Banana Oat Bread

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I had originally intended on posting a recipe that uses the Jalapeno Hatch Pepper Jam from HEB that I’ve been obsessed with, but then I realized that I had three bananas that were quickly getting on the ugly side of ripe, and I decided to make this recipe instead. Because, banana bread. Duh.

I don’t really have a fun story to tell today, so I’ll just tell you about this bread and save the stories for when I have more energy to tell them (something I think that this weekend’s beach time will go a long way towards restoring!). The original recipe came from pinterest, where one of my coworkers had pinned this recipe from the Healthy Apple. I’ve loved the idea of using oats as a flour since I first made my strawberry rhubarb breakfast bars a while back. I love using oats as flour mostly because I’m too cheap to buy fancy gluten-free flour mixes (or really, any specialty flour, coconut and almond included). I really try to stay away from the treats more generally (and making treats with coconut or other gluten-free flour are still treats!), so I also don’t really buy those things on principal–I know that buying them will make me feel like I need to use them and BAKE ALL TH E THINGS, which sort of defeats the purpose of clean eating.

So oats–>flour. What I especially like about using oats is that, even if you indulge more than you should in said baked good, all you’re really doing is eating oatmeal. And oatmeal is healthy sooooo the baked good is healthy too (right??! Right.)! It’s a little mindhack I use when I want to feel a little decadent but don’t really wanna ruin a good streak I’m on. As it stands, this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, refined-sugar free, and dairy-free. BUT the decadence can definitely be fine-tuned: want to err on the side of dessert? Add more chocolate chips and maybe a tablespoon more of maple syrup. Want to make this super healthy and nut free? Omit the chocolate chips entirely and substitute the walnuts for sunflower seeds and/or pepitas. Don’t care about being vegan? Use butter in the place of the coconut oil. You can make this recipe totally yours! And really, all it is is oatmeal. ūüėČ

Banana Oat Bread
Serves 6

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Ingredients:  

2.5 cups gluten-free traditional rolled oats
3 tbsp real maple syrup
4 tbsp melted coconut oil+more for greasing
3 medium bananas, very ripe
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips¬†or regular chocolate chips if you don’t mind a bit of dairy
2 tsp ground flax-seed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tiny bit of melted coconut oil to grease your loaf pan well. Set the pan aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, add your rolled oats, and blend until you have a fine flour.

3. In the same blender/processor, add the baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon and mix everything together. I used a fork, but you could easily just give the blender/processor another couple of pulses to blend.
IMG_77904. In a large bowl, use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash your bananas together until almost smooth.

5. Add your maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla extract to the bananas and mix well.
IMG_77886. Then add the dry oat mixture, the chocolate chips, and the walnuts to the mixture, and mix¬†until you can’t see any dry oats anymore.

7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth it out so it’s evenly distributed. ¬†Sprinkle the flaxseed over the top.

8. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

9. Remove from oven, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm by itself, with a pat of butter, or with your favorite jam!
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Banana Oat Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Bread
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups gluten-free traditional rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil+more for greasing
  • 3 medium bananas, very ripe
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup walnut pieces
  • ⅓ cup
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • or regular chocolate chips if you don't mind a bit of dairy
  • 2 tsp ground flax-seed
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tiny bit of melted coconut oil to grease your loaf pan well. Set the pan aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add your rolled oats, and blend until you have a fine flour.
  3. In the same blender/processor, add the baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon and mix everything together. I used a fork, but you could easily just give the blender/processor another couple of pulses to blend.
  4. In a large bowl, use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash your bananas together until almost smooth.
  5. Add your maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla extract to the bananas and mix well.
  6. Then add the dry oat mixture, the chocolate chips, and the walnuts to the mixture, and mix until you can't see any dry oats anymore.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth it out so it's evenly distributed. Sprinkle the flaxseed over the top.
  8. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm by itself, with a pat of butter, or with your favorite jam!

Almost-vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

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I have a slight confession to make: Not everything on this blog is 100%¬†Mr. Little Fish-approved. While I generally won’t post anything that he outright hates, there are certainly things that are far more for me than they are for him. Most of these things fall into the breakfast category (although he LOVES these muffins), because he isn’t a huge breakfast fan and because he leaves for work earlier than I do on the weekdays, which¬†generally means that I do quite a bit of experimenting for my breakfasts. So, chia seeds? Yes, please. Spinach in my pancakes?¬†Sure. Quinoa bakes? Absolutely. Some of these Mr. LF likes; others he would rather not have again.

So when I saw rhubarb at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago and knew that I wanted to make a breakfast crumble with it (after having seen this crumble from Smitten Kitchen), it was with some trepidation that I offered him a piece. His review? “This tastes healthy.” After more questioning, it turns out he doesn’t really like oats. Go figure. You didn’t think I called him picky for nothing did you?

Lucky for me, though, a ton of other people¬†do like oats. And, also lucky for me, I have a very pregnant coworker who is more than happy to be my taste-tester for breakfast goods (she also approved the quinoa bake!). From her, this crumble got rave reviews (in ALL CAPS!). She was even surprised to learn that this crumble was vegan (I made it with all coconut oil that time), gluten-free, and refined sugar-free!¬†Plus, if you’ve been making home-made almond milk and have been looking for something to do with the leftover almond pulp, here’s your chance (check the recipe for notes on substitutions!).

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen  and Oh She Glows
Serves 6

IMG_7502Ingredients:

IMG_7459For the filling:

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced small
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tbsp chia seeds (NOTE: if you can’t find chia seeds, you can also use 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
2.5 cups traditional rolled oats, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
1/2 cup dehydrated almond milk pulp (NOTE: if you do not have this, just add another 1/2 cup of rolled oats)
3 tbsp butter, melted (NOTE: substitute for another 3 tbsp of coconut oil if you’d like to make this vegan)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with parchment paper if you plan on serving these without the pan. I used a 9×6 glass baking dish, but an 8×8 would work as well.
2. In a medium pot, heat the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and maple syrup over medium heat until it comes to a low boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the chia seeds. Let the mixture continue to boil, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, until the chia seeds thicken it.
IMG_74774. When the mixture becomes a thick, porridge-like consistency, remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
IMG_74785. While the fruit is cooking, you can start the crust (or, if you aren’t comfortable multitasking, wait until it’s done!). In a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of oats and the 1/2 cup of almond milk pulp (or another 1/2 cup of oats if you aren’t using the pulp). Blend together until it becomes a flour.

6.  Pour the flour directly into the baking dish, and add the remaining 1.5 cups of oats, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well-mixed.
IMG_74807. Add the wet ingredients to the baking dish: butter, coconut oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix together until no flour remains visible. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture to sprinkle on the top, and use a spoon or spatula to press the mixture remaining in the pan into a flat, smooth layer.

8. Pour the berry mixture over the top of the oat crust and smooth out into another layer.

9. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top, and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.
IMG_749610. Allow the bars to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve as a dessert with ice cream or whipped cream, or for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt!
For leftovers, I like to reheat it for 45 seconds in the microwave, but it holds together better when its cold.
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And please tag me on instagram with pictures if you make these strawberry rhubarb bars so I can see your creations (@gwensfishfood or #gwensfishfood)! =) Happy cooking!

Almost-vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
  • 1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced small
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (NOTE: if you can't find chia seeds, you can also use 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the crust:
  • 2.5 cups traditional rolled oats, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
  • ½ cup almond milk pulp (NOTE: if you do not have this, just add another ½ cup of rolled oats)
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted (NOTE: substitute for another 3 tbsp of coconut oil if you'd like to make this vegan)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with parchment paper if you plan on serving these without the pan. I used a 9x6 glass baking dish, but an 8x8 would work as well.
  2. In a medium pot, heat the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and maple syrup over medium heat until it comes to a low boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the chia seeds. Let the mixture continue to boil, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, until the chia seeds thicken it.
  4. When the mixture becomes a thick, porridge-like consistency, remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.5. While the fruit is cooking, you can start the crust (or, if you aren't comfortable multitasking, wait until it's done!). In a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of oats and the ½ cup of almond milk pulp (or another ½ cup of oats if you aren't using the pulp). Blend together until it becomes a flour.
  5. Pour the flour directly into the baking dish, and add the remaining 1.5 cups of oats, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well-mixed.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the baking dish: butter, coconut oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix together until no flour remains visible. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture to sprinkle on the top, and use a spoon or spatula to press the mixture remaining in the pan into a flat, smooth layer.
  7. Pour the berry mixture over the top of the oat crust and smooth out into another layer.
  8. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top, and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.
  9. Allow the bars to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve as a dessert with ice cream or whipped cream, or for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt! For leftovers, I like to reheat it for 45 seconds in the microwave, but it holds together better when its cold.

From the makers of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter…

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Well, ok, not really. Unilever is neither related nor in any way affiliated with this post. Or with this recipe. This recipe is brought to you by me. Sorry to disappoint. I know you were really excited about something processed that’s meant to mimic something real. But instead, I’m just gonna give you one of my favorite desserts of something real that’s meant to mimic something processed: banana “ice cream!”

Why the quotations you ask? Well, if you are an ice cream purist (are there such things?), you will no doubt have taken offense if I had billed this as just ice cream. Because there’s no actual cream, or dairy, involved. There’s also no refined sugar or artificial flavorings. ¬†Just pure, creamy banana. Thus, the quotations.

After you give up sugar for a good while, you start to really appreciate what my friend E refers to as “nature’s candy”–fruit. Whenever I get cravings for something sweet, which isn’t that often these days, I always try to have a piece of fruit first to see if that will quench it. If it doesn’t, then I know my body wants something a little more indulgent. ¬†Some days, particularly on the weekends, that something indulgent will be an actual treat–Girl Scout cookies, for example, or a French macaron from Whole Foods (!). Other days, I still want that indulgence to be “good,” so I’ll make this ice cream. While banana is still a fruit, it definitely has enough sugar to qualify as a treat, so I try to eat it in moderation.

All you need for this recipe is three things: a food processor or blender, frozen bananas, and nut butter (or any other mix-in. I’ve been known to put Nutella in here. Don’t judge me.). ¬†You want your bananas to be pretty ripe when you throw them in the freezer. I usually wait til they look something like this:

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I halve them and throw them in a ziplock bag in the freezer, so they are easy to portion out when I need them later (they work great in smoothies too!).

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Then, when I’m feeling a hankering for something sweet, I throw two halves in the food processor.

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If they’ve been sitting out for a bit and have softened, you can usually blend right away without any problem. ¬†Sometimes, though, I will add about a tablespoon of water to loosen it up. ¬†Once they start to get creamier, I add in the nut butter/protein powder/Nutella so that it doesn’t just get stuck to the blades. ¬†You’ll also want to stop processing and scrape down the sides every once in a while so you don’t get any chunks (unless you’re into that sort of thing). ¬†Eventually though, it will look like this:

IMG_6881And it’s done! ¬†When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll actually pour it into a bowl and eat it like a civilized person. ¬†Most times though I just take a spoon and eat it right out of the food processor (usually when Mr. LF isn’t around). ¬†For purposes of the blog, I put it in a bowl and topped it with dark chocolate chips!

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If you feel like it’s a bit¬†too soft when it’s done processing, you can always put it back into the freezer for a little bit and let it firm up!

Have you ever tried banana ice cream? ¬†What’s your favorite mix-in?

Banana "Ice Cream"
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp nut butter/protein powder/Nutella
Directions
  1. Break up banana into smaller chunks and put in food processor (you can also use a blender but you'll probably want to use a bit more water).
  2. Pulse until banana is chunky. Add in water and chosen mix-in.
  3. Pulse until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides so it's evenly mixed.