Sunday, April 7, 2013
At some point in your life there will come a time when too many bananas have been bought and not enough eaten. When this happens to you and you have bananas that are too ripe, make muffins! Muffins are quick and easy and the perfect take-along, hand held food. These low glycemic muffins are made with coconut flour and coconut oil making them gluten free, high fiber, protein rich, and low carb, and if you skip the chocolate chips they become sugar-free. They are moist and delicious.
You will notice when baking with coconut flour that the recipes use a lot of eggs . That's because coconut flour is so dense and absorbent and the eggs prevent the baked product form getting too dry , giving it a more cake-like texture. Also, because it is so dense you only need to use a fraction of what you would need if using other flours. You can't substitute coconut flour cup for cup in recipes for other flours due to this. I think the basic substitution is 1/4 - 1/3 cup coconut flour for every 1 cup of regular flour. Unless you are very experienced in baking with coconut flour I would recommend using already established recipes because it is quite a bit more expensive than regular flour.
Coconut Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
6 eggs, whisked
1/3 cup coconut milk (or any nut milk)
1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 med)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 400. Line muffin pan (12) with paper liners or parchment.
In large bowl whisk eggs, coconut milk, maple syrup, salt and vanilla. Set aside. Measure and mix coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Sift dry ingredients into egg mixture while briskly whisking. Mix well. Stir in coconut oil, bananas, chocolate chips and pecans.
Bake for 18-20 mins. Cool in pan for 10 min. Store cooled muffins in closed container in fridge for longer storage.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Aren't these pretty! I found this recipe by Amy over at Fragrant Vanilla Cake and just had to try it. She has the most beautiful raw deserts I've ever seen and loves to share her recipes. I wasn't sure how big of a piece to use of raw beet to give it it's pretty color so mine turned out darker than the original recipe. I used a 1/2 inch slice when I should probably have only used an 1/2 inch square cube. None the less, they still look fabulous! I have never used rosewater extract before so was a little nervous about it tasting too floral but it has a really subtle flavor that is lovely.
Raw Coconut Rose Macaroons with Pistachios
3/4 cup almond meal
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 inch square piece of beet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rosewater extract
2 cups fine shred unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup coconut butter or manna, warmed to liquid
3 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/2 cup raw pistachios, chopped
In food processor using s-blade process almond meal, salt, honey, beet, vanilla and rosewater until well blended; add coconut and pulse till mixture holds together. Using cookie scoop shape into 12-14 equal sized balls and dehydrate for 6 hours at 110. Mix together glaze ingredients and dip tops of balls in glaze and then chopped pistachios. Place in freezer for 5 mins to harden.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
With peanut butter and peanut butter paste product recalls due to salmonella in the news, making your own peanut butter at home seems a much safer alternative. It's not that difficult if you have a food processor and it's a great way to control the sugar/salt content. You don't have to limit yourself to peanuts - almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds and any combination of these make delicious and nutritious nut butters. By making these butters yourself from whole nuts you can be assured that the final product does not contain any of the undesirable but allowable "ingredients" (ie: insect parts, rodent hair) found in commercial nut butters. Plus, you can't get it any fresher than when you make it yourself
Nuts should be a part of your diet as they are rich in energy, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. They lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, and help to prevent coronary artery disease. The fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps lower your risk of strokes, high blood pressure and some types of cancers and offers some benefit for rheumatoid arthritis. Nuts are also said to help you to lose weight because they keep your hunger satisfied longer, are high in fiber, and the fats can raise your metabolism when burning the calories from them. Keep in mind that they are high in calories so you should stick to portion sizes!
When you buy your nuts in bulk it is even more economical to make your own nut butter at home. I purchase my natural almonds at Costco for $10/1.36 Kg. A 500 g (2 cup) jar of almond butter retails for around $10 so that's better than half the cost. Whenever possible you should use organic nuts but this is not always feasible because of availability and cost. I use nuts in my cereals and raw foods as well so I go through a lot of nuts and find it too expensive to buy them organic. I soak my nuts for 8-12 hours to remove the enzyme inhibitors and dehydrate them for storage. The soaking makes the nut more digestible and they taste better.
Nut butters are wonderful to spread on bread, toasted or plain, to dip celery or apple slices in, or to use in recipes calling for peanut butter. Mmmm....can't you just imagine hazelnut butter chocolate chip cookies! With the addition of cocoa and a little coconut palm sugar you could even make your own hazelnut-chocolate spread. Now you want to make some nut butter don't you!
How to Make Nut Butter at Home
For 1 1/2 cups of nut butter use 2 cups of nuts. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet with sides and roast in your oven at 350 for 5-8 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Place slighly cooled nuts in your food processor fitted with the s-blade and process till it looks like crumbs. If you are using coconut sugar and/or salt add to processor now.
Continue to process until it becomes smooth. You need to have a bit of patience with this as it takes some time for the oils to release and the nuts to become creamy but it will happen! I would say it takes a good 5 minutes.
For the pictured nut butter I used 1 cup of natural almonds, 1 cup of hazelnuts and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. I do not like to add sugar, but if that's your thing I would suggest using a tablespoon or less. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about a month. One tablespoon of this nut butter is 84 calories and has 1.5 g of fiber and 2.5 g of protein.
I hope you will give this a try!
Monday, February 18, 2013
Raw Fig Newtons
1/2 cup natural almonds, ground
3 cups dried figs, cut up with hard stem-ends removed
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2-3 shakes of sea salt
juice of a large lemon
Grind nuts using s-blade of food processor into coarse flour; dump onto a large piece of wax paper. Place cut up figs, cinnamon and salt in food processor and pulse while adding lemon juice a bit at a time until well incorporated. This should be quite thick. I like to refrigerate it for a couple of hours so it's easier to handle. Divide into quarters and shape each into 7-8" logs; flatten between sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll in the reserved ground almonds. With a sharp knife cut each piece into 4 or 5 portions. Store in fridge.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
I've read that as a country we're losing our ability to feed ourselves and it's largely due to our dependance on imported produce. Super farms in South America and Mexico ship mass quantities of produce north relatively cheap. So cheap that local farmers are unable to compete and many are forced to give up on farming or turn to crops not intended for human consumption. I have also heard that some of the greenhouses around here are now not growing their own produce but importing it and packaging it for resale. I find this trend alarming. These super farms grow GMO's and they don't even employ a lot of people because of the huge machinery they now use. I don't need to tell you whose pocket the money goes into.
Sure there are some things that can't be grown locally like bananas, but the next time you buy a cucumber and you have the choice of buying one produced locally or an imported one, buy local even if it cost a little bit more. Local produce is not picked prematurely and unripened to survive long transport and is much tastier and nutritious. Fresher IS better. You will help keep our farmers in business and keep the money in our own economy. Just sayin.
Another thing we can do to lessen our dependance on imported produce is to grow our own in season and preserve the surplus for the winter by dehydrating, freezing or canning it. These have become long-forgotten arts that need to be revived! Almost everyone has a computer these days and if you have a computer you have access to information on how to do these things. There are many ingenuous ways to garden in small spaces including balconies. I myself would like to see more urban gardening including the (responsible) keeping of chickens for eggs and pest control! Start small - grow some herbs in window pots, plant a few tomatoes or peppers in patio planters. Gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. Don't you just love this open garden shed...I want!
The concept of buying local should also extended to our other purchases. I try to buy products that are made in this country even if they are a little more expensive because I know they were made by people who earned a fair wage for their labor and it helps keep jobs in my own country. Buying local also helps foster a sense of community I think. Okay....enough of my rant! Please just give this some thought.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Just recently I signed up to receive a newsletter and was entered in a draw for a fabulous gift basket full of soaps, a meditation candle and a healing salve. I was quite surprised to find the email from Vicki Strom at OJAS Ayurveda and Yoga announcing I had won and would soon be shipped my gift basket. Who doesn't love to get free stuff! I am so impressed by the loveliness and quality of these soaps that I have to tell people about them.
I had actually forgotten about the draw until I won and then I went to the OJAS website to see what they were about and I liked what I read about the company. Please take the time to follow the link to learn about them. They are fair trade and ethical and the products are all natural.
These soaps are gorgeous. They are hand made without added fragrance and smell fresh and clean like soap should. The lather that comes off these soaps is like silk and not waxy or greasy feeling like soaps made with animal fats. I really like the feel of it on my skin.
These soaps would make lovely gifts and anyone would be pleased to receive them! They make a fabulous gift for yourself!
French toast the easy (lazy) way. Bet you didn't know that old waffle iron could do this trick!
Just make a batter out of eggs, a generous splash of milk, a drop of vanilla and a dash of salt. (I use one egg for every two pieces of bread). Fat and a spatula are not required. Heat up your non-stick waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions, dip your bread of choice, and let the waffle iron do the rest! Save on calories, time and mess. You can top it with your favorite syrup, fresh fruit, or if you are inclined, top with a nicely fried egg and serve with a side of hash browns. Do this. Do it right now. Enjoy!