Tag Archives: Breakfast/Brunch Recipes

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

23 Mar

I keep going bananas for bananas. I bought the last bunch intending to freeze them for smoothies/ice cream/snacks, and the next thing I know, I look on the counter and they are brown. WTH happened? Anyway, I couldn’t let them go to waste so that meant one thing… banana bread!! I found a recipe on Food52 and vegan-ized it.

Now don’t get all weirded out that it’s vegan. Open minds people!! I don’t eat anything that taste like poo and will never sacrifice taste no matter what. Healthy, natural, low-fat (no oils), low-cholesterol food can taste amazing too. I guarantee you wouldn’t know this was vegan…next time I won’t tell you.

I used vegan margarine instead of butter and added a fourth banana to ensure the bread was moist. [Ugh. Still hate the word moist.] I also found a fantastic egg substitute. There are products available like Ener-G Egg Replacer which has the following ingredients: potato starch, tapioca starch flour, leavening (calcium lactate [not derived from dairy], calcium carbonate, citric acid), sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose. I avoid consuming things I cannot pronounce, so I looked for natural egg replacements. Peta has a great list here. I decided to try the flax egg since it’s simple, I had the ingredients on hand, and I liked the idea of adding in nutrients instead of replacing them with chemicals.

I’ve made quite a few banana breads and was shocked how well this came out. This recipe just proves that tasty food can be healthy, and vegan. This wasn’t just good for a VEGAN banana bread, it was great for any banana bread. It was moist on the inside, with a crispy, brown, carmelized crust. I mashed the bananas but kept it somewhat chunky so there are little bits of banana threaded throughout the bread. Deeee-lish!

I had a couple pieces and had to send the rest to the hubbie’s office for fear I’d eat the entire loaf in one sitting. From what I heard, they didn’t have any issues devouring it either…and I don’t think anyone knew it was vegan. You could adjust this recipe a million ways by substituting the chocolate chips with dried cranberries or cherries, or adding nuts if that’s your thing. I’m generally anti-nut in baked goods or ice cream. If you make any adjustments, please share in the comments!!

This recipe was also simple and quick. The batter came together in less than 30 minutes, then you pop it in the oven and wait for your home to smell fantastic.

Happy baking 🙂

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Makes (1) two-pound loaf
  • 3 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted
  • 4 large, ripe organic bananas mashed
  • 1 flax egg (3 T water & 1 T ground flax seed)
  • 3/4 cups organic vanilla cane sugar (or regular sugar) *
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup organic semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon organic premium vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and coat a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with canola oil spray.

2. Peel the bananas and in a large mixing bowl, mash them well with a fork. Stir in the sugar and vanilla.

Mashed Bananas

Vanilla Sugar

3. Make the flax egg. Heat the 3 T water in the microwave until warm (about 30 sec). Stir the ground flax seed into the water. Add the flax egg to the bananas and mix thoroughly. Add the margarine.

Adding Flax Egg

4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the dry mixture tossing to ensure they’re completed coated with dry mix. This will prevent them from sinking during the baking process. Fold the dry ingredients gently into the wet, mixing just until you no longer see any streaks of raw flour. (Do not over-mix, or the banana bread will be tough!)

Whisking Dry Ingredients

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and let rest for five minutes. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the bread is just starting to come away from the sides of the pan.

Banana Bread Batter

Batter in the Loaf Pan

6. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto the rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. The bread has a lovely, crisp crust when it’s fresh. You can wrap leftovers in foil to store. This bread definitely tastes best the first day as it loses it’s crisp crust by day two but still has that delicious banana taste!

Hot out of the oven

Mmmm check out that big banana chunk

Chocolate Chips Galore!

*To make vanilla sugar, simply add a vanilla bean to a canister of sugar. I never take the bean out and just keep refilling the canister with fresh sugar. This is an easy way to add that extra something to baked goods as well as tea, coffee, or homemade cocoa.


Cheesy Quinoa Grits

21 Mar

I usually want something sweet for breakfast like oatmeal with maple syrup and dried fruit, or a smoothie, but this morning I was craving something savory.

I love grits and polenta. I thought it would be fun to try a veganized version with quinoa and Daiya cheese. I wasn’t sure how I’d make the sauce at first. I started making a bechamel sauce, but I didn’t need the roux to thicken. The Daiya melted so beautifully and was the perfect consistency, you’d never believe it’s non-dairy.

As with all experimental recipes, it’s always a gamble. Sometimes they end up in the trash, sometimes they end up in the permanent repertoire. The fluffy quinoa with the creamy cheese was hearty and satisfying while the black pepper gave a nice heat at the end. Quinoa is low-fat, high in protein, and fiber, so it’s filling and good for you! It’s perfect for a quick and nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This could be a healthy alternative to mac and cheese for the kids if they are open to trying new things, or if they already like quinoa. Next time I would even try it with itsy, bitsy broccoli florets. You could also substitute quinoa with two cups of elbow macaroni. I think I know what my next experiment is…

The whole recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare if you have to make the quinoa. If you cook the quinoa in advance, this dish comes together very quickly since the sauce only takes about 5 minutes.

I even got the thumbs up from the omnivore hubbie so I’ll definitely make this one again!

Cheesy Quinoa Grits

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1/4 cup milk (I use hemp milk, but you could use any nut milk too) *

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I use vegan non-dairy Daiya cheddar cheese)*

salt & pepper

hot sauce

*If you want it extra cheesy, double the sauce recipe.

1. Prepare quinoa according to manufacturer’s directions.

Fluffy Quinoa

2. Once quinoa is cooked and still warm. Make the sauce.

3. Bring the milk to a boil with a pinch of salt and a generous amount of ground pepper (1-2tsp).

Milk and Pepper

4. Add the cheese. Once becomes creamy and sauce-like texture, add couple shakes of tabasco.

Bubbling Sauce

Stirring the Sauce

5. Pour over cooked and warm quinoa. Stir until fully incorporated.

Cheese Over Quinoa

6. Serve immediately.

Cheesy Quinoa Grits

aPEELing, organic, on-the-go snacks

5 Feb

I’m a snacker. Even before I was vegan, I always had a full arsenal in my bag. You’d think I had a toddler with all the snacks I carry. Nope, I just am one. Usually I’m packing bars, nuts, and fruit. As a vegan, I always want something on hand because I can’t guarantee I’ll have a vegan-friendly option when I’m out of the house. No one wants to see me hungry with my crankypants on, not cute.

Anyway you can imagine my delight when I came home to find a box from Peeled Snacks. YIPPPPYYY! They sent a variety pack to test out. I’m a lucky dog. I had to refrain from ripping them open and devouring the entire box. Patience young Skywalker, you have to take photos.

Look at how nicely it arrived! I love getting packages.

Oooooooo……. Ahhhhh check out all the pretty colors! Their packaging is so cute. Bright, cheery, whimsical.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a bit of a dried fruit connoisseur (toot, toot…and yes, too much dried fruit can lead to exactly that). I’ve tried Whole Foods,Trader Joe’s, and I stop at every natural foods store I pass. Peeled really is far superior. Yes, its dried fruit, but it doesn’t taste like the life has been sucked out of it only to be replaced with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup or sulfur dioxide. It actually tastes like fresh fruit, but in a form that’s portable with a longer shelf-life. They are made with premium, organic, and all-natural ingredients, with no sugar or oil added.  They also try to source from sustainable farms making them not only good for the body, but good for the environment. LOVE THAT!

These single-serve packages are great on-the-go, and are low-calorie, ranging from 110 (apple & apricot) to 150 (banana). The portions are perfect for those like me who cannot control themselves with dried fruit. It’s easy to over consume and next thing you know, you’ve eaten a bushel of apples.

Even the names of their six varieties make me smile: much-ado-about-Mango, pine-4-Pineapple, Banan-a-peel, Apple-2-the-core, Apricot-a-lot, and Cherry-go-round. I’ve had the mango before (and loved it), but had not tried the other flavors. Until now!


Much-ado-about-mango was gone first. That and pineapple are the household favorites. The mango is soft so you don’t break teeth chewing it, nice benny. The colors are vibrant and you know how mangos have that thread-like texture when they’re really ripe? It was still there. Hard to believe it’s dried.


Mmmm pine-4-pineapple…super chewy, with a natural sweetness. It’s like crack. LOVE IT.


Look at this, whole apple slices!


Even the apricots are soooo plump and juicy. How do they do that? I don’t usually love apricots because they’re always depressing, shriveled up balls, but look at these gorgeous little morsels!


I bought Balaton cherries with no sugar added from Whole Foods a while ago and I just had to compare them to the Peeled cherries. Look at the difference between them. Well, it’s hard in the picture… I’m not great at the close-ups yet. The cherries on the left are Whole Foods, the right are Peeled. You can see the Peeled cherries are plump and juicy. The Whole Foods cherries are dry and completely flat. They’re actually kind of hard to chew. I did like how tart the Whole Foods cherries were and think they’d be good in cookies or oatmeal when they’re cooked and can plump up a bit. The Peeled cherries are amazing on their own, and mind-blowing in trail mix when combined with nuts and chocolate. Which would you rather eat?

whole foods vs peeled

In addition to just regular snacking, I used the Peeled bananas and apricots in my oatmeal and OMG it was awesome. Totally tasted like banana nut muffins.


banana nut oatmeal

I prefer steel-cut oats over old-fashioned rolled or quick cooking. Although steel-cut take longer to cook, I like the nuttier, chewier texture, and find it’s always a little better on day two. What’s the difference between steel-cut, rolled and quick oats? Well, they’re all the same grain (groats – the inner kernel), just different stages of processing. Steel cuts are the least processed since it’s the whole raw oat, and are cut with steel blades into smaller pieces. Rolled oats are rolled (shocker) so they are a little thinner and cook a little faster. Quick oats are basically rolled oats processed a little further, so they cook even faster. Instant oats are the thinnest and are pre-cooked so they, cook the fastest. Click here for more info.

And here’s the recipe for Banana Nut Oatmeal. I use Bob’s Red Mill steel-cut oats, but use whatever you can find at your local grocery store. They even have a gluten-free version. Of course you can substitute any of the ingredients with any nuts, dried fruit, or even use jam instead of maple syrup. The options are endless!

Banana Nut Steel Cut Oatmeal

1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal, cooked

1/2 pack Banan-a-peel peeled snacks

1 T pecan pieces

1/2 T maple syrup

2 Apricot-a-lot diced

1 T ground flax-seed

Splash of nut milk (just to moisten)

1. Add splash of nut milk to cooked oatmeal and microwave for 1-1.5 minutes depending on your microwave. Mix in toppings and eat!

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