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Cleaning out the fridge

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 I returned home this weekend eager to spend some much needed time with my family – it’s been nine months since I was last home! – and have enjoyed settling back into a familiar place, even as my relationship with the concept of home changes the older I get. I’m not a kid anymore, guys – when I come home and my Dad’s fridge is messy, bless his heart, I don’t shrug and help myself to the leftover plastic takeout box of Chinese food. Rather, I think, this fridge needs to be cleaned!! My sanity depends on it!! A bit dramatic, but I’ve grown after living on my own and dealing with small kitchens.

I cleaned out the fridge and found the following: 7 soft, pitted apples and 2 bananas, completely black. The solution is applesauce and banana bread. God, I love how gross bananas can get, but as long as there’s no mold, they’re still good to go even when the skin is black, & the inside is a dark brown. You’re hesitant but once you whip them into bread and start to smell the kitchen after half an hour, the buttery, banana-y, wheaty sweetness tells you it’s all gravy, baby.

(Oh but wait – my dad’s oven is broken, too. And the only cure is staying near the oven for 50 minutes, flipping the oven broiler on and off in an attempt to keep the temperature somewhere near 350. And it may have resulted in a completely burnt bread top. So there’s no after photo.) This bread was taken from the King Arthur Flour cookbook but tweaked to be dairy-free and healthier. The molasses lends a deeper richness, and turns it into more of a caramel-y banana loaf. Using coconut and oatmeal means it is moist, but with a chewy, thicker texture that makes this bread perfect with a slice of butter.

Hearty Molasses Banana Bread

1/2 cup coconut or canola oil

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon molasses

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 mashed banana

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs OR 1.5 Tbsp flax seed with 2 Tbsp water

1 1/2 cup flour of choice

1/2 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp of water, apple cider, or milk.

Preheat oven to 350 F and butter a standard loaf pan (9×5). Beat together oil, sugar, molasses, baking soda, salt, spices, coconut, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add banana, eggs or flax, and honey, continuing to beat. Add flour, oatmeal, & liquid of choice. Stir until smooth. Pour into pan. Optional: drizzle 1 tablespoon molasses and sprinkle coconut over the top for a crust. Insert into oven. Bake for 50 minutes, then cover with foil and bake an additional ten. Tester should come out clean. Let cool and slice! Yum.

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