Raspberry Chocolate Banana Oat Bread

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t recognize a perfect banana. I get that we all have different preferences, but just because a banana is spotted or somewhat brown does not mean it’s “rotten.” My ideal banana is somewhat spotted, and never green.

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In fact when a banana has some brown to it/ is somewhat over ripe, this is when the nutrients are most readily available for absorption! Plus we all know that spotted bananas make for delicious treats!

Two sights really captured my soul recently. A cloudy sky, and the above overripe bananas next to two containers of fresh raspberries.

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Two completely different sights, both with the same meaning.

Baking.

A hot sunny day hasn’t stopped me from baking in the past, but a cool overcast makes it much easier. We go through a lot of bananas at Starbucks, and when they start to look “not yellow”, they’re mine!

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We’ve already discussed the abundance of raspberries I’ve been hoarding eating in previous posts, and I decided to attempt a new recipe. Not only have I never combined raspberries and bananas together in a bread, but I’ve also never made my own flour. Until now.

How I’ve never attempted the simplicity that is oat flour before is beyond me, but now that I have I can say with ease this is a new flour staple in my house. So easy, so simple, so delicious, and so CHEAP!

Raspberry Chocolate Banana Oat Bread

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cup whole GF rolled oats (before making into powdery flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tblsp fresh ground flax + 6 tblsp warm water)
  • 1 cup smashed fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (plus another small handful)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and wipe a 9x5in loaf pan with coconut oil.
  2. Make your oat flour by using a high speed blender or food processor. Blend/process until flour like. This should make around 2 cups, which is what you will need for this recipe.
  3. In a medium bowl combine your 2 cups of oat flour with your baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a separate medium sized bowl combine mashed bananas, brown sugar, vanilla, and flax eggs until smooth and creamy.
  5. Slowly add flour mixture into the wet mixture and mix until well combined.
  6. Fold in smashed raspberries and chocolate chips. Pour batter into your oiled pan, and sprinkle a small handful of chocolate chips on top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took closer to an hour, I have an old oven.
  7. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pan onto a rack.
  8. Eat with a heaping scoop of vanilla coconut ice cream.

029I can’t express how much fun I had experimenting and creating this bread. Having an evening free to bake instead of work or study really made the process that much more enjoyable.

I had two pieces right away, one by itself and one with PB and more berries, because you can never have too many berries.

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This bread is delicious, thick, & dense. Don’t bake this expecting light, airy, & fluffy bread. For a better balanced density use multiple mini loaf pans instead of one large one. I could care less, I ate every bit.

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I hope my friends at the Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck don’t mind that I used raspberries for my bread/dessert again. I just can’t get enough!

Q: What’s your favorite summer berry? Can I say all of them? 

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Early Morning Confessions

1. Costco, you’ve upped your game with this one…

Three pack of coconut ice cream!? This is pure gold.
Three pack of coconut ice cream!? This is pure gold.

2. My washing machine broke and I’ve been doing my laundry Little Mermaid style for over a week. Minus the crab.

3. I had my first exam for my Biology class, and I was a bit confused after seeing my score. Come to find out it IS possible to get 16 points OVER 100%. Then I got a 95% on my first lab exam. This is good.

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4. I’ve been running more, and enjoying it. Win.

5. I found this gem at an antique shop in Fremont while wandering after my 5K a few weeks ago. I love it, and will hang it on my wall.

1950's matted photo.
1950’s matted photo.

6. GoodBelly probiotic fruit drink was on sale so I bought some. I’m not a fan of the added sugar, but I am a fan of going to the bathroom…multiple times…in one day. I bought three more.

7. In running I collect medals, in hiking I collect…highlights?

Mid 70 MPH photo, don't mind the shaky quality.
Mid 70 MPH photo, don’t mind the shaky quality. Highlight indicates mountains CONQUERED.

8. My Garmin officially reset itself. All of my history is gone, my settings needed to be fixed, and the beeping sound needed to be turned off. I guess I finally maxed out?

9. I am obsessed with this drink. Along with the Ginger Spice flavor.

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10. I got EIGHT mosquito bites on this hike. They itched so bad at times they woke me up at night. So I busted out my inner granola and rubbed essential oils on them (lavender, peppermint, and purification.) I’ve never wanted to harm a bug so badly…

Q: What’s your confession?

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First Attempt

I took myself on a date last weekend. I really enjoy dating myself and doing things that most people do with others, all alone. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy spending time with people (sometimes) but lately I prefer to be alone. Just because I’m solo doesn’t mean I can’t explore!

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My date started with my first attempt at solo hiking. I have been wanting to build my confidence and become more comfortable hiking alone, so I went to a popular trail…on a Sunday.20140720-202716-73636118.jpg

Needless to say my first attempt at hiking “alone” didn’t go as I had planned. I wasn’t really alone because there were SO many people on this mountain, and at times I had to weasel my way around them. Sure I came alone, but I didn’t feel alone.

I did feel safe though, perhaps this is a start?

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In order to ditch the crowds I continued climbing past the main vantage point. I brought some homework with me and was pleased to see that the spot I wanted was completely empty. Just me & nature.

…and biology.

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I could get used to doing homework above the trees.

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Post hike I took myself to PCC for a vegan brownie, and then made my way to Whole Foods to balance my brownie out with greens.

I have no words...I need ten more.
I have no words…I need ten more.

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Despite the crowds, I found being alone on this hike to be serene. It’s funny to look back and remember a time when I was so dependent on other people for a lot of things in my life. These days I couldn’t be more independent, it’s such a beneficial quality for me to have.20140720-194346-71026049.jpg

I’ll attempt another solo hike this weekend (I hope.) With my knife, my mace, lots of food, a lighter, and a trail I am familiar with! Any tips?

Q: Do you depend on other people a lot, or do you take your adventures into your own hands at times?

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Mount Washington

Of all the mountains I’ve hiked lately, I feel as though this one is a necessary climb for anyone living in Washington. For obvious reason.

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After a weekend full of activity I found this climb to be somewhat difficult. My legs were heavy, and it took every ounce of energy I had to push me up the steep gradients. Thank goodness for cookies.

Tunnel into the trees.
Tunnel into the trees.

I focused on taking a few more photos along the way opposed to just the photos at the summit. The journey to the top is just as exciting.

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This was the first hike of the year that I had moments where I wasn’t enjoying myself. I know it was because I was tired, but it just goes to show not every climb is full of mountain glitter and confetti.

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Alas, once I made it to the top it was all worth it. As always.

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If you recall from a hike I went on a little over a month ago (under life lesson number five), I almost had to fight a bird for my sandwich. This time, I decided to try and feed the bird myself, because only when I OFFER you my food is it OK to take it. Never without approval.

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They circled, but didn’t take it. How rude.

So I set it down, and then they took it.

Kind of hard to see, but there he is with the cherry in his mouth.
Kind of hard to see, but there he is with the cherry in his mouth.

Despite my moments of weakness this hike was the perfect cap to my fantastic adventurous weekend. I destroyed an entire Chipotle burrito afterwards, and enjoyed a sunset ferry ride home.

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I’ve decided to try educating myself on the local wildflowers and plants on my hikes. I now know the names of the two flowers in this post, and will for sure bust out this knowledge on my next hike!

Q: Do you ever look up wildflowers/bird types/tree types etc..? Having this information makes me feel all “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” 

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See Jane Run

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway for a free race entry from P’s blog. Hands down the best giveaway I’ve ever won. I thought I “should” run the half marathon because it’s the distance I’ve raced for the last two years, but I decided to run the 5K. Best decision of the week.

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I hadn’t run a 5K “race” since April 2012, and to be honest 5K races really aren’t my thing these days. I don’t usually have a desire to spend $$ on a 3 mile race, but this run was a nice change of pace.

Everything about this race was on point. Everything.

It could have been because of my delicious breakfast brought to you by the lady Siren of Starbucks (Komodo Dragon drip coffee-black as night), and a vegan/gluten free pumpkin ginger muffin from The Flying Apron (a local/new to me company I am obsessed with!)

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THOSE GINGER PIECES!
THOSE GINGER PIECES!

It could have been because this was the first race I didn’t stress about arrival/time(MY GARMIN DIED ON ME so I didn’t even use it for the run)/weather/fuel-the joy of a short run means minimal everything.

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It could have been the amazing location, with some of the best views I’ve seen on a run. We ran by the water for 80% of the 3.1 miles.

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See that concrete?? That is the running path. HELLO WATER VIEW!
See that concrete?? That is the running path. HELLO WATER VIEW!

It could have been the atmosphere that was overwhelmingly positive, supportive, and full of fun activities. Such as a chalk board to write why you run, a post race photo booth, and posters for spectators.

My addition to the "I run because" board. I run for food, and for a healthy life...full of food.
My addition to the “I run because” board. I run for food, and for a healthy life…full of food.
NOT MY addition, but valid reasoning.
Bottom right…someone had a different idea. Valid reason…

It could have been the girl I focused on staying with, whom I thanked after for helping me run my new race PR. If I wasn’t running the half I told myself I had to push it for the 5K. Come to find out, having me on her tail pushed her as much as me chasing her pushed me. Win.

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It was so hot out, I was a legit hot mess…this photo booth was very forgiving of my sweaty face.

It could have been the immense sense of independence and power I felt in running another race among 100’s of other women. I totally choked up while reading the “motto” of this race.

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OR it could have been the swag bag full of food I got after the race, along with a glass of champagne and a chocolate coconut bar. I’m not a fan of champagne, or any booze really so I only drank a few sips.  My post race treat was to come later, another C word…take a guess.

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I got a medal…for a 5K! This NEVER happens..too legit.

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I’m normally a chocolate cupcake connoisseur, but this carrot vanilla cake from the heavens was so.damn.good. After the race/stuffing my face with this cupcake beauty I wandered the area and then ended up heading to Green Lake for a few more miles.

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I will definitely do this race again, but next year I would like to run the half. If you have a SJR event in your area (two in CA, one in WA, and one in KS) I HIGHLY suggest you run it. There were even a few men!

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OH-and for all you number lovers, my official time was 28:25 (9:09 pace), which is 1:33 faster than my previous race PR. I say “race PR” because I’ve run 3.1 milers on my own time that were quicker. My best EVER in general was at a 9:01 pace. SO CLOSE to sub 9min/mi.

Also, I’ve not run under 9:30 miles in months, this was indeed a push.

Q: What was one of your proudest accomplishments from last week?

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Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

I didn’t plan on posting today, or even posting this recipe at all. I had a couple people ask for it though, and I decided that I wanted to link up with the Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck, the only link up I ever participate in! Any excuse for baked goods is a good excuse!

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With an abundance of raspberries in my house these days, it’s no surprise we’ve been creating all kinds of raspberry based recipes.

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This recipe cred actually goes to my mom, the angel that had these delicious bars baked and ready for consumption the moment I arrived home after a morning run in the hot hot sun.

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We made these gluten free, but you can easily sub whole wheat flour if you prefer. Either way, prepare for a raspberry flavor bomb.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars (V/GF)

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Ingredients

For the cake: 

  • 1 1/2 cups GF flour (I suggest Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil cut in pieces
  • 1  chia egg  (1 tbsp ground chia and 3 tblsp of water)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

For the crumble topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp of gluten free flour
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and oil an 8in square baking pan.
  2. For the crumble topping stir together the brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cut in your coconut oil* with a knife and mix-stir until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and oats.  Set aside.
  3. For the cake stir together the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in your coconut oil* until mixture is crumbled. Add chia egg, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into your pan and scatter your raspberries evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the set aside crumble topping evenly over  the berries. Bake until cake is well risen and golden- about 50 minutes.
  5. Remove, let cool, serve, and ENJOY!

Notes: *You don’t want to use melted coconut oil for this recipe, but solid oil can be difficult to cut. Allow your oil to be somewhat softened as if you were using room temperature butter.

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I suggest serving these with a side of more berries, some banana, alongside your morning coffee, or underneath a blob of vanilla coconut ice cream. These were gone in a couple days, and now I need to decide what to make next! Suggestions welcomed! :)

Q: How are you taking advantage of summer berries? We’re on our second batch of fresh picked, local raspberries. We’ve gone through almost fifteen containers.

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Fancy That

I find it quite comical how my mind/mood works.  It’s not uncommon for me to feel a certain way inside, and the moment I express those feelings to the outside world they change. Indecisive much!?

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Case in point – anytime I feel like I’m in a running funk and I express it on the blog, I get the urge to run. So I’ve been running lately, not far, but I’ve been running. Partially to balance out the treats I’m enjoying.

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An abundance of raspberries means a crumble cake is in order.

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I find that when I remove the stress, or feelings of pressure from something, everything else just falls into place. Once I switched from the half marathon to the 5K for a race I ran yesterday, I was no longer dreading the idea of running and it became rejuvenating again.

Fancy that.

Pre race snacks, because even a 5K warrants a trip to Whole Foods.
Even a 5K warrants a trip to Whole Foods.

I’ll have a post dedicated to the race,  because it was too good of a run not to talk about. My entire weekend was good actually. The day before the race I went to spend time with a friend and explore.

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It was a fantastic day. Today I’m back to exploring the mountains, it’s been 11 days since my last climb!! Thank you 4 day weekend! :)

Q: Do you ever feel emotionally indecisive when you make a choice one way or another? I’m even worse when it comes to purchasing things. 

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Balance is bliss

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