Thursday, April 17, 2014

Banana Cake with Berries (gluten, nut, soy, dairy and cane sugar free)

Happy Easter!

Need a recipe for Easter morning or dessert? This recipe makes great use of over-ripe bananas. The healthy cake can even be made the night before for a better, sweeter flavor!

A little coconut flour goes a long way. It certainly doesn't behave like other flours but I love what it does when combined with pumpkin or banana. I've subscribed to Nutiva brand coconut flour on amazon and that way I never run out!

For a fluffier and lighter variation on the cake: Try separating the yolks from the egg whites and beating the egg whites until fluffy with the cream of tartar. Combine remaining ingredients in separate bowl. Then spoon egg whites in rest of batter and bake.

If you're looking for a vegan banana cake recipe, try the Chai-spiced Banana Breakfast Cake here on the blog. It's super delicious and egg-free!

This recipe was inspired by Coconut Banana Breakfast Cake in Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family, one of my favorite cookbooks.

Banana Cake with Berries
3/4 cup coconut flour (I used Nutiva brand)
2 TB flaxseeds
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda              > instead of using tartar and baking soda, try 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon (optional and may substitute 1 tsp nutmeg if avoiding cinnamon but want spice)

1 TB vanilla extract
8 eggs
4 very ripe bananas
3 TB coconut oil (melted)

Berries and Whipped Coconut Cream to serve (optional)
*For sweeter variation, add 3-4 TB maple syrup or other liquid sweetener to batter.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9x13" pan or two round cake pans or muffin pan.
2. Combine first six ingredients in mixing bowl. Mash bananas and combine remaining four ingredients in separate mixing bowl.
3. Combine batters and pour into pans. Bake 30-40 minutes or until the middle of the cake is no longer jiggly.

And Happy Easter to you all! God's not dead! Hallelujah!

Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs or free-from Chocolate Dipped Marshmallow Root Marshmallows

I love homemade marshmallow root marshmallows sweetened with honey. They are super yummy and rarely last long in my house!

For Easter, I wanted to try my hand at resurrection cookies (here is a great recipe from Fabulessly Frugal) or gluten and dairy-free resurrection rolls but I kept coming back to marshmallows. And when I made my free-form marshmallows I didn't want to melt them in doughy rolls for the resurrection rolls. I wanted to eat them... all of them.

So I dipped them in chocolate.

Except I dipped half of them because only half survived our marshmallow-stuffing faces.

I'm deciding I should make these more often because then we'll be used to them and they'll last longer. Right? RIGHT?

These are so fun.

And no, they are not perfect egg shapes. But you can buy an egg mold if perfection is your thing (find an egg mold on amazon or rabbit mold would be fun too - they also have cross mold but that feels funny to me).

Which leads me to ask... Do those who are Christ-followers participate in American Easter traditions such as egg hunting or egg baskets? Or do you ignore those to focus on the real reason? Or do you balance both? Having fun traditions but bringing the real reason back to Jesus?

I think egg hunting and baskets are a fun game (Big Blue Eyes liked doing this all summer last year) but I want our main focus to be on Jesus and the glorious, awesome fact He's not dead! I'm interested to hear everyone else's opinions!

The marshmallow root marshmallow recipe is this recipe (currently updated as some readers had a few questions). However, this time I didn't use a candy thermometer (broke after making my licorice recipe) and just boiled it seven minutes in step #5. And instead or pouring into a pan, I dropped large spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled (with coconut oil) parchment paper for free-form marshmallows. This free-form idea comes from David Lebovitz's picture from his recipe of lovely little marshmallow blobs. He suggests topping lemon tarts with these blobs instead of meringue (what a great idea)!

My marshmallows were a little sticky because I didn't coat them with marshmallow root powder or shredded coconut (as my recipe states) or powdered sugar (as so many other recipes state). I felt I didn't need the extra sugar because these are plenty sweet and I didn't want the crunch of the shredded coconut. However having dipped them in chocolate it doesn't really quite matter. But if you plan to just make the free-forms and don't want the stickiness then consider using suggestions mentioned above. If you come up with other ideas, please let me know!

I used Great Lakes Kosher Gelatin (as I was writing this I realized I actually used Great Lakes porcine gelatin but next time I plan to use kosher gelatin because a lot of my family chooses not to eat pork).

I buy my marshmallow root powder from Mountain Rose Herbs. And for other marshmallow recipes, check out my marshmallow root round-up.

And the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs
or free-form chocolate dipped marshmallow root marshmallows

1/2 batch marshmallow root marshmallows (from this recipe and dropped onto a parchment pour instead of poured into pan if you want egg-shapes)

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is dairy-free)*
3 TB coconut oil

1. Let freshly made marshmallows sit for at least two hours.
2. In double broiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil.
3. With a fork, dunk one marshmallow. Flip quickly to completely coat marshmallow and use fork to remove it, tapping against broiler to remove excess chocolate.
4. Put on parchment-lined tray or plate and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!

I decided to keep the marshmallows in my fridge.

This recipe makes 10-12 dipped marshmallows (or more depending on size).

*You can also use a chopped dark-chocolate bar.

I buy all my herbs including marshmallow root powder from Mountain Rose Herbs. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cardamom Yogurt Almond Cake with Strawberries and Pistachios for Garnish (Dairy-free and gluten-free)

Nothing quite like a moist cardamom cake. I just love cardamom and its bright yet still spicy flavor. I think you'll like this cake too!

The only flour used in this cake is almond flour making this treat protein-rich! If you can't find almond flour in store, consider purchasing online (which can save you money). Amazon sells several brandsof which Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lbs has great reviews.

Serve with strawberries and chopped pistachios for a pretty presentation! A lovely treat for Mother's Day or Easter.

Cardamom Yogurt Almond Cake with Strawberries and Pistachios
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
2 tsp baking powder
6 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup coconut yogurt (I used So Delicious plain coconut yogurt)
2 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
Zest from 1 Lemon
2 tsp vanilla

For garnish: Strawberries and Pistachios

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Break pods of cardamom and save seeds within. Grind flaxseeds and cardamom seeds in a coffee grinder.
3. Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients in seperate bowl.
4. Whisk wet into dry and keep stirring until well-incorporated.
5. Bake in pie plate or 9" cake pan for 40 minutes.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day with 2 Ingredient Green Ice Cream (vegan, gluten free and dairy free)

I wanted to wish you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day with an easy and healthy green treat!

{Pin this}

No need to look to food coloring or icky store-bought treats to celebrate this holiday. Check out this recipe with two healthy ingredients! This simple blender ice cream (a soft serve variety) contains no cane sugar; it uses bananas for sweetness and creaminess. Spinach (or kale if you prefer) adds a lovely touch of green and added nutrition. This is a good late night treat chock full of potassium (although you might want to skip the chocolate chip add-ins) or a healthy afternoon snack.

Optional add-ins are a large tablespoon of nut butter, vanilla extract, chocolate chips (pictured below), or even a date to further sweeten it. Although I believe it's plenty sweet with the bananas.

Spring has foreshadowed its coming with bouts of sunshine peaking through the gloomy clouds. The air smells clean and fresh. It's starting to smell green - dewy and new. And it makes the body and soul feel a little new.

{Pin this}

Green Ice Cream
3 frozen bananas (let sit out for 3-5 minutes to soften)
1 cup packed mild greens like baby spinach or kale
Optional add-ins - nut butter, vanilla bean extract, chocolate chips, etc.

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. I used my Vitamix. Enjoy quickly as it tends to melt!

Makes 2-3 servings depending on size.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Celebrate with other green dishes from Sweet Roots, including:

Brownie Bites with mint-whipped cream

Egg in a Clover

Quick Roasted Baby Kale Salad

Vanilla Green Smoothie (or "Greener than Grass")

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Banana Almond Cookies with Cherries

Happy soon-to-be Valentines Day! These little treats are perfect as substitutes for Valentines Candy or afternoon snacks. Full of protein and wholesome ingredients, these tasty morsels will satisfy any sweet tooth.

These can be made Paleo. To make these truly paleo, no-sugar-added dried cherries must be found, such as these. You can substitute raw vanilla powder or the seeds of half a vanilla bean for the vanilla extract. However, I'm not aware of the substitution for almond extract. Any ideas there?

These cookies are inspired by a recipe in Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. Minus the shredded coconut and added some egg whites to make them fluffy without being too wet. Plus I love the flavors of cherries and almond together so I added the dried cherries.

To present these as little Valentine's Day gifts, either layer the cookies on a pretty plate, cover with saran wrap and a ribbon or layer two (between sheet small sheet of parchment) on a bigger sheet of parchment (about 6x6"), fold, wrap with ribbon and secure with sticker and handwritten note.

Ingredients for Banana Almond Cookies with Cherries
1 very ripe banana
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 Tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 egg whites

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup chopped dried cherries

1. Mash banana.
2. Add remaining wet ingredients, whisk in sea salt, baking soda, then almond flour. Fold in chopped dried cherries.
3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls on lightly greased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 18-20 minutes.


And turn any sad looking banana into a smile with this recipe!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Minestrone Soup: Cooking from your pantry and freezer

In these winter months, I feel less like hopping to the grocery store. Instead, these months call for using up the foods stocked in both pantry and freezer. Warm comforting soups or fulfilling dishes with little effort are on the menu.

Minestrone fits the bill perfectly. Made in one pot and most ingredients can be found in your fridge and pantry.

Any vegetables can be used in this soup. Peas, broccoli, potatoes... each will lend a different flavor. But use what you have! There is no need to make an extra trip to the store.

The carrots and green beans can be fresh or frozen. I like to buy large bags of organic carrots and chop or grate them and freeze for future uses. A little preparation goes a long way in the future. Also, you can use canned beans or equivalent amount of soaked and boiled beans. And you can even use frozen tomatoes! Gracious Granny freezes her tomatoes (whole but de-seeded) every summer to make sauces and soups later on.


Minestrone Soup
4 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 organic yellow onions
3 large garlic cloves
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups cut green beans
2 cups brown rice macaroni (gluten-free)
6 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
3 cups beans (I used one can each kidney and garbanzo beans)
1 TB grapeseed oil
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

1. Chop onions and add to pot with 1 TB grapeseed oil. Sautee on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Mince garlic and add to pot. Turn up to medium high for several minutes until garlic becomes fragrant and browns a little (don't burn).
3. Add broth, chopped veggies, bay leaf, and remaining herbs. Boil veggies until softened. About 15 minutes (from boil).
4. Add tomatoes, beans, and noodles. Bring to boil and cook noodles until done (8-12 minutes depending on type of noodles - look to their directions when buying gluten-free noodles).
5. Serve with olives and enjoy!

I usually wait until it's completely cool and freeze one or two servings for Witty Husband who loves a bowl of soup and bread for lunch or dinner.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Say Happy New Year with Sparkling Pomegranate, Lime & Ginger Spritzer (non-alcoholic)

Saying goodbye to 2013 has been as much a relief as a fond remembering (or at least mostly fond). I'm excited for 2014, my new goals, and what is to come. And when I get excited, I write a recipe - maybe I'll just start calling myself a recipe poet.
Today's recipe comes as a perfectly tart and sweet sparkling beverage (also non-alcoholic) that makes me want to ring in the New Year with boisterous glee!

So Cheers to 2014! May it bless all of you sweet readers!
Sparkling Pomegranate, Lime & Ginger Spritzer (non-alcoholic)
2 bottle Reed's Extra-Ginger ginger ale
1 32 oz Sparkling Lime Water
Juice of 3-4 Limes
Seeds from 1 Pomegranate
Combine all ingredients in to pitcher or punch bowl.
For sugary ginger rims on glasses.
Dip glasses first into soda and then into three parts raw cane sugar and one part dried ground ginger.
Question of the Day:
What New Year's Resolution(s) will you be making this year? And do you have any encouraging words for the rest of the sweet readers? I'm interested in hearing your new goals!
For Sweet Roots, I'd like to:
1. Gain 1,000,000 pageviews for my blog.
2. Write and photograph one recipe a week. Post every other week at minimum.
3. Finish compiling recipes into a personal cookbook.
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