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Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

 

 

This cake has become my family’s favorite easy-bake, easy-to-make, cake. It’s essentially banana bread masquerading as banana cake, but the cake shape makes it seem more special. It’s crazy moist, contains very little added sugar (because how much sugar do you need with all those bananas in there?!), and it’s a great way to use ripe and/or spotty bananas. We buy tons of bananas in Brazil because they are super inexpensive. However, I don’t even like raw bananas, so I literally buy 20 bananas a week to use in my Green Paleo Pancakes, Green Power Shake, oatmeal pancakes, breads, cakes and muffins.

I have ordered Bolo de Banana several times in Brazil, and while I’ve always found the cakes here overly sweet (not to mention full of gluten), I like how they incorporate so much banana into their recipes. So I tinkered with my gluten- and dairy-free banana muffin recipe to come up with this recipe. It uses 4-6 bananas, and instead of blending the bananas with the wet ingredients, I only mash the bananas a little with a fork so there are lots of chunks of banana in the final cake. Topping the cake with slices of banana makes the cake look more festive, and the banana caramelizes in the baking making it taste better.

 

Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp butter or oil

1 scant cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I like this brand)

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp almond flour

1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar*

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2-4 ripe bananas

1-2 yellow bananas

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup plant-based milk (I like almond or coconut)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

*I’ve used as little as 1/4 cup of sugar, and the cake is still delicious!

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and flour a standard cake tin. Place the tin on a piece of parchment paper, draw a circle using the base of the tin as a guide, cut out the circle and set it inside on the bottom of the tin. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until there are no lumps and everything looks thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Peel the 2-4 ripe bananas and mash with a fork until broken down but still very lumpy in consistency. You need 1-1/2 cups for this recipe, but the recipe is very forgiving if you have slightly less or slightly more. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the oil and milk. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and using a rubber spatula, fold until combined, but do not over stir. (I’ve read and been told that you can’t over stir anything made with gluten-free flour. However, in my personal experience, particular when baking cakes, one should never over stir.) Pour the batter into the prepared tin and give the tin a little jiggle to evenly distribute the batter.

Carefully slice the remaining 1-2 less ripe bananas into strips approximately 3/8-inch in thickness. Depending on the size of your banana(s), you may only need one banana. I aim for three to four strips. Lay the strips on top of the batter, and pop the tin in the center of the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

Enjoy!

 

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kale butt abovekale butt close

 

I’m forever looking for different ways to eat more kale. After all, I do rank it as one of the best things you can eat, along with avocados, apples and eggs. Consider all the good kale can do for you… It helps lower cholesterol, it lowers your risk of at least five types of cancers, including prostrate, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder. It detoxifies the body and it provides at least 45 different flavonoids for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. What’s more, I love that unlike most lettuces, with kale you can freeze it, blanch it, massage it, as well as treat it like any other leafy green by chopping or blending it.

I ate a version of this salad at a local restaurant and have tried several times to replicate it. This comes pretty close, although the restaurant must use some sort of emulsifier in their dressing because I can’t get mine to have the same almost frothy consistency.

You will like the mixture of greens–curly kale, frisee and radicchio, combined with the crunch of the slivered almonds and apple and tender sweetness of the raisins. This makes a great lunch salad or side to any grilled fish or meat.

 

kale butt side

 

Ingredients

Salad:

1 bunch curly kale, washed, dried, ribs removed and roughly chopped

1 small head radicchio, tough core removed, washed and roughly torn

1 small head frisee, stem removed, washed and roughly torn

1 Granny Smith apple, seeded and cored and chopped into cubes

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup slivered almonds (skin on)

 

Dressing:

1 small garlic clove, smashed

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

3 tablespoons sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp fresh-ground pepper

 

Preparation

I put most of the instructions next to the ingredients, so at this point, it’s all pretty straight forward. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

 

kale leaf

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I recently attended a talk and cooking demonstration given by Diana Stobo, local author of “Get Naked Fast.” The little morsels that got passed around at the event were delicious and seemingly simple to make. I bought her book on the spot, and started cooking from it the very next day.

Because I believe in balance, and because I have heard too many theories suggesting an entirely raw food diet can be unhealthy, I have never considered going completely raw. That said, incorporating a raw food approach into your existing diet can only be good for you as far as I’m concerned. Not only is your body free from foods that are difficult to digest and potentially aggravating (e.g., animal protein, processed wheat, etc.), but you are virtually always guaranteed your body will receive all the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and then some as well as an incredible range of nutrients.

In case you’ve never read up on it, a purely raw food diet typically consists of fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, seaweed, nuts, beans and some grains. Food is eaten raw (i.e., uncooked, hence no animal or animal by-products, such as diary). It is believed that heating food above 116 degrees destroys a food’s “lifeforce” and the beneficial enzymes which aid the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Diana doesn’t advocate going completely raw, which is what I like so much about her book. For example, she cooks her quinoa (which might later be cooked in a pancake), and her lentils. She appears to be much more about lightening the load on your digestion and your body as a whole.

The six or so recipes I have tried from Diana’s book are really tasty. Even my meat-eating, meat-loving husband agrees! And what I especially like about a more raw food diet is that in addition to feeling lighter, it actually curbs my cravings for naughty things, such as cheese, cookies and pies. It actually makes me–dare I say it–dread putting something in my mouth that I know will take hours and hours to digest.

I’m striving for a 30-50 percent raw food diet. Since I haven’t eaten mammals for the past two decades, scaling back on fish and fowl is easy. My biggest hurdle is baking less.

In case you’re looking to drop a few pounds before summer is fully upon us, you might consider modifying your diet slightly toward raw food. Because of its balanced approach, I highly recommend Diana’s book as a great introduction to raw. To order, go to http://www.dianastobo.com/.

(Note: My favorite recipes from Diana’s book are Portobello Mushroom Fajitas and Spicy Lentil Tostadas.)

Happy and healthy eating!

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