It rained the entire first day and all night of our camping trip to Crested Butte. As soon as we pitched our tent and cracked a beer, the rain started. And then it settled in. And then the thunder came. I don’t think I’ve ever seen rain settle in like that in Colorado. Honestly, it reminded me of late July days back on the east coast. Maybe Colorado heard that we’ve moving and decided to give a transition period of less than perfect sunny days to make it easier for us to leave. Maybe?
Back to camping, we had set up our rain shelter and brought food with intentions of cooking dinner, enjoying each other’s company and making the best of a rainy evening. It was at this point that we discovered that we forgot to bring the camp cook stove and our grill to go over the fire…a series of unfortunate events?
NEVER! Banana bread to the rescue. It’s a good thing I pack with intentions of eat like a queen while camping. We dined on banana bread topped with coconut shreds, almonds and dark chocolate chunks. No cold cans of beans or brown rice syrup filled granola bars here.
The next morning, it was all blue skies again. So much for my goodbye Colorado philosophy. We grabbed some coffee and bagels at my favorite shack in town, then headed up the pass to do a bit of hiking. But of course, the pass was closed part of the way up due to snow drifts. Did we let that stop us? Never! We hopped out of the jeep and trekked on foot the rest of the way up the pass. It was well worth the sun burn I’m currently sporting, because when we reached Emerald Lake, there were zero, I repeat, ZERO people at the lake. On a Sunday morning. That’s basically unheard of. I suppose the rain the day before and the pass being closed to vehicles sent a lot of people packing up for home.
We’re still in Crested Butte, but staying at our favorite inn for the evening, because Game of Thrones. And the best pizza in Colorado. And those two things combined in bed are basically my favorite things ever. duh.
And yes, that is a fanny pack I’m sporting. You should probably get one – they’re a super convenient size for when you don’t want to wear a backpack. Just saying.
And if you’re still hanging in there with me…without further ado, here is the banana bread that kept me from turning into a completely hangry bear.
Vegan Banana Bread with the Works
4 very ripe bananas, roughly 2 cups mashed
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup almond buttermilk**
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup thick rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Topping: as much shredded coconut, almonds and chocolate chunks as your heart desires
**in a liquid measuring cup, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar + enough unsweetened plain almond milk to fill up to 1/2 cup mark
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat bananas with a hand mixer until mostly smooth with a few small chunks. Whisk in coconut oil, maple syrup, brown sugar and vanilla. Then add almond buttermilk, whisk in thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flours, oats, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle toppings on and bake covered with foil for another 40-45 minutes. Bread is done when you can poke a knife in and it comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then gently remove from pan and allow to completely cool on the counter. Will keep covered 3-5 days, keeping it in the fridge will allow it to keep longer.
Yields one 9×5 loaf of vegan banana bread.