Monday, April 30, 2012

Lemon Squares

I'm on vacation in Destin, Florida. Destin is like my home away from home. We've been coming here for over 15 years. It's comfortable here. Lemon squares just seemed like a florida kind of recipe to make and I have been wanting to try these for a while now. I'm thinking subbing in key lime juice can make killer Key Lime bars. I'll share those when I try that them.
It took less than an hour to make from start to finish but that includes baking time. Actual prep time is less then 10 minutes and I squeezed the lemons.
It requires refrigerator time after baking so plan ahead to give your squares time to chill completely before serving,

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbls melted coconut oil or butter
1 Tbls agave (or coconut nectar or maple syrup)
1 Tbls vanilla

  • Mix together in bowl and press into greased 8X8 glass dish.
  • Bake for 15 to 17 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown
  • While the crust is baking make lemon filling in blender.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave (or coconut nectar or maple syrup)
3 eggs
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • Place filling ingredients in blender and blend for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Pour filling over the crust when you remove it from the oven.
  • Place it back in the oven and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let cool for 30 minutes before placing in the refrigerator to chill at least 2 hours.

Want to know how they tasted? Tart, Lemon tart. Isn't that how lemon squares are supposed to taste? I LOVED them. Everyone here LOVED them. They disappeared fast. Even our gluten eating friends gobbled them down and asked for seconds. I will be making this recipe again very soon....probably this week,
I hope you can try this "taste of Florida" recipe soon. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

I have had the opportunity to use Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil in some baking.
I have used several different coconut oils and Tropical Traditions is one of the best I have used.

This week I used it in my flax muffins, Pumpkin Cheesecake(dairy free), Coconut bars and Mug Muffins. It's a mild flavor that compliments the foods I have been using it in. I will be using it more often to replace butter in my recipes.

Here are some ways to use Coconut Oil: There are hundreds of uses!
Virgin Coconut Oil

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flax Muffins (adapted from the mug muffin)

One of the foods I have missed by eating grain free has been bran muffins. I shared sweet and savory mug muffins in an earlier blog post.  I'm not excited about using my microwave on a regular basis so I decided to adjust the recipe to make muffins in the oven. It only took one try and I nailed it. I guarantee this recipe satisfies your desire for muffins without creating a craving that keeps you eating more then you need to eat.

Flax Muffins with raisins and pecans

  • 1 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup (agave, honey or coconut nectar)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (butter or ghee)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins*
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts of choice)optional

350 degrees
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 12-muffins tin very well.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together then add the remainder of ingredients.
  4. Let batter stand for 10 minutes then pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
*You can substitute 1/2 cup grated carrots to make these carrot muffins.

The muffins stuck pretty good. I had to be very careful to get them out of the pan without tearing the muffin up. I think I was overly anxious to try one. I also think if I had let the muffins cool slightly before extracting from the pan it would have been easier. 
I will be baking ahead and stocking my freezer. 
Let me know how yours turned out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Banana Bread with chocolate chips and walnuts

Oh YEAH!! This one is a keeper!
Thank-you to @mamaseacat for sharing this recipe. I made some minor changes to her original recipe.
This is one of those recipes you'll memorize because you make it so often. You'll want to serve it at every occasion. I want to!
I will be carrying a piece with me when I visit Starbucks or Panera for coffee. I always carry extra baked goods with me to share with the SB's barista. I carry my coconut milk with me too. OK Now I am thinking about a piece of banana bread with a cup of coffee, which is making me think about bulletproof coffee, Oh my, interesting beverage I'll have to try it soon. Back to the reason for this post. Banana Bread!
Banana Bread

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts
350 degrees
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar (or other sweetener such as maple syrup, agave, honey)
  • 3 Tbls Ghee (or butter, coconut oil or shortening)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 3/4 cup 60 to 70% chocolate chips (I used ghirardelli 60%)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl mix coconut nectar, ghee, eggs and bananas until well blended.
  3. Add baking soda, salt and almond flour and mix well.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts
  5. Pour batter into a well greased 8X4 loaf pan*.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. 
  7. Cool and serve.
  8. Serve warm with a little butter.
  9. Store covered in the refrigerator.
*You can use muffin pan instead of a loaf pan. Cut baking time to 20 minutes. 

I threw this together in just a few minutes. I made protein bars while the banana bread was baking. I'm telling you... This is a keeper! 
Tell me if you try this recipe and agree.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coconut Bars (healthy mounds bar)

Drum roll please!! This is for you Kelli! Coconut Bars with chocolate recipe to follow!! The Pumpkin Cheesecake (dairy-free) recipe will come tomorrow.

In an effort to get more coconut in my diet, I tried a couple different coconut bars. I bought one online(Oskri) sweetened with rice syrup and one at Whole Foods(Coconut Secret) sweetened with coconut nectar. Coconut is a great food for providing fiber, protein and omega 3. The Coconut Secret bar is almost $3. Ouch! That's alot for a 1.75 oz food bar.
 I came across a recipe that perfectly copies the bar I bought at Whole Foods. Almost the entire bar is made with coconut something. Chocolate is the only non-coconut ingredient.

Coconut Secret like Coconut Bars
Like a Mounds Bar or Almond Joy if you add almonds
Can I get a whoot whoot!!

I can share this OH SO EASY recipe thanks to

Coconut Secret Coconut Bars/Mounds Bar copycat

4 cups grated unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup softened or melted coconut oil
2-4 Tbls Coconut Secret coconut nectar (you can sub in pure maple syrup, honey or agave)
Roasted whole or slivered almonds

6 to 8 squares organic unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup Coconut Secret, coconut nectar (you can sub in pure maple syrup, honey or agave)
1 Tbls coconut oil

  1. In a food processor, put the filling ingredients(except almonds) and blend 1-2 minutes until well incorporated and smooth. You made need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times. 
  2. Taste for sweetness and add more if desired(I used the full 4 Tbls and didn't add more).
  3. Dump the filling in an 8X8 dish that is lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
  4. Mash it into the bottom of the dish. I used the bottom of a glass. Make it pretty, or not. You're going to cover the bottom half with chocolate.
  5. This is where you mash the almonds into the coconut mixture. Use as many or as few as you want.
  6. Put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set.
  7. While the filling is in the fridge melt the chocolate in a small pan on the stove over med low heat.
  8. Stir in the coconut oil and coconut nectar.
  9. Remove and cut into bars. I used a pizza wheel to cut the pieces.
  10. Frost one side of each coconut bar and place on parchment paper, chocolate side down.
  11. Let chocolate set up.
  12. Place in ziplock baggies and store in refrigerator or freezer.
Coconut filling

I have to remind myself these are treats and should not be power loaded before they are done.
The truth is, these are not treats that create an un-natural craving that leads you to a dark pathway of relapse. They are satisfying and provide the good nutrition that your body desires.

Good snacks are easy and fast to make.
Melt chocolate with coconut oil and nectar
Cut into bars

I can't say it enough, Good wholesome food is as quick and easy to make as food from a plastic wrapper or box. Stock your kitchen with ingredients that make it easier to throw together an incredible meal, dessert or snack and you will feel so much better.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sweet and Savory Mug Muffins

I have been busy trying a few recipes this afternoon. I got home from Cincinnati at 3 and got the food processor out and whirrred up a coconut bar and mashed it into a wax paper lined pan. (I know technical cooking terms.) I put it in the fridge and did 10 minutes on the jiggler and 40 minutes in the sauna. By the time I finished sauna time the coconut bars had set up and was ready to cut into pieces. But that isn't what I am blogging about tonight. Patience!!! I'll post the coconut bars soon enough.
I also made a dairy free pumpkin cheesecake. I know. Can't be a cheesecake without cheese but OH MY. It was real easy to make and sooo delicious!!! I know I am a TEASE!!
Coconut bars or pumpkin cheese cake? Which one gets posted first? Any suggestions?
The recipe I am sharing tonight is Mug Muffin.
My microwave is in my garage because I don't want it in my kitchen. I rarely use it but I couldn't resist trying this recipe. My Starbucks mugs are the perfect size for this recipe. It takes all of about 3 minutes to make one from start to finish and it is grain free. Ground flax is the main ingredient. I made a couple variations. One savory and one sweet. Here you go.

Savory Mug Muffin
Savory Mug Muffin

1/4 cup flax meal
1 ts baking powder
1 ts olive oil
2 ts TJ 21 seasoning salute
dash sea salt
1 egg

Combine everything in mug. Whisk together with a fork. Put in microwave on high for 1 minute to 1 minute 10 seconds.
I sliced and made bread discs. I plan on making garlic toast with my spaghetti squash and marinara meat sauce.

Sweet Mug Muffin
Sweet Mug Muffin

1/4 cup flax meal
1 ts baking powder
1 ts coconut oil or butter
2 ts cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbls pure maple syrup
1 egg
handful of raisins or blueberries

Combine everything in the mug. Whisk together with fork. Put in microwave on high for 1 minute to 1 minute 10 seconds. I sliced and made bread discs. Delicious toasted with butter.

Miss grains? Not with delicious recipes like this!!
I hope this inspires you to try something new and exciting. It's so easy and FAST!! Make a few and keep slices in the freezer. Planning is the key. Prepare a few thing in advance and you will be prepared for any occasion and you will never feel deprived.
Special thanks to    for the original recipe that I adapted to sweet and savory.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sesame and Herb Crackers

Sesame Crackers
Happy Easter everyone!!
Happy Birthday Annette!!!
I scored at Big Lots today.
I found Bob's Old Red Mill Golden Flax Meal (16 oz) for $4.00 and Bob's Old Red Mill Flax Meal ( 32oz) for $5.00. I also picked up a couple cans of coconut milk for $1 each.
So today I made crackers using the flax I got at Big Lots.
Scored at Big Lots

Crackers are super easy to make and they take just a few minutes to mix up, roll out, cut into squares with a pizza cutter and pop in the oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Herb Crackers

1 cup flax seed meal
2 cups Almond Meal/Flour
2 Eggs
2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tsp Rosemary*
1 Tsp Thyme*
2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, flax meal and spices.
  3. Whisk eggs and pour over flour mixture.
  4. Add in olive oil.
  5. Stir all ingredients together until it forms a dough.
  6. Roll dough into a large ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Cover dough with another sheet of parchment paper.
  8. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a 1/4 inch thick layer.
  9. Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into 1 to 2 inch squares.
  10. Bake crackers for 15 minutes.
  11. Let cool.
  12. Store in zip lock bag once crackers are completely cooled.
* Original recipe called for 2 Tsp Oregano. I couldn't find my oregano so I subbed in the Rosemary and Thyme. 

Sesame Crackers
1 Cup Flax Meal
2 Cups Almond Flour/Meal
1 1/2 Tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 Cup Sesame Seeds (I used black and white sesames seeds)
2 Tbls 21 Seasoning Salute (I got at Trader Joes)
2 Eggs, Whisked until frothy
2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  1. In large bowl, stir flax meal, almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended.
  2. Separate dough into two halves.
  3. Form each into a ball and place between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll out each ball to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut 2 inch squares.
  5. Place in 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Cook completely.
  7. Store in zip lock bag.
The original recipe came from Elana's Pantry. I changed it up some. Since I scored on the Flax Meal, I thought it would be fun to toss some into these crackers, Worked nicely. 

Flax is a great source of fiber and is rich in Omega 3's. 

These savory crackers are full of good wholesome ingredients. I use these as an alternative to corn chips and potato chips and they go great with homemade guacamole and salsa. They are also great with some almond butter slathered on.
So with a little planning you can keep these savory crackers on hand too. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

This post is for my brother-in-law, Ron. He said I should post recipes other than just desserts. I had to defend yesterdays smoothie recipe as a meal replacement that tastes good enough to be a dessert. He was agreeable with that.
I made grilled tilapia and butternut squash soup for dinner tonight so I thought I would share my recipe since it was SO delicious.
I have been wondering how I could use the creamed coconut that has been taking up space in my cabinet.   Why, in the butternut squash soup OF COURSE!
Remember the measurements are all forgiving.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 lb peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash (I bought mine at Costco already prepared to cook)
1 ts sea salt
enough water to just cover the squash

Prepare the squash by cooking on the stove in boiling water until soft

Once the squash is soft scoop the hot squash into the blender with enough water to blend.
Add one packet(2 oz) creamed coconut, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Old Bay Seasoning to taste.
Add enough hot water to make the soup the desired consistency.

Creamed Coconut

Be careful opening the blender lid as it is very hot and the steam can burn you.
Pour soup from the blender in to your serving bowls.

Be careful soup is very hot and the
steam from the blender can burn you

If you have time to make a meal that is from a box then you have time to make a nutritious delicious meal out of real food. Proof is in the butternut squash soup. Leftovers tomorrow for lunch. YUMMO!!

What did you have for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry-Lemonade-Cultured Coconut Milk Smoothie

Sometimes I am not in the mood to cook dinner. One of my favorite cook-free meals is made in my blender. There is great probiotic in the cultured coconut milk.
Another great benefit is if you're Jonesing for a FroYo, this is a great alternative.
Cultured Coconut Milk is a yogurt type food. Here are some interesting facts about coconut(referenced from So Delicious Dairy Free web site)

Cultured Coconut Milk

  • Coconut consuming cultures around the world have lower incidence of heart disease than Americans.1
  • Lauric acid exists abundantly in coconut and plays a fundamental role in building our body’s immune system. Once in our system it transforms into an antibacterial and antiviral substance called "monolaurin" which destroys viruses and diseases.2
  • Lauric acid also occurs naturally in human breast milk and plays a vital role in nourishing and protecting babies from infections.3
  • MCFAs promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels. They work best for preventing weight gain if you’re not overweight or maintaining your new weight after a successful diet.4

Strawberry-Lemonade-Cultured Coconut Milk Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries
3/4 cup cultured coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup Chick-FilA diet lemonade(you can always make your own but I keep a gallon of Chick-FilA Diet Lemonade in my fridge at all times)
1/2 Tbls Truvia or desired sweetener

Put everything in the blender. Blend until smooth. You might need to add more lemonade to blend.

Blend until smooth

Strawberries, Diet Lemonade and Cultured Coconut Milk
Truvia(not shown)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Almond Butter Cookies

No sugar, no grains cookie recipe coming at you! And it's YUMMY. Taste tested by me and if you check out my "before" picture in a previous post you will have to agree I know my foods!!
What's different about this recipe is these cookies are satisfying and don't create a snowball effect craving.
Rolled into 1 inch balls and mashed with a fork

Took about 3 minutes to mix up a batch
Ready to eat
Bake on parchment paper for 12 minutes
350 degrees
Almond Butter Cookies

  • 1-16 oz jar Almond Butter
  • 3 Tbls Stevia(I used Truvia)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of salt
Preheat oven 350 degrees F
Bake for 12 minutes

Mix all ingredients until it's like cookie dough.
Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Take a fork and dip it into stevia(truvia) then press into the balls to make a criss/cross design. I sprinkled the mashed cookies with a little salt since I used unsalted almond butter.
Makes approx 24 cookies
Thanks to mamaseacat for the original recipe. 

A super easy starter recipe to dive into the world of grain-free and refined sugar-free baking.

Stocking my kitchen part 2

I'm taking a few minutes while I have a beef soup simmering on the stove to share more staples I keep on hand. The more odd ingredients you have available in your stock, the more likely it is you might whip up a quick treat. It's all about planning. I know for some of us it is a foreign thought. It used to be for me. It was a HUGE learning curve for me. Before long it becomes second nature to plan ahead and have treats on hand to avoid the dreaded stop at the convenience store for a snack you might regret later.
So lets get to it....

Flax Seed Meal
Arrowroot a thickening agent
Almond Butter

Almond Milk,
 I add a few drops of liquid stevia to make this a
chocolate milk treat

Dried Fruits, dates, raisins, apricots

Organic Figs

Coconut Milk replaces milk in my coffee

Creamed Coconut, added to soups
or used in place of butter
Butter substitute
Xanthan Gum often used in gluten free
 baking to add volume

I will share more in the near future.
I'm going to bake soon to stock my freezer with something delicious. I hope you can try a new recipe with me.
Please subscribe to my blog and leave me a comment. I love comments.


Follow Me on Pinterest