Except, that is, in one form. Banana bread. Not just any banana bread, either. I found a recipe a while ago for blueberry-oatmeal banana bread. I tried it, loved it, then tweaked it just a bit. I lowered the sugar content (totally unnecessary to have a full cup of sugar in it!), upped the baking powder while dropping the baking soda entirely, and voila. An amazing, easy, and cheap recipe. It's so quick and nutritious that I relied on it more than I care to say after the Munchkin was born, particularly after I went back to work. Since I breastfed her, I felt like I was constantly hungry, but having two thick slices of this, with butter, and two scrambled eggs for breakfast each morning kept me full until lunch. And I lost the baby weight, one of the big goals of pretty much any postpartum mom.*
Nowadays, I'm using it more because it's super, super convenient. It's also fun to make with the kiddo, and I don't feel guilty about feeding it to her since it's got so many healthy ingredients. Whenever we've got some bananas about to go bad or a few in the freezer which should be eaten up. It saves more than just bad bananas, too, since you can use either fresh or frozen blueberries. If you've got some berries about to turn, throw them in the freezer until you want to make this.
Food waste is a big deal on so many levels--budgetary, environmental, even social justice. After all, it's true that there are plenty of people out there who are starving. Even kids at your local school might be needing free breakfast and lunch and the rest of us just casually toss away food. We are not by any means perfect in this regard, so I'm not trying to point fingers or get holier-than-thou. However, it is something we work hard at. It's something we've decided is important enough to actively fighting against in our house and still, sometimes things get tossed in the garbage. A few small steps--freezing food when we can for later use, using scraps or otherwise "waste" food, and planning our meals ahead--save us so much time, money, and effort. They might not save the world, but we can all do our part.
If you're like me and don't really like bananas, or you've got some serious budget constraints, you can also sometimes purchase bananas from the store which are about to go bad. One of our nearest grocery stores has a section for fruit that's about to turn (mostly bananas) that they sell for cheap. Sometimes, when I know I'll have time to use them right away, I'll get enough of them to make at least one batch of this banana bread.
Blueberry Oatmeal Banana Bread
3 large over-ripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
Blueberries, approximately 1 cup
Mix the wet ingredients, then toss the dry ingredients in and combine. Lastly, add the blueberries. Bake in a loaf pan at 375 for 45 minutes. Due to the berries and high moisture content, unless you're going to eat it all in about a day and a half I suggest storing it in the fridge.
Alternatively, bake in muffin tins (I grease the sides so I don't have to waste all those paper cups) for about 30 minutes at 375. These are fantastic to take on the go if you're rushed in the mornings, and they can be frozen. If you don't feel like you'll get through an entire loaf before it goes bad, make it into muffins and freeze most of them. Even if you don't remember to pull them out until the morning of, they reheat beautifully in either a microwave or a toaster oven. It's also way easy to pack them in a child's lunchbox if you thaw them out the night before. I do this as the Munchkin's "treat". Much better than a granola bar or something equally sugary.
A few suggestions for alterations:
I've used blackberries instead of blueberries and that was fantastic too. I bet raspberries would work well also.
Since I know a lot of friends and family are gluten-free, eating Paleo/keto, or just trying to cut down on carbs, I haven't tried alternative flours with any success. My one foray into using coconut flour didn't turn out well. I'd never used it before and didn't realize that you can't do a 1/1 conversion between wheat flour and coconut flour, so I ended up with a chalky mess, even after adding a bunch of water. The Munchkin and I had a few bites, then I threw it out. Fail. Maybe someone with more experience baking with alternative flours would be able to make it work, though.
This recipe is also really easy to make vegan by substituting 1 flax "egg" (1 Tbsp ground flax + 1 Tbsp water) instead.
When I was breastfeeding, I struggled with low supply for a long time so I made a lot of lactation cookies. I didn't like how much sugar I was consuming, however, so I started looking for alternatives. I realized that this was a perfect recipe to convert. Each time I made it I added 1 Tbsp of flax, 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, and enough liquid or oil (coconut oil, butter, milk, water, depending on what I had available or felt like adding) to give it the proper consistency. It helped me out so much.
|Pardon the totally not Pinterest-worthy picture. I snapped|
this one morning just before doing the preschool
drop-off and rushing to work.
*Don't judge us, it's for so many reasons beyond being thin, such as being yourself again or not having your joints hurt, or feeling sexy and pretty again, or just wanting to be fit and healthy for yourself or your kid. Losing the baby weight is important.