Mar 01, 2018

Hearty Banana Loaf ~ date sweetened, oil-free & gluten-free!



Greetings lovely, plant-based voyagers! Well, how long has it been? I don’t know… that’s how long! So much has happened over the past few months. In fact, the whole of last year was a blur. I spent a lot of time with my mom, traveling back and forth to Florida, selling her condo, getting her set up in an assisted living facility, etc. She had some serious health issues and started declining after a bout of pneumonia which she never really came back from.

We finally wound up moving her up here to be nearer to us, as the facility she was in was not all we thought it would be. My son and daughter-in-law and I drove down to fetch her… on the brink of Hurricane Irma! We got out just in time and spent 23 hours driving back in bumper to bumper I-75 traffic insanity (on what is normally a 10 hour drive). What a wild trip! That was in September. A month later Mom was gone. 😥

It was a blessing to be able to spend so much time with her before she passed and we had a wonderful moment together just prior to her departure. I am so thankful that she was up here with us and not in Florida for this event. I still miss her… every day. But I am relieved that she is finally out of pain.

I’ve taken the last few months to reevaluate my life—my goals and purposes, my true callings. Some connections have grown stronger, others have dissolved. I feel that the universe—the Divine, God, Creator, my Higher Self, whatever terminology you use for the greater aspect of our selves and our lives—has been leading me in a new direction. It’s been interesting! 

My art has taken center stage in my life of late. It’s become rather all-encompassing. And I’m going with the flow! I haven’t forgotten about my blog. I’m still planning on creating a cookbook with ALL of my recipes (new computer is on the horizon, yay!) and I will continue developing and posting new recipes for you. This part of my endeavors will not be front and center though, as it had been. I will be focusing more on a business for my art—creating a website, making prints, approaching local art studios and vendors, etc. My artist name is Harmony Grace. It came to me in a dream! I’ve been working in colored pencil, watercolor, and just recently discovered the magic of digital art. Here is one of my more recent digital pieces. It’s called Divining



Mountain Man and I are still enjoying our glorious life here in the Smokies. We are planning on creating a retreat, either here at our current home, or at a different homestead with a bit more room for guests. That will be in about two years. We will offer whole-food, plant-based fare along with T’ai Chi and Chi Gong, Tibetan singing bowl concerts, meditation, massage, Reiki, hiking and the quiet reflection that is so needed in this modern world; achievable in an idyllic setting such as the one with which we are blessed. 

So… now to this fantastic recipe! I’ve been working on this one for a while. I wanted to create a recipe that didn’t require a lot of “unusual” ingredients, but used things that most folks have in their pantries, that was low in fat, and easy to make. And, of course, it had be whole-food, plant-based. Voilá! This banana loaf is hearty, satisfying and a snap to put together. It’s not too dense, just sweet enough and you can include your favorite additions, like nuts, raisins, seeds, etc. I used walnuts, which are always a nice accompaniment in banana breads.

Thank you dear readers for sticking with me all these years. As the whole-food, plant-based movement continues to grow with so many more wonderful recipes available, I appreciate your visits to my site more than you know.

Enjoy and, as always, healthy trails,





Hearty Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

A hearty, plant-based treat! Great for breakfast, too!


  • 1½ cups rolled oats (not instant!)
  • ¾ cups walnuts
  • 1TBS whole flax seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • wet
  • ½ cup tightly packed, pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 2 small bananas (one heaping cup, sliced)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or use a small amount of oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Place the oats in a food processor (or blender) to create a flour. I used my food processor and the result was a slightly course flour, which was perfect for this loaf.
  4. Add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse to combine making sure to leave the walnuts chunky, not pulverized.
  5. Transfer the dry mixture to a mixing bowl.
  6. Place the dates, vanilla and milk in the processor (or blender) to create a slurry. Blend well.
  7. Add the bananas and the applesauce and pulse just a few times. Again you want the bananas to still be chunky.
  8. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine.
  9. Spoon the batter into the pan.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. Let cool completely before slicing. The loaf will get firmer with time. Wrap and refrigerate to store.
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12 responses to “Hearty Banana Loaf ~ date sweetened, oil-free & gluten-free!”

  1. Wendy Sue says:

    Wow!! Double WOW! You life sounds like it’s really changing! Good for you! My sincerest condolences concerning your mother. I assure you, she’s in a better place, and if given the choice, would not come back to this world. God bless her and you and your family. Good luck in the new art adventure! I know you’ll excel. (you really already have) The retreat sounds amazing, we sell those Tibetan Bowls where I work, they sound just amazing. Good luck to you and thank you for the recipe!

    Wendy Sue

  2. Scott Rudolph says:

    I searched Google to find out what a healing cup is and then I realized that you probably meant “heaping cup”.

  3. Libby H says:

    Congratulations on finding clarity on this new pathway in your life, Helen–best wishes as you move forward! Thanks for sharing your lovely art.

  4. Dru says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a blessing it was that she was able to up there with you. I remember when you posted the caribbean sweet potato salad recipe, you included photos of you and your mom on a cruise. Looking at your faces in those photos it was obvious that you had a very special relationship. Your artwork is exquisite! The retreat does sound amazing!

  5. Dee Bella says:

    I love your recipes Helyn. This banana bread looks amazing, Can hardly wait to make it. Thank you for all your hard work and sharing your wonderful recipes.

  6. Twylah Ekko says:

    Awe Helyn – that is quite a bit of changes. Family always lives on in the heart (at least that is what I have found) Your artwork is beautiful, which is just as artistic as your recipes. Interesting you mentioned the Retreat idea, I had been looking for a place to host a retreat – if you were into a couple of yoga folks spending a week with you guys 🙂 Hit me up. Cheers to your new path!

    • helynskitchen says:

      Thank you Twyla! Love yoga! Looking to start into it soon. Doing Tai Chi now. Yes! We’d love to host you and yours. Let’s connect in late spring/early summer and nail down a date. ☺️💕🦋

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