Annemarie Flynn Rossi ’94, Blogger at Real Food Real Deals

"Some people assume that because I write a food blog, I’m a natural cook,” explains Annemarie Flynn Rossi ’94, blogger at Real Food Real Deals and author of Conquering Your Kitchen. “In reality, I don’t actually love to cook, and I didn’t learn how to cook growing up. This is a skill I picked up in adulthood because I think it’s so important for my family’s health and well-being. I don’t cook because I love cooking; I cook because I love my family.”

For Rossi, learning to cook made her more aware of what food she and her family were eating—and what they shouldn’t be eating. In fact, she noticed that when they changed from consuming processed and pre-packaged food to healthier, homemade food, she and her family stopped being plagued by colds, flus and seasonal allergies.

“I started my blog because I wanted to help other people learn to provide their families with affordable, homemade food—and to enjoy a healthier lifestyle,” says Rossi, who has over 50,000 followers on social media and whose website receives over 1 million views per year. “Many well-educated, well-meaning people struggle to put healthy food on their tables day after day. I love serving as a resource for this community.”

In addition to providing nutrition tips—such as, to read ingredient lists and avoid food with added chemicals—Rossi’s website also includes a travel series highlighting destinations where healthy, locally sourced food is celebrated.

Serving as recipe developer, writer, editor, photographer, marketer, business manager and, of course, cook at Real Food Real Deals is a lot of work, but, to Rossi, it’s worth it knowing she’s making a difference in people’s lives.  

“The most rewarding thing for me as a food blogger is when I get a comment from a reader telling me she made my recipe and her children loved it,” says Rossi. “Kids are the biggest critics, so I’m always excited to hear when they give a thumbs-up to one of my recipes.”

So what’s her favorite recipe? Blender banana bread (below).

“I make it at least once a month,” shares Rossi, who counts oats, coconut oil, eggs, popcorn kernels and fresh produce among her kitchen must-haves. “I’m always over-buying bananas, hoping that a few of them will brown and I can make another batch of this delicious bread.”  ■ 

—Rebecca Smith ’99 and Kimberly Staley ’99

Blender Banana Bread Recipe

Yields: 12 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup diced walnuts 
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tbs. shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions:
1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
2.   In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3.   Place the bananas, eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil and maple syrup in a blender. Process until smooth (about 10 seconds), then transfer the banana mixture to a large mixing bowl.
4.   Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine well. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with the walnuts, chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Press the toppings into the loaf a bit with a spatula.
5.   Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.  ■