Perfect Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sometimes, we begin with what we love and trust, which is how I feel about this well used recipe! My sister shared it with me years ago and we’ve never found a banana bread recipe we like better.  It never fails me, and as expected, it warmed my heart again. It took about 6 months before the light bulb went off in my head that I can adapt our favorite recipes and don’t have to search for all new gluten-free, dairy-free recipes. Mmmm…the warm, sweet smell as it bakes and first comes out of the oven always draws the kids around the kitchen island as I slice those first pieces.  I usually hear “This is awesome!” or “Can I have some for breakfast tomorrow morning?” because they know if they can leave enough, this bread tastes even better the next day.  Share this one – either on a piece of paper, or fresh out of the oven.  If you want the original recipe, just adapt by taking out the xanthan gum and use real butter and flour.

Perfect Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 cup sugar

¼ cup dairy-free butter (Earth Balance)

3 mashed bananas

¼ cup milk substitute (rice milk or almond milk)

¼ cup sour cream substitute (WayFare’s 100% Dairy Free Sour Cream)

2 large egg whites

2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour blend (Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy, nut & soy free)

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° .  Combine sugar and butter in a mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Add mashed bananas, milk, sour cream and egg whites, blending well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour blend, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.  Blend together with a whisk.  Add to creamed mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon into a 9 inch loaf pan that has been coated with cooking spray and bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit 10 minutes, then remove from loaf pan and cool on a wire rack.  As difficult as it is, try to let it cool before slicing or it will have a slight soggy feel.

tip:  When bananas turn brown and you know you won’t have time to use them, stick them in the freezer, skin and all. They will turn super ugly and black on the outside leaving perfectly mushy insides. For yesterday’s batch of bread I pulled two from my freezer and one from my fruit bowl.   After all, I don’t always have 3 rotten bananas sitting in my kitchen! Just remember to take them out earlier in the day so they have time to defrost.

Family Pizza Night! Hoot! Hoot!

What a beautiful day! Robbie appeared in the kitchen this morning and whipped out another Dairy Free Banana Smoothie.  As a mother, I smiled knowing he made breakfast by himself (independence) and is leaving for school with something more than a glass of juice in his stomach (yes!).

Tonight was a fun night – pizza night always is. Kids l.o.v.e. pizza. Imagine being a teenager and not being able to eat pizza.  For a long time after hearing my son should be gluten and dairy free, I kept telling him all the foods he couldn’t eat.  Now, I hear what he wants and we learn how to make it differently.  He eats pizza again!  Standing in the kitchen making pizzas with your kids can not only make you laugh, but can give busy parents some quick quality time on even territory.  We are extremely grateful to have found our new favorite cookbook, “Cooking for Isaiah” by Silvana Nardone and her recipe for Perfect Pizza Crust.  Her recipe is simple and quick to prepare (truly about 5 minutes), which I usually make right as I’m running out the door to pick up or drop off a kid and it’s ready to bake when I return.  Keeping them pre-baked in the freezer means Robbie can pull a crust out anytime he wants.  If you don’t have an interest in trying to make a gluten-free pizza dough, DO NOT feel guilty.  Life is too precious to waste time judging yourself.  We also keep Udi’s Pizza Crust in our freezer at all times.  They are pricey but at least it’s pizza again!  Now, let them go crazy and add anything they think sounds fabulous.  Relax and watch as each child’s pizza is interestingly unique. Suggest BBQ sauce and chicken, sautéed onions with bell peppers, chorizo, taco meat, cilantro or any amazing leftovers sitting in your fridge.

Family Pizza Fun Ingredients

Perfect Pizza Crusts (Gluten Free)

Pizza sauce

Mozzarella flavored Rice shreds (we buy it at Whole Foods or PCC)

or Soy Mozzarella (we like the brand Follow Your Heart)

A dash of dried italian herbs

Pepperoni, Sausage and any other toppings

These ingredients are staples in my kitchen along with traditional pizza dough and huge blocks of mozzarella.  Teens are social creatures and I cherish my time watching them interact with friends.  How do you make the teenagers think you are a really cool mom?  Feed them and you will be included in their circle!  The Carter boys enjoy having groups of friends over on weekend nights and I finally learned, instead of cooking for them, there’s more fun in passively directing them to cook for themselves.  Now, I give them the pizza ingredients and let them go at it while I sit back, watch and listen. Oh, I learn so much from listening!

Go plan your family pizza night and let go of the thought that pizzas are only for those who can tolerate gluten and dairy. I’d love to hear what your favorite pizza toppings are.

Dairy Free Banana Smoothie

Peeled, whole, and longitudinal section

My very first post will be simple.  My goal is to inspire your gluten and dairy free cooking, whether you are dairy free, only gluten free or both.  Be creative and substitute.  I love the new tastes we’ve discovered!  I find it exciting!

Breakfast can be difficult purely because it’s hard to get those teens in the kitchen when they would rather have every last minute of sleep possible. Literally!  As moms, we know how important it is to eat breakfast.  Here’s a tasty and nutritional breakfast! Robbie and I love to drink these anytime of the day.

Dairy Free Banana Smoothie

1 banana

1 1/2 cups vanilla soy, rice or almond milk

3 large ice cubes

1 teaspoon of ground flax (I keep the Costco size bag in the freezer)

3 small drops of almond extract (optional)

1 scoop of soy based protein powder

(peanut butter is optional if you want added protein and flavor, but don’t mind the extra calories)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender on high.  Scrape the sides to make sure the protein powder is blended through.  Blend again to make it nice and fluffy.

Makes 1 large serving.