Easy Vegan Banana Bread - No Added Sugar

Who doesn't love fresh made Banana Bread?  I could eat it everyday, but most recipes always seem to have loads of sugar.  And that kinda takes away from the healthy part of the loaf.  So I came up with this simple & delicious recipe that ditches the sugar and uses stevia powder instead!  So no added sugar,  but still loads of delicious flavour. Hope you enjoy it, my family sure did!

Easy Vegan Banana Bread.jpg

Recipe Note: I used BetterStevia Powder.  This is more concentrated than regular Stevia, so make sure you read the label carefully.  The recipe I used for inspiration called for 3/4 cup of sugar which converts to 1/2 - 3/4 tsp of BetterStevia Powder.  Depending on what type you have you may need to use a different conversion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil - melted
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (soy, almond, cashew etc.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flax + 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp BetterStevia Powder 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2  - 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup oats  (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.  Or if you don't have any, grease and flour your pan.

  • Mix the ground flax seed and water together in a small bowl and let sit while you mix up the other ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, stevia, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, coconut and oats until combined.

  • In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Whisk the oil, bananas, vanilla, milk and the flaxseed/water mixture until blended.

  • Then add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.

  • Pour into your loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 30 to 40 minutes. Mine took about 36-ish minutes. Let your loaf cool in pan for about 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Then slice and enjoy!

Makes 1 loaf.  To mix things up, try adding chocolate chips or nuts instead of the oats and coconut.  I usually throw in whatever I happen to have on hand so each loaf is always different!

 

Disclaimer: As an ambassador for Vista Magazine, I received a free sample of  BetterStevia Powder . I was not compensated for this post and as always the opinions expressed are my own. 

Foodie Friday - Chocolate Cherry Chia Truffles

I found this recipe from one of my fave gluten-free ladies - Kathy Smart!  These addictive bonbons have no added sugar and are gluten-free.  Plus they are a cinch to make and taste unbelievable!  So thought it only fair to share this amazing recipe . I changed it up a bit adding my own little twist!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we have.  (I've made them twice this week so far!)

Chocolate Cherry Chia Truffles
(original recipe from Kathy Smart)

1/2  cup Sunflower Seeds (Original recipe calls for walnuts, but  I wanted to be able to send them in the kids lunches so used seeds instead)
1/2 cup dates - pitted
1/2 cup dried cherries
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoons whole chia seeds
pinch of cinnamon & sea salt
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut - for coating (optional)

Place all ingredients (except coconut) into your food processor or Vitamix.  Blend ingredients until crumbly and sticking together.  Use slightly moistened hands and roll into small balls.  If using coconut,  place some in your hands and  press into the balls. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then enjoy! 

These little bites are chewy, chocolaty and decadent.  The kids loved them!  And so did I.  Thinking I may make a grown-up version for the holidays spiked with a little liqueur.  Yum!
 

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This post was shared on the following the Girl Meets Nourishment blog, check it out to read more great articles!

Foodie Friday: Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Granola

It's a grey and dreary Fall day here at the Homestead.  So what better way to spend the morning then whipping up a batch of granola.  It's super easy and my recipe is nice and healthy too!  The thing I really love about making my own granola is that each time you make it ends up being a different creation.  Maybe you were out of this, or didn't have that, so you used those instead.  It really doesn't matter what you through in, it's always bound to be good.  And most of the time, that's how I roll...cooking with whatever is in the cupboard.  So for possibly the first time ever , I wrote down what I made today.  Hope you enjoy it!  And feel free to experiment and get creative.  As I am gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy/egg-free, there are none of those unpopular guys in this recipe.  But really, you don't need any of them anyways.  See for yourself!

Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Granola

Ingredients: 

5 cups of Gluten-free Oats
1 cup of Spelt Flakes (mine were organic)
1 cup of Raw Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2  cup of toasted buckwheat groats (Kasha)
1/2 cup of almonds - coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts - coarsely chopped
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
Pinch of salt
Sprinkle of Allspice
Sprinkle of ground Vanilla Bean
2 tbsp of Coconut Oil - melted
1/2  - 3/4 cup of Brown Rice Syrup - you can use maple syrup, agave etc. as a substitute

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix together all your dry ingredients until well blended.  Use your warming oven to melt your coconut oil in an oven proof dish.  Mix your melted coconut oil and brown rice syrup together and mix well.  Then add the mixture to your bowl of dry ingredients.  And mix it up.  This may take a bit of elbow grease, but you want to make sure all those awesome seeds, nuts and oats are coated in yummy, gooey goodness.  Pour your almost granola onto 2 baking sheets.  I like mined lined with parchment paper, but if you don't have any then simply grease the sheets with a little more coconut oil.
Bake for 12 minutes and then take them out and give them a good stir and then place them back in the oven some more.  You will need to repeat this a few times just until your granola is dried and slightly golden brown.  My batch took about 30 minutes overall. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool.  Then stir again to break up any delicious clumps.  And store in an air tight container.  This granola will last a few weeks in your cupboard if you don't eat it all before then.

This granola is great for breakfast as cereal or mixed into a yogurt.  Or why not stash a bit in your bag for an on the go snack?  It's even a great handmade gift served little mason jars tied with a bow.  The options are endless.  Add dried fruit if you like, take out the nuts, add some more spice or less, you choose...it's your granola!

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Foodie Friday: Gluten-Free, Sugar-free Brownies

So Stella had been continuously begging me to bake some sweet delicious treat.  She wanted cookies or cupcakes or brownies.  Since going wheat-free and sugar-free the amount of sweets in our house has declined significantly.  But given how persistent and ridiculously cute she is, I figured the least I could do is find a gluten-free and sugar-free recipe.  (OK. There is some honey, but I would have substituted Stevia if I had enough.)

It took me a bit, but thanks to the wonders of the interweb I found exactly what I needed.  I quit sugar in February 2013 and did a purge of my pantry, so needless to say it wasn't easy finding a recipe I could make without having to take a trip to the grocery store. But never say never! What I found was an easy and delicious recipe for brownies.  The entire pan was gone in less then 2 days!  So without further ado, here is the recipe!

Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free Brownies
http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Gluten-free_-sugar-free_-dairy-free-brownies-324782

Author Notes: This recipe is a slight adaptation of Gluten Free Easily‘s Big and Rich Brownie recipe (http://glutenfreeeasily.com/big-rich-brownies-gf-friends/). 
 
Makes 12 brownies
Fresh out of the oven.



  • 2/3 cups Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cups Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups Blend of corn and rice flour
  • 1/3 cup Nuts (I used slivered almonds)
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened Peanut butter, if desired, for “frosting”
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 (or comparable size) glass baking dish.
  3. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. The nuts can be sprinkled on top just before the brownies are put into the oven, or mixed into the batter.
  4. Spread batter in the greased pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
 

Had a hard time keeping my hands of these while taking the pic!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Easy bakin',
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Go ahead and quit... I dare you!

 Whoever said quitting was bad?  I've quit lots of things in my life; some good, some bad and some just for kicks.  I've quit school, I've quit jobs, I've quit relationships.  Does that make me a bad person?  I don't think so.  I think it makes me someone willing to take control of their life.  Apart from quitting regular stuff that is fairly normal I thought I would share with you some big quits  that I'm pretty proud of!

The first big quit and likely the most important was quitting smoking.  I smoked for 10 years and I've been smoke free for almost 8 years now! And it was all because of a bet.  At a New Year's Eve party, after a few drinks my friend Ryan and I bet each other $50 that we couldn't quit smoking.  The first one to cave and have a cigarette would have to pay the other.  Being a stubborn Capricorn I took this as a challenge.  There was no way that I was going to give in.  I don' t even think it was really about the money, I just didn't want to lose.  Ryan, on the other hand was too cheap and wasn't going to give up his $50.  And that's really how I stopped smoking.  Ryan lost and handed me a crisp $50 bill about 5 months later as he was also too honest and couldn't lie about having a cigarette.  I can't say that it was a piece of cake.  My friends know that I had some dark days and a lot of temptations, but in the end I won and I'm so happy I did.

When we moved into suburbia just over 3yrs ago we broke up with our microwave.  After seeing a couple blue sparks I decided that endangering my life every time I warmed something up was not at the top of my 'to do' list.  And luckily enough, during the move we did not have enough room to take it with us.  All of our belongings were going into storage and there just wasn't space for it.  So bye-bye microwave.  Once we moved in we realised we could get along just fine with out it.  We reheat things on the stove or in the toaster oven.  And I can honestly say I don't miss the nuclear hot leftovers or the cooked-on food explosions that always seemed to happen.  I also am quite happy that my kids have been spared from eating radiated dinners.

Another big quit was last July - I (and the entire family) quit Wheat.  It was not entirely intentional.  I noticed the Wheat Belly book one day and decided to grab it as it looked quite interesting.  I was 7 months pregnant at the time and on a big reading binge so this was perfect.  My husband looked frightened and was wondering if we were going to stop eating wheat.  I was always a HUGE wheat junkie.  Bread, pasta, desserts, you name it...I loved it.  I assured him that if anything, we would just cut down our consumption.  I remember starting the book on a Friday night and by Saturday afternoon I had decided I was no longer going to eat wheat.  After sharing a few tidbits with my husband he also followed suit.  And with that I purged the house of all wheat and wheat -based items.  I donated unopened food to the food bank and anything that was open went to friends and family.  I have very poor self control, so in order for me to quit something I can't just reduce my intake, it's gotta be cold turkey.  All or nothing! And we haven't had wheat since.

My most recent quit has been sugar.  February 1st, 2013 I quit sugar! A friend had 'liked' something called I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson on facebook.  I was intrigued and followed the link.  After a brief overview of her site I bought the e-book IQS and started on my journey.  I figured I already quit wheat, so why not sugar too.  Sugar is a very addictive drug.  I spent many nights eating a bag of sugary treats in front of the TV  completely oblivious to the fact that  I couldn't stop even if I wanted to.  After reading Sarah's book I followed her 8 week program to quit the white stuff.  Again, this wasn't an easy task.  There were highs and lows and my husband can attest to my ridiculous mood swings as I detoxed.  But now, 6 months later I am happier, healthier and lighter.  I have the odd sweet thing once in a while and only on special occasions.  But I find my palate has changed so much that I find the majority of dessers entirely too sweet to eat.

So there you have it.  My 4 quits that make me proud to say I'm a quitter!  So I dare you...go ahead and quit!  Quit something that's not healthy or helpful or makes you or your life better.  Quit for you.  Quit to be better!

Always a quitter,
post signatureSpecial thanks to www.ecothriftyliving.com for inspiring me to share my quits!