Pandemic Baking: Coconut Flour Banana Bread & Chocolate Chips

I’ve been cooking so much since this Pandemic started. Does that sound familiar? I’ve heard that from other people too. I haven’t baked this much in ages either. I decided though, after the first month, that I needed to focus on healthy treats and sweets.

The internet is a great source of recipes. And after having over-ripe bananas several times, I decided to bake banana bread. I’ve heard from other people that they’ve been baking a lot of banana bread too.  I wanted something gluten-free, though, because gluten can cause an inflammatory response. I know it does with me if I eat very much.

In my search for a good gluten free recipe, I came across one using coconut flour. I tried it and thought it was delicious. However, when I counted up the fat grams in the loaf, I thought WOW! That’s a lot of fat no matter how healthy the fat. So I tweaked the recipe and substituted 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1/2 cup of the fat. It worked fine!

I kept tweaking the recipe. I wanted to increase the protein in it so it would be a complete breakfast in one large slice of banana bread. It already had three eggs but I upped it to four large eggs which made 24 grams of protein. I also added a scoop of organic whey protein powder, which added 20 grams of protein, plus a tablespoon of almond milk to add more moisture. The almond butter added protein as well.

So here’s my recipe. It’s gluten-free, high protein, lower fat, no added sugar if you don’t count the chocolate chips (ha ha), and has a good amount of fiber which makes it filling. You mix it up in one pan which is awesome for easy clean up. You don’t need a mixer. This is SO easy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I line my loaf pan with parchment paper or you can grease the pan if you prefer. Put the bananas in a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the wet ingredients and mix together. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps. Add the dry ingredients and mix well but do not overmix. Then last, add the chocolate chips, saving some to put on top after you put the batter in the pan and smooth it out. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup minimum of mashed ripe bananas (or two small-medium bananas)
  • 4 large eggs (I use organic, pasture raised)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (original recipe called for 1/2)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I keep the single serving, lunchbox sizes on hand. One of those is 1/2 cup applesauce. Perfect!  Again, I use organic.)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (I use organic. You can use butter if you don’t have coconut oil. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of this oil and no applesauce.)
  • 1 tablespoon Almond Milk (Leave this out if you don’t add whey protein powder to this recipe.  I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (Make sure you buy 100% vanilla. It’s so worth it! I don’t wash the measuring spoon until later that day because I keep smelling the vanilla scent left on the spoon. So relaxing!)

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Coconut Flour (I use organic)
  • 1 scoop of Whey Protein Powder (Optional. I use organic – mine has a very light vanilla flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Store in an airtight container. It will last four days on the counter (unless eaten sooner than that).

Enjoy! ~ Charla

 

 

Teaching Kids How to Wash Their Hands Correctly

It’s hard to teach kids how to wash their hands correctly. Some want to skip the soap. Some want to just wet their hands and then they’re finished. Having taught school before, I know that some even turn the water on just to make you think they washed their hands, when in fact, they didn’t even get their hands wet!

One thing that really helped to motivate my students to wash correctly were these cute videos. Some would even sing one of the songs while washing their hands.

VIDEOS:

If your kids are like the ones in my class, they will pick out one or two of the songs that they really like and that will stick with them. Demonstrate how to wash hands properly. Wet hands and apply soap. Hands need to be washed for at least 15 seconds. Rub hands together to clean the top of the hands and in between fingers. Rub palms together to clean the other side and in between fingers again. Rub finger tips on palms of hand, alternating hands. Then cup your fingers around your thumb to clean, then alternate to the other hand. Rinse well and dry on a towel.

This is such an important skill for our children to learn. Try to make it fun. Watch the videos, sing songs while washing hands, and maybe have an incentive chart. The chart doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can use a calendar that you already have or you can print a free one online. You can also draw your own. The main thing is to have a square for each day. If they do a good job of washing their hands that day then they can get a sticker to put on their chart. Or you can draw a smiley face or something they can relate to on the daily square. Decide on a reward for a certain number of stickers/happy faces. Make sure the reward is something they like.

Remember:

  • Make it fun by singing a song.
  • Keep it positive.
  • Give rewards.
  • Set a good example by washing your hands properly

Use your imagination and you might come up with some other fun activities and incentives to add to these.

 

 

Text in this post is protected by copyright 2020.

Easy Salmon Chowder

What’s your view on salmon?  I really like to eat salmon several times a month.  It’s loaded with all sorts of good things to help strengthen our bones and to help reduce inflammation.  (Some researchers say inflammation is the root of all disease.  I do know it’s not good for our bodies.)

It’s been cold this week and I’ve been in the mood for salmon and for soup, so I threw some things in a pot and kept tweaking and adding things.  This is what I came up with, and I think it’s yummy.  I didn’t measure anything so the recipe is going to be estimations.  From start to finish was less than 30 minutes and it might could be made in 20 minutes, if necessary.

This is my go-to salmon in a can, Raincoast Wild Pink Salmon.  It’s not farm raised and it comes from the Pacific Northwest.  I’ve been buying it at Natural Grocers for a couple of years now because of its quality.  I would think that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s might carry it too.

INGREDIENTS:

This recipe is for one serving.  Multiply ingredients by number of servings.  If you don’t use organics, then substitute with what you do use.

  • 1 cup Pacific Chicken Bone Broth, organic
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots from a bag, organic
  • 1 stalk of celery thinly sliced, organic (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Pacific Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup, organic
  • 1/3 – 1/2 can of Raincoast Wild Pink Salmon, 5.65 oz. can
  • 1/2 cup canned peas, organic (or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, organic
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (Optional, if not used then use 1 cup of broth)
  • 1-2 cups fresh salad greens, organic
  • salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pour broth into a saucepan and put on medium heat.  Add sliced carrots and sliced celery.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add cream of chicken soup, salmon, peas, corn, and rosemary.  Mix together. Then add salad greens on top.  Simmer for 5 minutes and stir salad greens into chowder as they wilt.
  • Add almond milk and heat for a couple of more minutes or until heated thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can tweak this recipe to make it creamier by adding more of the cream of chicken soup.  Leave out any veggies you don’t like.  Chopped onions would be good to add with the carrots and celery.

Hope you like this salmon chowder and feel good from eating all the healthy ingredients.  Enjoy!

I was not compensated in any way for this post. This is a recipe I really enjoyed on a cold day, and I just wanted to share it with y’all!

 

 

Pictures and text on this post are protected by copyright 2019

Taco Turkey Stew

This recipe satisfies my taste for a taco and for a warm stew simultaneously.  It’s a great dish for a cold day or just for a day when I want something spicy. There are a variety of ways to fix this.  It can be low-carb or carbs can be raised up a notch by adding beans.  Chips are optional, and that’s why I made this as a “stew” which could easily be low-carb or not if you want to add beans, chips, taco shells, or tortillas.

Here it is without the beans, red bell pepper, and with zucchini instead of yellow squash:

I use organic products as much as I can to limit the amount of GMO and pesticides in my food.  You can substitute whatever you normally use.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 packet Bearitos Taco Seasoning (from Natural Grocers)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Smoked Paprika
  • 1 organic yellow squash or zucchini (or both), chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • Avocado, chopped
  • Plain organic, pasture-raised yogurt or sour cream (Optional)

Directions:

    • Saute chopped onion in olive oil for 5-10 minutes in a large skillet
    • Add red bell pepper and saute for another 5-10 minutes
    • Add ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart until crumbly
    • After turkey is cooked, add taco seasoning packet and 1 1/2 cups of water and mix well
    • Add chopped squash and cover the skillet.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until squash is barely tender
    • For a creamer sauce, mix in plain yogurt or sour cream and serve
    • Top with salt & pepper to taste, more smoked paprika (I like lots), and chopped avocado

I was not compensated for this post in any way. Just a yummy, healthy recipe I wanted to share!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

 

 

Pictures and text on this post are copyrighted, 2019

Mediterranean Cuisine

Have you been to a Mediterranean Restaurant?  I went with two teacher friends this past week, and one friend and I had no idea what to order.   I don’t know much about Mediterranean foods except for the fact that it’s very healthy and that hummus and olive oil are a part of it, but our other friend knew what’s really good.  We ended up ordering soup & salad:  Fatoush Salad & Fasoolia Bean Soup, and they were sooo good!

We also shared a large appetizer tray which had things like hummus (which I’ve already had many times), and baba ganoush, falafel, feta cheese with olive oil, and a couple of dips.  We had a lot of fun trying everything, and I don’t think there was anything we didn’t like.  I give it a thumbs up! I must admit I brought home one of their paper menus so I could tell people what I had eaten.  Otherwise, I would’ve just said, “Mediterranean food.”  Now, I want to research how to incorporate more of this healthy diet into our meal plan.

Back Massage

Teaching a special ed class, we do a lot of bending over, kneeling down, and sitting on the floor with students during the week.  We have to help some students stand up.  Needless to say, we’ve been having sore backs this week.  It would be nice to send for a massage therapist to come and give us all back massages in the classroom.  It would be really nice to have them come every week.   Ok, I’m dreaming!  Actually, my husband gives me a back rub when I have a backache.  It’s wonderful!

Menu Plan Monday 8-5-13 & “Fast Food” My Way

Just put your favorite fresh veggies in a skillet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. For protein, add Hormel Natural Choice (100 % natural) Smoked Deli Turkey (NO preservatives), each slice folded in half. So fast & easy! So fresh! So good! So healthy! (and easy clean-up)

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blog pics 2, 8-13 019Monday: “Fast Food” the healthy way

Tuesday: Fish, veggie salad

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Chef salad

Friday: Eat out

Exercising

Exercise has gone on the back burner during the past few weeks, but I plan to get back into an exercise routine soon.  I don’t know if I need to get a yoga mat and do yoga stretches or maybe go to a gym.   My kind of exercising usually includes going for 30-40 minute walks, stretching, and doing some light exercising.  As you can tell, I don’t do the strenuous type of exercising.  Never have and probably never will.  I look at it within the framework that any little bit I do is better than nothing at all.

Disabilities

Do you know people who have disabilities?  Then you may know how much car lift deals, chair lifts, and other aids mean to people who need them.  There are so many things that have been developed throughout the past couple of decades that greatly benefit those with disabilities.  These things increase their mobility, help decrease the effects of their disability, and increase their independence.

One-Minute Fresh Blackberry Dessert

blog, fresh blueberry dessert 4-13

Here’s a super-fast and easy dessert that is so delicious and packed with nutrients!  It’s even healthier without the preserves, so you could add Stevia to sweeten the berries and cut down on the sugar content.
INGREDIENTS:

  • Fresh blackberries, well rinsed
  • Blackberry preserves
  • Whipped cream

Mix 1 tablespoon preserves for every 1/2 cup blackberries.  Stir gently.  Top with whipped cream.

 

Don’t Forget Sunglasses

Now that spring is officially here, that means a lot of people will be outside doing things they enjoy.  Most people remember to put on sunscreen, but do they protect their eyes with good sunglasses?  There are sites online such as Eye Save where busy people can order sunglasses and save time from having to go shopping for them.

My husband’s glasses automatically turn darker when he’s out in the sun, but I have sunglasses that I carry in my purse all the time.  Whenever I’m driving and there’s a glare, I make sure to wear them and my eyes feel so much better!

A Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is invaluable!  Not only does it help a person to feel better the next day and be more mentally alert, but it is also vital in the long run for a person’s health.  The deep sleep cycle is when the body repairs tissues, builds bone and muscle, and helps to strengthen the immune system. That’s why people invest in mattresses such as the natural latex mattress boston,  read up on all the tips to help ensure a restful night’s sleep such as not watching TV in bed, and stay away from caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.