Banana-Beet Chocolate Cake (GF)

IMG_6444

rich and delish

 

IMG_6430

just so you see how everything isn’t perfect! Still tastes good.

I found this recipe, modified it to suit my baking tastes, and boy is it good! Deliciously moist for a gluten-free product and keeps that way for days (covered).  I made mine in a non-stick bundt pan which gives it a nice appearance, and, as with all the recipes here — if it’s not a ‘keeper’, I don’t blog it.  Easy, easy, easy.  You can eat this as is – plain, and it’s great, but dress it up for any occasion and there will be no complaints from anyone– gluten-free or not.  Just make it.  I think you’ll actually be healthier after you eat this, too. ;)

Banana-Beet Chocolate Cake

adapted from a recipe from www.greenkitchenstories.com

Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, grated

1 medium cooked beet, grated

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup (real) maple syrup

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups almond flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a bundt pan or 8 x 8 inch baking pan. (I used non-stick as well). Dust pan with a bit of cocoa to prevent sticking.

Mix together in a medium sized bowl – banana, beet, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. Blend well.  In separate bowl, mix almond flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and when combined, add to wet ingredient and mix until well incorporated.

Pour batter into greased bundt pan or an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out fairly clean. Remove from oven, let cool and then loosen cake and pop out onto a cake platter or plate. Cool. Serve plain or with whip cream, yogurt, chocolate sauce, berries – get creative and enjoy.  Keeps for several days, covered.  (but won’t last that long).   Cheers! Enjoy.

IMG_6408

easy ingredients

mix together grated beet, banana, egg, oil, vanilla and syrup

mix together grated beet, banana, egg, oil, vanilla and syrup

baked in bundt pan, tastes great plain

baked in bundt pan, tastes great plain

it's this good.

it’s this good.

everybody enjoys this cake

everybody enjoys this cake

 

 

 

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf (made with steel-cut oats)

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf with pecans (optional)

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf with pecans (optional)

fruity breakfast pilaf

fruity breakfast pilaf

I love this recipe, not only because it’s delicious, but because of it’s make-ahead ability, ensuring you have a healthy, low-glycemic breakfast that really sticks to your ribs.  Steel-cut oats are used, making this recipe a lower glycemic option to flaked oats or instant oats. Remember, the more processed oats are (or grains in general),  the quicker they convert to sugar in your body. So, it takes some extra time to cook these oats (30 minutes), but when you make a batch large enough for 4 or 5 days, it’s not really that much of a time investment. Just reheat in the microwave and Bob’s yer uncle, as they say.  Feel free to change up the fruit and nut component to your liking. You can find steel-cut oats in every grocery store in the cereal aisle.  ***You can use any grain in this recipe (rice, millet, quinoa – just adjust the water amount and cooking time according to package directions).***

Fruity Breakfast Pilaf

adapted from VB6 by Mark Bittman

serves 6 

Ingredients:

1.5 tbsp cooking oil (I used coconut oil)

I 1/3 cups steel-cut oats

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger

2 tbsp real maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 cups berries, fresh or frozen (divided – 1 cup added at end of cooking)

4 cups water

Directions:

Put the oil in a large non-stick pan or medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add the steel cut oats. Cook and stir for approximately 4 minutes until kernels are starting to colour and are well covered in oil. Add salt and spices, stirring until fragrant.  Add 4 cups of water, maple syrup and 1 cup of fruit. (I used blueberries). Stir, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally for about 25-30 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed and oat kernels are tender.

Uncover, and stir in remaining cup of fruit (I used raspberries) and serve with milk product of choice (very nice tasting with nut milk or coconut milk beverage) and additional nuts, if desired.  You can eat these without any milk product if you prefer.

If making ahead, let cool (covered) then place in a container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  Reheat individual portions in microwave.

steel cut oats

steel cut oats

Saute oats in oil, add spices

Saute oats in oil, add spices

add water, syrup, nuts and fruit

add water, syrup, nuts and fruit

simmer, covered (stirring occasionally) for 25-30 mins

simmer, covered (stirring occasionally) for 25-30 mins

serve with milk product of choice and nuts (optional)

serve with milk product of choice and nuts (optional)

Maple Baked Beans with Apples

maple baked beans

maple baked beans

maple baked beans with apples

maple baked beans with apples

Maple syrup season in Ontario is almost upon us, so I thought I’d put out this tried and true “best baked beans ever” recipe.  I’ve made this recipe so many times and I’m always amazed at how darn good these beans taste.  I used this recipe when we owned Sunsets Restaurant and it was a huge seller– we couldn’t make beans fast enough.  I found the most logical way to make them is in a large slow cooker (5L).  They do take about 5 hours – so there’s no use tying your oven up for that long, but you can make them in a casserole dish in your oven as well.  These freeze perfectly so you might as well make a huge batch, although this recipe can be halved (and cooked in a regular size slow cooker).

Maple Baked Beans with Apples

adapted from The Canadian Living Cookbook

serves 16

Ingredients (first stage):

1 kg navy beans

12 cups water

3 cups chopped onions

1/2 pound bacon, diced

1 cup real maple syrup

1/3 cup ketchup

2 tbsp tomato paste

4 tbsp molasses

1.5 tbsp dijon mustard

3 tsp salt

————————————————————–

Last stage ingredients:

4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup amber rum, optional

Directions:

Wash beans, discarding any shriveled or discoloured ones.  Place beans in a big pot, pour over water and let stand overnight.

Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until tender (but not falling apart)  – about 1 hour.  Drain.

While beans are cooking, prepare your other ingredients.  Turn slow cooker to ‘high’.

Place all ‘first stage’ ingredients into slow cooker as well as beans. Stir.  Add enough fresh water to just barely cover. (see picture)

When beans start to bubble around the edges (about an hour), reduce slow cooker heat to ‘low’.  Let cook, checking to make sure they don’t dry out (and adding more water to just cover if they do) for another 3  hours — until brown and very tender.   Add ‘last stage’ ingredients (apples, butter and brown sugar and rum, if using)  and continue to let cook for 1 more hour.  Stir. Taste to adjust for salt. Enjoy.

*oven instructions – same as above – using 300F oven and bake for 3 hours, then add apples and cook another hour. Use a dutch oven, or le creuset style pan – or a clay bean pot if you are lucky enough to have one.

Soak beans overnight, then bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Drain.

Soak beans overnight, then bring to a boil and simmer for an hour. Drain.

place all 'first stage' ingredients into slow cooker

place all ‘first stage’ ingredients into slow cooker

add enough water to cover and stir well

add enough water to cover and stir well

Add just enough water to cover beans. Top up during cooking if necessary.

Add just enough water to cover beans. Top up during cooking if necessary.

place sliced apples on top of beans. (after 3 or 4 hours of cooking)

place sliced apples on top of beans. (after 4 hours of cooking)

drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar over apples

drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle brown sugar over apples

beans are ready! Tender beans, and apples are cooked.

beans are ready! Tender beans, and apples are cooked.

maple baked beans with apples

maple baked beans with apples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walnut-Date Chews (gluten free)

Walnut Date Chews

Walnut Date Chews

IMG_5957

These are the best cookies if you want to avoid too many carbs, refined sugar, gluten, egg and dairy! Even if you aren’t avoiding these things, they are the best cookies. You know how after dinner you just want a little sweet? This fits the bill with absolutely no guilt and all pleasure.  It’s based on ‘bliss ball’ recipe but I’ve refined and adapted it to be even more blissful. I sometimes even crumble one on my yogurt in the morning.  They are a snap to make,  so get going.

Walnut-Date Chews

makes 16-20 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups walnuts

1/3 cup dates, diced (make sure they are soft – reconstitute them with boiling water if they are hard )

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Place walnuts in bowl of food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times until roughly chopped.  Sprinkle dates over top and pulse 5 or 6 more times.  Add vanilla, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt.  Continue to pulse until walnuts and dates are finely minced and a nutty ‘dough’ has formed.  You may have to take the top of and move the mixture around, pressing it down, then pulse a few times, then repeat until it’s evenly processed.

Using a 1 tbsp scoop,  scoop balls of nut mixture onto cookie sheet.  Shape into flat-topped circles.  If using, place 2 chocolate chips on each cookie. (just for fun and a little hit of chocolate–so good).  Cookies only need to be about an inch apart, you can fit them all on one sheet.

Place in preheated oven for 9 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy! Store in airtight container for 1 week, or freeze for up to a month.

process until fairly fine

process until fairly fine

these are the best dates

these are the best dates

1 tbsp of dough

1 tbsp of dough

bake at 350 for 9 mins

bake at 350 for 9 mins

 

YUM

YUM

 

 

 

 

Christmas Goodies

Ginny

Ginny

It’s that time of year again – it’s coming fast too! Here are  some links to some sweet and savory Christmas goodies– people always appreciate a home-baked gift.  These are some of my well-tested and favourite baking recipes. Happy Holiday to all of you and all the Best for 2014!

Healthy Nutty Balls

Savory Double Cheese Pecan Shortbreads

Cranberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Traditional Shortbread

Ginger Cookies

Almond-Oatmeal Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Peanut Butter Buds

Big, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Glazed Mini Pumpkin Scones

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Fruity Butter Tarts

Fast Cinnamon Buns

Continue reading

Asian Maple-Ginger Pork

IMG_5620

IMG_5632

This recipe is an old standby that I’ve been making forever.  With  my kids all over the planet and cooking on their own, I thought I better put this one out into the world with them.  It’s great – easy, fast and delish – the tender pork just makes it so good.  It’s comfort food in our house. I prefer to use  ‘tamari’ over ‘soya sauce’.  It’s milder and available in gluten free – so try that if you aren’t a regular user of it – you’ll probably never use soya sauce again.  Cheers. Continue reading

Cranberry Lemon Ricotta Cake

Cranberry-Lemon Ricotta Cake

I couldn’t resist a basket of freshly harvested organic cranberries at the farmer”s market this morning.  Since I was making this ricotta cake today, I simply topped it with some of these tart little jewels. Check it out – this recipe is adapted from a traditional Italian recipe and I’ve modiified it so that it contains less sugar, spelt flour (which is a non-gmo ancient wheat grain), and  added a bit of vanilla.  So, the cake maintains it’s moist lemony goodness, but is Canadianized with cranberry and pear.   This will be really good for Thanksgiving dinner or  If you want an everyday cake to have on the counter for the weekend, or a birthday cake for a loved one or an excellent dessert for a dinner party – it’s really versatile because it’s just damn good.  The gluten-free version can be found here: GF Ricotta Cake,  You can also find a pictorial tutorial at that link if you have questions or need direction. Continue reading