Gluten Free Banana Bread

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2016-07-14 08.21.20The majority of the time, I’m grain free. But every now and then, I venture out and eat gluten free grains. You can make grain free banana bread too, and I’m sure somewhere out there someone has a recipe that you’ll love…but I have yet to find or create a grain free recipe that I love.

I made this banana bread with Mama’s Coconut Blend Flour and it was absolutely delicious. The flour is a blend of coconut, tapioca, potato starch, and rice flours. It had perfect texture, it was beautifully moist, held together well, and I was able to bake it in a normal bread pan rather than my tiny bread pan made for grain free breads.

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When you bake with gluten free grains, things come out fluffy and cushy and light. Most grain free baked items are a heavier and more temperamental. I’m not used to being able to make bread in a normal sized bread pan and have it rise over the top. That was a treat in itself!

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Of course, actually eating the banana bread warm with lots of dairy free butter was the real treat.

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Gluten Free Banana Bread

2 Cups of Mama’s Coconut Blencond Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Ground cinnamon

4 eggs

3 Very Ripe Large Bananas

3/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/3 Cup of Avocado Oil

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×5 in loaf pan generously with coconut oil and set aside.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl whisk all of the wet ingredients and the sugar together until fully incorporated. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and fold gently, just until combined and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Bake for 40 minutes. (I use convection)

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Life Is Too Short Not To Eat Onion Rings

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It turns out that I’m not the only one that needs an onion ring every now and then. For those of us who can’t eat gluten and dairy, craving breaded fried foods can pose a problem. As you already know, that’s my goal here on this blog. Proving to people that an allergen free life doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive. While it may be a problem finding these types of foods when you’re eating out, it’s not a problem if you’re willing to make them at home.

Sometimes, it’s just necessary to eat comfort food and enjoy an onion ring…or 10. It’s as simple as that. Just like every now and then, I need a piece of cake for breakfast…but that’s a story for another time.

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I hadn’t planned on posting this so I don’t have any prep or process photos and the photos I do have are lacking excitement…or so I thought. I posted a couple pictures of last night’s dinner on my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page and on Instagram and received a few messages asking for the recipe. It’s a pretty simple recipe. There’s a few steps involved, but once you get that down, making them at home is worth every. single. bite.

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Gluten Free Dairy Free Onion Rings

*You’ll need a dutch oven or deep fryer and a deep fry/candy thermometer, 2 baking sheets lined with parchment or tin foil if you don’t want an oily mess, and 2 cooling racks that will fit on top of the baking sheets. You will also need a large slotted spoon or tongs.

50.7 ounces of Avocado Oil (About 1 1/2 bottles of Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil, I buy mine at Costco)

5 Medium to Large Sweet Onions (Peeled and sliced save middles for something else)

3 plus 1 Cups of All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour Blend)

3 Tablespoons of Arrowroot

3 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1  Tablespoon of Sea Salt plus more for sprinkling

1 1/2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper

3 teaspoons of Bragg’s Seasoning

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 Cups of Gluten Free Beer (I used Green’s Amber Ale the dark ale would work well too)

1 Cup of Perrier (or any sparkling mineral water)

1 Large Egg

Pour the oil into the dutch oven, insert the thermometer, turn the burner on medium or slightly higher,  and heat to between 325-350 degrees. This will take some time.

(It’s easiest if you set up an ingredients “station” right next to the stove top.)

While the oil is heating measure the flour, arrowroot, garlic, sea salt, cayenne, Bragg’s, and sugar into a large bowl or baking dish. Whisk to combine. Reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture in a bowl and set aside. Dredge all of the onion slices in the larger amount of flour mixture and set aside on a paper towel or plate.

In a medium bowl combine the beer, sparkling water, and egg. Pour into the larger mixture of flour and whisk to combine.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the prepared baking sheets in the oven.

Once the oil reaches temperature:

Remove the thermometer. Take an onion and dip in the liquid flour mix, then dredge quickly in the smaller dry reserved flour mix, dip quickly one more time into the liquid mix and then put into the oil. Repeat with 6-7 slices at a time but don’t overcrowd. I let the oil heat up a bit more between each wave of onions. The onion rings won’t brown as much as traditional onion rings. Allow to cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the onion slices are. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs onto the racks and season with more sea salt. Try a piece (or two) from the first batch and see if they’re crispy to your liking, then you can adjust the cooking time from there. Keep warm in the oven. Serve as soon as all the onions are done.

Dipping Sauce:

Olive oil mayo, ketchup, and sriracha. I use about 1/2 C of mayo, 1/4 C of ketchup, and a generous squeeze of sriracha. Amount will depend on how seasoned you like yours and how many people you’re feeding.

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Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

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I’ve been dreaming about and creating this dessert in my head for a while. Monday we celebrated America’s Independence Day so I had the perfect reason to make a special dessert. Not that I need a reason of course…but neither one of us like a lot of sweets lingering around the house as they become increasingly difficult to ignore.

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I’m very happy with the result. The flavors are exactly what I imagined in my head.  Believe me, I’ve dreamed up countless recipes in my head that didn’t translate well into real life, so when I get a perfect outcome the first try, I allow myself a little celebration and mental high fives.

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The only bummer was that it fell apart when I plated it. Only because I didn’t make it the day ahead and allow it to set in the fridge over night like I had planned. So when you make it, make it a day ahead and all will be well.

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My mother’s friend turned us on to a wonderful organic store just across the border in Idaho called Pilgrim’s.  When I was growing up Pilgrim’s focused just on supplements but now it’s turned into a very lovely health food grocery store. All the fruit on the tart came from Pilgrim’s and it was gorgeous. Not one yucky piece or under ripe morsel in the whole bunch.  It made me want to move right next door so I could wander around in there every day basking in the glow of what healthy produce should look like. They sell almost everything that Whole Foods sells, just on a smaller scale.  They also have a salad bar, hot food bar, and freshly baked GLUTEN FREE (can you believe it?) goods. It’s amazing and I think it’s well worth the 20 minute or so drive seeing that I typically have to go to three grocery stores in our own town to get what I need and it’s rarely very fresh.

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For the tart filling if you’re not bothered by cow’s milk dairy, you can use cream cheese instead of the goat cheese, regular heavy cream for the whipped cream instead of coconut milk, and regular vanilla yogurt (plain  will be too tart). If you’re vegan or don’t care for goat cheese, you can substitute the goat cheese with Diaya cream style cheese. You could also add pureed fruit to the filling for different flavors. You could make it a chocolate filling by adding cocoa powder to the yogurt and goat cheese mixture and maybe some dairy free chocolate chips to the filling. There are many options to fit different needs. The crust does have gluten free grains, but you could easily make it with a grain free cookie crust as well.

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Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

*For everything to come together properly, you’ll need to make the whipped cream ahead of time. The tart will set up more solid and plate better if allowed to chill in the fridge overnight or all day prior to serving.

For the tart shell:

1 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/4 Cup of Ground Buckwheat Groat Flour (I buy the groats and grind them in my VitaMix)

1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

1/3 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, cold

Measure the flours, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a mixer, whip the butter and coconut sugar until fully combined and creamy scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the almond extract and the flour mixture and mix on medium high until combined and the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Quickly press the dough into a removable bottom tart pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour until solid and chilled. Remove from fridge and poke holes throughout the tart with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crust is a light golden color. Remove and cool completely. (I cool completely and then chill for 15 minutes in the freezer before adding the filling.)

For the filling: 

1 oz. of Goat Cheese (the log is creamier and softer than a brick of goat cheese)

1 1/4 Cups of Coconut Milk Yogurt (you can use store bought, but you may want to cut it down to 3/4 – 1 cup as mine is thicker than store bought)

Sweetened Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream made with 2 Boxes of 100% Coconut Milk – 2 Cups (Chilled over night and then whipped into coconut cream with vanilla and sugar. I think the whipped cream is more stable when it’s allowed to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You could also make it a day ahead, then just pour off any amount of coconut water separation.)

Zest of 1 Lemon

About 3 Cups of Berries/Fruit For The Top Of The Tart

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, add the goat cheese and  yogurt and whip until smooth. Add the lemon zest and whip to combine. Remove the whisk and mixer bowl and gently fold in the whipped coconut cream. Pour into tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Top with desired fruits.

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