What’s a girl to do when she has squishy bananas, blueberries begging to be used and an overstuffed pantry? She makes Banana, Blueberry, Coconut Bread, a moist and flavorful treat that is perfect for breakfast, dessert or those times when you are craving a little something sweet. You can easily serve this straight up or you can jazz it up, like I did, with a sweetened blueberry puree and a crown of fresh blueberries.
Personally I think the extra 10 minutes to make the glaze is well worth it, but then again I am enamored with the contrast of the rich purple hue as it drapes elegantly down the sides of the toasty brown cake.
As I was baking this banana bread, I found myself reminiscing about my weekend trips to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation center that rests at the foothills of Mount Kenya. And in true Road to Honey form, I had every intention of telling you a story about this magical place, but there is something else weighing on my mind so we will need to chat about monkeys and this sanctuary in a future post. On the upside, this will give me the opportunity to bring you another delectable banana dessert.
In the meantime, if you are dying to know more about this conservancy, you can read about it HERE.
As you may have gathered through my posts, our furry four legged family is extremely important to the Mr. and I so it is only natural that we get very worried at the first sign of anything “out of the ordinary” . This was no exception 8 months prior to leaving Kenya when we noticed a lump on Asia’s (our female tuxie kitty) belly. So without hesitation we rushed the little cutie to see her Kenyan veterinarian.
“It’s just a fatty tumor.” he said. “Akuna matata. . .nothing to worry about.”
Phew! A sense of relief flooded us as we drove her back home all the while happy as clams that the panic was not justified.
But over the months the “fatty tumor” continued to grow and the Mr. and I became increasingly worried about our little Mother Hen. Was it really a fatty tumor? Or was it something far more serious?
Then the Westgate Mall attack happened (see more about that HERE and HERE) and we moved back to the U.S.. While our sudden relocation was unplanned, the Mr. and I found extreme comfort knowing that our return, as hard as it was, would enable Asia to get proper veterinarian care.
So when we landed back on U.S. soil, the vet was the first person we saw. I couldn’t be prouder as Asia proved to be the true star patient, handing out kisses and rubs as the vet and technicians poked and prodded at her. She lay willingly on her back as they took x-rays of her little body. She didn’t even put up a fuss when they took a biopsy from the lumps on her belly.
As the vet looked at the sample under the microscope, Asia patiently sat on the cool metal exam table with her paw casually folded under intently waiting to see what was next. But while Asia was acting cool as a cucumber, there was something far more sinister happening in her vivacious little body. You see, that “fatty tumor” was not just a benign little growth but rather breast cancer. Breast cancer! Do you know how rare breast cancer is in cats? Especially spayed cats?
The Mr. and I were devastated. Asia had always served as our little protector and now the tables were turned and we would need to do all that we could to protect her from this vicious disease.
We scheduled the surgery for her as soon as possible. The surgery went well. As they handed her carrier over to us, they told us that she likely would not have much of an appetite and would sleep more than usual. But not our little Asia. As soon as she regained consciousness she made sure that everyone knew that she had missed breakfast that morning and was demanding that she be presented with a meal fit for a queen. And while the pain medication had a tendency to leave most kitties groggy, it seemed to have the opposite effects on Asia. Day and night she sat very relaxed on her “sick bed” with eyes wide open. Despite lack of sleep, she became a love machine on overdrive. . .purring loudly even when only the slightest glance was thrown her way.
The results came back and her cancer was confirmed. The Mr. and I were very relieved when they told us that the results showed that they had successfully removed the tumor’s margins. Asia had beat cancer and she was going to continue to be our Mother Hen for many years to come. . .or so we thought.
But life is never as you wish and new lumps resurfaced and were once again removed. With each surgery there was new hope that the cancer was finally gone for good. But lady luck would not have it that way. As I was taking the photographs of this cake, I gingerly picked Asia up to move her off the chair. That’s when I felt them. Two new lumps. Two new BIG lumps. Both on the same side that all the previous lumps had been on.
This will be Asia’s fourth surgery since we returned from Africa nearly two years ago. If you met her you would never know that her little body continues to fight cancer. She is spunky, outgoing and full of life. She bounces back from each surgery like it “ain’t no thing.”
We bypassed her regular vet and are scheduled to take her directly to her cancer specialist tomorrow. The Mr. and I are no strangers to this song and dance and we know what’s next. We will be converting my studio into her recovery room. The Mr. and I have vowed to continue to help her fight as long as she has fight within her.
All positive vibes as Asia continues To battle the big “C” are appreciated. She will be sporting her pink Susan B. Komen breast cancer collar.