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.

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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

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.

gluten-free buckwheat sandwich bread

After my grandma passed away, I inherited her bread machine, among many other small lovely treasures. After bringing it home, I used it a few times, making recipes from the accompanying manual, and a few mixes I picked up at the co-op. They were all okay – I remember that a spelt mix I used was actually quite good, but I never attempted to create my own recipe.

Four years or so later, I decided to pull it out, dust it off, and give it another go – this time I would try my hand at coming up with a gluten-free recipe. As I did research on bread makers and gluten-free breads, I learned that I may not have the best machine for what I wanted to do, but really wanted to try anyway. I have been buying gluten-free breads for the kids at the store, which they like, but they contain a lot of ingredients that I didn’t feel comfortable serving. Also, a tiny loaf of bread is about $6, so my pocketbook wasn’t too stoked either.

After three miserable failures, I finally did it. This recipe is SO yummy. It doesn’t taste yeasty, or too “white”. It’s not gummy in the center, and it rose pretty well. It’s also nice to look at, smells delightful, and the texture is just right.

What finally helped me get it right in my bread machine, which doesn’t have a gluten-free setting, was a stellar review on Amazon – the woman who wrote the review explained how she had learned to manipulate the settings to achieve good results. I am so thankful to have found it, though next time I am going to bake this in a regular glass bread pan in the oven, and see how that goes.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • warm water (about 110 degrees), 1 1/2 cups
  • organic local honey, 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • dry active yeast, 1 tablespoon
  • tapioca flour, 1 cup + 4 teaspoons
  • sorghum flour, 1 cup + 4 teaspoons
  • oat flour, 1/4 cup
  • buckwheat flour, 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
  • fine sea salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons
  • organic free range eggs, 2 large
  • extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon
  • golden flax seed meal, 1 tablespoon
  • gluten free rolled oats, 2 tablespoons
  • raw brown sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, pour the water over the yeast and stir gently. Add the honey, and continue to stir for a minute, then set the mixture aside to let it foam up and rise for a while.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, salt and xanthan gum.
  3. In a small bowl beat the eggs together with the olive oil and vinegar. Pour into the flour mixture and mix for a minute, then add the yeast mixture, mixing all ingredients together well.
  4. Pour batter into your bread machine pan.
  5. Mix the flax seed meal, oats and sesame seeds together in a small bowl, then pour over the raw batter. This is optional, of course, but gives the breas a nice nutty topping. If you’re going to use a bread machine, you’ll want to wait to do this until your kneading cycles are complete.
  6. Follow the instructions for your particular machine to bake your bread. If you have a Sunbeam 5891, be sure to read that great review!
  7. Wait until the loaf has cooled completely, then slice it. If you want to save it, wrap each slice in paper, place in plastic bags and freeze.

gluten-free buckwheat bread

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.

 

good, good gluten free pizza crust (finally)

God, I love pizza. Or should I say, I loved pizza. Everyone who has had to give up dairy and gluten feels my pain – it’s hard enough to begin your life again without cheese (it does get easier, rest assured), but saying goodbye to pizza is a sad, sad thing. And while I have actually come to enjoy cheese-less pizza, the crust is a different story. There are many places that offer gluten free pizza dough, and while it may be good (or at least passable), it contains other ingredients that aren’t so great. I have corn and soy allergies – try finding gluten free almost anything without at least one of those two things in it. And potato starch is another common ingredient, which is also not okay for me.

Here is a recipe I adapted from Gluten Free Girl that is REALLY good. It comes out just a bit fluffy and crispy at the same time, which is just how we like it. It’s super quick to prepare, too.

This recipe makes two crusts, and if you roll them out pretty thin like I do, they’re each about 12 inches in diameter.

Topped with homemade tomato sauce (just organic diced canned tomatoes, salt, pepper and whatever fresh herbs I have on hand), fresh vegetables and basil, it really is a delicious treat.

I hope you enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS

  • ground flax seed meal, 1 tablespoon
  • hot water, 2 tablespoons
  • tapioca flour, 125 grams
  • brown rice flour, 187.5 grams
  • sorghum flour, 187.5 grams
  • kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • active dry yeast, 4 tablespoons
  • extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
  • hot water, 1 cup

top: raw pizza dough; bottom: pre-baked dough

METHOD

  1. In a small bowl add the 2 tablespoons of hot water to the flax seed meal, and whisk with a fork until thick. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl combine the yeast, olive oil and 1/2 cup of hot water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
  4. Pour the flax seed mixture into the flours and mix, then add the yeast mixture and mix everything together well. Slowly add the warm water until the dough is soft ant pliable. You may not need all the water, or you may need more. Set the dough aside and let it rise for at least an hour. I let mine rise for 1 hour, turn it over, and then rise for another hour.
  5. Heat the oven to 450 degrees, and if you have a pizza stone, heat it inside the oven.
  6. Separate the dough into two equal balls and roll them out to your desired thickness then turn the outer edge over.
  7. Bake each crust for about 10 minutes, just until the edges are turning golden brown.
  8. Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool before adding the pizza toppings. You can also freeze or refrigerate the crusts to use later.
  9. Bake the pizza at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until your toppings have sufficiently cooked and the crust is a little more golden brown.

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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

delicious (no, really) gluten-free, sugar-free vegan brownies

It’s hard to believe, I know. But trust me, these brownies are REALLY good. It’s all I can do not to make them every day for breakfast. The hints of coconut flavor are quite complimentary to the cacao.

They are totally free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar. I’m no expert on the diet’s rules, but I believe they are Paleo friendly, too.

INGREDIENTS

  • ground flax seed meal, 3 tablespoons
  • filtered water, 9 tablespoons
  • coconut milk {unsweetened}, 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil, 1/2 cup
  • local raw organic honey, 2/3 cup
  • vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • coconut flour, 3/4 cup + 1/8 cup
  • tapioca flour, 1/8 cup
  • unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup
  • baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon
  • fine sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon
  • 100% cacao bar, about 1.5 ounces, chopped
chopped cacao bar

chopped cacao bar

brownie batter, ready to bake

brownie batter, ready to bake

METHOD

  1. As a replacement to eggs, combine the flax seed meal and water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until very well combined. Set aside and allow the mixture to thicken for a few minutes. Stir with the fork again before adding to the batter.
  2. In a large bowl beat together the coconut milk, coconut oil (warmed), honey, vanilla and flax egg replacement.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and stir until well combined and creamy, then stir in the cacao bits.
  5. Grease an 8″ x  8″ square baking dish and spread the batter evenly into it.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool in the dish set on a cooling rack. Once the brownies have cooled you can cut them into pieces and remove from them from the dish.

chewy gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookies

These cookies are just the tiniest bit crispy at the edges, and still soft and chewy throughout. They are gluten free and are made with coconut sugar, so as afar as cookies go, I think you could consider these pretty healthy.

I made part of the batch without raisins, per the request of a sweet little girl in my house. Delicious either way.

INGREDIENTS

  • organic butter, softened, 1/2 cup {1 stick}
  • coconut sugar, 2/3 cup
  • vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • 1 free-range egg
  • sorghum flour, 1/2 + 1/8 cup
  • tapioca flour, 1/8 cup
  • baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon
  • gluten free rolled oats, 1 1/2 cup
  • raisins, 3/4 cup

METHOD

  • Beat together the butter, coconut sugar, vanilla and egg until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, add to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Mix in the oats and raisins.
  • Move the prepared batter to the refrigerator to chill for about a half hour. This will prevent the cookies from coming out too thin.
  • Scoop the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the edges are golden brown. The cookies will look undercooked in the middle, but that’s okay.
  • Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes after you have removed them from the oven, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

savory mixed kales salad

I eat kale almost every day in some form or another – it is one of my favorite leaves, and so good for you. Not only is it a great source of fiber, it is rich in calcium, magnesium, and many vitamins including beneficial antioxidants A, C and K. I like it cooked too, but fresh it is super crunchy and makes any salad yummy.

This salad is great the day it’s made, and makes really good left-overs for a couple days afterward if kept chilled.

INGREDIENTS

  • dino kale, one small bunch {about 4 leaves}
  • curly kale, one bunch {about 5 or 6 leaves
  • red onion, 1 meduim, chopped
  • fresh garlic, 3 cloves, pressed
  • sun-dried tomatoes, 3 ounces
  • daikon radish, 1 medium
  • capers, 3.5 ounce jar
  • raw sesame seeds, about 3 tablespoons
  • olive oil, about 4 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon for sautéing
  • red wine vinegar, 3-4 tablespoons
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • fresh ground salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Chop the kales and mix together in a large bowl, then set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic just until tender. Put them into a small bowl and then in the refrigerator to cool.
  3. Bring about 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the dried tomatoes. Let them soak in the water for about 10 minutes, then drain and chop them. Add them to the kales.
  4. Chop the daikon into 1/4 inch cubes, and add to the kale along with the capers (drained), sesame seeds, and once cool, the cooked onion and garlic.
  5. Dress the salad with the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. My measurements for these are approximations, so use them to your taste. A few sprinkles of cayenne pepper is nice too, but not required. Mix well to coat everything.
  6. Chill salad in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.