Classic (But Healthy) Banana Bread

 

banana-bread

Happy new year everyone! Kicking off the very cold new year with a hearty banana bread – the best comfort food for cold days. This is my classic banana bread recipe but I had loads of bananas leftover that I needed to use up so I decided to stick on in the middle (coated in chocolate of course) and see how it comes out! It was yummy 🙂

Wishing all my followers a very happy and healthy new year. Let this be the year that we respect our bodies for all that they do. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and just eat and live healthily to give our bodies the best chance. Lots of love ❤

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (if they are small, use 4)
1 whole banana for the middle (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp flax seeds
4 tbsp filtered water
1 cup buckwheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Chocolate sauce to coat the banana in (optional):
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp tsp cashew butter

Method

(Quick note: if you want this to  be quick and simple, just leave out the optional chocolate-covered banana in the middle, the cake will be just as nice!)

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a loaf tin with baking paper and grease with coconut oil.

Make the chocolate sauce by melting all the sauce ingredients on a gentle heat in a saucepan. Coat the whole banana in the chocolate sauce and leave in the fridge to set.

Mix the flax seeds in a small bowl with the water and set aside so it can set. (this is a flax ‘egg’ and used instead of eggs.)

Mash the other 3 bananas in a large bowl and add the coconut oil and maple, then add the flax mix and mix well.

Now add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Move just under half the batter into the loaf tin then put the chocolate-covered banana on top. Now add the rest of the mix on top of the banana.

Put it in the oven for around 25–30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. My oven tends to cook things much quicker than most so it’s been a bit of a learning curve, your oven may need more time.

Leave on a wire rack to cool then turn out of the loaf tin onto a plate.

Delicious served with peanut or almond butter!

Enjoy!

Love and health,
Lauren

Gioia – An Amazing Plant-Based Restaurant in Marbella

IMG_8375Braxton trying to steal my juice!

We spent two weeks in Spain recently. We are fortunate enough that Daniel’s parents have a place in Estepona so it makes it really easy when travelling with a baby as we already have everything we need there.

When we arrive the first thing we usually do is take ourselves to the natural health shop down the road to stock up on superfoods, smoothie ingredients (Braxton loves his breakfast smoothie!) and other foods and bits, so that we can eat at home some of the time. But we also love eating out; after all, what is a holiday if you have to cook all the time? And I love Spanish food. I do relax with my diet a little bit on holiday but I still don’t have dairy or sugar and still don’t give Braxton dairy or sugar; for me, they are the worst ‘foods’ and once you’re used to it, it’s not hard to stay away from them. I could be a little more lax now I’m back in remission but it’s just not worth it, for my remission, my stomach and Braxton’s all-round health. I do enjoy the odd glass of wine or a gin and tonic though!

So anyway, when we were in the health shop, the guy in there told us about a new vegan restaurant that had opened up in Marbella, only 20 minutes from where we stay. My husband, who used to be the world’s biggest meat eater and couldn’t fathom the idea of a vegan diet, got so excited and made sure it was our first meal out. It still amazes me how he’s embraced this lifestyle so openly.

We arrived at the place and although it was small and discreet, it was perfectly shabby chic; English country garden-style wrought iron chairs outside underneath a tree, reclaimed-wood chairs and small wooden tables indoors within a bright, minimalistic yet warm atmosphere with a dessert bar and a book stand. The only drawback was that they don’t yet have any high-chairs for babies as they have just recently opened, but they promised us they’d be getting some soon. When Braxton eats these days the surrounding area ends up looking like a school food fight so we prefer to have him not in the buggy or on our laps. But he sat on Daniel’s lap and we all just got a bit dirty which is also fine every so often!

gioia-plant-based-cuisine

gioia-plant-based-cuisine (1)

The menu was mouth-watering. I just love going to places where I know I can order anything for Brax and not worry about it. All organic, plant-based produce with nothing processed and not a fish finger or a chicken nugget in sight.

We ordered 2 green juices and 4 dishes for us all to share:

  • ravioli that used cashew cream instead of ricotta and a dairy-free pesto
  • Mexican salad
  • buckwheat spaghetti with Sicilian sauce
  • and the bean burger

strawberry-tomato-gazpacho

avocado-tomato-tartar

13628048_1646469312343487_914658440_n

three-truffles-espresso

I honestly can’t pick which one was the nicest – they were all seriously delicious. The ravioli was so creamy you’d think it was dairy; the spaghetti was just so indulgent and the bean burger – Daniel’s favourite – was out of this world.

We finished with dessert – of course, would be rude not to! – of an after-eight slice which was a mint cacao brownie type thing, a blueberry cheesecake and a mini white chocolate ball.

We’ve never seen Braxton eat so much before – he just loved it all – and it was a nice feeling knowing that it was all healthy and nutritious for him.

We left feeling so full but my god was it worth it. So good in fact that we went back the following week for another lunch even though we usually make a rule on holiday not to go to the same restaurant twice.

The chef, Carlo, was so inviting and the guy that helps him, Carlos, was so friendly and talkative. We spoke to them about the restaurant and their hopes for it. Carlo hopes to hold some plant-based cooking classes there over the winter so if you live in the Costa-del-Sol or are visiting over the winter, please get in touch with them.

carloThis is Carlo

We need more places like this all over the world so I’m posting this in the hope that if you’re in Marbella, you’ll go. Even if you’re not vegan and never plan on even being vegetarian, it’s an eating experience – I promise you’ll enjoy it. If we can help restaurants like this survive it means I get to go back and have more cashew cream ravioli next year! J

Here are the details, ask for Carlo:   Address: Avenida Bulevard Principe Alfonso De Hohenlohe, S/N | Junto Al Hotel Guadalpin, 29602, Marbella, Spain 

Tel: 0034630441834

IMG_8377Excuse the bruise on his head. No, I’m not beating him! he’s just started crawling so that should explain it 🙂

Love & health,
Lauren