Happy Mother’s Day!
My mother is a wonderful, strong, beautiful and talented woman. She has raised three of her four daughters to adulthood without anyone dying, going crazy, or any serious life threatening injuries to report of, and is doing an equally terrific job with the last teenager, Hannah. Being a mom to a bunch of stubborn, opinionated daughters isn’t easy, but my mom has done the job gracefully. She has lived her life as a selfless woman, always putting her family first, and being the best wife, mom and grandmother that a family could ask for. I love my mother. I couldn’t be more thankful to have such an amazing role model to look up to. And although my mother doesn’t actually celebrate Mother’s Day, this post is dedicated to her and everything she has taught me in my 26 years of life.
Growing up, I remember my mom always telling my sisters and I that it was necessary we learned our way around the kitchen. She would patiently walk us through the process of properly cleaning and roasting a whole chicken, baking a fresh apple pie, or making a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies. We would sit there and complain through the process, because playing outside was much more exciting, but when that cookie batter was ready for the oven and she let us lick the mixing spoons, life was good. Yes, that was and still is, the best part of baking.
I didn’t really appreciate most of what my mother taught me about life, until I hit my 20’s. It was when adulthood really started to set in and I had to recall all of the things Mom taught me so that I could start building a life for myself. A life that involved more than just frozen pizzas, Starbucks lattes, and a car that wouldn’t stop overheating on me.
By the way Mom, you were totally right, I should have stopped driving that car to San Francisco everyday in the condition it was in. That blown engine = 100% my fault.
At that point in my life, all of those life lessons, cooking sessions, and financial tips came flooding back to me, and I recalled those valuable lessons while creating my own path in this world. Throughout this journey, I found this incredible passion for baking, just as Mom and I did when I was a kid. To this day, most of my favorite recipes are adaptations of the treats my mom used to make for us.
Take banana bread, for example.
When Mom would make banana bread, the house would smell absolutely heavenly for hours. We would walk in from school or playing outside, and immediately start salivating over the banana bread baking in the oven. I remember counting down with the timer in the kitchen, waiting for that moment when Mom would give us the okay to cut into the loaf, take a slice and slather it with butter. Between my dad and my sisters and I, I’m pretty sure baked goods lasted about 2.5 seconds in our house. In fact, my mom would often complain about nothing lasting long in the house, and would have to hide and ration treats. That woman was a master of hiding places, let me tell you.
Ah, the good old days.
When I went Paleo, one of the first baked goods I wanted to nail down was banana bread. It had to be a recipe that would fill my house with the familiar smells, and my mind with the fond memories of baking with my mom. Now don’t get me wrong, nothing will compare to my mom’s banana bread, and I wouldn’t dare try to compete with that. But when Mom’s not around to bake for me, this paleo and vegan friendly version comes pretty darn close to the real thing.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(Paleo & Vegan)
Makes one loaf – approximately 8 slices.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 overripe medium size bananas, or 3 large bananas
- 1/4 cup. almond butter
- 4 flax seed eggs ( 1 egg = 1 tbsp. flax seed + 3 tbsp. water)
- 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Coconut Oil for greasing your loaf pan
- 1/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (or 1/2 cup if using regular size dark chocolate chips)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Other Tools Needed:
- Medium size mixing bowl
- Food processor
- Measuring spoons
- 8.5″ x 4.5″ glass loaf pan (I use Pyrex, available here)
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside. That was easy! Now before we start adding the wet ingredients to the food processor, let’s chat about our flax seed egg friends. Flax seed eggs are a great substitute for regular eggs in baking, and are the guests that make this whole party vegan friendly. To make one flax seed egg, you take 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water, mix it up in a little bowl, and let sit in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. This recipe calls for 4 flax seed eggs, so there will be a grand total of 4 tablespoons of flax seed and 12 tablespoons of water.
While the flax seed eggs are hanging out in the fridge, put the bananas and remaining wet ingredients (less the coconut oil) in the food processor and give it a few good whirls. After the 5 minute timer is up on the flax seed eggs, add them to the food processor and blend until smooth. If you prefer a few banana chunks in your bread, you can process for less time to leave the batter a little chunkier.
Now take the dry ingredients that we’ve been neglecting and put them in the mixer. Add the wet ingredients from the food processor to the mixer, and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Mmm, banana bread batter. But don’t start sneaking in those taste tests yet! Drop in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts, and mix on low until they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter. Okay, NOW you can taste test…
Aren’t you glad you waited?
Alright, save some of that batter for the oven! Grease the loaf pan with the coconut oil, and add the batter to your pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° (F), for approximately 40-50 minutes. I let mine cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Taste testing revealed that warming a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds will take you to heaven with your first bite. It’s worth trying.
The loaf should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for up to a week, although I doubt it will last that long.
I hope everyone has a great Mother’s Day!