Posts tagged ‘Banana’

April 23, 2012

Blueberry Banana Bread

For the past few months I’ve been battling a nasty case of lumbar radiculopathy. Seriously. I could not make this up. Ok, really, it’s just sciatica but it sounds so much ridiculous (har har) when I use the medical term! While I plan to write more on how I’ve dealt with being unable to run, bike, lift, or really do anything that used to be part of my everyday life, for now I’ll just say that Saturday’s run was not the glorious return to the sport that I had hoped for. It left me feeling washed out and achy and my back and leg pain returned with a vengeance on Sunday. I was…frustrated, to put things mildly. The only thing that managed to brighten my mood? Discovering that we had FOUR  black bananas rotting away on the counter and a beautiful box of blueberries waiting in the fridge. When life gives you sciatica, you’ve just gotta make some banana bread. That’s totally a saying, right? Who’s with me?!

I’ve always stuck by Tyler Florence’s recipe for Banana Bread with Pecans as a guide for proportions, opting for oil instead of butter, always using whole grains, and typically halving the sugar. This time around I went even more in my own direction but I have to give T. Flo a nod for sending me down the right path!

This bread is loaded with all kinds of goodies – mashed bananas, plump, fresh blueberries, and chopped walnuts. These last three ingredients are folded into the batter at the end to preserve the integrity of the fruit and it look ever ounce of self-restraint not to just dip my spoon into the bowl! Honestly, I’m not sure why I didn’t. You totally should and then tell me how awesome it was.

This bread is elevated onto an entirely different level by the addition of buttermilk. Oh, yes, buttermilk. We never have it around so I typically make my own. 1 cup of milk (any kind, even non-dairy) plus 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice and BAM, in about 10 minutes you have homemade buttermilk. I used the real stuff this time around since it was already opened and ready to go but I swear by the homemade variety. It never lets me down! While tart and tangy, it makes any recipe feel decadent by making the batter velvety and soft. I love it in bran muffins and other quick breads but prefer it most in pancakes. It’s a (nearly)vegan baker’s secret weapon, for sure!

Blueberry Banana Bread

loosely inspired by Tyler Florence

makes 1 9-inch loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 overripe (read: black) bananas
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Oil and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mash two of the bananas until they are soft and chunky.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer, blend the sugar and 2 remaining bananas until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla, and flax eggs and mix until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the mashed bananas, blueberries, and walnuts.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes* and check. The top of the bread should be golden brown (it’s okay if there is a crack down the center) and a knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

* My oven is very aggressive and bakes things far too quickly. Your bread may require an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

While my back may still be giving me a hard time, it’s hard to not feel like life is jusssst fine when there’s warm bread on my table, a cup of tea brewing, and a great Kindle read waiting for me.

June 15, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a snack.

In fact, I’m a twice a day snacker. Or at least I should be.

You see, when I’m putting together my lunch box (er….many meal box), I tend to run out of ideas. With oats for breakfast, I like to have a more protein-focused lunch…and then my snacks need to have some protein and fat…and sometimes I have to pack dinner…and I want it all to be delicious and appealing…and keep my energy up for the long day and night ahead…and I hate repeating foods in a single day…blahblahblah.

I know, rough life.

And yeah, I know I’m a little crazy 😉

Lately, I’ve been lying to myself while packing my meals and thinking, nah, I won’t need 2 snacks. When 3:00 pm rolls around, though, I really wonder what the heck I was thinking. Without regular meals and snacks, I’m a beast. A total bear. I transform from my calm and sunny self into a negativity monster who will tear down anyone in her path.

I’ve never found a pre-packaged granola bar that really gets me going. While I love the Larabar, sometimes I want more than nuts and fruit (not to mention the small part of my soul that dies every time I pay for one).

I suspect that I will be trying out many snack bar recipes in the coming weeks as I try to pay attention to my hunger a bit more but these are a pretty tasty start. Whole grain oats and whole wheat flour, slightly sweetened by banana and chocolate chips, with a lovely chew from the peanut butter. They smell incredible and, while I wanted a bit more chew, these will do! I plan on wrapping them individually and storing them in the fridge for a quick grab and run snack.

Hopefully these babies can keep the bear at bay 😉

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

makes 8-12 bars depending on pan size

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, softened in the microwave
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350* and lightly grease an 8×8 or 11×7 pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, mash the banana and mix in the egg and vanilla.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. For the 8×8 pan, slice into 8 large bars (if you want a smaller snack, slice the bars in half again). For the 11×7 pan, you should come out with about 12 bars.