Banana bread is a classic, all American, comfort food that just about everyone loves! Usually it’s packed with butter and lots of refined sugar. But this recipe is great because we swapped out the bad stuff for some more nutrient dense options like coconut oil, honey, unsweetened almond milk and whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour!
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup honey OR maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- Optional: add in 1/2 cup chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, craisins, etc.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
- In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil & honey (or maple syrup) together with a whisk.
- Add in the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and almond milk. (If your coconut oil starts to solidify on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes.)
- Add in the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and ground cinnamon. Whisk to blend.
- Switch over to a large spoon and stir in the whole wheat flour until combined. If you are adding in any additional mix ins, gently fold them in now.
- Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
- Bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
As I held my phone and watched the horrifying video of George Floyd, I like most, found uncontrollable tears run down my face. My mind immediately raced back to when I was a little girl, so very affected and frightened by the race riots. Then, I thought about the poem I wrote that same year for a contest for principal-of-the-day. It was entitled “Brotherhood”:
Something sought and talked about but seldom understood
To love, to need, to understand
A word called Brotherhood
A rather large word, with a larger meaning of course!
A communicating, heart bonding, hand holding force
Now take this word and pass it to another
And truly say ‘my brother’.
Almost 50 years from writing this poem…another black man has died for absolutely no reason. I want real change. We can no longer stand by while the world is burning with hatred, racism, religious persecution, lack of charity, failure to HONOR EACH HUMAN LIFE, and silently watch the homeless, the sick, the hungry, the unaccepted, the most vulnerable.
I am proud to work with the most loving, supportive members of the Paterson Bd. Of Ed who to date have provided over 500,00 meals at our distribution sites not to mention all our Community partners; St. Paul’s Community Development, Oasis, The Boys and Girls Club, Community Development Corp (NJCDC), New Destiny Family Success Center, they are family who care for our community and embrace their needs with open hearts. They inspire me each and every day to support my staff at our Full Service Community School Health Centers. Our team of Treatment Coordinators and Mental Health Providers have been working endless hours reaching out to families. I want this to become the contagious virus that will overthrow all the pain of COVID-19 and the unthinkable murder of George Floyd.
We are here to continue to support our community and invite each of you who read this post to join our ‘Virtual Community Circles’ next week. Please refer to our posting of scheduled times on this site. It is a safe space led by our therapists.
Do not let the life of George Floyd be remembered as a horrific video display, but may his life inspire us to make real change. Not accept the injustice, but work toward the healing peacefulness of brotherhood. I pray his life not be in vain. His life mattered. Black Lives Matter.
Denise Hajjar, MS
Health N’ Wellness Services, LLC
Dear Full Service Community School Health Center Family:
We miss you! We hope that this letter finds you and your family well. We are sending you this letter to provide you with resources that might be helpful while we are social distancing and adjusting to our new routines.
First, for everyone, but especially our children, we want to share a short story adapted from child psychologist Ana Gomez:
The Story of the Oyster
“Do you know about the oyster who lives at the bottom of the sea who uses its special powers when something is bothering it until a pearl is formed?
In these difficult days, we can be like the oyster and when something is bothering us, notice our feelings – lonely, sad, angry, frustrated, happy, worried, relaxed, confused, mixed up. Notice the way the feelings we have make our bodies feel.
Draw a picture of our feelings, talk about our feelings and
thoughts. Draw a picture of ourselves. Does our body feel
loose like a noodle or hard like a rock? Does it feel light or
heavy? Where on our bodies do we feel these feelings? What
do the feelings look like? What do they say?
Like the oyster, we have special powers to make what is bothering us into a pearl. When our feelings get too big, too hot or too cold, we can do things to cool them down or warm them up. We can be kind and loving to our feelings. Ignoring our feelings will not make them go away. Do we need a hug or someone to talk to or someone to tell us that things will be ok? We can use the power of breathing to calm our minds, hearts and bodies. We also can sing, hum, dance or jump!
Now imagine that we have a long, special cord that goes from our heart to the hearts of all the people we love. This cord joins us together. We are not alone. We all have special powers and like the oyster, we can create pearls.”
Thank you for reading! We look forward to coming back to school and finding out what pearls you have made and what feelings you identified to help create your pearls. We also want to hear about who you are connecting with by using your long, special cord. On the following pages please find information and links to helpful resources.
The resources included here below are up-to-date as of the post date. Information is changing rapidly and not always correct, so we urge you to rely on information from government websites.
Download the PDF below for your reference:
Our Health & Wellness Educator, Taylor Weber, MS and our Nutrition Intern, Ahjahta McDuffie presented workshops and an assembly on vaping electronic cigarettes. The presentation was called, “Don’t Get Vaped In!” which was created by Tobacco Free NJ, which Taylor was trained on presenting. The workshops were presented to 5th through 8th grade middle school students at School #2, Napier Academy, and New Roberto Clemente Middle School. They also presented this workshop to ten parents at School #2 at their monthly, Wednesday Workshops in collaboration with Oasis. These workshops reached over 430 middle school students explaining in detail the concerns and health risks associated with vaping and smoking electronic cigarettes.
(Photo source via: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au)
Worry is normal when we are faced with uncertainty. It’s also important to understand that we can find ways to control our worry rather than allowing it to control us.
Here are five simple ways you can practice mindfulness with your children now:
1.Take five breathing:Sit down, close your eyes or look down and trace your hand with the index finger of your other hand. When you trace up, take a deep breath in; when you trace down, breathe out. Keep breathing and tracing until you have traced your whole hand. (Try this while you are washing your hands!) This practice is a great way to lower cortisol levels, which can spike when you are anxious or worried.
2.See, hear, feel:Sit down, close your eyes or look down. Start to notice your surroundings. What do you see, hear and feel in your body? Each time you notice something, you can silently label it “See,” “Hear” or “Feel.” Try that for a few minutes. This practice can help you come back to the present moment when you feel anxious.
3.Mindful eating:Try to eat something and really pay attention to it with all of your senses. What does it look like, sound like, smell like, feel like, taste like? Try to eat it really slowly and notice everything about it. This practice can help you to slow down, stay in the present moment and feel gratitude for food.
4.Heartfulness:Sit quietly, close your eyes or look down. Give yourself a little hug and think “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful.” Then think about somebody you care about and then about everyone in the world. (This is another great thing to do while you are washing your hands.) This practice can make us feel kinder and gentler toward ourselves and others. It can remind us that we are connected to everyone in the world and that we all want the same basic things — health, happiness and peace. I encourage my students to take that feeling of compassion and do something to help. Helping others is a surefire way to get us out of our own heads and out of the prison of worry. Finding ways to show people that we love them is a way that we can all feel more connected in these scary times.
5.Remote-control breathing:Sit quietly, close your eyes or look down. Take three deep breaths. Try to count 10 normal breaths. If you notice that your mind wandered, just note that and start counting your breaths again. You might have to keep bringing your attention back to your breath, and that’s fine.
Stay connected with us by finding more ways to practice mindfulness, speak with your children about COVID-19 and use mindful movement and other practices to cope during this uncertain time.
Protecting ourselves and our loved ones during this COVID19 pandemic involves things we can all do:
1. Wash hands.
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
4. Stay home when sick.
5. Cover your cough with your elbow. If you use a tissue, clean your hands.
6. Face masks might help people who are sick not spread germs when around others, but they are not needed if you are well unless you’re in close contact with someone who is sick. These are in short supply, so please do not use them unnecessarily. Your healthcare provider or caretaker might need it one day.
7. Wash frequently touched surfaces. See the post for details of this one!