Easy & Yummy Vegan Banana Bread!


Well I confess I’m not a baker! Funny thing about that is…I bake all of the time! I bake all of the bread our family eats, birthday and class treats, breakfast muffins, the occasional dessert and of course it’s the ever simple vehicle to use up over ripening fruit and all of the extra zucchini I have from our summer garden…quick bread. The kids love to grab a zucchini muffin or have a slice of banana bread for a snack after school, so true to my belief in the snack vs. treat, I am always working to make treat-like snacks as healthy as can be without making the kids noses scrunch when they take their first bite!

This version of banana bread came to me in the morning when making breakfast for the family before work/school. Jack, who only likes green bananas and Liv who only likes yellowish bananas with spots, but “not too mushy” both turned up their noses at the bananas I had to offer… So what to do when presented with overripe bananas, make banana bread right? Right!

Ripe bananas are so sweet on their own without sugar I have never really understood banana bread recipes that included ½-2/3 of a cup of sugar! With this bread I wanted low sugar, whole grain and high fiber …but moist! The problem with so many low sugar, low fat, high fiber quick bread recipes is they are dense and dry! Now I will say this bread is substantial, not the light and airy banana bread you would get from All Purpose Flour and ½ cup of white sugar. This is cakey, naturally sweet and satisfying. Today Liv asked if she could have two pieces instead of one, like she had yesterday. When I said”no”, she said” one just isn’t enough-it’s too yummy!” No scrunched noses! Whew success!

Banana Bread

1 cup flour 
1 cup oat flour (I just use a food processor to finely grind rolled oats, Jack likes to pulse them until groundJ)
1/2 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup organic blue agave nectar
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax mixed with 6 tbsp water, let sit until thick
or for the non-vegan version you can use 3 egg whites)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
Step 1 is mash the bananas...one should always do this
while sitting on top of the kitchen counter in your socks!

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, set rack at middle. Grease and flour one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 - inch loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, combine both flours and oat bran, baking powder and soda, allspice and cinnamon and stir well to mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the agave, flax egg or egg whites, applesauce, oil, vanilla and bananas. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and fold in.
 Be careful not to over mix!
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool on a rack 5 minutes, then unmold and finish cooling loaf on wire rack. Enjoy or Freeze!


Keep your bran in the freezer to preserve freshness; all of the oil in the bran can cause it to go rancid pretty fast. Just use what you need and keep the rest frozen for later!

Now make yourself an afternoon cup of
oolong tea and enjoy your snack!

Add some whipped butter or
vegan Earth Balance if you want a little extra treat!

Oh how I miss the long lazy days of summer! We are in full fall swing now which looks something like this… Liv is in 3rd grade and Jack in Kindergarten, now finally at the same school. That seems like something to celebrate right? Well yes and no… You see Jack starts school at 7:40 and Liv at 7:50 but there is NO, and I mean NO, parking at the school so we have to be there at 7:20 if we have any hope not to be towed from a fire lane. Liv and I walk Jack to class and wait the 20 minutes for Jack to go in, and then I walk Liv to class and kiss her around the corner, so nobody sees, then head back to my car by 7:55. Now kid free, I should have a ton of time right? Well… Jack gets out of school at 11:10, except for on early release Wednesdays when he is out at 10:25. Liv gets out at 2:07, except for on early release Wednesdays when she is out at 1:10. So yep, back and forth and back and forth I drive!

Yesterday I drove to the school at 7:20 did my usual routine of walking the kids to class AND it was my day to volunteer in Jacks class, but not until 8:20! This puts somewhat of a monkey wrench my typical efficient use of time, I mean what to do for 25 min at the SCHOOL? So, I hopped in my car and drove the 2 miles home ran into the house, literally, and started a load of laundry and a load of dishes, watered my little seedlings, fed and watered the chickens and made all of the beds. Then I hopped back into the car and drove back to the school where I ran a table group in Jack’s class that involved helping 23 kindergartners determine what pictures started with the letter F and then cut and pasted them on to a new sheet of paper. I love helping in the classroom! The kids, especially kindergartners, are soooo darn cute! I got out of there at 9:30, not bad except for it was Wednesday so I had to be back to pick up Jack at 10:25 which really means 10:05 if you want to park (legally). So again I was faced with what to do with a short amount of time??? Fortunate for me I keep my gym bag in the car and live only 1 mile away from the gym so off to the gym I went… I got six miles of running in before I was back at school to pick up Jack, ok I was sweaty and maybe not smelling the best but I fit in my work out!

Now I know some of you are thinking yah busy until 2:10 then what? Well HOMEWORK every day times two kids (God bless you who have more), Monday both kids have Faith Formation, Tuesday is soccer practice, Wednesday gymnastics, Thursday is soccer practice (again), Friday Rick plays softball and we all typically go as a family to watch, Saturday we have soccer games and then finally Sunday is our day of rest and prayer! So my every minute is spent trying to create efficiency in our family and how we function so we all can enjoy some balance in our lives! Balance between family time and responsibilities, stewardship and indulgence and work and rest. It is all very complicated behind the scenes, so naturally I crave simplicity!

I have mentioned before that I like to balance our meals between animal protein based and vegetable and grain protein based. We typically eat 1-2 vegetarian or vegan dishes per week for dinner and mostly all vegan or vegetarian lunches throughout the week. I have taught my kids that balance is important in all aspects of life, and too much of anything is almost never good. One thing that has been an important lesson for them is balance while you eat. I have taught them to turn their plates while they eat, literally. Eating 1-2 bites from each thing offered on their plate at a time to ensure that when they are full they have had at least some of everything. It is fun for them to remember not to eat all of one item first. But let’s face it sometimes that’s even too completed! So to make life simple we have the foods you can eat with your hands, and even better are the foods that can be eaten with only one hand! Now come on, even if you are a diehard carnivore you have to try this vegan dish! You won’t be sorry you did and I guarantee you will add it to your favorite menus for the nights you have limited time for dinner! The kids LOVE to build their own wraps! This dish offers simplicity and balance for you and your family with little effort involved! Enjoy!

Vegan Mexican Spiced Lettuce Wraps

(adapted from Peas and Thank You)
Serves 4 (with left over beans to be used for salad toppers- now that’s efficient!)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon water
3 cups of cooked chickpeas (recipe below), or two 14 oz. cans, drained and rinsed
One head of bibb or red lettuce, leaves removed and washed
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup jicama, julienned
1 cup chopped tomatoes 

1/2 slice red onion
 1 cup bleu rosemary
avocado sauce or guacamole 
1 can sliced olives, drained
1 cup shredded cabbage
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Pickled jalapenos, as desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin, salt, lime juice, oil and water. Add chickpeas and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Place chickpeas on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy. Prepare lettuce leaves and rest of trimmings and place in small bowls for little hands to grab:)

Jack ate four wraps!

Liv ate a "deconstructed" wrap:)

Make your Own Chickpeas

2 cups dried chickpeas
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed and unpeeled
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoon salt

Overnight soak 2 cups dried chickpeas in cold water, covering chickpeas by at least 6 inches. Drain chickpeas and place in stockpot. Cover chickpeas with cold water by two inches. Add onion, garlic, thyme and bay. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat add salt and simmer for 1 ½-2 hours or until tender. Drain chickpeas and discard onion, garlic, thyme and bay. Spread chickpeas out on a sheet pan to cool. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to five days.

May you have balance and simplicity this week!