8.23.2020

Gluten, Sugar, and Dairy Free Banana Bread (2 Ways!)

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whole30 banana bread

Well hello!  I feel like I have a lot to catch you guys up on, but for now I'll focus on the banana bread many of you have requested.  During quarantine, husband and I have definitely slacked on nutrition.  Despite having literally no social obligations or ever leaving the house for that matter, I simply did not feel inspired to cook.  When I did, it was something easy, and when I didn't DoorDash was a primary source of sustenance.  At first it was easy to make excuses because this was unprecedented times and it was reasonable to feel overwhelmed and just generally "meh", but after a few months passed, we definitely realized this was a new normal.  

Whole30 Banana Bread

So in the interest of reminding myself that I do indeed like cooking, that vegetables do indeed exist, and just generally resetting our systems, we kicked off an "almost Whole 30" at the start of August.  And by almost Whole 30, I mean we're limiting our diet to only the allowed foods, but I've taken some liberty with things like cassava flour tortillas or biscuits, or in this case banana bread.  We are still very much eating primarily vegetables, but particularly on weekends, a fun baking project is welcome. I made this for the first time last week, and was shocked how enjoyable it was given everything it does not include.  Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke I made a double batch today.  It was just as good.  So if you're gluten, dairy, or sugar free, or just looking for a cleaner sweet treat, give this a go!

Whole30 Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • ~13oz very ripe bananas (about 4 small bananas or 3 large ones)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (still liquid)
  • 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour [6 oz] (I get this at Trade Joe's or Costco)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour [2 oz]
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Plus
  • For Traditional : 1 tsp cinnamon and an extra banana
  • For Chocolate Swirl: 2 Tbs almond milk or water and 2 Tbs cocoa powder (I swear by this cocoa powder, depending what type you use the chocolate swirl won't be as dark)


Method

Heat the oven to 350°. Spray or grease a loaf pan, then cut a strip of parchment paper the length of the pan to serve as a sling when removing your loaf.  I like to use binder clips to hold in place (see below).  Spray or grease the paper.  The bread photographed used this 1.25lb loaf pan (9.5x5x2.75), but I actually prefer using this 1lb loaf pan (8.5x4.5x2.75).


Paleo Banana Bread

Whisk or sift together your dry ingredients and set aside.  This step actually matters because almond flour is very clumpy. 


In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas into a smooth mush. Add your melted coconut oil and vanilla extract and stir. This will help cool the coconut oil to ensure your eggs don’t scramble. Add your eggs. (I like to crack them into a separate bowl to ensure they’re all good and no shells sneak in, and whisk gently to combine before adding to my other wet ingredients.) Add your dry ingredients (including cinnamon if using) and stir gently to combine. 


If doing the chocolate swirl variation, in a small mixing bowl (I use the same bowl I cracked the eggs into because dishes) add the cocoa powder and almond milk. Stir with a small whisk or fork until a paste forms. It might look like it won’t come together, but be patient. Add about half of the batter to the bowl and mix until it turns a beautiful, uniform chocolate color. Then, rotate dolloping the plain and chocolate batter into the prepared loaf pan. Once you’ve utilized all the batter, use a knife/kabob stick/fork to swirl the two batters together into a pleasant marbled pattern. 


For the traditional version, transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, and cut a banana in half lengthwise (so you have two banana shaped halves with the center “seeds” exposed). Gently lay the bananas, inside facing up, on the top of your loaf. This is totally optional, but the caramelized  banana is delicious and makes it feel special so I do it. If you don’t care about using refined sugar this is also a good time to liberally sprinkle Demerara sugar or raw sugar on the top for some extra pizazz. It lends a very nice crunch and almost sparkles. 


Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes (I'd suggest 50 for the 1.25lb pan and closer to 60 for the 1lb pan).  Remove from the oven and leave in the pan to cool on a cooling rack for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from pan and continue to cool until room temp, about an hour.

Store loosely wrapped at room temperature.  If you added the banana on top, I would suggest refrigerating after the first day if there's any left :) 


Whole30 Paleo Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread
Adapted from Paleo Running Mom


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5.14.2019

This Year's Mother's Day Menu

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My mom is awesome, but terrible at letting other people do stuff for her.  She also really likes vegetables. So once a year, on Mother's Day, I don't allow her to contribute anything and cook a multi-course fancy meal focused on vegetables.  Really I should probably do it once a week the rest of my life if I want to come close to making up for everything she's done for me, but who's keeping score? (Plus I don't know if she could handle being the recipient of that much anything... ha!)

She absolutely loved the cauliflower I made last year, so that was my starting point.  I wanted to do something fun with asparagus, and the raw use of it in Ruffage was unlike anything I'd made before plus the whole grain mustard vinaigrette sounded delectable.  When perusing Bravetart, the German chocolate twist on oatmeal cookies caught my eye because my mom's favorite dessert is German chocolate cake (spoiler- they did not disappoint, SO good).  The rest came together based on what looked good at Whole Foods.

MENU

RAW ASPARAGUS SALAD
with Shallots, Radishes, Arugala, Egg, and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette 
(from Ruffage cookbook)

LAMB LOIN CHOPS
Marinated in Greek Yogurt, Cumin, and Aleppo Pepper
with Crispy Chickpeas, Rainbow Chard, Lemony Yogurt Sauce, and Fresh Dill 
(Inspired by a recipe in Alison Roman's Dining In)

SAUT√ČED CAULIFLOWER
with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, Pickled Peppers, Crispy Breadcrumbs and Fresh Mint 
(Recipe here)

MELON SALAD
with Basil Oil and Goat Cheese

GERMAN CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES
with Coconut, Dark Chocolate, and Caramel 
(From Bravetart cookbook)



Did you do anything to celebrate Mother's Day? Any fun culinary traditions? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

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2.11.2019

My Favorite Booties

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The other day I was chatting with a coworker about my love of boots (sometimes I think my mostly male colleagues must just humor me...), and I realized they truly are my favorite footwear.  I mean I wear my birkenstock sandals all year long, but they don't make me excited like a chic pair of ankle boots. However, picking just one pair of boots I quickly found was impossible. So instead I limited it to six favorites, because these six booties literally span every occasion, match every outfit, and are all tremendously comfortable.  

I'll start with these snakeskin embossed leather beauties.
I saw this gorgeous pair at Diba True's Fall Preview event all the way back in September.  They didn't have stock yet, and the absolutely charming founder, Joe, volunteered to send me a pair as a belated birthday gift when they arrived.  So I've had a couple months to put them to good use, and I can't say enough about how comfortable and how versatile they are!  The color somehow goes with black, brown, and navy, and they look just as cute with pants as skirts and dresses.  

Outfit details: State of G cardigan, Comme des Garcon Play striped tee, J.Crew silk leopard scarf, Tory Burch quilted mini Kira bag, Madewell Emmett pants, Kendra Scott 'Dunn' earrings in sage mica, smaller 'Dax' stlye on sale


And as promised, 5 more favorites. 
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2.08.2019

Oh Hay

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Well hello strangers.

For some reason this feels awkward, like this isn't my blog anymore.  Like I need some grandiose reason to return and a big declaration.  
modest-new-years-eve-outfit
My New Year's Eve outfit that never graced the interweb | Perju Blouse c/o

But really, I decided I wanted a break, and then the break was kind of nice and I didn't think I missed blogging.  Frankly, blogging is a lot of work.  And blogging used to be a lot of work that was pretty financially profitable.  Then Instagram changed and my engagement plummeted and affiliate income nosedived, and while money was never why I started a blog, it was hard not to get discouraged.  Just being honest.   Blogging also served as an excuse to shop a lot.  Too much.  I consciously shopped considerably less in 2018, but even so, the first half of 2018 while I was blogging, I bought a lot more than the second half. 

Then the other night while getting together with girlfriends I hadn't see for awhile, nearly every single one asked about my blog.  "Why haven't you posted?! I miss seeing your outfits!"  Compounded with a few other blog-related conversations I didn't start, I realized there actually were aspects of blogging I missed.

Like you guys.  I have real life friends, don't get me wrong, but frankly I don't see them very often and many of them could care less about trying all the tinted moisturizers, my new favorite workout leggings, or the woes of switching to natural deodorant (and let me tell you...).  

I also miss the journaling aspect- sharing anecdotes about travel, work, and hobbies.  Selfishly, it's fun to look back at meals eaten, attractions visited, and highlights of travel.  And if one person gets a good restaurant recommendation out of it, all the better!  

There's also something very gratifying about something that I truly own.  I have a job where I create a LOT of collateral (I joke I have a job because of my PowerPoint skills, and we all know there's truth in every joke...) but so much of what I do in my 9-5 (or like 8-6, who are we kidding...) is heavily influenced by corporate expectations and frankly whatever my boss wants.  Here, I get to do what I want, when I want, or do nothing at all.

So all that is a long way oh saying "Oh hay, I'm back" and I missed you guys.  But trust that I'm back for the community, the sharing, and the fun parts (because my full time job is what I do to make the monies and I've decided caring about money ruins blogging for me).  So stay tuned for more content, because I have a list of 32 posts I want to write, and at last year's pace that's enough content to last through September.

Happy Belated New Year, friends.  It's good to be back.

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