Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chocolate Banana Muffin Bites

This was my second attempt at making a “flourless” dessert. The first banana bread was a big flop (or should I say glop?). I think the cocoa powder helps here. This originally was written as a cake recipe, but since I don’t have a round cake pan I tried it in a bread pan first. That turned out pretty good, but I knew that if I made them in a cupcake pan it would be easier to get it cooked all the way in the middle (and avoid gloppy-ness). These are yummy & even those who are not trying to go wheat, grain, or gluten free will enjoy them!

Chocolate Banana Muffin Bites

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup honey

¼ cup oil

1 cup mashed (ripe) bananas

½ cup cocoa

Preheat oven to 350. Beat or whip the eggs for 2 minutes (I’m using my rotary mixer I brought to Rwanda with me- remember those?) Add the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Grease or insert paper liners in your muffin tin (12 muffins). Evenly distribute the batter in the muffin cups (about 1 inch of batter in each one). Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes & then remove.


This post is a part of Monday Mania, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Real Food Wednesdays.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

I'm really surprised I have not blogged about these awesome little treats before- these need to be in your recipe book right after the healthy mounds/almond joys.  This recipe comes from the Oceans of Joy blog.  I made them here last week (yes, I brought my [half full] gallon of coconut oil here to Rwanda- and now I am seeing the pitiful bottom of my tub... sigh...).  After not having a good treat for a while I was so ready for these & loved having one each day- bliss!

I know these peanut butter cups look a little funky on top, that's because my chocolate mixture started to seize when I was ready to put the top layer on, so I had to just put little dollops of chocolate on each one- still tastes good though!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
chocolate layer:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/8 cup honey (more if you like your chocolate sweeter)
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the coconut oil (in a skillet or a hot water bath).  Add the rest of the ingredients and combine until smooth.  I used a regular muffin pan (12) for making these, in the past I have used a mini muffin pan also.  Line each muffin cup with a paper liner or oil thoroughly.  Evenly distribute half of your chocolate mixture into the muffin cups (start with about one tablespoon in each one).  Place in refrigerator or freezer to cool.

3/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup ground nuts (optional, I did not have them this time)

Melt the coconut oil again, add in honey, vanilla, and peanut butter.  When thoroughly combined stir in the ground nuts.  Evenly distribute the peanut butter filling into each muffin cup.  Top with the remaining chocolate mixture (if you need to, gently reheat it, being careful not to let the chocolate seize).  Refrigerate or freeze until firm.  Store in refrigerator and enjoy this healthy treat!

In my last post I promised you a picture of my kitchen sink, so here it is: 

Use your powers of perception carefully here- notice anything odd about it?  Hmmmm.  How about those interesting spickets for water that only pour into one side of the sink?  Yeah, sometimes the way they do things here just makes you say... "Huh?"  In order to fill the left sink for doing dishes, you have to use a cup to transfer water into that sink.  But, if I haven't said so already, I am very thankful to have a kitchen with counters and cupboards, because the last time we were here our kitchen was just a room with a refrigerator and a table that doubled as a cupboard and work area.

I am also having awesome success here with my sourdough.  I will post another time about how to dehyrdrate sourdough starter (I brought some of mine from home).  I don't know if it's the elevation (5000 ft.), the air, climate, or the flour (there is no such thing as whole wheat flour in these stores, white only) but my starter actually smells like yeast and is making the most amazing bread!  Very exciting for me when at home all I got was super-sour dense bread that no one else in the family would eat!

Hope all your kitchen adventures are successful this week.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wheatless Sucess! Oat Flour Pasta

If you read my last post you know we are trying to eliminate wheat from our diet right now (in addition to several other things).  My first wheat-free baking attempt was not a success at all.  It was a flourless banana zucchini bread that came out of the oven, like, well, mashed bananas, zucchini, and honey- pretty much like it went in.  Not so great. 

I found at the local market here we have some interesting flours: (red) millet flour, rice flour, cassava flour (like tapioca flour I think).  The red millet flour is not original to Rwanda, but rather is for a porridge traditionally fed to children in the neighboring country of Uganda.  I made the porridge first, in spite of it's laughable vague directions: "mix flour with some cold water to make a paste, add to boiling water and cook for a while".  It was very bland, but after generous amounts of vanilla, honey, cinnamon and milk it was a nice sweet porridge.  Millet is supposed to be healthier for you than wheat, and easier to digest.  I wonder if maybe that's why only 2 hours after we ate breakfast we were hungry all over again?

The next thing I decided to try was a recipe I found for oat flour linguine noodles.  We have oats & a blender so we were able to make our own oat flour.  I didn't make quite enough so I added about a 1/4 cup of millet flour (which is why you will see it having the "whole wheat" appearance).  I was actually surprised at how easy the dough was to handle & that it turned out fine.  My kids can't wait for me to make it again!

Oat Flour Linguine Noodles

2 cups oat flour (or 1 3/4 cups plus 1/4 cup other flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons oil
2-4 Tablespoons water

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.  In the center make a well and put the eggs and oil in there.  Slowly whisk these together until dough is crumbly.  Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring after each one, until a nice dough forms.  Knead dough for 5 minutes (I did this both in hand and on a floured counter).  Cover & allow dough to rest.

If you have a pasta extruder - use it!  I however, rolled my dough out onto the counter as thin as I could (which still was not as thin as it should have been- but this did make it easy to transfer to the pot).  Cut into 1/4" strips.

Boil water in a large pot.  Have a timer handy and set for 6 minutes.  Once it's in full boil, transfer noodles to pot (I put mine on a plate & then carefully dropped them into the boiling water- but trying to get them in there as quickly as possible).  Cook for 6 minutes, then drain immediately and serve.
I don't have a picture of the finished product because we were hungry - it was on the table & gone!  I think one of the effects of going off of wheat is you no longer have that satiated feeling - we all feel hungry all the time it seems now!  What do you think?

You see that oatmeal can in the top picture (the oats came from the UK to be sold here).  Well, money is tight for us so I haven't bought mixing bowls, but that can worked as my mixing bowl.  I tried to use it for my rolling pin also, but it was not strong enough, so I grabbed a large plastic bottle of my son's vitamins.  That got the job done good enough!


This post is linked up to Wheatless Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Monday Mania.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Need Help Please!

In my last post for Hearty Pasta Sauce, I forgot to include this picture of the finished sauce- whoops!

I included the container of honey in this picture because I love how the label says "from local forets" (instead of forests).  And make sure you get a load of my little stove/oven...  Isn't it cute-in-a-completely-inadequate-way?  Yeah, I found a nice square pan that fits inside the oven (no 9x13 is going in there).  I made meatloaf the other day in my muffin pan (that I brought from the states) and I had to remove the rack & actually slide my 12 cup muffin pan into the guides for the rack- but I got it in there & it worked!  Now, you've seen my itty-bitty fridge & oven, I'll save for a post for another day the photo of my slightly-unique-and-kinda-odd sink...

I have been reading a book called Disconnected Kids because of some developmental  issues my 6 (almost 7) year old son has been dealing with for some time now.  I have decided we are going to give his program a try (and I've gotten the rest of the family on board).  Besides very specific exercises, part of the program includes modifying what your child eats.  You are supposed to go through an "elimination diet" for at least 4 weeks (quite possibly more), eliminating all foods which could be behavior triggers.  Common triggers include: wheat, dairy, corn, tomatoes, apples, peanuts, yeast, sugar, food additives etc.  (Eggs are supposed to be excluded also, but we've decided that we don't think our son has a problem with them & he needs the morning protein.)

This brings me to my call for "Help!"  As you know, we are here in Rwanda, where you can probably guess that there are no health food stores & not a lot of options food wise period.  At the store I have seen millet flour and rice flour (they use these for porridge).  Grain wise they have rice, quinoa, oatmeal.  I do not have any electronic kitchen devices (no food processor for making flours or nut butters, no electric mixer, the blender we do have just basically stirs, however we do have a crock pot I just bought from another missionary family).

Do you have any recipes that we could use for our family that are free from the triggers listed above?  I know for breakfasts we can have oatmeal or baked oatmeal, eggs, rice porridge, and I might even try making pancakes using millet flour (although my attempt at making home made syrup using honey & maple flavoring was not so great today- their honey has a very strong flavor here).  For dinners we can have things like meat, vegetables, rice, potatoes, soup- but I would like more options & recipes for me to plan what exactly we will be eating & to make sure everything has good flavor.  I would also like ideas for lunches and snacks as well.

Can you help?  Please post your recipes or links in the comments below- I am weary of spending hours scouring the internet for recipes that don't include any of the "offenders" or ingredients that are unavailable (like nuts, special flours, dried fruits, etc.)

I do have some spelt flour coming with a team in a few weeks- that will make many things easier, but until then things are going to be challenging.  I have thought about doing something similar to this in the past, but always pushed aside the idea because my son is picky already & just won't eat a lot of things as it is.  So, here I am, being crazy in Rwanda & giving it a shot.  The good thing is that even though our options are more limited, it also means the temptations for him are a lot less as well.

Thanks for helping if you can!

This post was linked to Fight Back Fridays.