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I’ve mentioned before how much I like using bananas in making espresso banana muffins or the cocoa banana loaf, but this one just might be my new favorite simply because it doesn’t use any sugar.  All the sweetness comes from the bananas and dates.  There isn’t any stevia, either.  So if you hesitate to use stevia because you don’t love how it tastes, this could be the banana bread for you.  I use two bananas that are pureed to help sweeten the batter and a third that’s chopped up and mixed in because I like to taste the chunky pieces.  The number of bananas or dates can be adjusted to suit your sweet tooth. 

Date Sweetened Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf (7¾ × 4½ × 3)

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (5 – 6 dates)

5 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan.
  2. To a blender add two peeled bananas, pitted dates, eggs, and melted butter or coconut oil.  Puree until smooth.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  5. Chop the remaining banana and add to batter along with the nuts. 
  6. Pour into loaf pan bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely on rack before serving.

If making these into muffins, bake for 22 to 25 minutes.  For even more sweetness and some melted gooeyness, mix in some dark chocolate (72%) chunks.  It’s all good.

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Over the weekend, my sister, brother-in-law and their two kids came up to stay.  We wanted to have our cousin Elsie, resident family photographer, photograph the kids so that we could surprise my parents for Christmas (shhh..).  I see my sister fairly often and when we get together, it’s a zoo.  I always imagine that the mornings will be leisurely, where my sister and I lounge around with our coffee cups and chit chat about this and that.  In reality, the kids go nuts and run around in circles until someone barfs or drops from dizziness and we get to clean up the mess.  But it is fun.  And we do get to talk a bit over coffee.

Knowing it would be a little chaotic to whip up a big breakfast the next day, I made a cream cheese coffee cake the night before.  I served it at room temperature the next day and it was good but it would be great warmed up.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon stevia

Cake

6 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup yogurt

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon stevia

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease one 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. Beat together all ingredients for cream cheese filling.  Set aside.
  3. Combine wet ingredients for cake then add the dry ingredients through the salt.  Mix well.
  4. Toss pecans, cinnamon and coconut sugar together in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour cake batter into pan and drop bits of the pecan mixture throughout batter.
  6. Top with cream cheese filling and use a knife or tooth pick to swirl it around.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool slightly before slicing.

UPDATED 09/21/10:  I made a minor adjustment to the recipe to increase the toastability of the bread.  The previous version seemed a bit too moist to get a crisper toast.  Let me know what you think.

Probably one of the most asked questions people have when they hear that you’ve completely given up grains is, “But what about bread?!”  And, truthfully, that is the one thing that kept me from making the grain-free leap.  I love bread.  It’s the perfect vehicle for another favorite food – butter!  My husband knows this well and always slathers a big chunk of butter on my toast, making sure to smear every inch of the bread, right up to the edge of the corners with it.  Mmm…

Anyways, I’m getting off track.  I ate Ezekiel bread for years before I eliminated all grains.  Luckily, the grain-free, gluten-free community is an ingenius bunch and have come up with some super tasty alternatives to a carb-loaded wheat bread.  I adapted this recipe from one out of Bruce Fife’s Cooking with Coconut Flour: A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat.  I tweaked the recipe for coconut bread because it seemed a little dry to me, even when slathered with butter.  Also, it can be quite crumbly as coconut flour doesn’t have same the structure that a wheat flour gives.  I’ve made it over a dozen times now and feel like I’m pretty close to a good, all-around bread that holds its shape well and works for either toasting or sandwich making.  The flax lends a different texture and helps to bind the bread without having to use any gums or more eggs.

Coconut Flax Bread

1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/2 cup flax seed, ground

1 /2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

5 eggs 4 eggs

1/4 coconut oil

1/4 cup kefir or yogurt 1/8 cup water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a small loaf pan (I use a glass pan that’s 7¾”L × 4½”W × 3″H, Anchor Hocking TrueSeal Food Storage Sets)
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat well.  Batter will be thick.
  5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before slicing.

Since I’m using a smaller loaf pan, I cut it a little differently to get a decent sized slice.  Cut the bread in half cross wise then, standing each half on its cut end, slice the bread into desired thickness.  Simple.

Time for some toast!