ILY Banana Bread

Note: I typed up this post way back in October but it’s been living in my Drafts since I didn’t have pictures to go with it. Now we’re sheltering-in-place because of COVID and I’ve managed to carve out a few minutes – in between breastfeeding and diaper changes – to make my favorite banana bread, snapshots included.

What a crazy time we are living through… I imagine many people are baking more since we’re all bored, restless, and probably have varying degrees of anxiety because of the current affairs and how unknown things are. We’re consuming news hourly – and, if similar to me – looking for any glimpse that reads this will be over soon. We’re rapid-fire reading headlines and digesting them after with our friends and family on video chat. Any retrieve or coping we can muster is welcome.

We’ve all seen and laughed at the same memes. We’ve cried. We’re taking more walks; getting outside and noticing things we didn’t before. But we’ve also started to avoid eye-contact when we pass others – is it okay to say hello? Now most of the time I look down at my feet when I would have offered a friendly greeting or at least a smile just weeks ago.

We’re trying to remember that Earth is getting a break during this and pollution is down. We’re calling people we haven’t talked to in years. Things we used to shrug off – or even dislike entirely – we suddenly crave… what I would give for a family game night (my former self was selective about the games I played and the time I spent playing them). Never again will time with others be taken for granted; or a shared bottle of wine, a welcome embrace, an unexpected visitor. We’re missing our “old” lives and realizing we really didn’t have much to complain about, did we?

We’re cleaning out closets and drawers and garages; and maybe some buried feelings we haven’t had time to sit with before. We’re going deep, turning inward for guidance. Or, we’re not. We’re worried about using too much toilet paper. We’re eating at home a lot more. We’re thankful. We’re scared…

It’s a lot.

I can’t wait to be on the other side of this. I can’t wait to write something light-hearted and jolly again. Reading the words below, I think, what a simple time. But I also think, oh, how we will grow from this and… at least we still have banana bread.


Mike and I love banana bread. Who doesn’t?! I am all about splurging with a white flour and refined sugary piece of it occasionally but for the normal day-to-day, I prefer something healthier. Which is why I am so happy I found / fine tuned this recipe!

It’s made with real, simple ingredients and no added sugar. I love having it for breakfast because the protein from the eggs and almond butter keeps me full. Plus, it’s a pretty good pairing with morning espressos.

I had a crazy busy few days at work and some bananas that were ripe and ready to rumble, so I asked Mike to make the bread while I was away at a work dinner. I scribbled down the directions for him, which coined the recipe “ILY Banana Bread.” Whenever I write Mike a note, I always include ILY at the end for I Love You. It’s nothing original – I’m sure a millions of other couple use ILY too – but we’ve been doing it since we first started dating so it’s special to us. ❤


ILY Banana Bread

Gluten and added sugar free

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 30 minutes: Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbs baking soda
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
  • Vegetable oil for pan
  • Optional: walnuts and flaxseeds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add bananas to a bowl and mash with a fork
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to bowl and mix together
  • Grease your pan with vegetable oil (I used grape-seed because it has a high smoke point)
  • Put batter in pan and bake for 30 minutes


Chili Mac

We finally have a kitchen again! After about 2 months of renovating the downstairs of our house, the floors are placed, the new appliances connected, and the (GORGEOUS) counters are safely secured in place. All in good timing because we’re only a week or so out from our baby making his grand debut into the world.

To test out all of the new goods, I made a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while last night for dinner. It’s vegan and, the version I made, gluten-free. It’s easy and filling. It’s … chili mac!

A mash up – a love child – of 2 major comfort foods; chili and mac n’ cheese. I suggest you make yourself a batch ASAP.


Chili Mac

Ingredients:

  • 1 -2 TBS vegetable oil like avo or grape-seed (something with a high smoke-point)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper (I used red but use your fave or what you have on hand)
  • 2-ish carrots
  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
  • 28 oz of canned tomatoes (I buy the fire roasted ones)
  • 3 – 4 cups of spinach
  • Spices (added to taste and preference): Cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt
  • 10 oz of macaroni (I used brown rice and quinoa but similar to a lot of gluten free products, it didn’t hold it’s structural integrity when mixed with the other ingredients – something to consider if you are concerned about presentation)

Directions:

  • Make your pasta according to the package, drain, and set aside
  • Chop and sauté your onion until translucent
  • Chop bell pepper and carrots to add to onion mixture
  • Add kidney beans, canned tomatoes, and spices, mix and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes
  • Bring to a boil and stir in spinach until it is wilted
  • Add to chili to macaroni
  • Serve and enjoy (optional to top with guac, green onions, and/or cheese)

Before and After pictures of the house and a post about renovation tips are in the works – stay tuned!

***Pick Up Limes inspired this post***

Better-than-you’ll-believe creamy squash pasta sauce

The new year. January first. So many aspirations and goals tied to one day.

It seems like people are generally moving away from setting up huge year-long goals of drastic change and personal renovation. Instead, we’re doing things like intention setting and focusing on more realistic, small self improvements.

In the era of Wellness Warriors – where self love, understanding, and forgiveness are the new ways of life; along with mediation and warm morning lemon water – we are still constantly striving to be better but also allowing for large doses of grace and acceptance when we inevitably slip up.

Gone are the days of swearing off sugar for 365 days and setting alarm clocks to sound before the sun for a workout. We want consistency and manageability now. At least I do.

Today is just like tomorrow will be. There isn’t the same novelty to the first day of the new year anymore. Each day is simply another chance at being better. Of course there will be some days when a second glass of wine will be poured or a savasana will be missed. More often than we’d like, living in the moment will fall under the shadow of impatience. Judgment and negativity will sneak into our lives when we are tired and feeling scattered.

There will be back-stepping but hopefully mostly forward moving. Hopefully, with strategic and achievable goals in mind, your progress will be better than you’ll believe. (…Literally like this pasta sauce recipe. I thought it would be too thick with little flavor but it turned out to be a dream!)


Better-than-you’ll-believe creamy squash pasta sauce

prep time: 30 minutes | cook time: 30 minutes | serves: 4

This sauce is vegan, diary and gluten free.  The coconut milk and roasted  delicate squash blended together make it creamy-dreamy. The roasted garlic adds a comforting savoriness. Serve over your pasta of choice with an added green for a complete meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium delicate squash
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water (or as needed for consistency)
  • 4 -5 garlic gloves (still in bulb to roast)
  • 2 – 3 Tbs of avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

  • Cut delicate squash into 1/2 inch pieces (not you don’t need to peel the skin off of delicate squash) and coat with avocado oil, salt + pepper, and nutmeg to taste
  • Spread squash out on a baking sheet and add your garlic bulb in tinfoil with a small amount to avocado oil drizzled on the top to the same sheet
  • Roast both at 400 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Once roasted, transfer into your blender with 3/4 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water (adding more if needed)
  • Blend and scrape down the sides as needed until creamy (remember to vent your blender for the steam to escape)
  • Pour out over pasta