Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks and Forgiving My Apartment

So last night I found out that...nope, let me back track.

2 years ago I moved into my fabulous country apartment that I love so much. Second floor, lots of windows, big open rooms, enormous kitchen, a wooden deck overlooking trees and fields. I fell in love at first sight. :-)

A few months after moving in I started to get sick. Really, really sick. For the last year and a half I've been to numerous doctors, all of them running myriad tests before sitting me down gently and saying those oh-so-encouraging words: "We have no idea how to help you."

Fast forward to this week. New doctor, same result, but instead of giving up she asked me what I thought it might be. I suggested that perhaps there was something in my apartment making me sick, perhaps I was allergic to mold. Well, turns out I was right. I am allergic to mold and the apartment building is apparently riddled with the stuff and as of last night I have to move. Ack!

My first response was to immediately think of everything that had to be done, which, of course, completely overwhelmed me and made me want to find a soft spot to hide with a blanket over my head. So I did what I always do when I'm similarly bamboozled: I cook. :-)

I popped in a Hercule Poirot mystery cd, collected bananas, a treasured bar of Scharffenberger dark chocolate, and other assorted ingredients, and mixed up enough batter for two loaves of whole wheat banana bread. Within thirty minutes my Evil, Naughty, Moldy Apartment smelled perfectly heavenly, and I forgave her for all the misery she's caused me. :-)

Then I scoured Craig's List and have a few options that I'll be checking out today. Phew! 

So in the spirit of "when one door closes, another one opens" I will share with you some of my favorite Italian door photos. :-) I will not, however, be sharing a photo of the banana bread because, in all the kafuffle, I neglected to take one. Grrr. :-)

The entrance to an Italian villa I stayed in last spring.

 A door in Perdifumo, Italy

 A door in Laureana, Italy

 A door in the abandoned home of a runaway countess in Laureana, Italy

 A rather rundown, but lovely doorway in Laureana, Italy

 An artist's doorway in Laureana, Italy

Banana Bread with Dark Chocolate Chunks
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)


1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used salted. Next time I'm using oil and apple sauce for moisture)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
1/4 cup honey (I used agave syrup)
2 large eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used ground almonds)
I added 1/4 cup desiccated coconut and 1 bar dark chocolate, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the banana, honey, and eggs, beating until smooth. Add the flour and nuts, stirring until smooth.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pans and let rest at room temperature, uncovered, for ten minutes.
  4. Bake the bread for 40 minutes then lay a piece of foil gently across the top, and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes more.
  5. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.


  1. So lovely. I am inspired and sad, and hungrily happy all at the same time! Love you!

  2. Thank you, dear Sarah! I love you heaps too. :-)

  3. Oh, my gosh! I'm sorry that happened to you. That's horrible, to find such a great place and have that happen! Time to move, for sure! I love doors also, these have so much character. Your recipe sounds wonderful; great combination! Here's wishing you the best with finding a new home you love!

  4. Glad to hear the mystery of your sickness was solved but how unfortunate that it had to be at the expense of the apartment that you love/loved! Well, as you said, one door closes and one door opens. It's all part of the adventure.

    I think your door photos are just beautiful. Really, truly beautiful.

  5. Oh DEAR! So sorry that your apartment is making you sick-- that's so sad!!! But thanks for sharing the lovely door photos and the yummylicious recipe! ;-)

  6. That really stinks! At least you found at what it is though so you won't have to suffer anymore! The banana bread sounds delicious.

  7. Thank you so much, Pam! :-) I'm starting to get very excited about this new adventure! :-)

  8. Oy, me too, Jane!! So glad you like the door pictures. :-) They make me very happy too.

  9. I know, Lauryl. I confess I had a little cry. But I think I may have found another lovely spot to replace it. :-)

  10. I concur, Joanne! I can't wait to start getting better. :-)

  11. Glad you found a new doctor who helped spun things round. Hope you find a lovely apartment soon.....take care

  12. Me too, Ozoz. She's a lovely doctor. :-) I DID find a lovely apartment first thing this morning. I will tell you all about it soon. :-)

  13. Yeah! You found a lovely apartment. That is great news. You will be feeling better really soon.

    Your banana bread sounds really comforting and quite delicious.

    btw, those Italian doors, just stunning.

  14. I'm so happy, Velva! It's the coziest little place - not fancy - but so perfect for me. :-)

  15. Oh dear...this is bad...i was actually dreaming about this place as i read and u jolted me ...our present home is the same...loads of windows and doors and wen all are thrown open we have amazing breeze that begins in the afternoon and we are on a hill too.....

    And the sunsets are beautiful and the sea side a short drive away but too much of direct sun that doesnt do my pics good:-))))
    yeah i believe that too and maybe u'll find a far better place than this one....

    was trying to send u this last night but had my share of net trouble and the banana bread sounds delish....

  16. Thank you, darling. :-) I did find a lovely little place that is clean and safe and close to the nature I love. :-) Your place sounds absolutely WONDERFUL! :-) Maybe one day you will share pictures of your world? I would love to see them. :-)

  17. You poor thing Krista! I've heard that some apartments and houses can make people very ill. There was a show here that found that mold/damp was a big contributor to ill health. I'm just glad that you've found somewhere else! :D

  18. I'm hearing more and more of that, Lorraine! I'm SO glad to be getting a safe place to live in just a few days. :-)

  19. Oh poor you Krista, but I'm glad someone finally figured out what was making you so sick! I like your philosophy. Good girl!! Go for it, settle into your new place. LOVE the doors, each one of them brimming with character. Also love the bread...COMFORTING!! xo

  20. Thank you, dear Deeba. After being utterly discouraged I have hope again and that makes me happy. :-) Onward!! :-)

  21. I hope you feel better after moving. Sad to have to move, but a blessing to at least pinpoint the problem!

  22. Thank you, Meghan. I hope so too! I'm starting to get excited now. :-)

  23. Hey you--so sorry to here about your apartment. I can only imagine that it was beautiful and that you did much to make it that way. That being the case, I'm sure the new place will be a wonderful haven for you. Be well, and happy, and lovely, and keep inspiring me. You always do.

    Peace and Joy,

  24. Oh BTW: I have twinkle light strands streaming across my bedroom ceiling all because of you. I love them. :)

  25. Thank you, Beka! I will do my very best to make it cozy and happy. :-)

  26. Oh! I LOVE that you have lights on your ceiling!! YAY! :-) Fairy lights are the bestest for romantics like us. :-)

  27. Oh honey I'm so sorry you have to move from your wonderful apartment....but I'm happy you finally know the cause of the sickness.

    I just adored your photo's of doors, I love all the different personalities....does that sound strange!!

    Your banana bread sounds divine.

  28. Wow that is amazing! Like a bad movie! Glad someone figured it out although now you have to move! Did you find something? And nothing heals better than banana bread with chocolate chunks. I know.

  29. It doesn't sound strange at all, DJ! They're all like dear friends - so different but equally loved. :-)

  30. It DOES, doesn't it, Jamie? Heavens! :-) I did find a new place!!! It's small and cozy and I love it. :-) It backs onto my favorite park and is quiet and safe. I'm so delighted! :-)

  31. loving your outlook on the new venture though. i know it's awful but like you say when one door closes another one opens. wishing you my very best and of course sending a few hugs!

  32. Oh, thank you, dear Meeta! Your hugs came just when I needed them! :-)

  33. This banana bread sounds fantabulous..a must try. That said..what gorgeous photos of the Italian villa you stayed at, (even throuh all the trials and tribulations)..and a great read :)

  34. Blimey, I hadn't read this before the other post about you finding your apartment. I didn't realise this was why you had to move. I hope your new place will feel a lot better. These photos are beautiful.

  35. Thank you, Lisa Michelle! :-) I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures. :-)

  36. Yep, this is the reason, Sarah! Now you know why it had to be so fast. :-) Glad you like the pictures! :-)