Banana Chocolate Chip Bread (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)

One day I really missed having banana bread, so I looked into my kitchen to see if I had ingredients to quickly bake a fresh loaf of banana bread for my afternoon tea. Luckily I had one egg and one extremely ripe banana left, so I decided to experiment and see if it was possible to make a gluten-free and dairy-free banana bread with only one egg and one banana. I added chocolate chips because I’ve always loved the combination of banana and chocolate. To my delight, the result was one delicious, naturally sweet and dense loaf, perfect for my afternoon snack!

Since then, I have tried this recipe a few times more, and even had family members and friends taste it. After tasting this gluten-free and dairy-free version, some friends asked me for the recipe, so I have decided to put it here for all to enjoy. ūüôā

Happy Baking my dear friends and readers!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: The perfect morning or afternoon sweet snack with a cup of tea or coffee! :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread: The perfect morning or afternoon sweet snack with a cup of tea or coffee! ūüôā

Makes: 1 loaf

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: about 35 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients

1 ripe and mashed banana

1 egg

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk/non-dairy milk

2 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

 

Dry Ingredients

1 ¬Ĺ cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 heaped tablespoon cacao powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons chia seeds

¬Ĺ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup bittersweet/non-dairy chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF.
  2. Line small-medium loaf tin with baking/parchment paper.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into a blender/food processor.
  4. Combine dry ingredients (without chocolate chips) in a large bowl.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  6. Add chocolate chips slowly into the mixture.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.
  8. Enjoy!¬†ūüôā

 

Special Note: I would love to try “egg free” for this recipe sometime soon. If you are trying this recipe with an egg substitute, please let me know how it turns out! Thank you. ūüôā

Healthy Banana, Date & Walnut Loaf

This Banana, Date & Walnut Loaf uses only bananas and dates as natural sweeteners.

This Banana, Date & Walnut Loaf uses only bananas and dates as natural sweeteners.

At the request of the guests of the weekend potluck party I attended, I created this loaf for dessert since I had extremely ripe bananas and I’ve been dying to use the medjool dates I bought a few weeks ago, to create a healthy, naturally sweet (minus artificial sugar) and moist Banana, Date & Walnut Loaf. ¬†Actually, this loaf is inspired by fellow blogger Rhiarn’s recipe (see: http://rhicreations.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/banana-date-walnut-loaf/). I’ve been wanting to try her recipe since she shared it in June, and I finally had time to give it a go! (with some minor substitutions due to lack of some required ingredients) ¬†Thanks so much for the inspiration, Rhiarn! ūüôā

 

Makes: 8 slices

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 40 minutes

 

Special Notes:

-This is not a gluten-free recipe, since my guests are not gluten-free sensitive.  To make it gluten-free, you can replace it with any type of gluten-free flour.

-The riper the bananas, the sweeter they are.

-The medjool dates have a rich, almost honey or caramel-like taste, so they’re perfect as a natural sweetener.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ripe and mashed bananas

8 medjool non-pitted chopped dates (you have to take the pit out and chop dates into little pieces; I really like this brand: Natural Delights http://www.naturaldelights.com/about-perfect/; dates are a source of fibre and these ones are 100% fat free!)

1 egg white

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup white flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1 heaped tablespoon cacao powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons chia seeds

4-6 whole walnuts, semi-crushed

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF.
  2. Mix bananas, dates, egg white and almond milk into a blender/food processor. (wet ingredients)
  3. Combine wholewheat flour, white flour, rolled oats, cacao powder, baking powder and chia seeds in a large bowl. (dry ingredients)
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  5. Line small-medium loaf tin with baking/parchment paper.
  6. Add mixture and sprinkle with semi-crushed walnuts on top.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.
  8. Enjoy! ūüôā

A Sweet Green Smoothie Combo!

Spring Mix + Banana + Papaya + Chia seeds = Sweetly Yummy

Spring Mix + Banana + Papaya + Chia seeds = Sweetly Yummy


As mentioned earlier in a post, I have now decided to challenge myself to drink one green smoothie a day! ¬†I have started this for about a week now, and usually drink one for breakfast, but sometimes it’s for snack. ¬†It is very fun to experiment with different combinations of dark leafy greens, vegetables and fruits, and I’m loving most of the green smoothies I made so far!!

Here’s one green smoothie combo that I would love to share with you since it’s simply and naturally so sweet and good! ūüôā

 

Makes: 1 smoothie

Preparation Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 cups  spring mix

1 chopped banana

1 cup chopped papaya

2 tablespoons chia seeds (makes the smoothie filling as it has protein, and provides 4.4 g of protein)

1 cup unsweetened cold almond milk (if you prefer a sweeter taste, go with original)

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

6-8 blueberries

 

Instructions:

1. Put all ingredients (except the cacao nibs and blueberries) into the blender and mix.

2. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and blueberries on top, and enjoy!

 

I hope you will enjoy drinking it as much as I do! ūüôā

 

Love, Violet

Grateful for Green Smoothie

I'm beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast!  I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs.  Yum!! :)

I’m beginning to love drinking a green smoothie for breakfast! I like to top it with a sprinkle of raw cacao nibs. Yum!! ūüôā

In my search to find satisfying and healthy gluten-free breakfast, I came upon Kimberly Snyder’s book The Beauty Detox Solution- Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You’ve Always Wanted, and began reading it avidly. ¬†I got inspired by her “Glowing Green Smoothie” (see her blog for recipe:¬†http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/ggs/). ¬†She claims that drinking a green smoothie or drink daily is the most powerful way to increase our mineral and enzyme consumption, which are critical to our health and beauty. ¬†She says “green-based drinks are the real super foods- not exotic, expensive or hard-to-find fruits or plants from foreign countries.” (Chapter 4: Beauty Minerals and Enzymes) ¬†Furthermore, dark, leafy greens are packed with many nutrients that are good for our bodies, and they’re better than any other food groups. ¬†Basically, having vegetables, especially the greens (e.g. kale, spinach, celery etc.) and fruits will nourish us completely. ¬†According to Health Canada, we should have at least 7-8 servings (if you’re female, and for males: 8-10 servings) of both fruits and vegetables per day (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/fruit/need-besoin-eng.php),¬†which translates roughly into 2-3 servings of fruits and 7-8 servings of vegetables (I confirmed this information with my naturopathic doctor). ¬† Therefore, having a nutritious and fiber filled green smoothie is such a great way to consume our vegetables and fruits early on in the day.

As I’m going gluten-free, I decided to give the green smoothie a try. ¬†Although I am nowhere near in drinking one per day, I do drink it 2-3 times a week for my breakfast. ¬†Perhaps, in the summer, I will challenge myself to drink Kimberly Snyder’s “Glowing Green Smoothie” every single day and see if it is true about becoming even more energized, more beautiful with radiant skin and leaner. ¬†She claims these are all the positive health effects one will have in drinking it daily. ¬†Keep you all posted on this!

Here’s a recipe that I tried with whatever ingredients I could find in my kitchen, primarily with the intention of making a “green” smoothie, and the result was quite refreshing. ¬†It wasn’t as sweet as I usually prefer, but I was surprised I liked the taste and the energy boost I got from it! ¬†I love how adding the fruits balances the taste of the greens. ¬†So, ¬†I am grateful for discovering the power of green smoothies for my breakfast! ūüôā

VIOLET’S ¬†GREEN SMOOTHIE ¬†¬†

Makes: 1 smoothie

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups of baby spinach

2 stalks of chopped celery (excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, fibre,  potassium, folic acid, fiber, vitamins B1, B2 & B6)

1 chopped nectarine

2 tablespoons chia seeds (makes the smoothie filling as it has protein, and provides 4.4 g of protein)

1 cup unsweetened cold almond milk (if you prefer a sweeter taste, go with original)

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

Instructions:

1. Put all ingredients (except the cacao nibs) into the blender and mix.

2. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and enjoy!

I’m discovering there are so many possibilities in making a “green smoothie” that it’s deliciously fun!! ¬†I keep Kimberly Snyder’s mix and match rule in mind when creating a green smoothie: ¬†“Your favourite fruits are your favourite go-to jeans and your leafy greens are your many different cute tops. ¬†The jeans (fruits) are really the support for the fabulous, eye-catching tops (leafy greens) which are the most important part of the outfit.” ūüėÄ

What ingredients do you put in your green smoothie? 

Thanks & Love, Violet

*If you want to know the nutritional values and health benefits for the following ingredients, please see these links:

Baby Spinach: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258415-what-is-the-nutritional-value-of-baby-spinach/

Celery: http://www.foods-healing-power.com/celery-health-benefits.html

Nectarine: http://www.livestrong.com/article/408098-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-nectarines/

Cacao Nibs: http://www.livestrong.com/article/462015-benefits-of-cocoa-nibs/

A Simple & Satisfying Superfoods Salad!

My Avocado, Blueberry and Kale Salad, minus the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.  In my haste to eat it, I forgot to add them for the photo!

My Avocado, Blueberry and Kale Salad, minus the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. In my haste to eat it, I forgot to add them for the photo!

Lately, I’ve been absorbed in reading about the kinds of healthy food we should eat to maintain good health and nutrition. ¬†I learned about the “superfoods”. ¬†It is a term coined for food that have many health and healing benefits and nutrients for the body. ¬†I have been slowly adding some of them into my daily diet. ¬†Of course, there are so many of them, that one can get overwhelmed. ¬†Therefore, it’s one day at a time for me!

Anyways, the other night I was flipping through my newly purchased book written by Kimberly Snyder called The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You, and was excited to try her Blueberry & Avocado Salad recipe, since I love both of these superfoods, and knew I had them in stock.  Today seemed like the perfect day to try it out as I felt like having something light and refreshing for lunch.

In my journey of healthy eating so far, I learned that making your own food is so much better because you control what goes into your mouth, and ultimately your body!

Without further ado, please enjoy my version of the salad, inspired by Kimberly Snyder, using some other superfoods.  I guarantee that you will find this salad simple to taste and make, but very satisfying!

VIOLET’S AVOCADO, BLUEBERRY & KALE SALAD

Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup blueberries

1/2 or 1 peeled and chopped into cubes/sliced avocado (the amount depends on how filling you want your salad)

1-2 wedges of lemon

1 tablespoon of chia seeds or pumpkin seeds (or both if you prefer, both are a source of protein; if you prefer to eat your salad without them, you can also leave them out)

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry blueberries and kale.
  2. Toss kale and blueberries together in a salad bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice from the wedge of lemon.
  3. Place chopped/sliced avocado on top of the salad, and if you prefer, you can also squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on them.
  4. If you have chia seeds and/or pumpkin seeds, sprinkle them into the salad as well.
  5. Mix the salad and enjoy!

Special Information on Each Superfood & Its Benefits:

Avocado- It is filled with fiber and healthy fats, lowers cholesterol,  and keeps skin smooth and youthful.  It helps protect the body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases.

Blueberries- They are high in water and fiber, which help to cut down sugar cravings.  They make eyes (the antioxidant anthocyanin strengthens eyes and vision) and skin beautiful, plus promote brain function, lower stress level, and boost energy.  They also help to prevent the body from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stomach ulcers and high blood pressure.

Chia Seeds- They are high in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fats, protein, calcium, potassium and iron.  They are a good workout food, as they supply the body with strengthening and toning nutrients.  They also help with digestion.  The most amazing thing about this superfood is that they swell more than 5 times their weight in liquid so it means when you add 1-2 tablespoons of them to meals, you will feel fuller faster, and have a long burning source of energy.

Kale- ¬†It is rich in iron, copper, minerals, vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, ¬†calcium, and omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. ¬†It is high in fiber so it helps to tone up the body, and make it strong and resilient. ¬†Also, it is an anti-cancer and anti-aging food! ¬†One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. ¬†Other interesting facts about this superfood is that per calorie, it has more iron than beef, and more calcium than milk! ¬†No wonder it is called “the new beef” and “the queen of greens”!!

Lemon- It is rich in vitamin C, balances our pH level, detoxifies the liver, helps to eliminate waste in our body and improves our digestion.

Pumpkin Seeds- They are¬†rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, sulfur, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, fatty acids, and protein, and contribute to the growth of healthy and shiny hair. ¬†The high zinc content helps in avoiding acne and other skin imbalances.¬† They help stabilize blood sugar which means weight loss. ¬†Like the lemon, they balance the body’s pH level. ¬†A great fact to know, if you’re looking into moving away from getting protein from meat, is that a 1/4 cup serving of pumpkin seeds provides approximately 16 percent of your daily value of protein.

Sources I took information from, and if you would like to read more about each superfood:

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You by Kimberly Snyder

http://www.naturalnews.com/038324_food_superfood_nutritional_density.html

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2012/03/31/12-superfoods-for-a-healthier-lifestyle/

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2011/08/23/5-superfoods-that-improve-your-memory/

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2011/06/07/25-snacks-that-will-give-you-energy-througout-the-day/

http://www.drfranklipman.com/the-super-7-foods-with-benefits/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8354/5-amazing-benefits-of-drinking-lemon-water.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/16-health-benefits-of-lemons.html

http://getmotivatedpaige.blogspot.ca/2013/01/10-reasons-lemon-juice-is-superfood.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/253658-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-pumpkin-seeds/

What are your favourite superfoods, and how do you eat them?

I would love to hear how you add them into your diet, and learn some new recipes for my healthy eating lifestyle!

Thanks & Love, Violet