Midweek pick me up

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Apparently banana bread and/or sourdough is the baked thing of choice during this quarantine? I dunno. I’ve love bbread for years – I remember learning early on to make my gram’s banana bread (my mom’s stationary had little birds on it that looked like music notes – this is a very tangible memory!). I’ve since moved on to recipes that are more whole grain/healthy fat/refined sugar free but that original loaf will always have a major nostalgia factor for me. Side note – cornbread was the other thing I learned to make early – I’m pretty sure I imprinted on that one, since EVERYTHING cornmeal based is my JAM.

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This is my latest favorite bbread recipe! I’m really pleased with it – started as another exercise in using up what I have / not using up my whole wheat pastry flour, which isn’t strictly necessary here and seems to be in rather short supply in the markets these days. I also HATE wasting food, above all else – I pride myself on eating everything that comes home with me, and that includes dead bananas. I abhor eating bananas out of hand that are the least bit spotty (picky picky) so once they get past that stage, they’re destined for bbread. Not that I’m the least upset about this situation – more bbread is always a win, in my book.

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This one is whole grain & gluten free, egg-free and refined sugar free, with majorly flexible adaptations to make it dairy free / vegan. I’ll add notes for those in the recipe, if you’re interested!

A few shots of my plants going ape, because… well, because! Can never have too many plant things.

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Repotted & so happy:

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Side note: check out these beautiful anthocyanins! (aka the little flavanoids hanging out in foods & giving them their gorg red/blue/purple pigmentation. Not to mention the beta-carotene goodness happening here. Gah! So pretty, so delicious.

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I used to make a loaf of carrot-banana-walnut bread a week in grad school, as a weeklong source of snacks and sanity. Not really close to that these days, but I’m definitely embracing the work from home ethos that’s allowing me to bake midweek – normally that’s a bit of a squish to try to fit that into a regular week; plus, now I have more time to actually EAT this stuff at home, which is lovely. No complaints on that front.

Happy midweek baking! A bonus post from this gal who usually only posts on weekends. Mwah!

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Banana Bread with Black Sesame

Super adaptable recipe – whole grain / gluten free / refined sugar free / egg-free as written; very easy to make this dairy free/vegan – see notes! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 large loaf or 4 small ones. Could also be made in a muffin tin if you wanted muffins instead – or a cake pan for a more cake-shaped bread. You do you! Just watch the baking times if you’re making it in a smaller or shallower pan – time will vary.

1/4 cup greek yogurt (made sure to use the whey on the top plus a splash of milk so it’s thinner*)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp maple syrup
scant 1/4 cup melted butter (or use coconut, ghee, etc – just start with it melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 c oat flour**
3/4 c almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 c black sesame seeds
~1/3 c walnuts, roughly chopped

*can use 1/4 c milk (non dairy or dairy) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar; let sit for 5-10 min

**use whole wheat if not doing gluten free; I love it with oat but it’s super flexy. Spelt would probably be great here too, or a gluten free flour blend if that’s what you have

Bbread is stupid easy! Mix wet – mash bananas & add all the other delicious goodness to the mashed banana bowl. In another, larger bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add wet into dry & stir until just combined, adding sesame seeds and walnuts towards the end. The batter will be super thick, just FYI.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease your pans of choice – I used three small loaf pans for slightly taller loaves, but 1 large loaf pan would be great, or whatever you have (see recipe note up top at the header). Bake for ~35 minutes for the small pans; will be longer (I’d start checking at 45/50 for a standard loaf pan) – the top will be golden brown, and a tester will come out clean. Let sit for a few minutes, then turn out of the pan to cool completely. Store in the fridge, wrapped in foil, or on the counter if you think you’ll it it within a day or two.

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Some desserts are actually breakfast in disguise

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It’s September, my favorite month ever! I love fall. So even though the days start getting shorter again and that’s kind of a bummer, I do love the lead up to fall…. and boots! and scarves! and apples! and pumpkin!

But… before we get there! It’s still arguably berry season, and I see no reason to end that prematurely unless I have to (which I don’t!). Which means… raspberries! Which pair oh so well with hazelnuts and dark chocolate. And then…

BREAD.

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Because, sometimes you just need some bread pudding. Besides that, I am spoiled to live near Acme Baking, which makes some of the best bread around: all the more reason to get on the bread pudding train. Furthermore, bread pudding is one of those glorious things that only gets better and better the longer it sits, which means breakfast this morning was FANTASTIC. Eggs & cholula + kale + bread pudding? Sign me up. Oh. And obviously caramel. Because bread pudding should ALWAYS have a sauce, no matter if you eat it with ice cream anyway (also recommended; talenti coconut gelato was a spot-on choice). Enter the five second blender caramel with heavy hazelnut overtones… and so full of good things it’s practically a health food. Don’t get me started ;)

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Apologies for the lack of pictures; bread pudding isn’t the most photogenic of all the desserts and also it pretty much got annihilated before I could get in there with a camera for some in situ shots of plated dessert… Sorry not sorry.

Happy September, enjoy the beautiful days of Indian summer!

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Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Bread Pudding with Hazelnut Caramel

This is neither gluten free, vegan, or paleo. Sorry not sorry! Sometimes, you just need some bread. It is, however, dairy free and refined sugar free. It is also extremely easy to throw together, using whatever you have on hand. Yield: one 9 by 9 pan. Like many things I’ve made lately, this does double duty as breakfast and is even better the next day, so the serving sizes are contingent on how hungry you happen to be… A Wait are those Cookies original!

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf of (stale!*) bread, cubed (I used Acme Pain au Levain)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c coconut milk (mine happened to be light; use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over shot of Fra Angelico
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c fresh raspberries (frozen is fine; thaw and drain first!)

Caramel:

  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Fra Angelico
  • scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

* You can either cube it ahead of time and let it sit out, like I did, or slice and toast in the oven to stale it day of, if you’re short on time

You can make the caramel ahead of time, or while the pudding is baking (it comes together in about five seconds):

In a vitamix or a food processor, blend almond butter, maple, melted coconut oil, vanilla, Fra Anglico, and sea salt until smooth and incorporated. Adjust taste to suit your preferences!

Butter or use coconut oil to grease a 9 by 9 pan. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the inside of the pan if desired; this gives the bottom a little somethin’ extra…

Put the cubed bread into a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, maple, Fra Angelica, vanilla, and sea salt. Pour this goodness over the bread cubes, using your hands to evenly distribute everything. Toss in hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and raspberries (reserve a few raspberries for topping if you’re feeling fancy). Let this sit for about a half hour so the bread can absorb the custard.

Preheat the oven to 350, and once the custard and bread have sat for a bit, bake for 30-40 minutes, until there is no visible liquid at the bottom when you separate it with a fork (you don’t want it dry though, so just look for pooling liquid). Mine was perfect at 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate if you’re like me and like cold bread pudding! Or serve warm, it’s awesome either way. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat them for breakfast — highly recommended.

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Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil in the fridge.

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Bring on the Pumpkin

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The fall baking has arrived!

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Despite the weather not exactly cooperating (it sort of did yesterday…. I wore a light sweatshirt past 10 am. Omg. It was awesome), I have checked the box next to the ‘first pumpkin baked good for fall” box. Would have been earlier, but 90 plus temperatures don’t really lend themselves to pumpkin… I mean, they can but apparently for me they don’t.

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BUT. Solved that problem yesterday (made this, with a few tweaks: chopped dates instead of chocolate, omitted coconut flour; used difference spices and only 1/4 coconut sugar + maple), plus mashed potatoes, shredded ginger-rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, hardboiled eggs… And I also somehow found time yesterday to have brunch+a walk with a best camp friend, run a grocery errand, go to Target, clean my apartment, do laundry, read for epi, write more of my midterm paper, and finish my stats homework…. which as anyone in my cohort knows is quite a feat, 18 pages of SAS printout later… AND I made quinoa banana carrot bread, which is actually what this post is about, because I’ve now made it twice in two weeks so obviously it’s a winner.

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And I’m stealing the 10 minutes I have early early in the am when it’s still dark out and I’m not studying to share it with you because I love my invisible internet blog friends WAY more than I love doing homework.

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I also drew the next installment for the drawing challenge. Day 5: Best Friend. I have so many friends I couldn’t live without; and they all hold a piece of my heart!

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Also, sometimes this is what a grad school coping mechanism looks like (and yes, this app is still floating my boat) :

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extra dark chocolate, bbread with butter, food writing and a fun app = coping.

So! This bread. Is the right combination of not too sweet, just sweet enough, dense without being too dense, satisfying when you want a snack or dessert. It also has that great craggy top and slightly chewy sides that I think all quick breads should have, but that’s just me. It’s also fodmap friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free with only one teeny tweak, refined sugar free, and whole grain. YAY!

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Quinoa Carrot Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf. FODMAP friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free option (Just sub the 1/3 c spelt flour with an equal amount of quinoa flour), refined sugar free, high in beta-carotene and omega 3’s… and absolutely delicious. Inspired by Power Hungry, here!

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  • 1 c quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c white or brown rice flour (I’ve used both and either is delicious)
  • 1/3 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c (2 large) bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c mostly-melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 (or 360 in the case of my abnormally hot and uneven oven), and grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil.

Toast the quinoa flour in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until you can smell it: about 5 minutes (this is important! Quinoa flour can be a little bitter if this step is omitted); let cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, then add maple syrup, grated carrots, melted coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and hemp milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine (the batter will be thick, which is fine). Stir in walnuts. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes (mine comes out of my stupid hot oven perfectly browned at 360 degrees and 46 minutes; but you most likely have a normal oven that heats appropriately…) Check for a lightly browned top and a skewer that comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For storage, wrap this in foil and store it in the fridge for the 30 seconds that the leftovers last…

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Bread and Pegboards

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Julia Child would be SO proud right now.

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I have my very own pegboard!!!

And also this awesome new app that does really cool things to photos. Sorry… I’m addicted. Just bear with me….

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In fact, the main reason I’m posting a recipe at all is to actually feature my beautiful baby pegboard… because it is AMAZING. And courtesy of Vati’s superior constructional abilities, many thanks and rounds of applause to Vati! I do get credit for the spray paint, though. And now it’s amazing because I can actually get pots in and out of my cupboards.

What. A. Concept.

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No longer is it like playing pot tetris with the teeny cupboards, where I essentially have to stand on my head to see inside (and there is a support down the very center, which basically reduces the functionality of the storage space by half and makes getting larger pots in and out quite the skill)… NO! I now have only TWO pots stored in the pot storage space, and the rest get to hang out tidily on the pegboard. GENIUS. Absolutely genius. Thank you, Julia Child, for making this a thing. And I don’t care if she didn’t originally make it a thing — she made it awesome.

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So now I’m awesome.

Because I have a teal pegboard, just like Julia. Heeehee.

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I further have teeny mini loaves of tummy friendly quick bread! Because.. this is the ongoing game of finding a system of etting that makes my stomach happy. Which we still haven’t quite found, but I have hopes for getting there, at least. Long story short, this means reduced or eliminated fodmaps and a mega increase in the amount and timing of soluble fiber in my diet. SO FUN, GUYS, SO FUN. ….

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Mostly, I’m just bored stiff with my current diet, and am trying to slowly find things that are acceptable to brain and bod. This is one! Zucchini-banana spelt bread, with walnuts and cinnamon. Mmm. High in the good fiber, fodmap friendly, and refined sugar free. It’s also higher in protein than most quick breads, which I consider a plus. Whether you have tum issues or not, this is one delicious bread. I like the flour blend here because it yields a bread that is moist HYDRATED and dense in just the right way, without being stick-to-the-roof dense or too hydrated. Because there is such a thing and I hate overly hydrated quick bread. It should be able to stand on it’s own, and not just keel over into a soggy lump when you cut it. Just no.

But this one is a great balance between the two — and it’s egg content makes it just that bit… airy? Fluffy? Hard to describe but nonetheless delicious. Let’s go with densely airy just because, well why not. Don’t let my lack of appropriate terminology deter you… it’s amazing. And easy. No excuses!

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See. I told you.

Zucchini-Banana Spelt Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon

Fodmap friendly, high in soluble fiber, and refined sugar free. Feel free to adapt the flour blend as needed — this could easily be gluten free with a gf blend. This is a remarkably forgiving bread, given that I pretty much improvised as I went along and it still came out fabulously. Yield: 2 mini loaves or 1 small 9 by 5 loaf. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1/2 c quinoa flour
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c whole spelt flour
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until foamy and light (I use an immersion blender for this)
  • heaping 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 1/6 c coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 c grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease either 2 mini loaf pans, or 1 standard size.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. In a larger, non-reactive bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Whisk or mix in coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple. Stir in mashed banana and grated zucchini. Add walnuts, and stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with as few strokes as possible, until the batter is incorporated. Pour into the prepared pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is firm and a tester comes out clean. Mine were perfect at exactly 37 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool complete. Store them wrapped in foil in the fridge for best leftovers!

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Ready, set… PUMPKIN

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Pumpkin!! And stuff. But actually… mostly just pumpkin.

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Because the air finally smells different, the wind is cooler, scarves are necessary, and the leaves are starting to change and fall. This is my FAVORITE time of year, especially since it gives me an excuse to wear an excessive amount of scarves and boots and eat mass amounts of pumpkin. Also fall = flannels, hot tea, holidays, and eatingcookingeatingbakingeating.

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The other day/night it was really fallish weather here, so I was cooking with the windows open so I could smell the air at every opportunity. It didn’t hurt that the neighbors had a wood fire going somewhere, and obviously that smelled delicious.

And the best part of all this means I can use pumpkin for baking with reckless abandon. Which I’ve already started doing. Two pumpkin breads in less than a week? Oh yeah. Easy money. Bring on endless cans of squash puree, and I will speedily dispatch them. Ooooh I love this season!

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Also. Food is more fun when it’s colorful, don’t you think?

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Apparently everything I eat from now on is going to be orange. A spanish tortilla happened last night and this is partly what went in it. Ooooorange!!! Ha.

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This bread is delicious—light, but densely moist (let’s stick to hydrated, mmk?) and spiced. It’s grain free, gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free [they’re sweetened only with dates!], so there are no excuses not to enjoy. It’s also full of healthy fats and good squash-carbs, as well as enormous amounts of Vitamin A and beta carotene. Wheeee!

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Pumpkin-Almond Butter Bread

Grain free, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. It might also be paleo, but I’m not the authority on that business. Makes 1 loaf or an 8 by 8 pan (I used the latter, so the cook time below reflects that. Add at least 10 minutes for a loaf pan and check as needed). Recipe inspired and heavily adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal+3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 c pitted dates, soaked if needed
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350.

If your dates are super hard, soak them in near-boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain nearly all the water out, but reserve about a tablespoon or two. Puree the dates and reserved water in a food processor until mostly smooth, then set aside. Make flax egg, and set it aside as well to gel.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, almond butter, vanilla extract, and flax egg, then stir in the date paste. In a smaller bowl, whisk together cinnamon, allspice, ginger, sea salt, baking powder, and coconut flour. Toss dry into wet, add chocolate chips, and stir until everything is just combined. Scoop all that goodness out into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35-37 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. The top should spring back just slightly when touched.

Let cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the pan, top the pan with a cooling rack, and CAREFULLY (it’s delicate!) invert the bread onto the cooling rack to cool completely (you don’t have to flip it back over unless you want to…). Once it’s completely cool, I store it back in the pan I baked it in. Leftovers only lasted a day in my house, and I recommend storing this one in the fridge.

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Just for laughs, guess how many jars of nut butter I have…

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Guys. My songza playlist is SPOT ON tonight. Actually it’s so perfect it’s frightening. I got a bunch of funk up in here, perfect for a Thursday-almost-Friday-weekend-time.

Or let’s be real.

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Funk is perfect ALL the time. Fact.

Just like these.

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Welcome to end-of-summer-I-have-so-much-zucchini-someone-help. Or actually don’t. Really actually give me ALL YOUR SQUASH so I can make this bread over and over and over.

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Because the whole pan was gone in pretty much four hours and there were only three of us.

And I really don’t feel like I got a justifiably large amount. So obviously this has to happen again. I have a question to pose to you: Is baking a bread out of nut butter and then putting more nut butter on your bread redundant?? Because that’s basically the story of my existence. I don’t even want to know how much nut butter I consume on average (thank you, GRE studies, for immediately making me think of mean, median and mode. No, I will NOT be calculating the ‘real life word problem’ of my nut butter eating. Just… no.) Do you know how many jars of nut butter are in the fridge right now? I bet you can’t even guess.

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SEVEN.

And that’s not including the coconut butter in the cupboard (no need to refrigerate that sucker). I think I have a problem…

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So make that eight different types of nut butter. There are two types of peanut butter. And two types of almond butter. And a few medleys. And some sunflower butter… oh god.

Um okay so new subject.

Bees!!! Hooray for new jobs and local bees!! Welcome to my morning:

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If you want some, you know where to find me!

And you know what local honey would be amazing on??

THESE BARS.

They’re freaking fantastic. They’re even good by themselves!! Though obviously superior with a  smear of extra nut butter (obvi NOT the nut butter you used to make them, because how boring. Don’t you have six other choices to pick from?!). Super fast to whip up, which is basically as close to instant gratification as you can get with baking biz.

Side note: Playlist is reading my mind. “don’t stop till you get enough”… nut butter?! Right on, Michael, you are soooo right.

Anyway. Bars. Eat yo’ veggies! In something that is grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats and fiber and all that good stuff! And they taste kind of like gingerbread?! Which is baffling considering there is no ginger to be found in them. Whatever. They’re delicious and I didn’t eat enough last time sooooo…. does someone have any extra zucchini lying around they want to chuck my way? Puhhleeez??

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Almond Butter Zucchini Bread

Recipe only a teeny bit adapted from Hummusapien, here! It was so perfect I didn’t want to futz too much, though next time I might try them with a flax egg just for funzies. Gluten free, grain free, flour free. Paleo, refined sugar free, healthy fats, good source of fiber and sneaky veggies! Makes about 9 good sized bars in an 8 by 8 pan.

  • 3/4 c almond butter [mine was roasted and very lightly salted]
  • 1 giant zucchini, grated [1 heaping c shredded zucchini]
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 c raw coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt [adjust accordingly if your almond butter is salty]
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 baking pan with coconut oil or whatever your thing of choice is.

In a largeish/mediumish bowl thing, combine almond butter, egg, maple, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined. Add in baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt and whisk all that goodness in too. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool for a few, then flip out onto a cooling rack. I store it in the original baking pan after it’s fully cooled, with foil over the top  in the fridge (Not like I needed to since it all disappeared in about thirty seconds anyway, but you know…). Leftovers keep for… I have no idea. I didn’t have any.

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Things that are shockingly savory and also green

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Shut the front door.

I spy something savory!!

What. Shocking.

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Good thing I balanced it out with those awesome fudgy brownie cookies I mentioned in the last post. But actually, this is delicious. AND savory. You must feel like a proud parent. Additionally, this flatbread is stupid easy. As in like, whizzbangboomLUNCH. Which is awesome because as we know I don’t really like waiting for my food. Which is why I am mostly too lazy to make yeasted breads even though they’re delicious and not entirely difficult. I’m just impatient. Sigh. Story of my life.

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Anyway. Want to know what happens nearly every time I photograph something?

Actually, maybe you don’t.

But… too bad. I’m sharing anyway [my blog, ha]… Ready?

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I drop my camera in my food.

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For reals. Like a child. A clumsy one, at that. I swear, that camera has three years worth of blog food residue on it (EW GROSS I promise that isn’t true. I totally clean it off after I drop it. Like an adult. Ish.). But in the last few weeks it’s come into closer contact than I suppose it wishes with some really awesome guac, some flan (twice on the same photo shoot you ask?! Um yes. Welcome to my life), and most recently some cookies. No, I did NOT drop in in the flatbread. Ha. At least I am sort of winning at my own game… or not.

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So anyway. Make some of this deliciousness. I’m pretty sure no one is entirely positive where this originated… some say Egypt, the French say France, and no doubt the Italians say Italy. I don’t much care, as long as I can eat it. Mine is a little thicker than the variety you can find in France, which is more like a crepe, but I like it heartier because then I can get creative with what goes on it. I’ve made it once before, Italian-style (here, disregard mildly awful photography), but this one is my new favorite.

Besides that, I made an awesome green sauce to go with it. It’s like pesto, but lighter. And greener. Because, obviously.

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Mushroom and Rosemary Socca

Recipe inspired by Food 52, here! Serves 3, roughly, for an appetizer or a light lunch. Gluten free and vegan.

  • 1 c chickpea flour
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra [divided]
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ~1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • a good handful of white button mushrooms
  • 1 chunk of frozen basil, or a few good sized leaves, chiffonaded
  • a splash of good balsamic vinegar
  • a glug of avocado oil (or other high heat oil)

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, water, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. Set aside for about 30 minutes, more or less is not a big deal.

Heat a bit of olive oil and basil in a sauté pan over medium. When oil is hot, sauté mushrooms until they begin to release their juices and turn that great shade of golden/brown/sautéed mushroom color. Splash in a bit of balsamic, and cook for a minute more. Remove pan from heat, and pour slightly cooled mushrooms into the batter.

Preheat the oven to 450, and muscle out your cast iron skillet [mine is about 11″, so my socca is fairly thin]. Stick the skillet into the preheating oven for a bit so it gets hot enough that you need an oven mitt to take it out. Pour that glug of avo oil into the preheated skillet and swirl it around so it evenly coats the bottom. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and place it back into the oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the top is just firm. Remove and let rest for a few minutes before cutting and serving. I took all of mine out of the skillet and let it cool on racks for a bit, as I didn’t want it to overcook. Keeps fairly well in the fridge for at least a day, but is best served right after it’s made.

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Startlingly Green Sauce

I apologize in advance for the vagueness of this recipe. It’s really up to your taste, so use what sounds good and tastes appealing to you! I use whatever I have on hand, but typically the base ingredients are the same. Incidentally, this makes an excellent pasta sauce… Gluten free, vegan. Makes about 1 cup.

  • two good handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt+pepper to taste
  • ~1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • ~1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for a few minutes for easier blending
  • 2 tsp frozen basil, or a good handful of fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or diced fresh
  • perhaps a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos, if you’re feeling it

Chuck the load into your food processor, and blend the crap out of it! Taste. Like what you taste? Fab! Eat! Not so much? Adjust as needed. More salt… more nutritional yeast… garlic? Why not. The green sauce is your oyster. Spread on whatever it needs to be spread on, i.e. socca and pasta and other delicious things.

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A case of RUDE tonsils

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So guess what.

This is what happens when your tonsils rebel and you end up with…

TONSILLITIS.

So. RUDE.

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Look what it made me do? I was feeling sorry for myself and this happened.

And I kind of thought it was pretty so I took lots of iPhone photos while I was becoming one with the couch. Which is so not my mo, I’m getting twitchy and this is only my first full day of antibiotics (which I hate but in some cases are obviously necessary).

Ughghghhghghg.

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Thankfully things look a little better with a bowl of trashed up banana bread in front of you. I took a perfectly good-for-me loaf of grain free, refined sugar free banana bread and dumped a load of homemade chocolate hazelnut butter and vanilla ice cream on it. Because, obviously. I do not ever need to justify my ice cream but in this case I have tonsillitis and clearly everyone knows that tonsillitis=ice cream. There’s got to be an official rule written down somewhere that says that… right? Whatever. Just humor me, I’m sickly and cranky. And my banana bread is gone now so I can’t trash up any more of it.

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Good thing I still have ice cream. I’ll have to just make do with that…

IMG_0372 Simple Grain Free Banana Bread

This is one of my favorites—it comes out with a great crumb, it’s moist but not soggy (ew, no one wants that), and it bakes up cleanly in less than an hour. Grain free+gluten free, refined sugar free (in fact, it doesn’t have any sweetener added at all, except banana), and paleo. Yay! I adapted the recipe from Peanut Butter Runner, here! Makes one loaf.

  • 3/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (measured when completely liquid)
  • 3 medium-large, extremely ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded unsweetened coconut for topping, optional

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, trying to get all the lumps (sift coconut flour if it’s super lump-tastic). In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined—the batter is thick, and almost a little ‘dry’, but it spreads out easily into a loaf pan. Top with shredded coconut, if using, and bake for 45 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Use the parchment to lift it out onto a cooling rack, and let cool completely before wrapping in foil. It does best stored in the fridge!

Trash it up with anything you feel like. Chocolate? Peanut Butter? Ice cream? (I mean, obvi)… This banana bread is your oyster.

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Kelp noodles are ridiculously distracting

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I really freaking love kelp noodles like WAY TOO MUCH.

I want to eat them all day, every day.

Which is weird, given that they pretty much taste like… nothing. It’s like eating noodley nothing.

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So maybe… I’m really obsessed with the almond butter sauce. Realistically that’s probably it, given my history of obsession with anything nut butter related. Sheesh. I’m so predictable.

Whatever. Kelp noodles+almond butter = AMAZING.

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But actually this post is about banana bread. Um. Non sequitur? Sorry, I was just really excited about my leftovers for lunch today… and I’ve been working too much and my I think I lost my brain somewhere between my last six days of work in a row and here. Has anyone seen it? It’s lumpy.. and grey…

Right. Anyway. Banana bread. Not just any banana bread though—this is grain free, refined sugar free, and has CHOCOLATE in it. So I mean, obviously. What are you doing still standing there?? Why aren’t you in your kitchen making this immediately?
Good. I see you trotting off towards your bowls. My pictures have apparently had their desired effect…

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Sorry if there’s drool on your keyboard, I take no personal responsibility for that.

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This went over quite well with its audience: dense with a  good crumb, equal parts chocolatey and bananay… not too sweet but just sweet enough. Excellent with ice cream, if I do say.

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Grain Free Swirled Chocolate Banana Bread

Recipe adapted from My little jar of spices, here! Yield: 1 loaf. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free.

  • 3 very ripe bananas (the blacker and more disgusting the better), about 2 cups mashed
  • 2 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c ground flaxseed
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz extra dark chocolate, 70% or above
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 c pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp raw honey

Grease a loaf pan (I use coconut oil), and preheat the oven to 350.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, and baking soda. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and honey together until incorporated, stirring constantly until the mixture is a bit thickened. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until you get most of the lumps out. Whisk in egg and vanilla, followed by the butter-honey mix. Whisk to combine. Pour all of this biz into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring occasionally. I usually do mine on 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Divide out half of the batter and stir in the chocolate.

Drop the batter into the loaf pan, alternating between chocolate and banana. I used heaping spoonfuls of each, swirling the tops sightly as I went (really, there is no wrong way to do this. Pretend it’s art!). In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp honey and chopped pecans until mixed. Toss this evenly on top of the batter, spreading it out so it’s all even and pretty. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Mine was perfect at 50) Let cool in the pan completely, and store in the refrigerator. I just left mine in the pan for 3 days, and it was totally fine.

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