The bananas were a buck sixty-nine. For a whole bag! I love a deal. I love what my house smells like when I bake banana bread, too. There's no substitute for baked banana bread smell wafting through the home: no candle company, no spray, no plug-in fake smell thingy that does banana bread justice. I would have been content to eat this entire loaf for dinner last night. The bread literally takes only five minutes to prep, then bakes for about forty-five minutes and viola, you've got breakfast, snack time and late night all zipped up. There will be much banana bread, banana smoothie and banana cupcake happenings around here in the coming week. What I don't bake up, I'll peel and store in a plastic bag in the freezer for later.
I like to eat my bread exactly like this: smothered with vegan butter. I experimented with this loaf (with all the bananas I had, it was okay to "play" with the recipe a bit) by upping the flax seed to half a cup, cutting the sugar out and using 1/8 cup of agave instead, and cutting the fat amount down by using only 2 tablespoons of olive oil vs. a stick of vegan spread. I, however, was unable to resist the temptation of adding chocolate to this. So a half cup of mini chips somehow made the cut, too.
I finished reading the book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed over the weekend.What happened next is apparently quite common:
I said, "I think I'd like to hike the Pacific Crest Trail."
DH said, "Oh. About how long is this hike?"
"Um, about five months."
"You going to take the dogs?"
"Well, actually I thought that might be a bit much for them. It's like over a thousand miles long."
"I'd get a tent. And a bunch of the other essentials a woman of my ilk may require. Real people do this. Women do this."
"What about that problem you have with the dark. I'm pretty sure it's going to be really dark on the trail at night."
"Um. Yeah. So."
Then it got really quiet as I set about proving my point about hiking 1100 miles up the west coast by myself. I found dozens and dozens of links from fellow hikers. Videos. Blogs. Some made the full hike. Some did not. Some were gearing up for the hike. Some got hurt on the hike. We watched several of these videos together.
This brief moment of insanity lasted about twenty minutes until finally it had passed.
I loved the book. Truly. I suggest all women read the book. All men, too. And I obviously am not alone in this PCT fantasy--here's a link of proof of this from a story in the NYT last fall. The Call of the Wild, indeed. The book is being made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Meantime, I've got some bread baking. (Which I would NOT be able to do were I to hike the PCT for five months. Just saying.)
Vegan Banana Flaxseed Quick Bread
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut milk (or soy or almond milk)
1/8 cup agave
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup organic shredded coconut (optional)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray an 8.5" x 4" loaf pan, set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients: flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (and chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts, if you are using them). Whisk these together. In another bowl, add peeled bananas and smash up with a fork, a few chunks are okay. Add the milk, oil, agave, vanilla extract and mix until it is combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until the dry mix is wet. Pour into the baking pan and smooth the top out with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn the loaf out of the baking pan and set on top of a cooling rack. After loaf has cooled, store in airtight container in the fridge. (I just feel this bread is better a little chilled, is all.)