GF Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

IMG_3973 Ingredients:

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 large egg

5 Tbs. butter (at room temp.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl (sorghum flour through coconut sugar).

Cut in the butter with a dough cutter or potato masher (if you don’t have either of these tools, a fork would work just as well).  Work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is equally distributed and broken up in small pieces (the mixture will still look very dry).

Next, add the egg and vanilla, and continue to work the mixture together with your dough cutter or masher.  It might look like it’s too dry… just keep mixing and mashing!

Once the mixture comes together into a moist dough, mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough onto baking sheet in 1 1/2 – 2 Tbs. portions.  (The dough is very moist, so don’t bother trying to roll them into little balls.  Either drop them free-form, or use a small ice cream scooper.)  They don’t spread a ton, but I’d suggest leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes (or until the cookies are set and firm to the touch).  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 10-12 cookies.

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Cheesy Chicken & Spinach Casserole

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This recipe is inspired by my mom’s delicious Spinach Pie (or if you’re Greek: Spanakopita).  Just the thought takes me back to so many family meals at the kitchen table.  So much feta and dill and spinach all slammed into one tasty bite… MM!  Growing up, it was one of those dishes that all of us kids looked forward to (and still do).  We like to top ours with a nice big dollop of  plain Greek yogurt.  This recipe, though a bit of a stone’s throw from my mom’s more traditional recipe, includes a nice dose of extra protein from chicken and some extra cheese (which is necessary for me to keep my blood sugar levels balanced).  I paired it with some corn pasta simply dressed with a bit of thickened chicken stock and fresh herbs.  But some rice would accompany it nicely as well!

Alright, here we go – a protein-rich spin on traditional spinach pie…

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated

one 5 oz. package organic baby spinach (you could easily double this if you’re a spinach lover – it wilts down dramatically)

1 Tbs. fresh dill, finely chopped

1 egg

3 Tbs. chicken stock

2 cups shredded chicken (or if you like to measure like me, 2 big handfuls)

1 cup ricotta cheese (I like using low-fat)

3/4 cup shredded cheese + 1/2 cup for topping (mozzarella and sharp white cheddar both work great.  If you want to add in some feta for traditional spinach pie flavor, I’d suggest, for the filling, 1/2 cup shredded mozz/cheddar and 1/4 cup feta.)

large pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp – less if you use feta – it’s salty!)

a few turns of the pepper mill

Directions:

In a large sauce pan, gently saute onions in olive oil until soft and slightly translucent.  Add in garlic and saute for a minute or two more.

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Add spinach, mix, and allow to wilt (this happens faster if you throw a lid on your pan).

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Turn off heat and allow spinach mixture to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients (except cheese reserved for topping).

Add spinach mixture to chicken/cheese mixture and mix until well combined.

IMG_3664Pour entire mixture into an oven-safe baking dish.  Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbly and just starting to turn golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Serve up with your favorite pasta or rice, and enjoy!

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Banana Flax Bread

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We all know that just because something has a fruit in the title doesn’t mean it’s healthy!  This banana bread, however, would be considered healthy in my book.  There is a bit of butter which keeps it moist.  But other than that, it’s naturally sweetened with bananas and a hint of honey.  And the relatively small amount of flour is met with a healthy dose of flax seed meal.  I always knew the little seed was low carb, but its health benefits go way beyond that.  According to webMD, flax seed can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.  Sound good?  I thought so too.  It also contains omega-3 essential fatty acids (good fats), lignans (antioxidants), and fiber.  You can read more about it for yourself here.  On to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas

2 Tbs. honey (local raw honey, if you can get it)

1/4 cup melted butter (that’s 1/2 stick)

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup flax seed meal (I buy mine whole and grind them in the coffee grinder… you get more for your money that way.)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mash bananas until smooth, using a fork, potato masher, or dough cutter (my favorite.  But if you don’t have one, a fork will do just fine).

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Add in the rest of the wet ingredients (through vanilla).

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour through salt) and mix until well combined.

Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir well.

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Grease 2 small loaf pans (mine are 3″x5.75″) with canola oil (or your oil of choice), and pour in the batter, dividing it equally between the two loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Allow bread to cool in pans for 10-15 minutes before removing.  Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack (or if you can’t help yourself, enjoy it warm!).

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Enjoy!  And feel good about treating yourself to this tastefully healthy banana flax bread.

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