Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread

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Banana bread in the summer. It can be a thing, right? 
Certain foods are made for certain seasons, or at least certain temperatures. Warm banana bread just isn’t usually something I associate with summertime. Fall? Yes. Winter? Sure. Summer? Notsomuch.
I might just switch everything around and start eating banana bread and soup and chili all summer. Then when it’s cold and depressing in the winter, I’ll think of summer by eating ice cream and grilled corn on the cob and cold pasta salad. Okay maybe that wouldn’t work out so well. 
Let’s backtrack for a moment.
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I think I’m having an identity crisis. Not so much of who I am on the inside, although those deep, ‘what is my purpose in life’ questions have been on my mind lately. But my identity issues revolve around the more physical things. Like my face.

Do I sound crazy yet?

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Seriously though, (seriously, I’ve been watching too much Grey’s Anatomy again and those of you who watch too know what I’m talking about….seriously), where was I…
Oh. Right. Seriously, sometimes I look at pictures of myself and wonder, “Is that really what I look like???” I know I can’t be the only one who has had this happen to them. I’m not talking about pictures of me making stupid faces, but pictures that capture my face at a certain angle or something that I just can’t explain. I don’t remember ever feeling this way with pictures in the past, but more than just a couple of times recently I have had to stare at a picture to grasp that, yes, that really is what I look like.
It kind of makes sense. Our appearance changes over time. Slowly, but surely it does. Maybe I’m just finally seeing some of the subtle changes that are happening as I’m getting older. I know I’m not old, but hey, I’m not a baby either. I’m in my mid-twenties, not even close to my teen years anymore. I work full-time in the corporate world, pay bills, am married (woo! still getting used to saying that one!), and am usually in bed by 10pm. And I’m not afraid to admit it. 
So don’t mind me, snacking on banana bread in the middle of summer (okay, technically the beginning but the middle sounds better), trying to come to terms with my identity. 
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Afterall, is there ever really a bad time for banana bread?
Seriously.

Whole Wheat Coconut Banana Bread 
(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 cups mashed extra ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until well-combined and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add eggs and brown sugar. Whisk thoroughly until smooth. Add coconut milk and oil and stir until well-incorporated. Add mashed banana, then vanilla and coconut extracts. Stir until smooth. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Add shredded coconut and gently stir until just combined. Pour into loaf pan.
4. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan about 15-20 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

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{Vegan} Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Breakfast hasn’t tasted this good in a long time. 
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Yes, I’m baking with oats…again. Yes, I’m baking with bananas…again. But you know the saying. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When it comes to oats and bananas, it’s hard to go wrong in my book. Combine the two, then add some chocolate chips and, well, we’ve got quite the delicious treat. 
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I instantly pinned these when I saw them on Jenna’s blog a while ago and have been dreaming about the day I would make them ever since. 
These are so perfect for breakfast. I’ve been eating them all week. I almost feel like I get to eat a cookie for breakfast. 
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Almost.

Don’t get me wrong. They are great for a mid-day snack or even dessert too. But something about them screams: BREAKFAST! I guess it’s probably the oats screaming that. 
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The bars are just the right amount of sweet without being too sweet for breakfast. You know me – I love a good sugary doughnut or sweet pancakes for breakfast. But especially during the week, I try to keep breakfast as healthy as possible. I don’t know about you, but I do (and feel) so much better throughout the day when I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. Then, after a well-rounded dinner, I don’t have a problem treating myself to a bowl of fro yo or chocolate candy. If I start off with something like a doughnut, I only crave sugar that much more throughout the rest of the day.

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What I’m trying to say is that these bars are a great compromise. They’re satisfy my sweet tooth without bringing on more cravings, and still offer the healthful benefits I look for in my breakfasts. They’re hearty and filling and, and, and…
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I’m obsessed. So obsessed.

{Vegan} Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
(Adapted from Eat. Live. Run.)

Makes about 8-10 bars

Ingredients:
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chai seeds
1 3/4 cup rolled oats
6 tablespoons chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. Add mashed banana, oil and brown sugar to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, chai seeds and oats. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the large bowl. Stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour mixture into the pan and gently spread with a spatula or spoon in an even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

{Vegan} Whole Wheat Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

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Sometimes I bake things that I know are going to be good before I even start. If I’m following a tried and true recipe, or sticking with traditional flavors and ingredients, I don’t usually worry about the outcome. 
This was not one of those times. 
Yesterday I showed you my breakfast from the weekend – a bagel, spread with mashed avocado, and topped with sliced bananas. I was one bite into the bagel when I knew what I would bake later on that day. 
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In my head, it had potential. When I said it out loud, it just sounded weird. But I could not get the idea out of my head. I wanted to…needed to…combine the banana and avocado flavors into my most beloved dessert. I worked up the courage and decided to go for it. 
The only question was: banana cupcakes with avocado frosting? Or avocado cupcakes with banana frosting. Judging by the title of this post and the pictures, I think you know what the answer turned out to be. 
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Once I had the flavors figured out, I wanted to take these cupcakes one step further. I wanted to healthify them. 
Besides the fact they’re filled with all-natural fruits, I brought in whole wheat flour and cut back on the sugar. I even made them vegan by leaving out butter and eggs, instead only using vegetable oil. 
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The end result was better than I even imagined. I mean really, what’s better than a (somewhat) healthy cupcake? 
You want to make these soon. And because of the green frosting, I think you need to at least make them this week/weekend for St. Patrick’s Day, no?
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Yes.

{Vegan} Whole Wheat Banana Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting 

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes-
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 very ripe medium bananas, mashed

For the frosting-
3/4 medium avocado
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon almond milk

Sprinkles, if desired

Directions:
For the cupcakes-
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tin with liners and place aside.
2. In a medium/large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Whisk well and set aside. In the bowl of a stand-alone mixer, add vegetable oil, milk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add mashed banana and continue to beat another 2-3 minutes. Turn speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined, be careful not to overmix. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter a couple stirs.
3. Fill cupcake wells with batter, about 3/4 full. Bake 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting-
1. Add the meat of the avocado to the bowl of a stand-alone mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 3-4 minutes.