If we are lucky, in our lifetime, we meet folks who leave a good mark on us.
I’m going to take you back a few years, ok, a lot of years, to acquaint you with a teacher from Grade 8. Part of our high school curriculum included Home Economics, which was two units each of cooking and sewing and Industrial Education with one unit of electronics, drafting, woodwork and metalwork. Boys and girls had to complete each class. My Home Ec skills were such that I would offer to complete another students IE assignment if they would make a sewing project for me. (I have been known to hem with a stapler.) The cooking portion, well, I’m here to say I passed, but certainly not with any sort of flying colours. Good thing my homework assignments made up for some of my cooking lab outcomes. My blancmange was just scrambled eggs in a custardy-watery soup like base. Seriously though, why make a kid make that for a cooking assignment? I have never since, nor will I ever, make it in my lifetime.
Back to this particular teacher and day 1 of Industrial Education 8. In walks a large man in a plaid flannel shirt. A big human. He stood probably 6’6″. His plaid flannel shirt was tucked in his belted dark denim pants. His slightly oily hair was parted on the side and was starting to show signs of receding at said part. His hair continued downward in an uninterrupted line merging into his beard. Rather a mountain man looking fellow.
He stood at the front of a room of close to 30 13 year old students on this first day of the semester. He introduced himself and asked us to name one thing we had to do. We looked at each other. Hands began to go up.
“Homework?” No, he shook his head. Cheers erupted in the room. We didn’t have to do any homework? Hooray! This plaid guy rocked!
“Feed and walk my dog?” No, he shook his head again. Wait a second.
“Get a job?” No, once more the bearded man shook his head. Hold on here. What did he mean, we didn’t have to get a job? Everyone has to get a job, don’t they?
He replied no to every offering we had. This went on for several minutes. After we exhausted all our thoughts, we watched him turn and write three letters on the chalk board.
D I E
“That,” he said, “is the only thing you have to do.” The room fell silent. “Everything else, you do by choice because you don’t like the alternative. You feed and walk your dog because you don’t want him to get sick, starve or die. You do your homework because you don’t want to fall behind in class. You get a job because you don’t want to live on the streets or in your parent’s basement when you are 50. Get it?” Heavy thoughts to lay on a pack of pre-pubescent teens.
That has stuck with me ever since. I do what I do by choice, because I don’t like the alternative.
Ooooh, back to those banana muffins.
Doesn’t that look good? I mean, look at the texture of that thing.
Paleo banana muffins:
Preheat oven to 375, makes 12 muffins
- 4 really ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs (room temperature, otherwise the coconut oil will harden)
- 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup banana flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup packed almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- handful of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (optional)
In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat the bananas with the coconut sugar until well mashed. Add eggs, coconut milk and vanilla, mix well. Add the liquid coconut oil while the mixer is running.
Sift coconut flour and baking powder and baking soda over the wet ingredients. (I like to save a bowl doing it this way. My Home Ec teacher would be cringing at this lack of second bowl and not following the ‘muffin method’ of stirring until just moist. Oh well.) Add the almond flour and banana flour, salt and mix until well incorporated. Stir the chocolate in last.
My favourite kitchen hack is to use a 1/4 cup scoop to load the muffin batter? dough? which is it? into my silicone muffin pans. Nothing sticks to these things. The pans I have are slightly smaller in size compared to a standard 12-well muffin pan. I sit the two 6-well silicone pans on a pizza pan to give them stability in the oven. Trying to handle flexible silicone muffin pans filled with uncooked stuff is a nightmare, trust me on that one. You have better things to do than clean your oven of some slopped glop.
Bake these bad boys for approximately 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before unmolding them. Let them cool a little more before you start scarfing ’em back. Not sure how well these freeze, as they usually only last a couple of days around here.
Don’t be afraid of the banana flour making these too banana-y. As far as the chocolate chips go, use whatever makes you happy. Dairy free, cacao nibs, you get the idea. You could skip the chocolate altogether if you want, but why would you?