Grain Free Banana Macadamia Nut Bread

Last week Amazon had a flash sale on some of my favorite paleo/gluten-free cookbook authors’ ebooks, so I took advantage and downloaded a bunch of ebooks to my ipad, one of them being the The Zenbelly Cookbook by Simone Miller. With Easter rapidly approaching and Simone’s book loaded with delicious recipes, I decided to create a grain free banana macadamia nut bread to see how I liked it.  Safe to say the 2015 cookbook challenge has struck gold once again.

grain free banana macadamia nut bread

There’s a strong stigma surrounding grain-free baking, especially if you are dealing with someone who prefers your standard white flour, butter and sugar.  But truth be told, grain-free baking results in some pretty tasty treats.  I’ve had people tell me that sometimes they like the grain or gluten-free version better than the original (see: gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes).

I still haven’t decided if I will bring this bread to our family’s Easter brunch, but it’s definitely a hit in our house.  The macadamia, coconut and banana remind me of those delicious pancakes I had in Maui, and the chocolate chips just make this bread that much more awesome.

If you haven’t experimented with grain-free baking before or are curious to try it, then I highly recommend this recipe!  I tend to feel better when I don’t have gluten in my diet, and this grain free banana macadamia nut bread is the perfect thing when you are looking for a quick breakfast on the go or want a sweet (but not too sweet) treat.

Grain-Free Banana Macadamia Nut Bread (adapted from the Zenbelly Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

3 eggs

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups almond flour

1/2 cup tapioca starch (original recipe calls for arrowroot powder)

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.

Combine your bananas, eggs, butter, vanilla in a bowl and mix until well blended.  In a larger bowl, mix your almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and salt.

Gently pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients.  Add your macadamia nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour your batter into your loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Cool, eat and enjoy!

Natural Products Expo West Recap

As I mentioned in my previous Natural Products Expo West post, I got to meet with a variety of wonderful brands and learn more about their products.  You already heard all about Justin’s, so here are some other products & brands I think you should check out.

Annie Chun’s & Bibigo:

Natural Products Expo WestI normally shy away from pre-packaged foods, but when I heard about the new seaweed crisps that Annie Chun’s was debuting, I was intrigued.

I was pleasantly surprised by the seaweed crisps!  They weren’t overly salty, and had a nice light crunch.  I also liked that they were gluten-free and had minimal ingredients.  I can definitely see having these as a snack on the go, or packing for travel.

I didn’t get to try the Bibigo Gochujang sauce (because of my soy allergy) but my husband did and loved it!  He’s used it on stir fries and other dishes so it’s safe to say we’ll be buying that again as well for our house.

Brewla Bars:

Natural Products Expo West BrewlaLindsay from Fit and Awesome introduced me to Brewla Bars and I am so glad she did!  They are popsicles made with all-natural ingredients and NO artificial flavors or sweeteners.

I tried the Strawberry and Hibiscus Tea flavor which was delicious!  And with each bar clocking in between 20-50 calories and with less than 10g of sugar, they are definitely the perfect summer treat.  Plus, they have unique flavors like Root Beer Float and Tropical Fruits White Tea, so what’s not to love?  (also, I really want to try the root beer one!).  Right now Brewla Bars are available in Gelson’s markets, but they are hoping to expand more soon.

Gold Mine Natural Foods:

natural products expo west natural foodsGold Mine Natural Foods specializes in sustainable macrobiotic foods such as organic kimchi, sauerkraut and kelp noodles.  The brand also has pantry staples such as black rice and pasta.

I was able to try the sauerkraut and kimchi, which was great!  I’m always trying to get more fermented foods into my diet, and the sauerkraut was a great addition to many of our dinners.  I was a fan of just the classic kraut, but the Englishman really loved the garlic flavor.

Nikki’s Coconut Butter:

Nikkis Coconut ButterI just recently started using coconut butter in recipes, and absolutely love Nikki’s Vanilla Cake Batter flavor.  I’ve used it in smoothies, in my homemade hot chocolate, and love adding it for a touch of natural sweetness in baked goods.  It’s loaded with heart healthy fats and not too high in sugar which is awesome.  Sometimes I eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

Whole Me Clusters:

natural products expo west whole meI wrote about Whole Me last year, but this year I got to try their new Lemon Berry Chia Clusters and I am in love.  I adore just about lemon everything, but these clusters took it to another level.  The Almond Coconut and Cinnamon Banana Chip were also quite tasty, but I LOVED the Lemon Berry.

If you attended the Natural Products Expo West this year what products were your fave?  Any finds that are a must-try?

Macadamia Nut Crusted Cod

It’s time for another 2015 cookbook challenge recipe!  The Englishman and I are on a big seafood kick, so we decided that this week’s recipe would be the Macadamia Nut Crusted Cod from Practical Paleo.

macadamia nut crusted cod

I should quickly note that the original recipe called for sole instead of cod, but Santa Monica Seafood had a killer deal on fresh cod, so we went with it.  I honestly think this recipe would go fabulous with any white fish of your choice so cod, halibut, sole; it all works!

This recipe reminded me of the delicious macadamia nut crusted snapper we had at Lelani’s during our honeymoon in Maui (which also makes me want to go back to Maui stat).

Another great bonus is you can throw together this dinner in less than 30 minutes.  It’s that easy.  We paired our fish with some roasted potatoes and vegetables and it was divine.

Macadamia Nut Crusted Cod (recipe from Practical Paleo)

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh cod

1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, chopped

2 tsp orange zest (lemon works too)

1 tbsp fresh onion, chopped

2 tbsp dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to a low broil setting.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place your onions on the sheet.  Gently place your fish on top of the onions.

macadamia nut crusted soleLightly sprinkle your macadamia nuts on top of the fish, followed by your orange zest.  Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle your white wine over the fish and place in the oven for roughly 10 minutes.  The fish should be light and flaky when done.

Remove, garnish with lemon wedges and sides of your choice and enjoy.  So fresh, so easy.

macadamia nut crusted cod plate

What’s your favorite seafood dish? I’m always looking for new inspiration in the kitchen!

Peanut Butter Goji Berry Brownies

**giveaway is officially closed.  thanks to all for entering!**

Imagine rich cocoa powder + Peanut Butter and Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams baked into gooey perfection and topped with dried goji berries.  It may sound like a strange combo, but believe me, it works.  The Yum Squad was tasked to participate in a #mysteryingredient challenge in honor of National Peanut Month, and so Peanut Butter Goji Berry Brownies were born.

YumSquad-Banner-MysteryIngredient-Goji-SquareWhen I found out the dried goji berries were my mystery ingredient, I was beyond excited.  I happen to LOVE goji berries and use them in smoothies, granola, healthy cookies and even just eat them out of the bag as a snack.  I knew I wanted to do something sweet with the goji berries since they are on the tart side, and decided peanut butter brownies was the way to go.

goji berry brownies PINI made these peanut butter goji berry brownies for our family’s annual Academy Awards viewing party and they were a huge hit!  Even with my grandmother, who asked what “those red things were.”  The key to this recipe is to add the goji berries when the brownies are practically done baking and on the gooey side, otherwise they will turn brown and don’t look nearly as appetizing.

peanut butter and co and goji berriesI used Dark Chocolate Dreams as my base peanut butter for these brownies, but you could also use Smooth Operator, White Chocolate Wonderful, The Bee’s Knees or even Crunch Time for some added texture.  The possibilities are endless.

Peanut Butter Goji Berry Brownies (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chopped into pieces
  • 2 additional tablespoons of butter (to be used for the filling)
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate dreams peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup goji berries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line an 8 inch square baking pan with either parchment paper or grease with butter.

Take your 2 tablespoons of butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter and melt in a saucepan over low heat.  Once the mixture has melted, set aside to cool

In a large mixing bowl whisk your flour, salt, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar together.  Add your eggs and vanilla and continue to whisk until the batter is well blended.

In a separate saucepan, melt your 8 tablespoons of butter and pour into the dry mixture.  Gently fold in your peanut butter mixture and continue to mix until the batter is nice and thick.

goji berry brownie mixPour your batter into your baking dish and place in the oven for 40 minutes.  At the 40 minute mark, sprinkle your goji berries on top and continue to bake for another 5 minutes, or until the brownies are nice and gooey in the center.

Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing into squares.  Eat and enjoy!

peanut butter goji berry brownies closeOk now onto the fun stuff.  One lucky winner will win their own Peanut Butter and Co. Prize Pack to create their own delicious pb creation!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Open to U.S. residents only.  Contest ends 3/22/15 at 12:00 AM PT.

Thanks to the team at Peanut Butter and Co. for sponsoring this giveaway!