paleo banana pecan muffins

banana pecan breakfast muffins

I have been away. From my computer, I mean. I miss sharing recipes and projects here, but I have just been so busy that I haven’t really had the time. I began working again outside the home back in October, and though I am thankful for the additional financial support and benefits the job offers, I am struggling to accept that I am being required to set aside the things I feel I am meant to be doing. I know that nothing is permanent, and this is a necessary phase in my life, but sadness and self-doubt have been frequent companions.

That said, all I can do right now is embrace the situation. I am doing my best to be fully present, not only when I get to be home with my kids or doing something else I enjoy, but also while I am working and would rather be someplace else. There is no benefit to feeling regretful, to doubting the validity of past decisions. There is only now.

I know there is a balance, and I will find it.

IMG_2268

I haven’t been doing breakfast very well lately. Before leaving for work I sometimes have enough time to make my usual smoothie, but that has been becoming less and less frequent. One of these will be perfect to grab as I go, and Lu helped make them, so there’s a little love in there (and probably a little spit from when he licked the spoon, but love kills germs, right?).

This recipe is Paleo; free of gluten, grains, dairy and sugar. Oh yeah, and they’re super yummy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ripe bananas, mashed, 2 1/2 cups (about 4)
  • organic, free-range eggs, 4
  • almond butter, 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil, 4 tablespoons
  • vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons
  • raw, local honey, 1 tablespoon
  • coconut flour, 2/3 cup
  • flax seed meal, 1 tablespoon
  • ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon,
  • baking powder, 1 teaspoon
  • aluminum-free baking soda, 1 teaspoon
  • pecans, coarsely chopped, 1 cup

METHOD:

  1. Beat the eggs and place them in the bowl of a stand-mixer along with the bananas, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla and honey. Mix well at medium-high speed.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the coconut flour, flax seed meal, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda.
  3. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the banana mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl until smooth.
  4. Stir in the pecans.
  5. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin cups, and divide the batter evenly between them.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool completely before serving.

paleo banana pecan muffins

Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. 
This universe is not outside of you. 
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want, 
you are already that.
–Rumi

berry bread

fresh berry bread with chocolate chunks

This delicious sweet bread is vegan and gluten-free, as well as low in {coconut} sugar.

A slice of this loaf makes a great guilt-free post-meal treat, or even a nice breakfast with a cup of good coffee 🙂

 

The recipe yields two loaves.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • mashed ripe bananas, 2 cups
  • strained unsweetened applesauce, 1 cup
  • sorghum flour, 3 cups + 2 tablespoons {reserve for berries}
  • tapioca flour, 1 cup
  • baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon
  • coconut sugar, 2 cups
  • coconut oil, 1/2 cup
  • ground flax seed meal, 1/4 cup
  • hot water, 3/4 cup
  • plain coconut yogurt, 2/3 cup
  • vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons
  • fresh blueberries, 1 cup
  • halved fresh raspberries, 1 cup
  • Enjoy Life {soy & dairy free} chocolate chunks, 10 ounces {1 package}

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, mix bananas and applesauce. Add the sugar, coconut oil, vanilla and yogurt, mixing well until creamy.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours {minus the 2 additional tablespoons of sorghum}, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the hot water and flax seed meal, then set aside for a few minutes before slowly adding to the banana mixture.
  4. Add in the dry mixture and stir gently until moist. Do not over mix.
  5. Toss the berries with the reserved 2 tablespoons of sorghum until coated, then gently stir them into the batter.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between two greased 5×9 inch loaf pans.
  8. Bake the loaves for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely before slicing.

 

 

nut butter coconut raisin cookies

nut butter coconut raisin cookies

These cookies are a huge favorite around my house, and everyone I share them with seems to love them too. I think they’re a good “breakfast cookie”, since they really are quite healthy, made with whole grain and fruit. They do have a bit of sugar, but coconut sugar is unrefined and low-glycemic. I have made them two ways – the traditional way with peanut and almond butters and butter, and the allergen-free/vegan way, which really IS just as good. Most people don’t even notice the difference. Both versions are gluten-free.

Here is the recipe, with allergen-free substitutions noted. You’ll love these! xo

INGREDIENTS

  • organic unsalted butter, 4 T {vegan substitute: warmed coconut oil or coconut spread}
  • coconut sugar, 3/4 cup
  • peanut butter, almond butter or combination of the two, 1 cup {nut-free substitute: sesame seed butter}
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk {vegan substitute: 1 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seed meal + 4 tablespoons warm water}
  • vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • gluten-free rolled oats, 2 1/4 cups
  • aluminum-free baking soda, 1 teaspoon
  • fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • raisins, 1 1/2 cups
  • shredded coconut, 1/2 cup

METHOD

  1. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Slowly mix in the nut butter, egg and vanilla until creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the oats, baking soda, salt and coconut, then stir into the butter mixture until well combined.
  4. Gently stir in the raisins.
  5. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You’ll want to form the cookies a bit with your hands by pressing down and shaping them.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. The bottoms of the cookies will be golden brown, and the center of the cookies may seem a little less than done, which is okay.
  7. Allow the cookies to set on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to cooling racks.

brown sesame banana bread

This perfectly moist, yummy banana bread is vegan, gluten-free, and is sweetened with raw agave. I love the sesame seeds – they give it just that little bit of crunch and “nuttiness”, while still being nut-free.

This recipe makes two mini loaves. If you want to make a regular sized bread loaf, just double it.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • sorghum flour, 1/4 + 1/8 cup
  • oat flour, 1/4 + 1/8 cup
  • tapioca flour, 1/4 cup
  • baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon
  • fine sea salt, rounded 1/4 teaspoon
  • ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
  • raw brown sesame seeds, 1/4 cup
  • very ripe bananas, 2
  • coconut oil, 3 tablespoons
  • flax seed meal, 1 tablespoon
  • warm water, 3 tablespoons
  • raw agave nectar, 1/4 cup
  • vanilla, 1 tablespoon
  • plain coconut yogurt, 1/8 cup

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sesame seeds.
  2. In another medium bowl, mash the bananas, leaving them a little chunky.
  3. Add the coconut oil, agave, vanilla and yogurt to the bananas and stir gently until well combined.
  4. Whisk together the flax seed meal and warm water until creamy, then stir into the banana mixture.
  5. Gently fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until all the flour is moistened.
  6. Grease and flour two mini loaf pans, then divide the batter evenly between the two.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Allow the loaves to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.

 

amazing applesauce pancakes

All right, so first of all: I don’t like pancakes. I never have, even as a child. To me they’re just thick, doughy syrup sponges. Waffles and french toast, on the other hand, are be a totally different story, but the pancakes have just never done it for me. Until now.

My kids (like most normal people) love pancakes! I have made them for them from scratch at home for years, and they have always been happy with the results. However, we decided to put our son on a gluten-free diet a few weeks ago for some issues he has been experiencing (more about that to come at a later date), so here was a challenge for me to make some yummy gluten-free pancakes that he and I could eat and the rest of the family would enjoy as well.

The results were unanimous: BEST PANCAKES EVER. I hope you’ll agree.

Now, I avoid grains, and these do include brown rice flour, so if you’re paleo or otherwise grain intolerant, use a different grain-free, gluten-free flour in place of it. I just HAD to try these, though – I can’t go posting on a blog about something I haven’t experienced first-hand (!) – and the couple bites I had, without syrup or other topping, might I add, were just delicious. They’re a bit crispy at the edges, soft on the inside and really flavorful.  Gluten, dairy and egg free, of course.

INGREDIENTS

  • brown rice flour, 3/4 cup
  • sorghum flour, 3/4 cup
  • tapioca flour, 1/2 cup
  • baking powder, 4 teaspoons
  • cinnamon, 2 teaspoons
  • fine sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • coconut milk, 2 cups
  • coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons
  • vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • organic unsweetened applesauce, generous 1/2 cup

METHOD

  1. Sift flours together into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add baking powder, cinnamon and salt to the flours, combining well.
  3. Add coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and applesauce to the dry ingredients and mix well, until creamy.
  4. Grease a skillet lightly with coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Pour the batter onto the skillet and cook until the top of the pancake is bubbly all over and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown as well.
  6. That’s it! You can eat these just as they are, or fancy them up with whatever pancake toppings you prefer.

xo

banana blueberry muffins

I have been craving muffins for quite some time – I can’t remember the last time I actually had one. Luckily I had just enough fresh blueberries and all these other ingredients in the kitchen the other morning to make them. They came out just right – moist and delicious. The kids loved having them for breakfast (um, so did I), and they kept well for about 2 days afterward.  These muffins are gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan.

This recipe makes 12 muffins.

INGREDIENTS

  • ripe bananas, 2
  • ground flax seed meal, 6 tablespoons
  • hot water, 2 tablespoons
  • coconut oil, 1/2 cup
  • vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
  • raw, organic, local honey, 1/4 cup
  • sorghum flour, 1 & 3/4 cup
  • tapioca flour, 1/4 cup
  • fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • baking powder, 2 teaspoons
  • fresh blueberries, about 1 & 1/2 cups
raw batter, ready for baking

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine the hot water and the flax seed meal in a small bowl, and whisk until thick. Set aside.
  4. Add the coconut oil, vanilla, lemon juice, honey and flax mixture to the bananas, and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl combine the flours, salt, cinnamon and baking powder, then add to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy.
  6. Carefully add the blueberries to the mixture.
  7. Grease your muffin pan lightly with a little coconut oil, then place the liners.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the cups in the pan.
  9. As an option, you can sprinkle a little coconut sugar on top of the muffins before baking them. This will give them a bit of a crunchy topping. I did this with half my batch.
  10. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Allow the muffins to fully cool on a wire rack.
just out of the oven

eat up

san francisco croissant french toast

The summer I was pregnant with Luca, Trace and I decided to take Bella on a little family vacation – the last one that would be with just the three of us, before her little brother arrived. We took a week and went to San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Monterey. We visited museums, beaches, watched sunsets and ate great food.

bella & mama, sf

bella & mama, sf

bellabird

bellabird

daddy & bella on the beach

daddy & bella on the beach

mama & bella on the beach

mama & bella on the beach

monterey sunset

monterey sunset

Our  last morning in San Francisco we drove around the city trying to decide on a place to eat breakfast. Tracy finally consulted Yelp on his iPhone, and we chose this little restaurant in the Sunset – I can’t recall the name, but I should have written it down (or better, tattooed it on my palm). It was about the size of my walk-in closet, and had four tables crammed inside. The husband and wife running it were so sweet to Bella and seemed very proud of their little place.

We had amazing breakfasts, all of us – I don’t remember what Trace and I ate though, only what Bella had. It was incredibly delicious french toast made with croissants. I have no idea of their recipe, but the dish started something for us – I came up with a recipe, and a couple times a year I splurge on croissants and make this for Tracy and the kids. I have also made it for Christmas brunch a couple of times, and all who taste it are delighted.

We had a few croissants left over from Bella’s birthday, so I made this special treat yesterday morning.

INGREDIENTS

  • croissants, 3
  • eggs, 5 large
  • coconut milk, 2 tablespoons
  • cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon
  • vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon
  • honey, 1 teaspoon
  • almond butter, 1 tablespoon
  • butter

METHOD

  1. Slice the croissants in half lengthwise.
  2. In a wide bowl, whisk the eggs together with all other ingredients.
  3. Heat some butter in a large pan over medium heat.
  4. Soak the croissants in the egg mixture before transferring them to the hot pan. If you have any egg mixture left over after soaking all of the croissants, you can pour it over those in the pan.
  5. Cook both sides of the toast until golden brown, a few minutes on each side.
  6. Top with just a little butter and syrup if you like – yesterday I served these with Wild Maine Blueberry syrup. Yum!

healthy sunday morning waffles

Of course you can enjoy these yummy waffles any day of the week, but this seemed like the perfect breakfast for our cozy, drizzly Sunday morning. Trace and the kids loved them, and we even have left-overs for the toaster this week!

I hate the idea of my kids having food for breakfast that should actually considered dessert, which is why I make these with only the good, healthy stuff. If you don’t have a waffle iron, I bet these would make great, fluffy pancakes instead.

INGREDIENTS

  • Eggs, 2
  • All Purpose Flour, 1 Cup
  • Whole Wheat Flour, 1 Cup
  • Coconut Milk, 1 3/4 Cup (You can use real milk here, or any other milk substitute that you prefer.)
  • Coconut Oil, 1/2 Cup (You can use another healthy vegetable oil here, if you don’t have coconut oil.)
  • Honey, 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Baking Powder, 4 teaspoons
  • Vanilla Extract, 1/2 teaspoon

METHOD

  1. Beat the eggs until fluffy. I use my KitchenAid, but you can use a hand mixer, or even just a whisk.
  2. Beat in all remaining ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour half of the mixture at a time onto your hot, buttered waffle iron, and cook until golden brown (your iron will probably let you know when the right time to remove them is).
  4. That’s it! Add butter & real maple syrup, berries, or any other favorite topping.

My family wouldn’t probably wouldn’t prefer it, but I think including chopped banana and/or walnuts in the mix would be sooooo good. Maybe I’ll sneak them in sometime and see how it goes. 🙂

Happy Sunday!