Covert Vegan Banana Bread

Hi my name is Liz and I must admit that I’m a covert vegan [hubs gave me the name – I have vegan tendencies but am not a full on vegan]. You see, I have a fairly long list of foods that I have to avoid due to my autoimmune & gastrointestinal diseases. It’s hard! For the past 11 years living with this diagnosis I have had multiple ups and downs. Right now I’m trying to recover from a down. After this last down I’ve vowed to be more finicky about what I eat. I am thankful that there are many more options out on the market than ever before but there’s still room for improvement so it’s best for me to cook for myself right now.

Banana bread is a long time favorite of mine and I’ve done allergen free versions before but they tend to still have dairy in them. This new recipe is an adaption from Betty Crocker and has some options as well. I hope the word “vegan” doesn’t turn you off and that you give this recipe a shot. Let me know how you like it.

My one issue with most vegan recipes is that they still tend to contain some of my allergens. Many vegan recipes use soy based or nut based products and I am allergic to both so I used oat milk for this recipe [note – my recipe does contain coconut oil]. So far Planet Oat has been my favorite type of oat milk.

Since Planet Oat milk is also gluten free if you would like a gluten free option to this recipe I suggest using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour

Right now I am not allowed to have chocolate buuuuuuut I would still recommend trying this recipe with chocolate chips and the best vegan and allergen free ones on the market are by Enjoy Life. Another option for this bread is to add a crumble on top [don’t worry I’ve included those options on the recipe card].

Tip: LINE YOUR BAKING DISH WITH PARCHMENT PAPER! Trust me on this one, it makes removing it a gagillion times easier.

Ceci was my little helper. I love when my kiddos are curious about what Mama’s making and ask to help.

Ok so for the recipe…here it is on a print friendly card for ya. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The Luckiest – 11 years [church wedding edition]

A letter to Troy:

I know I owe you a real letter but the thoughts are in my head now and with Audie sleeping on me it’s easier to blog on my phone than to grab a pen and paper – don’t worry I’ll still send you a letter later. For now, here’s this for you and everyone else to read because sometimes I think some people see we have a crazy beautiful life but our colorful life is splattered with struggle and it is because we continually make it through the struggles that our marriage is strong.

11 years ago we stood in front of God, our family and friends, and convalidated our marriage. During our vows I cried during the “in sickness and health” part and you gave me your goofy grin. I was crying because we were already living that and your smile validated to me how you think I’m a fool for thinking you’d ever walk away from me when the going got tough. Just weeks before our marriage we weren’t sure if I would be able to make it to the altar. I’ve never seen a dress maker so pissed that she had to make last minute alterations to a dress since I had lost so much weight in the last couple of weeks. The time leading up to our ceremony was terrible. We were hundreds of miles apart, I was up in Massachusetts sick and in the hospital or constantly at doctors offices once discharged. You had to be in Nashville still. I didn’t think you would come that weekend. You did though, you showed up and did everything I wanted and I know I pissed you off because I was still worried about the wedding ceremony and you didn’t care about that anymore all you cared about was that I was still here.

11 years later and I’m still sick and I still infuriate you. We live with my unpredicatable disease. We live an active duty army life where we are constantly separated and on opposite sides of the world. You still get mad at me because I still worry that you’ll back away from me and you still think I’m a fool for that. We love eachother so fiercely it hurts sometimes.

Every single one of those vows we have lived each side of [well maybe not the rich part] over the last 11 years. We have struggled, our path still has wrong turns, stumbles and falls. Yet I know that I am the luckiest through it all because you are with me on this journey of life. You are my home and my adventure all at once and I’m thankful that I know I have you till death do us part.

Mr. Troy, thank you for always loving me. Hopefully in November we will finally get our honeymoon when we go to Vegas.

Te amo,

The Luckiest,


Adventures with Autism – shoes

April is Autism Awareness month. This year I decided to make shoes for me and Tedy. I got canvas kicks [found at Ross and was super lucky that I found chucks in Tedy’s size there] and fabric friendly acrylic paints [from wallyworld] to complete this project.

Step 1: remove shoe laces

Step 2: sketch a puzzle piece pattern along the sides of the shoes starting at the mid-back of the shoe and working your way forward.

I did the first couple steps while sitting outside by the lake, enjoying the sounds of spring and reflecting on what it means to be an Autism mom.

This is not a life I imagined nor is it one I would wish upon anyone. It is exhausting and pushes you to limits you never knew existed then forces you to reevaluate and push even further. This life as a care giver burns you out of a visible wick leaving you burning the unknown. Creating these shoes was therapeutic for me.

Step 3: using one color at a time paint a pattern on the shoes.

Step 4: outline the puzzle pieces in black and complete any necessary touch ups.

Step 5: put laces back in. Wear & enjoy. [Find the joy in the journey]

Tips: if you can find white chuck shoes (on sale) I recommend getting them. They’re an easier canvas to work with. The shoes I got for myself were softer structured and an off white so it was a little more difficult to work with. Remember, don’t be hard on yourself – art is for enjoyment and therapy. Art is for a release and if you’re stressing about perfection you’re missing out on the point of this particular project. Autism is difficult and imperfect and the puzzle pieces may be bent and may not match up all the time. Autism is a spectrum, every person on it is unique and each pair of shoes painted will be unique as well.

In the metaphors of life, don’t try and walk in my shoes, they won’t fit you, they’re my shoes. Instead, put on your own shoes and journey with me through this adventure of life.