Paleo Coconut Banana Muffins

I apologize.  I took a blog hiatus.  I cooked up a storm and played with recipes, but the one thing I have learned about blogging is…not to post something just to have content.  I share recipes because I am proud of them, think they taste good, and hope you enjoy them too!  I missed sharing stories and taking pretty food photos.  It feels so good to be back on the blog :)

Paleo Coconut Banana Muffins

We have been SO BUSY.  I do not know if anyone else feels this way, but every week I think to myself next month will be more relaxing.  Less packed with activities and somehow when I look at our calendar I notice that we have only 3 free weekends in the next 4 months!!!  How does that even happen???  (Answer: Everyone you know if getting married.)  I honestly should not even complain, because Andrew will tell me I need to stop planning.  He says all I do is plan and organize.  With a packed calendar, you have to plan!

Paleo Coconut Banana Muffins

One good thing about being a “forever planner”  = I am always trying to create recipes that my family and friends can enjoy.  Andrew’s brother is one of those super successful, athletic, motivated people…ugh I know…you want to hate them ;)  Well not only does he dabble in real estate, but he gets to jet-set since he’s a pilot.  He doesn’t let his busy, unpredictable schedule stop him from doing cross-fit work outs or sticking to a primal diet.  Now I am not a primal or paleo guru, but I am always curious about the diets/routines people take on and how to dream up delicious treats that they can enjoy.

Paleo Coconut Banana Muffins

The story of my paleo coconut banana muffins starts there.  Andrew’s brother told me about a friend of his who owns a paleo bakery in Florida.  I was instantly curious and decided that if someone can have an entire bakery dedicated to this lifestyle, I should be able to execute at least one baked good.  Oh yes, I am pretty determined (errr slightly competitive).

No processed sugar
No dairy
No grains
LOTS OF FLAVOR.

Paleo Coconut Banana Muffins

I brought these muffins to our softball game last night and I received the highest praise.  One of the girls told me that my banana muffins taste exactly like her grandmother’s banana bread.  (My inner amateur baker is doing somersaults)  She requested the recipe to re-create the treat for her family.  If that is not a good review, I don’t know what is?!?  After that stamp of approval, I am so excited to share these moist, dense, muffins with you all.

P.s. please share your favorite paleo/primal baked treat.  I would love to try it out.

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins

The Players: 

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 C coconut cream
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C natural sweetener (I used honey)
1/2 C coconut flour
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

Optional toppings: banana chips, coconut flakes, peanut butter

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Place all the wet ingredients, including bananas, in a medium mixing bowl and use a hand mixer to combine.
  3. Add all dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until well-incorporated; do not over mix.
  4. Divide batter among muffin tins, filling ~3/4 full.  Optional, top each muffin with a dried banana chip or additional coconut flakes and press topping into the batter.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow muffin to cool in muffin tin.  Serve warm or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

15 Minute Garlicky Shrimp and Zoodles

I would just like to take a moment to say how grateful I am to work with the people I do.  I think too often you hear people complaining about work and the stress of work.  It’s always easier to complain than to be appreciative and thankful.  Don’t get me wrong, there are aspects of work that are not fun…hence why it’s called “work” and not “happy hour”.  But I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing patient care coordinators, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, nurses, mid-levels, pharmacists (shout out to my people), and providers every day.  Not to mention every other person that keeps the machine that is a clinic working.  Yes, we do everything for our patients, but goodness some days it takes a lot of patience (hehe see what I did there?).  I always try to thank the people that work hard to make my day a little easier, but I wanted to give a cyber thank you to everyone else out there that’s giving it their all :)

15 Minute Garlicky Shrimp and Zoodles

Now with all that hard work, you can bet that I work up an appetite.  Sometimes the best meals take the least effort and time.  Stop right there…don’t take another bite of the microwaved entrée.  You can and should take time to reward yourself with a yummy home-cooked meal after a long day.  This is an easy recipe that comes together in minutes AND you can easily customize it for the number of people eating.  Oh yes, you better be intrigued.  Zoodles.  Zucchini noodles, my latest obsession.  They are great because they substitute easily for any pasta dish and you can cook them in the sauce.  Minimal dishes.  Man friend is happy (since he’s always on dish duty).

15 Minute Garlicky Shrimp and Zoodles

I use a Paderno 3-Blade Spiralizer to create my zoodles.  My ratio is 1 large zucchini per serving.  I serve 5 shrimp per person and add as many mushrooms as I have on hand.  Feel free to use an entire 10 oz container.  Everything cooks in one pan and you can easily double the recipe and feed a larger crowd.  I kept the recipe dairy-free, but you could grate some fresh parmesan on top of each serving if you want to kick it up another notch.  Simple, fresh, flavorful, and quick.  Who wouldn’t want to reward themselves after a long day with a bowl of some Garlicky Shrimp and Zoodles?!?!  Tomorrow is Friday, take a moment to thank someone at work for what they do before you run out the door to celebrate the weekend ;)

15 Minute Garlicky Shrimp and Zoodles

As Always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

5 oz sliced crimini mushrooms (half a container)
1/2 shallot, diced
20 large shrimp, peeled
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 zucchini, ends removed
1/4 C diced sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 T freshly sliced basil (~5 large basil leaves)
salt and pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. While your veggies and shrimp are sautéing, use a spiralizer to transform your zucchini into zoodles.
  2. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, mushrooms, and shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Place shrimp and garlic in the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes per side until pink.  Remove shrimp and mushrooms from pan and set aside.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, sauté zoodles  and sun-dried tomatoes in the same pan.  Stir occasionally and cook until zoodles are tender (5-7 minutes).
  5. Add the shrimp and mushrooms back to the pan and toss with fresh basil.  Serve warm.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

Let me just say that I love 3-day weekends!  Today is President’s Day and one of the many perks of working at a Federal Hospital is getting to take those Federal Holidays off.  Everyone deserves a little personal time.  Part of me feels guilty that Andrew had to work, but the other part is doing a celebratory dance because I was able to spend an entire day doing what I wanted.  I slept-in, cleaned, did laundry, made dinner, went on a 9 mile run, walked Teek, and blogged :)  I think the world would be a better place if there were more 3-day weekends…just saying!

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

Okay now for the fun stuff –recipe time.  Cinnabon® cinnamon rolls are a treat that I used to enjoy when I had long layovers at airports or during a particularly difficult work shift, when I worked at the mall in high school.  Let’s be honest…those cinnamon rolls are finger-licking good.  They are so rich, fluffy, and gooey.  But they definitely come with a high-calorie price tag.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

Don’t get me wrong, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too.  I am one of those individuals that works out religiously so I can eat whatever I want.  I am a lover of all foods and definitely indulge; however, I try to eat fairly healthy throughout the work week so I can splurge on the weekends.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

Due to this philosophy I am constantly trying to create a healthier version of a not-so-healthy recipe.  I work in the Digestive Disease Center and am constantly impressed by the patients that adapt their diet due to food intolerances.  So I decided to create a dairy-free cinnamon roll recipe.  I know…what was I thinking?

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

But they turned out pretty great!  I actually even brought some of the cinnamon rolls out to the bar with me (yep, I am that girl).  My girlfriend saw the picture and told me I was not allowed to leave the house without a roll or two for her.  Her husband was shocked when he realized he was eating a healthier version of a cinnamon roll.  I’d say with a response like that, this a successful twist on a recipe :)

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

I use whole wheat flour for my recipe and almond milk, but you can substitute white flour and any non-dairy milk (or regular milk if dairy is not an issue for you).  I stuck with the healthy coconut theme that was in the dough and filling and carried it through for the icing too.  I used coconut cream sweetened with honey.  It was a great substitute for the usual sugar-packed icing other cinnamon roll recipes provide.   Also don’t limit yourself by the filling ingredients below.  You can get creative and add minced dates, raisins, orange zest…the possibilities are endless.  I love nuts and pecans are so great in desserts so I went with pecans in half the rolls and plain for the remainder —next time I’m going all pecan.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

If you need anymore convincing that these cinnamon rolls are thebomb.com I leave you with this: Andrew splurged and inhaled 4 cinnamon rolls after work one day.  I seriously do not understand where he packs it in?!?!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 1 hr 30 min
Cook time: 25-30 min
Servings: 10 cinnamon rolls

The Players: 

For the dough
2 3/4 C + extra whole wheat flour (alternatively use all purpose or cake flour)
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 packet instant yeast
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk (alternatively use soy or regular milk)
1/3 C coconut oil

For the filling: 
2 T coconut oil, melted
1-2 T ground cinnamon
1/3 C granulated sugar
optional: 1/2 to 3/4 C pecans, roughly chopped

For the glaze: 
1/4 C coconut cream
1 t honey
1 t ground cinnamon

The Rules: 

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 C flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, yeast.  In a microwave heat coconut oil and almond milk for 1-2 minute, whisk to combine.  (Note: temperature should be similar to bath water, not too hot or yeast may inactivate and not too cold or yeast won’t activate)
  2. Pour almond milk and coconut oil over dry ingredients and mix to form dough.  Add remaining extra 1/4 C flour if needed; the dough should form a ball and be sticky.  (Note: I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the bread dough hook attachment)
  3. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and transfer dough to surface.  Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed.  Form a ball with the dough.  Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in the mixing bowl.
  4. Cover the bowl and place in a warm area for 1 hour.  Allow the dough to double in size.  (Note: I preheated the oven to 225 F and turned it off, then I placed the dough in the oven)
  5. Line a flat surface with wax paper, punch down on the dough and place on wax paper, using a rolling pin flatten dough and shape into a rectangle ~1/4 inch thick (~9 x 12 inch).
  6. Brush the surface of the dough with melted coconut oil.  Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and optional pecans evenly over surface.  Be as generous as you would like with the filling ;)
  7. Use the wax paper to help tightly roll the dough into a wheel.  (Note: Roll the longer side so you form a cylinder shape)
  8. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 10 pieces.  Transfer the cinnamon rolls to a greased 9-inch cake pan.  (Note: I used coconut oil non-stick cooking spray)
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F and allow the cinnamon rolls to rise while the oven is preheating.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes.
  11. While your cinnamon rolls are cooling, prepare the icing.  Place all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for ~5-10 seconds and stir to combine, adjust seasonings to desired sweetness.  (Note: just microwave to soften coconut cream, you don’t want it to liquify)
  12. Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls and enjoy warm.  Store in an air tight container and reheat cinnamon rolls in microwave for ~30 seconds to enjoy throughout the week.