Holy buckets I have not blogged in quite a little bit! This may be the longest blog break I’ve taken in a year! Wowza. Where oh where have I been?
Welp, the month of July was insanely busy. In one short month I managed to go to New York, Chicago, Quebec City, attend two weddings, helped out with a fabulous bridal shower, attend Accepted Student’s Day at Columbia University in the City of New York (yup, that’s right, I’m heading back to NYC for grad school!) and spend a surprise night at a Ramawada Inn in Newark, NJ due to a clusterfuck of a travel situation heading back from Quebec.
When I wasn’t traveling, I was working working working! I’ve been trying to work at Trader Joe’s as much as I can while still establishing a balance for free time/sanity, which between travel and some other freelance projects I’ve had this month, has been quite the juggling act. But exciting things are coming and happening and it’s been a busy but fun month – despite the fact that it completely flew by!
So today, July 29th, I had off. Free of all obligations, duties, travel agendas, work, and any other sort of obligation that would require me to be wearing real pants at a certain time and place. Aka utter BLISS. Millie (bless her soul) of course decided woke me up at 5:34am on the dot. 5:34 am seems to be her favorite time to wake mommy up to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, and promptly climb back into bed, leaving me up and awake for the day.
I’m naturally an early riser, but sometimes, sometimes, I fantasize of sleeping in til 6am on my days off. I guess I should just keep dreaming, right?
Getting up early isn’t always a bad thing – I’m most awake and productive in the early morning and it allows me to get things done before the rest of the world wakes up to distract me. The only downside is that often times I want to get errands done but things like the post office and Target aren’t open until several hours after I rise (-__-). Sometimes this leaves me time to do other things. Like bake.
This morning, I baked some banana bread. Can I tell you a secret? For YEARS I have had the hardest time perfecting banana bread. I just couldn’t do it! I don’t know why. It was always too dry, too wet, too clumpy, or the texture simply wasn’t correct.
I know, I know how can this be? I can make homemade Cronuts and elaborate cakes with my eyes closed, and I’m a well-known banana fiend, but for reasons beyond my explanation, I couldn’t make a decent banana bread to save my life. Well, recently, I am happy to say, I conquered the banana bread beast. Yes, I won. I won at life.
This recipe is several years and about 200 loaves of mediocre or failed banana bread in the making. But here, right in front of your eyes, is the best-ever, hearty, moist, pleasantly filling / not junky vegan and gluten-free banana bread. I think two major keys to perfect banana bread are almond flour and coconut oil. I really have tried this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, but to me, texture and flavor wise, coconut oil (though boring) reigns supreme.
Winning at this recipe was a major hurdle for me to overcome in my life. I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my culinary shoulders. In a sense, accomplishing this banana bread was a pleasant reminder that if I bust my butt hard enough, I can overcome any life obstacle. Which, when you’re moving halfway across the country again to throw yourself into grad school after some relaxing time off, is a pretty good reminder.
Onwards and upwards, friends! Happy banana bread to you. :-D And in the words of Apu from the Simpsons, “Hallelujah, we have banana bread.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 60-80 minutes
makes one 12 inch loaf, serves about 10-12
- 3 large very-ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub peanut butter or almond butter, but I like coconut oil best)
- 1/3 -1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar or raw sugar)\
- adjust amount based on desired level of sweetness
- 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
- 1 1/4 almond flour / almond meal (can sub oat flour)
- 1 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub more oat flour)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed (can sub more rolled oats)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil or nut butter in a large bowl. mash bananas and add to melted coconut oil. Stir will. Add maple syrup. Mix well.
4. Add almond flour, oat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Fold into banana mixture. Add almond milk mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts and fold into batter. Mix until just combine.
5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, and bake for 60 – 80 minutes, or until bread becomes browned and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool and serve with coconut oil, jelly, or more nut butter :-D.