Toasted Coconut and Banana Bread / Musings of a newbie runner

Toasted coconut and banana bread-1-2

It has been a productive week! We did the Brooklyn half marathon last weekend. I say “did” because while R ran, I barely managed to finish. I enjoyed the first 10k and was sort of managing my pace till then, but the second half killed me. I was asking myself why I signed up for this run in the first place. I didn’t enjoy long runs, my body wasn’t made for this. The course was unfamiliar. I was wayyy out of my comfort zone.

I spent the second half of the race thinking of everything else in going on in life. I thought of my mom, growing up in Cochin, family and friends and how I could do a better job of keeping in touch, life back in Bombay,  summer vacations, Alphonso mangoes, my career and where it’s headed, this blog and the line up of recipes I still have to try…

I kept looking at the time and thinking maybe I should just stop. Whats the big deal if I didn’t finish anyway? I wasn’t going to make the official cut off. At one point I took out my phone to call R and I couldn’t get through because networks were jammed. So I went through the rest of the race because he would be waiting for me at the finish and there was no other way I could reach him. And so among all the unfamiliarity, that is the thought I held on to.

I did finish. In 2.59. Literally a minute before the official cut off. I was completely overwhelmed at the finish line when I realized I had just made it within the 3 hr window. In that moment I was so so glad I didn’t pull out. That was enough motivation to make me want to sign up for the Staten Island half marathon (which is a few months away) and promise myself to train better. It is the training that I actually enjoy anyway! And that’s what I need to keep doing. Races are the goals to keep me training. Aerosmith’s words had never felt so real. It was about the journey after all.

Which brings me to today’s recipe. It’s hardly related to the long story above. Except that we bought a whole bunch of bananas last week before the race. There were a few left on the kitchen counter that were turning just the right kind of black to work with.

There are so many recipes out there to make good ol’ banana bread. You can make them in combination with walnuts, almonds, chocolate chips or one of my favorites: the crackly banana bread by Smittenkitchen where she uses Millet! I think every baker has that favorite go to recipe for overripe neglected bananas!

In the spirit of having run a race, being healthy and trying to be a bit more aware of what we put into our bodies, I came up with this recipe which is an adaptation of the many banana bread recipes I have tried in the past by combining stuff that we had lying at home and substituting whatever I could with healthier options. It turned out to be nice and flavorful (more moist the next day) and went well with tea. The toasted coconut flakes added the perfect touch. If you find it too dry (read: too healthy) then slather it with some Nutella to turn it into a decadent dessert. As the picture suggests, we tried that too. Deelish. Enjoy!

Toasted coconut and banana bread-1

What you will need :

3/4 cup unbleached whole wheat flour

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats (ground)

3 overripe bananas

1 large egg

1/3rd cup coconut oil

1/3 cup light coconut milk

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp baking pdr

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup coconut flakes (toasted in the oven for 6-8 minutes in 350F, till light brown and fragrant)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10 by 6-inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, using a potato masher, mash the bananas till nice and smooth (leaving some small lumps are okay too). Add egg, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract while combining them all  with a whisk.
Separately combine all the dry ingredients, flour,ground oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk lightly to mix evenly. Now add the dry ingredients to the banana mix slowly to ensure that everything is combined nicely into a thick batter.
Lastly fold in 3/4th of the toasted coconut flakes into the batter. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle the rest of the coconut flakes on top and put into the middle rack of oven to bake for about 45-50 minutes or till a skewer/toothpick comes out clean. Let it rest for some time on the counter before transferring to a cooling rack.
Wait till its completely cool before slicing. Serve with as is with tea, or with Nutella =)
Note: My loaf cracked a bit in the middle because I opened the oven a few times to check on it. So avoid doing that!! I didn’t mind it much because it still tasted delicious and I have made this a few times and it doesn’t always happen. Let me know how it turns out for you!

5 thoughts on “Toasted Coconut and Banana Bread / Musings of a newbie runner

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