Banana Oat Bread

Lately, we seem to always have overripe bananas laying around our house as my kids and hubby seem to be on some sort of cyclical banana eating pattern. As for me, I have a textural aversion to bananas and can only eat them in baked goods or pulversized in a chocolate smoothie. So with this weeks batch of overripe bananas I decided to try a recipe I had pinned from the Minimalist Baker blog. This banana bread is hearty with a mild sweet nutty flavor and paired perfectly with my afternoon almond latte. Enjoy! nom nom

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

4 ripe bananas

1 egg or flaxseed egg

2 TBS honey

1 1/4 cups GF oats

1/4 cup brown sugar; I use sucanat as an unrefined option.

1 1/4 cups almond flour

3 TBS coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix #1 or a store bought GF all purpose flour mix

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup almond milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with non stick spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the almond meal, flour, oats and baking powder together. Set aside
  3. Mash bananas in large bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pan or divide amone the 4 mini loaf pans.
  4. For the large loaf pan bake bread for 60-75 minutes; 40-44 minutes for mini loaves. The bread should feel firm and golden brown on top.
  5. Let it cool completely or it will crumble!!!
  6. Store in container for a few days. Freeze for longer storage.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

gluten free / flour free / dairy free option

Easter was this past weekend and my mom always gets to choose the dessert. She observes Lent and gives up chocolate AND sugar EVERY YEAR!!! I know….crazy right?! So, I feel she above any of us should get to choose what her first dessert will be. I know, I definately don’t derserve to. In all the years (at least 35) she has observed Lent, I joined in…let’s say ten times and I was only cheat free once. My willpower when it comes to giving up my treats is next to none, or it is quite possibly even below that. As I said earlier; I’m a baked goods junkie! My mom thought about it for a few seconds and then stated her desire in two beautiful words; chocolate cake. And as soon as the words left her mouth, we both looked at each other, smiled and said “Oh! Chocolate Quinoa Cake!!” This cake is a family favorite and has been my son’s birthday cake for all of his 2 birthdays….and might I add that he devours it like a pack of starving people are chasing him. This cake rivals any “regular” chocolate cake I have ever had. It has a moist texture and the chocolate is so rich and decadent that everyone will want the recipe! I personally like the cake with a cream cheese frosting and will post it as such but you could do a buttercream as well. Because of the cake’s richness I think it is perfect with a a thick layer of frosting in the middle and on top while leaving the sides unfrosted. But….no one in my family agrees with me (except my non dessert eating husband) so we continue to frost the whole cake!! Enjoy! nom nom

2/3 cup quinoa, well washed

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup almond milk

4 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter or vegan butter sticks, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (or natural cane)

1 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

2 sticks of organic butter, softened

2 8oz boxes of cream cheese, softened

2 cups of organic powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

note: This is not the original cream cheese frosting recipe I grew up on with my grandma and mom. As my tastes have changed over the years the orginal version became overpoweringly sweet to me. So I fiddled with the ingredients until I came up with a frosting that was less sweet but didn’t taste like pure butter and cream cheese. This recipe has HALF the sugar of the original recipe and has a mellow sweetness to it that pairs perfectly with this cake, or any cake for that matter! But if you want the full frontal version (no judgements, it’s crazy good) just cut in half the amount of butter, cream cheese and vanilla. And use 1 pound of powdered sugar (appx 3 3/4 cups) instead of the two. You can also make this frosting vegan with non-dairy butter and cream cheese.

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa and water to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave covered saucepan on burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 8 inch round cake pans (13×9 pan works too). Line bottoms with parchment paper
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend milk, eggs and vanilla. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and butter; blend until very smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to quinoa mixture and mix well, scraping down as needed.
  5. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake on center ovenr ack for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans very gently, remove parchment paper from tops and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
  6. For frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add the powdered sugar and mix until throughly combined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

gluten free /grain free /dairy free option vegan option /vegan option

It’s cookie time!!!!! One of my first and most beloved memories I have as a child is making Toll House cookies with my dad. He would sit me on the counter in the kitchen and I would watch with anticipation as he creamed together the butter and sugar, my legs swinging more excitedly with every stir  until the moment arrived to add the chocolate chips and get a taste of the dough. yes, yes….I know its bad to eat raw dough but it’s SO freakin’ good. This was a Friday night tradition in our house until I left for school and remains one of my favorite desserts. It is also hands down the best (albeit the only) thing my dad makes. My mom and I are convinced its because he is strong and can stir the dough until it is so smooth and creamy that the cookies literally melt like butter in your mouth. So, needless to say I have been searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that could not only live up to the beloved Toll House cookie and all the memories it carried but be better from a nutrition standpoint and delicious enough to be a favorite of my kids for years to come. The recipe below may very well be THE ONE.  I found it on Pinterest via the blog Texanerin Baking.  The only change I made was to not use brown sugar and to use coconut sugar instead. It’s a fantastic recipe in my opinion as it is gluten free, refined sugar free and grain free with a dairy free option! And the cookies….OH MY LORD. They are chewy, soft and the sweetness is mild because of the coconut sugar used. They are simple to make and if you don’t regularly use coconut or almond flour in your cooking you can just run and get the specific amount from the bulk section of your grocery. Enjoy!! And check back tomorrow because I am going to make these cookies using dark chocolate chunks and chopped nuts! nom nom

Update……These cookies are perfect to make ice cream sandwiches!!! We used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream. I used a small ice cream scoop and placed 3 scoops on one cookie, placed the second cookie on top and applied light pressure to the top cookie to spread out the ice cream!!!! So good!!!!!

1 egg or flaxseed egg

6 TBS almond butter, room temperature

1 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut sugar

1/4 tsp salt; I prefer fleur de sel

1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips, I use Lily’s dark chocolate baking chips

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

6 TBS butter or butter alternative; room temperature

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In stand mixer, beat together butter and coconut sugar on medium speed until well blended
  3. Beat in almond butter and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Slow mixer to low speed, add in egg  and mix until throughly combined. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips.Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour or until firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Roll dough into balls that are slightly larger than a golf ball. There should be approximately 14 cookies. Place 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. With the flat side of a measuring cup or your palm lightly press the cookie balls into discs. Bake 12-14 minutes or until center of the cookie no longer appears wet and the edges are slightly brown.
  6. Remove cookies from oven, place on wire cooling rack and let cool completely before eating.

 

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Hey ya’ll! When I started today off I didn’t actually intend to write a post. Mondays, at least in my world always seem to be the day that if shit is going to hit the fan its going to hit on Monday. And this Monday did not fail. My daughter, who is 5 woke up sounding eerily like Mr. Snuffleupagus and proclaimed that going to the gym daycare where I volunteer and then to school (she is in K4 at a local nature school) “would be to stressful on her achy head and that “maybe she should go to spend the day with Alma” (my mom).  I mean on one hand… the hilarity of what is stressful in her life compared to mine made me slightly jealous but it mostly made me smile at the pure amazing simplicity of her life and how truly lucky we are. This amazing fuzzy feeling was immediatley booted by the realization that I needed to get my ass in high gear if I was going to get myself and both kids fed and ready, out the door, drop her to my parents, cover my butt for my carpool pickup duties and get to my volunteer job on time and without losing my marbles along the way. Next, I tackled the relatively new issue of my two year old son’s eyes crossing (and staying crossed for what seems like an eternity). I won’t lie the first time it happened it made me giggle, but now I find myself just hoping they will go back to their correct starting position and that this is not some manifestation of a more serious problem. Confession…I have been told I can be a bit of a worrier at times, ok maybe more than a bit. This started a couple weeks ago but would happen randomly and pretty infrequently. But by this past weekend we found ourselves going from seeing it once or twice a day to three or four times in an hour. Not only that but my son began to seem bothered by it and slightly dazed after it would happen. Sound the mama bear call to action. After a few calls to my pediatrician and a couple recommendations from other parents I was able to secure a referral to a pediatric opthamologist close by. Once that was taken care of it was just a regular day of shuffling the kids to our nanny’s care (You will hear alot about her as we go, she is a legitimate member of the family and I would be lost without her. She has also unwittingly and just recently become my assistant for this blog). Once everyone seemed settled I was back out the door and headed to my therapy session for a neck injury. Two hours later (being a former professional dancer has its drawbacks) I was back on the road and headed home to finish the day with the kids, get my hubby packed for his four day trip, put in some time on my Arbonne business and get my recipes lined up for tomorrow’s posts. But once I got the kiddos and my hubby off to bed (no lie, he is in bed no later than 9pm). I found that I was itching to get in my comfies, apply the amazing Re9 cellular renewal face mask from Arbonne and write a recipe post. And in a rare easy Monday moment I knew exactly what to post. My gluten free pie crust recipe. It was perfect!! Not only is Easter a couple weeks away but I already wanted to make my Vegetarian Pot Pie for a friend going through some personal issues and I couldn’t do that without a pie crust. So here it is. Enjoy! P.S. If you don’t need to be gluten free feel free to add it back in and use an all purpose flour instead.

Gluten Free Pie Crust

Yield: Two 9in pie crusts

Prep time: 30 minutes                Cook time: varies with recipe

2 cups of gluten free flour mix #1  or  any GF all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt; I prefer fleur de sel salt

8 TBS of unsalted organic butter or butter alternative, well chilled

1 large organic egg, lightly beaten

8-10 TBS ice cold water. I use a Pyrex glass measuring cup and add a couple ice cubes to ensure it is cold enough to form the dough.

  1. Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
  2. Cut in the chilled butter to the flour mixture using either a pastry cutter or your hands.
  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the beaten egg. Gently work in the egg until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Add the ice water to the center, one tablespoon at a time, working it in by hand until a moist crumbly dough forms. The crumbles should compress in shape and when squeezed should stick together. fYI…a wet dough is easier to  manipulate than a dry one so make sure to use enough water that your dough forms into a ball easily.
  5.  Shape the dough into a large ball. Cut the ball in half, placing each half onto a sheet of wax/parchmetn paper that has been sprinkled with additional gluten free flour mix. Form each half of dough into a smooth disk. Sprinkle a small amount of gluten free flour mix over each disk before covering them with another sheet of parchment paper. You can then roll out the dough to be 2 inches larger than whatever baking dish you are using. Helpful Tip: To get the crust into the pie plate with minimal damage: lift the bottom sheet of wax/parchment up off of the counter, center it over top of the baking dish, and quickly flip the paper over the plate to get the dough into the plate. The bottom sheet is now on top of the dough in the pie plate. Carefully peel away that  sheet of parchment paper and you are left with an intact pie crust! If there are cracks in the crust, don’t panic. Simply press the cracks in the pastry together until they merge with the crust and disappear.

Check in tomorrow for two new recipes!!  Vegetarian Pot Pie and Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Breakfast Bundt Cake

gluten free / dairy free / vegan option / refined sugar free

Michigan blueberries in March. How you ask?? Well….they are frozen of course!! And believe me, they are as sweet and luscious as the day I got them from the local farmers market here in Milwaukee. When I pulled them out of the freezer the other day I was already jonesing for some sort of cake. (Side notes….I am a baked goods junky. Before you judge me too harshly let me say that I am a discerning sugar junky with impeccable taste. And while I’m on the confession train, I might as well apologize up front for my rambling writing style and general potty mouth. In terms of my rambling “habit”….what can I say…I have two young kids, two entreprenurial businesses , two passions without a paycheck and a hubby that travels. So, I never do just one thing at a time or at a nice easy pace.  And I tend to write like I talk… fast and with a mouth that would make any sailor proud, sorry mom!).

Where was I??? Oh yea….blueberries and cake. Before I had set my eyes on those Michigan blueberries I had been leaning heavily towards a redo of my mom’s amazing poppyseed bundt cake. Redo in the sense that I have recently discovered (within the last year that I am highly intolerant to gluten and (cue the sad song) most likely cow milk based dairy as well. I am currently debating whether or not to retest for Celiac’s and other auto immune diseases as I am one of many who got bad medical advice and did the blood panels after already pulling gluten out of my diet. But more on that topic later.

My mom’s poppyseed bundt cake, the same cake which was one of my favorite birthday cake options as a teenager is chock full of both gluten and dairy. The cake starts with a super moist yellow cake (the secret ingredient is vanilla pudding). Then is finished with a sweet almond glaze drizzled over the top. I mean…just describing it makes me want to jump off the wagon and run full speed to my bundt pan. I can still remember how sad I was a  year ago at the beginning of my gluten free journey when I thought this cake or any cake really would be lost to me forever. Even though I was already a lover of baking/cooking and a self proclaimed foodie I had ZERO idea how to make anything with gluten, without it. Fast forward to now and I squeal like a little pig at the thought of re-making a beloved dessert or family recipe. Armed with my newly rediscovered Michigan blueberries I took the essence of my mom’s poppyseed cake recipe and I decided to make what I now lovingly call the blueberry “breakfast” bundt cake.

This cake is a perfect choice for a Sunday brunch. It’s sweet without being overwhelmingly so and the burst of bright blueberries pairs exceptionally well with more savory brunch items. I honestly prefer this cake without the glaze. And love that wihout it the cake is also refined sugar free. However, if you are looking for a more sinful cake just add the vanilla/almond glaze and I promise your sweet tooth will be silent. Enjoy! nom nom

Blueberry “Breakfast” Bundt Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature organic butter or butter alternative, plus more to grease bundt pan

2 1/2 cups Gluten Free flour mix (see recipe below) or any GF all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt; I prefer fleur de sel salt though it is more $$$

2 cups coconut palm sugar

3 large eggs or flax seed eggs

1 cup of greek or non-dairy yogurt; vanilla or plain both work

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries; thaw and pat dry blueberries if using frozen

Cake Glaze (optional) I prefer this cake without the glaze!

1 cup of powdered sugar; sifted

1/4- 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract. Start with 1/4 tsp, taste and go from there. You can also do pure almond extract for a different flavor profile.

2 TBS  milk or non dairy milk

Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in vanilla extract and milk until you have a smooth glaze. The glaze should lightly coat you spoon. Drizzle over cake once it is completely cool.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the bundt cake pan with butter or non stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar at medium speed for appx 3 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
  4. Turn the mixer to low speed and add one egg at a time. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Add the dry ingredients from step 2 and mix until combined.
  6. Add in the yogurt and lemon zest and mix. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes.
  7. Fold in the blueberries. Make sure to really incorporate the blueberries into the mix. This way each bite of cake you take will have that burst of blueberries in it!
  8. Transfer mixture to bundt pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Place bundt pan on wire rack, let cool for a 5 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
  9. If you are using the vanilla glaze, You can make this while the cake cools. Just dip a spoon into the glaze and drizzle it over the cake. Best part is you can use as much or as little of the glaze as you would like.