Almond Flour: Where Have You Been All My Life?

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I love baking. LOVE it. I love changing recipes, adding veggies and beans to cakes and brownies, tricking my family with nutrient-rich chocolate chip cookies, making the house smell a bakery, and I get giddy when I’m declared the best mom ever for feeding my tribe secretly healthy desserts.

Now, as some of you know, my son Jake has type 1 diabetes. He’s nearly 7 years old and also happens to be one of my pickiest eaters. This stinks (in a non-bakery nice smelling way) because I’ll make or bake something that has lots of healthy protein from hemp seeds or chia seeds, is low in white carbs, and will be perfect for preventing roller coaster blood sugars, and everyone will love it but him. Makes me CRAZY!!!

Until finally…. the stars aligned and I was clued into Simple Mills gluten-free, handful-of-natural-ingredient baking mixes based on almond flour. Not the crunchy, coarse almond meal that was in my fridge, but a fine, delicate, rare gem-quality flour made from blanched almonds. The Simple Mills mixes are pricey, so after I tried making one of each of their offerings, I decided that all I really needed to do was replace regular flour with almond flour in my favorite (and Jake’s favorite) recipes. This is why:

almond-flour-table

Almost 1/4 the carbs, 6 times the fiber (so 1/7th the net carbs) and twice as much protein. I knew right away that if this simple substitution worked, I would have discovered the Holy Grail of diabetic baking.

So. I learned that Jake doesn’t care for pumpkin anything (no son of mine). But, if chocolate chips are involved, he’s all in (definitely my child!). I’ve redone my famous marriage-inducing and TJ’s-published Chocolate Things recipe, with Jake, health, and flatline blood sugars in mind. Now presenting!:

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Chocolate Things: Almond Flour Version

Makes 9 large squares

This is a lower carb, lower sugar, higher protein version of my classic “Chocolate Things.” It may look like there’s a bizarre combo of sweeteners. There is! While I tried to make these 100% sugar-free, too much erythritol or stevia gave them a not-so-funky funk. Feel free to replace the erythritol, sugar, and maple syrup with 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon maple extract (optional).

2 cups fine almond flour (like Bob’s on Amazon here)
1/2 cup white, wheat, or oat flour (blend gluten-free rolled oats to make oat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp Swerve (erythritol)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp lite maple syrup (like Wholesome! brand with 33 g carbs per 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup melted Smart Balance, Earth Balance, or other non-hydrogenated margarine
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk or other nondairy milk
1/2 cup (100 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour and spread into a lightly greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Per square: 21 g total carbs, 4 grams fiber (17 g net carbs), 7 grams protein

And here is Jake’s blood sugar graph after eating one of these sweet little thangs at 10am. No spike! And no crash! We did it!

Let me know how almond flour works for you. It’s been a baking lifesaver for us.

xo

Jen

Homemade Dark Chocolate in 3 Minutes

So I’m sitting here with a napping toddler writing some recipe substitution tips when it hits me: I could really use a bite of dark chocolate, and I don’t have any, I don’t have any chocolate chips, and I can’t run to the store. Serious Emergency!

But I have cocoa… and coconut oil… and maple syrup… and another wackadoodle recipe is born chez Reilly:

Emergency Dark Chocolate
Serves 10

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave…)
1/4 cup flax seeds, hemp seeds, or other seeds/ chopped nuts (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat oil, cocoa, and sweetener. Remove from heat and stir in seeds or chopped nuts if using. Pour into dish and spread thin. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. 

What do YOU do in this kind of emergency situation? xo

The Brady Brunch

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School day breakfasts are speedy and a bit of a blur… 4 young kids downing cereal, instant oatmeal (yes, it happens!), raisin toast, or other freezer fare. But breakfasts on the weekends chez Reilly are an adventure, an experience, a complete kitchen tornado, and downright sticky fun. Here is our latest experiment. Chocolate chip Belgian waffles with raspberries and maple syrup, sloshed down with a tall glass of vanilla soymilk. But the best part? the foods you don’t see!: Pumpkin, ground chia seeds, and beets! I should be arrested for this!

Beet these Waffles
Makes 6 large waffles
Equipment needed: waffle maker (if you don’t have one, just make pancakes with this same recipe), blender, and an electric mixer or a really strong arm

2 cups waffle or pancake mix (I like Trader Joe’s multigrain pancake mix, but sometimes it’s Krusteaz from Costco)
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1/2 cup blended beets (I buy them already cooked and peeled from Trader Joe’s, and then blend them. Canned works too though!)
1/4 cup ground chia seeds (purchase these already ground here, or grind them yourself in a coffee bean grinder)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but CRUCIAL in my opinion)

Spray waffle maker with nonstick spray and plug in. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with electric mixer while waffle maker heats up. Add more soymilk or water 2 tablespoons at a time if batter is too thick. Pour 1/2-3/4 cup batter into waffle maker, drop 10 or so chocolate chips on top, and close.

Keep cooked waffles warm in the oven while the kids finish up their Minecraft game and you hide the pumpkin and beet remnants. Serve with pure maple syrup or all alone. Once the kids have eaten, enroll them in kitchen clean-up.

Nutrition info per waffle: 281 calories, 11 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 7 g protein, 65% daily requirement of vitamin A, 330 mg calcium, 12% daily requirement for iron.