Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Banana Pops (A 'Bonkers for Bananas' Post)

I let it get to me.  I know, I know... Don't let the one bad comment ruin your day.  Oh, how that easy that is to say, yet can be so hard to do.

Let me back up a bit.  Let me tell you about my dream.  Remember the TV show '24'?  Remember in season 2 or 3 Jack was dating some girl named Audrey, who later appeared on Grey's Anatomy but will forever be in my mind Audrey-who-dated-Jack-Bauer?  Well, she was in my dream last night.  Along with my friend Querubia.  And some other dude.  Anyway, this other dude (who remains nameless) was driving Q and I around Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica while Audrey was following us.  We thought we were the good guys/spies/something and she (Audrey) was the bad one.  But then we realized that she was the good one trying to save us from the dude.  And then we passed some beach bungalows that looked really great to stay in and I mentioned that I would love to live there before I remembered, "Oh yeah, I am trying to survive here and I can't let the dude know I have caught onto his secret."  Then we stormed across a river onto the other side while all the other cars road across in big, white laundry baskets.  Water came in the car and got in my camera case and I was really sad but we needed to not focus and that and try to save our lives...

Why do I mention this?  Because if I remember that much detail about my dream (and trust me, there is more...) then I clearly did not rest last night.  Oh, I slept.  But I did not rest.  And that is how I started the day.

I teach math everyday.  Math is simple.  2+2=4, 7-5=2, and Tiffany + lack of sleep = overly sensitive and impatient teacher.  It is always the same.

And that brings us to what my students and I refer to as 'Banana Pops'.   See, I have been doing these banana recipes, and they have been great.  Really great.  But they are recipes to feed 10 or 8, and we are in two.  This means that my banana bread took about a week three days to finish and we are still working our way through the ice cream.  Don't get me wrong, it tastes wonderful, but it all tastes like bananas.  (Duh.)  Day in and day out bananas.  However, I want to finish this banana journey I set out on so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone -- make a recipe AND have fun with my students.  They love it when I bring things in to cook with them.  That made today Banana Pop Day. 

As you can see, they were having fun.  Most of them were having fun, anyway.  But there had to be the very small percentage who complained, goofed off instead of helping their table, and one who asked, "Do I have to do it?"  I think under normal circumstances I would have let it roll off me, but every time one of these little comments happened (ok, the three times) it just grated on me.  I have planned something so fun for you and you just want to complain? I wanted to shout.  Of course, I couldn't, so I just held it in.  But it wasn't fun for me anymore.  Suddenly I was not making banana pops with my kids.  Nope, now I was just cleaning up chocolate, digging out bananas, scraping burnt chocolate into the trash, and rinsing my own burnt fingers (due to my own lack of thinking) under the running water.  Now it was work.  And that hurt me.  Because I wanted it to be fun and I wanted it to be a good memory and I wanted... I wanted to sleep. 

Instead, I headed to my boss's office and began to cry. 

Yes, I cried over bananas and chocolate not going quite as planned.  The first time in seven years of teaching that I cried because my students weren't happy with my activity.  And I felt so stupid... But she listened.  And then she said, "Of course you are feeling this way.  You put energy and thought into this and wanted it to be a great moment, but you wound up getting slapped in the face."   Yes.  That is exactly how I felt.  As she pointed out, "A slap in the face doesn't hurt less just because a nine-year-old is doing it."  We talked it out, moved onto other topics of conversation, and I went to get my kids from PE to take them back to their banana pops, waiting for them.

Which they loved.

So, they weren't the prettiest.  But they tasted great.  When I look at those smiles I realize that maybe one or two didn't have the best moment, but most loved it.  That's why I did it -- for those kids. 

Wanna know something sweet?  Those kids who wanted to stay out of it and didn't do anything had pops, too.  Their seatmates didn't want them to be left out and made some specifically for them.  Everyone had at least one, and everybody wanted more.  Everybody.  So really, I did it for them -- the complainers and mishchief makers -- as well. 

I was going to come home and make some pretty ones and take some great pictures, but I will leave that to the rest of the food photography world right now.  I am going to leave these pictures as they are.  These are our banana pops.  The pictures might be a little rough, but so was the experience.  But end the end it turned out alright.

And look, someone even made one for me.  :)

For more banana recipes -- and ones that really turned out alright! -- click the Bonkers for Bananas button below.

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Total Time 10 minutes plus freezing
  • Yield Makes 20

  • Ingredients

    • 5 firm-ripe bananas, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
    • 1 tablespoon sprinkles


    1. Insert a toothpick into each banana piece. Arrange bananas, toothpick side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, 2 hours.
    2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in 10-second increments, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Working quickly, dip each banana piece in chocolate, shake off excess, and cover with sprinkles. Chocolate should set quickly, but if necessary, freeze pops to harden coating before serving.

    Cook's Note

    Freeze pops, wrapped, up to 3 days.

    Cost: $3.45                   Cost Per Serving (20) $0.17


    1. Aw, don't fret! Everyone has days like that. I can't tell you how many of my students have suddenly started crying in class over some seemingly neutral question! (OK I can tell you how many -- 5.)

      Maybe a lesson could be that you aren't so different from your students after all? Deprived of sleep, we all revert back to the emotional strength and endurance of a 9-year-old.

      Thanks for sharing all the recipes this week. I'm going to make those white chocolate snickerdoodles on Sunday as a reward to myself for translating all week.


    2. Ha! Yes, the emotional strength and endurance of a 9-year-old. That's exactly what it was!

      I am making those snickerdoodles AS WE SPEAK/type. Oh, tonight is going to be a GOOD night :)


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