Monday, August 18, 2014

Going Banana Bread

Having a toddler has put my re-purposing foods skills to work.  One week she's into apples, the next, she wants nothing to do with it. This goes for any food, including bananas. I bought a bunch of bananas that were on sale and of course towards the end of the week she wanted nothing to do with it. So the last few bananas turned brown and too mushy. Not the bit least attractive to eat straight but perfect for smoothies and baking banana bread!

I decided for this banana bread to use Elana Amsterdam's recipe from her Paleo Cooking Elana's Pantry book. It's a great cook book for us gluten-free folks, and I highly recommend you check out her other books as well as her blog Elana's Pantry. When I first went gluten-free, her website was my saving grace. Even though she generally follows the Paleo guidelines and I don't, you'll be surprise at how delicious some of her dishes and desserts have turned out, and all gluten free. Other than the gluten-free, I'm not following any special diets right now because I think handling a gluten-free lifestyle is plenty for me, at least for now.

About this recipe: Now, if you're a fan of almond flour (sweet and nutty), you will enjoy it. I enjoy almond flour but more for making crusts (tarts and quiches), and chocolate chip cookies. Now, I'd rather just the banana shine as the star but I felt the almond flavor took hostage of the bread. So again, if you're a fan of the almond flour, this is the banana bread recipe to try. *I will be trying other gluten-free banana bread recipes. Maybe coconut flour next? Or rice flour? We shall see.

For this banana bread, the final results - moist, nutty and sweet. I enjoyed a slice with a cup of Nespresso. (I should have photographed my espresso too, next time).

Banana Bread recipe from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry

1 cup blanched almond flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted over very low heat
2 to 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 7 x 3 inch loaf pan with coconut oil and dust with almond flour.

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients, then in a separate bowl combine all the wet ingredients then add the mashed bananas to the wet ingredients, and finally combine dry and wet ingredients together mixing well. Dump batter into the loaf pan and let bake for 50 to 60 minutes. 

*The loaf must cool for 1 hour, then serve.

Enjoy! And if you do try it, please give me your feedback, or share some of your gluten-free banana bread recipes.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Favorite Smoothies

It seems everywhere you turn someone is talking about smoothies and juicing. If you've seen documentaries like Forks over Knives and Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead you'll know how helpful fresh juices/smoothies are towards obtaining your goal for better health.

It works for me for various reasons. One example, I don't eat enough salads or veggies daily, so I "drink" my salad. Eating plenty of veggies - like dark leafy greens helps rid of acidity and to alkaline the body - so it helps lessen my pain and inflammation from arthritis (in my feet and hands). You'd be surprised how an acidic body can ruin your health. Read up more about alkaline bodies here. (These are the test strips I used to check my body's pH balance).

Anyway, I've started enjoying a green smoothie every morning shortly after doing a Dr. Oz's 3-Day Detox Cleanse. You don't have to do a detox in order to enjoy a daily smoothie, but that was just my journey towards it. For years my dad always told me about the health benefits of juicing and smoothies, of course I waited till I was sick to do something about it. But hey, at least I'm doing something about it now.

Remember, taste is KEY!

My Morning Green Smoothie and Berry Afternoon Pick me Up 
My Morning Smoothie:
1 cup of filtered water
1 cup of kale (or spinach)
1 cucumber
2 celery stalks
1/2 lime juice (squeeze in to your smoothie to neutralize that green taste, trust me it works)
1 cup of pineapple
1 banana (or apple)

Blend all ingredients for a few minutes. If you're new to smoothies and it taste too "strong", add more pineapples. Sometimes I'll use a mango in place of banana just for variation. You'll notice there's more greens than fruits, this does a body very good.

Berry Afternoon Pick Me Up:
1 cup of filtered water
1 cup of spinach
1 cups of frozen mix berries
1 Banana (if you want a thick smoothie)

Blend all ingredients for a few minutes and enjoy.

Simple suggestions about making your own healthy smoothie and juices:
  • Invest in a quality machine. I've used my Vitamix since it's arrival to my house December of 2012. And I'm absolutely loving my Breville juicer! These two machines are always on my kitchen counter. 
  • Use purified or Spring Water. Tap water isn't completely clean. (See what's in your water - EWG.)
  • Use organic veggies and fruits whenever possible. I purchase my produce from farmer's market and Trader Joe's. 

Next post - Juicing, and my Favorite Juices. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I know it's October and it's the season of the gourds (pumpkin/butternut squash,etc...) but I just can't get enough of Brussels sprouts. I have Alicia Silverstone to thank for that. I posted about it here 2 years ago when I finally tried it for the first time oven roasted. I've been eating them since! Read about the benefits of eating Brussels sprouts.

So this time I tried it pan roasting, and the results where delicious. Here's what I did:

1 T. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
1 cup of chopped onions
A lb. of Brussels sprouts (yums) - rinced and cut in half
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 T Dijon mustard
Dash of salt and pepper 

Heat oil over a low-medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add Brussel sprouts, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 of the vegetable broth and let cook for another 10 minutes. Add the mustard and stir, and serve.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chef Ramsay's Broccoli Soup

Every time I watch Gordon Ramsay do his thing in the kitchen, I just can't wait to get behind my kitchen counter and start prepping the next meal. The man sure knows his way around a kitchen.

This recipe suprised me because it was the most simplest one I've encountered from him. Broccoli Soup!

Green goodness Broccoli. Thick and creamy, simply yummy.

By far the best broccoli soup I've enjoyed and it only has 3 ingredients: broccoli, water and salt. And the salt is optional so we can even say 2 ingredients!

Now creamy soups are my favorite types of soups to have, it just feels more filling.

I chopped 2 heads of broccoli (you can use the entire broccoli not just the crowns), tossed it in boiling water for about 4 minutes.  Don't throw out the water you used to boil the broccoli, pour it into a glass cup and have it nearby. Notice how the water is now green? That's our "broccoli" stock that we use to make the broccoli soup.

Here's the boiled broccoli and the "broccoli" stock I used to pour into my Vitamix

What it looks like after blended

The amount of water you want to use when pouring it inside your blender will determine how thick it'll become. So if you like it creamy and thick use less water, but if you want it a little thinner, then add more water. I usually pour about 1 cup for two heads of broccoli. Then I toss in my salt and blend.

That's it. Chef Ramsay adds a small dollop of goat cheese. It does give it that pros touch.

FYI- I used and recommend Vitamix blenders.

Enjoy my GFFs!