Preparing for Semester Two (banana bread and bone broth)

Somewhere between surviving the first semester of law school, running a marathon, and trying to have some semblance of an outside “life,” I fell behind on my food blogging.  Which is terrible, for a couple reasons. I love food, I love sharing food, and having an outlet in the kitchen and sharing the results in a littler corner of the Internet that doesn’t care about law school but only about whether dinner was good or not is necessary for #balance.  But actually, last term I struggled a small (big) bit finding a sustainable balance, often teetering on the crazy side.  So for semester two, I am going to make a conscious effort (EFFORT, not promise) to do better at finding a balance.  It is really helpful that I now have a live-in boyfriend to remind me to eat something besides eggs and toast, and also a term of school under my belt so I know what to expect.  With all that, I am going to try and update this blog every other week.  I feel as if this is a more sustainable goal then every single week, plus it gives me at least five different dinners/lunches/breakfasts to pick from.

I love eggs on toast, but it probably shouldn’t be my breakfast and dinner every day for a week.

This week I have been organizing my life a little bit while being back in Boston, and as part of that have done some meal prepping and freezer stocking for the beginning of school (I know I said I was going to cook more, but some days a freezer meal will be necessary…#balance).  Two of my greatest freezer successes as of late are a loaf of healthy banana bread for on-the-go mornings, and turkey bone broth for easy soups and stews.  The banana bread is from Cookie and Kate, and using whole wheat flour and sweetened with maple syrup, this bread (slathered with sunflower butter) is the perfect breakfast for a morning in which Thomas and I get back from our run a little late.  It would also be perfect thrown in a ziplock bag for a late afternoon snack.

The turkey bone broth was made using the leftover bones from my Thanksgiving turkey that I had stored in the freezer.  Cooked in the instant pot for four hours (plus an hour of natural release), this broth is filled with collagen protein (10 grams a cup!) which is great for gut health and immunity in general.  I was able to get three quarts (12 cups) of broth, and am excited for the soups to come.  I will also take one (or two or five) sentences to re-emphasize how MUCH I LOVE the instant pot.  It normally takes 24 hours on the stove to get bone broth, but I did it in six.  It normally takes about 8 hours in the crockpot to make pulled pork, the instant pot does it in 90 minutes.  It normally takes hours on the stove to get a creamy butternut squash soup, it took 20 minutes in the instant pot.  Whatever you think your next kitchen purchase should be, if it isn’t an instant pot, you’re making the wrong choice.

And with that strong opinion, here are the recipes for the bone broth (modified from many internet sites) and the banana bread recipe (from Cookie and Kate).  Enjoy!

Whole wheat banana bread sweetened with maple syrup

Healthy Banana Bread

Recipe adapted SLIGHTLY from Cookie and Kate, serves 8 fill-you-up slices of bread 

The Stuff

1/3 cup melted coconut oil (I had to melt mine in the microwave, and because it was the kind that solidifies at room temperature, I did everything in a microwave safe bowl so I could occasionally zap it for 15 seconds to keep it liquid!)

1/2 cup high quality maple syrup (from Maine if you can)

2 eggs

3 small/medium mashed bananas (I had just over a cup, so I did a heavy pour of flour to compensate.  If you have a little less than a cup, do a light pour of flour)

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or normal whole wheat flour)

The Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. Whisk the melted coconut oil and maple syrup together.  Add the eggs, then the bananas and milk.
  3. Add the all the dry ingredients except the flour and whisk.  Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour.
  4. Pour the batter into your lined loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on your oven- my oven runs at a cool 350 degrees).  Start checking for doneness at 50 minutes with a tooth pick.  You want it to come out batter free.
  5. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for AT LEAST 30 minutes before slicing.  At this point you can either eat the whole thing standing up at your counter, or do as I did and eat one slice standing at the counter, and then slice the rest of the loaf and cool completely.
  6. Once completely cooled, transfer to a large ziplock (separating slices with a layer of parchment paper so they don’t stick together) and place in the freezer.  They should keep for at least a couple months, but mine have never lasted that long.  For immediate consumption post freezer I like to microwave the slice for 15 seconds, then pop in a toaster.  If it is going to be an afternoon snack, simply place in a smaller ziplock and it will be unfrozen by the time the 3 o’clock hanger rolls around.


All set for the freezer in three individual quart sized bags

Turkey (or chicken!) Bone Broth

The Stuff

2.5-3# leftover turkey (or chicken) bones.  The precise weight isn’t critical (a little over 3# would be fine!) but you don’t want to go much less than 2.5# (or you’ll get a weaker tasting broth)

3 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces

3 garlic cloves, peeled.

2 small onions (or one large), sliced in half

3 sprigs rosemary

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon coconut aminos (both the ACV and the coconut aminos help the bones break down, and add some nice umami flavoring!)

1 bay leaf

Many grinds of black pepper

14 cups of water

The Method

  1. Add all ingredients to your instant pot and give a stir the best you can.  Place lid on instant pot, and make sure valve is set to “seal.”  Cook on high pressure for four hours, and then allow a natural release.  The bones should be brittle enough that you can snap them with your fingers!
  2. Strain into a large bowl using either a sieve or a colander.  I let mine cool for 2 hours in the freezer, as everywhere I’ve read suggests rapid cooling to minimize any risk of food-borne illness.  I’ve never had any problems with this method, so I highly recommend it!
  3. Either store in the fridge for up to five days, or do as I did and transfer into three separate quart size ziplocks (four cups of broth — equal to the typical carton at the grocery store) for future use.
Set for cooling
Italian butternut squash soup made with homemade chicken broth AND completed in the instant pot.  Delicious, filling, and healthy.


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