I love when life takes you in an unexpected direction. If you told me five years that I would be teaching mom-and-baby exercise classes and singing “row, row, row your boat” on the regular, I would have laughed in your face. Sure, my mom and my brother are fitness fanatics and I like to lead a healthy lifestyle, but exercise has never been a passion of mine. Yes, I enjoy a good yoga class and I got really into spin for a while but the thought of “going for a run” or “doing bicep curls” ranks right up there with mopping the floor in the my book. It has to be done (because who wants a dirty floor?) but I’m not gonna love it.
Exercise was always a chore or a reluctant choice. Guess I gotta go to exercise class because I ate that big bowl of pasta, and, you know, exercise is good for me and all that jazz… Afterwards I would feel pretty good because endorphins do that to ya but the motivation was always lacking. Any excuse, however flimsy, would have me curled up on the couch rather than tucking myself into spandex pants.
Now taking a sick day because I feel a little tired is not an option. Now I have a nearly 8-month-old baby who crawls around the house like Speedy Gonzalez and literally laughs in my face when he makes it over to the forbidden cat bowls before me. Now I own a business that forces me to get out of bed on three hours of sleep or with a cold to do planks and high knees with other moms while simultaneously singing the ABCs to our stroller-bound babes. Now exercise is not a choice – it’s mandatory. Just like eating these banana bread bites…but more on that later.
I finally get it. I understand why people get out of bed at ungodly hours to get their workout in even when they are tired, hungover, moderately sick. It makes you feel better. I knew that sitting on the couch watching soap operas and eating popcorn and mac ‘n’ cheese was not what my body needed on those days where I felt a bit unwell but I did not understand the awesome impact that regular exercise can have on your physical and mental well being because I’ve never been FORCED to do it before. Does this revelation mean that I’m gonna get up by myself at 5 am and go for a run instead of catching an extra hour of zzzzs? Probably not. But do I look forward to working out multiple times a week in a fun, social setting with my baby in tow? Absolutely.
Five-years-ago Michelle would be astonished. But, that’s life for you – unexpected in the most wonderful ways possible.
I know you’re wondering what this has to do with banana bread bites. Let me tell you. My plan was to makeover my chocolate banana bread bites – new photos and a small recipe adjustment. But, life took me in an unexpected direction.
Though I’m off the full-time paleo wagon I really can’t get enough of paleo treats like this crumble so I decided to swap in almond flour for the all-purpose and buckwheat. Then, I made a few other modifications because I’m older and wiser now. THEN, I was faced with a miserable rainy day and terrible lighting for pictures. I had the idea to make a white glaze to brighten up these delicious but homely little treats but that only works if you use white sugar and I used brown coconut sugar. How hard is my life? Don’t answer that.
My point is that life, again, took me in a completely unexpected direction from a recipe photo makeover to a completely new paleo banana bread bite recipe with a yummy coconut glaze. Of course I’m not going to down the whole pan because this is not a low-calorie food – repeat, this is not a low-calorie food – but it’s filled with flax seeds, fruit, nuts (almond flour), and dark chocolate for antioxidants so I don’t feel like I’m just eating empty calories.
Nope, I’m eating little bites of goodness thanks to life unexpected.
- Banana Bread Bites:
- 1 and ½ cups almond flour/meal
- ¼ cup ground flaxseeds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa)
- Orange-Coconut Glaze:
- ⅓ cup plus two tablespoons light coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for garnish
- Banana Bread Bites:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flour and ground flax, baking soda, allspice and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
- Mash bananas in a large bowl. Mix in the applesauce and coconut sugar. You can use a mixer to beat the ingredients together but I prefer to leave in a few banana chunks so I like to mix by hand until the ingredients are combined. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Slowly mix in the almond flour mixture until the batter is mostly smooth with a few remaining banana chunks.
- Gently mix the chocolate chunks into the batter.
- Spoon the batter into mini muffin pans coated with cooking spray. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
- Orange-Coconut Glaze:
- Add the coconut milk, coconut sugar and orange zest to a mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in the coconut flakes.
- When the banana bread bites are cool, drizzle with glaze and garnish with additional coconut flakes.