Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the tag “Banana”

An Oil-free Blueberry Peach Cobbler-like Granola

Blueberry Peach Granola 1

I’ll admit it. I make granola fresh almost every morning for breakfast. Maybe it sounds crazy that I spend time in my kitchen actually making my breakfast each morning instead of pouring it from a box or reaching for it from a paper bag that has that has that famous orange and pink lettering and says Dunkin’ Donuts on it, but now that I’ve started making these homemade breakfasts, I just can’t stop. Don’t get me wrong in the past I coveted box cereal, going through phases of favoring certain brands and eating it every morning without missing a day. I’ve also enjoyed many of Dunkin’s bagels.

Simply put, this granola is healthier and tastier than any breakfast I’ve gotten out of a box or bag and much cheaper too! When I have to go back to work come August, I probably will have to deal with the idea of not making my own breakfast each morning, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make a big batch on Sunday for week mornings (though I would probably leave the peaches and blueberries out until the day of serving – so the granola doesn’t get mushy).

*In case you missed my last post on oil free banana walnut granola, you can find it here! It is fairly similar to this one in terms of the ingredients used.

Blueberry Peach Granola 2

Oil-free blueberry peach granola: 

*Serves 1


1/2 of a banana

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 – 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp of maple syrup

1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes

1 small to medium peach, halved and then sliced

1/2 cup of blueberries, washed and patted dry

*optional: a dash of nutmeg to coat the blueberries and peaches

1/4 cup of pecans


1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then cut the banana in half and add it to a mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork or potato masher. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir well.

2- Add the rolled oats and the coconut flakes. Mix all of those ingredients together. Then, slice the peach and toss it in the nutmeg with the blueberries (if you choose to use the nutmeg – I personally enjoyed it, but not everyone is a big nutmeg fan). Add the fruit to the granola bowl. Stir once more before spreading the granola onto a baking sheet.

3- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the granola begins to turn golden brown (or longer if you like it extra crisp). Top with pecans (if desired). Serve immediately or let it cool a bit and it will crisp up even more. Some serving suggestions would be to add cacao nibs, ground flax seed, or another type of chopped nuts before serving with the milk of your choice. Enjoy!


Oil-Free Banana Walnut Granola

Banana Walnut Granola

Lately, I haven’t been one to eat conventional boxed cereal. I’ve been leaning towards alternative breakfast ideas like breakfast quesadillas with peanut butter and bananas, green smoothies, stove-top oatmeal, and homemade granola (my personal favorite, aside from pancakes that is).

I love the crunchiness of granola, as well as its sweet flavor, but I find that most store bought granolas are full of sugar and have many grams of fat. I sought out to make granola without using any oil. Instead of using oil to bind the mixture, I used mashed banana, which gave the breakfast cereal a lightly sweet flavor. Luckily, it was a success. I made it everyday this week  for breakfast. I fully expect to make it tomorrow morning too. It tastes like banana bread topped with toasted walnuts.

Oil-Free Banana Walnut Granola: 

*Serves 1


1 banana

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp of maple syrup

1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp of walnuts chopped (plus more for after baking)


1- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Then cut the banana in half and add one half to a mixing bowl. Mash it with a fork or potato masher. Then add the vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Stir well.

2- Add the rolled oats, the coconut, and the chopped walnuts. Mix all of those ingredients together. Then, slice up the other half of the banana and add it to the bowl. Stir once more before spreading the granola onto a baking sheet.

3- Bake for about 12 minutes or until the granola begins to turn golden brown. Top with extra walnuts (if desired). Serve immediately or let it cool a bit and it will crisp up even more. Some serving suggestions would be to add cacao nibs, ground flax seeds, or raisins before serving with the milk of your choice. Enjoy!

Nearly Fat Free Vegan Banana Blueberry Muffins

Nearly Fat Free Vegan Banana Bluberry Muffins

At school, my kids have been learning how to write poetry and recently we’ve been talking about similes. Tomorrow, I’m going to read them a book called My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks . I think they’ll get as much of a kick out of it as I did. Since similes have been on my mind so much, here are a few that came to me when I made (and devoured) these vegan blueberry banana muffins:

As light as a croissant

As sweet as a strawberry picked fresh in June

As fluffy as angle food cake

As satisfying as early morning homemade pancakes

In case you were questioning whether you should make these muffins, well I’m telling you yes you should (they are nearly guilt free). If you do, you will be as happy as a child with a popsicle in hand. I know, I’ve got to stop thinking in similes. Until then, enjoy the recipe!

Nearly Fat Free Vegan Banana Blueberry Muffins:

*Adapted from Somer’s recipe for oil free banana muffins, which can be found on her blog Vedged Out (I used her awesome recipe as my base and added my own spin on it)

*Makes 12 muffins


3 ripe bananas, peeled

1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk)

1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of vanilla

1/4 + 1/8 cup of sucanat (or brown sugar)

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of cinnamon (for the muffin batter)

3/4 cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 cup of oats (I used half rolled oats and half quick oats)

2 tbsp of maple syrup

1 tsp of coconut oil, melted

1/2 tsp of cinnamon (for muffin topping)


1- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I followed Somer’s recipe advice and blended all of my wet ingredients (and the sugar), which included the bananas, milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and sugar. This was very fast and had such an easy clean up. I think I will be doing this again with other banana recipes!

2- Mix the dry ingredients separately and whisk them together to ensure that they are well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix them with a spatula. When they are combined, fold in the blueberries.

3- Grease the muffin tins and fill each cup with about 1/4 cup of muffin mixture. Then make the muffin topping. Mix together the cinnamon, oil, maple syrup, and oats. Top each muffin with about 1 tbsp of the mix. Bake the muffins for about 20 to 25 minutes.

The Ultimate Comfort Food: Whole Grain Spelt Pancakes

Spelt pancakes

Is there ever a bad time for pancakes? Growing up, I remember my mom cooking them for breakfast for dinner. It always felt like such a treat having the fluffy white cakes for dinner. I would squeeze as much imitation maple syrup as I could on top of my short stack and immediately begin mopping up the syrup with small bites of pancake. After all of that eating, I would just sit, feeling the heaviness of the food-induced coma I’d put myself in.

So many delicious pancake based memories. These are one food that brings a wave of nostalgia over me, as I stand in front of my glass top stove cooking them. For me, this is one reason I consider these comfort food.

I also find comfort in their ability to provide choices. Are they a dinner food or a breakfast food? Or are they a late night snack? I can add blueberries, bananas, apple slices, or chocolate chips and each version is delicious. I could stuff myself full or store the rest in the refrigerator until tomorrow. So many simple decisions that all lead to a wonderful tasting breakfast treat.

For this batch of pancakes, I chose to make half as blueberry pancakes and the other half as banana-chocolate chip pancakes. Neither was a disappointment to the taste buds. My personal favorite was the banana cakes, but I’m a sucker for anything with chocolate. The fiancee preferred blueberry.

This was the first time I’d made pancakes using spelt flour. I noticed they were a bit more delicate than normal wheat pancakes (note: be gentle when flipping) and denser than pancakes made from white flour (but also so much more nutritious). Personally, these were the best pancakes I’ve tried in a while. This recipe will be bookmarked and made often. Another recipe I’d like to try is Somer’s recipe for the fluffiest maple buttermilk pancakes she posted on her blog Vedged Out.

Whole Grain Spelt Pancakes:

*Recipe adapted from the Whole Grains Council  recipe for simple spelt pancakes

*Serves 2-3


2 cups whole spelt flour

2 tbsp sucanat (or another sweetener of your choice)

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp of fine grain sea salt

1 3/4 cups of nut milk

2 tbsp of coconut oil, melted

2 tsp of vanilla

*for blueberry pancakes add 1/2 cup of blueberries and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

*for banana-chocolate chip pancakes add 1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of diced bananas to the batter – then place banana slices on the uncooked side of the pancakes when they are cooking and begin to bubble (they don’t bubble as much as normal pancakes do)

Spelt pancakes 2


1- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together. Then add the nut milk, the melted coconut oil, and the vanilla. Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes (this allows it to thicken up and creates a fluffier pancake). After they rest for about 15 minutes, add in the other ingredients if you’re making blueberry or banana-chocolate chip pancakes.

2- Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add a tiny bit of coconut oil so the pancakes won’t stick. Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon the pancake batter into the pan (this will create even sized pancakes). Don’t flip the pancakes until they begin to bubble around the edges or it seems like the cake is beginning to set. This took about five minutes of cooking that first side before flipping, but the recipe I used said it could also be 2-3 minutes (probably depending on the pan and heat setting used). Add banana slices before flipping (optional).

3- The second side should only take 1-2 minutes to cook. Serve immediately with your favorite condiments.

I’m convinced that if you make these pancakes, soon after your plate will look like this…

Spelt pancakes 3

Goldilocks Takes Over My Kitchen & a Recipe for Crispy Banana-Walnut Granola

banana granola 1

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl from the suburbs who loved stories (and food – especially food). That little girl was me. Before bedtime, on most nights my dad would tell me a story. As he sat on my twin bed, me and my sister listened closely to the fairy tale or fable of choice. Usually, he told us Goldilocks and the three bears. While he told it over and over again as we were growing up, I never got tired of listening to it. I always giggled hearing him do the best little girl voice he could muster, when he was pretending to be Goldilocks.

That story has stuck with me over the years and today I felt like I was playing Goldilocks in my own kitchen. It all started off so innocently.

This morning, I didn’t want just any old box cereal for breakfast. I longed for crunchy banana-walnut granola. After arriving home from my 8 am eye doctor appointment, I set out for the ripe bananas in the kitchen. Then the fun began. After putting my banana slices in the oven, I started to mix the granola. As usual, it tasted delicious right from the bowl, even before even being baked. I could hardly contain my excitement and I soon rushed the banana chips out of the oven to put in the granola into the 400 degree oven.

Like a good little cook, I set the timer for 12 minutes. Then, I walked into the living room and saw my poodles modeling on the couch. I got distracted from my granola endeavor and immediately began taking pictures of the poodles. They looked so cute, the opportunity was hard to resist.

The poodles looking adorable. Max is the apricot-colored dog and Layla is the chocolate poodle.

The poodles looking adorable. Max is the apricot-colored dog and Layla is the chocolate poodle.

A few minutes later, in a fit of panic, I ran into the other room and remembered the granola was still cooking. I saw that the timer still had three minutes and breathed a sigh of relief. I opened the oven to peek and the feeling of relief began to melt away. The oats and nuts on the edges of the pan were quickly turning a dark brown. A burnt smell filled the room  as I threw open the oven door and hurled the baking sheet onto a pot holder covered table.

I looked at the contents of the pan sitting in front of me. I scraped off the darker granola from the sides and quickly discarded it. I tasted some from the center and deemed it good enough to eat.

Now this is when Goldilocks walks casually into the story. The granola wasn’t “just right.” I wanted to have a baby bear moment, when the crisp cereal tasted as I envisioned it. Instead, it was a tad over done. Last time, my granola was a little underdone. Will it ever be “just right?”

Next time, I will lower the heat and monitor it consistently to get it to that baby bear standard of being “just right.” For now, my slightly overdone granola will do. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good and the bites filled with apricot were delightful, but it wasn’t the baby bear granola I envisioned.

I guess in a way wanting something just right is a feeling everyone can relate to. Sometimes it takes a while to find that just-right fit. I certainly am still working on that goal career-wise and now I have an ambition to make perfectly-toasted granola. Someday I’ll get there. Hopefully I’ll achieve my granola goal sooner rather than later. Until then, read on for the recipe for banana-walnut granola.

banana crisps 1

Banana Walnut Granola: 

*Yields about 3 cups of granola (with the banana chips mixed in) /Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Banana Crisp Ingredients:

*Adapted from the lovely blog Something We Whipped Up (these crisps also make a great snack on their own, as this blogger found)

2 bananas, peeled and sliced

1 tsp of coconut oil, melted

1 tsp of agave nectar or maple syrup

1 tsp of coconut sugar or brown sugar (or just add another teaspoon of maple syrup instead)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Apricot-Walnut Granola Ingredients: 

1 1/4  cup of rolled oats (I used GF rolled oats)

1/4 cup of dried, unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup of apricots, chopped

1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped

1 tsp of cinnemon

1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup of pure maple syrup

1 tsp of vanilla extract

banana granola 2

My very crunchy granola.


1- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, put a cooling rack inside of a baking pan. Then slice the bananas and mix all of the banana crisp ingredients together. When the bananas are well-coated, place a single layer of the slices on the cooling rack (look a few pictures above). Pop the pan into the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until they begin to brown and crisp up.

1- In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then add your rolled oats, coconut, chopped walnuts, apricots, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2- Melt the virgin coconut oil either in a small pan or in the microwave. Add the Coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla into a glass measuring cup. Stir once before pouring over the rolled oat mixture. Mix the oats with the wet ingredients, making sure all of the oats are coated.

3- Spread a thin layer of granola onto the parchment paper. When the banana crisps are done take them out and let them cool. Meanwhile bake the granola for 5 to 7 minutes at 400 degrees OR lower the heat to 325 degrees and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the granola begins to brown. Let the granola cool before using it (it will become crisper as it cools, it will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven – unless you over cook it like me!). Then toss in the banana chips and serve with your favorite nut milk and ground flax seeds!

I hope your version comes out more Goldilocks-approved than mine. Are there any recipes you’re still trying to get “just-right?”

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