Nap time efficiency & ripe banana anxiety

Does anybody else get that? Ripe banana anxiety? You see them getting closer and closer to their use by date, day by day, and you know you’re dangerously close to rotten banana territory. So you think to yourself – “I should cut and freeze those for smoothies/I should bake something/I should get greener bananas next time” but more often than not, they go to the dark side and must be thrown out. Wasteful, really.

The issue with living in Singapore’s delightfully hot and humid climate is that bananas will generally ripen at an *alarmingly* fast rate. Not good for the more banana anxious amongst us. Yes, I’ve tried “the banana bag” and all those tricks to slow the process down (you better believe I did a search on Pinterest for that), but frankly – I’m very discriminating when it comes to bananas. I will meticulously peel every last stringy bit off and slice off the parts that are even the lightest shade of beige. I don’t know if it’s a pregnancy thing, but lately, if a banana tastes even slightly overripe it actually makes me gag. A is not fussy in that regard, but his daughter seems to have inherited my discerning taste in fruit. She has recently started rejecting any below par banana with a very disapproving frown. It means that we have to pretty much buy fresh bananas every. single. day. That girl makes me proud.

I don’t think I’ve discussed bananas for long enough, do you? No but really, there is a point to all this. I baked something and it’s delicious, and if you wait patiently and trudge through the rest of this post, there’s a tasty, and dare I say, healthy child-friendly recipe waiting for you.

So today, Tuna had a busy play date in the morning which clearly tired her out, and she has been asleep for close to two hours. I fully appreciate that this is standard procedure for many babies/toddlers. They fall into the unicorn category as far as I’m concerned. My child was a cat-napper from day one, so naps are always a ticking time bomb for me. It has always been a mad race from the minute I put her in her cot (shock! horror! I don’t put her down “drowsy but not asleep”? Those four words gave me hives for the first 9 months of Tuna’s life – don’t get me started) – sprinting {quietly} out of her room and then trying to accomplish as many tasks as is humanly possible in 25-28 minutes. As a result, I am now an expert at showering and getting dressed in 7 minutes, preparing and eating lunch in 5 minutes, sending delayed responses on Whatsapp in 6 minutes, and then watching the clock expectantly for the balance of that time.

Since Tuna hit around 9-10 months, she started magically napping for longer. It took me a good few months to stop spending any time beyond the 30 minutes mark staring at the clock and thinking to myself “OH MY GOSH SHE’S BEEN ASLEEP FOR 37 MINUTES/48 MINUTES/53 MINUTES!” and to actually start using that time as down time. I’m not exaggerating, I literally would not get anything done during that bonus time aside from becoming very good at mental arithmetic as I watched the time pass.

So now that she reliably naps for longer (okay, can I just point out – we’re up to 2 hours and 10 minutes now! Sorry, old habits die hard.) I can commit to getting a decent amount of stuff done during that time. Sometimes I shock myself with my efficiency. The threat of an awakening child does wonders for one’s motivation. I think faster. I walk faster. Heck, I even type faster. The other day my poor sister called me to ask for some advice about something, and unluckily for her, it was right near the time I was expecting Tuna to wake up. I won’t even sugar coat it – I was straight up rude. “PLEASE CAN YOU MAKE THIS QUICK AS I STILL HAVE ANOTHER 6 ENTRIES TO RECONCILE ON THE BANK STATEMENT AND IT NEEDS TO BE DONE BY THE TIME SHE WAKES UP”. Sorry, N.

During today’s nap, I found myself out of to-do list items, but then I remembered the ripe bananas sitting in the fruit basket, haunting me with their brown spottedness. I mean really, they were in *prime* condition to be used in a baked good. And we’re low on healthy Tuna snacks. So you know what? I went and baked up a storm.

I call these my “Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie Oatmeal Bars“. I call them “smoothie” bars because they contain a lot of typical smoothie ingredients, plus the word “smoothie” just sounds so appetising, doesn’t it? These bars are not only a yummy mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, but they make for a very convenient breakfast on the go when you simply don’t have the time to (a) spoon feed a little person that thinks its a game to do as many other activities as possible during meal time; or (b) hose down said little person and his/her high chair because you’ve decided to “let go” and allow him/her to express their desire to independently eat their mushy breakfast food on their own.

They contain no refined sugar, no eggs, and ingredients can be substituted to make them dairy and gluten free too.

(*I just wanted to say – I was so efficient during her {TWO HOUR AND EIGHTEEN MINUTE} nap today that I even managed to finish this blog post, but I wanted to provide some visual evidence of the fact that I baked so I didn’t post in real time. Oh well.)

(Edited at the end of this post to brag – oh would you look at that, visual evidence? Here it is.)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk, but you can use regular milk, coconut milk, rice milk – whatever milk floats your boat!)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 cups oats (you can substitute these for gluten free oats)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (I tend to blend these in my food processor as Tuna is fussy about blueberry skin. Ah, the things we do for them.)
  • 1 heaped tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)

My favourite part about these directions is that if you’re like me and don’t have the energy and patience for separate bowls/washing a lot of baking stuff, these are super easy to put together:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, and add in everything except for the oats. This will give you a nice goopy liquidy mixture.
  3. Add in the oats and combine well.
  4. Grease a loaf pan (I think mine is something like 9 x 3 inches) and pour the mixture in. If it seems quite “full” it’s probably okay because it isn’t going to rise.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Cut into squares, slices, bars – whatever form your dear food critic of a child is most likely to eat them in.

Another plus – this recipe contains no raw egg = no threat of salmonella poisoning – so your little one can help you mix all the ingredients together and if he/she tries to taste some, it just tastes like room temperature porridge so all. good.

The other thing you should note is that dads are notorious for eating more of these than their kids – so maybe hide them in a safe place in the fridge. They also freeze pretty well so you can save some for later.

Take that ripe bananas! You can thank me later for the life expectancy extension!

Enjoy! And if you try any variations I’d love to hear about how it went!

And for the record, we’re up to 2 hours and 40 minutes now.

3 thoughts on “Nap time efficiency & ripe banana anxiety

  1. Fantastic recipe. Though I can’t relate to ripe banana anxiety – bananas never hang around our house long enough! I can relate to how-much-banana-will-this-toddler-stuff-in-his-mouth-in-one-go anxiety!!!


    • Thanks Erica! Let me know how it turns out if you try it out. Hahaha – and yes, I relate to that anxiety too! It’s quite impressive actually. Ps. I hear congratulations are in order!


  2. Pingback: Debunking common myths about flying with a small child | The Tuna Chronicles

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