Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

Guess who is going to visit GF Guy tomorrow?

…. THIS KID!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t seen him in over two months! …Too long, if you ask either of us. I have been bustling about all weekend doing laundry, packing, and baking GF Guy’s favorite treat, banana bread.

I have developed countless versions of my mom’s classic recipe, rarely making the same one twice. Today’s version features a new product by Earth Balance, makers of my favorite non-dairy buttery spread. Earth Balance recently released two Organic Culinary Spreads, Sweet Cinnamon and Roasted Garlic & Herbs.

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Both are delish, and transform any dish they are added to. I have used the Roasted Garlic & Herbs Spread to saute’ vegetables, make homemade GF/DF garlic bread, pan-fry tofu, and countless other recipes. The Sweet Cinnamon, I had only spread on toast. Well, with today’s recipe, I have discovered a whole new world of uses for this spread! I can’t wait to keep exploring it’s many uses.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Spread. You can substitute any butter or butter substitute. However, if you are able to find the Culinary Spreads in your local grocery store, I highly recommend you give them a try!

Sweet Cinnamon Banana Nut Bread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Xanthum Gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 over-ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance Organic Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread
  • 2 Tblsp Unsweetened Original Almond-Coconut Milk
  • 2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, & tapioca flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together one cup of the flour mixture, the sugar, xanthum gum, baking powder, baking soda, & salt.
  4. Add the mashed banana, Earth Balance Sweet Cinnamon Culinary Spread, & almond-coconut milk.
  5. Beat on low speed until just blended, & then on high speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs & the remaining flour and beat until blended.
  7. Fold in the chopped walnuts by hand.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased 8x4x2 loaf pan. (or 3 mini-loaf pans)
  9. Bake in your preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, until done. (35-40 minutes for mini-loaves)
  10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before turning onto a cooling rack.
  11. Cool completely before slicing.

Maple Pumpkin Cornbread

So…. I made a new recipe. It looked and tasted delicious. It tasted so delicious, in fact, that GF Guy and I ate it all before I got around to taking a picture…. (insert hashtag #foodbloggerproblems)

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I debated posting the recipe or not, since there is no picture. In the end, I decided to risk it and use a stock photo (giving proper credit, or course). Hopefully you will all forgive the oversight once you taste it.

This cornbread recipe could almost be called a corn-cake. Sweet and airy, this moist cake tastes like a fall version of Boston Market’s cornbread, only gluten-free and dairy-free! I ate some with pumpkin chili and another piece for dessert topped with a little pumpkin puree!

Maple Pumpkin Cornbread

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large Eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Water (2/3 cup if baking at a high altitude)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 cup Cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Xanthum Gum

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. (375 degrees F if baking at a high altitude)
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, water, and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into an oiled 8×8 baking pan.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely before serving.

“Mighty Tasty” Whole Grain Honey Muffins

Holy YUM!!!! These muffins are delicious!

I woke up on my day off at 6:30am with a recipe jumping up and down in my brain. I groaned and rolled over, willing the recipe to go away and let me sleep. It didn’t work….

I rolled out of bed, ran into the wall (my equilibrium is always “off” in the morning), and blindly stumbled into the kitchen. Keeping my priorities at least slightly, I started a pot of coffee before setting to work mixing a bit of this, and a bit of that, together in a bowl. By the time the coffee was ready, I had a batch of muffins in the oven and the dishes scrubbed and dripping on the drying rack.

Let me tell you what…. It was all worth it! These subtly sweet muffins are addicting! I have already eaten two, and now you must excuse me, because I am going to go get a third!

“Mighty Tasty” Whole Grain Honey Muffins

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Honey, plus additional for serving
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk (1 cup for high altitude)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. (425 for high altitude)
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.
  5. Scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with paper muffin liners. Each muffin cup should be about 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire baking rack before serving with Earth Balance Spread and Honey.

I’m Going to Turn Into a Pumpkin!….

No, seriously… I am going to turn into a pumpkin! I eat more pumpkin puree than any one person should be able to handle. It’s just so good! I can’t help myself. For instance, this week I had:
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal
and now, a Pumpkin Parfait

Really, the parfait is just Pumpkin puree layered with Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax cereal in a fun goblet. Not much of a recipe, but oh so delicious!
I feel that if you must wake up at 5:00AM, you deserve to eat your pumpkin out of a pretty glass. That’s all I’m sayin’…

What do you do to make waking up obscenely early bearable?

A Chip off the Old Block….

I have seen Kale Chips all over the place for the past year or so. Personally, I have enjoyed eating them, but had never gone as far as to attempt to make them myself. Last night I decided the time had come. I had a bunch of Curly Kale starring at me from the back of my refrigerator, a hankering for something crunchy, and a pantry devoid of snack food. It was time!
I actually try to keep chips and other snack-y foods out of my house. I tend to eat when I get bored or stressed. By not having trigger foods in the house, I am forced to snack on things like baby carrots and cucumbers. They are much healthier options when hit by a snack attack. 
Kale Chips are an excellent way to eat your greens without feeling like you are! Feel free to play with the spices. If you don’t like Curry, stick with Sea Salt! Go crazy with Cumin! The sky is the limit!


Curry Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Curly, Green Kale, washed and dried
  • Non-stick Cooking Spray
  • 1/2-1 tsp Curry Powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Tear Kale into “chip size” pieces.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Place kale onto cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle with curry powder.
  6. Roast about 10 minutes in preheated oven.
  7. Chips are done when the edges are nice and crispy.
Do you eat when you are bored or stressed?
What are your tricks to curbing unhealthy snack attacks?
What are your favorite snack foods?

    My Sunny Honey….

    A few days ago, I arrived home from ballet to find a mystery box on my doorstep. 
    Mail time has always been an exciting time for me. Even as a child, I would race to be the one to have the honor of opening the mailbox and seeing what goodies might be inside! 
    Even if it is nothing but garbage, it is the mystery of the unknown and the chance of greatness that lure me in every time! (I am such a dork!)
    Back to the mystery package….
    I excitedly broke open the tape and began riffling through the styro-foam popcorn to find a glass jar filled with the most glorious, crystal clear honey you can imagine. My Fairy Blog-Mother, started her very own bee hive this year and sent me a jar of her first harvest of honey! The taste was like no honey I have ever sampled. It was light, smooth, and sheer perfection… Honey in its purest form. I think it was the love that went into these bees that produced such miraculous clarity of flavor and texture. Inspired, I put together this recipe. It is a delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, AND nut-free snack sure to bring out the kid in all of you! 
    Thank you Sweetpea! You are a wonderful friend!

    Sunny Honey Dip
    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free)



    Ingredients:

    * 1/3 c Organic Sunflower Seed Butter
    * 2 Tblsp Rice Milk
    * 2 Tblsp Honey
    * 1 Tblsp Organic Apple Juice
    * 1/8 tsp ground Cinnamon

    Directions:

    1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended.
    2. serve with Apple Slices, Carrot Sticks, or Celery.

    Just a note: I am using and posting a lot of my recipes on my work website.

    Chickpea Nuggets….

    Who doesn’t fondly recall childhood memories of chicken nuggets? They were a staple of my diet until the age of ten! These days the thought of breaded, fried chicken pieces makes me want to ralf! Instead, try these golden nuggets of goodness.

    Mini Chickpea Cakes/ “Chickpea Nuggets”

    (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian)

    Ingredients:

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
    3. In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas/garbanzo beans coarsely with a fork or potato masher. Stir in carrots, breadcrumbs, salad dressing, and egg; mix well.
    4. Shape chickpea mixture into small patties, using about 1 Tablespoon of the mixture for each patty. Place on prepared baking sheets.
    5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, turning halfway through baking time, until chickpea cakes are lightly browned on both sides. Serve with additional salad dressing for dipping.
    Feel free to switch up the Salad Dressing according to your preference, or to add your own flair with spices. Diced Jalapeno Peppers add an awesome “zing” to these nuggets!
    What would you add?!
    This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

      A Taste of Home….

      People often tease me about being a stereotypical 1950′s housewife.

      I can’t help that I like to cook things from scratch! It’s healthier and tastes so much better. Even working full-time, if you plan ahead, homemade meals can be a possibility every day!
      Sadly, most children today are unfamiliar with the smell of a good home cooked meal. Pizza and fast food are taking over our dinner menus and ruining our health.  Studies by the American Dietetic Society are finding an increased risk of developing cancer due to a standard American diet, rich in red meat, processed foods, and sodium and lacking in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In fact, one-third of all cancers are directly related to poor nutrition!
      Cooking at home can solve a myriad of health problems ranging from obesity to high cholesterol. Americans are busy people, but the American Institute for Cancer Research is here to help! They have compiled a guide entitled “Homemade for Health”, filled with helpful cooking tips for busy families. Tips include:
      • Buy frozen, pre-cut vegetables or prewashed greens. Toss vegetables into salads, pasta sauces, stews, lasagna, pizzas, quiche, sandwiches or omelets.
      • Buy bags of frozen berries for breakfast smoothies.
      • Reclaim prime time. Instead of taking your dinner into the family room – by eating takeout food on the couch – take the TV into the kitchen. Ask the entire family to help prepare dinner while watching their favorite shows.
      • In place of shuttling kids between games and lessons – and stopping for fast food on the way home – cancel one activity a week and ask the children to help you make dinner.
      • When using prepared foods or frozen dinners, add one or two steamed or microwaved vegetables to the plate.
      • Choose the right ingredients. Red or tan new potatoes give a meal extra fiber, for example, but don’t need to be peeled.
      • On the weekend, cook an extra-large batch of a healthy dish, divide it into individual servings and freeze small portions for later.
      • When making tomato sauce, tacos or fajitas, use twice as many vegetables but half as much meat or cheese.
      • Stock the pantry with healthful foods that can be prepared quickly, such as minced garlic and canned chickpeas.
      • To coax kids into eating more vegetables, purée the veggies into soups.
      My latest homemade challenge was gluten-free Granola Bars using certified Gluten-Free Oats by Bob’s Red Mill.
      • Oats Help Lower Cholesterol- “Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%.”  By lowering high cholesterol, you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke! (- whfoods.com)
      • Oats Help Stabilize Blood Sugar- The soluble fiber found in oats aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout your day. Oats are much lower on the Glycemic Index than white bread or rice due to their high fiber content. By eating a fiber filled breakfast, you are taking control of your blood sugar from the very start of your day!
      • Oats Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes- Oats are rich in magnesium. Studies have shown individuals who eat a diet rich in magnesium displayed significantly lower risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
      The following recipe can be tweaked to fit your personal tastes. Change the fruit, nuts, or spices! Use Quinoa Flakes instead of Rolled Oats! Enjoy!

      Homemade Granola Bars

      (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)

      Ingredients:

      Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×12 baking dish with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
      2. Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seed meal.
      3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
      4. Place the coconut oil, agave nectar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
      5. Pour mixture into the prepared 8×12 baking dish. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until light, golden brown. Cool in pan at least 2-3 hours before cutting.
      What would be your dream Granola Bar combination? 
      This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!

      Party Food….

      Confession….. I am exhausted…. I haven’t had a day off in almost 2 weeks. I work 10+ hour days in addition to my hour long commute. I have somehow still found the energy to cook. Probably because that is my release. But still…. I am pooped! Even the Energizer Bunny gets a little droopy now and then.

      May is Celiac Awareness Month, so I am planning some exciting in-store events, and this weekend is the Autism Speaks Walk for Autism. Needless to say, life just keeps getting busier and busier. Sometimes I just wish someone would cook me dinner, wash my face, brush my teeth, and tuck me into bed.
      MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!…………
      Today’s recipe is one I demo-ed at work a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

      Baseball season is here and GF Guy and his family are BIG fans! I used them as my inspiration for the in-store recipe campaign at work a few works ago. We all need fun finger food recipes to feed a crowd. This one is perfect to make the night before and then bake right before you are ready to turn on the Big Game. (PS- This picture is one I took for the product reps so they could get a basic idea of how we set up the product. Don’t make fun!)

      Pizza Poppers
      Ingredients:
      - 1 package Bob’s Red Mill Whole Gran Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix
      - 1 1/2 cups Warm Water
      - 2 Eggs
      - 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      - Yeast Packet (included in Crust Mix)
      - 8oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or Vegan Mozzarella)
      - 2 tsp. Italian Herbs
      - 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      - 3 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese (or Vegan Parmesan)
      - Muir Glen Pizza Sauce (for dipping)
      In a large bowl, combine water and yeast. Let stand a few minutes.
      Add eggs and 2 Tbsp. oil to the mixture and blend briefly. Add GF Pizza Crust Mix and blend about a minute on medium speed, until combined. Leaving dough in a bowl, split in half, cover with plastic srap and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
      Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease 3 pie pans, or 1 large jelly roll pan.
      Pinch off dough in walnut size pieces as you go.
      I each piece of dough place about 1 tsp. Mozzarella Cheese. Seal dough around the cheese and place seam side down in the pie pan.
      Once assembled, combine Oil and spices and brush over the dough balls. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.
      Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden.
      Serve with warm pizza sauce.
      What is your favorite party food? Mine is Veggies with Peach and Mango Salsa for dipping!