Chocolate-drizzled Baked Grapefruit

For some reason, I always forget that winter is citrus season.  Maybe it has something to do with associating oranges with Florida, Florida with beaches, and beaches with summer.  I don’t know.  Whatever it is, it always comes as a nice surprise when the produce section at the grocery store lights up with the bright yellows, oranges, reds, and greens that indicate it’s time for some tangy fruit.  Texas doesn’t even really get dreary for too long in the winter, but those bright fruity colors always cheer me up in the cold(ish) months!

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Since I love citrus so much, and I love chocolate so much (but really, who doesn’t?), I decided to combine the two.  This is a simple dessert that is sure to delight with its exciting flavor combinations and topping possibilities.  Give it a try and get creative with it!

Chocolate-drizzled Baked Grapefruit

Prep time: 3 minutes   Cook time: 15 minutes   Total time: 18 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large grapefruit, cut in half

1/4 cup melted chocolate of choice (I recommend Enjoy Life brand)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp coconut sugar

Pinch of sea salt

Optional extra toppings: shredded coconut, chopped nuts, etc.  Think sundaes add-ons!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Slice grapefruit in half and sprinkle the cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut sugar on the fruit’s flesh.
  2. Place the grapefruit, flesh side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until it is warm and soft.
  3. While grapefruit is baking, melt chocolate using method of choice.
  4. Remove grapefruit from the oven once done and drizzle the chocolate on top, along with any other toppings you may be using.  The fruit should pull away easily from the skin with a fork or spoon when eating.  Keep the skin on and use that as the “bowl” – serve warm and enjoy!

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Cinnamon Baked Pineapple

This recipe is special.  I’m in a bible study that two of my kinesiology professors run and announce invitations to every class they teach each semester.  I joined it after they told my introductory-level class of theirs my freshman year.  To give you an idea of how many people they invite to it, they each teach two lectures of around 200 students and then several upper-division classes every semester.  Anyone interested in joining can simply email or talk to them and they will give their home address to that person.  I think that is so kind and brave of them.

Anyway, even with the number of people invited, only a handful of us join and stick it out each semester.  This past year so far has had several of our members diagnosed with food allergies.  One person has recently been told to follow the low-FODMAP diet, and another girl is so sensitive to gluten that she cannot even be around it.  The female professor who runs the bible study is gluten and dairy-free, and the friend I began bringing this semester is as well.  Needless to say, I am not alone in this group of people in when it comes to avoiding certain things in my diet.

As the semester ended, the bible study leaders invited all of us to join together one last time for dinner at their house.  Everything they cooked would be gluten and dairy free, with as much consideration for everyone’s dietary needs as possible.  I was asked to bring something sweet since Anne Marie and I have recently released Paleo Cookie Exchange.  I knew that all of the recipes in there were paleo, but not all things paleo are compliant with low-FODMAP and the other diets being followed in our group.  So, I needed something else to make because I wanted everyone to get to enjoy dessert.  That is where this recipe comes in!

It is very simple, but so delicious.  This dessert doesn’t have any added sugar and can just as easily be enjoyed as a snack or side dish.  It is compliant with: Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, AIP, paleo, primal, low-FODMAP, low-oxalate, whole 30, and vegan diets.  Without the baking, it would taste just as good and would also be raw-vegan compliant.  Needless to say, I tried to make it so that anyone can have some.  I hope you do, too!

Cinnamon Baked Pineapple

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 15 minutes   Total time: 25 minutes

Yield: One 9×9 pan

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Ingredients

1 large or 2 small pineapples, cored & diced

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until pineapple looks like all of the pieces have an even amount of cinnamon covering them.
  3. Add mixture to a 9×9 baking dish and cook in oven on center rack for 15 minutes.  If you want some juice retained, the dish is done at this point.  If you would like it drier, mix it around and leave it in for another 10 minutes.   If you wish to make this raw-vegan compliant, simply skip the baking and let your mixture chill in the fridge for 30 minutes so that the flavors marry before serving.
  4. Serve immediately for a pie-filling-like dessert, or serve cool for a sweet-and-tangy refreshment.

Almond Butter Cups

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Reeses peanut butter cups have always been a favorite treat of mine.  Growing up, I remember splitting a package of the large ones with my dad on the way home from many a fishing trip.  The mini cups were our ranch special to finish off dinner after cleaning whatever game we got that evening.  After going Paleo, I have very much missed them.  Luckily, they are easy to mimic on your own with almond butter (or other nut butter of choice).  I can’t believe I haven’t shared their simplicity on here yet!

Anyway, do you remember all of those awesome things I got for Fair Trade Month last week?  Well, here is my first creation with some of the ingredients!  What better way to celebrate National Dessert Day (and soon Halloween!) than to make some delicious desserts that also support a good cause?  Make sure to check out the #BeFair campaign and each of the products I link to in my recipe, as they are all Fair-Trade Certified and working to make farmers’ lives better.

Almond Butter Cups

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cool time: 20 minutes   Total time: 30 minutes

Yield:  12 mini-cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil

1/4 cup Lake Champlain Organic Unsweetened Cacao Powder

2 tbsp honey (can adjust to taste)

1/4 cup almond butter (I LOVE the salted creamy Trader Joe’s kind)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. Melt coconut oil until it is completely liquid using method of your choice.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and cacao powder with a whisk until the clumps are all gone from the powder.
  3. Add honey and vanilla extract to the mix and whisk again until well-incorporated.
  4. Line 12 molds of a mini muffin tin with paper liners or simply grease with extra coconut oil, if you prefer not to use the liners.  The cups may be more difficult to remove without them, though.
  5. Pour 1/2 of the chocolate liquid into the molds evenly.  Place the tin in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to solidify.
  6. Remove muffin tin from the freezer and dollop teaspoon-sized scoops of almond butter into each of the molds, on top of the chocolate layer.
  7. Pour the other half of the chocolate liquid on top of the almond butter layers and place back in the freezer for an additional 10 minutes to solidify and finish.  If serving immediately, remove from the freezer after this time and enjoy.  If storing for later, keep the cups in either the fridge or freezer until ready to serve.*

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*If you are in an area where coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it will be safe to allow them to sit out for a short while.  If you live in a place like I do (Texas, where it is still in the 90ºF’s in mid-October) then you probably want to leave them in the fridge as long as possible before pulling them out to serve. 🙂

Banana Nut Bread

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned from cooking, it’s that mistakes will happen.  It’s not a maybe thing.  It’s a when and how bad will it be thing.  Luckily, sometimes the mistakes turn out to be something completely new and better than you could have hoped! Such is the case with this recipe.  I was making a batch of my Apple Cinnamon Banana Bread for our new neighbors when I realized that I’d completely forgotten to get the apples and maple syrup at the store 20 minutes before.  Well, since I was already mixing things together, I didn’t want to waste supplies.  So instead, I found what I did have in the kitchen and this bread was the result! _MG_5347

It is a dense, homestyle banana bread that is very good at seeming like it is made with traditional wheat flour.  I am very happy with this recipe and knew it was a keeper when it was easily replicated the next day.  My roommates, who have quickly become my newly-elected, non-paleo taste testers, chowed down on it with me and we all agreed that it is delicious!

Baking has always been a joy for me, and now I hope this recipe brings some smiles to you and those you love… without the bloating and allergies afterward! 🙂

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Banana Nut Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 35-40 minutes   Total time: 50 minutes

Yield:  One 9″x5″ bread loaf  (one standard-sized large bread pan)

Ingredients

1 cup almond flour (fine almond meal works as well)

1/2 cup arrowroot starch

2 tbsp coconut flour, sifted

2 medium size, very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp coconut sugar

1/4 cup pecan pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and grease your bread pan with baking oil of choice (I just use a little coconut oil straight from the jar and it works fine!)
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl until they are more of a cream than banana-looking.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, except for the coconut sugar and pecans (almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut flour, baking soda, salt) until they are well-incorporated with one another.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the mixing bowl with the bananas and mix as well as possible.  The banana should separate into smaller pieces and begin to clump with the dry mix.
  5. Add the wet ingredients one at a time, stirring to mix each one in thoroughly.
  6. Once all ingredients, except for the pecans and coconut sugar, have been mixed together into a smooth batter, pour it into the greased bread pan.
  7. Sprinkle coconut sugar and pecan pieces on top of the batter, adjusting amounts of each to taste and appearance preferences.
  8. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.  MAKE SURE to do the toothpick (or butter knife, fork, etc.) test, because the top of the bread gets golden-brown before the middle is completely done cooking.
  9. Enjoy… and try your best not to eat it all at once!  If not serving right away, store in the fridge for up to a week.

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Islamorada Piña Coladas

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Yes, I realize this picture was taken with a martini glass.  It was my closest option to a margarita glass… don’t judge! 😛

These babies are named after the island in the Florida Keys that I’ve been staying on this past week.  We’ve explored all of the keys, but it’s always nice to come home to a place to just wind down by a pool in the evening and read!  In case anyone’s interested, I’ve already gotten through To Kill a Mockingbird (not my first time reading it) and the sequel, Go Set a Watchman.   The first always gets to me, and the writing is just as good in the second one. The plot isn’t very developed, but I liked it for what it was.  However, the changes that the characters from the first book have undergone by the time the second book happens may shock you!  Don’t worry, I won’t say any more than that.

This recipe is one I’ve whipped up a few times and it’s always a delicious treat!  I don’t normally drink alcohol, but I’m on vacation so what the heck.  This is just as good as a virgin smoothie, though, too!

Islamorada Piña Coladas

Total time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 large or 4 small drinks

 

Ingredients (Sweet variation)

1 banana

1 1/2 cups pineapple

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

12 large ice cubes

2oz rum of choice (can omit or use more/less to your liking)

Ingredients (Tangy variation)

2 1/2 cups pineapple

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

15 large ice cubes

2oz rum of choice (again, adjust to taste/tolerance)

Directions

  1.  Throw all ingredients into a blender.  I’d recommend putting the ice first, followed by the fruits and then finished off with the liquid.  It gets the hard stuff closest to the blender.
  2. Blend beginning on medium speed, then increase to high once the big pieces are gone.
  3. Continue blending until smooth.  Serve in glasses of your choice, with extra pieces of fruit or shredded coconut as garnish.

Blood Diamond Popsicles

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It’s summer.  And I’m in Texas.  It is HOT.  My weakness is ice cream and anything related to it, and once in a while I’ll indulge in the “real thing” if it’s an extra-special occasion (anyone see my post on National Ice Cream Day?).  But this health journey of mine has revealed a strong sugar sensitivity and addiction in me, and while I think I have a pretty good handle on the addiction at this point, the sensitivity is still there.  And I’m talking reaaaaaally there.  I get hot and sweaty and breathe heavily when I eat too much sugar at once, even from something “technically paleo,” such as dried fruit.  To combat this, I wanted to make a low-sugar, still-delicious popsicle recipe that wouldn’t cause such a reaction in me and would be good for people following bulletproof and leto lifestyles as well.  These babies are the result, and I’d say they hit the spot!  They even turned out vegan… yay for pleasing everyone!

Blood Diamond Popsicles

Prep time: 10 minutes   Set time: 4+ hours   Total time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 popsicles (may vary based on popsicle mold size)

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 can full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Stevia or other natural sweetener of choice, to taste*

Directions

1.  Pureè the raspberries in a Nutribullet or other blender.  You may need to add a little bit of water to get them to blend up.

2.  Pour the raspberry pureè evenly into popsicle molds.  Push it down to the bottom with a spoon to make sure there are no air bubbles.

3.  Blend together the coconut milk, water, vanilla, and sweetener* until an even consistency has been formed.

4.  Pour the coconut milk mixture over the raspberry layer evenly among each mold, and place the popsicle sticks on top.

5.  Place on an even surface in a freezer and allow to set for 4 hours.  Before serving, allow the popsicles to sit out of the freezer to melt a little to help with removal.  You can also run hot water on the outside of the molds if you just can’t wait to tear into these babies!  Bet you can’t eat just one 😛

*I only needed two packets of stevia for this entire recipe, and it turned out great.  The natural sugars in the raspberries and the sweetness of the vanilla extract already help to enhance toe sweetness in the coconut, so excess sugars are not required to make this a tasty treat!

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Blackberry Rhubarb Cobbler

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I’m lucky enough to have a huge blackberry patch behind the house where I grew up.  I’m also lucky in the fact that I attend college fairly close to my hometown, so I get to see family there regularly.  Anyway, blackberries bloom this time of year in Texas and they are popping off of those bushes behind my house!  When I visited home last week, we picked about a gallon of those tasty berries and there are still plenty not yet ripe.  I may have to go back for another round!  So many blackberries called for a special recipe.  Upon visiting Barton Creek Farmer’s Market this past Saturday, one of the farms I regularly get produce from (Two Happy Children Farm) had fresh rhubarb up for grabs.  This is my mom’s favorite thing to have in a pie.  I decided to take advantage and make a new creation – Blackberry Rhubarb Cobbler!

Blackberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 15-20 minutes   Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: One 9-inch round cobbler (serves 6-8)

 

Ingredients

FILLING:

2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced

2 cups fresh blackberries

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup local honey

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tbsp clarified butter

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CRUST:

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup arrowroot starch

2 tbsp coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp local honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of sea salt

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Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Grease baking pan the way you choose and set aside.

2.  Mix together all filling ingredients in a bowl, except for the butter.*  Once thoroughly combined, pour into the baking pan.  Dollop pieces of the clarified butter on top of the fruit mixture.

3.  In another bowl, whisk together crust ingredients.  Once a smooth consistency is reached, spread on top of the fruit filling as evenly as possible.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.  Enjoy warm, with some Coconut Whipped Cream on top, if desired!

*VEGAN SUB:  Replace butter with palm shortening.