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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

Quick n fluffy 48 calorie chocolate shake

18 Aug

Craving a chocolate shake but don’t have any gelatin prepared in advance?  I’ve perfected the art of “quick setting” gelatin in a shake using ice and a blender!   I daresay it’s better than the original recipe, but it’s also lighter and fluffier- if you’re craving something more substantial check out the original gelatin shake recipe.

The shake I made in the demonstration video was absolutely perfect!  It takes a bit of tweaking to get it just right- too much gelatin, you’ll get fluffy mousse that’s delicious but has to be eaten with a spoon, too little, your shake will be runny, too much ice and you’ll have more of a slushie than a shake.  Also- my experience adding fats (avocado/ almond milk) has not been good, as these seem to “un-fluffy” the “fluffyness.”

Fluffy Chocolate Shake
Raspberry & Coconut
48 calories / 0.7 g fat/ 3.5 carbs/ 1.8 fiber/ 7.1 protein

  • water*
  • 1 T. gelatin
  • ice
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • stevia
  • 1 t. vanilla

*let the gelatin “flower” in 2/3 c. water before microwaving 30-45 seconds.  Add the rest after pouring the mixture over ice, as demonstrated below.

When life gives you crappy peaches…

7 Aug

(Disclaimer- Mary, the peaches you gave us were gorgeous and NOT the peaches in this post :-))

I’ve been going to Stan’s market in the Strip district a lot lately for the cheap, local (I assume) produce. Sometime in June I got the juiciest, most luscious peaches ever. They had peaches again last week, so I bought a half dozen, cheesed about them the whole way back to work, washed one off and bit into a mealy, bland, fuzzy pile of blah. I believe wasting food is a sin worthy of Dante’s level three; I consider myself blessed to be in an area of the world where clean water is always available and I’m able to find and afford quality food. But these were not even worth freezing and almost went in the trash. And then I thought, “horse food.” Except, when I brought it the barn, she sniffed at it and looked at me like “WHERE THE F ARE MY CARROTS?!” Goats, on the other hand, are not so picky, but they weren’t exactly enthusiastic about my offerings.

Four crappy peaches sitting in my produce drawer + me being up at 6 AM on a Saturday morning because I’m a finely tuned corporate drone = “wacky kitchen experiment time.” From back in my low fat vegetarian days I remember that applesauce can be used as a substitute for oil while baking. (I used to made a pretty mean cake from a box of sugar free, Splenda-sweetened cake mix and a can of diet soda. *Shudder*) So, why not peaches? I was so determined to be successful with this endeavor that I decided to try “mini versions” of different baked goods!

Step 1: Puree peaches. Divide into four parts so as to use approximately 1 peach per mini recipe and can up-scale it later.

Two hours later, I’ve got batter everywhere, a pile of dishes in the sink, and four new recipes. Ratios of flour/salt/leaveners/oils/liquid are loosely based on recipes found online but I tried to “round off” to “even numbers” of ingredients for easy scalability. I’m not the world’s best baker but I know what cookie, muffin, and cake dough should look like.

1. Peach-Pecan Cookies– These were good, maybe my favorite! Not like a “traditional” soft, chewy cookie, more like a soft breakfast bar.
2. Peach Pancakes– The first recipe I made.  Delish.  Pancakes are easy. In retrospect, I should have greased the pan better, as I ended up with one perfect pancake and two “pancake piles.”
3. Peach-pecan muffins– These were moist, so if you don’t like moist baked goods, don’t try them. The flavor was great and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but the boyfriend was all “ughhh these are mussshhyy.”
4. Peach Cupcakes– Boyfriend’s favorite, and a close runner-up to the cookies, IMHO.  I used frozen raspberries for a little zing to complement the subtle peach flavor.

Peach (or apple) Cookies

7 Aug

Part 1 of my “What to do with crappy peaches” experiment. These were good, maybe my favorite! Not like a “traditional” soft, chewy cookie, more like a soft breakfast bar.

Peach-Pecan Cookies
Raspberry & Coconut
Makes about a dozen

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. almond flour
  • 2 T coconut flour
  • 1/4 t. ginger
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t baking soda

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 puree’d peach or 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 8 drops Stevia (optional!)

Mix- ins:

  • ~1/2 c. pecans, chocolate chips, or frozen fruit chunks

Preheat oven to 350.  In a meduim bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.  Mix wet ingredients separately, then add to the dry ones and mix well.  Fold in you mix-ins (I used chopped pecans).  Roll the dough into little balls, like you do with regular cookies.  The dough balls should hold together, if not, add more coconut flour.  Flatten the dough balls and bake on a cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely before serving- they will harden as they cool.

Peach (or apple)-Pecan Muffins

7 Aug

Part 3 of my “What to do with crappy peaches” experiment. These were super moist, adapted from a gluten-free banana bread recipe- so if you don’t like moist baked goods, don’t try them. The flavor was great and I thoroughly enjoyed them, but the boyfriend was all “ughhh these are mussshhyy.”

Peach-Pecan Muffins
Raspberry & Coconut
Makes 4

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 puree’d peach or 1/2 c. applesauce

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 T. coconut flour
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk together the wet ingredients, then add dry ingredients, mixing well.  Fold in the pecans.  Bake in paper-lined muffin tins for 30-40 minutes, until the center no longer “gives” when poked.

Peach (or apple) Cupcakes

7 Aug

Part 4 of my “What to do with crappy peaches” experiment. Boyfriend’s favorite, and a close runner-up to the cookies, IMHO. I used frozen raspberries for a little zing to complement the subtle peach flavor.


Peach Cupcakes
Raspberry & Coconut
Makes 10

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 puree’d peach or 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 3 eggs, gently beaten with a fork
  • 1 T honey
  • 3 T coconut oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix-ins:

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium size bowl, mix dry ingredients with a fork until all lumps are gone.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and mix well, then gently fold in the berries.

In papered or lightly greased muffin tins, put about 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin tin.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the middle of the muffin.

Optional: frost with coconut butter, allowing the warm muffins to melt the “frosting” so it cools as a hard shell.  These are best enjoyed at room temperature, and like most coconut flour baked goods, better the next day!

Chocolate Pudding- made with gelatin

25 Jul

A few years ago, after diet number “who knows” battling the last 15 pounds of my 60+ weight loss, my hair was thinning and my nails were brittle.  Enter flavorless gelatin, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones.  (Macabre.  And I used to be a vegan.)  It has about 30 calories per tablespoon and is all protein, mainly glycine and proline.  Want to learn more about the health benefits of gelatin? Click HERE and HERE.

For starters, you can get the basic Knox brand from the store, but a much cheaper option is to order in bulk.  I’ve used NOW brand beef gelatin powder, which is about $25 for FIVE POUNDS (which lasts FOREVER) as well as Great Lakes brand, which is considerably more expensive but is a finer powder (which lends to slightly better gelling) and is from free-range cows (you can order porcine gelatin as well, but I haven’t yet tried this.)

I’ve experimented with using it to thicken soup, ice cream, smoothies, and to make my own “jigglers.”   Of all these methods, my favorite by far is “moo-sse.”  Seriously, I LOVE this stuff and eat it almost every day.  The gelatin keeps my nails and hair strong and shiny, and this fairly low-calorie dessert keeps me satisfied after dinner.  You get a HUGE serving for around 100 low-carb calories. Plus- there are INFINITE possibilities for mix-ins!  I’m sharing my recipe for basic chocolate pudding in this post, but STAY TUNED for many more, and please, feel free to share any combinations you dream up!

First, I’ll show you how to set the gelatin:

Basic gelatin prep:
Makes enough for about two servings of pudding

2 T Gelatin
4 c. Water

Measure 1 c. water into a microwave-safe container.  Sprinkle gelatin into the water and immediately whisk with a fork until combined.  Let the mixture sit undisturbed for about 8 minutes.  Pop the whole thing in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until water is warm, almost hot, to the touch.**   Add the remaining 3 c. water and whisk until blended, cover, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  This stuff will keep for awhile- I’ve never had any spoil on me.

**Note: If you have a fancy-schmancy microwave, it will take less time.  I have the cheapest one I could find- but I would imagine the longest you’d want to heat the water with any model would be about 1:15.  It’s important to get this “just right,” so I wouldn’t recommend doubling or halving the recipe.

On to the MOO-SSE (get it?!):

Chocolate Moo-sse

  • ~2 T Cocoa (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • Liquid Stevia, to taste

Optional add-ins:

  • Almond or Coconut milk
  • Cayenne pepper (personal favorite!  You’ve gotta try it!)
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Maca powder
  • Avocado
  • A tiny bit of xanathan or guar gum to thicken and smooth
  • Cottage cheese (If you can tolerate dairy, I HIGHLY recommend this- it makes the pudding extra creamy)
  • A TBSP or two of heavy cream
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