banana waffles, nut free

i have been trying to rely less on nuts these days. don’t get me wrong, i think that almond cakes and walnut muffins are just about where it’s at, but it turns out that heating them up can make them inflammatory to the body when we consume them. i will still use them in many of my recipes, but it is time to venture out a little past the nut.

these banana waffles use tapioca and coconut flour as the base, which soak up lots of liquid and provide a light, crispy result. i have used both coconut flour or whey protein powder in this recipe, so feel free to swap them 1:1. the tapioca flour, however, can not be subbed out unless with another compatible starch, like arrowroot flour, or maybe even potato flour. flax meal provides a little more structure to these waffles, and gives them a wonderful texture without letting them feel wet.

if the finished batter seems a little thin, you can add an extra tsp or so of either flour. if it seems very thick, it can be thinned out with a little milk or yogurt. it should be similar to a slightly thin cake batter.

these have the perfect banana flavor, aroma, and sweetness. fluffy and light banana waffles like these deserve lots and lots of butter. i also piled on peanut butter and buckwheat honey. i know i have before professed my love for honey, but this is special honey. my dad gave me what might be a quarter gallon of buckwheat honey he bought on a vacation in michigan at a road side stand. i believe he may have purchased several gallons of it, because since said vacation, he has had a peanut butter and honey sandwich 5 days a week. really and truly, i’m not sure that this is exaggeration at all. when my sis and i were kiddos, if my dad didn’t have enough time to fry us a dippy egg in the morning, he would make us peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the road. we would climb into the car with our runny sandwiches and slop up the car upholstery with our clumsy, sticky fingers. really, pb & h is a flavor combination that will always remind me of dad. anyhow, thanks dad, for the honey. it was AMAZING with these waffles. let my days of pb & h sandwiches live on in memory through this grain free weekend treat!
banana waffles

serves 2

ingredients:

1 super ripe banana, worked over in the food processor or otherwise pureed

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp coconut flour or whey protein powder

4 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tbsp flax meal

method: plugĀ  your waffle iron in and allow it to heat properly. generally, 5 minutes or so does the trick. it must be piping hot before you pour the batter in. brush it with oil.

combine all dry ingredients together.

separately, combine all wet ingredients together.

now combine wet with dry. whisk well. allow batter to rest for 5 minutes before using. this allows the flours to soak up the liquid, and the flax to expand and get spongy.

pour batter into hot waffle maker. cook for 2-3 minutes. no peeking. opening the waffle maker while the magic is happening makes for a sloppy mess. you can wait.

remove cooked waffles from waffle maker, serve while hot and crispy with melty butter, peanut butter, and buckwheat honey.. or whatever your pleasure!

these waffles are an awesome blank canvas to be topped with nuts, chocolate chips, almond butter, coconut butter.. whatever tickles your fancy!

Pumpkin Bread

we are all settled in at our new (temporary) home in cleveland! finally, i’ve made time to do a little baking, and started with something seasonal. i had been craving pumpkin bread since the chill in the air hit a few weeks ago, and it seemed that everyone around me was indulging. i have been unable to avoid the sights of people eating their pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin spice lattes, and all other goodies that are a major “no-no” for me.

i took my loaf pan out of the cardboard box it was packed in and got to work.

i was so excited to find a recipe using no nut flour. i am trying to cut down a little on baking with nuts, since they can be inflammatory when heated. coconut flour is so easy to digest, and is really a health-bomb all the way around. i found this beautiful recipe that the lovely coconut mama had conjured up. since i wasn’t about to dig for my smaller loaf pans, i doubled the recipe and made a few adjustments.

i am thrilled to say that this recipe was a total win. this bread is unlike other gluten-free or grain free quick breads. the texture is much more like a wheat based bread than an eggy or crumbly loaf that sometimes results from coconut flour or almond flour. it is simply perfect. i think the amount of sweetener used here is just right, so i would wait until you try it as-is before adjusting the levels of sugar added.

this is my little ramekin tester.

TIPS:

*just follow the instructions. the step using tin foil to cover the loaf is essential, don’t even think about skipping it. you would end up with a hard-as-a-rock top on your bread.

*since i doubled the recipe, i was able to pour a little extra into a medium-sized ramekin. it took 1 hour to bake. i immediately poured whole milk over it and ate the whole thing.

*use parchment paper to line the bottom of your loaf pan. trust me, your loaf will rip in half if you don’t line the pan. i don’t care how much oil you use. coconut flour sticks.

*you may wish to sweeten with something other than coconut sugar. in that case, i would just use cane or turbanado sugar. don’t attempt a liquid sweetener here. it could be fun, however, to experiment with using a few drops of stevia in place of 1/4 of the sugar.

*yes, 14 eggs.

*yes, 315f.

*as always, i would love to encourage comments regarding substitutions, adjustments, failures, and success! this is a give and take blog, so please let the readers know what this bread is really about!

pumpkin bread

(adapted from the coconut mama)

approx 12 servings

ingredients

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/4 cup tapioca flour (tapioca starch)

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

14 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 tbsp vanilla

method: grease up and line a standard loaf pan (8.5 x 3, roughly) with parchment to cover at least the bottom.

preheat oven to 315f.

begin with beating the egg whites in a large, dry bowl, until stiff peaks form. set aside while you complete the next steps.

combine the melted oil with the egg yolks, pumpkin, and vanilla. stir well.

mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

combine the dry with the wet. you will get a paste.

now fold in the egg whites.

pour into your loaf pan, then make a tent out of tinfoil to go over the loaf. this is where you may also wish to pour some batter into a ramekin, or a few muffin cups.

bake covered loaf (and other portion) for 45 minutes. remove ramekin portion, it is likely done.

remove tinfoil from loaf and continue to bake for 15 more minutes.

turn heat off after 15 minutes, and allow loaf to set up in oven, about 20 additional minutes.

loaf may now be cooled on countertop. allow a bit before removing from pan.

i love warm pumpkin bread served with cold milk poured over it. that, or a chunk of melty butter and sometimes a drizzle of maple syrup. this would be such a phenomenal treat with vanilla ice cream, also!

yes, this is a treat. enjoy a slice slowly and occasionally! the carbs, although high, are much less than most snacks are.. heck, lower than a large banana!

here are the facts per 1/12 of the loaf:

calories: 300g

carbs: 32g

protein: 9g

MOJO

this recipe goes out to my good buddy, whom we had over last night for cuban pork and plantain. he loved the meal, but i think it was the dipping sauce, MOJO, that really stood out to him! i promised i would post the recipe asap, so here it is, scott!

this tart, spicy sauce will knock the socks off of your next batch of plantains. i also think it would be amazing poured over a hamburger or baked potato. it would also make the PERFECT dressing for any steak or fine cut of grilled, smoky meat.

it is one of the best things to come out of cuba, so add it to your “awesome sauce’em” list, and pull it out for guests, or even just sunday night spice-ups. i’m having it to dress my salad for lunch this afternoon!

you can add as much or as little spice as you’d like here, but a lot is the way to go!!

this recipe makes about 8 servings for dipping, or enough to marinate a giant pork butt if you choose to use it as a marinade.

MOJO

1/3 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced finely

2/3 cup sour orange juice, if you can’t locate this juice in your store, equal parts OJ:fresh squeezed lime juice.

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chopped cilantro, to serve

method: get oil warm/hot over medium heat. do not let it roll!

add garlic and let it cook for 20 seconds before stirring the juice in, along with the spices. do not let garlic brown, you only need to cook it briefly or it will turn bitter.

cook for 5 minutes or so, allowing it roll gently & keeping it stirred well. taste and add more juice or spices as you see fit.

chill.

stir cilantro into cooled MOJO and serve cold.

seriously, people. this stuff is CRAZY good!

Whole 30, day 26

take what you can, closest to what you want.

this is a general theme i have been trying to stick to this past month or so to help me deal with the fluxes and changes that come over us. no, not just in the whole 30 challenge. but in life outside of set challenges. especially with long (12 hours, at least) days at work and trying to take care of a baby, especially moving to a new city, especially with the very soon loss of my income… we are learning to accept that some small things will change here and there. i don’t deal well with that. i have high expectations of everything.

here is my typical cycle of disappointment:

i get home at 8:30pm. i want dinner to be done as soon as i walk in and i want it to be perfect. i want juniper to wake up be ready to nurse as soon as i finish dinner. i want to sleep solidly throughout the night so i can wake up refreshed after my 5 hours of sleep (HA) at 4:30am to go back to work. i want to remember to go to the bathroom before i leave, it could be my only chance all day (nope, forgot to go). i want my breakfast to be perfect so i’m not having cravings all morning, since i don’t get snack breaks until lunch at 1:00pm (burnt bacon, awesome). oh no, still haven’t gotten time to visit ladies’ room. i want to go to lunch on time (nope, emergency patient coming in, toothache. lunch is at 2 and i’m starving). i want my salad to be perfect at lunchtime (oh, someone accidentally dumped your $6 whole 30 compliant dressing last week and i don’t have anything to dress a salad with now? oooommmmggggg… i totally overreacted to this). i want to leave work on time at 7pm so i can get home before juniper is sleeping (oh good, she doesn’t want to nurse because she’s had bottles all day? this is a problem), and also maybe i can take a little walk tonight since i haven’t gotten to all week (nope, another toothache at 6:30pm turns into a late night marathon, call brian, be home at 8:45. also missed jeopardy. damn)… and finally, we fall back into our cycle of disappointment.

it is not the job i am angry with! it is me! i am angry at my lack of coping skills.

isn’t this a negative way to look at my life? it is. so i’m changing it. because i am not a good mommy when i feel disappointed 3 days a week.

in the mean time:

take what we can, closest to what we want!

i had eaten all of my salad greens without realizing it, same goes for avocado. my lunch was seeming like a disappointment, so i changed my frame of mind, and also added a bunch of stuff to my salad that i wouldn’t normally, and: voila! a good lunch it became! how beautiful!

breakfast: sweet potato hashies, 2 eggs, 2 bacons. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: chicken, beets, baby watermelons*, pepitas, fennel fronds, lemon oil vinaigrette (1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon), 1/3 cup olive oil, sprinkle of salt,sprinkle of pepper).

snack: 1/4 cup raw cashews.

dinner: huge portion of salmon, roasted veggies with basil. watermelon.

results: awesome. ok, so eating that many beets all week.. well, it changed my digestion. let’s just say that. but delicious day of foods, who can complain about running out of avocado and greens with an otherwise delicious salad and amazing dinner at mom and dad’s house?

*no, i had never eaten a baby watermelon until this past week. my mother in law picked up some rare and amazing vegetables and herbs for me at a celebrity chef event in huron, ohio, and i’m gobbling them up fast! baby watermelon taste like.. well, watermelon, but it isn’t sweet at all. i guess it could also be compared to a teeny tiny green tomato. so fun!

juniper, however, remains perfect. not only because she just IS, but also for practical reasons. she sleeps solidly throughout the night, about 12 hours or so. she always has. she doesn’t fuss throughout the day unless she has dropped her tootsie or if she sees that i have been ignoring her for house chores for longer than an hour. she nurses every 3.5 hours, almost like clockwork. she needs her diaper changed every 2 hours. she is predictable, laid back, and happy. she makes me laugh and smile when i am at my whit’s end. days when i drop a pan on my toe while cleaning up cat litter, nothing can be worse right now, look up….. there she is smiling at me, and giggles. my day changes. the sun comes out.

this beautiful baby is something i am never disappointed in. look at her. she is my buddy. when i AM home from work, we are inseparable. we are attached at the hip. when we get up in the morning, i put her in her moses basket and set her on the kitchen table while i make breakfast. i don’t leave her alone in a room yet, not only is she too little, but she’s too cute. i don’t want all of that cuteness to get wasted on an empty room. seriously.

these are a few of my favorite things!!!

Whole 30, day 24

less than a week to go!

i’m missing gluten-free pretzels the most today, for some reason. i’m just craving them! at my finish, i will nominate one day per week to finish off the gluten-free snacks that remain in my pantry, then vow to never buy them again once they are finished. i will miss them, but my body will not.

breakfast: sweet potatoes, sausage, 2 eggs sunny-side-up. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: big salad with chicken, avocado, strawberries, and sunnyseeds.

dinner: burger with onions, mushrooms, bacon. baked sweet potato fries.

results: today was what a standard day should feel like. i didn’t feel deprived of anything. i felt great all day. my energy levels are seriously sinking, but this is surely due to my work schedule. i sleep about 4 hours per night during the work week. i get up at 4am or earlier to feed juniper before i leave for work, then return home around 8-8:30pm. this is extremely unhealthy. it feels unhealthy every time i wake up, and every time i fight sleep at 9:00pm so i can get a few things done before bed… like, getting ready for work the following morning. ugh.. i can’t wait to start getting real sleep soon, after i’m done working outside of the home!

this baked chicken recipe saves us throughout the week. we bake 3 on sunday, then split them up for salads and such throughout the work week. so juicy and tasty. normally, i find chicken breast completely worthless. however, when prepared properly, i find it a delicious, inexpensive way to add some great protein do my lunches. i require tons of protein.

baked chicken breast

3 medium chicken breasts, free range and organic is preferable

1 cup orange juice, nothing added

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

method: combine all ingredients in a gallon size baggie. allow chicken to marinate for at least 3 hours, or over night.

preheat oven to 375f. drain marinade from chicken and coat in olive oil.

place in a glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, until chicken is browned on the outside just slightly and cooked through. you want the juice to run clear when you poke it. remove chicken from oven and allow to rest before slicing. this will keep the juices inside of the meat instead of running out and making the breast dry.

don’t over-bake. chicken is done when thermometer registers at 165f. people think that chicken is dry, and they don’t like it because they’ve always had it when the bejesus has been cooked out of it. don’t do that.

165f.

done.

big salad

your favorite greens

chicken breast, cut into strips

1/2 cup strawberries, chopped up

1/2 avocado, sliced

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

1/3 cup olive oil

sprinkle of salt

sprinkle of pepper

method: whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. set aside.

build your salad.

dress your salad with oil and juice dressing. i use about 1/3 of this recipe per salad, and save the rest for lunches later in the week.

Whole 30, day 18

we’ll be skipping a few days again as we go into the weekend. sorry, but things are getting super busy for us!

i find that, since mindless snacking is no longer an option, i have lost a few pounds. i’m still unable to really whittle-the-middle due to most of my issue being a little postpartum stretchy skin. but wherever it is coming from, i’m keeping an eye on things out of caution that my milk supply could go down.

cutting out the crazy amount of fruit that i was eating has all at once:

a) helped with my bathroom visits

b) trimmed back a little midsection bloating that i usually have that i though was inherent with being a female above the age of 20. like i said, still a little fluff around the flagpole, but what a nice surprise! cutting down on fruit is just like cutting down on any sugar!

c) gotten rid of more sugar cravings. one piece of fruit would ALWAYS lead directly to another, until finally i would give in and eat a small handful of cashews to “protein crush” all that sugar. feels good to have that under control.

tonight i had a “dinner oops”. i made a roast pork from marks daily apple. when i initially planned dinner, i thought since our butt was a pound short of his, it would require less cooking time. well it’s 9:40p, and dinner is still in the oven. we will be having it on sunday night since we will be getting in from out-of-town so late.

i had breakfast for dinner, instead!

breakfast: 2 eggs sunny side up, sweet potato hashies, 2 strips bacon. coffee and coconut cream.

lunch: turkey, tomato, avocado, baby greens, 2 soft boiled eggs. a few cashews.

snack: pepitas, a peach.

dinner: 2 egg mushroom omlette. sausages.

results: YAY! i ate half a dozen eggs today!
YUMZ!

2 egg omlette

2 eggs

slices shrooms

basil

S & P

ghee

method: beat the living sin out of the eggs. stir in pepper.

saute sliced mushrooms dry. this makes it so they don’t get rubbery!

get a big skillet nice and hot on medium heat. add ghee. turn heat down and promptly add egg, covering whole surface of skillet. quickly sprinkle salt over egg. it will not take long for this to overlook. while the egg is still mostly wet, add cooked mushrooms and basil. roll egg into omelette and slide onto a plate to serve.

no, we don’t flip an omelette.

this whole dance must happen fast, or the egg will harden and you will have a rubbery, stiff egg on your hands. instead, you want a soft, cheesy texture. believe me.

Whole 30, day 17

i totally forgot to celebrate a few days back that i was halfway through this challenge! hooray! i am so impressed with myself for sticking with it.

i’m already planning the foods i will be returning to my normal life with. first off, my last day at work is my first day OFF of whole 30. i will be baking a batch of coconut almond brownies to celebrate. second, i will be having pancake breakfast that following sunday. just cuz. i will likely have some really fancy cheese ready to devour. probably some brie i will bake up with some nuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup. i’ll serve it with tapioca flatbread. WHAT?! where did that all come from?

here are some serious goals and plans:

*i plan on retaining so many of these paleo foods i have fallen deeply for.

*i plan to continue with the restriction of fruits, nuts, and seeds. knowing that my body feels so great without dairy, i will strongly decrease my consumption of it. even though i love cheese. i mean so, so much i love cheese.

*i will continue to use ghee to fry my eggs in. i really love this flavor, and i’m so glad i’ve found it.

breakfast: sweet potato hashies, 2 strips bacon, 2 fried eggs. coffee with coconut cream.

lunch: turkey, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tomato. mixed nuts and a peach.

snack: handful of pepitas.

dinner: burger with egg, avocado, bacon, mushrooms. roasted carrot fries.

results: omg it was so good. i can’t even stand it. not to brag, but brian and i make burgers that are better than any burger i have eaten in any restaurant. honestly. i know that there are a few tricks to great burgers. first is fat content. we always chose NIMAN RANCH chuck, with an 15% content. when you buy chuck, you’ll see “85/15”, which means 85% lean and 15% fat are what make up the beef. never grill lean beef, unless you are looking for more of a jerky taste…seasoning the beef is essential, in my opinion. i use the same spices most times we have burgers. i’ll share my secret below.

and the carrot fries were a sweet and fun change-up from our sweet potato fries. really, this came out of necessity, as we had carrots in the refrigerator that i had NO clue what we would do with. ta-da!

this recipe makes 2 large servings.

awesome burger

2/3 lb ground chuck, free range & organic is always best

1/2 tsp powdered garlic

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp salt

method: sprinkle spices over meat. break meat into small pieces with your hands to combine spice into the meat. once it is well combined, form into 2 patties. DO NOT MAKE THEM TOO FIRM. you want them slightly loose so they stay tender. press the center of the patty much flatter than the outside edges. the center of a burger will puff up quite a bit as it cooks. this is why so many times you end up with a meatball burger.

grill until desired doneness. i recommend medium rare.

carrot fries

4 large carrots cut into fry shapes

good sprinkle of garlic powder

S&P

oil

method: preheat oven to 425f.

combine all ingredients in large bowl. spread over cookie sheet.

bake for 20 minutes or so, tossing at 10 minutes.

they are done when edges and ends are brown.