Day 20, Paleo Banana Bread

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 20

It’s hard to tell lately, but I’m on the paleo wagon much of the time. Grass-fed/pastured meats, a boatload of vegetables, a lack of grains, and the occasional treat really is an enjoyable way for me to eat, at least until I start craving buttermilk biscuits. But not all treats are verboten. These banana bread mini-loaves are made with almond flour and a minimum of sweetener, so they’re actually pretty good for you, as desserts go. Loaded with protein, they’re satisfying and don’t cause a sugar crash an hour after indulging.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 20

And they package up real purty, too.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 20

They have a dense, moist crumb, which is enhanced by toasting the slices slightly before eating. Adding a schmear of butter is entirely up to you.

recipe after the jump

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Deeeeep breaths…

The Saints game is about to start. As such, I have no time nor the presence of mind to write a real post, so I’ll leave you with a few pictures and a promise to do better next weekend. I’ve been creatively moribund since the holidays, but hope it’ll pass soon.

Got my gris-gris going first thing this morning with shrimp & grits. I hope the spirits aren’t too upset that my coffee lacked chicory.

And since it’s old home day, why not have a little old-fashioned banana pudding with Nilla Wafers? (I’ve been playing with the recipe I got from my mom, who got it at her wedding shower, but it’s not quiiiiite there yet. Will post it once it is.)

And on the topic of comfort foods, all I wanted last weekend was graham crackers and milk.

OK, that’s not entirely true. These Szechuan noodles with shrimp really hit the spot.

How could they not?

Time for a beer, maybe some wings. Geaux Saints! No matter what happens tonight, nothing will ever beat this fan video or the run that inspired it:

It’s a neighborly day in the neighborhood

I’m a terrible neighbor. Oh, I don’t let Rufus pockmark neighbors’ yards with calling cards or have crazy drink-till-dawn parties or have a car on blocks in the front yard, but I’ve found other less obvious ways to be a bad person.

Those of you who are lucky enough to be in warmer climates at the moment might not have heard, but it’s cold here. Negative wind chill cold. Unacceptably cold. AND it snowed like a sonofabitch last weekend. So we’re all miserable, is what I’m getting at. When it snows over the weekend, Gil and I sometimes shovel the driveway, but more often he just drives over the snow in his Honda Element and we don’t think too much about it. Last weekend, however, in the midst of all the wintery misery, our neighbor came over with his snow blower to take care of the dirty work for us.

As he was doing his thing, I looked over at our fruit bowl and noticed a few blackened bananas there just begging to be made into banana bread. So I dug out my version of a Cooking Light recipe and got to work on some bread for this wonderful, generous man.

And when it came out of the oven, I took a few pictures.

And then we sampled a slice just to make sure it was gift-worthy, which of course, rendered the entire loaf un-gift-worthy.

And those being the last of our bananas, there was no thank-you banana bread. Therefore, I am a bad neighbor.

But a happy one.

recipe after the jump

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I found this recipe through Tastespotting last week and immediately determined that grilled bananas with chocolate would be an essential part of our weekend. It’s the simplest dessert imaginable — bananas stuffed with chocolate, then grilled. Just slice the length of the banana down to, but not through, the bottom, load with chocolate, and grill until the peel darkens and the chocolate melts.

We had bittersweet chocolate chips on hand, so that’s what I used, but I’m sure any chocolate you love would be great in this. Perhaps even, dare I say it, Nutella?

If you look closely, you can see where the juices are still sizzling between banana and peel. I’m sure this would be amazing over ice cream, but we enjoyed them scooped straight from the peel.