Strawberry Banana Muffins

These muffins are grain free, sugar free, soy free, oil free, and they can be nut free if you’d like them to be. But, most importantly, they’re not free of flavor; they’re delicious!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

2 c almond meal*

2 medium bananas (very ripe), blended until liquified

1/2 c strawberries, chopped (frozen/thawed is fine)

2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 heaping tbsp flax meal + 1 tbsp warm water)

1 TBSP chia seeds (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp baking soda (This might not be necessary; I added it to neutralize the acid.)

Optional: Stevia or other sweetener to taste

Thoroughly combine dry ingredients. Add wet. Stir to combine. Fold in strawberries. Spoon into muffin tins (or cupcake holders) and bake 12-15 minutes at 350F.

Notes:

Almond Meal: I use almond meal that I create from left-over almond milk pulp. I freeze it until the bags start sliding out of the freezer when I open the door (ha!); then I thaw and dehydrate it. After that, I process it in the food processor until it’s a fine grind. It stores very well in a glass container forever – as far as I know. I’m guessing you could use fresh almond milk pulp for these, too. You might need less flax if your meal is wetter/heavier. Since mine was so dry, I added the extra flax for it’s gelling power.

Almond Fee/Seed Options: If you can’t or don’t want to use almond meal, I’m sure a different nut or seed meal would work; make your own by grinding your favorite nut or seed until forms a fine powder, or use left-over nut or seed pulp from any nut or seed.

Grain Option: Don’t care if your muffins are grain free? Sub out the almond meal for oat flour. Equal parts should work. I would reduce the flax egg down to one, however. And, you may need to adjust (lessen) the cooking time.

Flax Eggs: If you don’t have flax, or don’t want to use flax, I’m sure a chia egg would work well here (or whatever egg substitute you prefer).

Chia Seeds: I like to add chia seeds to my muffins for extra Omega 3′s, especially if I use something high in Omega 6′s (like peanut butter). I also like that they’re high in protein, calcium, iron, fiber and tons of other stuff. Well, high for their size. They’re little powerhouses!

Sweetener: I didn’t add any sweetener, but if your strawberries aren’t sweet enough (of if your bananas aren’t super ripe and sugary sweet), you might want to add a little stevia or your favorite nutritive sweetener. I think coconut sugar would work great in these!

Cooking Time: Don’t be afraid to bake these for a while. The almond meal is pretty wet, so it might take a while to cook. Our oven runs a little cool, so mine took a full 15 minutes (plus). You don’t want there to be much give in the middle if you push on one while it’s in the oven.

Keepin’ it raw? I think these would be great as muffin tops in the dehydrator. On their own, all of the ingredients are considered raw :-) If you choose to try this, place a large scoop of mixture on a paraflexx sheet and dehydrate for one hour at 145F, then lower the temp to 115-110F until the muffin tops are firm to the touch. I don’t know how long this will take, but most things I dehydrate take at least 12 hours. Try leaving them in over night and go from there :-)

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Sharing the love at…Allergy Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays, and Wellness Weekends

Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bite

I originally created this recipe as a raw-ish snicker-doodle, but I didn’t quite achieve the flavor for which I was seeking. So, I thought maybe I could call these sugar cookies. But the flavor wasn’t quite right for those either. Undaunted, I kept eating, and, finally, it hit me…They taste just like a cinnamon sugar Pop Tart. Ah…a flavor from my past. A predominate flavor from my past. *sigh* And, thus, Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bites/A Raw-ish Ode to Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts (frosted, of course) were born.

Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bites

1 c almond pulp, dehydrated and processed into a fine meal

1/4 c brown rice syrup (or another thick and sticky liquid sweetener)

1/4 c coconut sugar (or other granulated sweetener)

1 TBSP vanilla

1/2 t (or more) cinnamon

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t cream of tarter

Combine everything in a bowl until well incorporated. Scoop into large tablespoons and roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 6 large balls.

Options: I have a ton of options for this one!

Almond pulp: I love that this recipe uses left-over almond meal. I had bags and bags of almond meal in the freezer and was desperate for a way to use it. I thawed it, dehydrated it, and whirled it in the food processor into a fine powder. (You could also do this in a coffee or spice grinder or the dry contain of a blender.) Side note: We tried running the almond meal through the grain mill attachment on the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, even though it says not to, and it got all clogged up. Twice. Sigh. Guess we won’t be doing that again. Boo.

If you don’t have almond pulp, regular almond meal or almond flour will work. If you can’t have/don’t want to use almonds, you can make any nut or seed meal of your choice by grinding some frozen nuts/seeds of your choice in a food processor or coffee/spice grinder.

Brown Rice Syrup: BRS is not grain free, nor is it raw, and it may contain arsenic, so it might not be your sticky sweetener of choice. You need a really thick and sticky sweetener, so whatever works for you is fine: coconut nectar (bonus – it’s raw!) or raw honey (if that’s how your roll) are probably both good choices. A thinner liquid sweetener might work, too: maple syrup, agave, etc.

If you don’t want/can’t use nutritive sweetener, dates are probably your best best. Make a thick date paste by blending soaked dates with little or no water.

Coconut Sugar: Any granulated sugar will work here: raw/turbinado sugar, sucanat, regular granulated (vegan) sugar, brown (vegan) sugar, etc. If you don’t want to/can’t use nutritive sweetener, a little powdered stevia will add a nice touch of extra sweetness to the mix, as will xylitol or erythritol.

Cinnamon: I recently started using ceylon cinnamon, and it’s much stronger than “regular” cinnamon. At least to me.

Vanilla: I recently purchased some vanilla powder, but I didn’t use it in this recipe. If you are using vanilla powder, use sparingly. Vanilla is a background flavor and shouldn’t be noticeable.

Baking Soda/Cream of Tarter: These ingredients might seem a little weird in the recipe, but they really add to the overall flavor. The baking soda gives a nice saltiness and zing to the snack bites, and the cream of tarter provides that little, “Hum…What is that?”

If you want to keep this recipe raw, you can probably substitute salt for the baking soda and a tiny bit of lemon juice for the cream of tarter. (I’m going to try that combo next!)

Balls vs Cookies/No-Bake vs Bake vs Dehydrate: I’m sure these snack bites could easily be flattened into cookies and either baked (at 325 for a few minutes) or dehydrated (until firm on the outside), or the entire batch could be squished into a small, square dish and cut into squares (or pressed into molds or free-formed into bars or….)

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Sharing is caring…Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Wellness Weekends

Cookie Dough Balls

I don’t know why I was so slow to warm up to cashew cream. It’s so versatile! Add some lemon juice and a pinch of salt and voila — sour cream. Add some vanilla and a little sweetener and voila — vanilla cream (the filling for my Hazelnut Tarts)! Mmmm….vanilla cream….

While indulging in my new-found love for cashew cream, I accidentally created cookie dough dip. Then I scooped it into balls, froze it, and created cookie dough balls. I love happy accidents!

It seems like all the blogs I read have at least one recipe for cookie dough dip, and I’m always drawn to it because it looks and sounds delicious. But, then I think, “What will I dip in it?” So, I’ve never made any. Until I accidentally did. Ha!

My goal was to create some kind of non-chocolate dessert. My parameters were pretty wide: raw (or as raw as possible considering I can’t consume agave) and vanilla flavored. Pretty easy, right? Right.

Cookie Dough Balls

1/2 c cashews, soaked

1T vanilla

1T maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

1T almond milk (or water)

1/4 c almond meal

pinch salt

1T Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder (optional)

1/4 c cacao nibs (optional)

Blend cashews, vanilla, maple syrup, and almond milk/water until smooth and creamy. (I used a Magic Bullet for this because the batch of cashew cream was too small to make the Vitamix happy.) Scoop cashew cream into medium bowl and add almond meal and protein powder (if using). Stir to combine. Fold in cacao nibs (if using). Dough should be thick and tacky. Scoop mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet with a cookie scoop or melon baller and freeze until firm. Store in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy!

Notes

If your cashew cream isn’t as creamy as it should be, add additional almond milk/water by the teaspoon until thick and creamy.

If you’d like a sweeter cashew cream, add additional sweetener: 1T maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener), or 1/4 tsp stevia powder.

For a sugar free option, start with 10 drops of liquid stevia and increase as necessary. You may also need to increase almond milk/water.

If your cookie dough dip is too thin to form into balls, add additional almond meal.

Make your own almond meal by grinding frozen almonds into dust in a food processor (stop before it turns into butter – frozen almonds will help). Or, dehydrate left-over almond pulp (from homemade almond milk), dehydrate, and grind for a finer texture.

If you choose to use the protein powder, the flavor will become more apparent as the balls age. It may also affect the texture/mouth feel of the cookie dough balls. I didn’t mind the flavor change, but if you think it will be a problem, don’t include the protein powder.

If you want chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough balls, add 1T raw cacao powder to the dough before rolling and freezing.

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I’m sharing this recipe with the readers of…

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free

Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Gluten Free Pantry

Wellness Weekends @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Allergy Friendly Fridays @ Cybele Pascal

Recipe Review: Gluten-Free Brownies

In addition donating to my Peanut Butter Eggs to a recent work bake sale held to collect funds for a group of coworkers participating in a local Walk for the Cure, I also made Angela’s Gluten-Free Brownies from Oh She Glows.

Later last year, I made the glutenized version, and they were a huge hit! So, since I’m trying to be gluten-free, and I know some of my coworkers are too, I thought I’d try the gluten-free version of everyone’s favorite treat.

In her post, Angela said she liked the gluten-free version better than the glutenized recipe, but I’m not so sure. I did REALLY like the gluten-free brownies, and they were all gone by the second day, but I think the texture of the glutenized recipe was better. But, keep in mind, I’m still getting used to the drier texture of the gluten-free flours. I’ve been working with almond meal and oat flour for a while, but that’s about it (except for the garbanzo/fava bean flour mix used in my amazing coating in my Awesome Onion Rings). Regardless, I’d definitely make these again. I might consider frosting them, though. Mmmm….frosting….

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a follow-up to my Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (almost raw/no-bake), I made a few alterations and baked off a batch. They’re still grain free and naturally gluten-free, oil free, and the only sugar comes from the chocolate chips.

Carmely Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c almond meal

1/2 c date paste

1 flax egg (1 TBSP flax + 2-3 TBSP water)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash salt

1/4 – 1/2 c chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly scoop onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (I used my new cookie scoop.) Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

These cookies took quite a while to firm up. I think is the first time I’ve tried to bake with almond meal. The flavor was excellent, so don’t be put-off by the longer cook time.