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Posts Tagged ‘Chia Seeds’

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing it

I figure it’s finally time to share my favorite banana bread with all of you.  Really, what’s a food blog without a banana bread recipe, right?  I bet I make banana bread at least every couple of weeks.  My freezer is packed with bananas that don’t get eaten right away.  I just keep adding to the pile…one here, one there.  This recipe is a bit unusual because it calls for six bananas– so start saving up!

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

Since we eat banana bread so often, I really wanted my version to be healthy.  I tweaked and tweaked and finally arrived at this recipe a while ago. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be.  Since over-ripe bananas are sweeter, you’ll only need a little bit of honey to get the sweetness just right.  No sugar added here.  The larger number of bananas really gives this bread deep flavor, as well as keeps it moist without much fat.  And speaking of fat,  I used a healthier virgin coconut oil in it.  The flavor combines perfectly with the bananas and chocolate.  I used a mixture of oat flour and whole wheat pastry flour for the base.  Combined, they give the bread a perfect texture– just slightly lighter than ordinary banana bread, but with enough heft to be satisfying.

Cacao Nibs for Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

When it comes to the chocolate, you have a decision to make.  I prefer adding cacao nibs, but my kids/husband like chocolate chunks.  If you aren’t familiar with cacao nibs, they’re crushed cacao beans.  They are unsweetened and have a bit of a crunch that adds a nice texture.  They’re also loaded with antioxidants.  Alone they are somewhat bitter, but adding them to sweet things makes them delicious. Try throwing them into your next smoothie!  And lastly, I added chia seeds for more health benefits, because why not?

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

A few reminders:  First, make sure to use really over-ripe bananas.  You’ll want that extra sweetness since you won’t be adding sugar.  I’m talking the blacker, the better.  Also, make sure you bake your banana bread long enough.  There is nothing worse than under-baked banana bread.  A longer bake time is better.  There are so many bananas in there that the chances of it being dry are very slim.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Healthy Banana Bread via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Healthy Banana Bread

(makes one loaf)

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 smashed over-ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cup — a tablespoon or two extra is fine)

1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) oat flour

1  1/4 cup (7 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup cacao nibs  OR  1 cup chocolate chunks

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, chia seeds, salt, and baking powder with a whisk.  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or regular bowl if mixing by hand), add the honey and coconut oil.  Combine for a minute on medium speed until somewhat creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix for another minute, or so.  Then add the fork-smashed bananas.  Mix until well combined and somewhat smooth.  Next, sift the flour mixture over the wet ingredients.  Combine on low just until all of the ingredients are moistened.  Do not over-mix.  Add the cocoa nibs or chocolate chunks and fold in with a rubber spatula.  Scoop mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45-48 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean from the middle of the loaf.  The center should feel somewhat firm when you feel it.  Let cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and gently remove from pan.  Continue to let cool on a cooling rack.  For best results, after cutting into it, place the cut side down on a cutting board and leave the rest of the bread uncovered for the first day.  The texture will remain true this way.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing it!  Hope you all are having a lovely Summer, so far!

Laurie

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As promised, here is the granola recipe I mentioned when we chatted about homemade yogurt earlier this week.  It’s the perfect crunch to top that tart yogurt.  And it’s just sweet enough that you won’t need to add anything else.  And even if you don’t make it as a yogurt topper, it’s a perfect stand-alone snack.

Again, the advantage of making your own granola is that you have control over what goes into it.  I use not only organic ingredients, but more interesting, healthy additions that you won’t find in a typical store-bought granola blend.  Quinoa, chia seeds, flaxseed meal– all of these are phenomenal, nutritious foods.  Uncooked steel-cut oats in granola?  You bet!  They add such a nice texture.  It’s also nice to be able to choose the type of fat to use.  Olive oil works perfectly here, and is so good for you.  I also love using coconut oil (you remember my coconut oil obsession, right?), it imparts such a lovely flavor.

If you don’t have all of these ingredients, or you want to try something else, by all means, do so.  Maple syrup comes to mind.  Or if you want a chunkier granola, increase the rolled oats and add less steel cut oats or quinoa.  Dark chocolate, cinnamon, or unsweetened coconut flakes, anyone?  See what I mean?  Have fun with this. Just remember to try to keep the ratio of dry/wet ingredients the same when substituting.  Pack it for a snack at work, or take it for your kids’ events.  If you make it– they will eat it.

The Recipes:  Homemade Granola Two Ways

Homemade Granola with Coconut Oil, Vanilla, Dried Blueberries and Cherries:

1 cup rolled oats, dry

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

1/2 cup steel cut oats, dry

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried blueberries

3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

Homemade Granola with Olive Oil, Ginger, Almond, and Dried Cherries:

(As shown in the photographs)

1 cup rolled oats, dry

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds

1/3 cup pepitas

1/2 cup steel cut oats, dry

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dried currants

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon almond extract

pinch of kosher salt

Preheat an oven to 250°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  In a large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together, with the exception of the salt and dried fruit.  In a small bowl, mix together the oil (if using coconut oil, be sure to melt it in a small saucepan first, so it can liquify) honey, and extract.  Mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients together.  Here is where you need to make a decision — you can either mix the dried fruit into this mixture and bake it for two hours or you can mix it in during the last 10 minutes of baking.  Doing so right away will yield a very chewy fruit, which some people tend to enjoy.  Doing so later, will keep the fruit more soft and tender.  The choice is yours.  I enjoy both ways.

Spread the mixture onto the lined pan and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake in the oven for two hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes, or so.  The grains will get evenly toasted this way.  After 2 hours, remove from the oven and let the granola sit, untouched, for a bit to cool and firm up.  When it’s cool, you can break it into chunks.  Keeps well for days in a sealed container with a lid.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It — hope you enjoy the granola!

Laurie

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