IMG_2685

Gluten Free Cashew Butter Lentil Granola Bars (vegan)

Yup, you read that right – I put lentils in my granola bar. Don’t make that face! You can’t judge until you try them, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Tomorrow I am taking a 6.5 hour road trip to Hershey Pennsylvania for my friend’s bridal shower, and I wanted to make a healthy snack for the drive.

I wanted to make something easy with the ingredients I have on hand., I really wasn’t in the mood to run out to the store. I just bought a bag of red lentils at a Turkish Grocery in Brighton and I love eating lentils in dishes like curries, stews, salads and red lentil hummus. So I thought why not granola bars with lentils? After browsing a few recipes, I didn’t have all the ingredients for one single recipe. So I made up my own and I love it! My friends liked it too!

Ingredients:

1 cup dried red lentils
2 – 2 1/4 cups gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup cashew butter (or other nut butter, such as almond butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or other dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins)
3/4 cup chopped almonds* (or other nuts and seeds, such as pecans or peanuts)
1/2 cup chocolate or carob chips (I used gluten & dairy free Enjoy Life)
3 tablespoon honey (or other sweetener, such as agave or stevia syrup)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1- 2 tablespoons 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

*The Almonds give the bars a nice crunch – don’t chop them as small as I did, they loose the crunch. If you like crunchier bars – like me- add even more nuts or use a granola or puffed rice cereal, something that’ll give it more crunch (again, I wish I had done this). You can add up to 2.5 cups of extras (nuts, seeds, dried fruits). My recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups extras.

Start by cooking your lentils. Rinse 1 cup of dried lentils. Once the lentils have been rinsed, place in large pot and add two cups of water, and bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 275 F.

Transfer lentils to a bowl and mash with a fork (they may already be slightly mushy as red lentils don’t hold their shape as well when cooked). Let cool slightly. Add the oats, coconut flakes, almonds, chocolate chips, coconut flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix together.

Next add in the cashew butter, honey, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Mix thoroughly until well combined.

If you like sweeter granola bars, add more honey or sweetener of your choice. I would start with 1 tablespoon and  taste the mixture first, adding more if desired.

Line an 9×13 square baking pan (or 8×8 if you want thinker bars) with wax paper (optional, you do not need this). Transfer lentil mixture to the pan and press with your hands into an even layer. Bake at 275 F for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, cut into bars, wrap each one individually and keep refrigerated or frozen.

IMG_1510

Gluten Free Healthy Banana Spiced Bread (with pumpkin)

This is a wonderful banana bread that is lower in fat and calories than most other banana breads. It comes out a bit more dense than most banana bread, this is due to the pumpkin (I think!). It is really tasty, and tastes even better warmed up a little. I added unsweetened coconut flakes to one of the two mini loaves I made, and I must say this makes it! The one with the coconut was less dense and more moist.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 large bananas, mashed
1/8 cup applesauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/8 cup water
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. With an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat sugar and butter. Add in applesauce.

3. Beat in eggs, water, banana, pumpkin, water and vanilla extract.

4. In a separate bowl combine flour, and all remaining ingredients.

5. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until smooth.

6. Add in coconut flakes, nuts or chocolate chips.

7. Pour batter into 2 greased, small loaf pans or one 9x5x3 pan. I think this recipe works better in the ‘mini’ version; the middle gets completely cooked and the outer edges do not get dry.

IMG_1343

Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

One of my favorite things about the fall is pumpkin, especially Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte, yum! I also love the new Pumpkin Spiced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts and just bought myself Pumpkin Spice Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups! Not only do I like to drink it, I love to eat anything pumpkin flavored. Surprisingly pumpkin pie is pretty far down on my list of favorite pies – yes I have a list. But I love pumpkin and have been collecting recipes on pintrest for the past few weeks to gear up for my autumn cooking! I can’t wait to make Pumpkin Chilli, Pumpkin Risotto, Pumpkin Curry (my mouth is watering) and pumpkin desserts other than pie. I was even thinking of trying a pumpkin granola bar, although my attempt at crunchy granola bars thus far hasn’t been the greatest.

My first attempt at baking with pumpkin was last night; I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread, and I do have to say it is delicious! I found this recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen and made a few [healthy] changes. Even with the changes the bread is incredibly moist and super flavorful. The bread isn’t overly sweet, spicy or oily. I mostly used yogurt to cut out the oiliness but just a little to keep the richness that makes bread so addicting and rich. I also cut back on some of the sugar and replaced it with applesauce. If you aren’t going to use chocolate chips don’t do this. But if you do then definitely do so! The chocolate chips give the bread its sweetness ,and I could not imagine how sweet it would be with all that sugar. But without the chocolate chips it does need a little more sugar, or you could try adding raisins, I think that would taste delicious as well!

I used two small loaf pans, I think the measurements are 3×6, and I used two. Or you can opt for 1 9×5 inch loaf pan. It’s a very simple recipe to prepare, 15 minutes at most. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
7.5 ounces pumpkin puree (half of a 15 ounce standard can)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
¾ cup sugar
¾ – 1 cup apple sauce
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup water, room temperature
¾ cups (12 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips (or raisins)
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the loaf pan(s).
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, and pumpkin puree. Add the sugar and applesauce, and whisk to combine. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and water. Stir in the chocolate chips or raisins.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix. 
Divide between the two prepared loaf pans and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time. (I only baked mine for 55 minutes)

Let cool  for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

I had to control myself this morning when I was eating breakfast. After the first bite I was addicted!

More pumpkin recipes coming soon!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

These delicious banana muffins are easy to make.

I always buy more bananas than I can eat before they go bad, but sometimes I do this on purpose so it gives me an excuse to cook. Banana breads and muffins are two of my most favorite things to bake and eat.

I did some plain, some with walnuts and some with raisins. The muffins came out so moist despite the fact there is less sugar and butter than normally called for in a muffin recipe.

Sometimes I have a hard time with muffins sticking to the sides of the muffin cups, but these ones came out perfectly. I brought them to work and they were gone within the hour. Luckily I was smart enough to save a couple for myself at home. :)

Ingredients


1 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 small-medium sized mashed bananas
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (I would guess regular brown sugar works fine too)
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water (or milk)

1/2 cup raisins, chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

* These muffins are plenty sweet for me, but if you are used to sweeter breakfast foods than you might want to add a little more sugar. The original recipe calls for 3 bananas, 1/3 butter and 3/4 cup total sugar. I reduced the amount of butter and sugar and added two more bananas. Still plenty sweet and very moist.

Directions
             1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
             2. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
                I suggest using muffin papers. Much easier and less messy cleanup.
             3. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. In a separate bowl beat with an electric mixer, or by hand, the mashed bananas,
melted butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract.
5. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until mixed will.
6. Add any additional ingredients (raisins, walnuts, etc.)
7. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.
I tried to add a crumb topping (cinnamon and sugar) to a few of the muffins but it did not crystallize like I wanted it to. Maybe if I had added a little butter or water it would have helped?

 

I love hearing your comments and feed back (and typo corrections!) So if you ever try any of my recipes, please let me know what you think! Even if you make your own slight variations I’d love to hear how yours come out. ~ thanks, Jess.

Classic Gluten Free Banana Bread

I had a few very ripe bananas in my kitchen and decided to make banana bread this afternoon.

This banana bread is very tasty and so moist, no one will even know it’s gluten free!  The flavor and texture are both excellent I really think you will enjoy this recipe!
Ingredients: 
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
¼ cup water
1 cup mashed bananas
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup chocolate chips, raisins or walnuts (optional)
For this recipe I used a little more than 1 cup bananas and I added an extra teaspoon of cinnamon.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Grease one 9x5x3 inch load pan.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the sugars and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, water, banana, vanilla and almond extract.
4.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add this mixture to the wet mixture.
5. If you are using chocolate chips or nuts mix those in and then pour into loaf pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You may need a little more time but I hate when my breads are too dry so. I would check it at 30 minutes, as every oven is different
7. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
I usually add nuts or chocolate chips to my banana bread but I wasn’t in the mood today. It’s almost Valentine’s Day so I am trying to hold off on eating too much chocolate until Tuesday.

Low Fat Gluten Free Banana Bread

I had a few bananas in my fridge that were begining to turn brown so I decided to make my favorite, gluten free banana bread. I love this recipe and I always sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg on the top before I put the bread in the oven. This recipe calls for half of the sugar and fat used in most banana bread recipes I have made before. But it is still moist and sweet, no one would even know the difference! For extra sweetness add chocolate chips and if you like a crunch add nuts! Sometimes I even add both, I make half a loaf with chocolate chips for my mom and half with walnuts, which I love. Sometimes I substitute the chocolate chips and walnuts for raisins.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup brown rice flour
• 1/3 cup tapioca flour
• 2 Tablespoons flax seeds
• 3 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp nutmeg
• 1 tsp ginger
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 3 over-ripe bananas (should equal at least 1 1/2 cup of mashed banana)
• 1/4 c sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips (optional)
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Grease a medium sized bread pan

Mix together all the dry ingredients except for sugar

Add the chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you are using them.

Mix the wet ingredients, including the bananas and the sugar. Use a food processor or electric mixer, which I use and it works just fine. If you don’t have one of those, mash the bananas, then whisk in the other wet ingredients

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix lightly with just a few strokes

Pour the mixture evenly into the greased bread pan. I always sprinkle a little extra cinnamon and nutmeg on top before I place it in the oven

Bake for 40 min, middle of the oven, until browned & a toothpick comes out clean. The first time I baked it for 45 minutes and it came out a little drier than I would have liked. I reduced the cooking time by 5 minutes and the bread was a little bit more moist. Another way to mositen the mixture if you do not have enough bananas is to add a little bit of water to the wet ingredients.

Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then take it out of the pan and let it cool on a cooling rack. I love to eat this when it is still warm with just a tad of butter!