Fresh Blueberry Bars

IMG_2738As promised in my last post, here is the recipe for fresh blueberry bars.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for some reason, I like to bake at night.  Like 9:00 at night when the last thing I should be doing is making a mess in the kitchen.  It’s the same way when I paint.  I must be more creative during those hours, and I guess it’s my way of unwinding too.  I ended up making these bars on Saturday night, and they were really good for breakfast the following morning.  I’ve been eating them with a handful of walnuts so I’ll probably just add them in next time, and I may even try to cut down the sugar even more.  In addition, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Mix instead of regular flour.  I don’t have a gluten allergy, but I like to use this mix in place of regular flour.  Feel free to double the recipe if serving to a larger group.  I used a square brownie pan, which made 12 bars.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temp
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut almond butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking  powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
1/2 pint blueberries

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a brownie pan with foil so it extends over the edges.  In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil, almond butter, brown sugar, and honey on medium to high until combined.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Beat in  dry ingredients.  Fold in blueberries until just combined.  Spread mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Remove from pan (with foil) and cut into bars.  Refrigerate if not serving right away. Enjoy!

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.




Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

The arrival of fall also marks the arrival of all things pumpkin and/or pumpkin spice-from candles to coffee to Hershey Kisses (which I tried last year and they tasted like I was eating a pumpkin spice scented candle-gross).  I’ll admit I do like some pumpkin flavored drinks/foods and especially those that contain real pumpkin.

Because of a storm that impacted our area over the weekend, I was basically stuck in last night due to flooding and high winds and was in a baking mood.  I wanted to make a healthier version of pumpkin bread and the use of coconut flour, coconut oil, and maple syrup were great substitutions.  I also added some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and cinnamon chips, which you could omit, but I thought they made the bread even more delicious!  I had some for breakfast this morning and reheated it in the oven for about 5 minutes at 350º F.

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cinnamon chips

IMG_9647Preheat oven to 350⁰ F and lightly grease a loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until they are a light yellow.  In  small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil.  Whisk to combine.  Add to the egg mixture and whisk till well combined.  In another small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and baking soda.  Fold into the wet mixture along with the chocolate chips and cinnamon chips and stir until just combined.   Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a bit before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.   Enjoy and remember to share!


Do you know the muffin man?

Unfortunately I don’t, but you won’t need to either once you make these almond butter stuffed banana muffins and dark chocolate zucchini mini muffins.   The almond butter filling takes the banana muffins to a whole new level, and I could eat the dark chocolate zucchini muffins for dessert (you can’t even taste the zucchini)!

The recipe for the banana muffins is a combination of a recipe on Goop and one I make for banana chocolate chip muffins.  The zucchini one came from The Kitchn, but I made a few changes.  I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking flour in both recipes, but feel free to use all-purpose flour.

IMG_9077Almond Butter Stuffed Banana Muffins (makes 6 muffins)
1 cup all-purpose (or your favorite gluten-free flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon + extra for filling
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1 egg
¼ cup maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 generous tablespoons almond butter

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line muffin tins with parchment paper or muffin liners.  In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.  Whisk together melted coconut oil, egg, and maple syrup.   Stir into the dry ingredients and then fold in the bananas.

IMG_9074In a small bowl combine the almond butter, honey, and cinnamon.  I did not measure out the honey or cinnamon, but I probably used about 1/2 tablespoon of honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Feel free to adjust to your taste.

Fill the muffin tins halfway with the batter and then top with a spoonful of the almond butter filling.  Top with the remaining batter, and brush with a little coconut oil if desired.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350° F.  Let cool for about 15 minutes before removing from pan and devouring!

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins (makes 24 mini muffins and an extra 6 regular sized ones)
1 medium zucchini (2 cups shredded)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or your favorite gluten-free flour)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt

IMG_9143Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line muffin tins with muffin liners.  Shred the zucchini with a box grater into a large bowl.  It should be about 2 cups.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips.  Add the eggs and yogurt to the shredded zucchini and stir to combine.   Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins.  For the mini muffins, bake at 350º F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  The regular size muffins take about 30 minutes.   Let the muffins cool in their tins for about 20 minutes before eating.  And good luck at stopping at just one!

Gluten Free “Pina Colada” Muffins

So I’ve been on a quest lately to eat more protein.  I met with my trainer (the awesome Drew Heisler from Heisler Training Systems) last week to go over/tweak my diet, and I found out I’ve been grossly under when it comes to protein.  I’m okay when it comes to lunch and dinner, but I seem to struggle with breakfast and snacks.  I don’t like your typical high protein foods: cottage cheese, eggs, yogurt, beans, tofu, pre-made protein bars, etc.-so I’ve been trying to come up with alternatives.  For breakfast, I found a great high protein oatmeal, and now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ll switch back to smoothies soon.

IMG_7667For the past couple years, I’ve been using PlantFusion’s protein powder for my smoothies.  It is completely plant-based and free of all major allergens: no dairy, soy, gluten (wheat), eggs, nuts, fish, tree nuts, or shellfish.  It’s also free of artificial flavors and preservatives and tastes great.  It contains 21 grams of protein and is the only plant-based protein shake that compares to whey.  I’ve tried the chocolate flavor and recently bought the unflavored version so I can use it in recipes.

I made another version of the Larabar bites with it (protein “brownie” bites) the over the weekend, and a few nights ago I used it in these muffins.  The muffins turned out great and weren’t overly sweet.  With the addition of the protein powder, they have about 8 grams of protein in them.  If I make them again, I think I will add some shredded coconut right into the mix.  They’re great toasted with a little butter!

1 1/4 cup Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix (gluten-free)
1 scoop Plant Fusion Protein Powder (I used unflavored, but you could also use vanilla)
1 egg
1 20 oz. can unsweetened pineapple chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
Unsweetened shredded coconut

IMG_7662Preheat oven to 350º F.  Grease a muffin pan (6 muffins) and set aside.  In a large bowl combine baking mix, protein powder, egg, 3/4 cup pineapple chunks, 1/4 to 1/2 cup pineapple juice (from pineapple chunks), vanilla and honey.  Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan and top with shredded coconut.  Bake for 19 to 21 minutes.  Let muffin pan cool on a wire rack for a bit before removing the muffins to cool completely on the rack.  Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Sunday mornings (post summer) are my favorite part of the weekend.  They can be an excuse to be lazy or super ambitious since Monday is just around the corner.  My ideal Sunday morning would be spent with breakfast in bed followed by the Sunday crossword puzzle.  But since I don’t have a personal chef or get the paper delivered, I had to make my own pancakes this morning.  I had leftover pumpkin from cookies I made the other night so rather than waste it, pumpkin pancakes sounded like a great idea!  Pamela’s® Baking & Pancake mix is my favorite gluten-free mix.  It doesn’t have that weird gluten-free aftertaste that some other products have.  And the addition of canned pumpkin made my pancakes super light and fluffy. Serve these with pure maple syrup, none of that fake “pancake syrup” that parades around as it!

1 cup Pamela’s® Baking & Pancake MixIMG_6172
1/4 cup quick cook oats
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you can make your own with a combination of 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon-yields 3 teaspoons)
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other cooking oil of choice)
Add-ins (if desired)-mini chocolate chips, cranberries, sliced bananas
Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat an electric griddle to 350º F.  In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except for coconut oil, add-ins, and maple syrup).  Batter should not be too thin or too thick.  If applicable, stir in desired add-ins. (I made a few chocolate chip pancakes.)  Lightly coat the griddle with coconut oil and pour 1/4 cup batter onto it.  Flip pancakes once.  They should be lightly browned on each side.  Serve immediately with maple syrup.  Any extra pancakes can be frozen and reheated another morning!  Enjoy!IMG_6175