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  • Burnt Banana + Chocolate Smoothie

    Well, I dunno about you. But lately, I have been itching to create classic, simple, yet delicous things. Foods that make you happy, that aren't complicated, and are easy to share. Just last week, I caved and made this amazing bread from Joy. Seriously-if you love cinnamon and bread, make it. Make that cinnamon-y, beautiful and sweet (but not too sweet!) bread now. Just drop what you're doing, and make it. I used coconut sugar and earth balance in place of the sugar and butter, respectively, and it turned out so, so well. Highly recommend that you enjoy the bread with iced coffee (with coconut oil almond milk from last week's recipe!) and sunshine! 

    And no-it was not vegan. It contained eggs (locally raised! They even still had straw on them!), and I am not sorry. Why? Well, lately, I have been really questioning a) my intentions as eating a vegan diet and b) the personality of the vegan community. I am not questioning the underlying reasons and intentions of the vegan movement, but do question the way that some of those who belong to that community act-even towards other vegans or those who just simply thrive off a vegan diet. In the past year, I have been toggling back-and-forth, even feeling a bit guilty at times when I missed eating cheese (and then cave and eat some cheese). But therein lies my issue: why does guilt have to enter the equation? Yes-certain foods do harm living creatures and the environment. Yes, compassion for Mother Earth and the animals is important, and a priority of mine. But taking it to the point where guilt enters the equation for eating-for being human-is not producitve or healthy. Being negative, mean or judgemental about food choices-whether our own or others-is just not something I am into, but have seen and experienced in the last year. 

    I am just not down with any of it. I will enjoy my life and my food with pleasure and intention. I will not have my decisions and emotions relating to food be influenced by anyone except myself, my morals and my knowledge. So with that, all you food haters, food judgers, and fellow humans who do not have the decency to treat each other with as much respect as you hold for that local, organic CSA salad on your plate, this one is for you. Besides this amazing smoothie (ok, the smoothie is animal-product free), you even inspired me to bake a pie this weekend with butter. A guess how guilty or bad I feel? Yep. Zero. Pretty sure those cows that produced the organic milk on a Wisconsin dairy farm were treated with love and respect, too. You may be seeing verbiage change from "vegan" to "plan-based" over the course of some time here; I want my food to be delicious, accessibly and non-threatening. No snobbery. No bullshit. No guilt. 

    Positivity is a powerful thing, and right now, I am really into being positive and surrounding myself wtih positive people, situations and food that makes me feel happy. Just some food for thought. How about everyone else out there? Please share in the comments! Oh, and make this smoothie. It is super delicious, and involves caramelizing (i.e. controlled scorching of sugar) bananas (a trend I forsee in the food world this coming spring/summer!). The peanut butter + banana combo is a tribute to Elvis, but pretty sure he would approve of the chocolate, too. 

    Burnt Banana Chocolate Smoothie // makes 1 smoothie (double ingredients for 2!)// vegan, gluten-free, soy-free option, nut-free //

    • 1 large banana, peeled and sliced the long way
    • 2 tsp organic sugar (I used coconut sugar, but any granular sugar will work)
    • 2-3 tsp coconut oil, Earth Balance or butter 
    • 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1 TB peanut butter
    • 1-2 soft dates 
    • 1 TB cocoa powder (I used Valrohna, and recommend a non-alkalized/not dutched cocoa)
    • 4-5 ice cubes OR 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream (I used Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss Vanilla)
    • Optional: 1 TB spiced rum, 1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1. In a small to medium cast iron or heavy-bottom pan, melt the coconut oil with the sugar over medium heat. Once melted, turn the heat up to medium-high, and place bananas cut side down. Cook until caramlized and dark. Transfer to plate and set aside.

    2. In a blender, combine the cooled bananas with the remaining ingredients. Blend til smooth and enjoy immediately!

    3. Repeat as necessary.

    Cinnamon, peanut butter, dates, perfectly ripe banana, sugar, fat....what isn't there to love??

    The sea salt, beautiful cocoa powder, spiced rum and vanilla. All delicious...

    The caramelized bananas. Pure joy...don't sweat it if some break apart during flipping and whatnot.

    The end...the delicious end! Seriously-make this, make it for your best friend....give one to your neighbor. It is a mood-lifter in a glass. Yum.