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Posts Tagged ‘sweets’

Today I am grateful for the American innovation, the muffin: a heart-warming, semi-sweet, quick bread for one.

Perfect for breakfast, dessert, a snack, or sometimes even a meal replacement on the go, I do love a good muffin pretty much any time of day!

Well, at least I used to …  months ago, on a quest to resolve some health issues, I eliminated dairy, eggs, and wheat from my diet. I am, in fact, feeling better, but ohhhhh, the cravings!

I’m happy to report that I’m finally over my cheese-and-creamy-foods cravings (I ate a whole avocado a day for weeks, to help fill the creamy void!), and could quite easily walk by a fragrant loaf of crusty French bread without blinking an eye.

But lately I’ve really been craving an earthy, wholesome muffin, chock full of good and healthy ingredients. And so my research for “gluten-free” and “vegan” baked goods began.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no vegan! Omnivore all the way! But I’ve learned that if you want a baked treat with no eggs or dairy in it, “vegan” is the buzzword to look for.

A few substitutions and additions to this recipe resulted in muffins that were moist and delicious.  And despite NO refined sugar whatsoever, the dates and raisins contribute enough sweetness to please even little taste buds.

I held my breath when my oh-so-finicky Little Ecogirl took the first bite. Her wrinkled nose and frownie mouth turned into a big crumby smile, and she promptly gobbled down the rest and asked for more!

almond flax muffins

Gluten-free Almond Flax Muffins

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 4 Tbsp plus 1/4 cup ground flax seeds, separated
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 7 dates, pits and “crown” removed
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/8 cup water, separated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. In a small bowl, whisk 4 Tbsp ground flax with 3/4 cup water and set aside for at least ten minutes. (This is your egg replacer.)
  2. In a large bowl combine almond flour, 1/4 cup flax, coconutbaking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a Vitamix or other high powered blender, blend dates, flax and water egg replacer, 1/8 cup water, oil, and vanilla on high speed until very smooth
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then stir in sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins.
  5. Spoon batter into lined muffin pan. These don’t rise much, so fill right up to the top of the liner.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool and serve.

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This chocolatey treat is oh-so-delicious, but it must stay cold!

Coconut oil liquifies over 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s imperative to store your fudge in the fridge. Otherwise, you’ll have a bowl of liquidy chocolatey goo, which isn’t the worst thing in the world (is chocolate ever bad, really?), but it will be significantly messier and harder to eat.

Coconut oil gets a bad rap in the US because it is higher in saturated fat than many other oils. Instead, most Americans turn to polyunsaturated fats and oils (safflower, canola, corn, soybean) and their hydrogenated counterparts (margarine, “I can’t believe it’s not butter).

Hydrogenated oils though are particularly bad because they convert to trans-fatty acids rarely found in nature. Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Trans fats are also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Coconut oil is unique. It is composed of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) as opposed to the long chain fatty acids in other oils. These MCFA’s do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and actually protect against heart disease.

Coconut oil is also high in lauric acid, which converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin exhibits antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It destroys organisms like fungus, bacteria and viruses.

Because of this, coconut oil helps treat candida albicans and fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot. It also specifically targets bacterial infections as well as lipid-coated viruses like herpes, the measles, influenza, hepatitis C and HIV.

Ok, ok … out of the laboratory and back to the kitchen.

Let’s put that bad rap to rest, and make a batch of this super-yummy coconut oil fudge.

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  1. Melt coconut oil til liquified
  2. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth
  3. Pour into Pyrex lasagna pan and cool in fridge until solid
  4. Cut into small pieces and store in fridge for up to 12 months, though it’s doubtful they’ll be around that long!

Ecodaddy brought some to work and it was a big hit, especially with the ladies. We do tend to have a soft spot for chocolate.

And as you can see, Ecogirl loved it too!

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