Sourdough Banana Bread French Toast | FoodLovesWriting.com

There’s something about a weekend morning that demands a special breakfast. After waking up to sunshine, lazing around in bed, whiling away hours reading and talking and staring out your windows at the brightening sky, when at last you stretch your legs onto the wood floors, the only sensible thing to do is continue the indulgence by feeding whatever your morning craving may be: Pancakes? Quiche? Cinnamon rolls? Fresh-squeezed juice? Banana bread French toast?

Tim and I took advantage of this pure luxury last Saturday, on one of those rare wide-open days where we had no plans or obligations until dinnertime and thus full freedom to pursue anything we chose. I’d made sourdough banana bread the night before, so in the middle of the afternoon in our pajamas, we dipped slices in a French toast batter and sauteed them in coconut oil on the stove. Tim reduced blueberries and maple syrup in a separate pot; then, we took our plates to the table, spooning thick blueberries onto fat slices of the sweetest, most delicious breakfast I’ve had this year.

Sourdough Banana Bread | FoodLovesWriting.com

We were, in other words, engaging in what some would call a ritual, a practice of slowing down enough to pay attention to what you see, the kind of thing we’ve talked about with you here before, both in terms of why we photograph food and why we find it important to face each other at a table and, talk.

“The power of ritual is profound and under-appreciated,” says Peter Bregman of the Harvard Business Review, in an article he wrote at the end of 2010, just before I’d moved to Nashville and four months before Tim and I, now the breakfast companions sharing banana bread French toast, would be engaged. “Mostly, I think, it’s because we live in a time-starved culture, and ritual is time-indulgent. Who can afford the luxury of doing one thing at a time? Who has the patience to pause and honor an activity before and after we do it?

We all should.”

french toast | foodloveswriting.com
Banana Bread French Toast | FoodLovesWriting.com

I read Bregman’s article earlier this week, but I’m still thinking about the conclusion he comes to later in the piece—that, while extravagant weekend mornings are the stuff beautiful rituals are made of, there are smaller, no less meaningful rituals we can engage in every day. Deep breaths at your computer each morning before you work, for example, could be a choice to calm your thoughts and focus on your surroundings. Pausing to consider a response before you make it, perhaps, helps you practice what it means to listen and be slow to speak.

The idea of ritual is nothing new, but it’s something I want more of in my life—more noticing, more appreciating, more slowing down—whether that comes in the form of the first college football game all season (as my friend Holly reminded me of the value of last week), in reading a book before bed with my iPhone tucked away in another room or in the form of weekend family breakfasts like this one, eaten in quiet and savored slow.




Sourdough Banana Bread French Toast
Serves two

To gild the lily, we topped our French toast with pats of butter, dollops of yogurt and spoonfuls of blueberry sauce. Here’s how we made the sauce: in a saucepan on the stove, we combined one part blueberries to one part maple syrup (about 1/2 cup of each, we think), letting it reduce while we made the French toast.

Ingredients:
1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 slices sourdough banana nut bread (*recipe below; or use whatever banana bread you like)
filling ingredients:
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw goat’s milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dashes of nutmeg and cardamom

Directions:
Heat coconut oil in large skillet. In a small bowl, whisk together French toast filling ingredients and pour into a lipped plate. Dip bread, one slice at a time, in the mixture, covering both sides. Cook bread in oil until golden; flip and cook the other side. Repeat with all four slices. Top as you like.

*Sourdough Banana Nut Bread
Adapted from The Fresh Loaf
Makes one loaf

Beyond the sourdough starter and the streusel topping, this recipe is little more than a basic banana nut bread—in everything but one point: Even with no cinnamon in the recipe, while this bread bakes and its intoxicating scent explodes in your kitchen, you’d swear it’s cinnamon rolls, not banana bread, you’re about to eat.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup sourdough starter (instructions for making one here)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Just under 2 cups einkorn flour (or spelt or wheat or all-purpose could also work)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Streusel topping:
1/4 cup einkorn flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons butter, diced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan. Cream together the coconut oil and coconut sugar; add egg, and mix until blended. Stir in mashed bananas and sourdough starter. Add vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add this flour mixture and the chopped walnuts to the first mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour into loaf pan. In a small bowl, put together streusel ingredients: cut butter into the flour and sugar. After this mixture resembles coarse crumbs, scatter it all over the top of the banana bread mixture in the pan. Insert pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 41 Comments

  1. Nicole

    “Pausing to consider a response before you make it, perhaps, helps you practice what it means to listen and be slow to speak.” I love this, as I often just try to fill the silence. Thank you. :) And, slow mornings and delicious Saturday breakfasts are my absolute favorite thing.

  2. Lan | angry asian

    i like weekend indulgences like this, there is something very magical about it. i never thought about it, until now, but dw & i always, without fail, hug after a long day apart. we walk in the door, take off our layers of winter coats/scarves/hats/gloves and then finally we hug for a long moment, a nice quiet respite from a hectic day. i need to figure out a recipe for this Hug for our weekend morning rituals.

  3. Jacqui

    I sometimes feel like I slow down too much, which is why I call myself lazy. I’ll say I’m going to do something, and then I wander into the living room and notice that my geraniums are starting to flower, so I’ll spend a few moments just looking at the plants instead of putting away the dishes. Which actually reminds me that I should’ve watered my geraniums last night instead of going to bed to read a book. Where do we draw the line between appreciative and lazy? (Sorry, not trying to be difficult or call YOU lazy or say that we shouldn’t appreciate and slow down and notice things, but I’m just wondering out loud, and likely just missing the point altogether.) (Also, beautiful post, as always, and happy Friday!)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! Jacqui, listen, the reason you are responding this way, I genuinely believe, is because you are one of those RARE people who already does this so well. Most people aren’t as good at stopping and noticing. So when I read your comment, I just think how much I like that about you.

      Also though, you do bring up a good point about moderation and balance. While I may be hitting against this idea a lot lately because I feel the lack of it in myself, it won’t be the same for everyone. You, on the other hand, might need to hit more on the idea of doing instead (I don’t know if you do or not, I’m just saying as an example).

      We can’t spend all day noticing any more than we should spend all day doing WITHOUT noticing. True, true.

  4. Holly

    Sourdough banana bread. Oh my goodness. I love this! Ritual is so beautiful… I so need it to remind myself that life is not a constant frenzy. I am certain that when God made order out of chaos in creating the world, he gave us breakfast to remind us of small-order within small-chaos :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      : ) Yay! And the sourdough banana bread isn’t a must, either. You could use whatever banana bread you like best… you know, just in case you don’t have a sourdough starter on the counter or in the fridge right now but want these tomorrow, haha.

  5. Little Kitchie

    Shanna, this is absolutely incredible! Your pictures are gorgeous and this sounds like a perfect lazy weekend breakfast. I agree that weekend mornings just don’t feel the same if we don’t sit down to a fabulous breakfast. This is a really special dish – definitely pinning this to try!

  6. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    The french toast is gorgeous and the blueberry sauce the best! Rituals are so important, yet it´s so easy to become used to them and forget what surrounds them or why we do them. Living in the present is probably one of the hardest things to do.

  7. Sonja

    “Who can afford the luxury of doing one thing at a time?” — I love this! What a great reminder to slow down — something we’ve been practicing as well (Alex’s buzz word of the year is “margin”). XO and the recipe sounds delicious :)

  8. Kasey

    The morning breakfast ritual was one of my favorite ways to start the weekend pre-baby. It’s funny how recent that time was and yet how far away it feels now! Lounging in bed and dreaming of pancakes and waffles….dreamy. xo

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, Kasey, been thinking about you, especially after your thoughtful post this morning. For what it’s worth, much as I love my free time, I sometimes dream of a little baby at home. : ) Hugs to you and Neko!

  9. ruthy @ omeletta

    A-freaking-men. I’ve been having a lot of internal struggle lately with trying to be mindful, and slow down, and to to just enjoy things that haven’t been planned to the nth degree.
    I loved that article and am trying to actively “honor” more moments in my life as well. Wonderful post.
    (And, sourdough banana bread? I think I could honor that all morning long :) )

  10. Julie

    I love this post. My favorite ritual is taking the time to make a pot of tea every morning. It gives me a chance to clear my head, and take a few minutes to get ready for the day.

  11. Jess

    Frank and I spent the first year or so of our marriage rushing through our weekend mornings much like we did the ones during the week. Only recently have we adopted the habit of cooking together on Saturday morning – sitting at the kitchen counter, sipping tea, and reminding ourselves not to rush. It makes the entire weekend feel so much more luxurious. I love your comment here Shanna, about making it more than just a weekend thing. We’re a fast-paced people in a fast-paced time. I vote for more breakfasts and less rushing!

  12. Kathryn

    I am very glad that we are not the only people whose weekend breakfasts end up being in the middle of the afternoon! Those weekend mornings are my absolute favourites though and all the better for the rituals that we have developed to celebrate them.

  13. Christa

    Hey Shanna – came across an old post and want to try it out w my sourdough starter which I’ve kept going since testing the sourdough einkorn english muffins ;) Just wondering, is this a room temperature starter you used above or can it be used straight from the fridge? I assume room temp but just wondering. Thanks – I plan to make this this weekend!

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