Justin (my supposedly not picky child) has been striking when it comes to breakfast. With the Christmas holidays, I let it slide as we often seemed to graze or do more of a brunch. With back to school and the attempt to get back into a routine, it bothers me that he’ll choose to leave the house at 7:30am on an empty stomach (and yet… I totally get it! Breakfast early is a hard one for me as well.) Instead of the drama, I’ve been adding an extra piece of fruit to his lunch bag… and know that the school office supplies breakfast as well to anyone that would like it, that the first break is fairly early and he’s not going to starve, and that as a mother I’m not a failure because there are plenty of food options in the house. However… breakfast… it’s the most important meal of the day, right!?!
I asked him yesterday if he would like me to bake something – banana muffins, lemon poppyseed loaf, etc. to tempt his taste buds. To him, baked goods are a treat, but with little changes I can up the protein, blend in some extra fruit, and cut back on the refined sugar without compromising the taste. I can also feel better about the breakfast battle. Our discussion led to the decision that I’d make a chocolate banana loaf…. and it just came out of the oven… and I may have had two small slices for lunch. (And they may have been delicious!)
Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe to share, because lately, I’ve been baking on instinct and prayers. A bit of this, a bit of that, cross-reference a classic recipe if needed. This Banana Chocolate Chia Loaf will never be reproduced in the exact same manner, but I’ve had the remarkable luck of each of my dump in the oven and hope for the best endeavours so I’m sure the next one will be just as tasty.
This hug-on-a-plate started with a few pouches of ChiAmigos (in two different flavours because I didn’t read the packages – whoops.) I added a few teaspoons of PC Organic Chia Seeds. These were all blended together with three bananas, a cup of flour, a little snack pack of applesauce (it was in Justin’s stocking from the extended family…), some salt, baking soda, baking powder, a good amount of cocoa, less than a quarter cup of oil, some water, a splash of milk, and a quarter cup of granulated sugar.
I used my KitchenAid mixer (best tool in my kitchen!) to blend it all together and then dipped a finger in to taste test. I found it was missing a little something and didn’t have the rich chocolaty flavour I had hoped for, nor quite the right amount of sweetness. I added more cocoa and drizzled in some maple syrup. The finger dip taste test passed muster this time. Baked for 45 minutes and it came out as perfect as you see in the image above.
It has a deep chocolate flavour that’s not overwhelmed with banana – it’s not overly sweet on the palate at all. I think beets or zucchini would work well in a similar concoction for an added veggie boost and it would be simple to use eggs, milk or no milk, oil or applesauce, maple syrup or sugar, or whatever you have kicking around. It should just have a mix of essential ingredients and be the right consistency going into the pan (slightly softer batter for a cake, a bit heavier for a denser loaf.) The only thing I feel like mine was missing was an extra banana (I only had 3 and they weren’t extra ripe) and some walnuts across the top would have been perfect! You could even add in chocolate chips if that’s the way you like it.
Baking is definitely a science… but it can also be a delightful expression of the heart with some experimentation along the way!