I treated myself to a bit of a shopping spree this weekend. I drove in to Dallas to spend a little time (and money…) at anthropologie and a local boutique called Milk + Honey. Of course I didn’t leave without stopping by Central Market and loading up on some interesting things for my kitchen and belly.
For me, walking into Central Market is like walking into Willy Wonka’s room where everything was edible. You know, the one with the gigantic edible mushrooms, tea cups, and the chocolate river? Yeah, that’s what this place is for me. I go into this sort of sensory overload and I want to touch and smell everything. I actually want to eat things too but of course it’s not allowed to walk through the store taking bites out of things. I usually try to go with someone else because it keeps me from spending hours upon hours just looking at everything and thinking about what I would make with it. It’s best for me to make a list before hand and try to stick with it, or else I spend a crazy amount of money and get home with a small number of things that I can’t really make a meal out of.
While walking around the honeys and syrups, I spotted a display that caught my eye. It was a display for a brand called Navitas and they had an assortment of super-foods like ground maca powder and ground goji powder. As I stood there browsing, I spied some bags of organic raw cacao nibs. Having been thinking about buying some for oh, I don’t know, several years, I put them in my cart. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to make with them, but at the time I didn’t care.
In case you may not know, cacao nibs come from the bean of the cacao plant that is used to make chocolate. The cacao beans are ground down into nibs and roasted before they are made into chocolate. The nibs are essentially the raw chocolate before anything like sugar or milk is added to it. Aside from having a lovely nutty and bitter chocolate flavor, they are a superfood rich in antioxidants that contains a wonderful source of dietary fiber!
Sooooo, to make a long story short and quit preaching health facts, I ended up using some of the cacao nibs in a banana bread turned healthy breakfast loaf. It’s wheat-free and vegan and has a healthy combination of whole grains, fruit, veggies, cacao nibs, and just a touch of sweetness from some brown rice syrup. This is not your typical sweet banana bread but if you would prefer it a bit sweeter, use all banana puree. I’ve been munching on this at breakfast every morning with some fresh carrot-grapefruit juice and it fills me up until lunch. Try it and let me know how you like it 🙂
Banana-Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Cacao Nibs
If you don’t have access to cacao nibs you can either leave them out or sub in an equal amount of chopped dark chocolate.
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour if you can have wheat)
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup banana puree
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup brown rice syrup (or pure maple syrup if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp whole rolled oats
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
Preheat your oven to 375F and line a loaf pan or 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Whisk together the rice milk, vinegar, banana puree, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and chia seeds. Set the mixture aside to thicken for about 10 or 15 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cacao nibs, and 1/4 cup of the oats until combined. When the wet ingredients have thickened, add the dry ingredients and stir to combine, making sure not to over-mix. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the remaining oats. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Enjoy!