Banana Almond Bread (Gluten-Free)

Howdy howdy howdy haaa…HAPPY WEDNESDAY! We are halfway through the standard work week! I hope everyone is having a good week so far.

In an effort to amp up my breakfast creativity, I have called on a little challenge with myself to limit my usual banana with peanut butter breakfast to every other day or less often. I love my pb and banana so much but am eating it so frequently in the morning that even I am getting bored of it. I am always up for a good challenge—so there you have it.

I switched it up yesterday and made myself a smoothie.

This is a kefir (first time trying kefir btw), egg white protein powder, strawberry, banana, and kale smoothie. The verdict on kefir? It made for a slightly tart yet sweet smoothie and I really liked it. I’m on the kefir train.

I ate my smoothie in a bowl with a spoon like soup. It makes the moment last longer than drinking it through a straw, and since I truly enjoy the eating experience, it’s a good way to prolong the enjoyment. If I’m in a hurry or running out the door though, it goes straight into a cup with a straw.

Who says you can’t have a cold smoothie in the dead of winter?

DSCN6418

For lunch I ate a bunch of sugar snap peas and carrots, followed by leftover chicken salad from the night before with peas…chicken salad with avocado

An apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter…

apple with pb

And I finished lunch with a small handful of cashews and a bite of applesauce. Very random and very satisfying.

After work I headed to the gym and snacked on two clementines. I am lovin’ those little cuties these days. I wasn’t feel super great at the gym which made for a quick trip. I fought my way through 20 minutes on the elliptical and then called it quits. Besides not feeling good, the gym was PACKED, and I just wasn’t feeling the ambiance at all.

At home I completed the rest of my workout which was the 30 Day Abs Challenge circuit.

Next up…dinner. I made a veggie scramble made of red onion, black beans, kale, one egg, cheese, cilantro, salsa, and avocado. It rocked my socks.

veggie scramble

For “dessert” I had two dates and a small handful of raisins.

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Banana Almond Bread–back tracking

Back on Friday, I threw together a mean gluten-free, SCD-friendly banana almond bread. I’ve been meaning to share it with you since I first mentioned it, but kept having other things I needed to share! Well now’s the time.

I realize now that I didn’t do a very good job of snapping a photo of the finished banana bread product. All I really have to show for it is this…

banana almond bread

It didn’t get the photo recognition that it deserves because it did turn out great! Here is that recipe for you finally.

Banana Almond Bread
Gluten-free; SCD
Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups ripe bananas (about 3 small bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spritz a standard bread loaf pan with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add in dry ingredients into wet, and mix until completely combined.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing. It will continue to set after it is removed from oven.
I enjoyed the bread plain, or with a little smear of peanut butter, almond butter, or with a little bit of butter. It’s best to store it in the refrigerator and lasts for about one week.
I hope you have time to get fun in the kitchen! Have a HAPPY day.
Question of the day: What is your favorite homemade bread?

Tex Mex Plans Turned Thai

Sunday mornings in the wintertime are so darn cozy I just love them. I was out of bed by 8:00 am this morning, made my way to the kitchen, put on a pot of coffee, and toasted up a piece of banana almond bread.

banana almond bread

Such a great way to start the day.

Next on the agenda is grocery shopping. I can’t believe how fast we go through fruit and veggies around here. Just one week ago our fridge looked like this, now it is practically empty!

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Last night Dana and I had planned on going out for a casual date night. We had a gift card to Baja Sol, a Tex Mex restaurant, and decided it would be a perfect night to use it. So we cleaned up and got ready to go.

dana and melanie

The restaurant was about 20 minutes away and when we pulled up we realized that it was more of a super casual dining restaurant, like Chipotle style, where you place your order in front, and they bring you your food. On any other day this would have been just fine and we would have gone in and enjoyed our very casual Tex Mex meal, but I had my mind-set on a sit-down restaurant, where the servers come and take your order and bring you your food.

So we continued our date night journey and wound up at a Thai restaurant called…

tum rup thai

Tum Rup Thai is located in Minneapolis. I had eaten there before but it had been years, but I remembered how stinkin’ good the food was, and I wanted Dana to try it.

We started with an order of the salad rolls which were loaded with carrots, cucumber, cilantro, chicken, shrimp, some rice noodles I think, and who knows what else. The rolls by themselves were full of flavor but they were also served with an incredible peanut oil dipping sauce and they turned from absolutely delicious to incredibly outstanding.

salad roll tum rup thai

We also ordered the chicken satay appetizer which again, tasted wonderful by itself but paired with these insane dipping sauces, took them to another level. There was a peanutty dipping sauce and a sweet cucumber sauce. They were both rock stars.

chicken satay tum rup thai

For dinner we split an order of broccoli and spinach with chicken in a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. That’s a lot of peanut sauce, right? Of course it’s right up my alley. I got full very quickly which isn’t a surprise considering the amount of protein I was consuming.

When we ordered the entrée the waitress asked us how spicy we liked our food on a scale of 1-5. I immediately said “1” because I can’t handle much spice, and I am SO glad I did because even the 1 had a bit of a kick.

peanut chicken and broccoli tum rup thai

My favorite was definitely the salad rolls, go figure, but I really enjoyed it all. So although we had planned on Tex Mex, Thai ended up winning over our tummies and I’m so glad it did. Delightful!

On the drive home we passed a White Castle and Dana pointed out the sign. I tried snapping a photo but it was too bright. It said: Valentine’s Day Reservations and then provided the phone number of the restaurant.

white castle

I couldn’t help but chuckle and feel bad at the same time. White Castle for Valentine’s just doesn’t sound very romantic, but again, to each their own.

Date night with my honey was wonderful as always.

(BTW if you are noticing random color changes in the background of the blog it’s because I am trying to decide on a new color, so bear with me!)

What did YOU do last night?

Baked Vegetable Marinara

Well hello again ya’ll! Did everyone have a fantabulous Friday? Mine was pretty great and very productive.

It started out with a couple of errands and appointments. I made myself a green smoothie super loaded with kale, egg white protein powder, almond milk, and a banana to begin fueling the fire (aka breaking the fast, getting the metabolism revved up).

green smoothie

Dana and I made a trip to Starbucks while we were out. I decided on a light roast with a splash of half and half and a shot of hazelnut flavor. This really got me “revved up.”

On the way home from our errands I was starving. I am always prepared with food in my purse and had a delicious apple turnover Uberbar calling out to me, so I dug right in.

uberbar

LARABAR, marry me? I love these things.

Within another couple of hours I was hungry again, but was planning on getting my workout in at that point, so I made myself a small snack plate to tide me over yet not fill me up too much.

Turkey breast with avocado, and sugar snap peas and hummus.

snack plate

Next on the agenda: the treadmill. I did the same combo as the other day alternating between running on the treadmill and the ab challenge circuits. I was feeling very fatigued yesterday so ran at a very easy pace. I was nice and sweaty by the time I was done.

Enter another snack: microwaved apple with cinnamon and coconut oil:

apple

Followed by a spoonful of almond butter. Then it was time to change into my painting clothes and get to work on the laundry room. That is where you found Dana and I for a good 3-4 hours. Jammin’ out to music and painting the laundry room. It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room. I am so anxious to see it when it is all finished. Tiling the floor is on the agenda today!

Dinner

I was SO glad I had prepared our meal the day before and had it waiting in the fridge to go into the oven, because by the time dinner rolled around we were both exhausted.

I created a concoction I am going to call Baked Vegetable Marinara. I can’t figure out why I haven’t thought of this creation until now, because it was stellar.

I began by roasting my chopped veggies in the oven for about 20 minutes. I chose to use broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. I spritzed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper before they went into the oven.

Roasting the vegetables before baking them in the dish helps to remove some moisture from the vegetables so that you don’t end up with a watery dish.

baked vegetable marinara

While the veggies were roasting, I made the cheesy topping. I combined shredded Monterey jack, parmesan, almond flour, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper and gave it a good stir. 

baked vegetable marinara topping

One the veggies were done roasting, I added two big handfuls of baby kale. Next, I poured the veggies into a bowl and added about 2/3 of a jar of no sugar added Ragu marinara sauce and stirred together.

baked vegetable marinara

I poured the veggies into a lightly sprayed 9 x 9 baking dish.

baked vegetable marinara

And then topped them with the cheesy mixture.

baked vegetable marinara

I baked it in a 400ºF, oven covered with aluminum foil for about 40 minutes (cooking time will vary!). I then removed the foil, and broiled on low until cheese melted and turned slightly golden brown.

baked vegetable marinara baked vegetable marinara baked vegetable marinara

Please, please, do me a favor and make this dish. It is so unbelievable tasty and comforting. Dana and I and our ravenous appetites finished this whole dish except for about four bites. MMMMmmmm.

And more MMmmmmm….I made banana almond bread. Oh yes I did. It was the perfect bedtime snack. I WILL be sharing this recipe with you all soon. I am very excited about it. I had a hard time keeping my animal paws off of it last night.

banana bread

Off I go to another productive day! I hope you all have a beautiful Saturday.

Baked Vegetable Marinara
(these are not “exact” measurements, but they are pretty darn close!)
Ingredients
  • 4-5 cups roasted vegetables–broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion, garlic, zucchini
  • 2 cups baby kale or chopped kale
  • 2/3 jar of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese or mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp basil
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 9 baking dish with olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl combine roasted veggies, kale, and marinara sauce. Pour into prepared dish.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the cheeses, flour, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese mixture over vegetables evenly.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Uncover and broil on low for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Question of the day: What are your favorite dishes to make in the winter?