Tag Archives: chocolate

Double Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins.

Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free

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Look who joined us a week and a half ago!

BabyIsaac-15He’s just perfection. His big sisters are always asking to touch and kiss and look at him; I’ve never seen them so excited about washing their hands!

We’re in the midst of the sleep-deprived, nursing-round-the-clock newborn stage, and I don’t know how it is that I always forget with each kid just how ravenous I get when I’m nursing. Here’s what’s been getting me through the day (and night):

These banana muffins, made with gluten-free brown rice flour blend

These peanut butter balls – the oats and flaxseed are fantastic for milk supply!

My mom’s zucchini bread, in muffin form (recipe coming as soon as I get the gluten-free flours worked out!)

And of course, these new muffins. They’re inspired by this cake, which is quinoa-based and naturally gluten-free, and which we had for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year because we loved it so much. Quinoa is rich in protein, fiber, and iron, making it awesome for perpetually starving nursing moms, so I wanted to see if I could find a recipe that put the chocolate quinoa cake deliciousness into slightly-healthier muffin form. This one adds bananas for more vitamins and minerals, and removes the dairy! Wins all around! I decided to employ the cake recipe’s method of blending the quinoa until smooth in order to give the muffins that same delicious texture.

This recipe makes 1 dozen. Let’s just say I wish I’d doubled it right off the bat; they became such a fast family favorite, I don’t think there’ll be any left for me to snack on at 3am tonight!

Double Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins

Adapted from here

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice (I used King Arthur Measure for Measure–or use all-purpose flour if you don’t need gluten-free)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 2 large bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray the wells of a muffin tin with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in white and brown sugars.
  3. Place quinoa, bananas, eggs, and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Use a 1/4 cup triggered ice cream scoop to scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  7. Allow to cool several minutes, then remove from the muffin tin to finish cooling.
  8. Enjoy!
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Flourless double chocolate peanut butter muffins.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Clean eating | Paleo

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Not much to say about these muffins, except they’re quick, easy, and delicious! Don’t be dubious of the pumpkin – you can’t taste it at all. All it does is make these muffins incredibly moist! (And add a little extra veg to your daily intake…) This recipe yields about 18 muffins, or a dozen each of standard and mini muffins. The cupcake liners are purely optional; as you can see from the photo, the papers were practically falling off of the muffins straight out of the pan, and the mini muffins did just fine without liners of any kind.

Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Adapted from here

  • 2 large eggs, room temp, beaten
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life (or other vegan brand) mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray wells of muffin (or mini muffin) tins with soy-free cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the last in a large bowl with a rubber spatula. You’ll have to stir quickly at first to get the peanut butter to incorporate, but soon it’ll all come together. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Use a 1/4 cup (for standard) or 1/8 cup (for mini) triggered ice cream scoop to divide the thick batter into the wells of your muffin tins.
  4. Bake 23-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Do not overbake!

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Chocolate Frozen Custard.

Gluten-free | Nut-free

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Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! Last week was National Donut Day… I tend to wonder who it is that makes these arbitrary holidays, but regardless, if it means tasty food I’m all about it.

I found this recipe on Serious Eats awhile back and pinned it for a special occasion; I think this counts, right? I love frozen custard–you know, the soft, melt-in-your-mouth creaminess that you can find at Shake Shack, Culver’s, and the like. I never understood why it was so much more expensive than normal ice cream… until I read the ingredient list. Those egg yolks! But I tell you: they make it. We’ve made quite a bit of ice cream in our little Cuisinart over the years, and this is the one homemade ice cream that doesn’t turn to a block of ice in the freezer if we don’t eat it all in one sitting. (Which, trust me, you won’t; it’s rich, even for a self-professed chocoholic and ice cream aficionado like me!)

My oldest says this tasted like “brownie ice cream.” Yep.

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Chocolate Frozen Custard

Original recipe here — recipe below doubles it because I promise you’ll want more!

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light (clear) corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa until well incorporated. Carefully whisk in cream and milk until well blended.
  2. Heat on medium-low (but closer to medium) several minutes, whisking frequently, until 170 degrees–or until thickened enough that a custard forms on a spoon when you dip it in and a finger swiped across the back of the spoon leaves a clean line. (It sounds weird, but I bet it’ll make sense when you do it.)
  3.  Stir in salt and vanilla.
  4. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a freezer-safe airtight container, and chill in the refrigerator several hours, until very cold–40 degrees or so.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker according to your appliance’s directions.
  6. Return to your freezer-safe container and either serve immediately or freeze about 1 hour to firm up a bit.
  7. It tastes best within a couple hours of being made.
  8. Optional: if you want to make a “concrete,” finely chop toppings like M&Ms, Oreos, brownies, etc., freeze until hard, and then add to the ice cream maker during the last 2 minutes of churning. Enjoy it right away!

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Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake.

Paleo | Clean eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free

Sorry I’ve been kind of absentee lately… We’ve been starting to update our house, so instead of writing blog posts I’ve been pinning faucet designs and pricing granite.

In related news, here’s something for those nights where you feel like there isn’t enough chocolate in your whole house to possibly undo the doozy of a day you just had.

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It’s quick and easy to whip up, and gives you the rich, chocolaty, fluffy cake you need to decompress (and yes, it totally has a real cake texture, unlike most other microwave mug cakes I’ve tried, and somehow does it being gluten-free!) without the ill effects of a sugar binge.

And tonight I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and got myself a warm, gooey, Thin Mint cake! Keep this idea in mind for National Mint Chocolate Day on Friday!

Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

Original recipe here

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa or cacao
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • optional: 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • up to 2 Tbsp. dairy-free mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
  1. Spray the inside of a mug with soy-free cooking spray (I use PAM for Grilling).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients and mix until very well combined. It might turn rather thick as the coconut oil re-congeals in contact with the cold ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into mug. Microwave on high for 2 minutes 30 seconds, but start checking it at around 2 minutes. As soon as it stops expanding, it’s done. In my book, a little under-done is way better than overdone.
  5. Allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying, perhaps with a dollop of So Delicious CocoWhip and a few more mini chocolate chips!

We’re part of Tater Tots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza!

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Paleo double chocolate muffins/cupcakes and coconut cream frosting.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Paleo | Clean eating

These cupcakes may be decorated for Halloween, but let me begin by sharing something that I just learned:

Paleo baking isn’t scary!!!
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To keep the record straight, I have no intention of abandoning my beloved grains. But I had lately begun to notice that so much of my cooking was bordering on Paleo anyway–without being a buzzword–that it seemed like a logical experiment, especially when I learned that my oldest’s 1st-grade teacher is celiac.

So what is Paleo cooking? Basically the idea, and hence the name, is to eat what was available to our cave-dwelling ancestors (but a whole lot tastier and with more variety!): meat, eggs, seafood, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. No dairy, grains, sugar, or artificial junk. (Obviously the sprinkles are NOT Paleo.)

So clean eating is basically Paleo + dairy and whole grains. And when you’re eating dairy-free anyway, the only thing you have left to cut out is the grains! Again, I don’t plan to cut out grains altogether, but occasional paleo choices have helped me lower my carb intake and see results around my waistline, even when indulging in occasional treats like this one.

These are really just muffins with frosting, and they taste just fine without the frosting. In fact, my coconut-averse middle child (is she really my child???) prefers them without the frosting, but they’re so much more fun to decorate with it!

The verdict? Let’s just say that her teacher asked to know my secret to successful gluten-free baking.

Double Chocolate Paleo Muffins/Cupcakes

(original recipe here)

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (darker is better if you like richer muffins)
  • 3 Tbsp Enjoy Life or other allergy-friendly mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • optional: 1/2 scoop protein powder (we used Vega brand chocolate flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce or coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 9 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin tin.
  2. In a smallish bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, applesauce or oil, honey, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mix until well incorporated, then stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter into papers. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Coconut Cream Frosting

  • can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least 24 hours
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) vanilla
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) honey
  1. Keep can steady and DO NOT SHAKE while removing from the refrigerator and opening with a can opener. Skim the cream off the top and spoon into a small bowl.
  2. Add vanilla and honey; whisk well for 2 minutes. If desired, place back in the refrigerator to firm up more.
  3. Frost muffins and decorate as desired.

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Double-chocolate avocado whole-wheat muffins.

That’s quite a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? Let’s give them a tastier (i.e. not healthy-sounding) nickname: Happy Chocolate Muffins. Or something.

muffinsWho else has a picky eater in their house? My 15-month-old is ours. She won’t drink milk, so we’re still nursing (even at night – woo-hoo!), & though she’s consistently at around the 90th percentile for height, over the past 6 months we’ve seen her weight drop from 50th… to 30th… to 14th. One month we learned she lost a pound. Yikes! So under doctor’s orders I’ve been trying to find creative ways to incorporate the healthy fats she’s not getting from whole milk or the many foods she won’t eat into foods she will eat. I plan to post some of the tips & tricks I’ve been learning in the near future, but in the meantime, here’s my latest discovery:

Using avocado instead of butter or oil in baked goods.

Huge revelation!

Avocados are amazing. According to WebMD, “Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.”

So after one particularly scary weight check at the doctor’s office, I bought an avocado on sale & then asked my friends on Facebook for ways to sneak it into a picky toddler’s diet. I got tons of great ideas! Smoothies, mashed with bananas (that worked, like, once), & baked into stuff. One friend sent me the recipe below.

On the first try, these were tasty… if a little dense. The original recipe called for using all whole-wheat flour. The girls didn’t seem to mind, but, my husband said it tasted like a “chocolate bran muffin.” I remade them last night with half whole-wheat, half all-purpose, & they were an even bigger hit! If you’re concerned that your kids (or your husband!) will suspect & thus not eat the “healthy” muffins, start with the proportions below; then, if you want to make it healthier, gradually increase the proportion of whole-wheat. And don’t say anything about the avocado; you can’t taste it, & it’ll just give them a reason to turn up their noses at these. There’s no point if they won’t eat them, right? I also added flaxseed for more healthy fats, omega-3s, lignans, & fiber.

The original recipe was for mini-muffins, but since I don’t have a mini-muffin tin (what?!), mine are regular-sized. Mini-muffins are a perfect size to put in your little one’s lunchbox when school starts next month.

  • 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal (pour into 1-cup measuring cup before adding the flour & then fill the rest with the flour)
  • 1 1/3 cup (minus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour*
  • 1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large, ripe Hass avocado
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (if making mini-muffins, use mini chocolate chips)

* The original recipe calls for all whole-wheat flour, but my family is more likely to eat them this way.

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray wells of muffin tin generously with cooking spray. (I tried using papers, but they stuck like crazy. So don’t be like me.)
  2. Sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Beat the avocado & sugar together around 3 minutes, or until smooth. Isn’t that beautiful?avocado
  4. Beat in liquid ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients, stirring until incorporated.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon into wells of muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes for regular muffins, or 15 minutes for mini-muffins. Makes 2 dozen regular muffins or 4 dozen mini-muffins.

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S’mores Bars.

Wow. Just wow. Blondies + s’mores = droooooooool…

I pinned this months ago, but I’ve never been a consumer of Marshmallow Fluff — in fact, any time I think about it, the line from Julie & Julia comes to mind, “What eez zees marshmallow fluff?” But I followed Mel’s advice & overcame my Fear of the Fluff. SO WORTH IT.

Overcome your Fear of the Fluff & make these. Now. (Original recipe here.)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve of graham crackers, crushed)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff or creme
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet, but milk would be more authentically s’mores)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the short edges, & spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together butter & brown sugar. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed to low & gradually add flour mixture until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Press one half into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.
  6. Dollop on the marshmallow topping & gently spread in an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
  8. Scatter remaining dough in clumps on top, leaving some of the marshmallow & chocolate peeking through.
  9. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until golden & the marshamllow is good & toasty.
  10. Let cool completely before removing the bars using the foil, cutting, & enjoying.

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