Joyous Vegan Mango Banana Bread

I have a confession to make: Joy the Baker has been a major inspiration for me as a blogger and baker. If you’re into baking and food and whatnot and haven’t yet visited Joy’s blog, you seriously need to. In addition to great recipes, she adds little life stories that make them fun to read and styles them up with some awesome photography.

One fateful day, I saw this Mango Banana Bread recipe on her site and I decided I must make it as soon as possible. I went out and bought some mangos and made the bread the very next morning, if I recall correctly.

So….it was amazing. And I’m gonna share the love.

I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit by using white whole wheat flour and walnuts. Because I love whole wheat and bread with nuts.

First, you’ll want to find yourself a ripe mango and cut it into cubes–which was trickier than I thought it’d be, so if you’ve never cubed a mango before, you can learn right here. Set aside.

After that, get yourself a large mixing bowl and some ripe bananas. 3 medium or 2 large ones will do.
Then…mash those suckers up.

 Add:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Whisk these “briskly.”

Sift in:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
rounded 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
rounded 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together with a wooden spoon until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. (I meant to add the walnuts in later, oops.)

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 ripe cubed mango

Pour into a prepared 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. I recommend lining it with parchment paper.

Sprinkle with granulated sugar or maybe some shredded coconut if you desire so.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Resist the temptation to eat it fresh out of the oven–let the bread cool for 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Let it cool a little more on a wire rack, and then enjoy it. Enjoy, enjoy.

Oh, and by the way…this recipe’s vegan. Yeppers.

Joy’s recipe: here.

Date everything cookies

Let’s enter in the daydreams of Jenn for a moment here–the by-myself-staring-at-a-random-object sort of daydreaming–kay?

So, I’m a college girl, and what does a college girl think about all the time? Her future husband…of course. I’ll be all like staring at a tree and then wondering Geez, I wonder what he’ll be like? And then I go through the possible options; Maybe he’ll be a surfer-longboard type of dude,or one of those artsy-photographer types, or a rocker band guy…man, I really like rocker band guys…And then, of course, I analyze enough to wonder what it would be like to have to choose between a surfer-longboard dude, arsty-photographer man, or a rocker band guy if each one of them came up and stuck a ring in my face. And then I have to get myself to stop thinking…

But, apparently I’m the same way with cookies. There are SO many things I could put in a cookie; walnuts…peanut butter chips…M&Ms…Dark chocolate…white chocolate…apples…Geez, so many choices! Why can’t I have it all?

So this is what happened–do you remember that Oatmeal Date Cookie recipe I posted a while ago? Well…I took that recipe and decided to shovel my whole pantry in it. Well…maybe not all of it. Because there are definitely not pita chips in these. But just about everything else is in there.

Dates. Shredded coconut. Bananas. Unsweetened chocolate bits. Walnuts. And OH MY GOODNESS, oatmeal!

Oh, and guess, guess, guess how much sugar is in these? 3/4 a cup of brown sugar. That’s it. Half of what a normal recipe would have. And guess how much butter? Only 1/4 a cup. Which is a quarter of what normal oatmeal cookies have. No, I’m not lying! Geez. Why would I lie to you?

Best part? These cookies are just…amazing. Haha, yeah, I know! Who needs sugar when you have dates? Talk about candy that grows on trees…

Okay! Full recipe, right here, right now–

Cream:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar

Beat in 2 eggs

Blend in:
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla

Add in:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
heaping 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix in 2 cups of white whole wheat flour (aka whole wheat pastry flour)

Stir in 3 cups of oatmeal

Now for the fun goodness stuff! Stir in:
heaping 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup chopped dates
rounded 1/2 cup of chopped unsweetened baking chocolate
1 banana, split into thirds and then cut into pieces
1 cup walnuts

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Dang, there’s a party going on in those cookies.

So, eat these warm, eat them out of the freezer, or do what I’m going to do and take them with me on a backpacking trip (who needs Clif bars?) and try not to worry about the fact that I can’t do the same thing with men that I can do with cookies.

Frozen cookie dough balls

I’m about to tell you how to do something that you really shouldn’t do. Especially since it’s still summer and everyone’s trying to fit into their swimsuits. And since human beings are not known for their steely self-control.

So…I’m sorry. Ahead of time. I’ve told myself I’m sorry, too.

I’m going to show you how to make your own frozen cookie dough balls so you can put them in your ice cream, eat them dipped in chocolate, or sneak them out of the freezer after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I told you, I’m sorry! But at least they’re made with whole wheat…

Yeah, the funny thing is, as addicting as these sweet little deals are, they aren’t quite as bad for you as regular cookie dough. Only because I used white whole wheat flour, substituted half the butter with yogurt, and took out a portion of the sugar. So you don’t feel as guilty when you can’t stop eating them.

Recipe!

Cream:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar

I beat in 2 eggs…but that’s because I’m not very raw-egg-aphobic. If you are, which is totally cool, I’m fairly certain you can leave out the eggs and still get the same result, since you’re not gonna bake this dough.

 Add in:
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Mix in:
1 tsp baking soda (trust me, it adds flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 white whole wheat flour (aka whole wheat pastry flour)

Stir in 1 3/4 cup chocolate of your choice. I split it half-n-half with semi-sweet chips and a chopped 72% bar.
I also added in 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. I highly recommend. Unless walnuts give you sores in your mouth. Then I don’t recommend.

Form bite-sized balls and place on wax paper-lined tray-thing. An hour or two in the freezer should do the trick.

Well there you have it! Make these and eat them. You can come back later and tell me how you can’t stop walking back to the freezer…but don’t tell me that I didn’t try to warn you…

I Go to the Barn Because I Like the Oatmeal Date Cookies

Band of Horses has this song called “I Go to the Barn Because I Like the.”

Now, I love this song, it’s one of those “let’s go sit on a swing tied to a tree in the middle of a moonlit field” sort of songs. Melancholy, sad, chill, nostalgic.

But, to be honest,  I can’t help feeling kind of bothered that I’m not really told why the writer likes to go to the barn. “Because I Like the”…what? What is it? Why won’t you tell me?

I was listening to this song while I was baking today, though, and I think I figured it out.

Band of Horses is hiding something…in the barn, I mean. Cookies. They’re hiding cookies in the barn.

Bear with me here.

I was baking cookies, trying out a new recipe, and I used butter, eggs, yogurt, and buttermilk. Everything that comes from a barn, hence…Band of Horses goes to the barn because they like cookies.

And you would go sneaking off to the barn too, if you found these cookies there.

These cookies are just whoa. Think coffee cake meets granola bar. Dates, oatmeal, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, allspice…secretly whole wheat and reduced fat…sounds good? Chya, that’s what I thought.

Cream together:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar

Beat in 2 eggs

Add in:
3-1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Mix in:
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

Stir in:
3 cups oatmeal

Finally, add in:
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates
rounded 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Optional: 1/2 cup bits of unsweetened baking chocolate (which will compliment the spicy sweetness with a dark, earthy flavor )

Bake at 350 degrees for about 16 minutes or until the cookies have slightly browned edges.

 Do eat these warm. Do eat them with milk. Do take them with you on a hike or a picnic. Do continue to wonder what it is in the barn that Band of Horses likes so much.

The Pancake Batter Roommate

For the second Saturday in a row, I made pancakes. In my dorm room. Without a stove top, burner, griddle, whatever.

With this:

Let me explain.

The college world has its stereotypes, especially when you’re talking about roommates. There’s the roommate who’s always naked, the roommate who screams in the hallways, the roommate who snores worse than your grandpa, the roommate whose stuff is literally EVERYWHERE, the roommate who decorates the room with posters of some “hot guy,” the roommate who’s always MIA…etc.,etc.,etc.

I found out that I’m the roommate obsessed with pancake batter.

Yep. You know that made-from-scratch pancake recipe I posted a while ago? I have a confession to make. I will seriously eat the batter by spoonfuls. I even like my pancakes half-done, so that they’re “cooked” and warm on one side and still gooey and batter-y on the other side.

You don’t need to tell me I’m weird, I already figured that out.

So last Saturday, I woke up, and I decided that I would make pancake batter and eat it for breakfast. With bananas and granola and stuff. Before I started, I turned on the coffeemaker to brew some java, and then an idea struck me: why not use the hotplate on the coffee maker to cook the pancakes?

So I did.

With chocolate chips!

Is a coffemaker’s hotplate hot enough to make pancakes? If you’re like me–heck yeah.

If you’re traditional and like your ‘cakes to actually be mostly brown–you’re probably thinking I have no idea what a real pancake is.