It’s week 21 of my pregnancy, and I’m starting to feel the weight of the baby right on my bladder, not to mention the occasional muscle spasms which indicate my body “practicing” for delivery, and what I’m guessing is to be some movement of our little brotchen:

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He’s looking nice and healthy…and yes, it’s a BOY!!!

Here’s proof of the gender:

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Butt shot with a clear view. :)

Food = Fatigue? I’ve been feeling really tired the past several days, and I wasn’t sure why. Sleep was okay, exercising was okay (when I wasn’t too tired) but I was still struggling to keep my eyes open after breakfast. I decided to change up what I was eating, starting with breakfast. No more peanut butter and toast, even with a cup of calcium-fortified soy moo. Maybe cutting out the wheat would help, at least for breakfast (including sprouted grain breads.)

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Clockwise from top: coconut biscuit, apple cinnamon raisin, and pumpkin muffin with almond sprinkles.

Grain, Grain, Go Away I came across several grain-free muffin recipes from wellnessmama.com the other day, and boy, are they GOOD! I made three versions already: apple cinnamon (with raisins), pumpkin, and also some coconut biscuits to serve with some buffalo chili we had last night. They all were delicious, and since they were grain free it was a great way to see if grains–including my sprouted wheat toast–may have contributed to my all-day fatigue.

The Results were Inspiring Well, I certainly didn’t feel like taking a nap after eating those delicious muffins, so maybe I’m on the right track. More protein than your average muffin, low in carbs, and they contains healthy fats. It’s wonderfully moist and tastes even better cold–and not many muffins can brag about that! So taken was I by wellnessmama’s muffins, I wanted to make a chocolate version. Following her cinnamon apple muffin recipe, I made a few modifications. The result: a light, sponge-like chocolate cake-muffin dotted with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s makes a delicious snack, or even a bonus to your already healthy breakfast. Now who’s ready for a grain-free muffin?

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Moist cakes with a slightly spongy texture and rich chocolate flavor.

Double Chocolate Muffins inspired by wellnessmama’s grain-free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (gluten-free ones such as Enjoy Life, if you’re allergic)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients (not chocolate chips.) Push to the sides, making a well in the center. To the middle of the bowl, add eggs, apple sauce, agave syrup, vanilla, and coconut oil. Blend wet ingredients on medium-high speed for a few seconds, then incorporate dry ingredients by “grabbing” flour mixture from the sides with the beaters and blend until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in chocolate chips. (NOTE: batter may be liquidy, so to keep chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom, sprinkle on muffin tops after baking for 2 minutes–batter will firm up–then return to oven and bake for the remaining time.)

Using a 1/4 cup scoop, fill 12 muffin tins. Sprinkle top with extra chocolate chips, if you like. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a little bit of a moist crumb. Cool on a wire rack.

You can store these muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or tightly wrap in foil and freeze for up to 2 months.

Be sure to visit www.wellnessmama.com for other delicious recipes as well as tips and ideas on making homemade cleaning products, beauty treatments, and other information on easier, healthier living.

On Tuesday I posted a recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Brownies and now here’s the chocolate chip version!

If you are tired of using rice flour in your brownies, try these out. The mixture of oat and buckwheat flour plus roasted pumpkin (or sweet potato, if you prefer) is the right combination to make a rich, dense, chocolaty brownie…like this one:

Chocolate chip brownies: moist, delicious, and gluten-free.


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Brownies,
makes 16 squares

Ingredients:

3/4 cup mashed roasted pumpkin, pumpkin puree, or mashed roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia D’Oro)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips (such as Ghiardelli) or pecans, or both

Directions:

Combine roasted pumpkin or sweet potato with chopped dates. Cover and refrigerate least 2 hours so dates can absorb moisture from the pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8″x8″ pan with foil, allowing 2″ of overhang on sides. Coat with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine wet ingredients (pumpkin through vanilla). Set aside.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) with a whisk. Make a well in center and pour in wet ingredients. Mix until combined.

Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips or pecans, patting lightly with fingers to set the chips into the batter. Bake for 25-27 minutes, center will still be moist when tested with a toothpick.

Cool for 10 minutes and cut into 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge or tightly wrap with plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to a month. Enjoy!

When I was in the 6th grade, I did a book report on this:

I was pretty excited about doing this report because 1) it was on chocolate and 2) I gave out samples. :)

As I talked about the different kinds of chocolate I handed out paper muffin liners of  unsweetened, bittersweet and milk chocolate chunks to the class. The students were probably more excited about the “candy” than my book report, and I recall my teacher Mrs. Higaki grimacing when she got a taste of the unsweetened chocolate (ewww, bitter! said her expression!) I don’t remember what grade I got, but I remember being really excited about sharing one of my favorite things in the world: food! (and chocolate food, no less!)

So this week’s Flavor of the Week is the very popular happy-go-lucky CHOCOLATE!

In the vanilla Flavor of the Week post a couple weeks ago I mentioned my parents recently sending me a dozen home-grown vanilla beans. You know what else they sent? Hawaii-grown cacao nibs!  They’re about the size of a brazil nut and are processed similarly to coffee (fermented, dried, roasted.) But rather than a berry, these nibs grow in a large, thick-rinded pod that is harvested off the tree trunk:

And, like vanilla, cacao was also cultivated by the Aztecs (they got the best of both worlds, didn’t they?)

Deconstruction of a roasted cacao bean

But with chocolate, it’s hard to get the best of both worlds. You get the antioxidant benefits of cocoa, but the unhealthy effects of sugar. Thankfully chocolate is just an occasional indulgence so enjoying a few sweet treats every now and then won’t reverse all the other good things you do for your health (like eating fresh fruits and veggies, taking your vitamins, exercising, and having fun while you’re at it!) But if you’re like me and are looking to cut down on dairy and wheat, then today is your lucky day!

I love homemade chocolate chip cookies, nothing beats the crispy-chewy texture from the butter and flour (or so I thought) until I came across a really good alternative to the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cutting back on my wheat and dairy, I wanted a chocolate chip cookie recipe that used neither wheat flour nor butter, and I happened across a wonderful cookie recipe at “Angie and James do stuff.” In her recipe, Angie uses spelt flour and hazelnut meal instead of all-purpose flour. That already sounded great! Although I made a few substitutions, I REALLY liked the results, and so did my husband. So much, in fact, that he even ate the burnt ones! (can you imagine how delicious the normal cookies were??) To view the original recipe, click here. Thank you, Angie, for letting me use your delicious recipe…it was just what I needed! :)

Thin, crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies: wheat-free, dairy-free*

3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup ground almonds (texture of cornmeal)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips*
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*I used Nestle semisweet chocolate chips, which has milk fat, but items like Ghiarardelli semi sweet chocolate chips, Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips, and Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chips have no dairy ingredients listed. I have used Ghirardelli in previous cookie recipes and the texture/consistency were very similar (if not same) to Nestle’s.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.

With a wire whisk, combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips.) Add softened coconut oil and mash into mixture until coarse but well-combined. Sprinkle in vanilla and add egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop rounded teaspoons of cookie mix onto baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until edges are browned and middle is golden.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container, will keep for 2 days before they are all gone!

Coconut oil makes them spread more, but the addition of ground almonds give them a different taste and texture from a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

Nooooo!!!

Not to worry, Wolfie doesn’t like cookies; he was just wondering what I was up to!

Do you have a twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie? What was the BEST TASTING cookie you ever had? (If you have a pic, I’d love to see it!)

perfect little bites of your favorite ice cream and cake

Happy Birthday to The Recipe Redux! This month we are celebrating their first successful year of delicious and healthy recipes with “Small Bites to Celebrate a Big Event.” And this is definitely a BIG EVENT!

I decided to make a favorite two-in-one dessert: ice cream cake! And with the first day of summer, what better way to enjoy it than in cute, bite-sized portions? This dessert has only two ingredients, but you can have any flavor ice cream, frozen yogurt, cake, or even brownie that you want. Want a variety of flavors? I say go for it!

All you need is cake mix, frozen yogurt or ice cream, a jelly roll pan, a small round cookie cutter about 1 1/4″ in diameter, and some fresh fruit to garnish. Alternatively, you can layer the ice cream on the cake, freeze it, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Either way, it’ll be cool, delicious and very fun to eat!

Cherry Garcia Fro Yo and gluten-free chocolate cake


Ice Cream Cake Bites – using frozen yogurt and gluten-free cake recipe

One Bowl Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe, slightly modified from original at food.com:

3 cups GF flour mix
1 1/2 tablespoons xanthan gum
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons instant espresso
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups coffee
ice cream or frozen yogurt of your choice
fruit and herbs to garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray, set aside. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add all liquid ingredients, mix well. Bake  for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Using a round cookie cutter about 1 1/4″ in diameter, cut as many rounds as you need (you can make around 60-72 for one jelly roll sheet) and set aside on wax paper.

To assemble, place one cake round into cookie cutter. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of ice cream inside cookie cutter, place another cake round, banana slice, or strawberry slice inside cookie cutter and press down firmly, being careful not to squish the ice cream down the sides of the cake. Hold top down with index finger while unmolding. Place on wax sheet-lined plate, repeat with 4  more then transfer to freezer to firm up for at least 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately!

No birthday is complete without cake and ice cream!

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

 

Happy WIAW, everyone! Jenn at Peas and Crayons has brought us another opportunity to share some tasty bites and great recipes with everyone, so please check out her site to see what everyone’s been snacking on lately…it just might be something you’re craving!

The week went by so fast, and I somehow feel a bit more disorganized than usual. I didn’t have a game plan for today’s WIAW, particularly for this month’s theme, so instead of a new recipe I will reintroduce some of my favorite healthy snacks  inspired by other bloggers and favorite recipes.

I woke up with a crazy sweet tooth and actually considered making a batch of chocolate chip cookies for breakfast! But instead of cookies, I ended up having a piece of toast with Nutella, a blob of vanilla coconut cream, strawberries and crunchy peanut butter:

This filled me up quite a bit, but I think I would have been better off with a green shake.

Lunch was leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. It’s just a throw-together veggie soup, nothing extravagant, but it was perfect for today’s cloudy, rainy weather:

Instead of rice, I added some broken pieces of sprouted grain spaghetti.

My snack was a bit of cheesecake (it was messy so I didn’t take a photo,) coffee, and Golden Oreos. My sweet tooth was satisfied, but this snack was a big mistake because shortly after I started to feel incredibly sleepy. This always happens when I eat dairy and wheat products, which is why I can fall asleep right after eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast! My cravings overrode my common sense–never a good thing! :(

As tasty as they are, tiny snacks like these can really knock me out (zzzz….)

I had some chicken in the fridge that needed some attention so made Moroccan Chicken Tagine, a deliciously spicy and savory North African stew posted by REM Cooks. I love spices and have 20 bottles of different spices next to the stove, including two versions of Ras el Hanout that he provided the recipes for…thanks, Richard! I made my version with a mix of black eyed peas, black beans and pinto beans instead of chickpeas:

Tagine is the traditional stoneware used, but a Dutch oven works great, too!

Delicious and savory, sweet and spicy, you gotta try this recipe!

Here are some of my favorite healthy snack recipes. They’re easy to make, stores nicely in the fridge or freezer, and can be enjoyed by those on gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free diets! They taste great, and even if you’re not on a special diet, you will enjoy them just as much as a regular snack, maybe even more. :)

Fudgy Cocoa Bites made with dates, raisins, nuts, and cocoa:

Deliciously fudgy cocoa bites

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites from Gabby at  The Veggie Nook:

Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites

And lastly, this Carrot Apple Ginger Cake, which is great for breakfast or with afternoon coffee or tea. It’s packed with real apples and carrots, fresh ginger, and has a lot less sugar and oil than regular cakes…and, it’s wheat-free!

Carrot apple ginger cake topped with goat cheese & a drizzle of ginger-infused agave syrup…yum!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a happy and healthy Wednesday!