How was everyones Thanksgivings? I have quite a bit to be thankful for this year and it was so nice to spend time with family. Also, thank you so much to you guys- my readers, friends, and clients- so many of you made some of my Thanksgiving recipes and I got sent lots of awesome photos and feedback. So happy you and your families enjoyed!
Now that Thanksgiving is over....Christmas is coming christmas is coming christmas is coming!
Clearly, I have zero qualms about being Buddy the Elf when it comes to the holidays. I love everything about the holidays- celebration, family, the giving spirit, carols, gift shopping, and of course baking.
I always find that the frequency of my baking sharply increases during wintertime and the holidays, because of holiday parties and dinners, but I think it's also a sense of nostalgia that is tied to things like Christmas cookies and pies.
All of this dessert talk is obviously at odds with my trainer brain.
As I stated in rule #3 of Navigating Nommers, I do not recreate recipes simply for the sake of making things healthier. Just because you shaved a few calories out of that cake and that it's gluten-free doesn't mean it's not a free-for-all cake. But I have come to realize through my own recent dietary restrictions as well as friends allergies and whatnot, that it's become necessary for me to learn how to cook and bake with more alternative, allergen-friendly ingredients when the occasion calls for it- and it's making me that much more proficient in the kitchen!
I've talked about how I like to really steer healthy as possible when cooking and baking for my mom. She has a big sweet tooth though, and this banana bread of mine nixes that craving of hers everytime. She requests I make this every time I visit her, and she always stores the leftover slices in the freezer to enjoy whenever she wants. I feel good making this bread for her, because it's base is made with wholesome ingredients and won't clog her arteries like other breads surely can. I also sneak in those wonderful chia seeds that pack in essential Omega-3's.
This recipe is extremely versatile and forgiving- I have it memorized and have made it without measuring tools when stuck in a pinch. You can swap out types of nuts and seeds to your liking. I've made this with almond butter instead of peanut butter before, with nuts and seeds in the batter and without, etc.
What are some childhood favorite holiday treats of yours? Is there anything you love but can no longer enjoy due to dietary restrictions? Would love to hear some and I'd love to tinker around with more recipes! Now here is the one for the bread to kick things off:
Peanut-Butter Banana Nut Chia Bread
*makes a standard 9x5in loaf
3 very ripe Bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup unsalted Peanut Butter
(or any nut butter)
1/2 cup raw Coconut Sugar
1 large Egg
1.5 cups Whole Wheat Flour or Gluten-free Blend
(I used homemade Einkorn flour)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Nuts of your choices
(I used walnut pieces)
*optional: I also used a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg,
then topped my bread with Pecans and Chia Seeds.
My mom added some mini dark chocolate chips in there...
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and lightly grease bread loaf pan (I used coconut oil).
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas and coconut sugar using a whisk. Add in applesauce, peanut butter, and the egg, beating well after each addition.
4. In three parts, gently whisk in flour mixture into the banana mixture.
*Be careful not to overstir- with breads like these, it's better to combine just until you can't see the flour on it's own.
5. Gently stir in nuts and chia seeds (reserve some for top of the bread if you wish) until just combined.
6. Pour mixture into greased bread loaf pan, and pop in the preheated oven. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick runs mostly clean/a few dry crumbs when you stick it in the middle. Transfer bread onto a wire cooling rack as soon as loaf pan cools down enough to handle.
*this bread freezes extremely well- slice it up and individually wrap slices with saran wrap, then put in a large glass container or ziploc bag!