Banana Bread, we find, is ideal for a mid-morning snack. This one is delightfully moist, yet light at the same time as it rises gallantly whilst baking. The natural sweetness of the banana is enhanced with just the right amount of muscovado sugar, and a dose of cinnamon gives it that note of homely satisfaction. It’s made with cassava flour which means it’s free of gluten, grains and nuts. Ground flaxseeds make it hearty and healthy. It freezes beautifully, so if you take out a slice in the morning and pop it into the lunchboxes, it’ll be ready for the tea-break, and as fresh as the day it was made.
Banana Bread with Cassava Flour and Cinnamon – Paleo, Gluten Free, Nut Free
During the week, we get up at 6.30 and are at the table eating our vegetable and protein breakfast by 10 to 7. There’s a long stretch until lunch-time, and aside from curbing the hunger, a little mid-morning snack creates a psychological pause. It can mark the end of one round of activities – dishes, laundry, walking the dog – and the beginning of another – switching on the pc and sitting down to blog. For The General, that little boost of energy is necessary as he’s out working physically. He usually takes a wee stash of coconut chips, a couple of Brasil nuts and a piece of fruit, but sometimes he needs a change. It’s too hot now for Bounty Balls or no-bake slices – I made one last week with coconut, lemon and lime – it was lovely, but it was reduced to crumbs by the time he reached for it. So last Saturday I made this Banana Bread instead.
Holidays, Outings and Road Trips
To be honest, I wasn’t only thinking of lunch boxes and tea-breaks when I made it, but also of holidays, outings and road trips. Last Friday, the guys had a gig in Venezia. They’re booked every year for the fabulous festival of San Giacomo dell’Orio, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to go. (Take a look at the video from a few years ago – it’s the second one down. So much fun!) Roxy and I took the 7.21 to Venezia, and then caught the Vaporetto over to the Lido. They’ve opened a Dog Beach there, and we wanted to check it out. It was a windy, wild day and there was no one around – we could have been on an Australian beach. Roxy went mad with excitement when I let her off the leash, running like a grey phantom possessed. Later, after lunch when the wind had died down, I was able to stretch out and soak up some sun. She sat beside me, attentively on guard, growling protectively if anyone wandered too close.
We had a gorgeous day today together, me and my dog, and then we caught the vaporetto back to Venezia where we found the guys. They whipped up a party and stirred up the crowd. I danced on a park bench. Roxy slept on my feet. Venice is an hour and a half from our place, and we were home by 1.30 – a fantastic, but long and exhausting day.
What Happens When You Don’t Have a Paleo Snack
The problem on days like this, as you know, is the Eating. You want to relax, enjoy and not be obsessive. And you don’t want to weigh down your bags with three meals to go. Bottles of water for woman and dog are heavy enough – I renounced my new book because I wanted to travel light. Also, I was tired on Thursday night – I didn’t want to stay up late preparing packages for the following day. Of course, when we got to the Lido it was around 10.30am, and we’d been up since 6. Yep, that’s right: mid-morning pick-me-up time with no healthy snack in my bag. So I ordered an espresso and a lovely almond brioche. Which was a treat, and it didn’t kill me.
I don’t have major allergy issues. I have active autoantibodies but I don’t have an AI disease. I My chronic inflammation levels are down, the weird mucous reaction to foods is subsiding, my middle finger doesn’t swell any more and even though I have FODMAP issues and to be sure I’m healing a very leaky gut – well, I’m okay about eating a brioche or a dairy gelato or even a pizza every now and again. 80% – 20%, and I feel balanced.
But the problem on days like this, as you know, is not just the wee transgression at mid-morning, but it’s also the rest. It’s ordering a burger without the bun at lunchtime, but who knows what they’ve put in the burger? I ordered one with bacon, but who knows what was in the bacon? Back in Venezia, I was offered a Cynar aperitivo and accepted. When the night got underway, I swear I was the only person without a cold beer in my hand, and I envied the crowd. I compensated with a gelato which was 75% dark chocolate, and did my best to balance health and awareness with flexibility and fun.
The next day I was bloated and uncomfortable as usual, but, unlike when I prepare everything myself, it was harder to pinpoint the cause. Maybe it was nothing I ate on that day – the symptoms had settled in a week before. But had I taken a couple of slices of Banana Bread, or a muffin, and a full meal salad, the outing would have been just as fun. In fact, even more so. There’s something deeply satisfying about ordering your coffee as usual, but whipping out your own gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free treat and scoffing it down, knowing there are no potential triggers hidden within.
Fiorenzo’s issues are different. He survived the Venezia gig with no problem, but two nights later the musicians were offered a simple buffet before they played. He skipped the pasta salad and opted for the one with rice. Within an hour he was suffering acid reflux, which is not great when you play trumpet. He thinks it wasn’t the rice, which we eat every now and again, but rather the sausage and the sottoaceti, the pickles, which were in it. Or was it the glass of prosecco? Or a combination of them all? It’s so hard to know.
Preparing for a Paleo Holiday
It’s not easy, a Paleo Holiday. My feelings haven’t changed from last year: that in trying to strike the balance between health and relaxtion, there are also regrets – those wonderful aspects of culture and tradition to which you have to say no.
You also have to find the time to make all this stuff, and sometimes I feel that the shopping, the putting away, the preparation, the cooking, the baking and the cleaning up afterwards is endless. Then I have to remind myself that we are so lucky – we have all the mod cons – dishwashers and Instant Pots and Icecream Machines, let alone electricity and hot running water. So I shift myself into a state of appreciation and whenever I can, I make something that I can freeze.
I’m more relaxed about going up to Monte on Friday because there’s already a Paleo Bread there. The Banana Bread in the photos will see us through ’til next week. Leading up to our holiday in August, I’ll get a few things prepared. We’ll sit back and enjoy our coffee breaks and holiday breakfasts.
Extra’s To Go
Some other snack recipes that are great for the freezer:
- Paleo Bread made with Cassava Flour and Flaxseeds – a simple, no fuss bread. (The Banana Bread is based on this one.)
- Fresh Berry Muffins – airy, light, with blotches of berry.
- Paleo Apple Cake – that truly makes my man’s heart sing!
For more contemplations about eating whilst on holiday, check out A Paleo Holiday or a Holiday from Paleo?
What do you make ahead for holidays, road trips and picnics? Do let me know in the comments, and if you happen to make this recipe, take a snap and tag me on Instagram @paleomantic.
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Best Wishes, Good Health and Happiness.
- 2 cups Cassava flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup flax seeds (linseeds)
- 100 grams butter or solid coconut oil, cut into large cubes
- ⅓ cup muscovado sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed with 60 mls (4 tablespoons) water
- 1 cup mashed banana (2 medium bananas)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F and lightly grease a 25cm x 10cm (10inch x 4inch) loaf pan.
- Place the cassava flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a large bowl and mix lightly to combine.
- In an electric spice grinder, whiz the flaxseeds until they resemble a course powder.
- Cut the butter or coconut oil into large cubes and place in the food processor with the flaxseeds and muscovado sugar. Process until creamed.
- With the motor running, pour ⅓ third of the eggs through the hatch, and then one third of the flour. Continue in lots. Lastly, add the vinegar and the banana.
- Scrape the batter into the loaf tin and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.
- If freezing, slice into portions, and place a piece of parchment paper between each slice for ease of separation later.
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