Sour Grapes and Sweet Banana Loaves

As I mentioned in this post, my family recently embarked  on a trip to the Getty Villa. After exploring most of the ancient artifacts, we headed to the gift shop to buy some new dust-collectors of our own. Among all the tourist-y souvenirs you buy and regret, such as a miniature Etch-A-Sketch™ and J Paul Getty’s How To Get Rich (spoiler alert: you get rich by buying oil wells) were a few small items that could actually be useful, such as a variety of cute notebooks. I loved one of the smallish ones with ancient Greek-style designs on the cover. Alas, I was sure I’d end up regretting the loss of $17 in exchange for a notebook I may or may not actually use. So I abstained from buying it, or anything else, and just watched in silence while my family waited in line with their little trinkets.

As soon as we left the Getty Villa I knew I really wanted that notebook. I needed it. In fact, I was fairly sure I could not survive without it. But I’d have to: there was no way we were going back to the museum just to visit the gift shop. I became increasingly bitter as the late afternoon went on. Why had everyone else gotten stuff, and not me? I deserved a present, too. My mom even attested AFTER we left that she WOULD have bought me something. This actually made me feel worse.

I made $20 earlier this summer by watering plants for a neighbor. It was sitting on my desk, tempting me with its seductive green slipperiness and President Andrew Jackson’s eyes gaping out at me, just begging me to spend it. On a present. For myself. I had to get something for myself to make up for being left out of the souvenir thing at the Getty Villa. No, my logic did not make sense, but buying something with that twenty was just more appealing than logic at that moment.

So I walked to the nearest Sur La Table, feeling envious the whole time of those who’d had presents bought for them (a.k.a. my brother.) I felt pretty bitter about spending my own money when I could have mooched off my mom earlier. But at the same time, I just knew I had to buy something that day. Otherwise, who knew what could happen? I might explode.

I wasn’t sure whether to buy something at Sur La Table, or a nearby clothing store. But it was getting late, and I didn’t want to spend lots of time trying on clothes. Furthermore, I’d been wanting a specific item at Sur La Table for a while. So I went on in before I could second-guess myself, and before I knew it I was headed towards the counter with a mini loaf pan. I forked over my hard-earned twenty and left the store, wondering if I’d made a horrible mistake.

I couldn’t help that flood of buyer’s regret as I trudged home. I realized I’d really overdramatized the whole situation of not buying that notebook. I probably wouldn’t have used it anyway. And now I was down twenty dollars. Would the mini loaf pan really be worth it in the long haul?

banana mini loaves with coconut and cream cheese and berries

I think so – as it turns out, mini loaves are much more fun than full-sized loaves. And the whole outside gets all golden brown and crisp, unlike soft slices of a large loaf. They’re also just so cute! I baked some that very evening. They turned out pretty well, even though I messed up the recipe: I was supposed to use 1 2/3 cup of banana, and I only used about 2/3 cup. As a result, the bread was pretty dense, but still hearty and filling. Not as banana-y as most banana bread, but I still found it quite tasty and satisfying. I added some berries for a burst of tart flavor, as well as coconut on top and a cream cheese swirl. The cream cheese swirl was hardly noticeable at all, so I recommend doubling the amount for that part of the recipe, or even just leaving it out.

My mood improved slightly with the good banana loaves. But I was still feeling a bit pouty about missing out on one of those adorable little notebooks at the Getty Villa gift shop. I know bitterness never helps anything, there was no point holding on to that selfish desire in my mind, so I tried to forget about them. But how does one forget true love?

A few days later, when I’d finally, grudgingly moved on, a friend happened to give me a little notebook for no reason. So I guess that goes to show that if you’re bitter enough about something, things will get better for you. Or maybe that life happens in a circle, and every loose end will be tied up when you least expect it. One or the other.

mini banana loaf coconut raspberry strawberry cream cheese

I don’t know if you’re feeling bitter about something right now, or if you just blew some twenty bucks on a mini loaf pan and are wondering if the store offers refunds, or if you maybe just like the idea of cute little mini banana loaves and want a healthy and interesting recipe. But whatever your reason is for making this recipe, I assure you that you will love it. (No guarantees, no refunds.) And if you don’t like it, please don’t stay bitter about it!

But seriously, these banana mini loaves are awesome. They are filling and earthy, with 100% whole grains. The fruit and coconut add some extra nutrients such as fiber. This recipe is also low in fat, as the only fat comes from the coconut and the cheese, a very small amount. Use a fat free milk for completely fat free bread. It does not taste fat free, however. It tastes brilliant, rich and indulgent. This bread is a great recipe for summer because of the festive tang of raspberries and strawberries, but it would also be good at any time of year. I’ve heard mini loaves are trendy holiday gifts…

Mini Banana Berry Loaves with Coconut and Cream Cheese

based on this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

makes 6 mini loaves, or one full size loaf

mini banana loaf with berries, cream cheese, and coconut


for bread batter

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbl brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbl Silk brand original coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbl organic light agave syrup
  • 2 tbls Crofter’s brand Morello Cherry jam
  • about 1 1/2 mashed bananas (or more for a more moist, banana-y taste)
  • 2/3 cup raspberries, halved
  • 3 strawberries, sliced

for cream cheese swirl (recommend doubling all ingredients listed here)

  • 2 Laughing Cow creamy swiss cheese wedges
  • 1 tbls organic light agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp coconut milk

for topping (no need to double this)

  • 1 tbl sweetened flaked coconut


Preheat oven to 330 Fahrenheit. (I think it would be 350 if making this as a full-sized loaf.) Spray a mini loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all dry batter ingredients. Mix well.

Add all wet batter ingredients, and stir well. Gently stir in the berries.

Spoon batter into mini loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese wedges, agave, and 1/4 tsp coconut milk. Gently mix with a spoon.

Use a spoon to swirl cream cheese mixture into each mini loaf.

Bake in the preheated oven for15 to 17 minutes. Then remove from oven. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top of each mini loaf. Return to oven for another 5 or so minutes, or until golden and cake tester comes out clean. (20 minutes total for mini loaves.)

Serve warm – mm, mm!

mini banana coconut cream cheese berry loaves mini loaf pan

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One response

  1. Those mini loaves are adorable. I’m always managing to be bitter about something and buying myself gifts as a result.

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