Bringing back the comfort of banana bread
This is the year we said goodbye to bananas and hello to a pandemic, when we opened our eyes wide to racial prejudice and stood up for Black Lives Matter, when our National Heroes Weekend descended into violence and when Chavelle went missing without a trace.
It’s hard to believe we’re only in June. What else is coming at us I wonder? It’s hard not to get a little nervous about hurricane season …
And yet amid all the chaos, there’s been time for most of us to pause. Life has slowed down. Some of us have learnt new things.
There was an internet trend for using the time to learn a new skill. Influencers told us if we didn’t come out of the pandemic ultra-fit, or with a new language, we were probably just lazy. Then came the backlash.
Take the pressure off, they said. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
Give yourself space to sit with your thoughts. When the world gets moving again, think carefully about what you put back in.
There has never been so much conversation about the validity of our daily grind.
I’d love to tell you I was one of the people who emerged from lockdown marathon fit and speaking Russian.
Instead, I just about managed the work/children juggle, while providing an endless stream of healthy-ish snacks.
Chloe, on the other hand, totally aced it. In between school Skype calls, she watched YouTube tutorials and taught herself the algorithm for solving a Rubik’s Cube.
She’s consistent now in under three minutes. She also managed to secure a $200 bet (not with me!) that she could do it …. so she’s a little wealthier now too. Kudos to her, I wish I had such laser-sharp focus!
Whichever way you’ve gone, we’ve all had to learn to just be more flexible.
Find new ways to communicate, work and play. It’s been true for shopping and cooking, too.
I’ve written before about cooking in reverse, where you start by looking at the ingredients you have and then decide what to cook, rather than the other way round. That’s been a godsend for me. As has simply being more flexible.
The banana shortage — the least of our worries, but still! — put a hold on my favourite family recipe for a while.
My Nutrifit banana bread recipe has been a staple in our house for ever … it’s the one thing my children don’t get bored of.
They can cook it themselves, too, which is an amazing bonus. But what do you do with no bananas? Fortunately, we found this recipe is about as flexible as they come.
If you don’t have fresh bananas, use frozen. Or use two grated zucchini instead. If you can’t get the Linwoods mix, just use any ground seeds.
Instead of chocolate chips, you can use chopped nuts. No coconut oil? Use canola.
No eggs? If you’re vegan, use egg replacer. No loaf pan? Use a brownie pan or bake it into muffins.
Every batch has worked consistently well. It’s pretty hard to mess it up!
These days I have simplified the recipe into a wet bowl, a dry bowl, and then just stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour your dry bowl into your wet bowl and then there’s only one really sticky bowl to wash.
I also tend to make an extra set of dry ingredients and store it all together in a Ziplock, back in the fridge.
Next time you’re in a hurry, you just add the wet ingredients and away you go.
Ok, so for those of you who have missed it over the years, here’s the recipe. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and easy to make it egg-free.
It’s a healthy twist on a classic because the protein and fibre content is stellar (which means better energy release, among other things).
The forecast calls for a little rain over the next few days so, if the weather plays out, it’s a great indoor activity for the kiddos, too.
Enjoy and have a great weekend!
Nutrifit Banana Bread
(makes one loaf)
Ingredients: all available at Miles Market
¾ cup brown rice flour
6 tbsp almond flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup Sucanat
½ cup Linwoods ground seed mix (or any ground seeds)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (defrosted frozen are fine!)
2 large eggs (room temperature)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and extra for greasing the pan
¼ cup dairy-free “buttermilk” (see instructions)
½ cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)
1, Preheat the oven to 350F.
2, Coat an 8½ x 4½ loaf pan with a little coconut oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and coat again.
3, Make the dairy-free “buttermilk”. Add ½ tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to a measuring jug and top up with any milk alternative (soy, hemp, almond etc) to the quarter cup mark. Set to one side for five minutes.
4, In a medium bowl, mix your dry ingredients.
5, In a bigger bowl, whisk your wet ingredients. Make sure the eggs are room temperature, otherwise your coconut oil will go lumpy when it hits the cold eggs! If you use canola (non-GMO please) this isn’t an issue.
6, Add the dry bowl to the wet bowl. Use a balloon whisk to mix well but lightly.
7, Stir in the chocolate chips.
8, Pour the batter into a loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until firm but bouncy. Muffin pans require less time — usually around 30 minutes. Check halfway through and cover lightly with a sheet of foil once the top has browned nicely.
9, Cool for ten minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack, loosening the edges with a spatula. Peel off the base paper.
10, As best with all gluten-free options, cool completely before cutting.•
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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