Nutty Chocolate Banana Bread

Loaves, like muffins, are a great item for meal or snack prepping because they can be quite healthy with the right ingredients and they are easy to package individually and transport. I kept this version ultra nutritious with a combination of sprouted buckwheat flour and almond flour to form a hearty and dense base. Each has a nutty flavour and together they contribute many important nutrients including protein, fiber, manganese, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin E and B vitamins.Sprouted buckwheat flourAlmond flour (or sub almond meal)In the spirit of meal prepping, this is a large recipe for two loaves. It can be modified by using different whole grain and nut flours if preferred and cut in half easily to make just one loaf.The extra detail on the top comes from marbling a mixture of almond butter and maple syrup, then placing a row of banana slices on before baking.For some texture variety and added flavours I added in some chopped pecans and raw dark chocolate. Bananas, dates, maple syrup and molasses all make it naturally sweet and cocoa powder makes it extra chocolatey.

Nutty Chocolate Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 loaves
INGREDIENTS:
  • Dry
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 2 cups sprouted buckwheat flour (or any preferred whole grain flout)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped finely
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wet
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 4 large bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cooking molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 banana, sliced into 12 even slices
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  3. Blend the wet ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Set up two loaf pans and line them with large pieces of parchment paper. Spoon in the mixture, half into each pan gently lift and hit the pan against the counter a few times until the mixture is levelled.
  5. Add the topping ingredients in a small bowl, stir to combine. Pour half down the middle of each loaf. Use a bamboo or popsicle stick to create a marbled design. Place the stick around ½-1 inch deep and make rounded horizontal zig-zags from one side of the pan to the other. Repeat the swirl pattern in the other direction.
  6. Top each with a row down their centres of 6 banana slices and press them about halfway down into the mixture.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, until an toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Leave the banana bread to cool on cooling racks for around 10 minutes then remove the loaves from the pans and place them directly on the cooling rack until fully cooled.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a few months.
  10. If freezing, slice beforehand and place small pieces of wax paper in between so the slices do not stick together.

Pears Poached in Peach Juice over Chia Pudding

Poaching fruit in some kind of other fruit juice makes for a succulent, flavourful treat. Pears have a texture that holds up well and is transformed perfectly by poaching. They become extra sweet and velvety, plus they are neutral enough to take on other flavours well. I like to use bartlett pears that are just starting to soften, they should press in slightly to touch with a bit of pressure, but any variety can be nice.  Continue Reading →

Creamy Nectarine Vanilla Cashew Smoothie

Smoothies can be as light or as decadent as desired. They can be filled with a myriad of superfoods or made from a few simple ingredients. This version is more of a dessert combination, made from only four ingredients- fresh nectarines, vanilla bean, cashew ice cream and cashew milk. The nectarines give it a sweet, summery flavour while the cashew ice cream and milk give it a velvety smooth, rich texture and the vanilla increases the decadent factor.  Continue Reading →

Quinoa Kohlrabi Salad

Meal prep, or ingredient prep, is a valuable tool in regularly eating well. If you don’t enjoy leftovers it doesn’t take too much effort to create whole new dishes out of leftover ingredients. Any cooked whole grains can be transformed into a summer salad that is nourishing and satiating without being too heavy for hot summer days. Crisp ingredients like green apples and kohlrabi keep it light and some herbs and greens keep it fresh. Continue Reading →

Pineapple Coconut Soft Serve

Homemade soft serve can be made without an ice cream maker and just a couple ingredients. Blending thick coconut cream with really sweet fruit then freezing them in ice cube trays and blending once again creates a healthy, simple frozen treat. The only necessary tool is a high powered blender that is strong enough to crush ice.Pineapple is one of the sweeter fruits out there, especially when it is fully ripened, but a tablespoon or two of maple or coconut syrup (or any preferred sweetener) can be added to for those with a stronger sweet tooth.
Though this is easy to make it does require some prep work. Chilling the coconut cream enough to separate and then freezing the coconut pineapple mixture each takes around 8 hours.Coconut cream is made from blending the meat and water of a coconut. The easiest way to obtain it is from cans of coconut milk. Place the can in the fridge overnight and when you are ready to use it flip it over, open it up and use a spoon to skim the thick cream off the top. The cold from the fridge makes the cream separate from the water and settle on the bottom of the can. Skipping the refrigeration period makes it pretty impossible to separate the cream from the water as it all blends together to create a milk. For people looking to make more dairy-free treats it’s a good idea to always keep a can or two of coconut milk in the fridge.
I was inspired by some lemon and coconut gelato I had in Italy that were served in hollowed out lemon and coconut halves. The mass of a pineapple does lend to a more North American serving size but there are some smaller golden pineapples often available, which I used here, that are a more reasonable size.

Pineapple Coconut Soft Serve
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2-4
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup coconut cream (place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, flip it over open it up and use a spoon to skim off the coconut cream concentrated at the top. Save the coconut water below for smoothies.)
  • 4 cups pineapple, chopped
  • 2 standard sized ice cube molds
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Blend the coconut cream and pineapple until smooth. Pour into ice cube molds and freeze overnight, or for around 8 hours.
  2. Place the frozen cubes into the blender and pulse until they are broken down and become a smooth, thick mixture.