Food & Drink

A dash of love: Banana bread provides comfort

Keen on Cooking: Home-cooked meals, treats show how much you care

Gluten-free, dairy-free banana bread is served at the home of Gazette food columnist Chelsea Keenan on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Additions like nuts, chocolate chips or raisins can be mixed into the batter before baking. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Gluten-free, dairy-free banana bread is served at the home of Gazette food columnist Chelsea Keenan on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Additions like nuts, chocolate chips or raisins can be mixed into the batter before baking. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Isn’t it lovely how we can use food to show people we care about them?

My mother is not the overly lovey-dovey type. A single-mom raising three kids, she was usually just busy and tired. But no matter what, we had a home-cooked meal on the table every night for dinner, bagged lunches to bring to school every day and big breakfasts on the weekends.

It was her way of telling us she loved us — taking time out of her incredibly busy schedule of working full-time, driving us to cheerleading and football practices, and doing all the other things she needed to get done, to give us something warm and nourishing to eat rather than fast food.

It’s something that I didn’t appreciate when I was younger, but have come to cherish now that I’ve got real responsibilities of my own.

The past few weeks have been incredibly crazy at my house. My boyfriend, Jacob, was unexpectedly in the hospital for about a week and wound up needing surgery. He’s home and on the mend now, but things were still a little more eventful than I’d like for a bit.

But our refrigerator is overflowing with food. Our wonderful friends have cooked us dinner, stopped by the hospital to deliver lunch and filled our kitchen with chocolate and M&M’s (Jacob’s favorite). It’s been a humbling thing to be a part of — for people to show their love through food.

It’s been such a comfort to have a hot meal at the end of a long day and to not have to wonder what to make or if I needed to go to the grocery store. The experience also made me want to bake for Jacob and his parents, who so selflessly flew out to Iowa to help around the house during this time.

Honestly, I decided to make banana bread solely because we had some old bananas, but let’s pretend I chose to make it for a sentimental reason. You’ll notice it’s a gluten-free and dairy-free recipe — I don’t do this to punish y’all, I promise.

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I recently found out that I have gluten and dairy sensitivities, and I’ve been on a mission to find recipes that help me forget this about myself. There are so many gluten free alternatives out there these days, and for that I’m thankful. But sometimes the consistency is a little off.

But this banana bread holds up nicely. I added some chocolate chips to half of it because I strongly believe that chocolate makes any baked good better. The bread was certainly a hit, and brought a smile to all three of them.

Hopefully the next time I make it, it’ll be under happier circumstances.

 

 

Recipe: Banana Bread

Gluten free and dairy free

  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed organic brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or dairy-free milk
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper or muffin tin with liners.

Mash banana in a large bowl. Add all ingredients through almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Last add almond meal, gluten free flour blend and oats and stir.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until golden brown on top.

Let cool completely before cutting.

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