Friday, May 31, 2013

May Foodie Pen Pals

Well it's time for another Foodie pen pals package and I am absolutely thrilled with this month's goodies.  My sweet pen pal Ceecee from B.C. really listened to what I told her in my e-mail and sent me the most wonderful selection of treats.
Here's what I saw when I opened the box...
My first thought was that during my 3 months participating in foodie pen pals, I have received seaweed every single time.  I don't think I mentioned to any of my pen pals that all three of us love it and eat it like it's going out of style so I guess they are all psychic :)
 I've had wasabi seaweed before, but never this brand so I'm excited to try it.

 New kinds of dark chocolate for me to try...yum!

 Spicy salt!!!

 I'm really looking forward to experimenting with this curry powder.

Crunchy green beans.  Sounds delicious!!

OMG chocolate-covered potato chips.  These will obviously be a HUGE treat for me and I can't wait to try them.

 Never tried teriyaki sunflower seeds, but I imagine they'll be delicious.

Best foodie pen pal box ever.  Thanks so much to the lovely Ceecee!

And this month the foodie pen pal who was chosen for me was my sister Ashleigh.  I'm not sure if she took pics. of what I sent her, but I'll be sure to ask if she'll write a short guest post about the package.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Grain-free, no-added-sweetener Banana Bread

I am so excited about this recipe.  I think it tastes almost like regular (made with wheat flour) banana bread, yet it has no grains and no added sugars of any kind!  
I've been avoiding bananas altogether for quite some time as they're such a sweet, starchy fruit but the more I think about it, the more I think that there's no reason I can't use them to sweeten baked goods.  I figure if I'm using 2 or 3 bananas for a whole recipe, I'm not likely to be consuming more than maybe 1/4 of a banana at a time and that's really not that much.  So I'm giving myself cautious permission to add them back into our diets.  
I found this wonderful recipe this morning and knew it was the one I wanted to tinker with.  I really only made a couple of changes to the original recipe and that was to add one extra banana in place of the maple syrup it called for and a little bit more spice and salt.  I figured the moisture from the banana would replace the moisture in the maple syrup and it would also replace the sweetness.  The experiment worked!  It's both sweet and moist and the texture is fantastic.  I know I'll be making this one again soon and probably changing it up a little bit by adding nuts or 70% cocoa chocolate chips (if Krestan has his way).  

Okay enough chatter and on to the recipe.  Here's what I did...

 I added 3 bananas to my stand mixer.  Didn't bother to mash them as the mixer is good at that :)

Added 2 organic eggs that my wonderful friend Teresa picked up for me at a local farm.

 To the mixer, I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of melted virgin coconut oil.

 I mixed it all together for a couple of minutes and as you can see, the mixer did a great job of mashing those bananas.

To a small bowl, I added 3/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour.

I added 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. Celtic sea salt, 2 teaspoons (heaping) cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.

I cut a parchment sling to fit a glass 9x5 loaf pan and lightly greased the parts that the parchment didn't cover.

I gave everything a quick mix until just combined and then spooned it into the prepared pan.  

I baked it at 350F for one hour and then removed it from the oven.  I lifted it out by the parchment sling and placed it on a cooling rack for a couple of hours until cooled completely.

Then I sliced it up and was delighted with the texture and flavour.  Yum!

Grain-free Banana Bread

2 large eggs
3 ripe large bananas
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a parchment sling and line a 9X5 glass loaf pan.  Spray the edges that the parchment doesn't cover.  Using a stand mixer, mix the eggs, bananas and melted coconut oil.  Mix it all until the bananas are nicely mashed up.  To a small bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Dump everything from the small bowl into the mixer bowl and mix until just combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour until top springs back when lightly pressed.  Allow to cool on a wire tray before slicing.

The Lean Green Bean