Archive for June, 2012
I think a little morning pick-me-up is in order! These grain-free, high-protein treats are a great way to start your day.
I am not a routine coffee drinker but I do enjoy the flavor in certain treats (ie. Coffee ice cream with chocolate chips = love) so I thought I would make a muffin version. I was very pleased with the results! The coffee flavor, in my opinion, is not overwhelming and the cinnamon complements the other ingredients and flavors nicely. These muffins are springy and light in texture while at the same time filling and hearty.
1 cup almond flour (or other nut meal – I wanted to try hazelnut flour but didn’t have enough!)
3 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (use chocolate whey for a lightly flavored mocha version)
2 Tbsp granulated sweetener (coconut palm sugar, sucanat or xylitol)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
1/8 tsp pure stevia powder or more or less to taste (or another 2-3 Tbsp sweetener)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (coconut, soy or almond)
1 Tbsp espresso powder
6 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (ghee, Earth Balance or butter can also be subbed)
1 egg, room temperature and whisked
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs for “mocha” version
1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a muffin tin with 6 muffin liners or grease well with oil or butter.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour through xanthan gum and set aside.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine non-dairy milk and coffee granules, stir for one minute and let sit for 5-10 until well incorporated and mixture comes to room temperature (this will avoid coconut oil hardening in next step)
4. Add eggs, coconut oil and vanilla to the coffee-milk mixture and stir to combine well.
5. Mix wet into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Divide into prepared muffin cups and bake for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and cooked through completely. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Enjoy!
Makes 6 muffins
Store leftover muffins in the refrigerator.
It’s Secret Recipe Club time again! For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was paired with Bean from Without Adornment. This was a match made in heaven for me! Bean blogs gluten free and sometime allergen free so I had SO many things to choose from. I wanted to make everything on her recipe page and I’ve already made a list of things to make in the future.
After much deliberation (after all, it’s a big decision), I chose her Pecan Pie Bars for this month’s recipe. These bars are HEAVENLY!!!! Pecan pie in bar form 0 Wow. Just saying…they will be replacing pecan pie on Thanksgiving. I give Bean all the credit :)
The recipe was already grain-free, vegan and gluten free, so I only made a few tweaks based on what I had on hand. To start, I cut the recipe in half so I wouldn’t have a ginormous pan of these goodies lying around tempting me :) I used all coconut oil in the crust along with powdered xylitol and xanthan gum in place of the honey to reduce the sugar a bit more. I used coconut butter along with coconut oil in the filling since I love that ingredient, used all maple syrup, added a touch of maple extract for a bigger maple punch and increased the arrowroot and flaxseed a touch.
Make these – and make them soon…you will not be disappointed! Thanks Bean for this scrumptious recipe!
Maple Pecan Pie Bars (vegan) (slightly adapted from Without Adornment)
2 c. blanched almond flour
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp xylitol, powdered or coconut palm sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
dash of salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp maple extract, optional
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp arrowroot starch (could use tapioca starch too)
1 tbsp nut milk (or whatever kind of milk you want)
Sea salt for pecans
- To make crust, turn oven to 350F and line with parchment paper or grease a loaf pan.
- Mix crust ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined.
- Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- For the filling: In a small-medium sized pot, mix together the coconut oil, coconut butter, maple syrup and extracts.
- Bring pot up to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (The coconut oil and sweeteners will not mix very much as one is polar and the other is not. Don’t worry as the nut milk slurry will act as an emulsifier.)
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (I stuck mine in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes, giving it the occasional stir to prevent any coconut oil from hardening.)
- Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a pan on medium heat for about 5 – 8 minutes or until they smell like roasted pecans, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal, tapioca starch and nut milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooler, whisk in the nut milk mixture until combined and smooth.
- Mix in the chopped pecans and mix until combined. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and distribute evenly.
- Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
- Before serving, chill in the fridge for at least an hour – the colder they are, the easier they are to cut and serve!
I’ve been on a BIG cereal kick these days…going through one box of peanut butter puffins and/or granola a week by myself has been routine. I think all the sugary and carb goodness is catching up with me so I kicked it into gear and created a more healthy alternative for my everyday snack/meal.
This recipe can easily be deemed “chilled dessert soup with a crunch” but considering my recent love affair with cereal, I felt the current title was more appropriate. Not to mention, I first made this after a morning run and it was the perfect high-protein meal that was both filling and refreshing!
The crunch from the cacao nibs, walnut and pecan pieces along with the buckwheat groats makes this quick and easy “cereal bowl” squash any craving for a bowl of puffins or granola. I am not saying I will be staying away from cereal but eating a box (or more) per week might be overkill, what do you think? No need to answer that :)
This is one of those recipes too that you can tweak to your liking — change up the nuts, fruit/avocado, protein powder, extracts, and toppings and you can make a ton of different variations. Add in a tablespoon of two or cacao or carob powder for a chocolate-ly punch or make a coffee-inspired version by subbing some of the milk for your favorite coffee. Decisions, decisions!
Recovery Crunch Cereal Bowl
1 cup ice cubes
1 cup non-dairy milk (I’ve used unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk)
1/2 avocado, 1/2 frozen banana or 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I used 1/2 chocolate Vega performance and 1/2 scoop vanilla whey)
splash of pure vanilla extract (almond would be good too)
2 Tbsp raw buckwheat groats
1 Tbsp cacao nibs
1 – 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts (I used 2 T)
1 – 2 Tbsp chopped pecans (I used 2 T)
optional: drizzle of honey, agave or maple syrup to taste (depends on sweetness of protein powder)
optional: 1/2 Tbsp of your favorite nut or seed butter (if using, blend with milk/ice/protein)
optional additions: chia seeds, fresh or frozen fruit chunks (frozen blueberries would be yum!), flaxseeds, shredded coconut, 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, etc.
1. Blend ice, milk, avocado/banana/mango, protein powder and vanilla until smooth.
2. Pour into a bowl, top with remaining ingredients and enjoy!
I’ve been consuming quite a bit of chocolate lately…raw cacao powder, dark chocolate squares, chocolate flavored protein powder, cacao nibs…it’s all yummy! I’ve pretty much convinced myself that there is nothing wrong with several servings of chocolate per day :)
After all, here are a few reasons to indulge in a good dark chocolate (not the over-processed stuff):
High in Antioxidants
Cocoa contains flavanols, a type of flavanoid that is only found in cocoa and chocolate. Flavanoids are naturally-occurring compounds that occur in plant foods that act as antioxidants and help counteract free radicals in the body.
Blood Pressure Benefits
Dark chocolate has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure.
Lower LDL Cholesterol
Eating dark chocolate on a regular basis has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 percent.
Chocolate contains serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Chocolate also stimulates endorphin production, which creates feelings of happiness and pleasure. In fact, one study found that melting chocolate in the mouth produced feelings of pleasure longer than passionate kissing. This may explain why many people naturally reach for chocolate when they’re depressed.
Several studies have found chocolate to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods along with foods like red wine, blueberries, garlic, and tea. Two ways that chocolate works as a cancer fighter is by inhibiting cell division and reducing inflammation, though research is ongoing and will probably find additional ways in which chocolate fights cancer.
This quick and easy chocolate ricotta layered cup is another excuse for me to indulge in more chocolate.
After using a large majority of the ricotta container in a grain-free blueberry-lemon cake (to come!), I was left with single-serving portion waiting to be used up. After a 3-mile morning run, I was again craving something chocolate and filling…and this speedy breakfast hit the spot!
A creamy base that is lightly sweetened layered with crunchy buckwheat groats, juicy fresh blueberries and flaked unsweetened coconut…I should easily be eating this for dessert but thought a sweet breakfast treat to start the day was appropriate and justified. I can’t wait to make this again with a few variations — different fruits, adding chopped nuts and incorporating granola or a nutty gluten free cereal.
Layered Chocolate Ricotta Cup for One
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (use good-tasting ricotta, part-skim didn’t work for me)
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder (or other cocoa or carob powder)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp honey, agave or other liquid sweetener to taste
pinch of pure stevia powder or liquid stevia to taste (if you don’t want to use stevia, increase the honey/agave)
couple shakes of ground cinnamon
optional: 1/2 scoop of your favorite protein powder (vanilla whey is what I used in the taste test)
1/3 cup fresh blueberries (raspberries, cherries, strawberries, bananas or orange sections would all be delicious)
1 1/2 Tbsp raw buckwheat groats (or a few tablespoons of your favorite cereal; granola would add a nice crunch)
1 Tbsp unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, cacao, vanilla, sweetener and cinnamon. Add in good tasting protein powder if using. Stir well and adjust sweetness to taste.
2. Add half of the chocolate ricotta mixture to a cup, glass or small dish. Top with half of the berries, buckwheat groats and coconut. Repeat with remaining ricotta and topping ingredients and enjoy!
Also, I wanted to thank you for all your sweet comments and feedback the past week. Your support, kind words and emails mean so much to me, you have no idea how much your thoughtfulness has touched me :)