Two for the Price of One

I didn’t mean for a whole week to disappear without a recipe. This post was actually written yesterday but just as I was going to upload the pictures our wireless router crapped out.  After chatting with Comcast and buying a new router we weren’t back online until late last night. Oh well, today you get two recipes for the price of one!

Just kidding, everything’s free here. But you still get two recipes.

While out on a walk yesterday morning I stopped in at Starbucks. The line was really long so I turned back around after only a few seconds of waiting. However, as I was leaving the barista yelled “blueberry muffin” to someone and that got my empty stomach growling. I walked the rest of the way home mentally checking off the ingredients for my blueberry muffins, check, check, check, eh, wait, no gf flour or blueberries. Sort of key ingredients.

Plan B, improvise. I swapped the blueberries for strawberries which was easy enough as I have a huge bag of frozen ones in my freezer. But, finding a gf flour sub seemed unlikely, until I remembered a bag of Bob’s Red Mill GF Pancake mix that’s been hanging around for a while. Perfect! I think?

Turns out, yes, perfect, better than actually. I prefer these muffins to the original version although I would probably swap the blueberries back in or add them in addition to the strawberries. I also just noticed that I forgot the flaxseed to this version. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to have mattered in the least so we’ll keep it out.

strawberry gluten free muffins

Apologies for the lack of pictures. I was rather absent-minded about it until the batter was already mixed.

Strawberry Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

1/2 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup gf oats, whole

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free pancake mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup strawberries, cut into bite size pieces

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, oats, almond meal, gluten-free pancake mix, baking powder and salt.

Next add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to the dry ingredients.

Stir until well incorporated.

gluten free strawberry muffin batter

Lastly, fold in chopped strawberries.

Grease a muffin tin. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

strawberry muffins

Yields 8 muffins.

vegan strawberry muffins vegan strawberry muffins

Okay, that’s one but I promised you two. This recipe is for all you runners. With spring springing and longer runs on the horizon I put together an all-natural, preservative and dye-free energy gel over at WalkJogRun. I used chia seeds as the base and offer a couple of suggestions for mix-ins. Check it out if you’re looking for an alternative to those neon colored gums and goos.

chia seed energy gel

Alright, that’s it for me today. More articles to write, a house to clean and a gym to get to.

Have a wonderful weekend.

As always, Enjoy and Exhale!

Triple Ginger Smoothie

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe. Sorry about that. This one was worth the wait!

ginger smoothie

A few weeks ago my aunt and uncle requested a smoothie recipe made with the candied ginger I used in these.

My first thought was a cherry ginger combo but I only had dried cherries and that didn’t sound particularly appealing. I may revisit this when fresh cherries are in season or if I think to pick some frozen ones up.

Then I played around with the idea of a chocolate ginger smoothie but I just made this Chocolate Peanut Butter version and they seemed to similar.

Finally I spotted a bag of dates and figured, why not? I’ve never used dates in a smoothie before but I’d seen it done on other blogs. All I can say is, wow! You’ll be seeing a whole lot more dates around here. They added the perfect amount of sweetness and a creamy texture that blew me away.

I couldn’t take the pictures fast enough and quickly gobbled up the entire thing before the photos had even finished downloading to my computer.

I’m not one to toot my own horn but if you like ginger…Make. This. Smoothie. The fresh, powdered and candied ginger all add a different kind of kick. It was so delicious and refreshing. I’m seriously contemplating making a second one.

Triple Ginger Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 dates, pitted

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced

2 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

4 ice cubes

————

Cut the skin from the fresh ginger. Chop fresh and candied ginger into small pieces.

Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Top with more candied and powdered ginger if desired.

ginger smoothie ingredientsminced ginger DSC_0184triple ginger smoothie

Enjoy and Exhale!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

I was going through old bookmarked recipes yesterday morning and stumbled on one for blueberry muffins that used all-purpose flour. I’m actually not even sure why it was bookmarked considering I rarely bake non gluten-free baked goods but it must have been meant for inspiration because it got me craving blueberry muffins and I knew I had to give a gluten-free version a shot.

However, after my series of unsuccessful gluten-free baking endeavors over the last few months I had really low expectations for these muffins. Hence why there aren’t a lot of step-by-step pictures; I was feeling doubtful about the outcome and half heartedly took a few photos as I went, just in case.

So glad I did!

vegan gluten-free muffins

These muffins were so tasty. They are not overly sweet, which I really liked. I ended up eating three of them for breakfast and didn’t have that heavy feeling afterward that you often get when you eat butter laden pastries. Of course, you can always add more sugar to the batter if you prefer a sweeter muffin or use sweetened almond milk but I thought they were perfect just the way they came out. I did add a little earth balance to the last muffin I ate just to see how it would taste. Turns out, the earth balance makes it even better. I’m sure that’s a shock. Ha.

For strict vegans you can sub maple syrup for the brown sugar. I haven’t personally tried it but I’m guessing it will turn out well.

Blueberry Muffins (gluten-free, vegan)

2 tbsp flaxseed meal, mixed with 4 tbsp water

3/4 cup gf oat flour

1/4 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup non-dairy milk, I used unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup blueberries, I used frozen

————

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a small bowl add water to flaxseed meal. Let sit for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, gluten-free AP flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Once the flaxseed has formed a gel, add brown sugar, melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, vanilla, milk and apple cider vinegar to it. Stir until well incorporated.

dry and wet ingredients

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix in blueberries.

muffin batter

Once well mixed, grease a cupcake tin with cooking spray. Fill each cupcake hole about 3/4 of the way up.

blueberry muffins

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

Yields 12 muffins.

gluten free vegan blueberry muffins DSC_0053

Eat with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea for the perfect breakfast.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Recipe Testing and the Weekend

How was your weekend? Mine was very low key. Besides teaching, which I did on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was out of the house very little this weekend. I blame it on the weather. I think it’s starting to get me down. I find myself daydreaming about running along Chrissy Field in the SF sunshine, having brunch out on the back patio at Zasie’s in Cole Valley and walking to the 24th Street Farmer’s Market year round in Noe. I’m homesick and I’m tired of being cold! I also realize I’m having a serious pity party that isn’t be warranted for at least another month. We’re planning a trip home in the next couple of months but until the tickets are booked I’ll just keep on daydreaming.

Besides daydreaming, the weekend consisted of a couple of logs in the fireplace, starting the Dexter series and trying to get Eli and Guy to sit still so we could play with the new camera. He’s so unimpressed.

Eli

Kitty playing nice.

Guy

Followed by kitty playing mean. He’s pissed!

Eli and Guy

The weekend also included of a little baking.

I tried and failed again with trial number two of gluten-free vegan banana bread. I admit, I’m getting closer. This time it was actually bread and not bar. It was light and airy which is an accomplishment. But it was also dry and not banana-y enough. I’ve been sort of stingy with the coconut butter so maybe I’ll add more to the next batch and another banana. In my head I can see the bread I want to make. It has those little pieces of banana swirled around throughout and a golden brown top.  Who knew banana bread could be so difficult?

Here are a few shots of round two. See, actual bread!

vegan gluten-free banana bread vegan gluten-free banana bread

I also need to coat the chocolate chips in cornstarch or gf flour to keep them all from falling to the bottom of the batter. That poor left corner got seriously left out!

It’s not too bad with a little earth balance on top and my mind is now wondering if it would make a good bread pudding. I don’t know how to make bread pudding but it can’t be that hard right…says the girl with two failed recipe attempts under her belt.

Hope you’re weekend was wonderful. If you’re somewhere warm maybe you can stand with your face to the sun and think about me?

Too weird? I get it.

Off to yoga, please let the room be hot!

Enjoy and Exhale!

Works in Progress

I’ve made three recipes over the last few days. They are all good. Tasty. Consumed. But none of them made my taste buds do handstands and arm balances at first bite. My official taste tester was also less than impressed with one of the three recipes, he didn’t taste the other two. I believe his exact words were ‘it’s a little bland.’ I’m not going to share a little bland with you all.

But, because I still wanted to post something and say hello today I’ll share the works in progress. Not so secretly, I also wanted to show off my new camera which makes my bad photo skills a little more palatable. However I’m still hoping to find a Photography 101 class I can take over the next few months. I don’t think good equipment equates to stunning photos without some knowledge behind them.

On to the recipes or lack there of, I mentioned this beet quinoa salad yesterday. I liked the earthy mixture of the beets with the quinoa and I love the addition of slivered almonds. I also made a cashew garlic cream to go on top which was exceptional on it own. The salad just didn’t sing when everything was mixed together. It has potential and I have another beet waiting in the wings so I’ll work on it. The color is pretty fabulous though right?

beet quinoa salad

Next up, another calcium rich smoothie. Yep I’m making smoothies when it’s 10 degrees outside, God knows why. This smoothie was a mix of banana, apple, pineapple, almond milk and chia seeds. It was perfectly fine. I drank the whole thing this but it wasn’t amazing. I probably wouldn’t have shared it at all if not for the fact that the picture is nice. I’m going to try coconut milk instead of almond milk and may also add some sunflower seed or peanut butter. I’ll report back when I’ve got a winner.

Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Lastly, I tried to make gluten-free banana bread this morning. I wasn’t in the mood for dates so following my recipe for Banana Bread Muffins was out. The recipe I concocted seemed promising as I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately. When I combine everything though it resembled something oddly familiar. This! It was by far the tastiest of the three recipes and I ate two slices for breakfast but this is not banana bread. It’s more of an oat loaf. It was lacking the airiness of bread with all its heaviness. I think I’ll play around with the flour mixture, maybe try my hand at some gluten-free baking flour that’s been sitting in my pantry since the pancake debacle of 2012.

Banana oat loaf

As you see, a lot of WIPs but not a lot of results. I suppose that’s all part of the process though. You have to cook a few duds or semi-duds to get to the really good stuff.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. It’s still supposed to be bitterly cold here again tonight. But never free, we have a hot date planned with our fireplace and a bottle of wine.

I’m also teaching a bunch this weekend. My usual classes tomorrow at 9 and 10:30 and then subbing Sunday at 9 at Crossfit and teaching a special community class at Athleta on Newbury at 10. The community class is free if you’re not busy.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Blueberry, Banana Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie

There hasn’t been much cooking going on here this week besides Monday’s soup. As soon as Michael started to get over his cold, I got it!  I’ve been sniffling and sleeping my way through the week but think I’m finally turning the corner. After my first restful night’s sleep all week I woke up to sunshine and motivation to have more than just tea.

I wanted something filled with nutrients and flavor that could cut through a stuffy nose while also keeping the Calcium Challenge in mind. This smoothie packs a whopping 46% of your daily calcium needs: 30% coming from the almond milk, 6% from the chia seeds and 10% from the kale. Plus it tastes great. Although it definitely needed to be followed by a hot cup of tea to warm me back up!

The week is finally starting to look up…just in time for the weekend and the playoff games.

Blueberry, Banana, Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free)

1 frozen banana, thawed

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Juice of 1 grapefruit

1 cup kale

1 cup vanilla or regular almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

————

Thaw frozen banana in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Place banana, frozen blueberries, grapefruit juice, kale, milk and chia seeds in a blender or use your immersion stick. Blend for 1 minute until everything is well incorporated.

blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie blueberry, banana, grapefruit smoothie

Serve in a pretty mason jar, optional, but makes it more fun to eat.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Twinkly Little Lights and Gluten-Free Banana Bread Muffins

I’m not a baker. I don’t like the exactness it requires or that you often can’t fix mistakes until it’s too late. Dough tastes different from the final product and you can’t just go back and add more salt or a touch more sugar if you find what you’ve made lacking in some way.

However, sometimes it’s good to expand your culinary limits. That’s how this delicious treat came about.

This weekend I started altering a recipe for banana bread that I ran across online. On Sunday I bought bananas, which I usually put straight into the freezer, but I’ve now spent the last four days patiently waiting for them to start browning. Today they were brown, enough.

These muffins are soft on the inside and a little crispy on the outside. They are not overwhelmingly banana-y and have a nuttiness from the almond and flaxseed meal. I was going to make a traditional banana bread loaf but I like built-in portion control with my baked goods. It’s so easy to keep nibbling off a loaf making excuses that you haven’t eaten that much but you can’t deny eating a muffin, or two, and a half. So, muffins it was.

Whichever way you decide to make these, I think you should. Maybe for your family when they come to visit in a few weeks? Or as a special treat to yourself as we get closer to the holidays and things get crazy?

Take a little time, put away the oatmeal packets, the Clif Bars and the Starbucks’ pastries. They get the rest of the year.

Make a cup of tea or coffee and savor these little treats. Savor December. It’ll be gone before you know it and we’ll be wondering why we didn’t take 15 minutes in this busy time to revel in a bit of stillness, some twinkly little lights, the smell of cinnamon and allspice baking in the oven. I can’t imagine you’ll regret any of these things. It may even bring about some unexpected joy in this hurried month.

I’ll step off the holiday soapbox now.

Banana Bread Muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

3/4 cup oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup pitted dates (this is ~12 dates)

1/2 cup +1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas

————

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you’re making your own oat flour, place oats in a food processor until ground.

Before:

Gluten-free oats

After:

Ground Oat Flour

It’s okay if there’s a little texture.

Place oat flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, allspice, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix.

Process dates with almond milk and vanilla until smooth.

Before:

dates, vanilla, almond milk

After:

date paste

This took about 2 minutes of running the processor consistently, however, I was using my small hand-held one.

Add date mixture to your dry ingredients.

I didn’t want to dirty another bowl for mashing my bananas so I processed my bananas as well. About a minute should do. The bananas were a little creamier than if I had just mashed them but they still turned out fine.

Add bananas to dates and dry ingredients. Stir.

banana puree and muffin batter

Grease a cupcake tin. I used a little cooking spray. Put batter in tin. These didn’t rise much so fill each tin almost to the top.

gluten-free banana bread muffins

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes cleanly out.

gluten-free banana bread muffinsgluten-free banana bread muffins

I may be eating my second one topped with a little bit of peanut butter as I type. 🙂

Enjoy your little slice of the holidays!