Banana Cream Pie with Cocoa Crust

banana cream pieI had a random inclination to create a banana cream pie, so I followed my instincts and made one. I’m not sure where the desire came from, as I’ve never made banana cream pie before and have hardly ever eaten it in my life, but I figured it’d be a fun (and tasty) experiment. Plus, it gives all of you a dessert idea for Easter, if you’re celebrating. All around, I think it’s a great dessert for both spring and summer though.

There are a few steps in this recipe, but nothing is too complicated and the end result is delicious. If you want, you can even just make the filling and eat it as a pudding. If you do so, I recommend lining the bottom of the dish with banana slices, as you do for the pie.

Cheers and enjoy!

Cocoa almond crust ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp organic palm shortening (I used this one)
  • 1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey

Crust directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Add almond flour, cocoa powder and sea salt to food processor. Briefly pulse to combine. Then, add the shortening, egg, vanilla and honey. Pulse again until mixture is well combined and starts sticking together.
  3. Press mixture evenly into a 9.5-inch pie pan, using your hands. Then, poke several holes in crust with a fork.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like this one, which has no gums)
  • 2-1/2 medium just-ripe bananas
  • 1-1/4 tsp gelatin powder, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey or more to taste if you want it sweeter
  • Homemade coconut milk whipped cream, for topping, if desired (highly recommended)
  • Cacao nibs, for garnish, if desired
  • Extra just-ripe banana slices for garnish, if desired

Filling directions:

  1. Slice one of the bananas into about 1/4″ thin pieces and arrange on top of the crust.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup or so of the coconut milk to a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat. Once warm, whisk in the gelatin powder until completely dissolved.
  3. To a blender container, add the remaining coconut milk and 1-1/2 banana, along with the vanilla extract, pinch of sea salt, raw honey and gelatin mixture. Blend on high until smooth.
  4. Pour filling on top of cooled crust (it’s okay if it’s still a little warm) and place in fridge to set for a few hours.
  5. Once set, top with coconut milk whipped cream (or homemade dairy-based whipped cream if heavy cream is tolerated), cacao nibs and extra banana slices, if desired.

Grain-Free Blueberry Cobbler

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Blueberry season and fresh-picked berries call for cobblers and crisps, and my friend recently reminded me of this. I can’t tell you the last time I even made something of the sorts. Overall, I don’t do that much baking, but it is fun to take on a baking project every now and again. Not only that, but baked goods make the house smell so comfy and cozy. Sometimes, I feel like the smells are the best part!

Overall, the cobbler turned out well, but is best eaten day of and shortly after it comes out of the oven. Yes, it still tastes great the next day, but the dough part gets a little soggy from all berry juice. I actually didn’t mind it at all, especially because the flavor is still there and the dough is a little gritty versus totally mushy (since it’s almond flour/meal). You can be the judge though, but know that you’ve been forewarned, especially all you texture peeps out there.

Meanwhile, feel free to add your own flair to the cobbler — different berries and spices, shredded unsweetened coconut, nuts, etc. There’s a lot of room for variety with something like this, so have fun with it!

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For the berries:

  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour

Pour berries into a 9×9 baking dish. Mix with the coconut flour. Set aside.

For the dough:

  • 1 cup almond flour or meal (I used fresh ground from sprouted almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour/meal, coconut flour, sea salt, nutmeg, baking soda, lemon zest, lemon juice vanilla and honey.
  3. Add the butter and blend with your hands or with two knives until course crumbs form. Add the coconut milk and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms.
  4. Drop mounds of the dough on top of the berries. It doesn’t have to be neat — we’re not going for perfection here. It’s not supposed to be perfect, in fact!
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until dough is brown and berries are bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with coconut milk drizzled on top, if desired. Coconut milk whipped cream would also be delicious.

Yields: 4-5 servings

Cardamom Spice Sunbutter

Cardamom Spice Sunbutter.
Cardamom Spice Sunbutter.

Before you decide to make this recipe, here’s a few words of caution: do not attempt if you are not patient! That is no joke either! This was my first time making any sort of homemade sunbutter and it takes WAY longer than making nut butter. Holy cow, it was a good 30 minutes of back and forth blending and scraping the sides down. It might have even been longer! I couldn’t believe it, because nut butters come together in a flash, but not sunflower seed butter. With that said, be sure to allow yourself enough time and don’t expect it to come together in a pinch. In the end, it’s worth it because you have homemade sunbutter and saved money by making it yourself. Plus, it’s fun to play with flavor varieties, as I did here.

Also, if you don’t care for cardamom, feel free to omit it.

*****

Totally unrelated, but stay tuned for part II of my San Francisco trip, coming this Thursday! More great pictures to come!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 pitted medjool dates, or more if desired for extra sweetness
  • 1 Tbsp Madagascar pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine the sunflower seeds, coconut and dates. Blend until well ground into flour. Scrape down sides and continue to process.
  2. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and sea salt and continue to process, scraping the sides down as needed. Keep processing and scraping – back and forth, back and forth.
  3. Then, add the coconut oil and continue to process. Continue to blend and scrape. Taste and adjust spices and sweetness as desired.
  4. Once desired consistency is reached, pour into jars and store in the refrigerator. Before using, remove from fridge and let sit on the counter for a bit to soften and come closer to room temperature. It firms up quite a bit when cold.

*Note: You can make your sunbutter to be thick like a paste or creamy and runny, which takes more blending. Just watch out, so you don’t overheat your food processor! It takes A LOT of time.

Grain-Free Carrot Spice Bread

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It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve made something like this and it’ll probably be a while before it happens again. Don’t get me wrong, the bread is truly rad, but I don’t like having this kind of stuff around very often. It’s definitely a once in a while or special occasion treat.

I was prompted to make this the other day as a way to de-stress and take some downtime for myself. I was also in dire need to stand for a while. I had been at the coffee shop studying and sitting for 2-3 hours and all my body wanted to do afterward is stand and move. I figured, why not make some carrot bread? It seemed like a logical and tasty solution.

The bread came out moist, flavorful and subtly sweet, just the way I like it. It also made the whole house smell comfy and cozy because of the warm spices, so I got the added bonus of aromatherapy. It was just what I needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter, melted
  • 4 pastured eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with butter or coconut oil. I used this loaf pan, which is a medium size.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes or so, and then carefully remove and place on cooling rack. Let loaf cool for 10-15 minutes more before slicing.
  4. Enjoy with a nice pat of butter spread on top.

Yields: 1 loaf

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Double-Layer Chocolate Coconut Cake

Double-layer chocolate cake with coconut vanilla frosting. A special treat, indeed.

Remember how I said I’d post my Easter dessert later on? Well, here it is, a chocolate layer cake with coconut vanilla frosting. It was my first time making a grain-free chocolate cake and I’m happy to say that it turned out quite well. Jesse really liked it too, and he topped it with the dark chocolate body paint he got from my mom and sister. Remember how I opened it on his behalf at my wedding shower? See mom, it’s not tucked away in the bathroom cupboard, like you urged not to do! The paint brush isn’t getting any use though, as Jesse uses a spoon for drizzling! I admit, it does look (and smell) like really delicious chocolate and it is quite dark. Jesse says it’s very good.

The cake was adapted from The Healthy Chef’s naked chocolate cake recipe and the frosting was adapted from The Detoxinista’s lemon coconut frosting.

Clearly, Jesse was excited about his chocolate body paint.
Clearly, Jesse was excited about his chocolate body paint. Big drizzle much?

For the coconut vanilla frosting (double batch):

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and toss into the blender. Make sure to measure out the coconut flour exactly. Also, this can not be done with a hand mixer or whisk. You need to use a blender and be very patient!
  2. Blend for 30-45 seconds or until everything is mixed together well. Pour into a bowl once done. The mixture will not be thick yet. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set. I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  3. Before using, remove from refrigerator and mix well. Then, let the frosting soften to room temperature for a bit. This will make it much easier to spread.

For the cake:

  • 8 pastured eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, ghee or butter (I used a combo of coconut oil & grass-fed butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, cacao or cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a kitchen mixer or large bowl, beat together eggs, melted oil, vanilla, honey and apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer works just fine.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend. Once batter is blended and smooth, stir in shredded coconut by hand.
  5. Line two 9-inch cakes pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with coconut oil. Pour batter evenly into both pans.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes were done at about 24 minutes.
  7. Once done, remove from the oven to cool. Once cool, frost one of the cake tops with the frosting and stack the other cake on top. Then, frost the entire top and sides of the cake.
  8. Store any uneaten cake in the refrigerator.

Garnish with a fresh strawberry, if desired.

St. Patrick’s Day Recap

My St. Patty's Day meal.
My St. Patty’s Day meal.

Monday, already? It always comes so quickly, doesn’t it? Well, anyway, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and St. Patrick’s Day. Did you do or make anything special to celebrate? I made corned beef with carrots, onion and cabbage, which tasted delicious. I probably hadn’t eaten corned beef since I was between the ages of 12-15. I cheated a little and bought 2 lbs worth of fresh, local corned beef at Whole Foods. It was pre-brined and had spices rubbed all over it, and just needed to be cooked. I threw it in the Crock Pot with carrots, yellow onion, green cabbage and bone broth, and let it cook for about 4.5 hours. It was perfect and much better than the corned beef I recall eating as a kid. The beef was more brown than pink after cooking, because it didn’t contain any nitrates, but it did have beet powder in the brine, which allowed for a tiny bit of pink. I served it up for us in bowls, to allow for ladel-fuls of savory broth. Specifically, here’s what I did for the recipe:

Corned beef and cabbage

  • 2 lb pre-brined fresh corned beef, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 6-8 medium carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (I used orange and multicolored carrots)
  • 1 head of cabbage, quartered
  • 4 cups bone broth
  1. Place corned beef in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with carrots, onion and finally cabbage. Pour broth over everything, making sure the meat is covered by about 1-inch.
  2. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on high for about 4.5 hours.
  3. Slice meat against the grain to serve. Top with veggies and lots of broth. Watch out for loose peppercorns from the rub!

For a St. Patty’s Day treat, I whipped up the egg version of Against All Grain’s, cinnamon ‘oat’meal raisin cookies. Holy moly, these really do turn green too, especially as they sit and cool. The reaction of sunflower seed butter and baking soda causes the green to occur, in case you’re wondering. Mine turned just as green as Danielle’s (blogger of Against All Grain) did in her pictures! They almost look mossy and even look slightly blue, which may be in part from the raisins. Because of their mossy appearance, they’re definitely a Portland-appropriate cookie! We have a lot of moss here, because of rain and being in a valley.

Speaking of this recipe, I had to chuckle when I read some of the comments. One of the readers, who clearly doesn’t pay attention or read Against All Grain’s posts very often, asked how much oats are needed for the recipe because it wasn’t mentioned in the ingredients. I loved Danielle’s response, telling her that it is a grain-free site and there are no oats in the recipe! The unsweetened coconut is meant to emulate the oats. Some people are so oblivious, yet I find it entertaining…sometimes.

Danielle's pictures were so pretty, that I decided to borrow one. Mine wouldn't do the cookies as much justice! (Photo credit: Againstallgrain.com)
(Photo credit: Againstallgrain.com)

So, that was my St. Patrick’s Day. The rest of my weekend included (kind of) studying for finals, working on a final project, working at the gym, laundry and errands.

28th Birthday Recap & Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!

As you probably know, my birthday was this past Saturday, and boy, was it a good one! First of all, I had a wonderful night’s rest, which included sleeping with my bedroom window open, and woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside. It was a refreshing start to my day and made me smile. Then, I got ready for yoga and headed over to my studio. There’s nothing like a sweaty, challenging power vinyasa class to get the day going.

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Root Whole Body. (Taken on iPhone).

After yoga, I came home and made myself a wonderful breakfast. You may have seen it on Facebook, but if not, here’s what I ate:

Birthday breakfast.
Birthday breakfast: US Wellness Meats sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon, pasture-raised eggs cooked in garlic n’ herb pasture butter, avocado, and red chard and tomato cooked in the bacon grease. Not pictured, Numi Organics chocolate puerh tea.

Then, I got a surprise phone call from my 87-year old grandma and 90-year old grandpa back in Michigan. It was so touching and wonderful to hear their voices. Apparently, my dad was on the phone with them earlier in the day and asked if they wanted to call me on my cell and wish me a happy birthday. I’m so glad he offered up the idea! I love my grandparents dearly and they’ve always been a big part of my life.

Next on my agenda, a pedicure! I treated myself to a little TLC at a salon/spa down the road from us — literally just a 5-minute walk away. Lucky for me, I had a $20 off any service coupon that they sent me for Valentine’s Day, so my 50-minute pedicure only cost $20 (plus tip). Such a steal, and my toes look tons better. It was much needed.

A sneaky picture, in the midst of my pedicure.
In the midst of my pedicure. (Taken on iPhone).
After: pretty coral toes, and smooth, moist feet and lower legs. Don't mind the flip-flop marks on my feet. (Taken on iPhone).
After: pretty coral toes and smooth, moist feet and lower legs. Don’t mind the flip-flop marks on my feet. (Taken on iPhone).

The day continued with a drive up to Cultured Caveman for some chicken tenders. I LOVE their chicken tenders. They are crave-worthy. They’re dipped in a thin layer of coconut flour, egg white and spices, and then fried in grass-fed beef tallow. Garnished with course salt and dipped in homemade ketchup and/or aioli, they are divine. If you live in Portland and have not tried their chicken tenders and other delicious food, do it! And try some of my date/nut treats while you’re there…hehe.

Mmm...hot tenders!
Mmm…hot tenders! (Taken on iPhone).
A chicken tender smile. (Taken on iPhone).
A chicken tender smile. (Taken on iPhone).

Next, grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

Afterward, I hung out a home and did a itty bitty amount of homework. Then, I decided I wasn’t having any more of that on my birthday and put it away.

For my birthday dinner, we went to Cafe Nell, one of our favorite restaurants in Portland. We drank the loveliest chardonnay I have ever tasted and shared egg on horseback, minus the cheese. This is asparagus with a sunny side up egg and sage brown butter. For dinner, I had NY strip with roasted brussel sprouts. My phone pictures were really bad in here, especially the one I tried to take of my entree, so I don’t have a picture of that.

Dim lighting, a cozy fire and European-esque windows. The atmosphere here is one of my favorite things about this place.
Dim lighting, a cozy fire and lots of windows. The European feel of this place is one of my favorite things about it. (Taken on iPhone).

After dinner, we came home and ate some homemade butter pecan ice cream that I made earlier in the day, and watched the final episode of season 1 Downton Abbey. I had been wondering what all the hype was about this show and kept hearing people talk about it. Jesse and I finally checked it out on Netflix a couple weeks ago and loved it! I’m bummed that we have to wait for season 2 to come out on DVD before we can watch it, but oh well. That’s the nature of most everything we watch. You know what’s really funny? Up until watching this show for the first time, I thought it was called, “Downtown Abbey.” Am I the only one?

I had such a lovely birthday and feel so blessed. I’m just sad that it went by so fast. Now, it’s just a memory, but a good memory indeed.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

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Birthday butter pecan ice cream, equipped with a candle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 2 pasture-raised egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut cream (I used this brand)
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and let toast, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. The pecans will continue to absorb some of the butter while cooling.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, coconut milk, honey and sea salt together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream, vanilla and pecans. Place in the fridge to cool for a couple hours.
  3. Once chilled, add to ice cream maker and let churn for 17-20 minutes. Serve right away or empty into a container and store in the freezer.