Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Banana Bread

I can't imagine life without it.  But it doesn't always make me feel so great in spite of all the healthy substitutions.  In fact, a warm, moist loaf of banana bread is the kind of Midwestern wholesome treat that seems like such a nice thing.  I would make it for the new neighbors.  I'd make it for the family with a new baby.  I'd make it for my daughter.  I'd make it just because that bunch of bananas are getting just the right amount of brown spots - ding - ripe enough for bread.  One delicious slice would soon turn into two, then three, then, hmmm, maybe I'll just take a chunk of the crust, and then soon it would be over.  Not so great.  Several pounds later and I've got a problem, and I wonder, "was it the banana bread?"



Enter Victoria Boutenko.  I think I've written about her before.  She is one Raw Mama.  When she and her whole family were sick, she came home one day and put them all on a raw diet, cold turkey (but no turkey).  She tells her story much better than I and you can visit this amazing woman and her family here.  My mother and I have been enjoying her cranberry scones for quite some time, now.  In fact, we frequently make them together which I am convinced adds to the happiness it brings us both.  Absolutely.  Cook Prep together.  Eat together.  Love together.  Sharing good food strengthens bonds.

These scones have become my morning muffin with coffee (still working on that), so I've been anxious to mix them up a bit.  After spending many a fruitless hour looking for a good raw vegan banana bread to no avail, I decided to create my own.  This last week, I think I've got it.  My SIL and her family were the lucky ones to try them right out of the dehydrator.  I was so charmed as her little boy devoured them with gusto.  Oh, how I wish my kids ate like that, but that's for another blog post, or not.  The banana bread muffin had that warmth with a little crust on the edge that made me feel like I finally got it.  While making these, I didn't pay attention to quantities, so I'll give it to you the best I recall.  Next time, I'll take more care and update the recipe.

Banana Oat Muffins

2 cups pecans or walnuts
2 cups carrot puree, 2-4 carrots
2 cups apple puree, 2-4 apples
1 cup flax seed meal
4 tbsp agave nectar (or less depending on how ripe the bananas are, more ripe - more sweet - use less sweetener)
3-4 ripe bananas

Now here is where I started mixing things in until the batter tasted just right.

Oat flour
Ground almonds
Cinnamon
Nutmeg

Using a food processor, grind up the pecans.  Add to large mixing bowl.
Cut carrots into chunks and puree in processor.  Add to bowl.
Cut apples into chunks and puree.  Add to bowl.
Add flax seed to bowl.
Mash bananas (leave one aside) and add to bowl.
Add agave.

Mix with hands - very squishy.  This is where I thought it was too wet, so I started adding stuff.  First a little oat flour (I know, not totally raw, but still, not such a bad thing to have in your diet), then some ground almonds.  Add a little cinnamon and a bit of Nutmeg, then a little more oat flour until it was wet enough to form a ball, but not so wet that it turns into a blob.  I thought raisins would make a nice addition, but I'm getting a little bored of raisins in my morning muffin, so I took another banana and broke it into smallish pieces and mixed it in.

Place a Teflex sheet or pieces of parchment paper on top of dehydrator screens.  Make balls of batter using an ice cream scoop or spoon.  I got about 55 scoops out of my batch and used two trays.  Dehydrate for up to 24 hours.

The true joy of cooking raw vegan food by dehydrating is that you can check it anytime, eat one, think, "hmmm, needs a little more time" and put the rest back in - all without getting salmonella (okay, I know it's possible, just a lot less likely).  Also, if the phone rings, the dog is barking and the kids are flooding the bathroom, I know I'm not going to burn anything.  Whew.  Love that.

Now I'd like to get them to look a little more like muffins.  Important?  Probably not, but there's nothing like the power of suggestion when trying to get fussy eaters to try something new.

Oh, and these are so great the mornings that I go to yoga.  When on my stomach while working through all those back poses, the cobra, locust and bow, it makes a huge difference what I put in my stomach that morning.  This is a nice, calming, bite to eat that I can grab easily first thing the morning.  Just enough fuel to get the kids ready for school, fight traffic, and work my way through a class.  My favorite breakfast.

Eat with love.

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