Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, Gluten and Dairy-Free

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My life has been full-throttle, pedal-to-the-medal crazy-town these past few months, thus the lull in posting to my little cooking blog.  This happens every year after school starts.  Clients come trickling back into town and my work schedule becomes loaded. Then, as most moms can relate, there’s the time commitment that school entails, like homework, meetings with the teacher and functions and parties galore. When every day is bursting at the seams,  little pockets of free time become golden and precious.  What better way to savor a quiet chilly Sunday afternoon, for instance, than creating a delicious snack with your loved ones?  Baking is such an easy covert way to reinforce math skills for kids, too!  Quality time, squared, so to speak.

We have made these muffins many times and they are a cinch to throw together and store well in the freezer for lunchbox treats or breakfast on the run.  These little bundles of tastiness are lightly sweetened with banana and honey.  I added chocolate chips to add to the excitement factor for the little guy.  I think he would eat pretty much anything containing chocolate!   If you prefer no refined sugar at all, you could just leave out the chocolate chips and add the same amount of chopped walnuts (or not!).   And, as always, if you are not gluten-free, just replace the gluten-free flour blend with regular all-purpose wheat flour.

Recipe for Banana Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins:

(yields:  12 muffins)

1 1/2 c. gluten free flour blend

1 1/4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1 t.  cinnamon

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. xanthan gum

1 large egg, room temp.

1 c. grated zucchini

2 bananas mashed (1/2 c.)

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. honey

1/3 c. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a muffin pan with muffin liners or spray with your choice of oil.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and cinnamon in a bowl.  Whisk well.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix coconut oil and honey on high speed for about a minute.  Add the egg, returning to high speed for another minute.  Beat in the banana and zucchini.  Lower the speed and spoon in the flour mixture until completely incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until springy to the touch.

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Orange Rhubarb Cake, Gluten and Dairy Free

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Nothing puts me in a better mood and energizes me more than springtime in Dallas.  Its’ brevity requires that I enjoy every morsel it has to offer.  The brisk mornings that morph into breezy just-warm-enough days, jewel-toned petunias thriving on my patio, and new produce appearing in the markets all make for one happy lady!  April’s display of perk asparagus, plump artichokes, and the arrestingly sleek and beautiful rhubarb make me giddy–a fresh palette from which to concoct healthy deliciousness!!

Oddly enough, I never cooked with rhubarb until a few years ago.  None of my clients had ever requested it and so it wasn’t really on my radar.   Recently, a dear client mentioned that she loves rhubarb, so I’ve been experimenting with it lately.   Continue reading

Baked Mini Coconut Donuts–Gluten, Dairy and Yeast Free

The school’s annual “Dads and Donuts” breakfast was approaching (or so I thought) and this Mommy had big intentions.  I was going to create some amazing allergen-friendly donuts for my son to enjoy with his Daddy.  After occasionally daydreaming about making donuts for my little guy, I finally had the motivation I needed to “just do it”.

And what luck!  While perusing the Halloween aisles at Target, I happened upon this cute mini donut pan.  When I excitedly showed it to my husband and told him about my plan, he grimaced and informed me that the event had taken place that morning–(he hadn’t mentioned it, hoping I wouldn’t make him go, I presume).  In my perpetual state of haste, I had misread the date on the flyer and thought it was going to be the following month.  I felt like the most pathetic parent on the planet when I tried to explain all of this to my sweet boy.  I promised him I would make him whatever kind of donut he wanted over the weekend.  To my delight, he chose coconut. Continue reading

Tunisian Spiced Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup

Based on my years of experience cooking for people with various tastes in food, eggplant lovers are a minority in the good ‘ole USA.  Recently, I was out with a bunch of girlfriends for dinner at an Italian restaurant and was pleasantly surprised to discover that three out of the seven of us were big fans of this versatile vegetable, “L’Enfant Terrible” of the Nightshade family.  As one friend devoured her eggplant parm, we talked about how our husbands won’t touch it and either will our children, which means we’re not getting any eggplant action at home.

Lucky for me, I can project my cravings onto willing clients.  One long-time client in particular really perks up when I mention doing something with eggplant.  I suggested a roasted eggplant and tomato soup, thinking I would do the usual Italian version, with fresh basil and some parmesan.  At the last-minute, though, I decided to go with something more unexpected, more exotic.  Continue reading

Gluten-Free Apple Spice Muffins

“Mommy, I want to see the leaves in all the different colors,” my son begged of me the other day. “Oh, you will soon–the cool weather will come and all the leaves will start to change,” I answered hopefully (glancing at the temperature on the dashboard–only 85 in October!) They had been talking about Fall in his kindergarten class and the topic of the week was “Apples”. On one of our long drives home from therapy, I quizzed him: “Hey, Sweetie–can you name some different types of apples?” My eyes misted with pride as he shouted from his car seat, “Granny Smith and Red Delicious… and Fuji!”

Amazing, I thought to myself…this little munchkin who could not speak a word at age four, who has had to work so hard just to learn to point and then wave, to greet people and look them in the eye, to learn a wealth of vocabulary and sentence structure in 2 short years…to have him respond so articulately–well, every cell in my body sings with joy and gratitude during moments like that! Raising a child with Autism has forced me to slow down and appreciate and savor the simple things in life (sounds like a total cliché, I know, but it’s so true!) Remarkable, considering I was once one of those 100 mph., go-go-go types.

Take these apple spice muffins, for example. Pretty basic. I made these for my son’s class during apple week. Before I became a Mom, I often daydreamed (while cooking for others) that someday I would be happily baking all sorts of treats for my own child. I would be the cooler, hipper Martha Stewart. Ha! Well, fast-forward and I’m living that fantasy, but it’s just a little skewed.

Continue reading