Coffee Shop Inspired Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free*)


If we’re being truthful, I don’t like bananas very much. Or anything made with bananas: banana pudding, banana splits, Bananas Foster, you get the idea. But I really like banana bread.  The only reason I can come up with is that there are no discernable chunks of banana in banana bread. It’s incognito…and I’m easy to fool like that.

The inspiration for this recipe came from Charlene at My Frugal Adventures.  I made it exactly from the recipe and it was delicious. But I wanted to make a dairy free, egg free and gluten free version. And put some chocolate in it because…everything needs chocolate. (*Full disclosure, I didn’t have any dairy free chocolate chips-I usually always have Enjoy Life brand on hand- so I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao baking chips-they have milk in them).

This banana bread is super moist with just enough sweetness and chocolate to qualify as a dessert, but it has bananas and flax so it would be a totally acceptable breakfast (which is what I did this morning).

A couple of things before the recipe: at some point you may think you’ve done something wrong because the batter looks like dried clumps of cookie dough. That’s how it’s supposed to look. Once you add the bananas it will fine. Trust me.  Also, if you find your bread is getting a little too browned on top before baking is done, just drape a piece of tin foil over the top. I found I had to do that about 45 minutes into baking.



The bananas really weren’t as ripe as I’d hoped but they still worked.


Dry and crumbly. Don’t panic!



I told you it would be OK…


Those puddles are from the cooking spray-was not a fan of the brand I used ugh.


Beautifully browned.




Coffee Shop Inspired Banana Bread

Prep time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 50-75 minutes (my bread took 65 minutes)

Serves: 10

4 very ripe (almost overripe) bananas, mashed and set aside

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 flax egg (made by mixing 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds with 3 Tablespoons water. Let sit about 10 minutes)

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons non dairy milk of choice (I used soy)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup dark chocolate chips (can use dairy free, mini chips recommended) tossed with 1 teaspoon gluten free flour.

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and spray a 9 x 6 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flax egg, sugar and oil until well combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. It will dry and crumbly.
  5. Add the milk, mashed banana and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips and spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake 50-75 minutes until a toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 239 calories, 52 grams carbs, 3.7 grams protein, 2.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 12 grams fiber, 189 milligrams sodium


Note: any mention of brands is for informational purposes only. I did not receive any compensation for this post from any of the brands mentioned.






Tri-Color Banza Pasta Salad (#banzaplusplants Recipe Challenge)


So exciting news: I was approved to be an RD Ambassador for Banza pasta made from chickpeas! I can eat pasta everyday (I’m Italian, go figure) and although I don’t have a diagnosed gluten intolerance, there are occasions when wheat pastas don’t’ agree with me and many of the gluten free pastas I tried in the past were TerriblewithacapitalT. If you read my review of Banza’s Mac & Cheese, you already know I’m a big fan of the texture so when Banza announced their May Recipe Challenge I was super excited. To me, pasta is the super fast and super easy building block of a meal.  I try to pre-prep breakfast and lunch for my work week because a) I’m frugal and don’t want to spend $7+ on meals that don’t even appeal to and b) I can control the ingredients so my meals meet my goals. But I’m lazy. I don’t like to “cook”… I love to bake. So I need meals that I can prep in 30 minutes or less with minimal mess. Think Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade.

That’s where this recipe comes in: it’s a pasta salad that I’ve made for the last 25 years for various get-togethers and meal preps. Usually I would add some cubed mozzarella or provolone but the goal here was plant based only. If you have access to any of the delicious dairy free cheeses or like to make your own nut based cheeses, go for it! (Scroll to the end for the recipe and nutritionals). Everything in the recipe is easily found either already in your pantry or at your local supermarket, is budget friendly, and gives you a healthy dose of veggies.


I admit, the sodium count is a little high for my liking and that’s because of the olives. You can use a different variety, use less, or even leave them out. Also, note that the recipe says to reserve the liquid from the roasted peppers. It gets added to the pasta, keeping it moist and giving it a lot of flavor WITHOUT having to add a lot of oil.


All the ingredients you need to make this.


The liquid from the roasted red peppers gives you lots of flavor without adding a lot of fat.


2 ounces of olives, you can definitely use less to cut the sodium.


The broccoli bag I used had 4 servings. Doesn’t look as scary when you actually look at it. You’ll get 2 servings in each portion of this recipe!


Rinse the Banza under cool water according to package directions.

Also, this recipe comes together a lot faster if you don’t have broccoli obsessed dogs hovering.


Tri-Color Banza Pasta Salad 

Serves: 2
Prep time: about 20 minutes
• 4 ounces uncooked Banza penne
• 12 ounce bag steamed broccoli florets
• 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers (liquid reserved), sliced in thin strips
• 2 ounces Calamata olives (about 20), or olives of your choice
• 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, pepper and dried oregano to taste

1. Cook Banza penne and broccoli florets according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Once the Banza and broccoli are cooled, transfer to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine.
3. Season to taste.

Nutrition (per serving): 388 calories, 44 grams carb, 14 grams fiber, 16 grams protein, 25 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 629 mg sodium







3 Ways Foodies Can Save the Earth

Happy Earth Day everyone! If you’re like me, you’re always searching for ways to minimize your effect on the environment. Using reusable shopping bags (I love the bags that come with Butcher Box monthly deliveries!), cleaning with less toxic materials, and recycling anything and everything are big help. But did you know there are super simple things you can do in your everyday foodie life that make an impact? Here are 3 easy ways you can green up your routine.

Say goodbye to plastic straws

Plastic straws have long been vilified as an environmental nightmare, and rightly so. The viral video of a sea turtle getting a plastic straw pulled from its nose is heartbreaking. This report from CNN is a must read. Stainless steel, bamboo, and glass straws are widely available and surprisingly affordable. After a few dozen uses they pay for themselves compared to plastic.

Amazon Straw

Stainless steel straws found on

Earth friendlier coffee

Have you ever stopped to think about the environmental impact of your daily coffee habit? If you buy your coffee at the local coffee or donut shop you’re using a lot of paper or plastic cups, not to mention stirrers, cup sleeves and the above mentioned plastic straws. And let’s be honest, how many of us recycle all of that? Ask your favorite coffee joint if you can have your own tumbler or flask filled (they may ask you to buy one of theirs but that’s a small price to pay for something you can use again and again). They may even give you a discount on the coffee when you BYOC (bring your own cup)!


Coffee flask found on

If you’re a home coffee brewer, great job! But….oh those disposable coffee pods. Very few are truly recyclable but reusable filters are becoming easier to find and even the coffee companies are making compatible reusable filters. Over time not only is this more environmentally friendly, but using ground coffee can be way more frugal than buying pods.


Image found on

Going plant based for the planet

Evidence abounds that plant based diets are not only better for you, they’re better for our planet. Wait!!! Don’t leave!!! I’m not saying you have to go full vegan or even vegetarian to reduce the impact of diet on the environment. We’ve all heard of Meatless Mondays. That’s just one meal a week. You can do that! If you’re feeling really motivated, pick one meal a day to be plant based. Pinterest has loads of plant based recipes and there are so many talented plant based food bloggers to get inspired by. If you’re a book person (like me) bookstores and libraries have just what you need.


Plant Based Diet for Dummies found on

And that’s it. 3 pretty easy ways your food and drink choices can reduce your impact on the environment. There are so many more out there so I encourage you to check more out. One of my favorites is The Environmental Working Group . What are your favorites? Comment below 🙂

Disclaimer: product photos and web links are for illustration purposes only. This post is not sponsored in any way and I have received no compensation for mentioning them.

Banza Mac & Cheese Review

There’s been an explosion of bean and legume based pastas hitting the market, promising health benefits that traditional pastas don’t have and expanding options not only for the health conscious, but most importantly for people allergic or intolerant to gluten.  Most of these pastas have fallen short for me in terms of taste and texture (for the record, I’m not gluten intolerant) so when Banza ( arrived on the scene, I was intrigued.


Banza Mac & Cheese served with a Fieldroast vegan hot dog.

Banza isn’t widely available where I live (I only found their penne at a local target last week) but they ran a clever April Fool’s Day campaign with a $4.01 discount so I took the plunge and ordered a six box pack of macaroni and cheese- regular price $22.50 ($3.75 per box) which is more expensive than mass market brands (think “blue box”) but is competitive with many organic and gluten free brands. Banza boasts that thanks to chickpeas, their pasta has twice the protein, four times the fiber and half the net carbs of regular pasta. And big shoutout for the fast shipping! I ordered on Easter Sunday evening and my box arrived on Tuesday-it was in an Amazon shipping box so I assume they ship through Amazon (there’s an Amazon warehouse about 35 miles form me).


Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

I should be ashamed to admit that I’ve eaten hundreds of boxes of the classic “blue box” mac and cheese in my lifetime (but I’m not)  and being the upstanding Registered Dietitian that I am, I should find a healthier alternative. Most-okay, all-have not matched up to that salty, creamy, neon orange goodness of my youth. So last night with great optimism, I dove in. Here are some of my initial observations: the dry pasta itself is  darker than the standard elbow noodle used-it resembles whole wheat pasta-and it’s larger. Cooking time is 8-9 minutes and when cooked, the pasta definitely has more “tooth” to it-more classically “al dente” than the blue box version which gets very soft almost to the point of mushy.

Next, the all important powdered cheese. Banza calls theirs “buttery cheddar cheese”.  Call me weird, but every time I make mac and cheese I dig my spoon in the packet and eat some of that neon orange powder. Banza’s version tastes a little saltier than I remember of the classic. Finished prep takes 1/4c milk and 2 Tbsp butter (classic mac and cheese takes 4 Tbsp butter!)


Sorry for the blurriness. I was trying to steady the spoon and snap a pic while my dog was trying lick the cheese powder.

So….how does it taste???? Compared to the boxed mac and cheese we all know, this has a more subdued flavor that I really enjoyed. Surprisingly, the finished product did not taste as salty as I thought it would after tasting the cheese powder. The pasta held up nicely to cooking and holds the prepared cheese sauce well. The pasta also doesn’t have the weird consistency that plagues some other gluten free pastas. It reminds me a lot of whole wheat pasta which I happen to like. It is shockingly filling (thank you protein and fiber!). I struggled to finish my portion meanwhile I could finish an entire box of the classic mac and cheese in one sitting without thinking twice about it.

Overall, I enjoyed it and I’m glad that I have 5 more boxes in my pantry. That said, this is still a processed item that is higher in sodium and can be high in saturated fat if that is a nutrient of concern for you and so should be enjoyed occasionally.  I’m definitely looking forward to trying more Banza products and using them in my classic pasta recipes.

Hi. I’m Dawn.

I’m not quite sure what one writes as a first blog post, so I’ll just jump into telling you a little bit about me and what I’d like this blog to be for me and for you. (Future Dawn here: this post is pretty long, so grab a snack and a beverage) So…Hi! I’m Dawn and I call myself The Crafty Dietitian. But “crafty” in a good way…the baking/knitting/making wreaths out of clothespins way.

I’m a Registered Dietitian (for nearly 25 years) but don’t worry, there will be no kale on this blog (well maybe a little) and I live with my 2 dogs: Harley, who just turned 14 and Red who’s nearly 9. At least I think that’s what they are-they were rescues so it’s all a guess.


Harley in her favorite place-the backyard


Red in his favorite place-the kitchen (because that’s where the treats are)

So a little more about me. I currently work in a hospital in a beach community. Pretty much my whole career has been in acute care clinical dietetics as a practitioner or manager. It can be intense. Which brings me to The Crafty Dietitian. For as long as I can remember, I liked making things.  I was the twelve year old who came home from school and sat glued to the TV watching The French Chef and attempting various recipes (this is WAY before the Food Network). I was the family cook when I was in high school-while my parents worked, I cooked dinner. I also knit and crocheted from the time I was ten, making gifts for friends and family.  Both of these activities were really fun for me.

As with anything when we start adulting hard though, my hobbies fell by the wayside. Cooking became a necessary evil and who has time to knit? I’ve got laundry to do and bathrooms to clean! But you know what? I was HAPPY when I was doing those things. I made TIME to do them. And that’s where this blog comes in. It will give me a chance to practice writing (which I was never very good at) and share what I make and learn along the way (even when I make mistakes).

So what will you see here? Lots of baking (mostly from recipes I have in cookbooks right now-I’d love to learn how to develop my own recipes), lots of dog related stuff (I’m obsessed with my “kids”), some crafty things (I have a huge Pinterest to-do list!), products that I try out and think you might like (#notsponsored…yet), and stuff I’ve learned along the way about living more simply and frugally. I may even put on my “RD hat” and blog about interesting nutrition topics from my unconventional point of view.

I hope you’ll come visit again and hang out with me!