Thanksgiving has come and gone… can you believe that it’s already December?! I hope y’all were lucky enough to spend the last week enjoying some quality time with your families. If you’re anything like me, you spend almost as much time being sassy with them as you do loving on them. Below is an authentic transcript of an exchange between my me and my mom that took place last week.
Mom: I am very lucky to have a daughter who is such a wonderful cook.
Me (bitterly): No thanks to you… you and Grandma didn’t teach me anything!
Mom: I was too busy teaching you more important things, like how to read. Look! Now you can read recipes!
So Mom out-sassed me at my own game. Typical.
This little exchange got me thinking about how I really began cooking. It’s true that when I first started out, I would research a handful of recipes I wanted to make for that week, compile all their separate ingredients into a single grocery list, and set out to purchase exactly what I needed for exactly what I wanted to make. I followed the directions perfectly, reading along (like mom taught me!) as I prepared the food. It was a great way to get started, but it took a lot of time. I also didn’t consider the cost of ingredients or whether the produce I needed was available at that time of year.
Fast forward ten years and I rarely cook from a recipe or go to the store with a list. I shop based on what is on sale and what is in season. When I get home I take into account what I already have on hand and make a mental game plan for prepping that week’s meals. What meats and vegetables can be roasted together? What can I chop to have on hand for a breakfast scramble or mix into a salad? Do I have healthy and quick meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the upcoming busy work week? What can I grab and go? I rely less on specific recipes and more on classic techniques like roasting, sautéing, chopping, and blending. A little knowledge and creativity turns my haul of groceries into edible awesomeness, no recipes required! Compared with my early style of recipe reading and meticulous planning, I save time and money.
As a food blogger, it is expected that you cook something, style it beautifully, photograph it, and post the recipe online for your followers to read and replicate. I have STRUGGLED with this, because I don’t use any darn recipes! I am working really hard on a brand NEW way of presenting the content here at Paleo State of Mind. Less recipes, more techniques. I want to enable you all to truly do this YOURSELF. To make food for you and your family based on your tastes, your dietary needs and preferences, your budget, what you already have on hand, and what is available to you locally. That is my vision and I am working towards it every week.
This week, I could have just posted a recipe for Kitchen Sink Quick Bread and left it at that. But I want to give you more insight into why I decided to make this in particular treat. Simply put, I just wanted to use up what I already had on hand!
It all started with some ripe bananas. Before I sliced and froze the bunch for future smoothie bowls, I thought I could bake a quick bread with a few of them. I also had an open can of pureed pumpkin in the fridge from last week’s Pie Filled Pumpkins with Siggi's Whipped Topping, and I needed to use the remainder before it went bad. From there I knew a pumpkin banana bread would be appropriate (and delicious!). I am always looking to incorporate more chocolate into my life, so I checked to see if there were any chocolate chips in the cupboard. I did but not have enough for an entire bread, only about a half cup. Instead of not including the chocolate chips all together, I brainstormed what other mix-ins would taste good. Some pecans and frozen blueberries seemed to be the answer! And was born the Kitchen Sink Quick Bread. From a basic banana bread recipe, I made a few simple substitutions and the result was VERY delicious.
Kitchen Sink Quick Bread
This is not your average banana bread! Pumpkin, blueberries, pecans, chocolate… the flavors of this bread make it even more special than it’s beautifully rustic presentation would have you believe.
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
½ cupbrown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup ground flaxseed
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease bottom of a loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat mashed bananas, pumpkin, coconut oil, and brown sugar until combined. Incorporate eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add water and vanilla and beat on low until wet ingredients are thoroughly combined.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cinnamon through flaxseed together with a fork or whisk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Fold together with a spatula just until combined. Gently fold in frozen blueberries, pecans, and mini chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!