Banana Sweet Potato Bread

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Some things you just get a gut feeling about. When you have too many bananas, and too many sweet potatoes and get that gut feeling about a sweet potato banana bread, you go with that feeling.
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
I had no reason to believe that this recipe would turn out even mediocre, because I was sort of making it up as I went, but it turned out marvelously! I love naturally sweetening by using sweet fruits and veggies. Nature has so many options. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets … the list goes on and on. Can’t wait to see where the next surplus of produce takes me.Banana Sweet Potato Bread 2
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe heavily adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Ingredients:
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (I just bake mine whole until tender and scoop out the flesh)
 Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. I like to put a strip of parchment paper that extends above the top of the pan for an easier removal at the end.
  2. Mash bananas and add all of the ingredients except the oats and flour, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  3. Add flours, oats, bran and flax. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. I added chopped pecans on top. Feel free to do the same, or chocolate chips stirred in would be wonderful.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack. Then slice and serve.

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Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

This is a guest post from a talented chef with a great recipe for a unique twist on banana muffins.

Banana Strawberry Spelt Muffins

From Chef Thomas:

“I love eating bananas raw, but I am very specific about my raw bananas. They have to be all yellow, or yellow and green; no spots! Once the brown spots start to form, I just don’t like the flavor. But I can’t throw spotty bananas away, so what should I do? I guess I could make some sort of baked good… *twist my arm!*

But baked goods typically have a ton of butter and sugar … what about my diet? I decided to take a basic banana bread recipe and try to put a healthy twist on it.

As I started to throw ingredients together, I became bored with the idea of just plain old banana bread. I started to think of things that are usually combined with bananas and it hit me. Strawberries!! My first go at it, I used almond flour, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, etc. I used the measurements from an online recipe I found. I had really high hopes. I put the mix in the oven for sixty minutes. I was so excited as I paced back and forth, waiting for the bread to be done. The buzzer went off and I strutted to the oven, confident I would find an amazing loaf of strawberry-banana bread! I swung the door open and was greeted by a goopy mess. Disheartened, I left the loaf in for several more minutes before giving up…for the day. I would make this work!

I told Maggie what had happened and we began to brainstorm about how to make this recipe work. She told me not to use only almond flour because it well make for a very wet bread. Maybe we could put some oatmeal in there to soak up some of that moisture. Maybe add a bit more flour. Sunday she came over and we began to put our recipe together. We added a bit of lemon zest and some oatmeal to the banana mixture. We  used two cups of spelt flour instead of a cup and a half of almond flour. We put some chopped cashews in there for some texture. The mixture looked great, we had high hopes. Then we started talking about how we would cook this mixture. While banana bread is great, it is not the most practical form of food for those of us on the go. We decided muffins would be perfect! We threw them in and enjoyed a beer while we waited. As we swung the oven door down we were met with an intoxicating smell and the sight of perfectly cooked muffins. We put the muffins on a cooling rack and they taunted us, daring us to take a bite …

The next thing I knew, our friend Ruth was taking a bite of one and her face said it all. Maggie and I joined Ruth in pure muffin bliss. We had done it! We came up with an amazing strawberry banana muffin recipe. I hope it brings you all the same amount of happiness that it brought us!”

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 7 strawberries, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews (or any other nut you prefer)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, strawberries, lemon zest, and oatmeal. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and pure maple syrup in a stand mixer and blend together for one minute, or until creamed. Mix in eggs, salt, vanilla, and then add oatmeal mixture. Slowly, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, mixing only until combined. Fold in cashews.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 mins, but keep an eye on them. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Happy National Brownie Day!

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This yummy holiday also happens to fall right smack in the middle of final exams, so there was NO way I was going to miss celebrating this.

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This recipe for sweet potato brownies is truly one of my favorite recipes ever. Plus, I love the blogger that was the inspiration behind it! She has a ton of wonderful recipes, many of which I’ve tried, many of which are on my “to bake” list.

Since my obsession with healthy remakes of classic indulgences began, I really don’t enjoy the originals as much anymore. With sweet potato, dates, brown rice flour, almond meal, and raw cocoa, these brownies are not only insanely good for you, they taste absolutely incredible. There is so much nutritional goodness in these treats!

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Please enjoy the holiday with these brownies! You’ll feel happy, indulged, and amazing.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella 

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour
  • 14 medjool dates (no sugar added)
  • 5 tablespoons of raw cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • Flaked sea salt to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional, though not, in my opinion)

Preparation:

If you haven’t cooked your sweet potatoes, obviously do that first. You can peel and steam them, or, do as I do, and throw them in the oven unpeeled at 400 for 45 minutes and scoop out the roasted potato and discard the skin.

For the brownies, set your oven to 350 degrees.

To a food processor, add the cooked sweet potato and the dates. Blend together until combined fully. This mix alone is truly delicious and can probably be made into breads, cookies, muffins … everything.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet potato-date mixture with the remaining ingredients.

Fold in the chocolate chips until combined. Note: if you cooked your potatoes right before making the brownies and your batter is warm as a result, you will need to chill it first so the chocolate chips don’t melt.

Line an 8×8 baking tin with parchment paper and spread the brownie batter evenly. Sprinkle salt over the top for a little extra pizazz. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted. Remove from oven and let cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes. This step is very important so the brownies can properly set up.

At this point, I like to cut myself a brownie to eat because, well, who could possibly resist a warm brownie? But then, I place the brownies in the fridge to chill so they cut more easily. This is especially important if you use chocolate chips because they will be very ooey gooey 🙂

Sweet Potato Brownies

Just look at that flaked Himalayan salt …

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Pack up and place in fridge for a healthy dessert anytime you want.

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies have revolutionized my late-night sweet cravings. I have made a batch of these every week for (muffled sound) weeks now, and I don’t feel guilty at all because they are super healthful!

The original recipe I began with used pumpkin puree as the fruit base, which was good, but not nearly as sweet as bananas. The sweetness is important because I have omitted sugar from the recipe (except what’s contained within the dark chocolate chips). I have also tried sweet potatoes which work just as well as bananas. These little goodies are the perfect way to indulge in something sweet, but still get some nutrition in too.

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They’re also very forgiving. I have been sloppy with measurements more times than not and they always turn out perfect. It’s important to know though, that these cookies will be soft when you take them out of the oven, and remain soft even after they’re cooled. They definitely need a few minutes to set up on the baking sheet after they’re cooked, but will hold their shape just fine thereafter.

I am obsessed with these babies at the moment and no one can stop me. So soft, so yummy, and so decadently chocolately.

You’d be a fool not to make these immediately.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from Chelsea’s Messy Apron 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mashed bananas (or cooked and mashed sweet potato)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (more or less to preference)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but I like the spiced flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup oat flour (oats that have been blended)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli semi-sweet or bittersweet 60%)
  • Note: I’m usually heavy-handed with the chocolate chips 🙂

Preparation:

In a bowl, mix together the banana, honey, and egg. In another bowl, stir together the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and oat flour.

Note: Oat flour is made by blending old-fashioned or quick oats in a blender or food processor until they resemble a flour consistency.

Combine the wet and dry and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a cookie scooper, portion the dough out onto a cookie sheet. I usually get around a dozen cookies. Press the tops down to flatten slightly. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until set.

Devour and feel great about it!

Banana Granola Bars

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This picture should tell you how good these bars are. I forgot to snap a pic before I started eating!

Banana Granola Bars cooked

These granola bars are my own creation and they are awesome. No sugar, no butter, no unhealthies.

At about 150 nutrient-dense calories each, these bars are nutritious, tasty, and filling. Perfect for an anytime snack. I love to slather one with natural peanut butter and devour. ❤ Enjoy!

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Banana Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour 
  • 1 tbsp flax meal 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup molasses (or honey, pure maple syrup, etc.), more or less to preference 
  • Scant 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, optional

Preparation:

Toast oats and pecans for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.

In a large bowl mix the coconut flour, coconut, flax, cranberries/raisins, salt, and cinnamon. Add the toasted oats and nuts and mix all together.

Microwave bananas for 2 minutes until broken down and all sweet and liquidy. Add molasses (or other sweetener) to hot banana puree and stir to combine. Then add the peanut butter and vanilla to the banana mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour wet mix into the dry ingredients and incorporate completely.

Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if you so desire! Press mixture firmly into pan.

Bake in 350F oven for about 30 minutes. Let bars cool completely.

When completely cool, remove from pan by pulling up by the parchment paper.

Place parchment and bars on a cutting board and cut into bars or squares. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

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Banana Granola Bars 3

Banana Granola Bars

Banana Granola Bars cooked 2

Calorie count: 1,745

# of bars: 12

Calories per bar: 145 calories

Single Serving Oatmeal Cookie

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Sometimes I really impress myself. It almost always happens when I’m desperate and hungry.

Today, I wanted a cookie for breakfast. Like, a healthy cookie. But I found myself without. So I attempted to make one. Yes, just one. And it was pretty successful!

Single Oatmeal Cookie

It’s not so much a recipe as it is a technique. You just take a little leftover cooked oatmeal (I used steel-cut oats), about 1/4 cup, and add in whatever extras you want. This time I added honey, dried cranberries, cinnamon and unsweetened coconut. Next time, I will add peanut butter and raisins. If I had thought of the peanut butter thing this time, I would have done that first.

You mix it all up in a little ramekin and press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. Then you microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the oatmeal mixture starts pulling away from the sides of the ramekin and has dried out a little.

At this point, I was able (with the help of an oven mitt – it’s hot!) to simply flip the ramekin over onto a little plate and out popped my single-serving cookie. It was perfect with my espresso and just what I wanted. Great start to October … it’s the little things.

Single Oatmeal Cookie 2

Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

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As a student on a budget and with a tight schedule, it’s important to prep food for the week so no bad decisions are made … Sometimes fruit and veggies just aren’t satisfying enough to get me through between meals. I need something a little more substantial to keep hunger at bay. I usually reach for some kind of natural granola type bar, but that can get expensive fast. The best option? Make my own, of course.

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When I was searching for a recipe, I wanted something that was healthy, tasty, and filling. This recipe exceeds those standards. With protein powder, chia seeds, and oats these bars won’t leave you hungry. With almonds, dark chocolate, and pure maple syrup for sweetness, they are delicious. Everything in these bars is natural and healthy, save for the chocolate chips, but since I use dark chocolate, the amount of sugar is minimal and there’s antioxidants, I swear!

These delicious bars will be the perfect smart snack to get me through the day. Next time I make these, which I’m sure will be embarrassingly soon, I’ll probably play around with the flavors. Shredded coconut and flax meal would work well in these bars, as would dried apricots and walnuts. The best part about making your own granola bars is that they can contain whatever deliciousness you want! I’m thinking dried tart cherries and pecans might be in my future …

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Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

Recipe from Housewife in Training

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, chia seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.

In a small bowl, microwave the peanut butter and maple for 30 seconds. Stir until incorporated well, then add to oat mixture. Pour milk into mix and stir until dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips after peanut maple mixture has cooled (otherwise the chips will melt). Dump into a greased 9×9 pan and press evenly into pan with spatula or wet hands (it will be a little sticky!). Press almonds on top and sprinkle a little sea salt.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes, then cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Some pics of the process:

Press dough into pan and sprinkle almonds and sea salt on top. Press slightly into dough to keep everything together.

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Bake and let cool on a wire rack until you can slide the whole thing onto a cutting board (parchment paper helps with this).

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Cut into 12 square bars … you could make them bigger or smaller as you wish.

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Pack up and pop into the fridge to snack on throughout the week.

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The whole batch is about 2,350 calories, which comes out to 195 calories of nutritional goodness per bar.

Healthy Mocha

Healthy Mocha

For when you need some sweet comfort but don’t want to undo your whole healthy day. This is warm, rich, and yummy. It comes in at under 100 cals. You’re welcome.

Healthy Mocha

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (based on chocolately preference)
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (based on sweetness preference)
  • Tiiiiny splash of pure vanilla
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preparation:

Heat almond milk either in microwave or on stove top. Once hot, add cocoa, coffee, maple, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until smooth and frothy. Enjoy this 90 calorie sweet treat!

Tropical Mint Smoothie

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This past weekend I picked up a beautiful bunch of mint (for only $1!) at the Farmer’s Market. I placed it in a cup with water so it would keep until I decided how I was going to use the gorgeous little bushel.

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I have plans for a Greek inspired dinner this week utilizing the mint, but there’s plenty to go around! So this morning I started my week off right with a healthy mint smoothie. Inspired by Women’s Health Magazine’s weekly #Shareyoursmoothie campaign, I made this beauty for #MintSmoothie week. I was in a rush, so I threw together what I thought would go best with mint, and it turned out delicious. Really put a minty pep in my step!

Tropical Mint Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup-1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful of fresh mint leaves

Preparation:

Toss all ingredients into your blender – chia seeds last so they don’t get stuck to the bottom. Blend together and enjoy immediately! This smoothie comes out to just about 200 calories so it’s a perfect post-workout drink as well!

Note: You don’t have to use frozen pineapple and banana, but I find I like the texture of frozen fruit so much better than adding ice.

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I threw all the ingredients into the blender, then ran out the door and drank my smoothie on the way to work, along with a little baggie of my homemade granola. 🙂

Mint Smoothie 1

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini’s are a staple of summer. I love them in all kinds of ways, but one of my absolute favorites has to be baked inside of a healthy bread.

This recipe was adapted from one I found via Whole Foods, but I made it even better by swapping in honey for sugar, and olive oil for canola oil. I also had some pure pumpkin puree leftover from the scones I shared with you in my last post, so I used that instead of yogurt. This bread is dense but healthy and delicious. It’s a totally guilt-free breakfast, snack, or dessert. This bread is not very sweet, so it’s good with jam or honey on top. If you would like a sweeter version, you can click on the Whole Foods link below for a recipe with sugar in it.

Zucchini Bread

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

  • Natural cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt (or pumpkin puree)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with natural cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, oil, applesauce, yogurt/pumpkin puree, honey, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in zucchini and walnuts then transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Note: As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I don’t like to lose the crunchiness of nuts by baking them inside the bread, so I just toasted the walnuts and sprinkled them on top. You can do either or both, if you would prefer!

Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes then remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.