Energizer Banana Bread


Most mornings, I feel like Professor Farnsworth from the TV show Futurama.  Cranky, grumpy, achey and tired.  That is, until I eat breakfast.  Once I eat that magical first meal of the day, I perk up like a flower in the sun, ready to take on anything!  But depending on what exactly I eat, the amount of time I feel like sunshine varies from half an hour to an hour and a half.

How many times have we heard someone say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  While it is indeed important to actually put food in your body, I’ve discovered that what we eat for breakfast plays a huge factor – if it’s a bowl of ice cream and pop corn, well, the day isn’t going to go so well.  Believe me, I’ve tried it.

Good news, everyone!

So here’s the good news that I’ve been dying to tell you all about.  After careful thinking and planning, I have created a breakfast food that will last me 3 hours!  That’s the longest I’ve ever gone without being hungry, grumpy, and light-headed.  It’s pretty amazing.  I call it, the Energizer Banana Bread.  Because not only does it have great taste and texture, after eating it, I just keep going and going and going… until past my regular lunch time.  Goodbye, mid-morning snack!

Each slice of this bread packs a whopping 6 grams of protein (that’s like an egg) thanks to the whole wheat flour, cooked quinoa, and walnuts.  I also eat each slice with 1 tbsp of almond butter, which kicks up the protein level to 9 grams!  Combined, it’s a meagre 385 calories (100 from the almond butter) which is on the low end of the recommended amount for breakfast according to LiveStrong.

A quick note about protein and why it’s important before we go on: protein is one of the most important nutrients we ingest day-to-day because it is essential to the repair and growth of body parts, and enables many of the body’s functions like hormone production.  A consistent lack of protein is dangerous – ask your doctor!

How do we know how much protein we need per day?  The US and Canadian Dietary Reference Intake recommends women to consume 46 grams a day and men to consume 56 grams.  Canadian Living references a commonly used formula to calculate the amount needed based on weight.  As vegetarians we get asked all the time if we’re getting enough protein – it’s an important question.

(I’m not a dietitian or a doctor, the above is based on my own readings and discussions with my family doctor!)

On to the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas (I used black ones which make them taste sweeter)
  • ¼ cup 2% plain yogurt
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cup chopped and toasted walnuts

How to make it

First, make some quinoa and cool it.  You will need 1 cup cooked quinoa, which is roughly a quarter to two thirds cup dry.  I recommend making 1 cup dry quinoa so you can make a meal out of it too, which is what I did.  Chop and toast walnuts, set aside.

Preheat oven at 350F, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas and combine with the yogurt, oil, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Stir in the cooled cooked quinoa.  In another bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinammon, nutmeg.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, give it a few stirs, and add 1 cup of the toasted walnuts.  Stir until combined, and pour into a loaf pan that’s been lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle the rest of the walnuts on top.

Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes, until the top is cracked and a wooden skewer tester comes out clean.  Cool, slice (for 280 calorie slices, cut 12) and keep in an air-tight container.

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