Delicious Muffins, Benefits of Coconut oil and making healthy taste GREAT!

Last week was grandpa’s 85th birthday so the whole family got together to celebrate, it was a great, it felt like an early Christmas! I’ve heard that as grandpa has gotten older he’s also gotten pickier with his food and isn’t crazy about anything good for his health. Grandma on the other hand is VERY healthy, recently battling breast cancer she has become even healthier with her juicing, soups and garden. She’s an amazing cook, she’s Italian and makes the best chinese food I’ve ever had, so you could only imagine her Italian food! I’m blessed to have married into a wonderful family.

Grandpa's 85th birthday dinner

Grandpa’s 85th birthday dinner

For grandpa’s birthday I brought chocolate banana cupcakes/muffins. I put some cream cheese icing on half to make them appear less healthy, but even the ones without cream cheese icing were eaten AND best of all, GRANDPA ATE ONE AND LIKED IT!! I don’t think grandpa knew there was no gluten, dairy or sugar in them though!

Grandma and Grandpa (married 62 years!)

Grandma and Grandpa (married 62 years!)

I got this recipe from our cousin Jana- Thanks Jana! She’s an amazing baker.

Grain Free Chocolate Banana Muffins:

3/4 c almond flour

1/4 c coconut flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

2 tbsp coconut oil

3/4 c mashed bananas (2)

2 tbsp honey (I’ve also used maple syrup instead)

1/4 c dates finely chopped

Directions:

Wisk together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat eggs, add rest of wet ingredients. Add dry to wet. Makes 12 muffins (I normally double the recipe, they also freeze well). You can also add chopped pistachios on top before baking.

Health benefits of Coconut oil:

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood. Although it’s 90% saturated fat, it’s an amazing fat that actually fights heart disease, cancer, brain issues like Alzheimer’s… it also helps your digestive track, kidneys, pancreas, infections, with weight loss. It’s even good for your skin and hair (a little confession: whenever I cook with it I wipe the remaining from the spoon on my arms or legs and rub it into my skin… and sometimes when my lips are chapped I even use it as chap-stick!). I’ve posted a couple of websites below which better elaborate on how good it is for you. I now use it for almost all my baking and cooking. It took Matt a little while to get used to his eggs tasting like coconut but I think he’s ok with it now! Where do you get it, you wonder? I’ve found the best bang for your buck is actually at Costco, it’s not cheap but you could get a huge container of it for $17-18 which will last you a while! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html

Advertisements

Celebrating Life… With Gluten-free Carrot Cake

Today Matt, my husband, turns 31! In the past five years my love for celebrating people and events has consistently grown. There is so much struggle, difficulty and bad days that people go through, so why not make a big deal when a loved one is year older or something great happens, celebrating even ‘small’ achievements or events?? When I look back on my life, I think these are the things I will want to remember.

Birthdays are a common one to celebrate, but what else in your life, or even better, the lives of the people you love, can you celebrate today? Starting a new job? Doing really well on an exam? Losing your first 5lbs after starting to eat better and exercise? Completing a big project? Running your first 5k? Celebrate these milestones! Life is a journey, not a destination.

Celebrating Matt with some great friends and food

Celebrating Matt with some great friends and food

I remember in the spring when I was going through a difficult time, my girlfriends planned a ‘Celebrate Daria’s Europe trip’ dinner behind my back. I showed up to what I thought was just a regular girls night, but instead they had themed it all around celebrating me and my upcoming trip to Europe with Matt. So simple yet so meaningful and kind. We have so much in life to be thankful for and celebrate, so my challenge to you this week is to celebrate someone you love by doing any random act of kindness for them. I’m sure, from my experience, that it will mean so much to them.

This weekend, at Matt’s little birthday celebration, I made a gluten-free/ low sugar Carrot cake and promised the recipe to a few people. It’s actually adapted from Cathy Palmers awesome carrot cake recipe so I can’t take much credit for it, I just made it a little healthier.

Enjoy!

Gluten-free, low-sugar Carrot Cake!

Gluten-free, low-sugar Carrot Cake!

CAKE

3/4 lb. raw organic carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated);

2 cups gluten free all purpose baking flour (if it’ doesn’t already have any xanthan gum in it, add 1-2tsp);

1 tsp baking soda;

1 1/2 tsp baking powder;

1/2 tsp salt;

2 tsp ground cinnamon (you could put 1 1/2 tsp, but I really like cinnamon!);

4 large eggs;

1 cup coconut sugar/ 1/3 cup raw organic sugar;

1 cup coconut oil;

2 tsp pure vanilla extract;

3/4 cup crushed pineapple

FROSTING  1/4 cup butter, room temp; 1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp; 2 cups icing sugar; 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two 9 x 2 ince cake pans (or one large rectangular pan).

CAKE:  Peel and finely grate the carrots.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.  In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light coloured (about 3-4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.  Add the grated carrots and crushed pineapple.  Pour batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake 25 to 30 mins or until toothpick etc. etc.  Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack and then after 5-10 mins take out of pan(s) and cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING: In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on low speed until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat on low speed until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.