Gluten-Free Banana/Chocolate Chip Bread

Quick update, and then I’m going to skip to the food.  First, I have been diagnosed with celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroid disease.  In my last blog I described the totally helpless feeling of living with symptoms of hypothyroidism before treatment.  At the time, I was gaining weight so quickly and feeling so miserable that I felt totally hopeless and fearful that even with treatment it could take another month to see any kind of relief.  Faced with the choice between an endocrinologist (for what I thought would be a faster approach to treatment) and a naturopath (for a holistic approach to treatment), I chose the naturopath.  I wish I could say that I went in full confidence and without any panic over whether I had made the right choice—in reality, I was so terrified and so frustrated with the process that I almost walked out of her office in tears.

Given my strong feelings about what it means to be truly healthy, I'm glad I chose to seek a healthcare professional who shares my view!

I stuck through it, and I’m glad I did.  She recommended a mixture of herbal remedies (to help with the underlying contributors to my problems) and a couple of stronger agents for thyroid and pituitary relief.  I was pissed off and crying for the entire drive home from that appointment.  Herbs?  For my extreme symptoms?  No way.  What the hell was I thinking?!  As soon as I got home I made an appointment with an endocrinologist.

But that night before bed I reluctantly took my first doses of thytrophin pmd and pituitrophin pmd.  The very next morning when the alarm went off at 5:45 a.m., I beat Mike out of bed and downstairs to let the dog out.  That NEVER happens.  I was fully awake for the rest of the day and with plenty of energy!  In addition, my temperature hovered right at 98.8 for the entire day—I had not seen a temperature over 97.0 in about three months!  My mood was also positively affected.  On Tuesday I felt completely hopeless and panicked, but on Wednesday I felt optimistic and ready to handle it.  And every day since then has been just as good!

I wish I could say that all ten pounds went away, but they didn’t.  However, I not only stopped gaining at that alarming rate, but since Tuesday I am already down by three of the ten.  And my pants fit again.  In a later post when I’m not still sensitive about it, I’ll tell you a funny story about my experience with that overnight weight gain…

Oh yeah, and we are now gluten-free due to the celiac disease.  It’s not bad at all so far, though there are frustrating moments like wondering if EVERYTHING is gluten-free, no matter how obvious (so um like, is this orange juice, like, GF?).  When I first found out, I thought that I would have to give up my one favorite cheat food: pad thai.  But since I found out that most pad thai can be made gluten-free (score one for rice noodles!!!), I decided I could handle this!   I immediately went to the health foods store and took note of which flours were gluten-free and what they are made out of, and what the gluten-free packaged foods were made of.  I discovered that it won’t be too much of a change to make gluten-free noodles, and I also discovered that I really could make the flours out of ingredients I keep in my home regularly, such as garbanzo beans, brown rice, and buckwheat.  But to experiment with my first few recipes, I decided to purchase a few different types of flours, as well as xantham gum (used as a binding agent to mimic the chewy texture of wheat-based flours).

I want to pause to point out how funny and challenging it is that just months after we took on this package-free project, we are now faced with the additional challenge of going package-free AND gluten-free!  But I love that I’m in the middle of my blog already as I embark on this new journey.  

So this was definitely not a quick update.  What can I say—I’m a writer.  But now I’ll skip to the food.  My first attempt at a gluten-free baked food was banana-chocolate chip bread.  It was an accident, actually—I had planned to make zucchini bread but I saw a bunch of really overripe organic bananas at the health foods store and I knew they’d go to waste if I didn’t buy them.  I got them for a fraction of the price, too!  All I can say about it is HOLY WOW this is good stuff!  I would make this even if I could eat gluten and load it up with sugar!  Mike and Isabella couldn’t tell the difference.  This recipe will not disappoint!

Totally baked this bread in heels. June Cleaver, eat your heart out.

Not knowing how to bake with gluten-free flours, I had to search around for the perfect recipe.  Not just any recipe will do though.  I usually stick with blogs because you know that at least one person can vouch for the recipe.  Also, I typically look for recipes that use few ingredients, use less butter and sugar, and especially those that manage to get good reviews without the butter and sugar!  I can usually look at a recipe and recognize from the ingredient list how it will probably turn out, so at the very least I can adapt it to suit my own needs and cooking style.

Today’s recipe is one that I found at:
http://pattycake.ca/recipes/easygfbananabread

I usually include the word “easy” in my search terms because it generally generates recipes that use fewer ingredients.  I always notice that when people cook to impress, they tend to go for the complicated recipes, thinking that it must be impressive.  But I think less is often more.  I chose this recipe because it had few ingredients and it didn’t call for butter, oil, or sugar.

Ingredients:

 2 cups brown rice flour
1 tsp salt (iodized!!!!) 
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder (I was pleasantly surprised to find that the powder I already had was gluten free)
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp cinnamon

 3 large, over-ripe bananas
2 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ bag of Enjoy Life soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free chocolate chips. 

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another bowl.  Combine until mixed but do not over-beat.  I like the banana to still have some big chunks.  Fold in the chocolate chips and again, do not over-stir.  Pour into greased bread pan, glass dish, or muffin cups.  I chose the bread pan because I like it to have a soft center.  Bake at 350 for 55 minutes.  I took the advice at the bottom of the recipe page and covered it with foil, as I chose to use only honey and honey browns fast.

You’ll notice that my recipe differs slightly from the recipe on the blog.  I wanted a bread that would be soft in the center but without having to use fat (butter, etc).  So I exaggerated the amount of banana, added a little extra honey and vanilla, and changed the amount of soda and baking powder to accommodate the extra liquid.  I’m sure the original recipe was awesome, but mine came out to be perfect for our taste.

So far, gluten-free does not suck!

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2 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Banana/Chocolate Chip Bread

  1. Another thing I have come to love in my gluten free, processed, only super lean protein diet is applesauce used as eggs. It will give a little sweeter taste in things like breads and such.

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