Archive | September, 2011

Banana breakfast muffins (gluten free! coconut flour! low fat!)

27 Sep

As I mentioned in my last post, I took the plunge and bought myself a Costco membership.  It’s a bit of a drive for me so I’ve only been there once, which is good because I blew through $200 like nobody’s business on that first trip.  Granted, I did pick up a lot of “junk” for zee boyfriend.  Costco has great prices on meat and some packaged stuff, but for fruits and veggies and such (I’m a human calculator to the point of being a little obsessive compulsive) the savings are negligible. Oh well, lesson learned a little late… I don’t think I’ll be renewing next year.

There’s something about the combination of fluorescent lighting, giant warehouse, and “DEALS DEALS DEALS” that put me into sort of a trance and I made a lot of – no, exclusively impulse buys.  Somehow I ended up with 16 cartons of egg whites.  How Jenny Craig of me!  But let me explain myself.  If you’ve ever cooked with coconut flour you know the recipes call for an absurd amount of eggs.  I’ve never had much success coconut flour recipes, not being a fan of dense, soggy, cardboardy baked goods. That is, aside from my microwave chocolate cake, which calls for egg whites and turned out terrible the one time I used a whole egg.  So I set out on a mission to make the perfect coconut flour muffin.

SUCCESS, my friends! I started with this recipe and substituted whites for half of the eggs, then cut back a single whole egg, then to none at all.  Guess which one was best?! While my yolk-less muffins rose beautifully, they were still a bit soggy and oily- so I cut back on the oil until I achieved perfection!  I’ve been tweaking the basic recipe all week with different add-ins and will continue to post my best concoctions until, well, I’m sick of muffins. Which will be NEVER.

Banana Muffins
Raspberry & Coconut
Makes 8

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. coconut flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1.5 c. egg whites (equivalent to 6 whole eggs)
  • 1 T. oil (melted coconut oil, butter, or macadamia nut oil all worked for me)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 dropper full liquid stevia (optional)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:
1. In a food processor or medium bowl, combine dry ingredients- coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
2. Add all other ingredients aside from walnuts and blueberries, if you’re using them.  Process in food processor or mix with hand blender until there are no lumps- I use my Cuisinart hand mixer.  Fold in walnuts (or berries or chocolate chips…).
3. Pour batter into lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 C) for 20- 25 minutes.

 

Nutritional Stats (per muffin- without nuts): 94 calories | 3 g. fat | 11 g. carbs | 3 g. fiber | 6 g. protein

Creamy Curry Red Lentil (yes, lentil!) Soup

20 Sep

Hi Everyone!!!

I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus for a while, as there’s been a lot going on and was trying to squeeze the last few rays of sunshine from summer!

To be honest I’m also getting sick of “summer food” and this is another reason I haven’t been posting so often- most of my meals have been some sort of salad or grilled meat/veg/potato combo.  I’m excited for soup season!!!  Wohoooo soup!!  I’ve had quite a weekend, from finding out that I am really, REALLY allergic to dog dander, to the Food Star competition (which I did not make it to the final round but still had fun, more on that soon!), to preparing cheesecakes, cobblers, and cabbage and noodles for hundreds at the Scottdale Fall Festival.  By the time I arrived home Sunday night, I was tired, sore, and already feeling a little “phlemmy.”  To top it off I had aired out my apartment from said dog-sitting adventure and it was FREEZING.  Yep, I’m pretty sure I’m getting my annual cold.  I am such a delicate flower.

I ventured to Costco yesterday for the first time (again, expect a post soon as I am thrilled with my “haul”) and I picked up some red lentils for perhaps my favorite soup of all time.  Yes, I am perfectly aware lentils are on the “Paleo Blacklist” along with oats, beans, grains, etc. for phytic acid and lectin content.  But whatevs.  My opinion is that if it makes you feel bad, avoid it.  This is the case with beans, grains, and oats- in MY experience- but not rice, split peas, or lentils.  These are pretty low in phytic acid content anyway, and I always soak for at least an hour just to be safe.  Maybe I’m just biased as this is one of my favorite recipes from vegan days-gone-by and my idea of “comfort food.”  It keeps my tummy happy for hours and gives me plenty of flu-fighting energy!’

Creamy Curry Red Lentil Soup

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free
Raspberry & Coconut
Serves 8

  • 1 c. dry red lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 leeks, sliced paper thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. minced ginger
  • 32 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar (you can omit this but it’s “worth it” IMHO)
  • 2 T. fish sauce (sub Tamari if vegan)
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 4 c. (fresh) or 2 c. (frozen) spinach

Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear, then soak in a bowl of warm water for about an hour.  Drain and add to a pot with enough water to cover by about two inches.  Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer for ~10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced leek and sauté until beginning to brown, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, and curry paste and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes before serving.  As with any curry dish, it makes for awesome leftovers and freezes well- the flavors meld together the longer it sits!

I have Good Taste!

15 Sep

O. M. G.  I just got some awesome news!  I’m one of the four semifinalists for Good Taste’s Food Star!  Come see me this Saturday 12-4 at the Carnegie Science Center Kitchen Laboratory.  I could possibly be the new face of Good Taste Pittsburgh!!!

Epic Meatloaf

12 Sep

This is Special Occasion Meatloaf.  Like it’s-somebody’s-birthday-and-his-favorite-food-is-meatloaf- meatloaf.  It takes elbow grease but is SO worth it.  The bacon is totally optional but definitely takes it to a new level of epic-ness.

This recipe makes 2 meatloafs (meatloaves?), which are awesome for leftovers and freeze exceptionally well.

Epic Meatloaf
Raspberry & Coconut
Serves 8-10

Step 1:  In a large skillet, saute’ the ingredients below (except garlic) until slightly browned, 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir for one a minute so it does not burn.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed veggies and the ingredients listed below.  Hold off on mixing for the moment.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. almond meal

Step 3: In a separate bowl, combine the following ingredients.  Set aside 1/3 c. of this mixture, adding the rest to the other meatloaf ingredients.

  • 1 6oz tin tomato paste
  • 2T water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce (I use gluten free)
  • 2 t Tabasco sauce

Step 4:  Mix by hand until thoroughly combined.

Step 5: As I said earlier, the bacon is optional- if you’re not using it, grease your loaf pans.  Lay a few strips of bacon on the bottom of two glass bread pans.  Shape your meatloaves and place over the bacon.  Now rub the meatloaf with the remaining sauce and cover it, again, with more bacon.

  • BACON

Step 6: Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25 minutes, then raise the heat to 400°F and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes before (carefully!) removing from the pan.  Serve with sweet potatoes and peas.  Enjoy the unabashed praise of your loved ones, but don’t expect any leftovers.

Reader Q&A- Gelatin

9 Sep

Hi RC,

I have never used gelatin for puddings before, and when I get some I plan to try your recipe…but I thought of you when I saw a video this morning, it looks so amazing! I could sub the sugar I’m pretty sure, but all that corn starch that’s in it…do you think the same thing could be accomplished using gelatin? The recipe is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmMsonSfeNw and has all that lovely coconut milk in it…I’d love if it could be healthified but thought I’d ask you for your opinion before I waste some pricey ingredients on a failure. If you think it might work, then I will take the risk though…

Thanks :),
Sherry

Hi Sherry,

Thanks for the share! It does look yummy, but that is certainly a lot of sugar to have to replace. I don’t have a lot of experience with cornstarch, either, so I can’t really recommend a good replacement ratio.

My advice is to buy some unflavored Knox gelatin at your local grocery store or Walmart. It’s really inexpensive and you can experiment with it before you make the commitment to buy in bulk. I like Great Lakes brand, which is from pastured cows. NOW brand is good as well and much cheaper. Both are available at Amazon.com and have the free shipping option.

To replicate that recipe I think I would just remove the sugar/cornstarch. You’d probably need about 1 TBSP of gelatin to set a can of coconut milk. I’d let the gelatin “flower” in 2/3 c. cold water for five minutes (see my basic gelatin prep video), then add it to the warm (NOT boiling or even close to boiling as this degrades the gelatin) coconut mixture.

Please let me know if you try this and how it turns out!

-Lauren

Zucchini comfort “noodles”

5 Sep

Can I get a collective “booooo” to a rainy Labor Day weekend? Fall is definitely on its way and there’s a new recipe that’s going to be in my regular rotation this winter! It’s from The Clothes Make the Girl and is warm, comforting, delicious, and “cheesy” despite being dairy- free.

Comfort Noodles
Serves 1

Ingredients: (very slightly modified from the original recipe)

  • 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • ~ 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 t. dried parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

See the original recipe.  I promise, it’s not complicated.  Took me 10 minutes, tops, to prepare.

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