Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread (or, Life is Beautiful)

One of my clearest memories of spending time with my mother when I was a little girl is sitting at the kitchen table with what (at the time) seemed like a gigantic silver bowl, a sturdy fork, and a pile of bananas that needed mushing. While my mom puttered around the kitchen taking care of a hundred other things that needed doing, I would sit there and press the tines of that fork into chunk after chunk of over-ripe banana, as gleeful as if I’d just been given a hundred quarters and dropped in the middle of an arcade. Finally, my mom would have to take the fork away from me before a) the bananas were turned entirely into soup and b) the table was covered by any more flecks of banana flesh that had spattered across its surface due to my over-exuberance. My mom would turn my handiwork into a delicious loaf of banana bread using a classic recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook her sister Karen had given to her as a wedding gift in 1980. That Joy of Cooking was a staple in our kitchen as I was growing up, and after, and when my mom passed away in 2012 it was the one possession of hers that I was almost desperate to make sure I reclaimed.

joc1

 

Now that I’ve gone vegan, the Joy of Cooking recipe for banana bread is off limits. Sure, I could try to adapt it on my own but I am not experienced enough in the kitchen to try that level of master cookery. Instead, I kept my eye out on the internet for a simple but tasty-looking recipe to try. Thank heavens for One Green Planet, whose Green Monster newsletter dropped the perfect recipe right into my inbox! The recipe (and the picture just below) is from the vegan maestro at iheartcrapkitchen.com, and be warned – visiting her site is like going down a rabbit hole of ridiculously tempting vegan yumminess!  My tummy still won’t stop growling.

chocbanana-1194x800

You can view the recipe as I first saw it in its entirety here on the One Green Planet site. I only made a couple of alterations. Firstly, I used plain all-purpose flour. Then, I did not include the desiccated coconut that the original recipe calls for, simply because I did not have any in my kitchen at the time I fancied baking this up. And lastly, as you can see from the pictures, I opted out of making the chocolate ganache. Instead, I simply sprinkled vegan chocolate chips across the top of the banana bread, and I found that just doing that made the banana bread extra chocolate-y enough for me! Just a note: I found the cooking time was spot on – I kept my bread in for the full fifty minutes and it turned out perfectly. And, using a little vegan Becel to coat the loaf pan before pouring the batter in allowed the bread to slide perfectly out after I’d let it cool down completely.

bb3 bb2 bb1

After cutting off and savouring an end piece just to ensure quality control I brought the rest of the banana bread loaf to work for a snack day in honor of a couple of departing staff. It is the first time I actually brought something homemade, and boy was I proud of myself. While I didn’t announce to all that it was vegan, I was happy to have brought something that a couple of my coworkers who have specific dietary restrictions could eat and enjoy. And the reviews from the omnis that were present? “Yum!!!” bb

 

 

Advertisements

Simple Fruit Smoothie (Or, It’s Pretty Easy Being Green)

smoothie

I wouldn’t exactly call this a recipe… more like the throwing of various yummy things into a blender together just to see what might happen. It turned out tasty, though, so I thought I would share 🙂 This is my easy Friday morning smoothie.

1 heaping cup chopped kale (no such thing as too much)
2 ripe bananas
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1.5 cups pineapple juice
¼ cup almond milk
1 tbsp. of agave nectar

Optional: 3 tsp of chia seeds

Peel kale leaves from their stalks; either rip or chop the leaves into smaller pieces. Put all ingredients into blender. Blend, starting on lowest setting and then gradually increasing speed, until you have a beautifully smooth concoction. This makes enough for two big smoothies, so save half in a mason jar for the next day and enjoy the other one instantly!

Just a note: I add 3 tsp of chia seeds, but that might be too much crunch for you when combined with the raspberries. I just like to add the extra protein.

Approximate Nutritional Info Per Serving

Calories: 325
Fat: 8.4g
Protein: 4.85g
Carbs: 77.1g

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

Last week a friend of mine on Facebook shared a recipe for Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies. Always on the lookout for easy, straight-forward vegan recipes (especially the sort that involve chocolate!) I saved the recipe and thought I’d give it a try over the weekend. My only other experiences with vegan baking were several years ago when I made vegan carob chip cookies for my vegan friends as a small gift, which I never actually tried myself; and, a few months ago, when I made a blueberry vanilla protein cookie that turned out horrendously awful. I’m no whiz in the kitchen so I was pretty wary of how this undertaking would turn out.

Thankfully, the Skinny Chunky Monkey cookies are a cinch to make. The ingredients are all standard things you’d likely have already; all I had to pick up from the grocery store was the applesauce. The recipe itself is short, sweet, and completely, blissfully idiot-proof; you don’t even have to pull out a mixer (a huge selling point). 

The finished product:

Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookie

So how did they turn out? Actually, really good! The cookies are very soft and a little sticky so you may want to keep them refrigerated so that they don’t get goopy all over your fingers. They are very dense, so a couple of cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth easily; but, I’ll admit that they are a tad bitter thanks to the cocoa. I think next time I make these I will dust the cookies with a fine coat of confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar once they are done baking – this will help make them a little less sticky and a little bit sweeter. All in all, though, delicious results. I realized I forgot to pack some in my lunch for today and am super disappointed!

I can’t figure out where exactly the recipe originated, so I’ll include the one I found on MyRecipes.com that matches what I found on Facebook. I obviously did not create the recipe, and do not make any claims to it whatsoever.

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cup(s) oats
  • 1/4 cup(s) peanut butter $
  • 1/4 cup(s) cocoa
  • 1/3 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla

Preparation

  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for approximately 20 minutes, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Just a note: I did end up baking both batches of cookies for closer to 17-18 minutes, so check them at the recommended time and put them back in for longer if need be.