2017: the tale of demanding, reincarnating bananas

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2017 treats everyone a little better than last year – 2016 was a rough one for many. But as they say, onward and upward! Preferably with cake, which is where I come in.

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The dead bananas are calling! I had a plethora lurking around my kitchen this weekend and they put me on notice that they really wanted to reincarnate into something amazing… not banana bread again, if you please (my bananas can get a little demanding sometimes…). That being said, I had a hankering for banana cake (fundamentally different from banana bread, you see), so THIS happened!

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Happily so. Have you ever had sautéed dates? No? Get into the kitchen immediately and make them! I love dates anyway, but they are mindblowingly good when given a little bath in some olive oil and sea salt. I’ve always been a salt monster, so salty-sweet desserts are absolutely my jam, and these little powerhouses deliver. Besides that, they’re full of good nutrients (dates are high in vit A & K, plus potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & zinc. woohoo!).

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This cake is actually full of good things – you have healthy fats from almond flour, hazelnuts, and coconut, and all the good stuff in dates. And besides that, most critically: it’s delicious, which is good for your soul.

Let’s see, what else? Jessie says hello (this is her way of chatting me up during breakfast, adorable cat)

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More drawings, of course! New year, same series! This is the Havens Mansion, built 1884 on S. Van Ness in SF.

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My first activity of 2017! Shocked? Nope.

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More beautiful sky!

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Show your new and improved 2017 self some love with some sautéed dates atop your cake, and revel in all the possibilities of a new year. Onward!

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Banana Date Skillet Cake with Coconut Frosting, Maple Hazelnuts, and Sautéed Dates

Pretty freaking amazing, if I do say so! Lightly sweet banana cake with jewel-like date pieces, coconut frosting and OMG sautéed dates, please make them immediately. Serve with a bit of ice cream or non-dairy biz if that’s your jam! Can’t miss either way. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake, enough frosting to frost the top (cake is served straight out of the skillet); extra hazelnuts because you’ll definitely want extras… and the amount of dates is up to you (make extra!). Skillet cake adapted from Confessions of a Confectionista, here!

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For the cake:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • heaping 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped

For the maple hazelnuts (make ahead, if desired):

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

For the sautéed dates:

  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 7-8 medjool dates, halved & pitted
  • pinch of sea salt

For the coconut frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled upside-down overnight in the fridge
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I usually make the hazelnuts ahead and store them in a jar until needed. Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet with coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then add eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, and use an electric mixer to beat until combined. Stir in the chopped dates, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when touched. The cake will brown because of the honey – if you feel it’s browning too fast, feel free to cover it with foil. Let cool completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make the sautéed dates! (good luck not eating them all straight out of the pan). In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the dates and sauté, stirring frequently, until they caramelize and are heated through, just about 2-3 minutes (the edges will start to get a little crispy). Watch them carefully, as they burn easily. When done, move them to a bowl to cool and sprinkle with sea salt (be sure to get all of the good oil out of the pan for drizzling!).

Also while the cake is cooling, make the coconut frosting. Open the can of coconut milk rightside up, and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla and coconut sugar, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

For serving: Frost the cake with the coconut whip (make sure to frost the cake once it’s completely cool! otherwise a melty mess will ensue); top with sautéed dates and maple hazelnuts. Indulge responsibly (i.e., have another piece)!

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My brain is sore from too much grad school

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How is it almost November? Can someone explain this madness to me? I mean, first of all it’s still kind of hot (summer, you can bugger off now… you have officially overstayed your welcome) but also, where did September and October go?! I want them back please.

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And I know the term compost cookies is probably unappealing, but it’s always made me laugh. I suppose you could call these ‘pantry cookies’ but isn’t compost more fun?? Besides… these are hippie enough that the stuff going into them is stuff that usually lurks in the fridge or fruit basket, and therefore is more like… compost! Obviously.

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These cookies get a little crisp on the outside while staying cakey and delicious on the inside. If you want a chewy pumpkin cookie, these aren’t it… but they ARE quite tasty. They store well in the fridge and make for a fast breakfast or a good snack. AND they’re full of healthy fats and good fiber, plus antioxidants. No refined sugar, can be gluten free… the options are endless. Don’t like walnuts? Use something else. Hate sunbutter? Use almond or peanut— These are extremely forgiving cookies.

They’re also super fast to whip together, no muss no fuss. I made them on a lunch break between classes because I desperately needed a brain break — I can only cram facts and knowledge into my brain in concentrated intervals for so long before I start glazing over. Case in point:

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Sometimes, you have to take a break from taking lecture notes for your own sanity.

Making cookies like this reminds me of undergrad when I would run home and make lunch and a batch of cookies in the hour I had between class and work. If that isn’t time management, I don’t know what is.

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Also, I really need to study right now but I am sleepy and brainsore (that’s a thing) and I just want to cuddle on the couch with my novel and a cookie and a nap. But.. le sigh. That is currently impossible because stats and the billion other things I have to do are calling my name and I really should get on that. But at least I shared cookies, so that if your Sunday is less nuts than mine, you can make something delicious out of your fridge compost. Happy almost November! Enjoy your pumpkin goodness.

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Pumpkin Banana Compost Cookies

Vegan, low FODMAP and IBS friendly, gluten free option (just switch the spelt flour for a gf flour of your choice), refined sugar free. And delicious! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 12 cookies.

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  • heaping 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sunbutter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened hemp milk
  • 2 c rolled oats (gf if desired)
  • 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/4 c chopped raw walnuts and dark chocolate

*alternatively, you can use 2 tbsp of the same nut butter; I just wanted a little variety

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or 2, if your oven is stupid tiny like mine and normal cookie sheets don’t fit. Rude. Bring on the quarter sheet pans).

This is pretty much as easy as it gets. Bust out a bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork, then stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple, sunbutter, almond butter, and hemp milk. In the same bowl, because we’re making cookies on our lunch break between classes today and this needs to be fast, toss in oats, spelt flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to combine. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate. Make sure the whole thing is nicely mixed, then drop lazy spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheet (all 12 should fit onto a standard cookie sheet no problem; these don’t spread). Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for a minute before moving, then move to a rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a plastic container in the fridge (glass will make them go soft).

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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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Upper crust bananas always have an accent

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Buhhhhnahhhnuhhhhhhhh cookies!

Because buhhnahhnuhhhh with an accent is much more fun than banana. You know, upper crust bananas always have an posh accent… Admit it, it’s really fun to say buhhhnahhhnuhhh with a silly expression on your face. Also, eating cookies is super fun too. There’s something so homey about a cookie.

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These could pass as breakfast too, if you’re in a hurry or just decide that Monday = cookies for breakfast because ew, Monday. They’re full of healthy fats and whole grains, and happen to be gluten free and vegan, just in case either of those is your MO. They’re a little soft with a bit of a chew—-bananas and a bit of maple bring the sweetness, and oats are just awesome in cookies. Quinoa flour bumps up the nutritional profile and protein count a bit, and the almond butter and coconut oil help out in the healthy fat department. Basically, these are just winner cookies.

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And they’re basically the nutritional opposite of the pizza I’m currently eating, in its cheesy, glutentastic glory. Oops. But not really oops, because life is all about balance, and that balance defs includes pizza.

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Also, apparently my balance includes some visually interesting/rather strange and creative oat bfasts. Here are some of the latest shenanigans in the breakfast department:

Oat base with shredded beets and zucchini, hemp seeds, unsweetened egg, nutmeg, and sea salt, topped with avocado and a runny-yolk egg + chopped walnuts + chia seeds.

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Oat base with shredded beets and raspberries, hemp seeds, unsweetened almond milk, nutmeg + cinnamon + cardamom; topped with unsweetened applesauce; seven seed and nut butter [homemade! Walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pepitas, flaxseed, sea salt] + Coconut butter + chia seeds!

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I LOVE breakfast. Obviously…

But cookies! Back to cookies, because I know you’re really here to see those and not photos of my weird breakfasts.

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Banana Oat Almond Butter Cookies

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, egg free. Recipe adapted from Meaningful Eats, here! Yield: 17 large cookies.

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c unsalted, roasted almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/6 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; set aside to gel as a flax egg
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c quinoa flour, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper (try as hard as I might, I couldn’t cram them all onto one sheet as per usual…. so I went with two baking sheets like a normal person. Sigh).

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork and those biceps of yours. Stir in almond butter, melted coconut oil, vanilla, maple, and gelled flax egg until incorporated. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder + soda + salt. Stir dry into wet, toss in oats and chocolate chips, and stir until combined. Drop by the heaping large spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet (the dough is a bit runny, but don’t worry, they bake up fine), and bake for just about 12-13 minutes, until the tops are firm when gently poked. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in the fridge, in an airtight container.

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Like I really needed an excuse for more nut butter

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So. Pancakes!

It’s been awhile since there have been any pancakes on this blog, which is a mild travesty considering they’re one my fave things. Okay okay, breakfast and all associated breakfast things are my fave but you get the idea. Besides, I used to have such epic once-a-week-designated pancake days with friends back in college that it is just lame that I hardly eat them anymore.

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Realistically, I probably love them so much because it gives me an excuse (as if I needed one) to eat more nut butter. Because… I really don’t feel like I need to justify this?! Actually because flat food surface= naked= needs nut butter or seed butter or coconut butter or all three (or just regular butter. I mean, obviously). And then a ton of other toppings because apparently I like decorating my food. And then playing with it. And then taking pictures. Let’s just pretend I grew up, okay?

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That would be three kinds of butters in one meal. I think I have a problem.

Also cat selfies. Ha.

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And pretty things! Mother Nature is so beautiful she doesn’t need a filter.

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But back to pancakes.

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These have actually become my favorite lunch of leisure lately, especially after some morning jazzercise general sweatiness. This particular recipe is so beyond easy to whip up, it’s stupid. And it contains less than five unprocessed ingredients, good fats, protein, and good carbs…exactly what I want after a workout. AND I can eat them with nut butter, which means I see absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. They are super light and fluffy, not overly sweet, and leave you feeling satisfied and not stuffed or comatose (hello traditional wheat-sugar-gluten-bad fat-undeniably delicious brunch, I’m looking at you).

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Indulge yourself! It’s almost Friday, you know you want breakfast for dinner…

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Banana Pancakes

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo. Serves 1, yields about 4 good sized pancakes.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • scant 1/4 c zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 tsp coconut flour*
  • optional: a sprinkle each of cinnamon and nutmeg

*I vary this amount according to how much zucchini I use; the batter is runny so a little thickener doesn’t come amiss. However, if you hate coconut or don’t have coconut flour, you can leave it out no problem.

In a bowl, mash the banana like a boss, then whisk in eggs until mostly smooth (lumps are totes fine, these are your pancakes after all so no one can judge your lumps). Stir in grated zucchini, coconut flour and spices if using. Let sit while your prep your griddle or pan: grease pan of choice (I like a flat griddle, a sauté pan is fine) with some organic butter and heat over medium. Once hot, spoon batter out into roughly four pancakes (or go crazy and make silver dollar little bitty ones)… blah blah blah, y’all know how to make pancakes… let the edges solidify and the tops get that bubbly-sheen to them before attempting to flip… let cook until cooked through… plate prettily and serve, preferably with a truckload of various nut/seed butters and some fresh coconut aaannnnd plain yogurt. Mmmm.

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Muffins and cat selfies

Merry Christmas from the 1900s when no one thought anything was funny! We’re weird (and SO awesome). We know.

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Ugh. Total blogging fail. I’ve blogged… once?! the entire month of December and it’s now the 27th? Appalling.

But you know how the holidays go… it’s like eating, eating, eating, omg I never want to see food ever again, and then ten minutes later… wait, is that chocolate?! I know you… you do it too.

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So anyway, here we are in that odd stretch between Christmas and New Years when no one really knows what to do with themselves. Especially this year, where both holidays fall on a Thursday which makes the in-between week especially awkward. And we also find ourselves eating. Because that is apparently how you fill your time in that awkward week? Not to mention the previous week…. despite the lack of blogness that has been happening around here, there has been a proper amount of holiday food consumed. OMG. Food. Have I mentioned I love desserts? And waffles!

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Haha. One waffle kinda sorta stuck. Let’s call it waffle:deconstructed.

And in between the indulgent moments I try to be good. So then things like muffins happen (also things like this happen when I get irritated by the dead bananas that have taken up seemingly permanent residence in the back corner of the refrigerator and am determined to get them out by whatever means necessary but am, for the moment, semi-over banana bread… I know. I shocked even myself).

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Mystical muffins in the flowers. That photo was a lot harder than it looked. Apparently I can’t hold still long enough to get a non-blurry picture… Can’t sit still? Internal age? … Six.

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And also THIS SOUP. I made it and I want it again. Like, now.

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Because LENTILS! And BACON! No way, you say… SHE doesn’t eat bacon! But actually… I do. On occasion. When it fraternizes with lentils and cavorts around in a soup or around a date stuffed with a pecan. I like bacon in very specific applications. OR with brussel sprouts. Obvi. But okay. Moving on. You really should make this soup immediately.

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I did absolutely nothing to the recipe besides use green lentils and extra broth (and not wanting to go to the store for one thing meant I used a whole onion in place of the leek). The recipe is from The Wanderlust Kitchen, here! Also because it’s Bavarian, it made me want to get back into the eight years of German which have gone dormant in the recesses of my grey matter. Die Suppe. Mit Speck. It’s a start…

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But back to the muffins. I realized I hadn’t made muffins in ages, so these were a welcome change. Perfectly spicy and gingerbready, and not overwhelmingly banana-y. Lightly sweet and perfect with small hits of chocolate.

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Gingerbread Banana Muffins

The recipe is slightly adapted from the hilariously titled blog Connoisseurus Veg, here! Vegan, whole wheat, and refined sugar free. So delicious, especially with almond butter or salted butter (any kind of butter, really… as long as it has butter in the name you really can’t go wrong). Yield: 9 muffins in my ginormous muffin tins, probably 12 in normal sized, normal people tins.

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  • 2 super ripe, dead bananas (the nastier looking, the better)
  • 1/4 c blackstrap molasses*
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • 1/3 c unrefined coconut oil, melted*
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

*Fun fact: molasses pours much more easily and less messily if you measure the coconut oil first, pour it out, then measure molasses in the same measuring cup. The oil residue in the cup helps that sticky business pour right out!

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease your muffin tins of choice (ginormous or otherwise).

In a large bowl, mash the bananas (a fork is my preferred implement). Whisk in coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, vanilla, and almond milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together pastry flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, followed by the chocolate chippies, and stir until just incorporated. Avoid overmixing like the plague since it makes your muffins tough and no one wants that. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the tops spring back just slightly when poked (mine were perfect at just about 20). Remove tins, let cool for a few, then turn out the muffins and let them cool completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container for a few days.

Aaaannnd I take selfies with my cat. Apparently I’m now that person. Sorry I’m… NOT SORRY! Ha.

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Her face is like… “Really, giggling human?? Must we do this??”