This looked so much more delicious in person, but it was the best I could do at 6:47 this morning.

The “Earth Mama” part of the name refers to the good-for-you, wavy-gravy additions of flax seed and wheat germ. It reminds me of the time during the health-food movement of the ’70s that Mom switched me from Jif on Wonder Bread to natural peanut butter with the oil floating on top spread on nubby whole wheat. I freaked, but she just said, “Eat it.” (She didn’t take much lip from me.) Fortunately this banana bread doesn’t taste like it’s good for you–it just is.

Also, I’ve been trying to use natural sugars such as blackstrap molasses and agave nectar instead of refined sugar. Happily, the molasses goes really well with the coffee (the “Java” part) in this recipe–thanks, Mollie Katzen, author of the great Moosewood Cookbook series, for that tip! And thanks to Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker of The Joy of Cooking for providing the basis for this now-modified, hippie-fied, caffeinated recipe.

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
blackstrap molasses
agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 egg
1 Tablespoon flax seed (ground)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1-2 really ripe bananas
1/4-1/3 cup strong coffee or decaf
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
a dash of nutmeg (optional)

Yep, I know I didn’t give any amounts for the sweet stuff. No worries, we’ll get to that.
Preheat oven to 350. Butter or oil a loaf pan.
Mix all dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, stir together oil, egg, and lemon zest. Add 1/3 cup of molasses and 1/4 cup of agave nectar. Mix and add to dry ingredients.
Add coffee and mix a little.
At this point, the mixture isn’t going to be too sweet. For a darker, stronger banana bread, add 1/4 cup more molasses. For lighter and sweeter, add 1/4 cup more agave nectar. Mix.
Break up bananas into little pieces and add with walnuts. Stir in lightly; don’t over-mix.
Add batter to loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick or shish-kebab rod comes out of the middle clean. Let cool before slicing.
Enjoy with milk, soymilk, or, for the java-addicted, more coffee.