Grain Free Banana Blueberry Coconut Muffins

During my trip to Idaho over the last month I experimented a lot with coconut flour. I LOVE it! It’s high in fiber, gluten free and has a delicious nutty flavor. The trick is that because of the high fiber it is quite drying so use 1/3 cup for every 1 cup of regular flour required. My clients are huge fans of sweet breads, and warm in the morning (frankly who isn’t?). This recipe I concocted is one of my faves so far. Experiment and enjoy!

Banana Coconut Muffin

Grain Free Banana Blueberry Coconut Muffins

Ingredients:
3 large pasture raised eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 medium-large ripe bananas
4 medjool dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or 10 drops of stevia
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, plus more for the top
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Shaved coconut flakes or more nuts for the top

Makes 6-8 muffins

 
Directions:
Place eggs, oil, bananas, dates and desired sweetener in a blender and blend on medium speed until well combined.

Add in coconut flour, salt and baking soda and blend on low until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in walnuts and blueberries.

Scoop batter into a muffin pan lined with muffin papers (optional) and top with more walnuts if desired. If you like the “muffin top” the fill the cups up to the top. If you want them a little smaller fill 3/4 of the way. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until the top springs back to the touch. Serve!

 

Tips & Notes~

Use any kind of nut or any kind of berry.

Add some powdered ginger or cinnamon for a little spice.

 

 

 

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

Ice cream is one of my favorites…of all time. I used to skip meals so that I could dig into a whole quart (I have since come to my senses). I actually even had my own Haagen Dazs flavor a while back. This recipe is not quite as amazing but tasty just the same. It’s unique with the addition of lavender but would do just fine without it and would be a more neutral flavor but just as yummy. Make it dairy free and use coconut milk…deelish!

Lavander Ice Cream

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups grass fed whole milk
1 cup grass fed heavy cream
1/4 cup dried lavender
1/2 cup honey
3 large pasture raised eggs

Makes 1 quart

DIRECTIONS:

Bring milk, cream and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.

Whisk together honey and eggs in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Return to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat back of spoon; about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer into a storage container and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate 3+ hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and store or eat immediately!

 

Tips & Notes~

Leave out the lavender if you would like a more mild flavor and substitute with 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract.

For a dairy free option you can use full fat coconut milk in place of the dairy.

Quick Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Light, refreshing and perfect for summer, this quick sorbet is simple and delicious. It also doesn’t have any of the weird ingredients or stabilizers that many of the store-bought brands have. Its also a great project to do with your kids and  keep them busy for a an hour or so (much needed this time of year I bet). So drag out that ice cream machine that has been collecting dust and get going. Please not that you may have the type of machine that requires that the container be frozen is advance (typically at least 12 hours- plan ahead).

There are many variations that you can do like changing out the fruit for something else that is ripe and fantastically in season. You can event get a little wild and use basil instead of mint or even exchange a bit of the puree for some coconut milk to make a vegan sherbet. I would recommend increasing the simple syrup by 1/4 so it stays smooth as it freezes. The sweet content is partially what keeps the consistency for being too icy so don’t try and substitute the simple syrup for stevia- it will fail. You can perhaps try some maple syrup but you will have to tinker with the ratio as it is a strong flavor. The other component that makes the consistency smooth is the rate at which the minute freezes- but the fast machines have freon built in and cost hundreds to thousand of bucks. Unless you are a serious ice cream or sorbet maker- the simple ones will probably do!

Strawbery Sorbet

 

Strawberry Mint Sorbet

INGREDIENTS:

2 pints fresh strawberries (1-1/2 pounds), tops removed
1-1/4 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 packed cup fresh mint leaves
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Makes 1 quart

DIRECTIONS:

Purée the strawberries in a blender with the simple syrup until very smooth. Add the mint and lemon juice and pulse until the mint is broken down into tiny flecks. Transfer to an ice-cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons filtered water

Makes 1-1/4 cup

Combine in a sauce pan and gently warm until all the sugar has been dissolved.

Tips & Notes~

If you would like to remove the strawberry seeds you can strain the mixture before blending in the mint.

This recipe works well with raspberries or blackberries also but you will certainly want to strain!

 

 

 

 

 

Zucchini Cakes with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

SUPER easy, vegan, gluten & grain free and YUMMY, what could be better? Get creative and change it up a bit with some other shredded veggies, the sky’s the limit!

zucchini cakes

Zucchini Cakes with Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium Zucchini, grated
About 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Chickpea Flour
1 Tablespoon Za’atar (optional)*
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
2-3 large green onions, sliced
Freshly cracked pepper
Coconut oil or olive oil for the pan

Makes 10 medium cakes

DIRECTIONS:

Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and toss with a good pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to let the moisture of the zucchini release. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and mix well. The moisture that comes from the zucchini should be enough to turn this into a batter. If not, add a few tablespoons of water but be sure it is not runny, the mixture should be thick like pancake batter.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat and add about a couple teaspoons of oil. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop the mixture to the pan forming 5 small pancakes, spreading them with the back of the scoop. Brown on one side for about 5-6 minutes, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, tenting the cooked cakes with foil to keep warm. Serve immediately with the spicy coconut sauce (recipe follows).

Tips & Notes~

*Za’atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, salt and ground sumac. Available in middle eastern markets. If you cannot find you can add a few pinches of dries herbs and a squeeze of lemon.

Grated carrot or sweet potato also makes a nice substitution for some of the zucchini but you will need to add a touch of water to make up for the liquid in the zucchini.
Spicy Lemon Coconut Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for 4+ hours and drained
1/2-1 medium jalapeño or serrano chile, cut in half (amount depends on level of spice desired)
2 medium green onions, bottoms removed and rough chopped
1/4-1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
A good pinch of salt
About 2 Tablespoons+ fresh dill or cilantro

Makes about 3/4 cup

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients except for the dill into the blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the dill and pulse a few times to break it up. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary. If you want a thinner sauce use 3/4 cup of coconut milk.

Minted Watermelon Cooler

This is the perfect summer drink, especially with a little “kick” added to it. It is versatile and can be done with many different kinds of fruit. Accidentally add some silver tequila or vodka and voila, you’ve got a party in a glass!

Watermelon CoolerMinted Watermelon Cooler

3 cups cubed watermelon
1 cup water or coconut water, chilled
3-4 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup or stevia to taste
Zest of 1/2 a lime
Juice of 2 limes
6-8 large mint leaves

Makes 4 servings

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth but still slushy. If you have a vitamin you will want to use the tamper to help it along, not then stop the machine once or twice to give the slush a stir. Taste and adjust lime or sweetener if desired.

 

Tips & Notes~

You can use unfrozen fruit and add ice but the consistency will not be as slushy.

Add some chilled vodka or silver tequila in place of some of the liquid.

Swap out some or all of the watermelon for some frozen mango or berries.

Marinated Cucumber Seaweed Salad

I used to always order a seaweed salad at a Japanese restaurant. That is until I realized that the bright green ones are artificially colored…ewww! Do not fret, you can always ask if the salad is “made in house”, if the answer is yes then likely to be the real deal. Or, you can just make it yourself…here’s how!

Cuke salad

Marinated Cucumber Seaweed Salad

Ingredients:

2 ounces dried wakame seaweed*

1 large seedless cucumber, peeled in alternate strips and sliced into ¼ inch half moons**
1/8 of a medium red onion, very thinly sliced
Thinly sliced chili such as Thai or serrano, optional
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Dressing~

4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons neutral oil such as grapeseed or rice bran oil
1 Tablespoon white miso paste
1+ Tablespoons nama shoyu or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons finely grated ginger
A pinch of salt

Makes 4 large servings

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add wakame and remove the saucepan from the heat; let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze the seaweed out gently. If you have purchased the large leaves; slice thinly removing any very large tough ribs from the center. If you have purchased the “prepared”variety no need to cut.

Whisk all ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Add the wakame, cucumbers, onions and chili and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Tips & Notes~

Add some very thinly sliced red bell pepper or carrot for some nice crunch and color.

*Wakame is a type of dried seaweed. It comes in packages of long strips or pre-cut, the pre-cut variety will save time. Typically it comes in 1.75oz – 2oz packages, either weight is fine for this recipe.

**If using a regular cucumber, use 2 large- and be sure to remove seeds.

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