Buckwheat Almond Banana Bread

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A sad group of stolen cafeteria bananas lingered on the top of our fridge the other day. They kept staring at me as I busied about the room, cleaning up laundry and making my bed. One minute they had been perfectly yellow beauties, with no spots to speak of, and now they were mushy and brown (thanks to our good friend ethylene…I am so glad that the plant physiology unit in my biology class has come to a close. Now we are dissecting fetal pigs, so don’t plan on seeing any pork recipes on the blog anytime soon).

Gross bananas have two main uses: smoothies and bread. It is still a bit too cold to be thinking about smoothies, so I decided to play with a recipe from My New Roots. I had to improvise on several levels due to lack of ingredients; thank goodness for the versatility of this simple yet comforting loaf.

I had to part from the heavenly smell of the bread to go to track practice; this was probably a good thing because it forced me to let the loaf cool before devouring. After a nice hot shower, I settled onto the futon in my room with a blanket, hot cup of coffee, and thick slice of the still slightly warm bread. I allowed the heavenly moment to clear my head of chemistry tests, running injuries, and lingering homesickness.

Buckwheat Almond Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/4 milk of your choice (I used part almond, part coconut)
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup yogurt (to make vegan, sub this with soy yogurt or another 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk – although the batter may be less thick the product should still turn out the same)
  • 6 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium sized bananas, approx. 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups trail mix (I used Sweet and Savory trail mix from Trader Joes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, add milk, melted oil, yogurt, vanilla, and bananas and blend on high until smooth (for chunkier banana texture in the bread, leave the bananas out of this step and mix into batter by hand). In a separate bowl, stir together flours, powder, soda, salt, and coconut sugar. Then add wet ingredients to dry and fold gently. Sprinkle in trail mix and then pour into a prepared loaf pan, muffin tin, or (as I was forced to use due to lack of supplies, and luckily it still worked) a 9×13 inch cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and then slice and serve. This can be frozen and enjoyed several weeks later as well.

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Kale Chips

Kale

Spring is around the corner. Warmer temperatures and clear roads prompted me to drag my bike out of storage last week, and I have been using it regularly for afternoon coffee shop dates with my homework and trips to Trader Joes. On my most recent trip to TJs, I picked up a bag of Lacinato Kale, a dark blue-green leafed variety of the cabbage.

One of my favorite ways to eat kale is in a crispy, chip-like form. Kale is an antioxidant powerhouse, and it also lowers cholesterol and risk of cancer, especially when cooked. It is more nutritious when cooked due to bile-acid binding. You can read more about it here. In the meantime, take my word for it and eat your next dose of kale this way:

Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed

Heat oil in a frying pan or small saucepan (or if you are a poor college student like me the only clean pot in the communal kitchen) until the pan is sufficiently hot – I waited until the coconut oil had turned to liquid. Slowly add kale in bunches to the pan, and stir frequently. Add salt and lime juice. Continue to cook under the edges of the kale are crispy and starting to brown slightly. Take off heat and enjoy warm or cooled. An revolutionary study snack.

Studying Procrastination Leads to Good Food

Oh my goodness. I would just like to say a quick apology for our month of absence on Frances Retigan. Time has flown by with very little cooking or baking for me, as I now have an all you can eat cafeteria at my disposal three times a day.

Despite the hectic craziness of college life, I have collected many good food memories over the past month. While none of them include homemade recipes (save a care package or two that I have received), they are worth imparting to you none the less.

I will begin with a quick review of the breakfast my mom and I shared together before her flight back home. It was a bittersweet hour or so as we savored our last moments face to face with one another for several months.

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We sauntered over to the highly recommended Egg Harbor Cafe in Wheaton, Il and seated promptly. I began with a good ole cup of coffee. If you are someone that likes flavored coffees, they offer specials each day. I got a veggie egg white omlette and pomegranate orange juice, and Mom ordered pumpkin pancakes. Needless to say, our plates were empty a short while later. I consumed about half of the pumpkin pancakes in addition to my order. Whether this was due in part to my stomach consenting to the convoluted emotions I was feeling about my mommy leaving me or not, I do not know. All I can say reflecting back on that moment was that the meal comforted both of us and was a good way to end the orientation weekend.

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