This post is bananas

Incidentally, this post is also nuts. Well, chock full of nuts. I’ve gone bananas for nuts? (Thank you, thank you. I’ll see myself out.)

giphy

I love bananas in every stage of ripeness, but there is a certain magic quality that brown bananas have, full of sweetness and possibility. My favorite use for ripe bananas has always been banana bread, mostly because there are so many different recipes out there to try and they’re all fairly adaptable.

With bananas going brown on the counter, I popped onto the siggi’s website hoping that my new favorite yogurt would have a suggestion for my perpetual favorite baked good. Much to my delight, they did!

banana-bread-ingredients-2

 

The recipe calls for their vanilla filmjölk, which is a very unique pourable yogurt that is similar to kefir. It’s slightly tangy and is often used in place of buttermilk to lighten up recipes. I like to pour it over muesli for breakfast, but I’d never cooked with it before so this was a welcome experiment.

The only adjustment I made to the recipe was replacing the chopped walnuts with chopped peanuts. This was because of an allergy in our house, but I must say that I think the banana bread tastes even better with peanuts in it. I’ve mentioned their site before, but I love having pre-chopped peanuts from Nuts.com in the pantry for days like this. All I had to do was measure and pour, which made the baking process a snap.

recipe-card-banana-bread

Per usual, I didn’t really measure the amount of spices and probably gave my banana bread a heartier dose of cinnamon than is called for. If you’re feeling punchy you could add a bit of ground ginger as well, or even your favorite mix of pumpkin pie spice.

For me it came out perfectly after 50 minutes of cooking and was delicious both warm the night I made it and also the next day slathered in peanut butter for breakfast. Because obviously I needed even more peanut-y goodness.

finished-banana-bread

Originally, this was meant to be the end of my post. But in delaying my writing by a week I ended up having a few more bananas go brown on me. In fact, these seemed to beg to be baked, going directly from green to brown overnight.

For those who are new to working with exceptionally ripe bananas, I wanted to take this photo to show you that they are not nearly as unappealing on the inside as they may seem on the outside. However, the peels will be rather… odorous, so it’s best to either put them in an outside trashcan or at least in an extra bag within your kitchen trash.

banana-ripeness

Recipe for 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars

The great thing about these oat bars is that, provided you use certified oats, they are completely gluten free and also dairy free. I have made them in the past with different combinations of dried fruits and nuts, but this time I went with chopped dates and the same peanuts I used in the banana bread.

The recipe is from the kitchn, and I would recommend you head over to her site and follow the instructions exactly. The only change I made was adding about 1-2 tsp of honey for just a little bit more sweetness. I included the vanilla and the salt, and put cinnamon both in the batter and sprinkled on top.

oat-bars

Because I used three bananas instead of two (waste not, want not) my bars came out slightly more thick than hers. I’ve made them in the past with fewer bananas and they come out thinner and crispy on the edges. That being said, I actually like these thicker bars. It makes them feel more like an anytime dessert rather than a snack bar. Since mine by nature have more moisture I decided to store them in the fridge rather than the pantry.

I currently have a new batch of bananas ripening in the fruit bowl, and something tells me I’ll probably have at least two brown ones again in the next week. So if you have a favorite recipe for very ripe bananas, I’m all ears! Let me know in the comments and I’d love to try out something different for a follow-up post.

Happy baking!

 

Cereal killer

These days, it seems like using the word “carb” is akin to shouting “Voldemort!” in a room full of wizards. And not without some merit. While carbohydrates are undeniably delicious (my ideal lunch involves a fresh, crusty loaf of bread, butter, and nothing else), the reason we find them so palatable is the simple biological fact that they make good storage for later. The human body is the original doomsday hoarder, but instead of canned goods, it just keeps jamming fat cells full of “what if?” fuel for any unforeseen famine.

In an attempt to cut back on carbs, two weeks ago I gave up eating cereal for breakfast. It’s not like I was wolfing down a giant bowl of Sugar Smacks every morning, but I thought it was worth a try to ditch the very boring grain flakes with almond milk I was eating and replace them with a mix of nuts and seeds with almond milk. Of all the carb-swapping I’ve attempted recently, I’d have to say that this has been the most enjoyable. Unsurprisingly, I got all the ingredients from the best nut retailer in the galaxy. (Not their slogan, but it should be.)

grain-free-cereal

The base of the recipe is a small handful of unsweetened coconut flakes (about 1/4 cup) and then I just add pinches of this and that depending on what I’m in the mood for. The mix in the photo has sliced almonds, a few raw cashews, a few raw walnuts, some chia seeds, dried goji berries, fresh blueberries and cinnamon. Sometimes I add raw pumpkin seeds or unsalted raw sunflower seeds. Sometimes I used freeze-dried berries if I don’t have any fresh. I keep all the ingredients in the fridge to give them a good crunch (and keep them from spoiling), and if I’m going to add goji berries, I let them soak overnight in a little bit of almond milk just to plump them up a bit.

So many people are ditching grains, whether it’s because of a gluten sensitivity, Celiac, or a paleo-style diet. For the record, I will never be able to fully embrace primal eating, for the simple fact that you’ll have to pry my cheese out of my cold, dead hands. But as a lifestyle that encourages an increase in bacon consumption, I give it a general thumbs-up.

It seems, in the midst of all this carb-shunning, cereal manufacturers have found themselves taking a big hit in sales. I say this because an interesting side-effect of this experiment has been a heightened awareness of cereal ads on television that are aimed at adults. And these aren’t just any cereals – these are cereals normally consumed by children, trying to lure adults back into childhood with their sweet, sweet carbohydrates.

While I’ve never been a Lucky Charms fan myself, apparently people who think the marshmallows taste like food (instead of styrofoam) really like picking the marshmallows out of the box. So, I’d say this is a pretty clever angle to take in trying to get adults to remember the sugary joy of being a kid. I mean, as an adult, you’re in charge of the purchases, so you could buy a dozen boxes of Lucky Charms and just fish out the marshmallows from every single one. Living the dream!

Froot Loops, on the other hand, totally missed an opportunity with this one. They’re trying to get parents to remember what it’s like to be a kid, and while that’s not a bad strategy, they have a woman getting all pumped up about hitting a coin block on the very first level of Super Mario Bros. (which, if memory serves, should be a mushroom block and not a coin block anyway). Getting past the Hammer Bros. is much more deserving of a mouthful of incentive carbs than just remembering which button you press to jump.

Frosted Mini Wheats have taken a different approach by trying to convince you that eating a bowl every morning will give you enough energy to make all the fancy coffees you need to make today. It will also give you the sugar rush you need to help forget that the economy has forced you back into the type of job you had when you were a teenager, before you earned a graduate degree and all the debt that came with it. Their tagline really should be, “Frosted Mini Wheats: For when you want to eat your feelings.”

I think this is my favorite of the bunch, simply because it comes across as a seriously desperate attempt to be hip and relevant by casting internet sensation Grumpy Cat in a commercial for human food. It also (probably unintentionally) hits the carb nail right on the head, because I think trying to convince people who have given up grains to eat cereal will get you the same response as trying to get Grumpy Cat to smile.

no