Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almond Banana Muffins!

Ok, if the bacon wrapped sweet potatoes were the prom queen of my ladies night, the almond banana muffins were definitely first runner-up, ready to take the crown at a moments notice!

What you'll need:

1 cup almond butter
1 cup almond flour
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (maybe even a little more if you like cinnamon)
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/2 cup plus more for topping muffins Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (Dairy-Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free) – I find mine at Whole Foods

Here's how you make them:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan or use liners (I used liners - much easier!)
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and mix everything is incorporated. *Side note - I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. You can definitely make these with a hand mixer, but with the stand mixer I was able to put the bananas in whole without having to mash them, made it much easier!* Now stir chocolate chips into batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin filling all 12 cups evenly. Top muffins with a few additional chocolate chips. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool and remove from pan.

I baked mine for exactly 20 minutes and they cam out perfectly! Next time I make them I won't use the chocolate chips (not a huge chocolate fan). I know Ginesa made these last night using diced apples, raisins and nutmeg. I think I'll steal her idea and use apples in mine next time around! Also, these these freeze really well! I wrapped the left-over muffins individually and popped them in the freezer. Just sit one on the counter to thaw and they're as good as fresh-out of the oven!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

Hey everyone! For those of you who don't know, I've started crossfit classes at Crossfit Gambit in Soulard and along with the new workouts I've also begun a strict paleo diet.

If you're unfamiliar with what paleo means, here's a quick summary from Wikipedia: the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Today is my 22nd day of eating at least 80% paleo, and my 15th day of eating 100% paleo with zero cheats. It's been a challenge, but I have to say, I've never felt better! I've always had tummy problems, especially when running long(ish) miles and that has been completely eliminated. My plan was to eat 100% paleo for 30 days and going back to 80% after. Now I'm thinking I'm going to stay as close to 100% as possible from now on (with an occasional cheat for booze lol).

I'm planning to share a bunch of paleo recipes that I've tried here, partly because some people have asked for them and partly so that I have a place to find them all in one spot!

Last night I had a group of ladies over - it was the first time I was putting my paleo cooking to the test for other people. I think everything went really well. I think the big hit of the night was the bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes!

Here's what you'll need:

2 medium-small sweet potatoes
1 lb uncured bacon
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp maple syrup — OPTIONAL

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Then cut each quarter in half, and then half again. You’ll wind up with 32 bites.

Melt butter over low-heat and stir in chipotle chili powder and sea salt. Toss the potatoes in the spiced, melted butter to coat.

Cut the bacon slices in half, so you have 32 mini-slices of bacon. Wrap each sweet potato bite with a half slice of bacon, and use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. The toothpick doesn't have to go very far into the sweet potato, just far enough to hold the bacon in place.

Place on a stainless steel baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning once about halfway through. I thought about baking these on parchment paper, but I'm really glad I didn't. I think the bacon grease would have made that a disaster.

These are done when the bacon is crispy and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. You could also drizzle these with a bit of maple syrup when finished, but I choose not to.

These were the last thing I made because I thought they may get soggy when reheated. There were a few leftover, so I'll report back on how well they do when reheated.