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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Breakfast disguised as dessert

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Ahh, the post-thanksgiving stupor….

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Just kidding! No such thing. First thing Friday morning was jazzercise, of course; I hate sitting still for too long. Thanksgiving itself was full of family and laughter & lots of croquet (ha!) – and of course, food. I was asked to bring the cornmeal apple & ginger cake that I made a few weeks ago; I made it with fresh ginger this time instead of crystallized, and I’m happy to report it’s amazing both ways.

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But for the days after Thanksgiving, a fruit-heavy, non-pie dessert was definitely required.

Perfect mornings look like this:

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Plus, I discovred a glut of late-season raspberries at the market a while back and pounced on them, knowing I’d want to pair them with apples strictly so I could go around saying RAZAPPLE! Ha.

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This crisp bakes up so well, you find yourselves eating bits of the crisp topping with your fingers.. not that we did that or anything…

It makes a stellar addition to breakfast alongside – what else? eggs and kale! – and I could argue that it’s even better the next day. We both liked that the apples retain their integrity – they don’t become a pile of mush, but they’re not crispy either – they’re somewhere in between & are absolutely delicious. This is one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately – simple, delicious, and seasonal. Happy baking!

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Raz-Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free & refined sugar free, with an easy dairy free/vegan option. Full of healthy fats and whole grains. Perfect for fall when there’s a glut of late summer berries at the market but apples are starting to be in season… for that matter, frozen raspberries work just fine too. Lightly sweet, tart and perfect for dessert and breakfast. Adapted from Cookie and Kate, here! Yield: 1 8×8 deep pan, serves 2 w/ leftovers for 1, haha…. kidding, only not really! Serves more like 6 normal humans.

  • For dairy free/vegan, sub coconut oil for the butter & non-dairy (coconut would be good!) yogurt for the dairy yogurt; bake as directed

For the filling:

5 largish (or 7 small) Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
2 c raspberries (frozen is fine)
scant ⅓ cup maple syrup
1/8 c port**
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

*I just approximate as I slice; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/8c water instead

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c maple sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add raspberries (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, walnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it to redistribute evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving; or do like I did and make it earlier in the day, and have it later. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about five days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in 2 days!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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Orange bars: like a creamsicle only WAY better

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Hello!! I have citrusy goodness for you today, because this time of year is all about the citrus and scurvy is bad news.

Besides that, I used to LOVE 50/50 bars when I was a kid (you know, those popsicle-looking things that were orange on the outside and vanilla on the inside? also known as a creamsicle?) and I wanted something that tasted sort of like that, only WAY better and not filled with all the junk. So I made these!

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Orange bars with a vanilla almond crust… pair them with vanilla ice cream and they are pretty much the perfect citrus dessert.

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Let’s see, what else is new… more drawing, of course — still on the SF series, naturally.

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I think that’s about it, otherwise I’m business as usual over here — didn’t really bake diddly for Thanksgiving so I’ll have to make up for it at Christmas, which is (gasp) rapidly approaching.

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Citrus was requested and I was thinking of doing something along those lines anyway, but I really wanted to do something besides lemon. I LOVE lemon, but… it’s always the favored child when it comes to citrus desserts. Let’s let oranges have their time in the limelight, ya know? …. Limelight? Really?? That just happened. Let’s see how many citrus references can fit in one sentence…

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Anywayyyy. Make these! Eat them! Your neglected oranges will love you, and you’ll get a nice blast of creamsicle nostalgia.

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Orange Bars with Vanilla Almond Crust

(Otherwise known as Creamsicle bars but that’s probably trademarked…)

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, easy dairy free option, probs paleo depending on your definition… all around delicious. I was going for the creamsicle flavor profile here and I haven’t eaten a 50/50 bar in years, but I’m pretty sure this really close (and, frankly, better tasting… let’s be real). These bars are light and citrusy, easy, delicious, and free of all the junk!

Sorry for some of the strange measurements — I prefer this in an 8 by 8 pan and I like my layers a little thicker, which is why the measurements are a little weird. Don’t forget to zest your oranges and then juice them! Nothing like attempting to zest pre-juiced oranges, it might be one of the more annoying kitchen things I’ve inadvertently done.

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For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp salted butter, softened (or coconut oil for non dairy)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 4.5 eggs*
  • scant 3/4 c pure maple syrup
  • zest of 3 oranges, roughly chopped
  • 1/4c + 1/8c fresh orange juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4.75 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, softened butter, and vanilla, and stir until combined and crumbly. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, orange zest and juice, seal salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the parbaked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like them cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream for maximum creamsicle flavor :) Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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