One Bowl Gluten-Free, Vegan Banana Bread

We do gluten-free around here every now and then and it’s not because anyone has any type of allergies but more so because I truly love a lot of recipes that use almond flour. I can’t say I’ve had much success with coconut flour (as in ZERO) but almond flour never lets me down and it surprisingly makes the most moist and delicious banana bread I have EVER had.

My go-to and favorite banana bread recipe for years had been this one but I prefer this gluten-free version WAY more and it is honestly so much better. Plus, it’s VEGAN which I totally love seeing as how we’ve recently decided to eat plant-based in our every day lives.

The original recipe calls for one egg but I have recently discovered the magic of aquafaba. What’s that you ask? It’s bean water! More specifically the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas. Crazy, right?! Well this stuff is magic! It’s a GREAT egg replacement for so many things. I am still learning and experimenting but it works wonders in this banana bread and helps take it to the next level of super healthy deliciousness! I’m pretty sure you’ll never go back to a regular ‘ole oil and sugar filled banana bread after you try this version!

One Bowl Gluten-Free Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Medium VERY Ripe Bananas (I use 4)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 T. Aquafaba
  • 3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ¼ c. Xylitol
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 3½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Almond or Cashew Milk
  • 2½ c. Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1¼ c. Gluten-Free Quick Oats
  • Handful of Chopped Walnuts (optional but delicious!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat ripe bananas until mashed. Mix in all other ingredients through the milk and combine. Add almond flour and oats and stir to combine. Add chopped walnuts (if using).
  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (mine took 1 hour and 5 minutes), until a tester comes out clean.
  4. Let cool completely before removing from pan and slicing. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Banana Cream “Pie”

 

Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn't have a photo of the one my sister made!)
Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn’t have a photo of the one my sister made!)

This is a fabulous layer dessert that my sister has made for several years and my family absolutely loves it, especially my hubby.  It really is delicious….cool, creamy, chocked full of bananas and not overly sweet.  Oh and SUPER simple to make.   If you love banana pudding or banana cream pie, you’ll love this dessert!  Perfect for Mother’s Day!  Hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does.

(Homemade Whipped Cream recipe here.)

Banana Cream "Pie"
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1, 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Large Box Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 c. Whole Milk
  • 3 Medium Bananas
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Cream
  • 1 Regular Size Box of Vanilla Wafers (few crushed for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat thoroughly. Add instant pudding and milk and beat 1-2 minutes until thick. Fold in sliced bananas and ¾ of Cool Whip/homemade whipped cream. Layer in 9x13 pan--layer of wafers, pudding, wafer, pudding and then spread remaining Cool Whip/whipped cream on top. Garnish with crushed wafers. Let sit in fridge overnight or 8-12 hours before serving.
Notes
Serves 8-12

 

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Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Woo hoo it’s the first recipe of the new year!!!  I’m so excited.  How about you?  I know you’ve just been waiting on the edge of your seat to see what the first super-indulgent, sugar-laden, fattening recipe would be, right??  Well, the wait is over!  And I really hope you’re not too disappointed because…it’s a HEALTHY recipe!  Yay!!!  Oh, am I the only one saying yay?? Surely not.  I know there had to have been some of you feeling like I was after Christmas…in need of a major refined sugar and fat break.  And I know someone out there made a resolution to eat healthier and drop some weight.  Well, this recipe fits the healthy-yet-incredibly-yummy bill to a “t”!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies 2

I was soooo pleased with how these came out.  I took great liberty with this recipe and tweaked it to my liking.  It’s got tons of protein from the quinoa, no refined sugar and whole grains.  It’s seriously amazing.  I’ve actually been eating these for breakfast.  They’re quite filling and not too sweet.  Hope you love them as much as I do and they help you stick to that new healthy living resolution!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Thick-Cut Oats
  • 1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
  • ¼ c. Sucanant (or just use more honey)
  • ½ c. All-Natural, Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that has no salt, oil, etc)
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Ripe Banana, mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 2 c. Cooked Quinoa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sucanant. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, egg, banana, vanilla and honey until smooth.
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture and quinoa to the dry ingredients. Stir together until everything is thoroughly combined. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 20 cookies.

 

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Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars

Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying.  You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps.  For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.

They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good.  The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit.  They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice.  All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.

Enjoy!

Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Large, Very Ripe Bananas, Mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raw Honey or Agave
  • 2 c. Rolled Oats (I used 1 c. thick-cut oats and 1 c. rye oats)
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ½ t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 c. Cooked Quinoa (or just use another cup of oats)
  • ½ c. Pitted, Chopped Dried Dates
  • ¼ c. Chopped Nuts (optional--I omitted just because)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the mashed bananas, vanilla and honey in a large bowl and stir until combined.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together the oats, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the quinoa, dates and nuts (if using).
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12 bars.

 

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Ok, that title is a little misleading…it is kind of a baked pie, at least the crust is baked.  But it stays in the oven for such a short amount of time it hardly counts, hence I christen this pie, no-bake!

I dreamed up this concoction when brainstorming what to make my fabulous sister-in-law Rachel (of foodierachel.com!) for her birthday.  I wanted it to be something that she would LOVE not just something that sounded good to me or a new dessert recipe I wanted to try.  So I thought of peanut butter first…and then banana, caramel and chocolate.  Yes, pretty sure all these ingredients met the “will Rachel love it?”  criteria!

I have to say this pie was AMAZING…just the right amount of peanut butter, chocolate, banana and caramel.  It is, however, very rich so one slice is more than enough!  I made a homemade salted caramel sauce from scratch which I think sent it over the top, but for the sake of simplicity I’d just buy a good-quality caramel sauce if I were you–unless you are feeling very ambitious!

It was a big hit at our family dinner and I’m already looking for an excuse to make this one again!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 c. High-Quality Caramel Sauce
  • 1½ Ripe Bananas, sliced into ½" pieces
  • 1, 8 oz. package Cream Cheese
  • 1½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 16 oz. Whipped Cream Topping
  • 6 T. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, melted
  • 2 T. Dry-Roasted Peanut Halves
Instructions
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack (I did pop mine in the freezer for a few minutes to speed things up).
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until completely smooth. Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in ¾ of the container of the whipped cream, until there are no white streaks left.
To Assemble
  1. Pour the caramel into the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. Place the banana slices in an even layer over the caramel. Spread the peanut butter filling evenly into the pan. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the dry-roasted peanuts. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to harden. Cover with foil and freeze for 4-5 hours until mixture is stiff. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 12.

 

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Hummingbird Cake

My resolution to bake classic cakes has so far been a success, starting with this Coconut Cake and now the Hummingbird Cake.  If you’ve never heard of the Hummingbird Cake before, it goes all the way back to, well, it’s hard to tell where or when exactly it came on the scene.  The first published recipe for the cake showed up in the February 1978 issue of Southern Living magazine and was submitted by a woman named Mrs. L.H. Wiggins but it’s roots trace from the deep south aaaaaallll the way to Jamaica!  How crazy is that?  You can read more of the history and details here.

I used a recipe from myrecipes.com that was a little of a modernized version of the cake with the addition of white chocolate to the cake and the frosting and a touch of almond extract.  I was tempted at first to leave the white chocolate out of the cake but I’m so glad I didn’t–I LOVED getting little bits of white chocolate in every other bite.  This cake is very, VERY dense, almost like banana bread and the flavors of the almond extract, cinnamon and banana are incredibly delicious.  I can’t believe I waited so long to make this cake!

Hummingbird Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • 1, 8 oz. Can Crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans, divided
  • 2 c. Chopped Bananas (about 3 medium-large bananas)
  • 4 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1½ c. White Chocolate Chips, melted and cooled
  • 1½ (8 oz.) Packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • 6 T. Butter, softened
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ c. Chopped Toasted Pecans (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3, 9-inch round pans and then line with parchment paper (optional).
For the Cake
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened (do not overbeat). Stir in vanilla and almond extract, pineapple, pecans, bananas and white chocolate.
  2. Divide batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
For the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating well. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed until mixture reaches desired spreading consistency (do not overbeat).
To Assemble the Cake
  1. Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle ½ cup of chopped pecans on top. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 16.

 

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Bakery Review – Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark

 

This past weekend Jeremy and I went on a cupcake tasting roadtrip to some new bakeries in Ozark and Nixa.  I had been following Stacey’s Sweets on Facebook and every picture she would post looked sooo good and I was so excited to finally get a chance to taste everything!  Her shop is located in the corner of an older building on the square in Ozark and even though it was tiny, it was packed with cuteness.  She even had a couple of small tables and chairs to eat at, which we took full advantage of.

I went ahead and ordered one of each cupcake she had in the case (eight total!) because at $1.75 apiece they were VERY affordable (if not somewhat underpriced!) and also got a brownie because they looked delicious.  I passed on the cake pops, but they were covered in sparkly red, pink and purple sanding sugar and totally adorable…very tempting.  We started tasting with the brownie and wow, it was SO good.  Very fudgy, loaded with chocolate chips and had that nice thin crackle “crust” on the top.  We had a hard time not eating the whole thing.

Cake Pops
Fudge Brownie

Next up, cupcake tasting!  The flavors were Red Velvet, Wedding Cake, Cookie Dough, Pretty Princess Strawberry, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup, Honeybee and Cherry Bomb (see photo captions for descriptions).  I can honestly say that these cupcakes not only looked pretty but were so yummy!  Her cakes were light and fluffy and the frosting was not overly sweet but somewhat airy and not heavy or greasy, which was nice.  It’s one of the better cupcake tasting experiences I’ve had in a loooong time!  I could definitely see myself making a special trip to Ozark just for these cupcakes (or the brownie!) and would strongly advise you to do the same–you will NOT be disappointed!

Red Velvet--Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting topped with a Heart Gummy Candy
Pretty Princess Strawberry--Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
Peanut Butter Cup--Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Mini Peanut Butter Cup
Honeybee--Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, Honey Drizzle, Chopped Peanuts and Banana Chip
Double Chocolate--Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cookie Dough--Chocolate Chip Cake filled with Cookie Dough, topped with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cherry Bomb--Cherry Cake with Cherry Filling, Cherry Buttercream, dipped in Ganache and topped with a Cherry
Wedding Cake--White Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Candy Pearls
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Bed & Breakfast Weekend

Jeremy and I just got back from a short but sweet weekend in a little town called Ironton, Mo.  He surprised me with a belated anniversary trip to a bed and breakfast called The Parlor.  When I went online to do a little research on the activities in and around the town, I found out that the B&B used to be a funeral home and was supposedly haunted! We didn’t see any ghosts or notice anything out of the ordinary while we were there but we did have an absolutely wonderful time and enjoyed our stay IMMENSELY.  The husband and wife that own The Parlor were the nicest people and so accommodating.

There wasn’t much on our agenda (which was nice) other than going to a couple of state parks, eating some good food and relaxing.  Oh and of course enjoying some yummy desserts!  Jeremy also surprised me with a horse-drawn carriage ride Saturday night when we got back to the bed and breakfast.  It was so romantic and a great way to end the weekend.  Here are some fun pictures from our trip!

Outside of our lovely B&B, The Parlor
Flowers that were waiting for me in our room.
At Elephant Rocks state park.
Chocolate covered bacon a vendor was selling at Elephant Rock (for $3 each!!). Random...but good.
Getting cooled off at Johnson's Shut-Ins.
Dinner in Farmington, Mo.
The view from our corner booth at 12 West Bar & Grill. We were a little early (and hungry) which is why it was fairly empty.
An up-close look at those gorgeous chandeliers.
Dessert #1 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake with Chocolate, Caramel, Sliced Bananas and Whipped Cream. Insane.
Dessert #2 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Triple Chocolate Cake with layers of Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Ganache. Even more insane.
Other than McDonald's, this was the only cafe/restaurant type place in Ironton. Every town has to have a bakery. 🙂
Outside the cafe.

 

A cinnamon roll at Aunt Mary's. It was yummy...warm, cinnamony and soft.
Cream Horn at Aunt Mary's. I had never had one and I LOVED it. Light, flaky pastry filled with the fluffiest buttercream. Really delicious.
Old Village Mercantile in Caledonia, Mo. This was one of a few antique shops we stopped at on the way home. Bonus: They had a coffee/smoothie bar, bakery and candy shop on the first floor.
The first floor of Old Village Mercantile. Lots of candy. And check out the original, beautiful ceiling.
View from the upstairs of Old Village Mercantile. LOVE that ceiling.
Barrels of old-fashioned candy at Old Village Mercantile.
Chocolate candy. Mmmmm.
LOTS of candy!
We stopped at another antique shop in Steelville, Mo and this little ice cream stand was across the street. How convenient. 😉
My choice--Mint Chocolate Chips. It was good. But I liked Jeremy's choice better. Why does that always happen?!
Jeremy's choice--Strawberry Waffle Cone. It was sooooo good!

Hope you enjoyed the peak into our weekend!  Tomorrow I’ll have a yummy end-of-summer recipe to share with you…have a great Sunday evening!

 

 

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Elvis Sundae

Ok, I am VERY excited about this post for a couple of reasons. First, I have not one, but TWO recipes to share.  Two!  And one of those recipes could be potentially healthy.  Yes, healthy.  Of course, I would never allow that to happen, this being a full-on sugary delicious dessert blog and all.  But I’m giving you options here.  Nice, right?

Second reason for my excitement…I bought some uber cute mini dessert glasses for these special Elvis Sundaes!  I LOVE them.  I only needed two but they came in sets of 12.  I agonized over whether or not I should get them, but the cuteness won out in the end and I just resolved to have more people over  for dinner more often and get good use out of them.  At least that was part of my justification.

Ok!  On to the sundaes…my inspiration for these came from a fabulous frozen coffee drink called The Elvis.  It combines coffee, chocolate, banana and peanut butter.  Delish.  And it just so happens my sister-in-law Rachel, of Foodierachel.com, has this recipe for banana ice cream I’d been dying to try forever.  All it takes to make it is….bananas!  That’s it!  Super easy.  I topped it with a divine Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce from Joythebaker.com and chopped, dry-roasted peanuts.  And voila! Elvis Sundae.

Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream

4 Medium-Large Ripe Bananas, sliced

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract (This was my addition.  And I like vanilla, so feel free to use less if you’d like.)

Directions

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the banana slices on the baking sheet and let them chill in the fridge for an hour.  After they’re nice and frozen, throw them in a food processor for five minutes, turning it off every minute or so to scrape down the sides and kind of push everything around.  It will seem like it’s not going to blend, but it will happen, be patient.  When it’s completely smooth, whirl in the vanilla and then pour it into an air-tight container and freeze for several hours or overnight.

And here’s the part where you make this delicious, healthy banana ice cream not so healthy….

Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce

1/4 c. Cocoa Powder

1/3 c. Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 c. Light Corn Syrup

2/3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 t. Salt

6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped

2 T. Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2 Tablespoons

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 t. Instant Espresso Powder

1 1/2 t. Hot Water

Directions

Stir together cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of the chopped chocolate in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted.  Cook mixture at a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder into the 1 1/2 teaspoons hot water.

Remove sauce from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter, espresso misture and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  (I would recommend cooling it and refrigerating it overnight.  The espresso flavor seemed to be more noticeable after doing that and then reheating it over low heat the next day.)  Scoop ice cream into small bowls, spoon sauce over the ice cream and chop with dry-roasted peanuts.

Makes 2 cups sauce.

Note:  For the banana ice cream, Rachel suggests adding things such as peanut butter, honey, etc. to make different variations of the ice cream.  So feel free to be creative and experiment!  I’m definitely going to try a mango ice cream next week–can’t wait!

 

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