Scrumdiliumcious Banana Muffins

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I’m pretty sure banana bread is one of those things everyone and their mother have baked. It’s so easy to throw together and is somewhat healthy making it perfect for any occasion and season. I personally believe banana bread is one of those things that taste better as the days go by, almost like chili. Almost. Somehow the flavors seem to be richer and the texture is much moister. I love it! I tried to bake a new recipe that I found here, but of course stuck to some of my old recipes roots and just added Jessica’s coconut streusel to the top of each muffin which came out amazing.

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

¾ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup unsweetened organic applesauce

4 bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla

Coconut Streusel:

2/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used goat’s milk butter, though it can easily be substituted with vegan butter)

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with papers or spray with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really well. Add the maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, and molasses, and whisk briskly to incorporate. Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pan. To make the Streusel: Combine all the streusel ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until butter is easily dispersed. You want the entire mixture to be moistened. Evenly sprinkle on top of each banana muffin and bake for 25-30 minutes. (This can easily be baked into a loaf pan and will take about 45-50 minutes)The top should be lightly browned and a toothpick inserted through the center of a muffin should come out clean. Remove from the oven, let cool before transferring onto cooling rack.

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bread

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….Because sometimes you just need a little pick me up!

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bread (Adapted from these)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (I used coconut!)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup goat milk (vegans can use full-fat coconut milk!)
  • 2 tablespoons organic coffee extract or espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1 “flax egg” (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chip

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Preheat oven to 375 F

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, combine milk and coffee extract, add the butter, flax egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.  Grease or line loaf pan with parchment paper. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for at least five minutes before removing from pan. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These cake-like cookies are a delicious little treat to enjoy with ginger tea, coffee or a spiced hot chocolate. (I could drink hot beverages all year long!) I absolutely love how pumpkin both moistens and binds these cookies without the use of extra fat and eggs. In fact, I believe bananas, pureed pumpkin and unsweetened applesauce are wonderful staples for any health conscious person’s kitchen! Recipe adapted from here.

  • 1 cup spelt  flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup coconut sugar + ¼ cup maple syrup (or 1 cup raw sugar)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • ½ cup raisins

The piggy cookie jar Michael gave me 🙂

Preheat oven 350° F. Stir flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and sea salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl mix pumpkin, sugar, coconut oil, flaxseeds and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, and fold in raisins until fully incorporated. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, drop batter onto a parchment lined or greased baking sheet.  Press down each cookie with hands or a spoon, keeping them at least one inch apart from each other. Bake for 11 minutes and let cool for 2 minutes before transferring. Enjoy 🙂

Revamping and Improving Recipes: Vegan Samoa “Almond Joy Cookies” part 2

Hey guys!

Every now and then I love to go back to my old recipes and revise them a little bit. About a month ago at Natural Gourmet we had a class dedicated to converting different ingredients in very traditional cookie and cake recipes. I particularly found this class to be fun, informative and fast-paced! A classmate and I made chocolate chip cookies, first starting with commercial ingredients such as: brown & white sugar, butter, eggs, semi-sweet chocolate chips and refined flours.

Throughout the day we replaced one ingredient at a time and each time we noticed a change in the texture, taste and shape of the cookies. One lesson I learned is the important role sugar makes in a cookie and that is: spreading. We thought it would be a good idea  to cut back on sugar and add more chocolate chips… But when the cookies were removed from the oven they looked unbaked and had not spread at all!  By the end of the class we had a delicious cookie that was completely vegan, 50% whole grain and free of refined sugar.

Now let’s get back to my revised coconut and chocolate cookies. The original recipe used refined sugar, and I thought it would be fun to make a healthier but still delicious coconut and chocolate cookie. When I first made these cookies I noticed they spread like crazy and appeared flat so, I revisited my memory from the converting class and cut back on the sugar. I also added oats for some texture, black strap molasses for color and removed the flax meal simply because I didn’t have any. As for someone who loves coconut, oats and dark chocolate these cookies make me smile a lot!

the second time around I used pecans and added oats, molasses, and switched to turbinado sugar & maple syrup 🙂

Ingredients:

1 ½ unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup solidified coconut oil

½ cup turbinado sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (the almond will make the cookie taste like an almond joy candy, if that’s what you’re going for!)

1-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Whole almonds or pecans

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet pour coconut and toast over medium-low heat for about five minutes, or until the coconut turns golden brown. Try not to burn the coconut! Once coconut is toasted remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl sift together dry ingredients (except coconut, chocolate chips and almonds) and in separate bowl combine coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, molasses, almond milk and extract, blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until the batter is thick, fold in the cooled coconut. Using a melon baller or spoon drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Make sure the unbaked cookies are about three inches apart to avoid an overlap!) Press an almond in the center of each cookie and bake eight minutes, just until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to set on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring them to cooling rack.

The Chocolate Glaze: Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Stir until chocolate has completely melted, turn off heat and allow chocolate glaze to set five minutes. Once the cookies are completely cooled drizzle each cookie with chocolate, and if there’s extra chocolate dip the bottom of the cookie in the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow chocolate to harden before serving. To speed up the process you can place the cookies in the freezer for fifteen minutes!

I hope you all enjoy these cookies as much as I do, and you’ll stay tuned for more of my revamped and improved recipes!

Have you ever changed up one of your go to recipes out of curiosity?

-Jessica

Happy May!

How is everyone’s spring going? I am THRILLED that it’s May! It is one of my favorite months, because it’s when the weather finally transitions into a warmer temperature. Yet today the weather has been a bit chilly and cloudy, and it’s been raining on and off. But isn’t unpredictable weather expected this time of year? I am also excited for May because it everything seems to be slowing down. April was kind of a busy month for me! I’m sorry for my absence and to make it up to you guys, I am going to share a yummy recipe:

Almond Butter Bars

These bars are perfect as a post workout snack for a quick on the go breakfast! They remind me a lot of the “Trail Mix” Kashi bars only they taste amazing and these bars are both dairy and gluten free! (This recipe was slightly adapted from here.)
5 cups crisp brown rice puffs
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup cranberries
1/3 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup brown rice syrup + ¼ agave nectar (I ran out of brown rice syrup!)
3/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt


In a large bowl, mix together cereal, nuts & seeds, cranberries, and flax. In a small saucepan heat the syrup and almond butter until it’s melted and blended. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla, pour over the dry mixture. Mix together until fully incorporated and pour into a 9×13 baking pan, lined with parchment paper and press down evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or longer), and then cut the bars into small squares. Enjoy! 🙂

Pancakes for one!

Hey everyone,

I apologize for being very behind in my blogging; unfortunately for me, I can’t   use “school” or “work” as an excuse because I quit my job due to my hip injury and I’m only taking one class this semester…heh. But that doesn’t stop me from blaming procrastination and a lot of it. Anyway! A few blog posts ago, I mentioned I would post breakfast recipes and that’s why I am sharing a very easy single serving pancake recipe. Because it is a “single serving” it only serves one but it can be easily doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled for that matter!

Banana Pancakes for One!

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients:

  • ½ banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (ground flax meal works too)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave

Add-ins:

  • Chopped nuts or seeds, fruit, shredded coconut, etc.

Directions:

Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and combine with the mixed wet ingredients. Pour a tablespoon or two of batter into the heated pan and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes. Then flip cooking for another 2 minutes or so. Repeat! Feel free to top your pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Controlling Anxiety and Antoxidant Boosting Cookies

To all my anxious readers,

I know you’re spending the day worrying, experiencing panic attacks and maybe even feeling devoured by life itself. And you know what? You’re not alone my friends. Trust me: you are not alone. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest and the amount of sleep lost due to over-analyzing every situation throughout the day. I’ll admit it, I’m notorious for worrying. Don’t get me wrong, a little anxiety can be healthy, but when it’s controlling your life, that’s when you need to take action!

To start off, the first and most important role in managing your anxiety is accepting you have anxiety. You’re probably thinking, “Duh… I wouldn’t be reading this if I didn’t have it,” but I thought the same thing and would avoid confronting my anxiety. My anxiety is often triggered by time, clutter, exams or looking stupid. For example instead of just being organized, I’ll add on to the clutter in my life and when meeting someone new I’ll over analyze everything they say by painting ridiculous scenarios in my head. The truth is controlling your anxiety takes work! It requires self-evaluation, dedication and most importantly, seeking support from the people who love you. I’ve managed to come up with a few natural and pill-free ways that have always helped me get through my anxiety.

  1. Organize your closet. Try thinking of your closet as your brain: as you focus on removing the excess baggage in your closet it gives you the opportunity to connect to the idea of cleaning out your mind too. I am not sure why but when my closet is clean I feel like a weight has been lifted from shoulders; which is inspires me to rethink my anxious thoughts.
  2. Talk and vent to a close friend/family member. I used to never talk about my anxiety or when things bothered me which led to more toxic thoughts. So my advice to you is, talk to your friends and family when you need to vent. You won’t be burdening them because they love you! I believe that there’s always someone who will listen to you speak and be there to give you that hug and understanding you need.
  3. Eat away your anxiety. NO, I don’t mean eating copious amounts of Oreo cookies or eating ice cream by the tub! I’m talking about omega 3’s and antioxidants which are found in foods like: salmon & almonds and even dark chocolate!  Eating foods that are rich in omega 3’s release endorphins in the brain which feels incredibly euphoric. You know what else releases endorphins?
  4. Exercise! Not only does a good workout help prevent depression it also naturally detoxifies the body which helps release unnecessary stress. I love scaring away my anxiety with an intense workout; it improves my health and boosts my confidence!
  5. Get enough sleep. Trust me, a good night’s sleep will keep you away from anxiety; whether you’re a college student, hard worker, stay at home mom, etc. Feeling sleep deprived and cranky will not benefit your busy schedule! My anxiety comes from feeling unprepared which is usually a side effect from sleep deprivation. I know this can be impossible for people who struggle with anxiety. Insomnia loves anxiety but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can read my “Get Some Sleep!” article for natural sleep aids!

I hope this post helped you guys! Anxiety can be very debilitating, but start by remembering the first step: accept you have it and understand you don’t have to face it alone! Clean your closet, talk to friends and family, eat up some omega 3’s, exercise, get enough sleep, and most importantly STAY POSITIVE! Oh and here’s a cookie recipe…

Almond Joy Cookies

These cookies were inspired by the infamous “Samoa” Girl Scout cookies. They were my favorite growing up along with Tagalongs and Thin Mints. For these cookies I used dark chocolate, ground flax seeds, and a hint of almond which automatically give them anxiety fighting nutrients! I call them almond joy cookies because I added an almond to each cookie for a kick of omega 3’s and of course for aesthetics 😉

Almond Joy Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar

1/3 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I only used ½ tsp)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Almonds

Chocolate layer: 1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips), 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot or skillet, pour in the coconut and toast over medium low heat for about five minutes, until the coconut turns golden brown. Be careful not to burn it, and stir occasionally. Once the coconut is toasted, remove it from the heat to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, almond milk, flaxseeds, and vanilla and blend until smooth. Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until the batter is thick. Fold in the cooled, toasted coconut.

Drop tablespoons of dough on a parchment lined pan. Use your palm to press down the dough balls until they are flat discs. (I put a little flour on my hand to prevent the dough from sticking to me) Press an almond in the center of each cookie. Bake the cookies for about eight minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the pan and then cool completely.

To make the chocolate glaze: Using a small saucepan melt the chocolate chips and stir in the coconut oil. Allow the mixture to cool for five minutes to allow it to thicken a bit. Once the cookies are completely cooled, dip the bottom in the chocolate mixture and place on a pan lined in parchment paper. Repeat with all the cookies. Use the remaining chocolate to drizzle glaze over the top of each cookie, covering the almond in the middle with chocolate.

-Jeffie