A snow storm in mid-March? I’m not complaining! Although I have lived in the Northeast for many years now, and I’ll NEVER get used to the cold weather, I find the snow beautiful……and I just LOVE an excuse to stay home and spend the day in the kitchen. I didn’t actually shop for the storm—-I’m not brave enough to fight the crowds who all seem to be stocking up on milk and bread (I’m still trying to figure out WHAT exactly they’re going to DO with all of that!)—but I generally keep a well-stocked kitchen because I like to play when the urge strikes me, and in my book, having to run to the grocery is the fastest way to kill recipe inspiration. Ingredients on hand for a healthy banana bread? You bet!
Students in my cooking workshops have been asking for more recipes that use up the almond pulp that is left when you make homemade almond milk. I hate wasting food and I make almond milk at least once a week, so I am often experimenting with different ways to use the pulp. I use it in pancake batter, and quick breads and muffins most often. I make crackers with almond pulp as the base and I use it in dips and spreads. Sometimes I just throw some into the blender when I’m making a smoothie. Using the pulp from your almond milk is a great way to up the nutritional value to other recipes.
I admit, I like to cook….but what I like even more is the smell in the house when something is in the oven. To me, the smell of healthy banana bread baking is akin to a warm hug from a dear friend. I’ve been using the same recipe for years—–the one my kids adore—-that is laden with oil, sugar, chocolate chips—-you probably have a similar one in your collection of family favorite recipes as well. I’ve made a few tweaks and substitutions over the years—in fact, the cookbook that I originally made the recipe from opens directly to the banana bread page that is dog eared, stained, written on—with so many cross outs, arrows and lines drawn to make a new substitution—-at this point it’s almost illegible, and when I do follow that recipe it barely resembles the original.
Over the years, each time I altered the recipe it went un-noticed. A little less sugar, a little more honey. Half the oil became apple sauce. The rest of the sugar became dates. Maybe some almond pulp to keep things moist…. and why do we need any oil at all? The chocolate chips turned into berries….you get the idea. It was a slow and steady march towards healthy……and it’s interesting how you can get away with changing a family favorite, if you do it gradually, rather than just introducing a brand new recipe. Cuz let me tell you, I’m quite sure if one day I just made this nutritious and delicious banana bread they would all balk and ask why I have to always ruin everything turning it into something healthy and to bring back the original. See how I did that? You can too…..the smell alone will sell this for you!