Baking with Coconut Flour

Many people are turning to flour alternatives, and for a variety of reasons. Be it gluten sensitivity or allergy, the need for a lower glycemic flour, or a desire for a more nutrient dense option, people are indeed looking beyond the standard white, bleached flour.

There are honestly so many alternatives to choose from today, but coconut flour is one that I would encourage you to try. Here are some basics to know...

Coconut flour is made by separating and removing the milk from the the white meat of the coconut. That meat is then dried and ground to a fine powder, suitable for cooking and baking. 

Not only is it a low glycemic food, but also provides a good ratio of carbohydrate, fat and protein and with 6 g of fiber per 2 tablespoon, makes it an excellent source of fiber. That fiber  helps to maintain stable blood sugars by prolonging the release of glucose into your blood stream, which is something we all could use when consuming baked goods. 

Due to the high fiber content, coconut flour is much more dense and absorbent, so it does not behave exactly as regular flour. To achieve the right consistency, it is recommended to use 4 eggs per one cup of flour or to add liquid to the flour in a 1:1 ratio. Admittedly this does take a little trial and error, but once your find the sweet spot, you are good to go! You can also cut the classic flour with the coconut flour, to maintain a more workable consistency. 

Coconut Secret was kind enough to let me test out their Raw Coconut Flour, so I decided to take it for a spin in some blueberry muffins. Not only did I appreciate the nutritional aspects, but the flour lended a beautiful and subtle coconut flavor to the muffins. They were delicious. 

Coconut Secret's coconut flour is made from 100% raw, organic, unbleached coconuts. It is produced in a dedicated facility, so there is ZERO cross-contamination with potential allergens. In addition to baking, it can be used to thicken sauces and smoothies or crust fish or chicken for pan-frying.

They have a variety of other great products; coconut aminos, vinegars, nectars, and sauces. I also tried their pure Coconut Oil, which was absolute heaven and gone in less than a week. If you'd like to try some of Coconut Secret's products, you can find some of them at Whole Foods Markets, small, local grocers and online retailers (Thrive Market). 

I much prefer ordering from small companies that truly care about the quality and impact of their product. I just ordered another tin of flour and plan to try it out in some holiday recipes this season. 

- Tara

*Coconut Secret provided this product in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Shaved Brussel Sprouts with Quinoa

I should probably change the name of my blog to We Love Brussel Sprouts. We seriously eat them at our house at least once a week. They are my husband's favorite vegetable and honestly, they quickly became mine after I learned how to roast them. They have one of the highest antioxidant contents around and are a great source of nutrients that so many of us are missing out on.

While at Trader Joe's recently, I noticed a bag of shaved Brussel sprouts and decided to try them out. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, so I threw them in a saute pan with some olive oil, seasoning and salt. I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge so I threw that in too and wouldn't you know, it just worked! 

If you don't shop at Trader Joe's, whole Brussel sprouts will do the job just fine. Either slice them extremely thin by hand or use a mandolin (I am pretty clumsy so I stay away from it). 

What you'll need:

  • 3 cups of shaved Brussel sprouts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning 
  • pinch of salt, to your taste
  • 1 cup of cooked white quinoa

Cook quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth as package directs, set aside. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add Brussel sprouts, seasonings and salt and mix until well coated. Cook until sprouts are tender and bright green, 5-10 minutes. Turn down heat, stir in quinoa and mix. I often serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, but it is still perfectly delicious without!

-Tara

Nixon Turns Uno!

 

As I sit and type this, I can't believe I have a one year old son. As everyone warned me, this year indeed flew by, but was by far the best one of my life.

So many memories pop up in my head as I reflect on the last year. I remember how relieved we were to finally have him home with us and out of the NICU. I couldn't believe that this tiny being would be my son forever. We completely fumbled through that first night, going through his entire wardrobe due to leaky diapers and spit-up! We were delirious! 

I will never forget the absolute joy I felt when he gave us his first belly giggles at the simplicity of Rhett jingling a gold bracelet in his hand. The first roll-over, crawl, foods and steps- its like a part of me was born again each time. 

I remember the absolute anguish I felt at the prospect of returning to my full-time position and leaving him all day. It's been tough, but being able to be home with him every day and be the one changing the diapers and reading books is something I know I will never regret. 

Its hard not to be anxious for the next stage and all the firsts and fun it will bring, but for now I'm just soaking up these last few days of having a "baby". From the moment he was born, our little Nixon has radiated happiness. He's determined (hello Rhett), kind, adapable, affectionate, curious, silly, and just busy allllll the time. I wouldn't have him any other way. 

We decided to throw a little fiesta to celebrate our sweet boy turning one and us not totally sucking at parenting. It was a great day with friends, but extra special as Nixon's Auntie Ernie, Grammy & Grandad and Nonni & Pops traveled far and wide to be with us. 

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Perfect Roasted Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes are hands-down one of Nixon's favorite things to eat, so they've quickly become a staple in our home. I'm always roasting more to keep handy in the fridge when I need to throw together a quick meal for him. 

Here's how I make them:

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, more or less to your taste
  • 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, more or less to your taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet in tin foil. Toss sweet potatoes, oil and seasonings in a bowl until well coated. Spread evenly on the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender.

Happy roasting!

- Tara