Estelle’s Benefit Ball Banana Bread

Banana bread From the desk of Estelle Pillow, Owner of the Sweetlife Bakery.

Hi, everybody!

The Watervalley Benefit Ball was this past week.

Lord have mercy, has it seen some changes.  The occasion used to be strictly formal with tuxedos and evening gowns. But over time the few blue bloods that did live in Watervalley became blue hairs. They moved so slow on the dance floor, some of them could have been declared legally dead. The problem reached critical mass several years back when only fourteen people showed up. The dancing was so bad, several of  band members were emotionally scarred.

So in recent years the ball committee has lightened up the dress code. It was a good but problematic idea. In the first year under the new guidelines, some of the women looked like they had worn their teenage daughter’s dress by mistake. And judging from the ties that were worn, half the male population of Watervalley was colorblind.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that that year introduced the concept of spit cups to the ball, the committee still counted it a win. It’s grown ever since.

The only other hiccup came last year when Sunshine Miller chaired the food committee. A person who is hung up on proper nutrition should never be put in change of concessions for a dance. While many of the dishes were undoubtedly healthy, they were only slightly preferable to hunger.

So this year, I’m proud to say, the Sweetlife Bakery catered the Watervalley Benefit Ball. Naturally I had to go buy a pair of Christian Louboutin red bottom shoes to complete my outfit. Of course, my sister, Connie raised quite a stink, wanting to know why anyone would spend $600 on a pair of shoes. I told her not to judge what she couldn’t understand.

Anyway, of all things, the big hit of the night was an item that was practically an afterthought. We had made up several loaves of my special banana bread at the bakery and decided to slice them up and put them on the “treats” table along with the other tarts and pastries.

After taking one bite, Polly Pigg got so enthusiastic she couldn’t stop talking about it. Polly was chairman of the ball this year and is the last of the old guard. People say she was born during the Wilson administration but she looks old enough to have gone to high school with him. She came up to me and was so excited about the banana bread she started talking in a high-pitched gibberish. It was like trying to have a conversation with flipper.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Polly. I really do. But each year her boat seems to lean more toward the whacky side. That’s one gal who doesn’t limit her madness to March.

Even still, given all the hoopla, I though it would be a good to share my recipe for banana bread. It’s easy, delicious, and stays good for a long time. And…just like the benefit ball this year, it has lots of nuts in it.

Come by and see us at the Sweetlife Bakery where the pastries are always tasty and the hugs are always free!

Estelle’s Banana Nut Bread


-1 Stick of Butter, Unsalted, Room temperature

-1 Cup Sugar

-3 or 4 very ripe bananas

– ½ cup half and half or buttermilk

-3 large eggs


-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-1 teaspoon nutmeg

– ½ teaspoon cinnamon

– ½ teaspoon salt

-2 cups all-purpose flour

-1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 5 baking pan

Using mixer, whip together butter and sugar till creamy.

Add the bananas, eggs, along with the half & half and beat until smooth. (A few small banana clumps are okay.)

In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir with mixer until combined.

Pour into baking pan and bake on middle rack for 55-60 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.





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