It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us and that next week will be October already. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like we barely had a summer this year! The last few weeks of summer in particular felt like a blur to me, especially with all the studying for my nutrition courses. And while I always have a tough time letting go of summer, there are a few things I absolutely love about the fall. The first is that it’s the start of football season! Which means I get to geek out and obsess waaaaay too much over my fantasy football teams and get to watch my beloved Broncos play on a weekly basis (which might not necessarily be a good thing based on the past couple seasons). The second thing I love most about fall is that it’s a season filled with warm, cozy desserts. Think cinnamon spiked coffee cakes, hot apple fritters, and, if you’re like me, basically anything with Italian plums like these gluten-free/vegan Italian Plum Streusel Bars.
Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve been getting lots of requests for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipes. This is another one that came at the request of a friend. She asked if I could make something for her son’s birthday……the only kicker was that it had to be both gluten-free and vegan. And since I believe every kid (and really every adult) should have an awesome dessert on their birthday – I immediately accepted the challenge.
For the past couple months, I’ve been playing around with making healthier treats. This came about for a lot of reasons. One is that I’ve been getting a lot of requests from friends to develop gluten-free and vegan recipes. And since I consider myself an equal opportunity baker – I’m happy to oblige. But, if I’m being honest, the biggest reason I’ve been doing this is because this style of baking is new to me and I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge. At first, I thought it might be a pain developing recipes without dairy and gluten…….and don’t get me wrong – it’s definitely not the easiest thing in the world. But what I didn’t expect was how much fun it would be.
If you guys are anything like me then you might have gone a wee bit overboard on the sweets and drinking over the holiday season. And if you’re like me, that holiday season dragged on and lasted til way past the New Year (aka up until a few days ago). Now this isn’t something I say often, but my body needs a serious break from all that sugar. So while I’m all about trying to eat a little healthier this week, I still need some kind of treat. Cause let’s face it……this girl needs her cookies and going completely cold turkey from desserts is just not realistic.
When it comes to food, I’m a firm believer in moderation and not labeling things as “good” or “bad.” A healthy relationship with food is far more important than sticking to some crazy strict diet. So instead of feeling guilty about all the delicious, amazing desserts I ate over the past few weeks, I’m going to look at the holiday season for what it was. A fun time to indulge in baked goods and share them with loved ones. But now it’s time to get that balance back…..and still get my cookie fix.
Maybe it’s because I ate an insane amount of Sticky Buns last week, but for some reason, today I’m craving something a little healthy. One of my favorite healthy snacks is a recipe for Vegan Banana Bread I came up with last year. Banana Bread is a pretty great thing in general. It’s super quick to make, infinitely adaptable, uses up old bananas that would otherwise go to waste, and tastes delicious – it really doesn’t get much better than that.
When I was in high-school, my Dad made a really great healthy Banana Bread. It was one of my favorite treats and for a long time, I always used his recipe. One day last year when I was on a rare health kick, I got a little bored and decided to overhaul my Dad’s recipe. My goal was to create something with no dairy and no refined sugars and something that would provide some nutritional benefits. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was on a health kick. What I ended up creating was a super awesome, super delicious, and super healthy Banana Bread.
The bread is vegan (which I hope doesn’t scare you off this recipe!), has very little oil in it, and has a good amount of flax in it to provide some fiber and a nice dose of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. There are a couple ingredients in the recipe that you might not have stocked in your kitchen, like spelt flour and coconut palm sugar. Both of these can usually be found at your local grocery store, but just in case you can’t find them, I’ll also note the substitutions.
I hope you’ll give this Banana Bread a try and if you do end up making it – let me know how it turns out. I always love getting your feedback!
(Pictures coming soon…..)