ending with breakfast

sorry it’s been a while — finals and packing and such have been rather distracting.

I’m leaving Vermont!

It’s both exciting and sad at the same time. The excitement of leaving to go home is wonderful, but the knowledge that Vermont will not be a part of my travel plans until next February is saddening. Alas, returning to the beautiful Green Mountains and fields of coImagews and land of maple syrup will be something to look forward to throughout the next year, as I go home and then abroad to France for the semester.

Allergy-friendly eating in France will certainly be a whole new challenge.

Fortunately, allergy-friendly dining was not a challenge this morning when my best friend and I went to Burlington for a last breakfast together. Now obviously we’d scoped out the menu online before going (the number one thing you can do before going out to eat is look at the menu online if you know where you’re going), but of course there were still a few surprises.

The first surprise was the entrance to the restaurant.

A brightly colored sign pointed us down a cobbled, rather gray alley and to a very nondescript building where we pried open the curious blue doors. Another sign pointed down the stairs, and we found ourselves in an underground restaurant. It was beautiful, with lots of brick and wood. Our expectations were high and we were not disappointed.

Normally breakfast is too challenging to even appreciate it once I can find something edible. This morning, however, at Magnolia Bistro, there were more options than I could count. Gluten-free almond-flour pancakes, gluten-free bread, tofu or egg in your breakfast scramble, almond or rice milk for Imagethe coffee, and the waitress didn’t panic after hearing my list of allergies!

It was a wonderful experience.

The green tea was lovely with a little bit of Vermont honey, and the food was simply delightfulIMG_0262. Although I normally stray away from all grain, the quinoa scramble looked particularly appealing, and quinoa is my favorite grain if the moment to indulge arrives. So my breakfast: a bowl of pineapple, mango, fresh organic strawberries, kiwi, and cantaloupe, a sort of scramble with quinoa, Vermont Smoke and Cure sweet sausage, spring peas, kale, sweet white onions and peppers, with a few super crusty roasted potatoes. My breakfast date had an eggs Benedict style dish: poached eggs with hollandaise on top of gluten-free toast, spinach and bacon, with more of those amazing home fries.

All served with two of the most amazing condiments ever:

The homemade strawberry rhubarb jam, which turned out to be delicious both on the sausage and the potatoes, was so good that we just about stole the entire jar of it. And the homemade ‘ketchup’ was smoky and spicy; lots of paprika and onion and a touch of cayenne. It was wonderful mixed into the quinoa scramble. For years my mom has always rolled her eyes at my father, sister, and I as we’ve organized all of our many condiments on the dinner table. I guess loving condiments runs in the family.IMG_0260

We liberally applied those condiments to the leftovers in our doggie bags…maybe for a snack later in the afternoon. The more chances there are to avoid the dining hall, the better; it’s been curiously devoid of food recently…

Speaking of food, and breakfast in particular, it’s worth mentioning that I accidentally made some fabulous, simple banana bread on Monday.

The school rents out spaces for students to do non-academic projects, and the kitchen is wonderful for cooking and baking. Almost all of the pictures you’ve seen have been taken there. Anyways, the showcase for students that use the space was this past Monday, and I was asked to bring food.

For some reason, brownies seemed like a good idea.IMG_0248

They weren’t. Good, HEALTHY, grain-free, vegan brownies are my pet project. I’ve been working on a recipe since November, but nothing has been quite worth sharing yet. Granted, there are a few recipes on the internet, but most of them use monumental amounts of sugar…I’ll let you know when gooey chocolate goodness is finally achieved.

Anyways, the brownies didn’t work, and in a last-minute rush I decided to use a really old recipe for gluten-free banana bars, subbing out the flour for fava/garbanzo mix.

It was magical.

Although no one would say it looked anything like banana bars, the product certainly made a darn good grain-free vegan banana bread.

I hope you enjoy it.

Mistakes sometimes yield the best results.

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 1/2 cup fava/garbanzo flour

1/2  tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 heaping tablespoons sunflower seed butter

3 TBSP soy-free Earth Balance*

3/4 C. cold water

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped dark, dark, dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease an 8″ cake round and line with a parchment paper round.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mash bananas and stir in sunflower seed butter and Earth Balance, water, and vanilla until well blended. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in wet mixture. Stir until just blended. Add in chocolate and stir one more time. Pour into the cake pan and bake!

Bake 40 min, or until toothpick comes out clean and the edges begin to shrink away from the pan. It will be a beauteous golden brown.

*you could probably use more sunflower seed butter instead of the Earth Balance. The original recipe called for 5 TBSP coconut oil (instead of the sunflower seed butter and Earth Balance), but I don’t tolerate coconut very well.

It’s 71 degrees, humid, and cloudy, and I’m standing in my now-empty room whiling away the hours until I return home tomorrow (and yes, studying for that one last final tomorrow morning)!

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