motions to it. But we can also become really good at bad things through repeating them - over and over. Habits are really hard to bread and we can’t break them without a plan and practice.
If you’ve ever prepared a song for piano only to discover you are playing the wrong note with the wrong finger, you know how difficult that can be to fix. You must unlearn that finger and teach it to hit middle C. Sometimes that finger seems to have a mind of it own! It will not go to C, oh no, it is going to go to D. That’s where my teacher comes in. In order to fix that note, she told me you must focus on it, go slow, and repeat the right way over and over and over. In order to change our habits, we must focus on that habit, go slow, and practice the right habit again and again and again. We will fail, but as one quote says, “You miss ever shot you don’t take.” If you are unwilling to work at it, guess what? You won’t get the result.

Something I've been trying to improve on is food photography. Lately, I discovered how much impact a good background has! Taking pictures of food combines scrapbooking, photography, and baking. Could it get better? A post that has a lot of good pointers (it helped me a lot and walks you through the process) is this one. My pictures recently have taken a lot practice and there have been a lot of bad pictures. But getting to try a new angle, new lighting, new background - to fix the picture - is part of the fun. In this example, success can be quick. But in other things, like how I treat my siblings, will take a lot longer. I can't just crop out my unkind words like I can a bad background. But I can practice humbling myself and asking forgiveness.
But I no longer have to practice making peanut butter banana bread!


  1. Yummy! Practice doesn't always make perfect, because indeed we are NOT perfect, but we are practicing to make progress. To get better at things..like practicing the violin..even when you don't feel like it. It makes you progress in what you do! Thanks for sharing! That's a great reminder to look at!

  2. oh YUM! This sounds incredible! I LOVED your thoughts at the end. I'm going to try to do more than think about them. I can tell that God is teaching you a lot. :0 Thanks so much for giving me just what I needed to hear today. :)

  3. I make chocolate chip banana bread a lot, but I've never tried it with peanut butter! My husband would absolutely love it.


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