Tag Archives: Coconut

Banana Bread Cake with Coconut Frosting

1 Sep

Oh, August, please don’t go so soon!

You’re a month to be reckoned with – a whirlwind of summer, and back to school time, and all the fuzzy, anxious times in between.  You took me all the way from Sacramento to Los Angeles,  down to Orange County and San Diego, and now you’re about to bring me home again with your wily ways.  I know it may not be something you set out to do, but you’ve been one of the greatest months so far this year, 2nd only to July.

I hope you forgive my resistance to fulfill all your plans for me at this time, but I think you can understand given my penchant for the ocean, Cafe Gratitude, and the freedoms that don’t often accompany a typical school or work schedule.  Just this once, I wish you’d bend the rules a little and bump any of my immediately upcoming obligations out to September instead.  No?  Fine.

So, school and work, it is, I guess.  I think I can forgive you, August, I know it’s not your fault.  Cake!  Coconut!  Coconut always makes things better!

I know coconut is pretty summery and tropical, but the banana is full-on fall, right?  I’ll work on it.  I’m still getting the hang of this September thing!

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Coconut Chia Seed Banana Bread {Gluten Free, Dairy Free}

28 Apr

This weekend has been great, although I have to say, it would be even greater if I were hangin’ at Stagecoach right now with friends (SHOUT OUT!) – and probably most of the Los Angeles population!

I’m not sure about the entire musical line-up, but from what I’ve seen, Keith Urban & Rascal Flatts aren’t there anyway, so I’d really be in it for Brad Paisley and fun times with fun people in this AMAZING weather!  I suppose since I already missed Coachella this year, I might as well call it a wash and make sure I hit up both of them next year!  I can get into that. =)

Moving right along, I guess it’s time to talk about bread!  The perfect lazy, eat out on your patio with a cup of tea, weekend morning bread!  Packed with yummy banana, coconut-y goodness, chia seeds for omegas, and juuuust enough pop from the molasses & honey to keep it sweet.

Gluten free.

Dairy free.

And almosssssst vegan.

SOLD!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Coconut Chia Seed Banana Bread

This bread would be vegan if it weren’t for the honey, which I know some have issues with it in terms of the treatment of bees, etc.  As far as I’m concerned (not strictly free from ALL animal byproducts), this is vegan, but for those of you who want something “truly” vegan, you can simply add in maple syrup or some more molasses in its place – easy peasy!

Ingredients:

* 1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red mill)
* 1/2 cup coconut flour
* 1/3 cup brown rice flour
* 1/4 cup oat flour
* 1/4 cup tapioca starch
* 3 Tbsp chia seeds
* 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
* 2 tsp xanthan gum
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 3 large bananas, mashed
* 1/2 cup coconut-flavored almond yogurt (any non-dairy yogurt would work)
* 2/3 cup honey
* 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
* 1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid
* 1/4 cup rice milk (soy, almond, coconut, etc. would work)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup coconut flakes for topping (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and grease with coconut oil on uncovered ends.

Sift together the flours, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the honey molasses, and coconut oil.  Add the bananas, yogurt, rice milk, and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, mixing between additions.

Add in the ground flax and chia seeds.  Once well combined, pour into prepared pan and sprinkle top with coconut flakes.

Bake about 45-50 minutes, checking at the 25 minute mark and covering with aluminum foil if browning too quickly.  Bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before lifting out and allowing to finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans would be PERFECT added to the batter before baking, as would dried cherries, blueberries, or even cranberries!  Next time, next time!

Super cute banana bread hearts topped with banana slices, toasted coconut & sprinkled with chia seeds anyone?

Next time I’m dusting these with cinnamon.

Enjoyed with a yummy organic  iced soy chai tea latte <3 Lovvvveeeeeeee

And the company of this little rascal  <3 <3 Looooveee loveeee…

All up in my GRILL! ha!

Keepin’ it short & sweet so I can get back to enjoying my day!

Happy Weekending, y’all!

Come back with a slew of Stagecoach pics….;)

Martha Stewart’s Coconut Cupcakes and the Frosting that Changed my Life

4 Feb

Over the past few years especially, coconut, and namely the type of fat it contains, has become overwhelmingly controversial in terms of health and nutritional value.  There is no disputing the impressive vitamin (most notably folate), and even more so, mineral (very high in manganese, with a good amount of copper and selenium) and amino acid profile of these fruits, known as “drupes,” hailing from the palm family, but the fact that they are comprised of a generous ratio of saturated fat to carbohydrate and protein is what concerns some health conscious individuals and experts.

True, saturated fat has been touted as the “evil” fat said to raise levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body known as LDL cholesterol, and contribute to obesity, and for the most part, that is accurate.  However, what is rarely mentioned is the presence of different types of saturated fats, which vary greatly based upon their size.  Saturated fatty acids, or triglycerides, appear in foods as short chain, medium chain, or long chain fatty acid chains.  The problem with the typical American diet is that it contains way too many long chain saturated fatty acids, found in meats, dairy, and even some plant sources of fat, which are tough for the body to break down and convert to energy.  Coconut, on the other hand, as well as palm kernel oil, contains medium chain saturated fatty acids, which are thought to be used by the body much differently.  According to some research, medium chain fatty acids are more easily oxidized by the liver to produce energy, causing less of the fat to be stored long term in the body.

The bottom line here is not that the saturated fat in coconut would be recommended over unsaturated fatty acids like those found in foods like avocado, olive oil, fatty fish, and various seeds which raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in the body, but that it serves as a better replacement for other saturated fats that are already in the diet.  So, don’t feel like you have to steer clear of coconut because of the fat content in order to feel “healthy”!  Some fat in the diet is absolutely necessary for a healthfully functioning body, and the satiety factor we need to feel full and nourished.

Make some healthy substitutions every once in awhile, like for instance, drink coconut milk occasionally instead of your usual 2% dairy milk, or bake with coconut milk rather than butter, and you could be doing yourself a favor with a little health boost!  Go ahead and make a batch of these coconut cupcakes and enjoy (*cough* Super Bowl Party!! *cough*)…I’m not claiming these cupcakes are health food by any stretch, but let’s face it, coconut tastes awesome, too – just don’t go overboard!

Or, if you prefer freshy, citrusy lemon, you might enjoy Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cupcakes instead!

Martha Stewart’s Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

These are dense, hearty little cupcakes.  My favorite part of the recipe is that it includes ground coconut in the batter, and can easily be made dairy-free!  Ok, that’s one of my favorite parts, the other is the frosting.   The cupcake recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, but the frosting is all my own… it changed my life…it’s THAT good! 🙂  Sprinkle with sweetened shredded coconut, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut flakes, or just leave them as is!  I used sweetened shredded coconut since that’s what I had on hand, but I gazed longingly at the photo of Martha’s version with its large, glorious, luxurious-looking flakes, and wished I could have used those instead!  I urge you to do so, if you get the chance…and then send me photos!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, or dairy-free butter spread like Earth Balance
* 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs + 2 egg whites
* 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk, from either a can or carton
* Coconut Buttercream Frosting (below)
* Sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes for topping

Frosting:
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or dairy-free butter spread
* 1/4 cup Coconut butter (the thick portion at the top of the coconut milk can, or pre-made coconut butter in a jar)
* About 2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
* Dash of salt
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp coconut extract

Directions:

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350*, and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Grind sweetened coconut shreds in a coffee grinder or food processor until finely ground, and stir into flour mixture.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, cream butter or dairy-free butter spread and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the whole eggs, egg whites, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture, alternating with additions of coconut milk until everything is combined. Don’t overmix!

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each just about full. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through cooking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:
Cream together the butter or dairy-free butter spread and coconut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add in the dash of salt and confectioner’s sugar by the spoonful until course, crumbly mixture forms. Add in the vanilla extract and coconut extract. Beat frosting until smooth, adding more confectioner’s sugar if the frosting is too thin, and more vanilla extract, coconut extract, or splash of milk of choice if it’s too thick.

Slather with frosting, and top with coconut shreds or flakes at your own discretion….

…I’m still finding coconut shreds in places I didn’t know existed, so fair warning – Coconut bombs are a very real situation!

Disclaimer:

I am NOT a licensed or certified nutritionist or registered dietician.  I am NOT currently, but am on my way to becoming, a certified personal trainer.  I do, however, hold a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with an emphasis in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior, as well as a strong interest in holistic and medical nutrition, especially as it applies to the prevention of disease, but PLEASE consult your doctor or a registered dietician for more comprehensive and tailored diet, fitness, and health information if you have health concerns or questions regarding any of the topics I discuss.  I am simply expressing my knowledge and opinions based upon my own research, reading, and education within the health, fitness, and science fields.

That being said, I hope you enjoy what I write and maybe learn something interesting along the way.  Thank you!

Mini Banana Bread Loaves: Two Ways

8 Jul

I should know better by now than to buy 6 bananas at a time. I go through banana phases where I can’t get enough, eating several a day, to crinkling my lip and giving an unequivocally lack-luster sigh at the thought of them just a week or two later. I blame marketing.

Have you ever noticed how much better an arrangement of 5 or 6 bananas looks in a bunch than say 2? Or even 4? And don’t even get me started on how pretty that nice, symmetrically large, bright yellow bundle looks sitting happily in the kitchen.

Now that I think about it, it’s an awful lot like having fresh flowers in a vase that look amazing for about a week then start tapering off until they have to be tossed and replaced. And then guilt sets in because they died just for my viewing pleasure. I don’t do many flowers, but I like to decorate with bouquets of bananas, I guess?

No banana casualties on my watch this time (until next week, most likely). Brown bananas, meet melted butter. And then meet some coconut and some peanut butter, and probably chocolate, too? Yes, chocolate.

Even if I can’t bear the thought of choking down a banana plain (depending on where I am in any particular banana phase), banana bread is always appealing. I have a feeling it might have something to do with the fact that it’s like banana wrapped in butter and brown sugary sweetness. Maybe.

Just to kick it up a notch, and cuten up the whole situation, I made mini-loaves! Obviously. Not only that, but I went and made it all kinds of more complicated than it really had to be by dividing up the batter and giving the flavors their own little loaves.

One banana & coconut. The other banana peanut butter Reese’s Cup. Worth it? Totally.

Banana Bread Two Ways : Coconut & Peanut Butter w/Reese’s Cups
(Ideally makes 4 mini loaves)

Ingredients:
* 12 Tbsp (6 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe banana
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup coconut yogurt
* 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy)
* 2 eggs
* 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 cup unsweetened or sweetened shredded coconut
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups + 2 whole for the top (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease or line 4 mini loaf pans.
Add melted butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and cream together. Add the banana, vanilla, and 2 eggs, mixing between each.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until combined.
Divide the batter in half, placing one half in a separate mixing bowl.
To one half, stir in the coconut yogurt and shredded coconut.
To the other half, stir in the peanut butter and chopped Reese’s Cups.
Pour the banana coconut batter into two of the loaf pans, filling 1/2 to 3/4 full, depending on the exact size of your mini pans.
Do the same with the banana peanut butter batter. Push a mini Reese’s Cup into the top center of each pb loaf, if desired.

I ended up with slightly more than 1/2 of the batter being peanut butter, so I got 2 nice loaves out of it, and 1 and a puney loaf out of the coconut batter. It happens =)

Bake for about 50 minutes.
I sprinkled a little bit more shredded coconut on top of the coconut loaves about 10 minutes before they were done, just because. It looks nice. I highly recommend it!

This recipe would be great for muffins, too, I think! Just decrease the baking time a little and keep an eye on them!

I realize the actual bread portion of this picture looks a little blurry while the main focus seems to be on the beer. Uhh…NOT intentional, I promise! Although…
There’s a crazy rumor going around that Amber Ale compliments the banana bread well. Or the other way around. I can neither confirm nor deny!