Our house came with the tiniest kitchen in the world, which my dad lovingly refers to as a “one-butt kitchen.” A single rather small person can easily maneuver about (aka me), but as soon as my guy enters the space, we bump knees and unintentionally hip-check each other like hockey players while opening the cabinets and pulling on the microwave door.
With barely enough room for the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher, the kitchen completely lacks the space for a food blogger’s pantry. Although I managed to cram most of my flour, sugar, and spices into a minuscule narrow cabinet, the remainder of our nonperishables—cans, jars, bags of chips, unopened cereal boxes, and anything else impenetrable to ants—sit on makeshift shelves in the garage.
Our storage system worked fairly well, minus the occasional dinnertime freak-out when I forgot to replenish our supply of salsa or marinara, until last weekend. My guy headed over to the snack area and discovered a rodent had attacked my entire stash of pre-workout rice cakes! That pesky animal chewed through all 5 bags… He must have been training for a running marathon of his own!
The next morning, I pulled on my waterproof jacket and shoes, bravely venturing out in the torrential downpours to pay Target a visit. I scouted out some options online before driving over, so I headed straight for their home improvement section upon entering the store to pick up the perfect one. But oh my goodness, you guys—that box weighed a lot more than I expected! Thank goodness for kettlebell workouts… I eventually hoisted the heavy thing into my arms, silently praying for the entire walk up to the front that I wouldn’t drop it before reaching the cashier.
Back at home, my guy had woken up while I ran my errand, and he immediately tore open the box after I lugged it in, just like a little kid ripping off wrapping paper on his birthday presents. I explained that I wanted to shower and eat before I started assembling it, and he replied, “What if I build it for you?”
Twist my arm! I happily skipped off to the bathroom, fresh towel in hand, while he pawed through my tool bag for a hammer. When I emerged sweet-smelling and squeaky clean, I found my bright white bookshelf sitting in the middle of the dining room. He finished it—twice! (The top and bottom pieces weren’t clearly marked, and you can probably guess what happened the first time through…)
With that extra 8 square feet of storage space, I could finally start stocking up on my favorite baking essentials! I began with my cherished bags of whole wheat flour, just to create more healthier treats to share with you guys. How does that sound?
First on my list: Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread. A moist loaf, naturally sweetened with fruit and honey, practically bursting with bright juicy berries. After one bite of this fun twist on comfort food, you’ll be hooked. With its incredibly tender texture, you’d never guess this flavorful loaf is actually low fat and clean-eating too!
When I baked my first whole wheat banana bread around Christmastime, I added fresh cranberries, completely forgetting that grocery stores stopped stocking the fruit after New Year’s. The loaf turned out so magnificently—it’s one of the most popular recipes on my blog!—that I wanted to create a similar recipe, except with a mix-in that was readily available all year round.
After a Facebook conversation with one of my high school friends, I immediately picked my new fruit: frozen wild blueberries. I opted for wild blueberries because (a) they’re cute and (b) they’re smaller, meaning you’re practically guaranteed to get one in every bite! If possible, try to buy organic ones; they’re generally better in quality and rarely taste bland or tough like certain brands of regular frozen blueberries.
Before adding them into the batter, toss the blueberries in a little flour. This minimizes those bluish gray streaks that bleed into the batter, as well as helping to prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of the pan. (But don’t worry; I designed this batter to be extra thick for that same reason too!) I impatiently tossed them in flour straight from the freezer, and the tiny layer of ice on their surface melted as I folded them in, which barely tinged the batter purple. That doesn’t affect the taste or texture, but if you prefer perfectly golden banana bread, thaw the frozen wild blueberries completely on the countertop before tossing them in flour to essentially eliminate the discoloration.
This skinny banana bread only contains 1 tablespoon of oil—yes, that’s it! The rest of the moisture comes from Greek yogurt (my favorite ingredient for healthier, low fat baking) and mashed banana. Make sure you choose the ripest, spottiest banana you can find! The blacker its skin, the sweeter its fruit, and the less additional sugar you’ll need to use. I only mixed in 2 tablespoons of honey, but if your banana lacks lots of dark speckles, you may need to squirt in a touch more.
With purple as my favorite color, I literally twirled in happy dance circles after slicing into this tender loaf. The deep gorgeous hue of the berries’ juices really pops—and it tastes even better! The comforting backdrop of banana, the subtle hint of honeyed sweetness, and the soft morsels of wild blueberries all combine together in a beautiful symphony of flavor in this Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Bread.
With almost every recipe I bake, I sample just a serving or two before handing off the rest to friends and neighbors. With how often I pull out my mixing bowls and turn on the oven, I need to give everything away to prevent our house from bursting open at the seams with baked goodies! But after my first bite of this clean-eating banana bread, I claimed the entire loaf for myself (well, minus a small sliver I invited my guy to taste), despite the massive amounts of Valentine’s Day chocolate covering my countertops.
Yes, it’s that good… So take it from me: you might want to bake a double batch!