Gluten/Sugar Free Blueberry Muffins

I was up ridonkulously early on Saturday for some unknown reason.  I think my internal alarm clock decided that Saturday was a good day to be up, and promptly at 5:45 am I was woken up.  Try as I might I could not get back to sleep.

Rather than tossing and turning in bed, and possibly waking up the kids, I got up and got productive.  Morning duties, started the laundry, and then baking!

I had a couple of ripe bananas that needed to get used somehow so I decided that perhaps a muffin would be ideal.  I didn’t have dates though, so I couldn’t make the banana date muffins, which are a big hit with the kids.  Then I remembered that there were blueberries in the fridge.  LIGHTBULB!  Blueberry muffins it is!

I did a google search of recipes and I found a couple that were promising, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients.  In the end, I found one that best suited my needs, but since I didn’t have honey on hand and I didn’t want to use sugar, I used a banana instead.  The original link can be found HERE.  Any changes to the recipe are in italics.

GLUTEN/SUGAR FREE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

Eggs, pastured (3, Unfortunately I did not have the luxury eggs in stock, so I used conventional.)
Butter, grass-fed (2 TBS) (Is Kerrygold grass fed?  I don’t know, but it sure is delicious!)
Coconut milk or whole milk — I used coconut milk (2 tbsp)
1/2 a banana (Eat the other half!  It’s delicious!)
8 ounces organic fresh or frozen blueberries (3 TBS) — please do not use conventional blueberries — it’s important that they are organic* (I used a 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries and yes, they were organic.)
Sea salt (1/4 tsp)
Vanilla, organic, additive-free (1/4 tsp)
Coconut flour (1/4 cup)
Baking powder  (1/4 tsp)

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400F

2. In a food processor, blend together eggs, butter, coconut milk, 1/2 a banana, salt, and vanilla.  If you do not have a food processor use a blender.  If you don’t have a blender then there is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing it by hand.  Suggestion, have the butter come to room temperature so that it is easy to combine the ingredients.  You will have chunks of butter floating around your batter.

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3. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter until there are no lumps.

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4.  Fold in blueberries.

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5.  Line your muffin tin with liners and fill each cup as evenly as possible.

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6.  Put in oven and cook for 13-15 minutes.  Oven temperatures will vary to keep an eye on your muffins.  They are done when you stick em in the middle with a toothpick and the toothpick comes out clean.

7.  Take out of oven, let them cool and serve!  Try them warm with a bit of butter and let that butter melt all over that muffin.  Mmmm…  Tasty!

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What I would change…  as you can see from the pictures, the batter will rise to about 1/2 way up.  I’m thinking about doubling the recipe next time so that the cup fills up and you get that delicious muffin top rising over that liner.  To me, the best part of a muffin or cupcake is that top part.  Other than that, I would’t change a thing.  I’ll have to try this recipe again with honey and see how sweet it is.  PaleoJoe and I don’t eat many sweets, and when we do they’re just barely sweet.

Anyhoo…  hope you are having an amazing weekend, and if you’re not…  it’s not too late to start!!

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Gluten/Sugar Free Banana Date Muffins

I had every intention of coming to work on time this morning, but decided to bake muffins instead.  I was in the kitchen finishing up the last of my breakfast when I noticed that the bananas were going ripe, and when I mean ripe, I mean that there are brown spots everywhere and no one likes the soft banana.  I had a feeling that if I left those there that they would just end up in the trash.  So rather than wasting perfectly good bananas, I preheated the oven and got to baking.

This recipe is from the site:  http://paleomg.com and they’re originally supposed to be donuts, but I don’t have a donut pan.  So I made them muffins and omitted a few things.  The original “Chocolate Banana Coffee Donuts” recipe can be found HERE.  Below is an adaptation from that recipe.

 

GLUTEN/SUGAR FREE BANANA DATE MUFFINS

Ingredients:

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4 Bananas

4 Medjool Dates, Pitted

3 Eggs

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tblsp of melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1/4 tsp of baking powder

*Optional – 1/8 cup honey.  To be honest, the ripe bananas and dates are sweet enough.  Try a batch without the honey and if you think it’s not sweet enough then for your next one, add the honey.

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.

2.  In a food processor, puree the bananas.

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3.  Add the pitted dates (and honey if you’re using it) and puree.

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4.  Add eggs and puree.

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5.  Add dry ingredients and coconut oil and blend til smooth.

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6.  Grab your muffin tin and line with paper liners.

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7.  There should be enough batter to fill all cups evenly.

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8.  Pop in oven for 20-25 minutes.  They are done when you stab them in the middle with a toothpick and it comes out clean.

9.  Take them out of pan and let cook on a bakers rack for a couple of minutes.

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10.  ENJOY!!  If you want to save them, store in an airtight container.  They’ll last about a week.

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Gluten Free Cashew Nut Butter Cookies

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I think cookies would have to be my favorite dessert to create.  They’re easy to make, they’re quick to cook, and they’re portable.  If I wanted to, I could have a bag of cookies in my purse right now to snack on throughout the day.  But cookies are treats and should only be eaten in moderation.  I don’t care how “healthy” you make a dessert.  It is still a dessert.

For this dessert recipe, PaleoJoe wanted me to make cookies using the Cashew Nut Butter that we had made, see recipe HERE.  The recipe below is simple and only a few ingredients.  What you get is a soft and moist cookie.  I’m sure if you cooked it longer you can crisp it up, but I just think it’s going to make it chewy.  Entirely up to you though.

 

GLUTEN FREE CASHEW NUT BUTTER COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup cashew nut butter (unsalted, no sweetener added)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  In a bowl, mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.)  Get rid of the lumps.

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3.  In another bowl, beat the egg and add the cashew nut butter and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.

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4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix.

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5.  Using a cookie scoop, or if you can eyeball it (about 1.5 – 2 tblsp of dough), place the dough out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.  Note:  Try to make your cookie dough balls as even as possible.  You want them to cook evenly.  Oh and unfortunately, the dough is moist and sticky so you are unable to make the familiar criss-cross pattern that you would see in a peanut butter cookie.

6.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.

7.  Gently move the cookies to a cooling tray as soon as they are done baking.

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And there you have it!  Using the cookie scooper that I had, it made a dozen cookies.  Not all cookie scoopers are created equal by the way.  I would like to tinker with this recipe a bit more.  Like I noted above, there’s no criss-cross pattern and when I think of a nut butter cookie I think of that smooshing down with a fork thing.  I thought perhaps adding more flour would just make the cookie taste like the flour.  Might not be a bad thing since it’s almond flour, but still.  I also would like to get rid of the sugar.  I’ll try raw honey next time, though I’m thinking that it’ll make the dough more sticky and moist.  Perhaps making it a cake-like cookie.  We’ll see.  Stevia maybe?  Experimenting is fun!!

Anyhoo…  ENJOY!

Banana Bread

Since I’ve been on the Paleo Diet I’ve been trying out different breads that you can purchase at the store and I’ve even tried a few recipes as well.  If you are a bread eater then you know that most breads are soft and fluffy.  Some have a nice crunchy crust, but you know that a majority of breads are soft in the middle.  Moist.  The gluten free or Paleo friendly breads that I’ve been trying are dense, dry and sometimes they crumble.  I made one recently that was very eggy, but that was because it was coconut flour and coconut flour sucks up all the moisture.  I’ll probably post that recipe sometime later.

I am determined to find a fluffy, moist and soft Paleo friendly bread recipe.  I miss having a simple grilled cheese sandwich sometimes.

So for this recipe I got my google on and found this recipe on FOOD RENEGADE.  I opted out of honey and chocolate chips, though thinking back on it now…  I should’ve made one loaf with the chocolate chips.  Ah well.  It’s all trial and error anyway.  I had a lot of bananas that were getting a bit ripe and I would rather it not go to waste.  So I baked.  As you’ll see in the pictures the bread doesn’t rise (no yeast) and I know that baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents and are supposed to help the bread rise, but that didn’t happen.

But… what I did like was that the bread didn’t taste eggy, there was more moisture in this bread than what I’ve tried in other breads.  Perhaps next time I’ll use honey and see if that adds more moisture.  Opting out of the honey doesn’t mean that the bread didn’t have any sweetness to it at all.  The bananas, being as ripe as they were, gave it just enough sweetness.  I’m also considering pureeing some dates instead of honey.  We shall see.  Oh and it also wasn’t crumbly.  It held together while we were ripping into it this morning.  I didn’t have time to cut slices and so I just wrapped it up in plastic and took it with me to eat on the way to work.  I would also like to see if I can substitute a cup of almond or coconut flour with another flour.  Perhaps that will fluff it up a bit?  Again, we’ll see.  I’ll tinker around with the recipe, but for now…  here is the recipe from FOOD RENEGADE.

Note:  I’ve pretty much kept the recipe the same.  Anything I changed or didn’t use I have put my notes in parenthesis and italicized.  I also added my pictures because I am a visual and hands-on learner, and I’m sure there are some of you people out there that are like me.

Almond Flour Banana Bread

The Players

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  • 4 C. almond flour (Got mine at Sprouts for 5.99 a pound)
  • 2 C. coconut flour (got mine at Whole Foods for 6.99 a pound)
  • 1 C. dark chocolate chips (I didn’t add this to my bread, but you can if you want.  Cocoa nibs will give it a nutty flavor and crunch, Chocolate Chips will add more sweetness)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder (I got my can at New Leaf)
  • 1/4 C. honey (I opted out of honey because I knew that my bananas were very ripe and would be sweet enough)
  • 1/2 C. coconut oil (Got mine at Sprouts)
  • 6 eggs (Used conventional eggs because that’s what was in the fridge.  The organic eggs I usually have are at PaleoJoe’s place)
  • 2 tbs. vanilla (Got mine from New Leaf)
  • 2 1/2 C. mashed bananas (approximately 5 small bananas, I threw them in a food processor.  If you don’t have one, then mash em like you would potatoes.)

The How-To

1. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients — almond flour, coconut flour, chocolate chips, salt, baking soda, & baking powder.

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2. In a separate mixing blow, combine all wet ingredients — honey, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, & bananas.

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3. Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly with a spoon. (I mixed it a little bit at a time.  I didn’t dump it all into the bowl at once.  It’s less mess and it ensures that all ingredients combine well.) Transfer into two loaf pans or one bundt cake pan or 24 muffin tins. Cook at 350F. If using two loaf pans, cook for about 40 minutes. If using a bundt cake pan, cook for about 45-50 minutes. If using muffin tins, cook for about 25 minutes. (Now as you can see in the second picture that it’s not a liquidy batter like in cake.  It’s kind of like play dough.  I used two loaf pans, as you can see from the pictures, and I greased it up with a coconut oil spray.  I separated the dough and pressed down so that it was even on all sides.  My daughter helped by using her hands on the one on top, and I used the spatula for the one on the bottom.  She did a great job right?  🙂 Baked for 40 minutes.)

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4. Remove cooking tins from oven, and let cool completely (I turned it out onto a bakers rack about a 2 minutes after they came out of the oven and they were fine.  I did leave them out overnight to cool down.  Then I wrapped both in plastic wrap in the morning.) before removing from cooking tins and serving up this delicious almond flour banana bread to your family and friends. Freeze whatever you don’t think you’ll eat within a couple of days!

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And there you have it.  I would like to keep tweaking the recipe and see if I can use other flours so that I can really fluff up this bread.  Going by this recipe it’s very good.  If you would like to, add some walnuts for another texture.  I would also like to add a bit of cinnamon to give it some spice.  Perhaps a teaspoon.  I’m also considering changing the bananas to pumpkin and making it a pumpkin bread.  Hmmm…  We shall see.

ENJOY!

Homemade Banana Nut Ice Cream

Who just made her own ice cream at home the other day?  Yes you got it!!  That would be me.  Do you even realize how easy and inexpensive it is to make ice cream at home?  I think you should try it.  I would imagine that it is WAY easier to make ice cream if you have one of those fancy shmancy ice cream makers, but I didn’t have one.  I didn’t really feel like going out and buying one either so I got my google on and found “How To Make Ice Cream Without a Machine” which was a very helpful article.  Check it out!

I seriously considered going to the store and buying an ice cream maker after reading the article.  2-3 hours of freeze time BEFORE I can even try it?  LAME!!  But…  it was getting late and I didn’t want to dish out 20-50 bucks on a machine that I would probably use maybe once in a blue moon.  Plus, I think you have to put the metal bowl in the freezer for a couple of hours prior.  Meh…

Anyhoo… The following recipe was found at “The Preppy Paleo” but since I had JUST found the recipe right when I had the desire to make ice cream, none of the items were frozen or chilled.  If you are doing the research and you have time to prep the items beforehand then follow the recipe at the website.  Otherwise here’s how I did it:

 

Homemade Banana Nut Ice Cream

Ingredients:

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2 large bananas, broken into chunks

1-8oz box of coconut milk (I use Aroy-D)

1 tbs. nut butter (I used Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter)

2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. organic vanilla extract

 

Directions:

1.  Put a stainless steel bowl in the freezer.

2.  Put all ingredients in a food processor (or a blender if you don’t have a food processor) and blend until combined and smooth.  Make sure there are no chunks of banana.

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3.  Put ice cream blend into the bowl that was in the freezer, and then put that bowl back in the freezer.  Make sure it’s an even surface.  You wouldn’t want that bowl to tip over.

4.  Set timer to go off every 30-45 minutes.  When timer goes off, get a whisk or spatula and mix it.  Break any frozen bits (they’ll be at the edges of the bowl) and make sure your ice cream is smooth.

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Look at my happy and handsome Little Man helping me make ice cream.  🙂

5.  Over the next 2-3 hours you will be repeating #4 until your ice cream is frozen to the consistency that you like.

6.  Now if you want, you can add mix-ins to your ice cream and the possibilities are endless!!  Mini chocolate chips or chopped roasted almonds.  Mmmm…  I left mine the way it was because it’s my first time making the ice cream at home.

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And above is the finished product!!  I had some frozen blueberries and had it with my ice cream.  This recipe was kid approved by my two little ones and I like that they each had a chance to stir it as it was freezing.  Now they can tell their friends that they know how to make ice cream at home.  What I love about the recipe is that there’s very little processed sugar in it.  I’m sure if I used regular nut butter instead of the one that I had used, it would be considered sugar free.  I am definitely making this again.  ENJOY!!

Gluten and Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

I think the first recipe I ever decided to try and bake in the kitchen was chocolate chip cookies.  I couldn’t tell you how old I was, but I was of course younger than I am now, and there was a bag of chocolate chips that normally I would tear into and eat.  But that day was different.  I stopped to read the back of the package and found a recipe, and I decided that I wanted to try making it.  Was it a success?  Probably, because I continued to try out other recipes.  Brownies would be the next recipe that I tried and again, that was a success.  I do recall using instant hot cocoa mix instead of regular cocoa powder because that’s what we had on hand at the time.  Didn’t taste quite the same, but it was still chocolatey.  It wasn’t until I had moved out of the house that I decided to try making other desserts such as cheesecake, cake, or pies.  Then I discovered the Food Network Channel and everything changed from there.  I wanted to cook.  I wanted to try every single recipe that the chefs were preparing on their shows.

So let’s fast forward to today…

I’m still baking cookies the traditional way with regular flour, eggs, and two types of sugar, but now that I’ve cut WAY back on sugar regular cookies are too sweet for me.  So I figure, if it’s too sweet for me, then it’s definitely too sweet for my kids.  I’ve been getting my google on the last couple of weeks and reading different chocolate chip recipes.  Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, and so on and so forth.  Now in previous recipes I’ve always put on a disclaimer saying that I don’t measure.  Well with baking…  I measure.  Put too much or too little of something and the end result is disastrous!  When I bake, I want my dessert to be as perfect as possible.  So below the measurements are exact.  Oh wait…  except for the chocolate chips.  😛

 

GLUTEN/SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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(Not pictured:  Chocolate Chips)

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups almond meal

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

10 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla

½ cup raw honey (you can also use agave nectar)

1 cup chocolate chips (To be honest, I grabbed about 3 handfuls and threw them in)

 

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F

2.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.  Make sure there are no lumps.

3.  Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix.

4.  Add wet ingredients into dry and mix til everything is incorporated.

5.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough and place onto a parchment paper/silpat lined baking sheet.  Make sure you press the cookie dough down.  Leaving them in ball shape will keep them in the ball shape and the cooking time is longer (15 -20 minutes) or you will have uncooked cookie dough in the middle (Still super tasty, but some people don’t like that).  You don’t have to press down too hard or make them too flat.  Just make them the usual round cookie shape.

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6.  Bake at 350° for 7-10 minutes.  (Cooking time will vary depending on your oven.  Some will say that they are 350 degrees, but LIES!  You know your oven so use your best judgment.  Start with the lower cook time if you know that your oven runs hot and then add 2 minutes if it’s not at the doneness level that you like.  I didn’t use a convection oven so it took 10 minutes to cook.)

7.  Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a baking rack or serving dish.

Makes about 24 cookies

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What would I change about this recipe?  Nada.  Well…  maybe add macadamia or almonds to them.  Mmmm…  Give it a little more crunch and texture.  These came out beautifully and I can’t wait to go home and have about 7 of them with a glass of raw milk.  😛  ENJOY!

Honey Coconut Macaroons

What can I say?  Cookies are delicious.  My boyfriend loves coconut and I have no problem trying out recipes that include it.  I chose coconut macaroons because we were making a batch of mayonnaise and the recipe for that doesn’t include the whites of the egg.  So what to do?  I got my google on and found a recipe that was Paleo friendly and sugar free which can be found HERE.  I didn’t quite follow the instructions so I’ve updated it below.

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Honey Coconut Macaroons

Makes: about 2.5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • pinch salt
  • 6 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a silpat or parchment paper on a baking sheet and set it aside. (I used parchment paper)
  2. Toss the shredded coconut with the coconut flour.
  3. Stir the honey into the coconut and mix together.
  4. Add the salt to your egg whites and with an immersion blender, beat them until the whites are fluffy and they form peaks when you lift the blender out of the bowl. (My boyfriend used a mug, but I’m sure a bowl works just as well.)
  5. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut and honey mixture until everything is combined.
  6. Drop tablespoons of the dough (or if you have a cookie scoop like I do, use that.), a few inches apart, on your baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the centers are just set and the edges are golden.

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These were super tasty!  It was nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and yes…  you can definitely taste the coconut.  I would definitely make these gluten and sugar free deliciousness again.  I’m thinking for next time I will melt some unsweetened chocolate and drizzle it over the top of these.  Mmm…  chocolate.  ENJOY!