Friday, February 18, 2011

Staples - Part 1

There are several staples that I make regularly for snacking and meals in our home. I've continued to make the things that are hits for most or all of us, as long as they are pretty easy and healthy. Since I know there are many on a food journey, I thought I'd share a bit about our food prep with you. We strive to eat a grain free diet and we do limit dairy to some extent, and mainly eat only fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir. We avoid processed soy, artificial dyes and flavors, and generally ingredients that are hard to pronounce. We are not perfect and since we are not allergic to any foods (although Honey's consistent reactions to breads are debatable and we all have intolerances, so each of us has to decide if it is "worth it") we have the luxury of letting go a bit.

I make Coconut Muffins almost every week. My recipe comes from Many Paths, One Journey to Health, an HMN Cookbook. The recipe is one adapted from Bruce Fife's Cooking With Coconut Flour by fellow HMNer Jessica at CrunchyChewyMama. I like coconut, and I like this recipe because it is pretty versatile; I've added carrots, almond extract, raspberry extract, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips and I bet you could do any fruit or vegetable and it would be good. Depending on the additions, this can be breakfast, snacks, part of lunch.... anything you want. It's gluten and dairy free, and you can completely eliminate the sugar as well if you want. I found that the carrots added a lot of sweetness and I could cut the sugar and add a little cinnamon and they were great.

Here's the basic recipe:

3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
3 eggs (warmed in water so they don't re-solidify the coconut oil)
2-3 Tablespoons sugar, rapadura, Sucanat, maple sugar or date sugar
2 Tablespoons of full fat coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut flour - sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking powder sifted into the flour

Blend the wet ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Add in whatever fruits, veggies or other flavoring you'd like. Spoon the batter into well greased muffin cups. I like using coconut oil in the cups whether they are metal or stone. The batter will stick to paper cups, so leave those out unless you like the taste of paper. Bake them at 400 degrees for 8-15 minutes.

I usually double this recipe and make mini muffins. A double batch makes 24 very full mini muffins. You may want to stretch the batter to 48 level mini muffins if you add a fair bit of veggies or fruit. My kids really like these and coconut flour is a great protein source, as is the egg, so I feel good about them having seconds and thirds.

These muffins get stored in glass jars (we reuse the ones from spaghetti sauce or use canning jars) in the fridge or freezer. I'd put them in the freezer for sure if they are not eaten within 3 days or so.

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