GF Banana Nut Muffins

October 7, 2012

Banana nut muffin

Even though I previously posted a recipe for muffins with fruit added, I’m not sure it would work with bananas. And even if it did, I really like the simplicity of this recipe. It (like several of the gf recipes I post) comes from Elana’s Pantry. However, it’s a tweak on her banana bread. She does have a recipe for banana walnut muffins, but I still find the simplicity of this recipe the most appealing. And since, as with her paleo bread, she uses a specific type of loaf pan that I don’t own, I converted the recipe into muffins. My family loves these muffins and since they have a very minimal amount of sweetener (honey), I feel good about serving them. They make a great snack or light dessert. Since we don’t eat walnuts that often and since I usually have crispy pecans on hand, that’s what I normally use in this recipe.

GF Banana Nut Muffins
makes 12 regular-sized muffins

3 organic, ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups), mashed
3 eggs (pastured)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped crispy pecans

Preheat oven to 350o
Grease 12 cup muffin pan with butter or coconut oil. In food processor or bowl, mix bananas and eggs until well mixed.

bananas and eggs

Add vanilla and honey.

vanilla and honey

Add softened coconut oil and mix until all ingredients are well blended.

coconut oil

Add dry ingredients and mix well. (Because I doubled the recipe, I had to shift from the processor to a bowl)

dry ingredients

Add chopped nuts and combine.

crispy pecans

Divide batter evenly.

muffin batter

Bake at 350o for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and remove to cooling rack.

cooked muffins

Add butter and enjoy!

Muffins with butter

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Frugal Sourdough Starter

July 8, 2010

How to Make a Sourdough Starter in 7 Days

This starter recipe does not involve throwing out half the starter every day, as most recipes do. Also, these amounts will only make enough starter (in 7 days) to make one loaf of sourdough bread, with enough left over to continue your starter. I recommend this method, because it is an ideal way to find out if your starter is active enough to produce a loaf of bread without the risk of losing a lot of ingredients. While this post deals with whole wheat or spelt, I will soon be posting my recipe for gluten-free sourdough starter.

Day 1: Take 1/4 cup of whole wheat or spelt flour (the fresher the better) and place in a bowl (glass or plastic, see through is best). To this, add 1/4 cup of filtered water (especially if your water is chlorinated) and stir well. Cover loosely and set in a warm place and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.

Day 2: Add 1/4 cup of water to the starter, stir well, then add 1/4 cup flour and stir till well combined. Re-cover, return to warm place and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.

Days 3-4: Repeat Day 2. At this point, you should be seeing some bubbling action. If not, don’t give up! Transfer starter to a clean bowl on Day 4. (Bowl should be larger to accommodate the upcoming increases)
Bubbling Brew” This is what an active starter looks like.
Starter

Day 5: If you don’t see any bubbles at this point, continue with Day 2 instructions until you have bubbles. Change to a clean bowl every 3-4 days. Don’t worry about odors as they may come and go during the fermenting process. However, if you see mold in your bowl or on your starter, throw it out and start over, changing bowl more frequently. If you have bubbles by this point, you want to begin to build your starter up to the amount you’ll need to bake bread. Add 1/3 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour, stirring till well combined. This will be a stiffer starter. Cover, set in warm place, undisturbed.

Day 6: Your should be seeing some rise in your starter. (It should begin to fill more space) It should have air holes throughout (visible from the side, if you are using a see through bowl). Stir down and add 2/3 cup of water and 1 cup of flour, stirring till well combined. At this point you don’t want to lose your starter to mold, so go ahead and place in a clean bowl. Cover, set in warm place, undisturbed.

Day 7: Repeat Day 6, without transferring to a clean bowl. You should be ready to bake a loaf of sourdough bread on Day 8!

Note: if you want to bake 2 loaves rather than one, continue with feedings following Day 6 instructions, until you have enough starter to make 2 loaves (2 2/3 cups) and a little left over to continue your starter.

Once you have removed your starter to bake with, you can refrigerate the remaining starter (covered loosely) or continue to build it back up, changing bowl as needed, until you have enough to bake more bread and some to continue starter. If/when you refrigerate your starter, it can be fed weekly. However, if you forget, don’t throw it out! There’s still a chance it’s good. Once my starter became active, I took some out and put it in the fridge when I started building it up for baking (after the first loaf). I did this just in case I ruined the starter I was building. This way, I wouldn’t have to start over completely from scratch. Once you have your starter established, you can dry it if there will be periods of time when you won’t be using it. Those instructions can be found here. Just scroll to the bottom of the post.

A general rule of thumb with starter is, never add more in feedings than the amount you already have. For example, if you have 1/2 cup of starter, do not add more than a total of 1/2 cup of water and flour. Once you get past the initial stage, you can begin to build it faster if you choose to bake 2 or more loaves at a time.

Next post: Recipe for Sourdough Bread.
Very easy, 4 ingredient bread.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop. (It was my first time to participate and didn’t know what I was doing, so the link to my blog is titled “Karen” – entry #52)


Rachel’s Meatloaf

July 5, 2010

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Rachel. Today is her birthday, so I wanted to do something to honor her. She is the person I know I can count on, no matter the circumstance. She and her husband rescued my daughter and I when we were caught in a blizzard one Christmas Eve, when we were new to the area and relatively new friends. Another time, I bought a bunch of flowers at an end-of-the-season sale, but was going out of state and was rushing to pack. (I tend to think I can accomplish more than I possibly can) She volunteered to come over and plant them for me. I’ll never forget her out in the heat, working away, while I was in my air conditioned house packing, alternately kicking myself for my stupidity and thanking the Lord for such an awesome friend. I can pour my heart out to her and I know she will respond with encouragement, love, and (if needed) sympathy, never judging me. Everyone should have at least one Rachel in their lives!

She has a cute little shop on Etsy called PeanutMM. She is addicted to those little candies, but I love her anyway. 🙂
See that great little enameled roasting pan over on the right? That’s for sale in her shop. In fact, she has a 2 qt. and a 4 qt. for sale. Mostly she has owls. Lots and lots of owls. Owls of every sort, including jewelry and several Avon items, but mostly various types of home decor.

owl decor

She is selling them for her mother-in-law, who had to move into an assisted living home. She’s generous like that. But she also has a few other vintage items. I encourage you to take a look around. Just click on the picture of the roasting pan and it will take you to her Etsy shop.

She also makes doll clothes. The most darling things you can imagine. She’s an extremely talented seamstress. She had them listed, but has decided to build a separate shop for them, since it’s such a different market than the owls. I’ll be posting a link to that, once she gets it up, so if you are interested in that sort of thing, keep watching.

Rachel is an inspiration to me in so many ways, not the least of which is her skill in the kitchen. She makes the most beautiful veggie recipes you ever saw! And she makes them look so easy, even I believe I can cook them! She once had us over for dinner and served the most marvelous meatloaf. My husband raved about it so much, she graciously shared the recipe. It is a favorite at our house and wonderfully simple. It usually takes me about 45 minutes from start to finish. I like to share it with others, but always give credit to Rachel. In fact, I have officially named it, “Rachel’s Meatloaf.” She has given me permission to share it with you.

Rachel’s Meatloaf
Makes 2 loaves

3 lbs ground turkey
1 cup uncooked oats
3 eggs
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce plus
1 cup of salsa
(or 16 oz of tomato sauce, if salsa not used)
2 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients well. Divide between 2 (1 1/2 quart) casseroles (loaf pans). Bake one at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Freeze the other one for later.

meatloaf

How easy is that?! Above, I just steamed some mixed veggies (and used ground bison instead of turkey), but if you want to dress up the meal, try this wonderful side dish of Rachel’s.

BALSAMIC ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, if they are large*
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 leek, sliced (white & light green part) OR
3 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I often don’t even chop them)

Place vegetables in large foil-lined pan with sides (don’t have to use foil, I usually don’t; just have to scrub the pan).
Drizzle oil and vinegar over vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat; arrange in single layer. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Roast until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
*If using frozen brussels sprouts, I put them in the pan and put the pan in the oven while it is preheating and I am cutting up the other vegetables. That usually gives them time to thaw enough to continue as given in the recipe.

Happy Birthday, Rachel!! I hope your day is every bit as wonderful as you!


Fast Food

June 26, 2010

What do you do when the day doesn’t go as you planned and suddenly it’s supper time? For some, the answer is easy. Drive to a local fast food place or a nearby restaurant. Even better (for some), order in and save the trip! Or take something out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave. For those who are committed to eating non-processed foods, the answer isn’t always so easy. If you have the forsight to plan ahead for those times and have a casserole or something that can be heated in the oven, it’s not quite as hard. For me, it never seems to work out that way. Planning ahead is not my forte. Unorganized is a word that better describes me. I tend to “fly by the seat of my pants.” Usually supper ends up being something that can be made with quickly-thawed hamburger meat, like taco salad. (I thaw my meat by steaming it in a pan on low heat) This is why I always make sure I order more hamburger meat (or ground bison, when they have it) than anything. Here are some of the things I make when supper finds me ill-prepared.

Pizza: sourdough or sprouted spelt flour crust (check out this website for sprouted flour), tomato paste with a little water or tomato sauce cooked down a little with some dried oregano and garlic powder, bell pepper, black olives, onion, chicken sausage or wild boar sausage, raw grass-fed cheese. This is a deep dish style pizza.
deep dish pizza

Green chile and cheese burgers (topped with ranch and dijon) with sweet potato fries, if I think to take the hamburger out early enough. Love it with the new homemade ketchup!
Burger and fries

Probably the easiest thing to make in a hurry though, is this Wendy’s-like chili recipe I found on Lauren’s site, Healthy Indulgences. It’s easy and relatively fast. She recommends simmering for 2-3 hours, but I find it good as soon as it’s done. Here’s the recipe, with my tweaks.

Ingredients

2 lbs grass-fed hamburger or bison
1 Tbs coconut or olive oil (if using grass-fed meat)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped bell peppers, any or all colors
1/2 cup diced celery (if I have it)
5-6 Tbs red chili powder
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder (or fresh garlic, to taste)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes (or 4 14.5 oz cans)
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1-2 cups beans (I use pinto)

Chop vegetables while meat is browning, then add to meat. Cook for a few minutes until softened.
meat and veggies

Stir in spices, cook a couple of minutes while mixing well.
add spices

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. (I like Muir Glen)
tomatoes

Mix well, then stir in beans. Top with favorite toppings. I like yogurt or sour cream (whichever I have) and a little grated raw grass-fed cheese.
chili

This does make about 12 good sized servings. I always cook extra everything in order to cover lunches the next day or to freeze for those times when I’m ill-prepared. 😉


Grass-fed Brisket

June 22, 2010

I love grass-fed meat and from a nutritional standpoint it can’t be beat, what with the nearly perfect omega 6:3 ratio and 22 amino acids, providing our bodies just what they need. However, I’ll admit it is a little difficult to cook. The biggest “problem” would probably be the leanness of the meat. There’s far less fat on it than the grain-fed, antibiotic/hormone laden, disease-causing stuff they sell at your local supermarket. (Sorry, can’t refrain from saying it!) I decided to do this post about cooking a brisket, because getting a brisket just right has always been a little hard for me. The main grass-fed slogan for cooking is “low and slow.” Low heat, cooked for a long period of time. This recipe is the way I’ve found to cook it that I like best. For one thing, I can cook it in my crock pot, an awesome thing in this heat! For another, who doesn’t like cooking in a crock pot? Put your food in, turn it on, come back at supper time and dish it up! I like to put mine on at night to make sure it gets done.
brisket

Crock Pot Brisket

grass-fed brisket (approximately 3-4 lbs)
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters (halved, then halved again)
1 large onion (sliced thickly)
2 Tbs all-purpose seasoning (I use Mountain Rose Herbs)
2 Tbs House Blend
1 tsp garlic powder (can use fresh garlic, if preferred)
2 tsp coconut aminos (or Bragg’s liquid aminos)
1-2 cups beef broth (I use homemade marrow bone broth)
Potatoes or any other additions can be made, but that’s all I use.

Put carrots all over bottom of crock pot.
carrots

Top with onions.
onions

Season meat on side without fat with 1/2 of the seasonings.
Place on top of veggies, fat side up. Pour aminos and broth on top.

(My broth just came out of the freezer, so I set it in hot water for a few minutes…
bone broth

then set it beside the meat. (I used 2 cups for extra Au Jus)
brisket ready to cook

Sprinkle remaining seasonings on top. Set crock pot on high for 4 hours, then turn to low and cook an additional 9 hours or until cooked fork tender. The broth can be made into gravy or used as Au Jus (especially if served over sourdough bread for hot beef sandwich). I was hoping to have a nice picture of the finished meal on a plate, but got sick and missed that meal. I did have a sandwich later, with the leftovers.

brisket sandwich
Brisket on homemade sourdough with homemade mayo. On the side is raw (milk) sharp cheddar and salt brine pickles. Local tomato from Farmer’s Market. Yum!!

This post is included in Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.


Homemade Mayo

June 21, 2010

Mayo, up close

Lots of people make their own mayo. One popular reason is, they don’t want the unnecessary sugar and preservatives found in store bought versions. That’s my reason. When I first started thinking about making my own mayonnaise, it was rather intimidating. When I searched online, I found that it seemed to be a somewhat tedious and rather tricky process. When I couldn’t bring myself to buy another jar of mayonnaise, or more importantly, ranch dressing, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try.

Following a post online by someone who appeared to have perfected the process, I first tried it with my hand mixer. It was okay. Not great. Very messy. I nearly burned up the motor on my mixer! Then I bought my Nourishing Traditions book. My second try was done in my blender. A little tastier, but what a mess! I had mayo everywhere! Being a die-hard Hellman’s fan (from my low carb days since the 80’s), I was really looking for that Hellman’s taste. I found someone online who had the same dilemma and who thought she had solved it. I tried it, but just didn’t find the taste quite what I was looking for.
With perseverance, I finally landed on the recipe I like. I started with the one by Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions and Eat Fat, Lose Fat), then made a few adjustments1. What made a world of difference for me though, was the method of making it. I had been wanting to buy an immersion blender for a while and decided this was as good a reason as any. I found this one at Target. It was just under $20 and is made by Oster. I love it!!! (I was surprised to find so many poor reviews — I haven’t had any trouble with it, but ymmv)

Oster immersion blender

Making mayo is now a breeze. Here’s my recipe, as made with my immersion blender.

Mayonnaise
(makes approx. 2 cups)

4 egg yolks (preferably fresh from pastured chickens) at room temp
2 tsp of Dijon mustard (natural ingredients, no sugar!)
2 Tbs of whey (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups oil (I use 1 cup of Bragg olive oil and 1/4 cup Spectrum organic olive oil)
salt to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp Real salt)
pinch Spanish paprika
liquid stevia (start with about 3 drops, then add to taste) or honey (to taste)

I like to put my oils into a Pyrex (glass) meausring cup. This way I can measure as I add the oils and it has a little spout at the top which makes pouring easier. I love using the Bragg oil. It has such a mild flavor for making mayonnaise. Put all ingredients except oil into immersion blender container. Blend just till combined then slowly pour the oil into the container while using the other hand to run the blender, but be sure to keep the blades at the bottom of the container until it all the oil has been added. Once combined, you can then move the blender up and down to thoroughly mix the oil. Be careful not to let the bottom of the immersion blender go above the top of the liquid, unless you want to redecorate your kitchen in mayo!! (Thanks to Michelle at She Looketh Well for that last tip)

The reason I love the immersion blender process is because most recipes call for slowly adding the oil drop by drop with a dropper. With the immersion blender, the total process takes about 1 minute. (Too much more and the immersion blender starts to get hot, which is stated in the manual) The whey is optional, but with it the mayo keeps for several months and becomes slightly thicker. Without it, it keeps about 2 weeks. If you do use whey, the mayo needs to sit out at room temperature for 7 hours, tightly covered. This ferments the mayonnaise, which not only helps it last longer but is better for you. At the end of the 7 hours, simply refrigerate.

I hope you give it a try. It’s so much better for you and makes wonderful ranch dressing. (Recipe coming)

Mayonnaise

1One of the changes I made was to reduce the lemon juice from 2 Tbs to 1 tsp. I found I just didn’t care for the sour taste. Not sure of the purpose for it in the original recipe, I left in the 1 tsp. I also added the stevia to offset the tang of the lemon and whey and added the paprika, though probably more for looks than taste.

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Summer’s Bounty

June 19, 2010

Okay, it’s not my homegrown bounty, but it is summer’s bounty. Mostly. (I AM trying harder to buy locally grown food, but it’s tough sometimes!) Even though there is a garden in our backyard, I wanted to share about the kinds of food that can be found at a local farmer’s market or vegetable stand, especially for those of you who do not have a garden. This fruit was bought at a local stand about 10 minutes from my house. All except the peach peaking out from the edge (I really have to figure out this blog stuff better — it keeps cutting my pictures down to fit the text!). Anyway, the peaches were bought at our local farmer’s market.
Fresh fruit
Above: apples, oranges, mangoes, peaches

The vegetables below were all bought at the farmer’s market, with the exception of the sweet potatoes, which were bought at the veggie stand.
Veggies
Above: onions, cucumbers (pickling), yellow squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes

I love fresh veggies! The yellow squash I stir-fried in a little bit of coconut oil. If you aren’t familiar with coconut oil, it has numerous health benefits and only a faint coconut taste, which we like. The white potatoes I mostly buy for my grandkids. (At least it’s a veggie!) I do make french fries sometimes (using a good oil, like Spectrum’s high heat organic sunflower oil), to satisfy their junk food cravings. The cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes made what my husband calls a “summer salad.” I dice the cukes and tomatoes in even amounts, then add about 1/2 that amount in finely diced onion (normally made with red onion, but any kind will work). I add equal amounts of flax seed oil and red wine vinegar and a few drops of liquid Stevia. Yum!
The sweet potatoes I usually bake then mash with butter. I’ve never had success making baked sweet potato fries. This time I decided to try something different, as my husband was wondering if I could fry them like potato chips. One thing I’ve found; when it comes to the internet, there are no original ideas! I found this recipe by Paula Deen, which I followed with the exception of using vegetable oil. I used a mandoline to slice the potatoes once they were peeled, to ensure they were all the same thinness. It was awesome! I only wish I’d taken a picture! They were a little tricky, you have to fry them till they just have the faintest hint of brown then take them out quickly. Not long enough and they aren’t crispy like a chip. Too long and they turn brown quickly and burn. I want to add, her recipe for House Seasoning was so simple, but so tasty. I find myself using it in lots of dishes! I used it on some buffalo (bison) t-bone steaks and it really gave them a great taste.

If you aren’t able to locate a farmer’s market or veggie stand nearby, there are still lots of good things found in many stores. I buy this spring mix from Sam’s Club.
Spring mix

Even though it says it’s triple washed, I still wash everything with GSE.
GSE
This can be found at stores like Whole Foods or ordered off the internet.
I wash the whole thing at once in my sink.
Washing spring mix

Whether you shop at a farmer’s market, vegetable stand, or supermarket (hopefully, one that sells organic produce), I hope you are enjoying some of summer’s bounty!

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.