The first Friday of 2019 I was still on my “winter break” from work. I had returned that morning from being with my family in Connecticut for the holiday week and was transitioning back to being in NYC again. After sitting on the train for three hours, I had the idea that a yoga class could help me connect back in to my life in the city, and be a gentle but energizing way to get myself moving after the travel.
I made a last minute decision to try a class downtown at a studio I have been to, but with a new to me teacher. My yoga practice hasn’t been that regular so I’m surprised the idea of yoga even occurred to me that afternoon, but something in me was drawn to that class. The teacher started the hour together by introducing a word I hadn’t heard before, “Sankalpa.” Different from a new years resolution, a Sankalpa is your intention, a way to align your choices with your long-term goals. Starting out in a meditation, we visualized ourselves as birds, looking over the year and where we wanted to end up at the tail-end of 2019. As we moved through our practice, we “planted the seeds” for the year ahead, all with the vision of how we want to grow our relationships, career, spirituality, and health.
Fast forward three months, I had a rare Friday free from work and was excited to be able to return to the same teacher’s afternoon class. I immediately thought back to the Sankalpas I set just three months ago. This time on my mat, I was in the position of starting a new job, moving in with my boyfriend, and about to leave for a trip to Rome and Israel. The teacher’s message for this class was about Aryuveda and the 5 elements and ending the class, she left us with the thought that that we all have each of the 5 elements, and everything in us that we already need.
I couldn’t help but make the connection with this recent yoga experience and the banana bread I just baked. One of my favorite things about banana bread is how you can take bananas ready to be thrown out, and turn them into something so delicious and comforting. There’s something so satisfying from taking pretty mundane ingredients and seeing them transform into something that tastes quite special.
Sweet but not too sweet, the bread dense like a cake and can even be a dessert thanks to the chocolate chips. It’s healthy enough for breakfast (oats included!) but works as an afternoon pick-me-up too. It’s truly amazing what brown bananas can become when you hold the right vision.
Gluten Free Banana Bread Cake
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
- 1/2 dark chocolate bar (50g), chopped
- 1 tablespoon gluten free oats (for the top)
- Preheat oven to 350′ F and grease a 9” x 5” bread loaf pan.
- Add the 1 1/2 cups oats to a food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until it’s the consistency of a flour.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, maple syrup, applesauce, mashed bananas, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and gently add in 3/4 of the chopped chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate and 1 tablespoon oats on the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out with minimal crumbs.