IMG_0100Barley recommends an overripe banana and heaping tablespoons of Wheat Germ. To add even more protein, use fat-free plain Greek yogurt.

“It’s Cameo White over Rustoleum Yellow,” Barley said as I entered the yard through the back gate. He was in the enclosed porch, or “solarium,” as he calls it, painting the trim. It was fair, sunny, and dry–perfect weather for painting, Barley noted, as I watched him, clad in a white lab coat and matching goggles, repaint the last quarter of the trim. It was like watching a chemist named Bob Ross host a home-improvement show, as he explained that the marigold-colored paint he originally chose clashed with the silver siding. I nodded in agreement, realizing where my artistic eye must come from. Come to think of it, my high school studio art teacher always described my talent as “conscientious.”

Barley, in fact, is very artistically inspired. Travel books and newspapers, his monthly calendar, even matchbooks open all kinds of creative windows for him: Recently, he repaired the top-half of a broken picture frame by putting a waterfront scene inside and securing a window shade, pulled halfway down, to cover up the crack in the glass. For me, it’s inspiring to see how he takes pride in his work just by hanging it on the wall…regardless of how few are lucky enough to witness his genius. He also gave his shed a French Country-style transformation, adorning a vibrant window frame with a flower box full of geraniums. When I was maybe 10 years old, I came home from school to find Barley busy painting a new “tree house” he built for me, meaning it had a bark-brown trunk and a leafy-green roof. It was complete with plexiglass windows and curtains, too. Despite my mother’s incredulousness at the new structure that consumed the side of our backyard, it was rooted in love. And I loved every minute that I spent inside of that thing.

Barley's Artistic To-Dos

One of Barley's artistic to-do lists

When they were ready, we shared Barley’s “Better” Banana Cream Pies at at an outdoor cafe–a bistro table and chairs that he set up for us next to the garden. Simple, wholesome, and delicious, Barley’s recipe is exactly like one of my own. Discovering these commonalities gave me an appetite to discover even more of them, while adding color to my palate and new meaning to the term “comfort food.”

Here’s our little version of creamy white over banana yellow:

3/4 cup organic fat-free plain yogurt
Generous dash pure vanilla extract (we like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium banana, sliced into 1/2″-thick rounds
2 Tbsp Honey Crunch or Original Toasted Wheat Germ

1. Combine yogurt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in glass measuring cup.

2. Place banana in small serving bowl. Pour yogurt mixture on top to coat. Garnish with additional cinnamon, if desired.

3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze 3 hours or until firm.

4.  Top with Wheat Germ before serving.

Makes 1 serving

Per serving: 230 cal, 13 g pro, 48 g carb, 5 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 4 mg chol, 24 g sugars