Sweet Sunny Sunday – Max’s Grandma’s Banana Bread

I have had the most relaxing and bestest weekend ever. Max made me breakfast both mornings, I have slept in, hung out with the fur babies, went out for a fancy yummy romantic dinner, had a board game night, received a juicer (thanks Sara! (juice recipes to follow..)) and baked this delicious banana loaf.

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My true secret for having had such an awesome weekend started on Friday night at 8PM while playing board games; I decided to join Max in having a cup of coffee (with some Bailey’s, duh). After the games finished up around 11PM, our friends and Max decided to go out downtown for a boy’s night. I stayed home thinking I’d go to bed and then suddenly realized that I was wide awake-I usually can’t sleep after a cup of black tea at 4PM let alone a full-blown coffee at 8! What was I thinking?! So, I decided to clean. Fast forward to 2AM when Max returned; the bathrooms were scrubbed, floors vacuumed and mopped, trash taken out, the whole house dusted, and the cupboards wiped down. I was a machine. Moral of the story: if you have nothing to do on a Friday night, have some coffee and a couple of Caesars, crank up the music and clean the house. In the morning it will feel like some drunk hyper fairy came in and cleaned the house leaving you to two glorious, chore-free days!

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Anyway, back to the main event here: banana bread. When Max and I started dating I asked him what he’d like me to bake when I was baking something, his answer was “something banana and chocolate”. And ever since that time, he has not asked for anything else since. I don’t even bother asking him anymore because I already know the answer. So on came the double chocolate banana muffins, the banana and chocolate ice cream birthday cake, the copious amounts of banana loaf with chocolate chips, banana chocolate cookies. Finally, on my birthday this past May, I found out the source of this banana and chocolate fixation: Max’s mom has made him this banana chocolate chip cake for his birthday every year since he was a child, and it is good. It’s dense and moist but not heavy, it’s spicy with just the right amount of sweet-it is everything. I have tinkered with it upon receiving the recipe on a hand written note card, and came up with a slightly healthier version that packs the same wow punch. My reason? It disappears embarrassingly fast in the house, I honestly just black out when I’m around it. So, I figure if I adjust a bit of the ingredients, it will make me feel just a little less guilty. Right? Right?!

So, here’s to sunny weekends, banana loaf, and magical cleaning fairies.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

½ cup coconut oil (melted and slightly cooled)

1/3 cup organic coconut palm sugar

1 egg (lightly beaten)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 ¼ cup bananas, peeled and mashed (about 3 large ripe bananas)

1 ½ cup oat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup yogurt (goat, cow, coconut, oat, etc.)

¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped (70% or higher)

2 tablespoons organic coconut palm sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F, oil a 9×5 loaf pan, and line the pan with parchment.

Blend together coconut oil and sugar. Add the egg and beat. Add vanilla and mashed bananas. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.

Add half of the oat flour mixture to the banana mixture. Beat. Add in the yogurt and blend again. Add in the last of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not over mix the batter.

Add half of the batter to your loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture and half of the chopped chocolate. Top with the remaining batter, and repeat the sugar and chocolate topping.

Bake for 60 minutes. Loaf will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: the original recipe is double this, so if you want a big birthday cake sized banana loaf, double this baby and stick it in an 8×13 pan.

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Slather it with nut butter and gobble.

Autumn Tribute: Pumpkin and Nut Granola

OK! After much hemming and hawing and chickening out and deleting and re-uploading and much further ado.. I’m finally posting my first blog post.  YIKES!

Today is really starting to feel like fall – the leaves have started turning, the air is crisp but the sun still lovely and warm, which is so perfect for my favourite outfit of tights, boots, loose sweaters and scarves.  Sundays are my favourite day of the week: sleep in, slurp coffee, watch a show on Netflix (Max and I have been obsessed with The Adventures of Merlin these last few weeks, watch it, I dare you), have my mum over for tea, bake granola for the coming week.

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As a tribute to fall, I made a Pumpkin and Nut Granola, and it’s soooo good.  It captures fall in a mason jar (which is what I used for storage).  It’s lovely and crunchy, savoury with a nice and subtle hit of sweet.  Have it with some greek yogurt, maybe with some fresh apple or banana chunks and drizzle some maple syrup or honey on top, or just have it plain Jane.  Whatever you do, eat it.

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Pumpkin and Nut Granola

Print Recipe!

*recipe is adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches*

Yield: about 6 or so cups

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil (slightly melted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamon*
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (I made mine from scratch, but a can will do fine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of old fashion rolled oats
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (I actually just ran out of the old fashioned ones, but these gave a good crunch)
  • 1 cup nuts (I mixed in walnuts, pecans AND cashews). Choose your favourite, or use what’s on hand!
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins or mini chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 325F with oven rack positioned in upper third of the oven.

1. Whisk together wet ingredients and spices until smooth.

2. Stir the oats, nuts and seeds into the wet mixture until everything is well coated.

3. Spread out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  You’ll want everything to be evenly spread out for optimal crispness.

4. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  When you do this you’ll want to see steam dancing out of the granola, this helps with the crispness, and lord knows a good granola’s got to have a high crunch factor.

5. Once crisped to your liking, remove from the oven, add raisins and toss (if you’re using chocolate chips, don’t add them until the mixture has cooled completely).  Let cool completely on the cookie sheet before storing (this is the other key to crunch factor success).  I stored mine in a jar, they’re so hip and handy.  Should last out on the counter for about 2 weeks (like it will actually last that long though, let’s be honest).

* You can also just use 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice mix, or your own combo of the above, or add in cloves (on the clove note, I am totally going to the store and buying some once I finish this post because an autumn and winter without cloves is chaos).

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