Chunkey Monkey Cake

Chunkey Monkey Cake

I love dessert, I eat it everyday at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s the best part of my day.  Most days it’s just berries and whipped cream or yogurt, an apple with almond butter or a frozen smoothie, but several times a month I like to make something really decadent.  I am always on the lookout for gluten, grain, refined sugar and especially GUILT free healthy options for my special treat days.  Yesterday I came across a wonderful recipe for Carob-Banana Bars at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen website, I could hardly wait to make these today…I have made a few alterations to the original recipe to include cacao powder rather than carob and added walnuts for some extra texture, it came out perfect!  I will try this recipe with carob powder sometime as I really do like the taste of carob…I was just out of it today and didn’t want to make an extra trip to the store since I had everything else.  My dad is coming over today so I am excited to see if he likes it…he loves dessert as much as I do so I’m sure he will!
A few recipe tips:
Make sure all ingredients are room temperature (even the eggs) otherwise they will cause the coconut oil to harden.
Use slightly over-ripe bananas for a sweeter cake.
If you choose to use the carob powder rather than the cacao powder the additional sweetener isn’t necessary, stevia can sometimes have a bitter taste so you may add the 1/4 cup palm sugar instead of the extra plain stevia listed in the recipe below.

 

Enjoy with a dollop of fresh whip cream

Chunkey Monkey Cake

 

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup cacao powder (or carob powder)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 – 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 heaping cup)
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
24 drops chocolate liquid stevia + 10-20 drops plain stevia or 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use your fingers to break up any clumps in the almond flour. Then whisk the ingredients together. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add the bananas and mash with a fork. Measure the mashed bananas to make sure they are just over 1 cup. Add more banana if needed or remove some. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir together with the fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into bars.  Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or glass of ice-cold almond milk.  Enjoy!

Yep, Daddy liked it!

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Meatless Monday…Eggplant Parmesan.

I eat a pretty strict “Primal Blueprint” diet…no grains, legumes, refined sugar, LOTS of animal protein, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and vegetables with a limited dairy intake…BUT I do enjoy a Meatless Monday on occasion.  Some days just call for lighter fare.  One of the most satisfying and enjoyable vegetarian meals for me is my adapted version of the Eggplant Parmesan recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  I had a wonderfully enjoyable lunch today with my Dad, this recipe is one of his favorites too!

My Meatless Monday Lunch...YUM!

So, here you go…Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (or other high heat cooking oil)
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it!)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and salt. Dip the eggplant slices in the buttermilk, then coat with the almond flour mixture.

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the eggplant for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Transfer the eggplant to a paper towel–lined plate.

Pour 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce into a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer the eggplant over the sauce; cover the eggplant with 1 cup of the sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Place the remaining eggplant over the top, then cover with the remaining sauce and mozzarella.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven and top with grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan

 

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Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Avocado Oil Spicy Mayonnaise, really?

  • Avocado Oil Spicy Mayo

Anyone who knows me will be quite puzzled by this post, but as always there is a motive to my madness.

One of the most horrifying memories of my childhood was on a bright sunny day in Shreveport at my grandmother’s house…I think I might have been about four years old.  My cousins and I had been enjoying a great day of playing in the sprinklers and riding bikes in the neighborhood when Mama called us in for lunch, we all sat down at my cute little metal table in the garage for our bologna sandwiches on white bread with a nice side of potato chips and a dill pickle, to my surprise as I bit into my sandwich…Mayonnaise!  If I had been a child that used foul language a hearty WTH? would have rang out of my mouth…I can vividly remember thinking, doesn’t she know I HATE mayonnaise? Did she mix my plate up with Scott or Troy’s?  I KNOW she knows I HATE mayonnaise…Why is there mayonnaise on my bologna sandwich????  Pretty funny the things that store up in our memories…no one else recalls this condiment tragedy but me, but it obviously made quite an impression. 

To this very day I still don’t eat mayonnaise as a condiment and have raised children who loathe the stuff as well…probably didn’t help having a husband that doesn’t like it either (which was a requirement to secure my hand in marriage).  Oddly enough we are a family that really digs ranch dressing…

For a couple of years now we have been making our own healthy, organic and artificial ingredient-free version of ranch dressing but we still have been using a canola oil mayonnaise.  In my desire to use healthier oils (more omega 3’s, less omega 6’s) I have been on a quest to make my own mayo…I only use it in a few recipes in my home which are the Ranch Dressing and my daughters favorite appetizer dishes of Hot Broccoli or Spinach and Artichoke Dips.  We are having an appetizer night tonight so I needed to get this made for our dip…came out great on the first try (today, that is…have tried several other times that were not successful, see recipe notes about “the drizzle”).  So, here it is, my Avocado Oil Spicy Mayonnaise Recipe…which will be lovely in my dressing and dips…and equally good as a condiment for those of you who actually like mayo!

Avocado Oil Spicy Mayonnaise

1 egg

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. mustard powder

½ t. minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

¾ c. avocado oil

In a food processor combine all ingredients except the oil and process until smooth.  While the machine is still running, drizzle ½ cup of the avocado oil into the mixture slowly.  Make sure you take your time on the drizzle, almost dropping it in a bead at a time; this will keep it from separating.  After you drizzle in the ½ cup, turn off the machine and scrape down the mixture and taste.  Add any additional seasoning, turn the processor back on and then slowly drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of oil.  Spoon into a glass jar or bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 10 days.  Makes 1 cup.

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Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Almond Blossoms

Peanut Blossom cookies are my all time favorite cookie, my grandmother sent them in a goodie box every year at Christmastime.  I looked forward to them all year…for some reason when I was a kid it was the only time I got them.  One of my passions is adapting my favorite recipes into healthier, gluten, grain and refined sugar-free versions.  In this adaptation I used almond butter, almond flour, coconut oil and palm sugar rather than the traditional peanut butter, flour, butter and sugar.  I also used 70% dark chocolate molded into starlight mint candy molds for the added nostalgic effect, but you could use a few dark chocolate chips on top for a simpler version.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do and note from the picture below…they are not just a Christmas treat for me anymore!

Almond Blossoms

Ingredients

      1 c roasted almond butter
      1/2 c coconut sugar (honey or agave both work well too)
      2 eggs
      1 t vanilla
      2 T butter or coconut oil, melted
      1 c blanched almond flour
    1/4 t baking soda
    3 oz 70% (or higher) dark chocolate chips (option to melt and mold or use as chips)
Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the almond flour, palm sugar and baking soda. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Drop by 2T balls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on oven), do not over bake. Cookies will puff up, spread a bit and get lightly golden…they will look slightly underdone when you remove them from the oven. Press molded starlight chocolates or chips into the middle of the cookies (about 5 on each cookie or one molded starlight). Cool on the pan on a wire cooling rack. Best enjoyed after about 15-20 minutes of cooling.
Makes 24 cookies, recipe can easily be doubled.
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