Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Power Cakes

It’s official, I’m breaking up with coconut flour or at least when it comes to muffins.  I made a batch of apple cinnamon walnut muffins a few months ago, and they looked delicious with perfectly shaped, crumb topped tops when they came out of the oven. Unfortunately, you can’t judge a muffin by its top-they did not taste delicious at all! They were a soggy, inedible mess with the consistency of a wet dish sponge.  Blech!

I have used coconut flour before without a problem, like my Crazy for Coconut Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins (see my Instagram for that recipe).  In an effort to give it another try, I attempted a different recipe last week.  They too were a let down. 😦  The only edible part was the very top, as in a 1/4 of an inch of the muffin.  I felt like I was in a Seinfeld episode, and the stumps were not salvageable or edible at all.

Coconut flour typically needs a lot of moisture since it absorbs so much due to its fiber content, but both of the recipes I tried must have had too much moisture.  Either way, I’m not wasting another batch of muffins.  Sorry coconut flour!

For now I’ll stick to oats (and oat flour), almond flour, good old-fashioned all-purpose flour, Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, and my new favorite Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes:  Protein Packed Flapjack & Waffle Mix.  I’ve wanted to try Kodiak Cakes mix for a while now and finally bought some this weekend.

I’m so glad I did.  The muffins I made with  the mix were love at first bite!  The Power Cakes mix is 100% whole grain with added protein, which is a bonus since I tend to struggle with breakfast ideas that keep me from getting hangry by 11 am.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t like eggs on their own or in primarily egg based recipes like quiche so I’m limited when it comes to breakfast.  I followed the recipe on the box with some substitutions and add-ins.  Two muffins clock in around 14 grams of protein and were great for breakfast along with a few slices of turkey bacon and some fresh strawberries.  And they were delicious from tops to stumps. 🙂

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 ripe bananas
2 cups Power Cakes mix
1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a large bowl, mash together the bananas, coconut sugar and coconut oil.   Add the remaining ingredients through the cinnamon and mix until smooth.  Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.  Fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 350º F for 14-18 minutes until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out slightly moist.

Montreal and Banana Smoothie Muffins

I recently traveled to Montreal for vacation.  If you haven’t been, I highly recommend paying a visit!  It’s a beautiful city rich with culture, history, and amazing food.  I would move there for the markets alone!  After a week of St-Viateur sesame bagels, croissants pâte d’amandes, fresh brie, and a host of other items at my fingertips, I need a serious food detox.  At least all of my food consumption was paired with sightseeing and shopping.

img_5948Between traveling and a couple of busy weeks at work, I haven’t been able to cook as much or share what I’ve been making.  I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine of Sunday cooking.  Today, I plan to make my favorite butternut squash soup, a quick wonton soup, wraps for lunch, energy balls, and possibly one other dish.

But first, I wanted to share a recipe for Banana Smoothie Muffins.  These are similar to the banana kale muffins I made before, but these have baby spinach in them instead of the kale and the addition of raspberries, which give them a sweet/tart taste.  I made some changes to a recipe from a 2-week clean eating challenge from POPSUGAR.  The original called for sugar and canola oil.  I used raw organic honey, a little maple syrup, and coconut oil instead.  A few notes: Since I didn’t have whole wheat flour on hand, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, which is similar to Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix.  I forgot that Bob’s mix does not contain baking soda like Pamela’s so my muffins didn’t rise as much but still taste good!

3 ripe bananas
2 cups packed baby spinach
1 pint raspberries (reserve 5 to 6 raspberries and mash them with a fork)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or flour of your choice
1/2 cup raw organic honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

img_6085Preheat oven to 350º F.  Place bananas, spinach, raspberries (except for reserved ones), honey, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a blender.  Blend till smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in one egg.  Add dry ingredients and stir till combined.  Fold in mashed raspberries.  Transfer batter to a lined muffin tin (or one sprayed with cooking spray).  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy as a snack or for breakfast.


Kale Muffins-Two Ways

img_4658Aside from chicken meatballs, muffins are probably my second favorite thing to make.  Over the past few years, I’ve made so many different variations of muffins-from savory to sweet and everything in between-that I’ve lost track.  They’re one of my go-to breakfast options for the work week and also make a great snack.  This past week I ended up making two different versions, both using kale.  I’m a big fan of incorporating extra veggies into my diet any way I can.  I’m also a big fan of incorporating bacon into it, and the first muffins I made did just that! 🙂

Kale, corn, bacon, and jalapeno came together for these muffins, and they were really good!  I ended up eating them for breakfast with tomato butter I made a few weeks ago (see Instagram for recipe), but I think I would enjoy them even more with a big bowl of chili.  I definitely recommend using fresh corn if possible.  I was lucky to still have some ears of Jersey corn on hand for mine.

img_4795The second batch of muffins came from a recipe compliments of the blog Vegging at the Shore.  Vegging at the Shore features fabulous, healthy recipes crafted by Marci Lutsky and her mini chefs!  I’ve done kale and bananas together in smoothies, but I never thought to combine them in muffins.  They proved to be a great combo, and I’m glad Marci shared this recipe!  I followed her recipe except for a few changes.  Since I didn’t have whole wheat flour or apple sauce on hand as the original recipe called for, I substituted in 1 1/4 cups oats and about a 1/2 cup almond butter.  I also added 1/4 cup milk since the almond butter and oats made the batter a little too thick.  Lastly, I added a few coarsely chopped bittersweet chips to a handful of the muffins.  These muffins are a great idea especially if you have extra kale and ripe bananas to use up and are looking for a healthy breakfast option.

1 small bunch kale, cleaned and stems removed
4 strips cooked bacon, torn into bite size pieces
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cup oats
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup 2% milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Steam kale until bright green and just tender.  Cool and coarsely chop into bite size pieces.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk together butter, coconut oil, milk, eggs and honey.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in kale, bacon, jalapeno, and corn.  Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups.  Bake until golden, about 22 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

You could also use this batter for corn bread  or even add some cheddar cheese.   What are some of your favorite muffin recipes?

*Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Magazine

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

IMG_2907.JPGIn case you needed an excuse (do you ever?!) to make pancakes, this sunny turned rainy holiday weekend is the perfect one!  My excuse to make them was to kickoff my staycation a week ago.  I’m fortunate to live at the beach so I didn’t need to go far to enjoy a little sun and some relaxation.  It was much needed, and I’m looking forward to using some more vacation time this month.

TIMG_5412hese pancakes were light, fluffy, and delicious!  And I don’t know about you, but lemon is one of my favorite flavors.  It’s so bright and cheery and can be used in so many ways.  Another added bonus was the New Jersey blueberries I added to this recipe.  If you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend it!  I’ve been going through two pints a week and definitely need to stock up on them to freeze for use over the winter.  What is your favorite pancake recipe?    Wishing everyone a safe and Happy July 4th!!!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (instant buttermilk)
1 egg yolk
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries
Butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar for serving

In a small bowl, combine milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk together milk/lemon juice mixture, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Beat egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Stir a third of the egg whites into the batter.  Gently fold in remaining egg whites.  Do not over mix.  You should still see visible streaks of white.

Heat a large skillet (my GreenPan Healthy Ceramic Nonstick Skillet is my favorite)  over medium heat and coat with coconut oil cooking spray.  Drop 1/3 cup batter per pancake into skillet.  Top each pancake with a few blueberries.  Cook until bubbles appear and edges are set.  Flip and cook until golden.  Transfer to  a plate or baking sheet and keep warm until ready to serve.  Serve with butter, warm maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.

Breakfast Sweet Potato Muffins

IMG_1171I’ve mentioned before breakfast can be a struggle for me.  I don’t eat eggs on their own or if  they’re the main ingredient in a dish, like quiche.  I also don’t like yogurt and prefer smoothies during warmer months.  These aversions really limit me especially when it comes to protein options.  I’ve been wanting to try out a muffin recipe that incorporates both savory and sweet ingredients with some added protein.  I was originally going to try out a corn muffin base but came across a recipe on Taste of Home that used sweet potatoes instead.   I made a few changes to the original recipe, and they turned out delicious!  These muffins are my new go-to breakfast.  Serve with fresh blueberries and enjoy!

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (gluten-free)
1/2 cup quick cook oats
1/4 cup brown sugar*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
7-8 links Jones All Natural Golden Brown® Chicken Breakfast Sausage, heated and diced into small pieces


Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, gluten-free baking mix, oats, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, eggs, butter, oil and syrup.  Add the sweet potato mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Fold in the sausage.  Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.  Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.

*When I make these again, I’ll probably omit brown sugar.  Original recipe called for triple the amount in white sugar and half the maple syrup.  I think the extra maple syrup I added will give the muffins enough sweetness even without the brown sugar.


Healthy Choices

Since Thanksgiving, I have been behind on my blog, but I haven’t been behind on cooking and trying new recipes!  In an attempt to further tighten up my diet and “lean out” a little, I’ve recently cut out cheese and am trying to consume less grains.  So far it’s going pretty well.  I don’t miss cheese as much as I thought I would, and the few nights I had it last week (due to work events and a pizza craving), I felt less than great after.  I had a milk allergy as a baby, and in the last year or so, I haven’t been able to tolerate certain cheeses like I used to, especially aged ones.  They cause my Rosacea to flare up (tiny breakouts that look like a rash on my face are not a good look for me) and make me bloated.  Even an acupuncturist told me before to stop eating cheese to help with my allergies.  It’s so good though!!!  I could probably type an entire article on how much I love cheese . . . The grains are more of a challenge, but I’ve been swapping in veggies when I can.  For example, I made tacos and used lettuce wraps instead of tortillas, and last night, I finally tried cauliflower rice* (see quick recipe idea below) and loved it!

For breakfast, I’ve tried two different kinds of muffins.  One is a 6 ingredient muffin made up of almond or peanut butter, mashed bananas, eggs, baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.  If you follow me on Instagram, you can find the recipe there.  They’re super easy to make.  The second muffin is a Zesty Lemon Blueberry one.  I love anything lemon.  Citrus is so refreshing especially first thing in the morning.  I paired one muffin with some all-natural chicken breakfast sausage and wasn’t hungry again till lunch.

What healthy choices are you making?

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (use the full fat one)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

IMG_0298Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line a muffin tin (6 muffins) with baking cups.  In a small bowl, combine coconut flour and baking soda.  In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, coconut milk, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.  Stir in the coconut flour mixture and gently fold in the blueberries.  Transfer batter to prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (toothpick when inserted should come out clean).  Cool muffins on a wire rack and store in fridge.  You can warm them up in the microwave or oven for breakfast in the morning.

*Cauliflower Rice: This is a great swap for rice!  I’ve never been a fan of cauliflower, but you don’t even realize your eating it.  To make, just grate a head of cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater.  Place in large bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 4 minutes.  Et voila, your done!  Serve with stir fry or season separately as a side dish.




Peanut Butter Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Bake

For the past few weeks I’ve been making green smoothies for breakfast.  Typically I blend together a banana, small green apple, baby spinach, pineapple, lemon juice, turmeric, ground ginger and water.  But now that berries are in season, especially Jersey blueberries, I’ve swapped those in for the pineapple.  This week, in keeping with the berry theme, I wanted to do a spinach salad with blueberries, strawberries, grilled chicken, and walnuts for lunch.  So that left me needing a different option for breakfast, and this oatmeal bake was the perfect choice.  My mom gave me this recipe last year, and I usually make it in the winter.  It’s really easy to prepare, and I normally make it on a Sunday night so I have it for the week for breakfast.  I decided to add peanut butter this time, and I’m glad I did!  It gives it a little more substance, and the added protein is a bonus.  I’m less “hangry” once lunchtime rolls around. 🙂

2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup honey (I used local blueberry blossom honey-yum!)IMG_8637
1 cup uncooked quick oats (I used old-fashioned whole grain oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp or more cinnamon
pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup 2% milk (or any milk you want)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly spray an 8 x 8″ or 9 x 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half of the blueberries over the bananas, 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the honey and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft.  Remove from the oven.

IMG_8638In the meantime, combine the oats, half of the walnuts, baking powder, rest of the cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the honey, milk, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter.

IMG_8642Pour the oat mixture over the bananas and blueberries.  Then pour the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute it evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and walnuts over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set.  Serve warm from the oven or reheat if serving leftover.  Feel free to try different fruit in this recipe.  I’ve made it with strawberries, and it was really good!    IMG_8646

Cinnamon & Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

Now that winter is officially here, I’ve had to abandon my smoothies for breakfast.  They’re too cold first thing in the morning and not filling enough this time of year.  And if you read up on Ayurveda, your diet should consist of foods with warming properties.  I love oatmeal, but sometimes it can be a little mundane.   And since I don’t eat eggs (unless they are part of a larger dish), I always have a hard time coming up with healthy breakfast alternatives.  I made this dish a lot last winter, and it’s really good.   Usually quinoa is found in savory dishes, but the combination of it with the cinnamon, coconut oil and coconut milk really works.  It’s great topped with unsweetened shredded coconut, sliced almonds and fruit.  You can use fresh fruit, or I mix in frozen wild blueberries before reheating.  Enjoy and stay warm!!!

3/4 teaspoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup light coconut milk, plus extra for reheating
1 cup 2% milk
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Shredded unsweetened coconut
Sliced almonds
Fresh or frozen fruit

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add the cinnamon, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the quinoa and stir until evenly coated.  Add both the coconut milk and milk.  Cover and bring to a boil, then remove lid and reduce to a simmer until the milk has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.  Let cool slightly and then stir in the maple syrup.

When ready to serve, top with the shredded coconut, almonds and fruit.  The quinoa reheats well.  I add extra coconut milk before reheating since the quinoa is super absorbent.