Right out of college I moved up north and worked in a group home and actually lived with six teenaged girls who were drug and alcohol dependent. For a 21 year old to drive a mini van around town, taking 17 year olds to therapy appointments, AA meetings, and various errands, it was a lot to handle. It was a truly rich experience. On one hand it was one of the best years of my life because I grew immensely as an emotional and spiritual person but on the other hand it was also one of the darkest and loneliest times I have ever experienced.

No-Bake Banana Cream Pie (gluten-free vegan) - Fork & Beans
My schedule was a bit complex and my off days never coincided with my friends’ schedules. Truth be told, having friends was a rarity too because I was in a town I never lived in before and I really didn’t know anyone. I would fear coming home because home was work and it reminded of all the demons I was facing at every moment and every second of every day. I took solace in Movie Day which was Thursday, my first day off of the week. It was my favorite time because I could escape the emotional turmoil for a brief 2 hours as I sat in the movie theater eating popcorn and some candy in chocolate-covered form.

No-Bake Banana Cream Pie (gluten-free vegan) - Fork & Beans

Not only were those favorite moments but I also loved going to Marie Calendar’s with a journal on hand. I would sit in the booth and order a slice of Banana Cream Pie with a cup of coffee and pour my heart out into my adult diary. I still have those journals by the way and I am so deeply grateful I wrote and kept them. I still go back and read certain parts from time-to-time in order to remember where I was when I wrote them. Those entries have a way of bringing me back immediately to that particular emotion I was feeling, despite the fact that was 15 years ago. I treasure them as they are evidence of how far I have grown as a human being.

No-Bake Banana Cream Pie
Serves 8
This silky, creamy banana pie will fool anyone into believing that it is actually made with eggs and cream.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
For the Crust
  1. 4 c. gluten-free cereal (I used Chex)
  2. 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  3. 1/2 c. coconut oil (use refined for no coconut flavor)
For Banana Cream
  1. 1 1/2 c. cashews (raw and unsalted), soaked in water for 1+ hours and drained
  2. 3/4 c. nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  3. 2 medium bananas, ripe
  4. 3 Tbsp. coconut oil (use refined for no coconut flavor)
For Cream Topping
  1. 1 can coconut cream, set overnight in the fridge
  2. 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  3. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Crust
  1. In a food processor, crush the cereal and sugar into fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and add the oil until well-combined and resembles wet sand texture. Press into a greased pie pan and place in the freezer.
For the Filling
  1. Throw everything into a high-speed blender and mix until completely smooth.
  2. Pour over the crust and place back into the freezer.
For the Cream Topping
  1. With an electric mixer, whip up the solid coconut cream from the can (if you are using cream, the majority of the can should actually solidify) and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and fluff up for another 30 seconds.
  2. Gently pour over the filling.
  3. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until set (the longer the better). You can speed the process up by placing it in the freezer as well.
  4. Slice and enjoy.
Fork and Beans http://www.forkandbeans.com/
It’s funny how food can deeply represent a certain time in your life. Waffles and crispy bacon make me relive Sundays as a little girl.  Nachos with chili (Chilly Billies!) take me to the softball field in junior high after a Saturday game. McDonald’s drive-thru breakfasts bring me back to those mornings on our way to high school when a bowl of cereal just wasn’t cutting it. And this pie makes me think of those nights I was too emotionally tired to go home and would find respite in a restaurant with my words freshly written onto a piece of paper.

No-Bake Banana Cream Pie (gluten-free vegan) - Fork & Beans

This slice represents a girl becoming a woman, all the growing pains that came along with it, and the strength and beauty–the incredible beauty that arose from such ashes.