Gluten Free, Vegan Coconut Cookies

19 Nov photo-45

Every time I go grocery shopping (which is pretty much every other day), I seem to stumble upon some new ingredient I just have to buy, so as a result, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting. Here is my most recent cookie experiment. It took a couple batches to get the texture right, but it’s now shareworthy. ;)

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp Earth Balance Coconut Spread – or coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk – I actually used coconut flavored almond milk, but if you can’t find that you can use coconut milk
1 chia egg = 1 tbps ground chia seeds soaked in 2.5 tbsp of water for 5 minutes
3 tbsp apple sauce
1/2 coconut sugar
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder – if you need the cookies to be gluten free, make sure your baking powder is gluten free – not all are!

coconut baking spray
mixture of 2 tbsp coconut sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon & 1 tsp nutmeg to sprinkle on top of cookies

Optional additions

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup chia seeds

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degree f.

2) In medium bowl mash bananas well. Add coconut butter, milk, applesauce, chia egg, coconut extract and coconut sugar. If the mixture is lumpy (mine was using Earth Balance), beat with electric mixture on low for 30 seconds or until lumps are blended.

3) Combine dry ingredients. Slowly blend into wet ingredients. If adding chia seeds or chocolate chips blend in now.

4) Grease cookie sheet with coconut oil spray and form dough into small balls. Flatten the top of the cookies and spray with coconut oil. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture on top.

5) Bake for 10-12 minutes – or until lightly browned.

Vegan Coconut Cookies
ENJOY!!!

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Cake

26 Aug photo

It’s been almost 2 months since the hub and I first started our new plant based diet. While we both still cheat when we are out for dinner or with friends (cheese and seafood are our weakness), we have been pretty good at keeping it up at home. :) Generally, friends and family have been supportive (although they think we’re nuts), so when we had friends over a couple weeks ago, I decided to try out a new vegan dessert to show them that you can still eat good without dairy or meat. I had no idea how this cake would turn out, as I hadn’t used a few of the ingredients before, but it certainly exceeded my expectations. (side note – hazelnut oil is life changing) It was moist, rich and a definite success with the group. Because I didn’t keep track of the quantities of ingredients used, I made it again a couple days ago for a BBQ and changed the topping a bit. If you want to cut calories, you can certainly omit the topping, however it makes the cake that much more yummy. ;)

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana CakeCake Ingredients

5 ripe bananas, mashed
2.5 tbsp hazelnut oil
3/4 to 1 cup raw coconut sugar (depending how sweet you want it, you can also add 2 tbsp organic honey if you aren’t vegan)
3 tbsp organic, unsweetened peanut butter
2 tbsp applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1.5 scoops Vega One protein powder (or any other vegan protein powder)
1 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup organic rolled oats
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup raw organic cocao nibs (yes, that’s how you spell it. It’s different than cocoa – much healthier. Google it if you don’t know)

Optional Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup organic, unsweetened peanut butter
2 tbsp raw coconut sugar
1 tbsp hazelnut oil

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp hazelnut oil
1/4 cup raw cocao nibs

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Grease rectangular cake pan with a tsp of hazelnut oil.

2) Combine all of the wet ingredients and mix well.

3) Add dry ingredients one by one as listed. Once combined, pour into greased pan.

4) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the top is lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean and allow to cool slightly if preparing the topping.

5) For the peanut butter topping, add oil to a small saucepan over low heat and add peanut butter and sugar. Stir until melted and smooth. Spread over cake.

6) For the chocolate, again, add oil to medium saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from heat and pour melted chocolate into a ziplock bag. Cut the tip and drip over the peanut butter topping to make a pretty design.

7) Sprinkle cocao nibs over topping for an added crunch.

ENJOY!!!

Vegan Friendly Coconut Banana Granola Bars

18 Jun photo-19

I never thought these words would come from my mouth (or be typed by my fingers), but John and I have started eating a plant based diet. While I doubt we will ever go full vegan, I’m realizing that it’s actually easier than expected and even quite enjoyable to prepare and consume nutritious vegan meals. Over the week, I’ve been having fun experimenting with different dinner options, but today I thought I’d try out a granola bar for John to take to work for a quick snack. For the first attempt, they turned out awesome – held together great and tasted delicious.

Vegan Coconut Banana Granola BarsIngredients

2 cups unsweetened organic coconut
2 1/2 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup whole grain organic oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup puffed millet
2 tablespoons sweetener of your choice – I used raw coconut crystals
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk – I used toasted coconut flavour
1 tsp coconut or pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dark organic mini chocolate chips – you can use raisins or dried blueberries if you want to cut the chocolate

Directions

1) Combine coconut, bananas, oatmeal, chia seeds, puffed millet and sweetener in a large bowl and blend with an electric mixer on low.

2) Add almond milk and the extract of your choice and continue to blend until well combined.

3) Spray two 8×8 baking pans with coconut oil spray and evenly distribute mixture in both plans, pressing it down as you go. You can use a different size pan if you don’t have 2 8×8 pans, however it’s important that the mixture is spread out quite thin – about 1 inch or so.

4) Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips and cashews, again, pressing them into the mixture with a spoon or flat surface.

5) Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and cut into rectangles while still warm.

ENJOY!!

No Flour, No Added Sugar, Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

13 May photo-14

It’s been over a week since my last morsel of candy or bowl of frozen yogurt, so naturally I’ve been having some major sweet cravings. Due to this and the popularity of the recipe for my skinny flourless oatmeal banana cookies, I decided to work on a flourless muffin recipe. After a couple tweaks with baking time and oven temperature, these suckers turned out to be not the prettiest to look at, but delicious and oh so moist. Between myself, and my husband, this batch did not last long!

Ingredients

Flourless, No Sugar Added, Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Flourless, No Sugar Added, Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

2 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons Truvia or raw coconut sugar
1/2 cup egg beaters
2 tablespoons all natural, no sugar or salt added peanut butter
1 teaspoon peanut butter extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats
OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or walnuts
Coconut oil non stick baking spray

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mash banana in medium bowl. Add almond milk, egg beaters, Truvia, peanut butter and peanut butter extract and mix until all ingredients are combined.

2) Add oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until well blended.

3) Spray muffin tins with coconut oil baking spray and fill tins until they are just over 3/4 of the way full. If adding dark chocolate chips or walnuts sprinkle 3-4 in each muffin.

4) Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean from the centre of a muffin.

ENJOY!

Spicy Panko Crusted Crab Cakes with Broccoli Slaw

25 Apr photo-12

A recent craving for crab cakes almost pushed me off the “no more eating out” train and into the local fish cafe, but somehow willpower won (maybe due to the nice weather and feeling that summer is actually on its way), and landed me in the kitchen to whip up these bad boys. Definitely worth the walk to the grocery store and effort. YUM! :)

Ingredients

Spicy Baked Crab Cakes

Spicy Baked Crab Cakes – Served with Broccoli Slaw

1 1/4 cup lump crab meat, drained
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons egg beaters
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine crab meat, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, and all remaining ingredients and gently toss.

2) Divide crab mixture into about 8-10 equal portions depending on the size you want and shape each into a 3/4 inch thick patty.

3) Place remaining 1/2 cup of panko crumbs into a shallow dish and gently coat patties with the crumbs.

4) Spray non-stick baking pan with olive oil cooking spray and place each patty on the baking sheet. Spray again to coat and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake until golden on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook until the second side is golden, about 5 minutes more.

5) Serve over Broccoli slaw (recipe below)

Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

1/2 bag of broccoli slaw – found in the bagged lettuce department of the grocery store
1/4 of a sweet apple, grated
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Optional – 1 tablespoon real mayo

Directions

1) In a medium bowl, combine broccoli slaw and grated apple.

2) In small bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Add to broccoli slaw and apple and toss until coated.

ENJOY!

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

4 Mar Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

I’m back! Back to the blogging world that is. =) Since moving to Minneapolis, I’ve been keeping myself busy with an apartment full of dogs and volunteer work, but I’ve been missing the blogging world, so thought I would jump back in with a recipe for a Thai dish my husband loves. This recipe works best if you use day old rice, but if you are like me and aren’t the best at pre-planning dinner, you can always just make the rice the same day and let it cool before using it for the recipe.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice served in a pineapple

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 cup boneless, skinless chicken, cubed
1 red jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup Shitake mushrooms
3 egg whites, partially cooked
5 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon raw coconut sugar
1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped
3 cups cooked brown jasmine rice, or cooked whole grain brown rice (Day old rice works best. I also like to cook the rice in chicken stock)
1 cup pineapple, cubed
1 cup frozen, cooked shrimp, thawed
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup currants or raisins
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wok over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.

2. Add cubed chicken, 1 tablespoon curry powder and 1 tablespoon of chicken stock and cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.

3. Over high heat, add remaining olive oil to wok. Add shallots, garlic, red peppers and mushrooms and sauté until fragrant – about a minute.

4. Add in the egg white

5.Add the chicken stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, pineapple juice, curry powder and Splenda and sauté.

6. Add the cashews and rice, and sauté for a few minutes.

7. Add the pineapple, shrimp, peas and raisins and stir-fry to mix them in. Sauté for 30 more seconds.

8. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro.

ENJOY!!

Roasted Veggie Lasagna

22 Oct Roasted Veggie Lasagna

With the recent drop in temperature, I thought it was the perfect time to make and post one of my favourite comfort foods – lasagna. This recipe is a great way to cut back the carbs and fat, without compromising on flavour. If you are really looking to cut those carbs, you can always omit the layer of noodle and replace it with another layer of roasted veggies – but I find that the mix of the two works great. Afterall, there is nothing wrong with the right kind of carbs, and whole grain pasta is one of the good guys. ;)

Ingredients

4 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced lengthwise
1  large eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup minced garlic
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil OR olive oil spray
1 package of  extra lean ground chicken
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (look for low-sugar, low-sodium sauce)
3 tablespoons pepper, freshly ground
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup fresh Asiago cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh basil
3/4 cup  Ricotta cheese
1 egg white, beaten
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh Romano cheese, grated
4-5 (enough for one layer of noodles) whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Spray 2 large, non-stick baking sheets with olive oil spray, or lightly brush with fresh olive oil. Arrange sliced zucchini and eggplant on baking sheets and brush with minced garlic. Flip over and brush the other side. You can now spray with olive oil spray or brush with additional fresh olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

2) In medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and 2 tablespoons of minced garlic. Saute for a couple minutes and then add ground chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink.

3) Add marinara sauce, half of the fresh basil, ground pepper, mushroom and red pepper to chicken mix and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or so. Stir in spinach until wilted and remove sauce from heat.

4) In small bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg white, Romano cheese and remaining basil. Set aside.

5) To assemble lasagna, begin by spreading a layer of  the sauce (about half of it) in the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish. Sprinkle with a handful of the mozzarella cheese.

6) Next make a layer out of the eggplant. Top eggplant with ricotta cheese mix.

7) Next layer the noodles on top of the ricotta cheese. Cover with the remaining sauce.

8) Make a final layer out of the zuchinni. Cover with remaining mozzarella cheese and the asiago.

9) Place in preheated oven of 350 degrees f and bake for 35 -40 minutes, until cheese slightly browns on top. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!!

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