Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I hate the idea of throwing things away.  I had 3 big over ripe bananas sitting there waiting to be used.  I tweaked an old recipe of mine for Banana Nut Muffins and they turned out great.  The kids loved them.  My 7-year-old who isn’t a big eater tossed back 2 right away and then asked if I could make more for her lunch.  Sure!  No problem.  These were really quick to make despite the fact my 3-year-old was “helping”.  These muffins are not sweetened with anything but bananas.   Well, bananas and chocolate chips.  🙂  They are grain, nut, gluten, soy, dairy free and have no added sugar.  AND the kids still loved them. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 mashed over ripe bananas 

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 eggs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil 

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use ENJOY LIFE)

I’m not much into the mucking around with the mixing of the wet in one bowl and then mixing of the dry in another bowl and then finally mixing the two together.  Sifting?  Forget it.  Way too many dishes.  So… Preheat your oven to 350.  In a large bowl add the bananas and mash them a bit.  You can use your hands for this and save dirtying yet another piece of kitchen equipment.  Add the eggs, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and melted coconut oil.  Use a hand mixer and mix until well blended.  Add the coconut flour and mix until pretty smooth.  Then stir in your chocolate chips.  Line 11 cupcake tins with liners.  I used a level ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the lined tins.  12 would have made a nice number but the ice cream scoop made this recipe in 11.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  These are great warm.  If there are any left after these cool store them in the fridge.

This post was shared at: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/monday-mania-1232012/, http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com/2012/01/fresh-bites-friday-january-27-2012/

Banana Pecan Muffins

Banana Pecan MuffinsI had been wanting a Vitamix for what feels like years. I see it mentioned over and over on so many blogs. At first I thought it was just a pricey blender. Then I found this page showing 52 video demonstrations of everything it can do. After seeing all that I really wanted one. So I went to work trying to convince my husband that I needed yet another appliance. This was a tough sell since I have so many appliances. My Kitchenaid blender was working just fine and it was a rare event that I even pulled it out. The Vitamix is not cheap… as in >$600 however Costco carries them and does demos once a year or so and they sell them for $394 I think. The trick of course was finding out when Costco was carrying them and then waiting. Delayed gratification is so not my thing. Imagine my excitement when I find out that the Costco nearest to me had them for that entire week. It was the final day. I talked my hubby and kids into grocery shopping. I was so excited. We got there and Ron seemed receptive to me getting one. And then…. there was no demo to be found. I was crushed. It would be months until I might have an opportunity again. Then a couple of weeks later we were at Costco and low and behold the Mighty Vitamix was there. It was hard to contain my excitement. I stood there watching the demo and asking countless questions and of course sampling many different treats. I was so sold. Ron… not so much but he did however agree!! I love this thing! I use it several times a day – everyday. These muffins are made using it. I’ve made them a couple times now. They are fun to make and always disappear in a day or two. These muffins are grain, gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, corn, and brewers yeast free. They are low to moderate carb and are GAPS legal. They make a great snack or a quick on the go breakfast. They are just sweet enough, dense and moist. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Banana Pecan Muffins

3 over ripe bananas

4 pitted dates

3 eggs

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups lightly packed almond flour

1 cup roughly chopped pecans

Add bananas, eggs, dates and salt to Vitamix. Blend until smooth and there are no date pieces visible. (The Vitamix is so impressive – the dates I used were very dry and hard and it was still able to puree it into invisible bits.) Next, add coconut oil and mix briefly. Add almond flour and mix until well blended. Pour/scoop muffin mix into a large bowl. Fold in chopped pecans.Line 12 regular sized muffin tins. Divide batter equally for 12 muffins. Using an ice cream scoop is easiest. Bake for approximately 50 minutes at 325. Store in airtight container in the fridge. I actually enjoy these best cold.

Sweet Potato Muffins (Coconut Flour)

I accidentally made way too many baked sweet potatoes the other night. Now I have to try to find a use for them. Muffins of course are in order. These were great. They are not typical muffins in that they are only subtly sweet. They are not like the muffins you would buy in the stores that are really cake. They are soft, moist and tender. They are grain, gluten, sugar and dairy free. For a muffin, they are really low carb. I loved them both warm out of the oven or a day later smeared with virgin coconut oil. The kids liked them with butter and a little honey. These made a great breakfast or snack.

Sweet Potato Muffins (Coconut Flour)

1/4 cup sifted coconut flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 T coconut oil

2 T coconut milk

3/4 cup roasted mashed sweet potato

1 T maple syrup **optional**

1/2 cup chopped pecans (reserve some halves for the tops)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 7 regular sized muffin cups. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl (except for the nuts). Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour dry into wet and mix well. Fold in nuts. Divide evenly into muffin tins and decorate with reserved pecan halves. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. **I did not use the maple syrup but think at would really complement them if you are okay with the added carbs.**

This recipe has been entered in Real Food Weekly Jan 20/11 over at The Whole Gang.

Donut Muffins – Grain Free, Dairy Free

Donut Muffins, Grain and Dairy Free

Score!  Goal!  Home run!  Touchdown!  In the kitchen I mean.  In sports – never.  I hate sports.  All of them.  I used to be engaged to a guy who loved ALL sports.  He watched sports on TV any chance he could get.  He would always scream excitedly for me to “COME QUICK!!!  HURRY!!!”  It was said with such urgency that I would come running as fast as I could in somewhat of a panic.  Then he would follow that up with,   “You HAVE to see this replay!!”  My dislike for sports deepened and became hatred.   I was born and raised in Canada.  Every guy I ever dated played hockey – except one – he was a referee.   I figured that if I were to have a man in my life then I was going to have to learn to tolerate sports.  I had resigned myself to that.  Then I met my husband.  He is the polar opposite of fiance number one.  He hates sports even more than I do.  I think it is highly possible that he may be one of a kind.  He is perfect for me in every way.   The lack of sports in our life is just icing on the cake.  We’ve been together for 16 years now and I still marvel at how lucky I am to have scored myself such a catch.

Onto my latest kitchen success.  donut muffins!  If you like cinnamon sugar cake donuts but feel guilty about the white flour, sugar, seed oils…then you might have just found a great replacement.  My kids LOVED these.  All three!  That never happens.  Sage ate 2 right away and then came back for a third.  For a kid who normally eats enough to stuff into a birds ear this is amazing.  I have made these before but they were not dairy free.  I do not use agave or Truvia anymore.  These muffins are super high in fiber and protein and would be a great on the go breakfast.  Best though is that they taste great.  They are best right out of the oven but if you have any left over store them in the fridge.

Donut Muffins – Take II

1 cup slightly packed almond flour

1 cup flax seed meal, sifted

1 T baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

4 eggs

1/4 cup water

Topping

2 T melted virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup palm sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin tins.  Mix dry ingredients well (exclude those used for topping). ***I have whole flax seeds and grind them in my little coffee grinder.  I then sifted them so that the larger pieces were removed to help create a finer textured muffin.*** Add beaten eggs, melted coconut oil, water, and honey to the dry mixture. Mix well. Divide batter into 12 muffins. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Then melt coconut oil in a small bowl.  Mix cinnamon and palm sugar in separate bowl.   Dip a muffin top into the oil then dip it into the cinnamon sugar bowl.  YUM!

How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick?  Because I am at a loss.  My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my  head.  Why?  Let me tell you how my day started.  We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling.  First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling.  I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call.  It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work.  However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked.  Seriously?!  I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep.  Then he called back at 6:30.  I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet.  I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me.  Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me.  Seriously, what was my husband thinking?!  Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.      

One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry.  Nearly everything this woman posts looks great.  For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour.  I love almond flour, just not the price.  She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour.  As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours.  We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn.  We save a TON of  money doing it this way.  Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour.   Turns out that yes, I can.  It’s quick and easy.  I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes.  So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great.  I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour.  The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.   

Here’s how I do it.  

Larger Pieces Sifted Out

Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder.  Grind until you have a fine meal.  When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop.  If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter.  Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl.  Shake out the almond flour into the bowl.  The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over.  Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need.  Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.   

Closer Look

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I must get at my day now.  The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning.  I have got to locate the rest of him.  Yup, that’s desert life!

Gluten Free Cheesy Hamburger Buns

  

Cheesy GF Hamburger Buns

   

The hardest thing about eating gluten free is the bread.  There is no doubt about that.  It’s not just the sandwich bread but the hamburger buns and hot dog buns.  I’ve bought Kinnikinnick hamburger buns to take to a family BBQ so that the kid’s meal would look just like everyone elses.  The buns however were more than a dollar a piece and were dry and brittle.  Dry, as in, get stuck in your throat.  They were terribly dry and mealy.  We all ended up pushing the buns to the sides of our plates and eating our burgers without the buns.  I have got the gf bread thing figured out and I am sure that my regular bread recipe would make great buns.  However, that recipe is yeast based and would require rise time and more work than I am usually up for on burger night.  I also have an amazing recipe for cheese buns which are a soft and delicate, decadent dinner roll.  We had been missing hamburger buns.  Burgers without a bun just aren’t the same.  I have to give credit to my husband for this idea.  He suggested using the cheesy dinner rolls as hamburger buns.  The recipe as it was wouldn’t be sturdy enough to hold a hamburger and all the toppings so I made some adjustments.  They turned out to be fantastic.  However, if you don’t love cheese, move along.  You won’t like these hamburger buns if you don’t love cheese.  They are moist, tender, cheesy, and flavorful.   Best yet, for me anyway, was the ease of preparation.  No yeast means no wait.  Just mix it all up, divide, roll into balls and bake.  These are so good if I were to be able to choose between these and a wheat bun, I would choose these cheese buns.    

Cheesy Hamburger Buns   

1 cup tapioca flour    

1 cup white rice flour    

4 cups grated mozzarella cheese    

2 tsp baking powder    

1 tsp salt    

2 eggs    

    

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grate cheese and leave it out to come to room temperature.  (I do not use the pre-grated cheese and I am not sure it would work as well.  The blocks of mozzarella is what I use and find it to mix well and turn creamy very easily with just the warmth of your hands.)  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Work it until it turns into a soft dough, the cheese shreds are not visible and you have one cohesive dough.  This only takes 3-5 minutes (but I live in the Arizona desert so it might take longer if you are in a colder climate)  To divide the dough into 6 equal parts I divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Then divide those into 3 equal pieces.  Roll into uniform balls and put each ball into the cup of an ungreased oversized muffin tin.  Bake for 25 minutes until the edges start to brown.  Serve these cheesy buns hot.  In the unlikely event you have leftovers they do reheat very well with a few seconds in the microwave.  Enjoy.  You can thank me later!  😉    

Burger Better Than Wheat

Teff “Cornbread”

Teff "Cornbread"

I love cornbread.  The slightly sweet variety is my favorite.  However, everytime I make it I feel sort of giulty about it.  So I have come up with a slightly healthier version.  It tastes nearly the same and even has the same texture.  It is made nearly corn free with the exception of some baking powder which has corn starch in it and xanthan gum which is made from corn.  Why no corn anyway?  Nutritionally speaking corn is more of a grain than a vegetable.  It doesn’t have a lot to offer to your body.  It is high in carbs and it is in nearly every processed food.  You really don’t need anymore.  Then this week I ran across this.  It wouldn’t surprise me if later studies prove this to be true.  It’s true that I am not pandering to the general population with this recipe since most people have never heard of teff and who on earth even has teff seeds in their pantry ~ who but me?   Teff is an amazing grain.  It is my favorite gluten free grain.  It has a mild flavor that reminds me of wheat.  You can buy ivory teff flour or dark teff flour and teff seeds.  The seeds are really tiny, smaller than a poppy seed.  I buy all three directly from the supplier who sells to Bob’s Red Mill.  I buy 25 lbs at a time and it is always used.  The best reason though to use teff in place of corn is its nutritional profile.  Teff is high in protein, fiber, calcium, thiamine and iron.  And if all this isn’t enough, most corn in this country is genetically modified.  Ya, no thanks. 

 
Cornless Cornbread
 
1 cup teff flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup teff seed
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
1 T plus 1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup honey
1 cup water
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl.  Combine wet and dry ingredients.  Batter is very thick.  Much like a muffin batter would  be.  Oil a 8×8 baking dish.  Spread batter in dish and smooth out the top.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Eat warm from the oven, preferably covered in butter – but that’s just me.