Thursday, August 25, 2016

Carrot & banana mini muffins

My carrot cake cookies  are on permanent rotation in our house. I have them as a quick bite before my 5.30am workout and as an afternoon snack (very good covered in almond butter & jam, yum).  I've tried various other recipes of a similar ilk but nothing seems to hit the spot like they do. Introducing the carrot & banana mini muffin!!!! You can see the similarity, right?! The difference is they are lighter and much more cake like.  Like the carrot cake cookies they only require one bowl and come together quickly & easily. 

The original recipe is from The Castaway Kitchen  which is my new favorite paleo blog. Get following people, her Instagram & Snapchat feeds are amazing :)  I'm holding out for her cookbook.....!  I've tried a couple of her other recipes and they all turned out perfectly.

The main difference with her recipe is she cooks the carrots which I think is not necessary and I altered the dry ingredient ratios a little. 

Carrot & banana mini muffins
2 ripe bananas mashed
2 cups of grated carrot 
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sultanas/raisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease your muffin tin, mini or regular size.

Mash the bananas and mix in the grated carrot.  Whisk/beat in the remaining wet ingredients until fully incorporated.  Next mix in the dry ingredients, again you can do this all at once.  Fold in the raisins if using.

Scoop into your greased muffin tin. This quantity made 24 mini & 4 regular sized muffins. Cook for about 20 mins then check (skewer comes out clean), depending on size they may take a little longer.  Allow to cool a little in the tin then turn out on a wire rack to fully cool.  I keep mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

new silicon mini muffin tray - so easy!
Muffin love!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Almond & coconut bites

Technically you could call these fat bites but I thought some may be put off by that name. I know we are all back in love with fat (personally I never fell out of love) but even so its not the most appealing name.  But really they are mini fat and protein power houses which give you a kick up the bum energy boost when required.  I have one first thing at 5 am before I go to my awesome exercise class. Its enough to get me through with out feeling full (aka want to throw up mid session) and stop my tummy and its embarrassing rumble....

Almond & coconut bites
recipe adapted from here

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 1/3 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup of raisins (or chocolate chips)
toasted coconut flakes for the top

Line a 8x8 tin with baking parchment.

Melt the coconut oil & butter together in the microwave (or in a pan over a low heat).  Put the melted fats into a food processor with all of the other ingredients, except the raisins and flakes. Pulse until combined, you want to leave a bit of texture from the coconut rather than making a smooth paste.  Stir in the raisins. 

Pour the mixture into the lined tin sprinkle over the toasted coconut flakes.  Pop the tin into the fridge for it to firm up, at least one hour.  Cut into whatever size you think is a bite.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 Thinking out loud they would also be yummy with a tablespoon of cocoa powder too! Let me know if you try it. When will you eat yours?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Valentines Wreath

I've fully embraced the whole front door wreath thang the Americans have got going on (is it more of a 'thing' in the UK now?). This is my 5th wreath since moving stateside.  I'll be making one for July 4th next! haha!!

I had been wasting time on Pinterest trying to find inspiration for a Valentine's wreath, but despite the billions of wreath ideas out there nothing appealed to me. I think it may be  because wreaths are inherently a little naff?! Oh well, I'm going for the kitsch angle of naff. Then this gorgeous chandelier from The House that Lars Built popped up on my Insta feed...(follow her if you like bright shiny things like I do)

A trip to the craft store to purchase one wire heart (floral dept) and x3 boxes of paper straws and some at home hot glue action my wreath was made.  Do you decorate for Valentine's day? Are you a fan of wreaths? 

My girls & I love it of course, husband yet to comment.  Valentines Day is a kitsch holiday anyway, right?!  

Cinnamon and raisin sweet potato cookie bites - grain, gluten, sugar and dairy free. Paleo & AIP

When I come across an AIP compliant biscuit/cookie/muffin/baked item I Pin it. I'm amassing quite a collection now and getting the hang of baking AIP style. The results are different from regular baking & even straight paleo, but not necessarily in a bad way and there are a few tricks to ensure success.  I end up adapting most recipes to suit my tastes or tweaking to make even more yummy! This recipe is a tweaker from Healing Family Eats which is a great website for those following an AIP diet.

Cinnamon and raisin sweet potato bites

1 cup of mashed sweet potato (1 medium sized sweet potato)
1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
 1/3 cup of softened coconut oil 
2 tbs molasses
4 tbs coconut flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raisins

Oven 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Puree the sweet potato and shredded coconut in a blender to smooth out the mash and break up the coconut. Add in the rest of ingredients, except the raisins, and pulse until well combined.  Stir in the raisins. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough or roll balls of dough in your hands and place on the baking sheet.  Be warned the mixture is quite sticky!  Flatten the balls by pressing down lightly with your hand.  They don't spread out much during baking. Bake for about 30mins. The bites will crack a little and slightly brown at the edges.  Leave to cool completely on the tray, they will be quite fragile (it helps to make them on the small side). Store in the fridge to keep them firm.  I made 15 mini bites. 

Sweet potato morphed into a cookie format. How good is that? Does anyone know another version of sweet potato cookies? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chewy granola - AIP, paleo, grainfree & gluten free

I've splashed out and bought 2 new cookbooks recently. My favorite is The ZenBelly Cookbook. The author, Simone Miller is an actual chef (rather than a home cook who's found social media & then made a cookbook!) so her recipes are tried and tested and therefore actually work. The second is The Healing Kitchen which is to help expand my AIP recipe base.  I haven't used this one as much but so far so good. The recipe below is adapted from that book.

Rightly, or wrongly, I am a snacker.  I can't function on just 3 meals a day.  The autoimmune protocol puts snacks in the wrong camp but I find I can't get through the day without snacks.  I think I have a high metabolism (*excuse).  So I thought this granola would be an easy grab and go snack but of course it can be for breakfast too!

Chewy Granola

2 tbs molasses
2 1/2 tbs melted coconut oil
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups of plantain chips
1 cup of raisins
2/3 cup of other dried fruit chopped (e.g. apricots, cherries, apple rings, mango)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl mash the banana with the molasses, coconut oil & vanilla until you have a smooth-ish paste.  Stir in the remaining ingredients ensuring everything is evenly coated with the wet mixture.  Spread out into a thin layer on the baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins or until it is beginning to crisp around the edges.  You may want to stir it halfway through to ensure an even crisp.  Leave to cool on the tray before breaking up into pieces.  Store in airtight container in fridge.

I'm excited to play around with this recipe; changing out mashed banana for other fruit purees, different dried fruit options or drizzling with melted dark chocolate (as a friend suggested), not AIP but would be amazeballs.........I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Plantain donuts - AIP, paleo, dairy, grain & gluten free

I have been following the Auto Immune Protocol diet for 3 (or could be 4, I've lost count!) weeks with the aim of getting an handle on my own auto immune diseases.  If you want more information about AIP click here.  Initially it can seem daunting but 3/4 weeks in I am finding it quiet manageable.  Lunch and dinner did required a few changes, namely omitting nightshades and certain spices, but really nothing major.  Breakfast & snacks required a more major overhaul.  Previously I would snack on nuts or dried fruit or regular paleo baked goods. Not any more! Introducing the plantain donut! Baking at its AIP finest! Breakfast and snack rolled into one, hello!

Plantain Donuts
Recipe adapted from here

1 plantain cut into pieces
1/4 cup of mashed sweet potato (cooked)
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp cinammon
pinch of salt

To "glaze" melted coconut butter, toasted coconut flakes & sea salt 

Preheat your donut maker.  Put all of the ingredients (except for the glaze) into a blender and process until a smooth thick batter forms. Using a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut out fill each donut mold with the batter. You need to overfill each one so the mixture fills both the top and bottom halves of the donut maker as the batter will not rise.  Leave for at least 5 minutes. They are done when they feel a little firmer to the touch and the outside it golden in colour (mine took more like 7 minutes).

Whilst they are cooking toast the coconut flakes under the grill. Warm the coconut butter on a plate. 

When the donuts are done dip them in the warm coconut butter then the coconut flakes and leave to cool slightly allowing the butter to firm up and the flakes to stick.

This quantity made 8 mini donuts.  Best eaten warm straight away!

The original recipe by Don't eat the spatula made them in waffle form. I think they would also work well as proper donuts (i.e. fried).  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Spinach and feta muffins

I am a fan of a savory breakfast. I think its my English roots which means you are hard wired to love a Fry Up (click on link to Wikipedia page for those not in the know, you are missing out). Oh! I do miss a Full English (yup another colloquialism).

These savory muffins are quick and easy to knock up and keep well in the freezer so can be defrosted on demand for those busy week day mornings.  Bonus: they are grain free and gluten free.

Spinach and Feta Muffins

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Salt & pepper to taste
ground nutmeg
1 shallot finely chopped (or onion)
4 tbs defrosted frozen spinach
100g feta

Preheat the oven to 395F. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan.

Mix all the ingredients together except the spinach & feta until you have a smooth batter.  Make sure you squeeze all the water out of the spinach then fold into the batter with the crumbled feta.  Spoon the mixture into the tin. Fill each muffin hole to about 3/4 full, they will rise a little.

Bake for 15-20 mins (mine took nearer 20 mins) until brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.  Cool in the tin for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool. Store in the fridge.