“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.” – Noel Coward (possibly? probably?)
Not long ago, I read somewhere that silken tofu can be used as a substitute in baking for either eggs or oil. Ah, I thought, but what about using it as a substitute for both? Challenge accepted.
The result is this egg-free and oil-free banana bread that I call a cake only because I bake it in a 9×13” pan. When I make it in the stand mixer, it takes no more than ten minutes to prepare and it’s really, really good.
Here’s what I do:
Mix together two cups of flour*, one cup of sugar** and one teaspoon of baking soda.
Dump in one 300g package of silken (soft) tofu, a splash of vanilla and two large bananas (or three if they’re on the smaller side) and mix it until it’s all wet. (For the first five seconds of mixing, I always panic and think there isn’t enough moisture, but there is.)
Toss in two tablespoons of chia seeds, one-third of a cup of chocolate chips and about one cup of nuts. Hemp or flax seeds would probably be good here, too, as would shredded coconut or dried cherries.
Give another quick mix to incorporate the add-ins and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure there’s no pocket of flour hiding there.
Plop the batter into a parchment-lined 9×13” pan, spread it around, sprinkle another quarter cup of chocolate chips on top and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.
* For flour, I make a gigantic jar of my own gluten-free mix by dumping in approximately equal measures of every crazy kind of flour I can get my hands on. Spelt, buckwheat, coconut, barley, quinoa, farro, oat – you name it and it’s in there. Because I’m only interested in increasing the diversity of our food and not baking for someone with celiac disease, this is good enough for us. For this recipe, I sometimes use one and a half cups of my mega-mix and half a cup of whole wheat.
** For sugar, I use half a cup of regular white granulated and half a cup of turbinado when I have it. When I don’t, I use all granulated.
This is just the way I make it. I’m not a chef or a nutritionist so I can’t say how many calories are in it or what will happen if you want to make huge changes like cooking it over a campfire or substituting turnip for the banana. Give your weird idea a shot and see what happens. If it’s good, you’ll look like a genius. If it’s…interesting, don’t despair because someone at some point will be desperate enough to eat it, especially if there are chocolate chips involved.
From the back cover:
“Frances Price—tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature—is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son, Malcolm, is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Prices’ aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts.”
The first thing I need to say about this book is that I liked it a lot. It’s funny and sad and strange and unsettling and everything I like in a novel. Take another look at the clues in that teaser: tart widow, dire straits, beset by scandal, arrested development, immoral litigator, world-class cad, gruesome death, social outcasts. Come on! All that in the hands of Patrick deWitt = A+.
The second thing I need to say is that, in thinking about what to write about it, I have struggled. For more than a week. I haven’t been struggling with trying to come up with good things to say about it (see point #1), but struggling with the idea of heaping more praise upon a book that is already on the Giller short list and upon an author who is a genuine CanLit superstar.
Where does this come from, this reluctance to further celebrate the highly successful? Is it the Canadian in me? (No one should ever be too big a deal – it’s unseemly.) Or is it the mother in me? (Stop hogging all the attention, Patrick, and let everyone else have a turn, too.) Or is it the woman in me? (Please please please do not someday reveal yourself to be a sexist jackass and make me regret having touted your work.) Who knows?
All I can say for sure is that when I was reading French Exit, I had to keep telling myself to slow down and savour it. And that when I wasn’t reading it, I wished I was. And that I’d happily read it again.
*whole food plant-based, duh
- Me handing a Mason jar of extremely green smoothie to my adoring, supportive and not-grossed-out husband
- Me strolling through a farmer’s market, a basket filled with leafy things hanging jauntily from my arm
- Me laughing uproariously with a farmer at his stall
- Three heirloom tomatoes lined up on my kitchen windowsill
- Me coasting on an old-fashioned bicycle with my legs stuck straight out
- Me kissing my dog
- Sliced avocados
- Me laughing merrily while making s’mores (homemade graham crackers and marshmallows with organic, free trade chocolate) around a campfire with my perfectly coordinated children
- Whole avocados
- Me sipping iced green tea through a stainless steel straw
- Me serving up an enormous WFPB spread on tables in the backyard, impeccably set with white linens and purposely mismatched china, while my entire family beams proudly at my mastery of this life
- Me blowing on a dandelion head that’s gone to seed
- My dog wearing a neckerchief
- Me in a garden wearing immaculate rubber boots that cost two hundred dollars
- A butternut squash
From the inside cover: “…This Messy, Magnificent Life is a personal and exhilarating read on freeing ourselves from daily anxiety, lack, and discontent.”
Spoiler alert: the solution to daily anxiety, lack and discontent is mindfulness. I don’t think Roth ever actually uses the word, but it’s definitely what she’s talking about. Noticing and questioning our rampaging thoughts. Remembering to feel gratitude for all that is good about our lives. Dropping distractions to really, truly feel, hear, see, smell and taste. Being kind to everyone, especially ourselves.
I enjoyed her friendly yet brutally honest writing style and think this is a great book on the value of (and, so often, the difficulty of) trying to bring moments of mindfulness into our days, especially for those who might be turned off by the Buddhist-y overtones of books with similar messages.
I haven’t read any of Roth’s previous books, but will definitely be checking them out now.
Hey, don’t worry if you lost your instructions for how to eat a kiwi because I still have mine: