“Fried” Honey Bananas

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I stumbled onto this recipe from Rachel Schultz on Pinterest (of course) and was intrigued. I’ve recently fallen back in love with bananas and Little Man has fallen in love with them for the first time 🙂 He just loves the way they squish between his fingers, haha. I’m sure one day he’ll like the way they taste as well! These were so easy and tasty. They’ll be a great sweet treat for Little Man when he’s a little older and I don’t think I’ll be able to stay out of them myself! They would be fantastic on some french toast or waffles too…hmmm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slightly under-ripened banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • cinnamon
  • olive oil

Instructions:

1. Lightly drizzle olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange banana slices in pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together honey and 1 tablespoon of water. Remove pan from heat and pour honey mixture over banana (shown above).

3. Allow to cool and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies

-2When you’re hunting for gluten free recipes, it can often be a test of endurance to find good sweet treats. I found this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Mommypotamus. You can do many modifications to this recipe to adapt it to a variety of food allergy concerns. When using coconut sugar (sooo good!), they won’t come out as strongly sweet as they would if you use cane sugar. You can substitute those freely depending on what you’re going for. I topped mine with hazelnut butter for a bit of extra sweetness- I say it was an excellent call. As I ran out of my last bit of store bought vanilla extract making my Cream Cheese Peach Cobbler, this recipe was an excellent excuse to break out the homemade extract I got for Christmas- woohoo!

Ingredients

Yield: approximately 28 tablespoon-sized cookies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or rapadura/sucanat
  • 1 cup almond butter, preferably raw. Either crunchy or creamy is fine. (I used maple almond butter.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. Combine coconut oil, sugar and almond butter in a bowl, blending well with a whisk or spatula. Whisk in egg, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until smooth. Add the almond and coconut flours to the mixture, and incorporate well. The dough should be somewhat firm.

3. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet, shaping it into round balls with your hands. Using the back of a fork, press down on the balls in a cross-hatch pattern. We like to do about 2 to 3 presses horizontally and then 2 to 3 presses vertically. The pattern will go across the whole cookie, somewhat flattening it. These cookies won’t expand so feel free to get as many on the sheet as you can without them touching.

4. Bake cookies at 350° for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Use a spatula to place them gently on a cooling rack. Note from Mommypotamus: Be aware: when they’re still warm, these cookies will break easily. But once they’ve cooled, they will be solid… and delicious either way!

Cream Cheese Peach Cobbler

-1This is one of my favorite summertime dessert that occasionally slips into my wintertime recipe repertoire. Obviously, baking this in January requires the sacrifice of using canned peaches since a fresh organic option has yet to present itself to me here in Colorado, haha. It’s a simple enough recipe that’s easy to modify to be gluten free- just switch out the standard yellow cake mix for a gluten free version (I like the Classic Yellow Cake Mix from Lillabee, or if you have a real sweet tooth, Pamela’s Classic Vanilla Cake Mix). Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between when I make it GF or regular and neither can Husband. This fantastic recipe from Rachel Schultz is sure to be a house favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix (not baked, just the powder)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2  eggs
  • 30 ounces canned peaches, drained (or 4 fresh peaches, peeled and pitted)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 small handful brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • vanilla ice cream

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, brown sugar, butter, and 1 egg. Mix ingredients until crumbly. Separate 1/2 cup of crumble for topping.

2. Spray a 9×13 glass dish with cooking spray. Press remaining crumble into base of dish. Bake for 10 minutes. While crust bakes, slice peaches into small, 1 inch pieces. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg, and vanilla until creamy.

3. Layer peaches on top of baked crust. Spread cream cheese mixture on top of peaches.

4. Top with reserved crumbs and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 additional minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Buying Local – The Practical Guide

-4It’s not a state secret that buying local is the best option if you can make it happen. The problem is, making it happen is harder than it seems at first. Sure there are farmers market and small local grocers, but unfortunately they tend to have smaller selections and limited brands on practical things like diapers, everyday toiletry items, etc. So how do you support your local economy, get your favorite brand of toilet paper and not go around to your regular grocery store, a farmers market, and a boutique grocer all in one day? Well, while I can’t give you a step-by-step of exactly how to do it where you live, I can tell you how I do it and hope it helps you too. (See the bottom for a list of resources.)

A few things about this whole “buying local” thing:

  • Products are considered to be “local” when they originate within 150 miles of your location.
  • Local Feeds Local: Local businesses tend to give better quality and service as well as support other neighborhood businesses. So, if you spend money with a local vendor they’re more likely to spend it at another local vendor you patronize (i.e. your favorite coffee spot), so they’re both more likely to stay in business.
  • The best thing about buying meats, produce and dairy regionally is that you can literally go see where your food is coming from. You have the opportunity to get to know the people that make the food for your table and know the real quality of how your food is produced. If there is a problem, you’re much more likely to get something replaced when someone is genuinely invested in your satisfaction with their product. I know I have.

1. I make the farmers market a fun ritual, not a grocery run. June-October there is a market on Saturdays right around the corner from my house in Old Colorado City. It’s in my absolute favorite part of town and it’s on the day before my normal grocery store day (Sunday, obviously), so on Saturday mornings I park behind a nice little French bakery, grab some coffee and a croissant and stroll through town to the market. Since I do it this way, I have a chance to grab local fresh produce and baked goods and whatever I can’t find there, I can grab at the grocery store the following day.

2. When I first moved to Colorado I worked for a nutrition company and they helped their clients eat healthy by having a local meat producer, called Anderson Meat Company, bring their freezer truck once a month and park in their parking lot all day, giving them easy access to extremely high quality meat. I was a little skeptical of them at first because it was frozen meat and my husband was extra skeptical, but they kindly gave me a pound of their ground beef to try for free and after I took it home we were both so impressed with the quality and freshness that we were hooked. Since they deliver, this can cut out any driving around I need to do for this one or I can go to a variety of stores that carry their meat (or where any of their trucks are that day).

3. Another great resource I think is super awesome is Door to Door Organics, a company that delivers local fresh organic product directly to your door. You can choose what type(s) of produce you want (fruit, veggies, or a mix) and the size of your delivery. This saves you a trip and gets you a great variety of stuff to try. This is a great option for those with a tiny streak of adventure in regard to your food- you will wind up trying new things and experimenting in the kitchen while still getting plenty of your recipe standard favorites.

4. Last but not least- check the grocery store you already go to! Even the big retailers like Whole Foods carry tons of local brands. Ours carries local meat, cheese, eggs, milk, ice cream and tons of dry products. Though it’s always best to support those businesses that haven’t made it into the big stores, it’s just as important to support those that have! They’re still local and some of that money still makes it back into your local economy.

General Resources:

  • Local Harvest – All you have to do is enter what city you’re in and this website will hunt for online stores, farms, CSAs, farmers’ markets, restaurants, grocery stores/Co-ops, wholesalers, meat processors, etc.
  • Door to Door Organics – As I mentioned above, this company delivers fresh local organic produce straight to your door! They give you several options to cater your delivery to your family’s needs.
  • Eat Well Guide – This group provides a similar service as Local Harvest, though they pull from both similar and different resources. They focus on sustainable eating, so local is the focus!
  • Local Foods – Along with being another resource to help you find local foods, they also have a plethora of food and health news to help you stay current on what’s going in in legislation surrounding these topics so important to you and your family.

Steak and Zucchini Stir Fry

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This is one of my favorite one pan easy dinner recipes. It’s super tasty and versatile- you can add veggies or substitute for other meat types to suit pretty much anyone’s palette. It’s also great for making a double batch for leftovers or a particularly hungry dinner audience :). The main spice blend I use is from The Spice & Tea Exchange, a wonderful group that I met at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival last year. They mix all of their herb blends by hand and package them by the ounce, so they are amazing and easy to try a good sampling of them without going crazy on how much you spend.

Ingredients

  • ~1 lb of steak (cut for stir fry)
  • 1 whole zucchini, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning (I use Tuscany Blend Seasoning)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Heat olive oil in pan on medium to medium high heat.

2. Add the steak to your pan. After browning one side of the meat, add in your zucchini.

3. Add in garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and white and black pepper.

4. Cook steak to desired temperature. (I usually do this dish medium to medium-well.)

Sticky Apple Cakes w/ Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream

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As the time for Husband to get home from his deployment draws nearer (yay!), I find myself seeking out more interesting recipes and found this one in my copy of The Organic Seasonal Cookbook by Liz Franklin. This has to be in my top 3 recipes I’ve discovered since he left. It doesn’t require any kind of crazy cooking skills but it’s a premium recipe. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer with their ice cream maker attachment that my fabulous hubbie got me for Christmas, but Liz also gives instructions for those without an ice cream maker. The only warning: you will most definitely make a mess of your kitchen…at least I did, haha. It was, however, completely worth it.

Ingredients:

Sticky Apple Cakes

  • 1 1/4 stick butter, plus extra for greasing
  • generous 1/2 cup dark brown solidly packed sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • scant 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cooking apples, cored and diced
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup (for topping)

Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream

  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
  • scant 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Instructions

1. For the ice cream, put 1/2 cup of the superfine sugar and water in a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat and heat until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Increase the heat and bubble the mixture until it develops a dark amber color. Stire in the hazelnuts. Turn the mixture immediately onto a greased (I used a parchment paper lined) baking sheet. Leave until completely cold, then break into very small pieces.

3. Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat to boiling point. Beat the eggs and the remaining superfine sugar together in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Pour the hot milk over the eggs and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir over very low heat until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Removed from heat, then stir in the cream and let cool. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions until almost frozen. Freeze until ready to serve. (My ice cream maker still required the mixture to be frozen an additional 4-7 hours, so be sure to read ahead and know how long it will really be before it’s ready to serve.)

[Alternatively, pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container and freeze until almost solid. Remove from the freezer and beat until smooth to prevent the formation of ice crystals. Stir in the hazelnut praline. Return to the freezer and freeze until solid. Remove the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving, to soften a little.]

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet and 6 ramekins or 2/3 cup ovenproof basins. (I found that the recipes actually makes enough to fill a full (12 tin) muffin pan).

5. Beat the butter and brown sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the eggs. Sift the flour and baking soda together into the bowl and beat until smooth. Add the apples. Fill the prepared ramekins or basins (or muffin tin) to three-quarters full with the mixture, and set on a baking sheet (or not, if you use the muffin tin).

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes (at this elevation here in Colorado Springs, it only took 20 minutes), or until risen and firm. Let cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto individual serving plates. Drizzle each cake with a tablespoon of maple syrup and serve immediately with the ice cream

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

-2While I was in North Carolina my mom got all motivated to finally make an all purpose gluten free flour mix- so we did! She had found a website that described the proper weight ratios, which turned out to be 70% grains to 30% starches. You can play around with which grains and starches you use based on what you have around*, but my favorite gluten free cookies and other bread products have always had a strong base of brown rice flour. Rice flours aren’t fabulous on the glycemic index, but dang do they make for some good gluten free flour mixes. In the picture above, the recipe written on the plate is a little off, so definitely follow the one below- that was just our scribbles to keep track as we added stuff in.

The cool thing about these 1000 gram recipes- they fit perfectly in a half gallon mason jar!

Ingredients:

  • 50 grams kudzu starch
  • 90 grams tapioca
  • 160 grams arrowroot
  • 500 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams teff
  • 100 grams buckwheat

Instructions:

1. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and store in a sealed container.

*If you plan to use almond flour, make sure to either a) use this flour within the expiration date on your almond flour packaging or b) consider the almond flour a “wet” ingredient and add it in at the time of baking/cooking. Almond flour, with its high moisture content, can go rancid if you store it for too long.