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.

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–

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.

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.

Home Sweet Home Pancakes

This recipe blog post is kind of awkward for me.

1. I’ve been sorta-kinda working on it for like four weeks.

2. The first recipe I didn’t make myself.

3. I kinda failed on the recipe I did make.

Just letting you know ahead of time.

With that all cleared up, I want to talk to you about pancakes.

First, nothing says “Home sweet home” like pancakes made from scratch for breakfast. They were actually yelling that at me before I ate them. It was kind of weird.

Okay, I’m sorry, my pancakes don’t talk. That was a sick joke. I promise not to do that again.

Anyways, my daddy happens to make the best pancakes. And not with bisquick…we actually try not to say the b-word in my house. Just because the pancakes on the box look fantastic does not mean they taste anywhere near as delicious as from scratch. Trust me, it’s totally worth the effort.

So these pancakes my dad makes–they’re not only made-from-scratch yumminess, they’re actually rather nutritious for you…of course, that’s pre-butter and maple syrup drenching.

Here’s how he does it:

Set aside 1 mashed ripe banana

Mix in a bowl:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP sugar (for sweeter pancakes, add another TBSP)
1 TSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
½ tsp baking soda

In another bowl:
Whip 2 eggs
Then add:
1 1/3 Cups (approx.) low-fat buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt, until the desired consistency is reached
(For richer pancakes, add 1/4 cup of melted butter)

Stir wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined.

Once the skillet (greased beforehand) is heated up, reduce heat to medium, then spoon batter onto skillet. The pancake is OK to flip when the batter starts getting a bunch of holes in it, but cook time will vary depending on how dark you want your ‘cakes.

Don’t you want some of these sweeties?

Now, I saw this recipe by Joy the Baker called The Single Lady Pancake, so I performed my own rendition of it the next day with some of the leftover batter from the aforementioned recipe. This is how it went down:

I got a 1-cup measuring cup, which I filled with 2 Tbsp of oatmeal…

A heaping Tbsp of dark chocolate chunks…

And about half of a large sliced banana.

Then I poured pancake batter into the cup to fill up the remaining room, and mixed it all together.

Now I ran into a little problem…I was so excited about this pancake, that I poured it on the skillet immediately…

…but  I forgot about spraying the skillet.


Kind of a fail.

But, hey, just because it doesn’t look pretty doesn’t mean it can’t taste good.

So after I scraped that sucker off the skillet, drizzle a little honey on it, piled on the rest of the sliced banana and some granola, I stuffed it. In my mouth, that is.

Best pancake ever? Totally.

Crushcrushcrush on Cinna-Apple-Banana Muffin Bread

The college student strikes again.

Dorm Room, you CANNOT confine me in your four walls of kitchen-less purgatory! Meal Plan, you are NOT my master! I CAN be a simple freshman AND bake delicious food!

Therefore, Dorm Room and Meal Plan, I lick my batter-dripping spatula and then laugh in your conquered faces.

See, I had a few problems: 1. I had a lot of extra ingredients from the Devil Wears Peanut Butter and Chocolate M&M Cookie recipe, and 2. I didn’t have enough ingredients for Shred, White, and Blueberry muffins.

So I, the college student, looked around my room. I had no applesauce, nor an abundance of walnuts, nor buttermilk…but I did have a bunch of apples and bananas, a few walnuts left over from a salad, granola bars, and a tub of yogurt. And cinnamon.

So I thought, “Well, I guess I could make a banana puree for the applesauce…and cut up some apples and another banana for the fruit pieces…

…and yogurt can substitute for buttermilk, right?

And I could use the few walnuts I have and crumble one of those ‘Oats ‘n Honey’ granola bars on top…

“…and listen to Paramore at the same time!!!!”

(Photo credit not mine)

Within the hour, along with Hayley Williams‘ voice, a heavenly baked-good scent poured out of the kitchen, tinged strongly with cinnamon. And not long after that, I beheld the fruit of my labor:

And not long after that came the most important part, the tasting:

I’ve got a lot to say to you, yeah, I’ve got a lot to say; I’ve noticed Cinna-Apple-Banana Muffin Bread is DELICIOUS!…Crush…crush…crush…

Okay, enough with the Paramore references. Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare and set aside:
1 cup of dime-sized apple pieces
1 1/4 cups banana puree (I blended some bananas with a fork, adding about 3 tablespoons of water to it)
2 medium bananas, split into thirds and cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I wish I had this many when I baked it–I had to satisfy myself with the few I did have)
About half a cup granola for topping (optional)

Mix in a large bowl:
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix together in a medium bowl:
1 1/4 cups banana puree
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
4 tablespoons oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until the dry is just wet (I explain why on the Blueberry Muffin Bread recipe).

Fold in the apple and banana pieces and the walnuts. Then, pour into a prepared pan (I used a 9 x 8 pan, but you can use whatever depending on how thick you want your loaf, etc.). Crumble your favorite granola on top (I used the “Oats ‘n Honey” bar).

After 20 minutes of baking, cover with aluminum foil. I, not being quite as fortunate to own such, covered the tin with another slightly larger metal pan that I found in the kitchen. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s how I did it; I used a bit of trial-and-error because the middle was taking so long to bake, and I don’t remember my method exactly. I judged the bread was done by using the stick-a-knife-in-the-center trick.

When it’s done, give it some cooling time and then enjoy! I highly recommend a little spread of peanut butter and a nice cup of coffee to compliment. You may even want to hum “Crushcrushcrush” in between your “Mmmmm”s…

…Nothing compares to a quiet evening alone, just the one, two I was counting on. That never happens, I guess I’m dreamin’ again, so I guess I’ll eat my Muffin Bread…