Carrot Cupcakes

Cute carrot muffins ready to eat!

Cute carrot cupcakes ready to eat!

I have tried out several carrot cake and carrot muffin recipes and I think I’ve finally come up with the perfect combination the natural sweetness of the carrots and coconut make for a moist cupcake you can eat for breakfast, snack time or yes, desert!  If you have a Cuisinart, shredding the carrots will take no time at all.

Ingredients:

Dry-

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

dash of allspice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Wet-

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon mayo

1 teaspoon vanilla

2-4 dropperfuls liquid stevia, to taste

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup milk- almond, coconut, soy or cow’s milk

Mix in last-

2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

 

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and grease a  muffin tin for 12 with coconut oil or butter.

Grate 2 cups of carrots and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients, work out any lumps and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and mayo together on high speed for about 3 minutes til nice and frothy.

Add the stevia, vanilla (or use vanilla stevia!), cooled, melted coconut oil and the milk and whip together to combine.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.

Taste test for sweetness, add more stevia if needed.

Fold in the carrot and coconut.  Add up to 1/4 cup more milk if need, the batter should be thick but moist.

Scoop into the prepared muffin tin.  I like to use a small ice cream scoop to get evenly sized muffins with round tops!

Bake at 350 for 22-26 minutes, til cooked though and lightly browned.

Store muffins an air tight container in the fridge.

Makes 12 muffins each one is about 190 calories, 15 grams of healthy, filling fats, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams net carbs and 5.5 grams of protein.  These are an excellent snack, breakfast or dessert and a great way to get your kids to eat an extra serving of veggies while making them think they are eating a cupcake!

 

 

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Non Dairy Milk Alternatives

Don’t get me wrong, I love cow’s milk in its many forms: cheese, creme fraiche, Ayelada!  And I’d say that when you consume cultured whole milk dairy, from cows, goats or sheep, that have been raised humanly on an organic diet optimal for each breed, dairy counts as health food, in proper amounts, of course!  Unfortunately, like many of us, I don’t have the necessary enzymes to digest lactose, or milk sugars, present in raw dairy.  I’m ok with cultured cream or cheese but plain milk, no way!

Raw cow's milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA

Raw cow’s milk in glass bottles from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA

So, what should you drink in place of dairy milk?  I used almond milk for a long time since I’m allergic to soy due to years of eating highly processed vegetarian soy products, consider yourself warned, those are not health foods!  Almond milk comes in conventional and organic varieties, in these cardboard boxes, some refrigerated, some shelf stable, all of them with too many questionable ingredients.  And those containers are not recycle-able everywhere the way glass and metal are.  The same goes for the processed coconut milks and other nuts or seed based dairy alternatives.

The packaging is not awesome, the fillers and ingredients are weird and you are paying for water, with flavor.  Anyone can make flavored water!

The packaging is not awesome, the fillers and ingredients are weird and you are paying for water, with flavor. Anyone can make flavored water!

I have made my own almond milk, there’s one good solution.  Way less packaging, especially if you buy almonds in bulk, which you kind of need to in order to make homemade almond milk (or other nut/seed milk) affordable.  And almond prices are going way up since this years crop was a disaster.  My issue with making almond milk myself isn’t just the time, it’s putting the leftover almond pulp to good use.   Even though I have a great almond cracker recipe, totally worth making, it is time-consuming and I don’t really want to eat that many almond crackers each week.  The amount of milk I want to drink far exceeds the amount of leftover pulp I want to eat. And that’s why I haven’t ever gotten into the habit of making my own and my guess is most folks don’t either for many of the same reasons.  But I also no longer want to buy almond flavored water with junk in it!

The answer to the milk alternative issue is so simple I’m wondering how I could have overlooked it for so long: Canned, organic coconut milk and filtered water combine to make…coconut milk.  A non dairy milk that is organic, has minimal recyclable packaging, is nutritious AND it’s fast and easy to make, perfect!  When you make your own coconut based milk there are no weird ingredients or thickeners, and you are paying for some actual nutrition, not flavored water!

Coconut milk has a lot of health benefits to offer!

Coconut milk has a lot of health benefits to offer!

Coconut milk is nutritious?  Isn’t it high in fat?  Yes, and yes, one of the best fats you should consume regularly!  “Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

Coconuts contain significant amounts of fat, but unlike other nuts, they provide fat that is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in particular, one called lauric acid. Lauric acid is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is therefore now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses.

MCFAs are rapidly metabolized into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat.”  -excerpt from Jo Lewin, Nutrtional Therapist on the  Good Food Blog

Two cans of coconut milk will make up to two 64 oz Mason jars.

Two cans of coconut milk will make up to two 64 oz Mason jars.

Organic, canned coconut milk costs me about $1.80 per can from the buying club at my co-op.  I use 1 can to make about 1/2 gallon mason jar of coconut milk, much cheaper than any of the pre-made non dairy milks, organic or otherwise that you can buy in the store.

To make: open one or two cans of organic coconut milk, add one can per 64 oz wide mouth mason jar.  Fill at least halfway with filtered water and blend using an immersion blender.  Add more water to desired consistency.  You can also add: vanilla or another extract and stevia or honey to sweetened things up if that’s your style.  Non dairy milk that’s affordable, organic, easy to make and delicious- let’s drink to your health!

Very Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Frosting

My friend Bobbie found this recipe on the world wide web, if it’s yours, please send me a link so I can give credit!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

Bobbie and I made this as a birthday cake for her boyfriend and I made it again for my Dad’s birthday last month.  This recipe is for a moist, springy, not too sweet cake and it was a big hit with everyone.  No one seemed to notice it was mostly sugar and carbohydrate free, perfect if your dad has diabetes and you want to make him a birthday cake he can healthfully enjoy!  Yes there is some apple sauce in the cake, and, no apples are not on the Candida diet but they also do not contribute a lot of sugars to the over all cake. The apple sauce adds a lot of moisture and contributes to the texture of the cake. I would recommend having a slice and sharing (or freezing) the rest.  The chocolate frosting is just melted chocolate with heavy cream aka ganache.  I have been trying out stevia sweetened chocolate with erythritol (sugar alcohols fermented from non gmo corn) and so far Coco Polo is the winner in the dark chocolate category.  It’s nice to know when I get a chocolate craving I can satisfy it without creating more sugar cravings.

Ingredients for One 9 in Round Cake:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk or other milk
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • Stevia to taste

Method

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and then line the bottom of a 9 inch round pan with parchment paper.  I used a spring form pan.

Sift the coconut flour into a bowl and then combine with the rest of the dry ingredients.

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In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.  Add the room temperature (soft or liquid) coconut oil, beat well, then add the rest of the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well to combine.  Add the stevia, a dropperful at a time until the batter tastes sweet to your liking.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean- about 30 minutes.

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Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

If you are looking for a more in depth how to, try this!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup of heavy cream

4 oz of dark chocolate

a pinch of salt

Method:

Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Warm the cream just barely to a boil over medium high heat.

Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes, do not stir!

After 10 minutes, stir with a whisk to emulsify.  Be sure to scrape the bowl with a spatula to incorporate everything.

Spread slightly cooled ganache on a cooled cake and then refrigerate til serving.

OR

Let the ganache cool for an hour, stirring several times in between to keep it smooth.  Then beat on high with a mixer til it’s fluffy.  Frost with a knife or use in a pastry bag.

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Served with whipped cream, of course!

Served with whipped cream, of course!

Cha Cha Cha Chia Seed Pudding!

I love pudding but my days of instant Jello mixes are far behind me.  So, obviously, I was stoked to find these two variations on Chia seed based pudding from the site Deliciously Organic.  Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA), ladies, these all come in really handy if you experience PMS.  Yes, this chia based chocolate pudding is medicinal! Chia seeds also contain protein, fiber and some antioxidants. Chia seeds don’t need to be ground up like flax seeds in order for the body to absorb their nutrients.

Some really good lookin' nutrition information!

Some really good lookin’ nutrition information!

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups or one can coconut milk (Deliciously Organic recommends organic canned coconut milk from Native Forest. The can isn’t lined with BPA and it’s a nice thick milk)
  • 1  3/4 cups almond milk (just refill the empty coconut milk can no need to use a measuring cup!)
  • a few drops of stevia (or for non Candida diets: 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional but recommended!)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds

Procedure:

In a wide mouth quart mason jar add the coconut milk and almond milk, extracts and stevia.  If the coconut milk is cold you will need to use a whisk to work out any lumps.  Or, put the lid on and shake vigorously!  Then add the chia seeds, put the lid on and shake well to combine.  Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours until the chia seeds are fully expanded.

If you’d like to make the pudding ahead of time, shake well and then keep it in the refrigerator until you want a health snack or dessert.

This recipe makes an excellent take along snack or addition to your picnic.  You can easily make 1/2 a recipe in a smaller mason jar if you prefer.  For a thicker pudding, add another tablespoon or two of chia seeds, for a thinner drink, similar to tapioca bubble tea, use a tablespoon or 2 fewer chia seeds.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

As above, just whisk 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in with the coconut milk.

Top with a sprinkling of cacao nibs if you like.

Coconut Bread

This recipe belongs to Kelly and came from her amazing blog:  The Spunky Coconut, lots of other great recipes to check out there but first: bread.  It is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and, if you leave out the touch of molasses, it’s as near as you can get to carb free bread, thank you Kelly!!

A quick note: make sure that your ingredients are room temperature so that the bread cooks evenly.
Made with coconut flour and almond meal, I can't wait for my sprouts to be ready so I can make one of my favorite sandwiches: avocado, sprouts, onion and mayo.

Made with coconut flour and almond meal, I can’t wait for my sprouts to be ready so I can make one of my favorite sandwiches: avocado, sprouts, onion and mayo.

Here’s The Spunky Coconut’s recipe, I made only a few changes:
Wet Ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk, room temperature – use the canned, organic kind.
4 whisked eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp organic black strap molasses (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp Honey.  The molasses adds 7 grams of carbohydrates along with some nutrition! Omit sweetener entirely for lower total carbohydrate count.)
Dry Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour (I have used both Bob’s and Honeyville in this recipe)
1/2 cup  coconut flour, sifted to remove any lumps
2 tbsp psyllium husk POWDER
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1) Lay a piece of unbleached parchment paper across the bread loaf pan so that it goes down one of the long sides, across the bottom and back up the other long side.  I used a metal bread loaf pan 4′ x 8′ and it worked perfectly.
2) Grease the two exposed ends of the pan. Set aside.
3) Add dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
4) Add wet ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer.
5) Add whisked dry ingredients to wet mixed ingredients. Mix with an electric mixer.
6) Using a flexible silicone spatula, scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan, and press it down firmly.
7) Add the rest of the batter to the dish using the flexible silicone spatula, and press down firmly again. (The top should
be smooth and level when you’re finished.)
8) Bake for up to 1 hour. In the metal bread pan I baked my bread for 50 minutes, a knife inserted in the middle came out clean, the top had risen, felt a bit springy to the touch and was nicely browned.
9) Let the bread rest in the pan until cool.
Say cheese- small and very filling, goes great with  soup : - )

Say cheese! A small and very filling little sandwich that goes great with soup.

Sweet or Savory Coconut Flour Pancakes

Pancake breakfast made possible with coconut flour and happy, local eggs!

This recipe was recommend to me by my friend Alexx who is also eating for Candida balance.  At the time I was experimenting with a batter recipe I have, turning it into savory dinner pancakes.  That recipe is a bit more complicated so lets start with this basic recipe for light and fluffy pancakes! You can make it sweet with stevia, vanilla (or another extract you like) or maybe some orange zest and cinnamon.  Or savory with the addition of dried herbs, fresh chives and pepper.  Savory pancakes would go well with a bit of fresh goat cheese or fried eggs and the sweet version could be topped with yogurt or eaten plain.

This recipe makes a lot of pancakes, I cut it in half and got about 9-10 pancakes.  If you want to experiment with flavors and additions, make up the whole recipe, divide it into two bowls and then add different flavorings to each batch.  The batter will keep for a few days in the fridge or on the counter top.  I made my breakfast batter up the night before and left it out on the counter, covered with a cloth, to let the fermentation process start.  This is a great short video on fermenting foods and their health benefits!

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk (raw cow’s, almond milk, coconut)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • coconut oil or butter for frying
Optional, for sweet pancakes:
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a pinch of stevia
  • cinnamon & nutmeg
Optional for savory pancakes:
  • dried herbs
  • ground pepper like chipotle
  • your favorite Indian spice or curry blend

Directions

  1. Pre-heat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and stevia OR herbs and spices.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together. Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.  The batter will be thicker than regular pancake batter.  You can cook the pancakes now or leave the batter out, covered with a cloth, overnight to begin the fermentation process which will aid digestion.
  3. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Ladle a few tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake. Spread out slightly with the back of a spoon. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the tops dry out slightly, bubbles form and pop on the surface and the bottoms start to brown. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Monday morning pancake breakfast!

Original recipe is here.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Yoshi checking out the Coconut Cake with Lemon Coconut Frosting

Dana found some coconut flour for me at Deals and Steals in Northampton a few days ago and I decided it was time to try making a cake.  Yes cake, similar to yellow cake, this coconut flour cake is moist and deliciously cakey, and you can eat it too!  No gluten, no dairy, no added sugar, it’s perfect for those with allergies, Candida and gluten intolerance.  The package of coconut flour had some helpful tips for baking and their website is also pretty informative. I found several similar recipes for cakes made with coconut flour from Nourished Kitchen and Nourishing Days and decided to go with a half recipe, with minor changes, from Nourished Kitchen and the frosting recipe from the second site.  I made the mistake of making the frosting while excitedly waiting for the cake to bake.  Sigh.  The frosting is easy but when it gets to the correct consistency it needs to go directly on a COMPLETELY cooled cake.  So start making the frosting after the cake has cooled. It still tasted just fine but it could have been a little more picture perfect and I think the frosting would have stuck to the cake better. Guess I’ll have to make another one, this time with lime and dark chocolate ganache!  I’ll post some variations soon.

Coconut Flour Cake: Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs or 5 HUGE eggs ( local, organic, free range, for chicken’s sake)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Stevia to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup coconut flour, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch unrefined sea salt
  • coconut oil, for greasing the pan

Coconut Flour Cake: Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Beat the eggs, one cup coconut milk and stevia together with vanilla, coconut and lemon extracts until smooth, creamy and uniform in both color and texture.  I didn’t have coconut extract so I used a bit more lemon and vanilla.  Use what you have, improvise what you don’t!
  3. Add the coconut flour, baking soda and unrefined sea salt into the mixture of eggs, stevia and extracts, and continue to beat until a smooth batter forms.  Taste and adjust for sweetness.
  4. Grease and flour an eight-inch cake tin.  I used a spring form pan and kept the cake on the bottom piece as a serving ‘dish’.
  5. Pour, or spoon, the cake batter into the greased and floured tin, shaking to even out the batter and smoothing it with the back of a spoon or with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35- 40 minutes, or until the cake separates from the sides of the tin and a toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean.
  7. Place the cake on a cooling rack. After the cake has cooled a bit, but is still warm, poke holes all over the top with a fork. Juice half a lemon right over the whole cake, making sure to evenly distribute the juice.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting with the coconut frosting below.  This is important, the frosting will slide around instead of stick to the cake if the cake is still warm.  How do I know?  I ran out of time and hastily frosted an almost cooled cake.  It still tasted good but definitely lost some points on aesthetics.
  1. Cooling the cake, its still on the bottom of the spring form pan. I assaulted the top with a fork and squeezed a lemon over the cake for extra flavor. The holes from the fork will be covered by the frosting.

YIELD: one eight-inch cake.  Original recipe from Nourished Kitchen is doubled and makes 2 eight inch rounds, perfect for special occasion layer cakes!  Here’s the original recipe.

TIME: about five to ten minutes (active time), forty minutes (baking time), forty minutes to one hour (cooling time)

Nutrition Info (I did the calculation myself  using the nutrition info on the packages)  One 8 in cake, 16 slices, without frosting: Calories 95  Fat 5.6  Fiber 2.5  Carbohydrates 2  Protein 4

With Frosting: Calories 154  Fat 12 Fiber 2.5 Carbohydrates 2 Protein 4

Remember, the fat from coconut oil is good for you and helps combat Candida, and that’s just the beginning!

Coconut Lemon Frosting
Recipe notes: Be sure to melt your coconut oil in a glass bowl. I do this by putting the bowl over a small pan of simmering water or putting it in the hot oven for a few minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted in a glass bowl
  • 9 drops of liquid stevia (alternatively, you could use a couple of teaspoons of raw honey or powdered stevia)
  • 1 packed teaspoon lemon zest (use an organic lemon other wise you’ll be zesting chemicals, gross)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients into the warm coconut oil. You are now going to place the bowl into the freezer in order to cool it down. It is very important to check on it every couple of minutes to catch it before it gets too cold. You want to take it out of the freezer right when it starts to get cloudy.

    Mixing the ingredients in the warm coconut oil. After it has been in the freezer for 3 minutes start checking it frequently.

  2. At this point the cold bowl (and your cool kitchen) will continue to turn the liquid oil into a solid. Continue to whisk the frosting as it gets cloudier and cloudier and eventually turns into a whipped butter consistency. The idea is to get a bit of air into it. Once it is to a whipped (very soft) butter consistency plop it onto your cooled cake. Frost it very quickly before the coconut oil hardens. It will seem like a pretty thin layer of frosting, but it is just enough.   Original recipe with an alternate coconut cake recipe here.

    Whipping the frosting as soon as the oil starts to get cloudy (cool). Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl while you whip the frosting together!

    And….there you are, having your cake and eating it too!

    No more cake-less birthdays!

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