Cassava Flour Banana Bread

I played around with almond flour and coconut flour a bit without joy.  A few weeks ago we started getting a fruit/veg delivery that included blemished fruit for juicing or smoothies.  In that flat of fruit I got about a dozen bananas that clearly had a short shelf life so had to do a big banana bread making session.  I made coconut and almond flour recipes which were nice but nothing to write home about in my opinion.  

I ordered up the cassava flour shortly after that as it had been mentioned several times in groups as being very good.  I didn’t have any recipes but  read on Pinterest that it can be used one for one in place of wheat flour.  I found my old banana bread recipe and adjusted it to be cassava friendly.  

125g butter

125g maple syrup

2 eggs

4 Bananas

350g cassava flour

1tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp hemp seeds

I used coconut oil to grease the pan and poured in the mix.  Baked at 180 C ( around 350F I think) until a knife comes out clean. 

It came out more moist than the coconut and almond flour options.  This one was very more-ish which meant it was all eaten within a couple hours (normally it takes a couple days for everyone to munch through it all).  This recipe inspired us to have a go using cassava flour in chocolate chip cookies today.  

I am now in love with cassava flour.  I very much recommend it for anyone avoiding gluten or grains entirely. 

Blueberry smoothie

Just a simple little recipe.  No added sugar but it does have 35g of carb so not for you Keto guy.  It also has 34g of protein though and 2 servings of your 5 a day so a good healthy start to the day.  I use my nutribullet for this with the big cup which it quite completely fills.  My big appetite is my downfall.

Now on with the recipe.

BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE:

100 frozen blueberries

1 good handful (about a cup) spinach

30g shelled hemp seeds

200g Fage 0% Greek yogurt

300ml or to fill line of almondmilk

Blend until smooth.

I did say this was a simple recipe.  Often I assume something this simple isn’t worth mentioning; but then again, perhaps for those that tend to overthink and just for inspiration it is worth just throwing it out there.  Tomorrow I will using raspberries for a bit of a change as well as substituting chia seeds as I am out of hemp but that is the beauty of the basics….they are a starting point.  

I like the creaminess I get from the yogurt as well as the protein boost.  I also add the hemp mostly as a protein source though the nutritional stats for it are pretty good. Most importantly for me right now is that I had noticed my fruit and vegetable servings had been suffering a bit lately so this smoothie packs the punch I need.  I hope you enjoy this breakfast as much as I do.

Oh and for the record, the regular Greek yogurt with fat is fine too but my store only had the 0% so I made do.

Chia hemp porridge

I have been following a more paleo style diet as of late but was getting tired of omelettes for breakfast.  I really just wanted cereal but that wasn’t an option.  I tried searching pinterest for breakfast ideas that might soothe the craving but nothing was quite right.  

While chatting with some veggie friends someone mentioned chia porridge.  As I had a small packet of chia seeds another lovely friend had given to me I decided to try searching for a recipe.  I did find several but they all called for flax or were too low in protein and too high in carb so I got to playing around with ideas.  My first attempt was ok but still involved maple syrup and didn’t stave off the hunger as long as I would have liked but I bought a big pack of chia anyway as it seemed worth the effort.

Today I had another go and am sure I am onto something.  Chia, hemp, protein powder, almond milk and raisins.  Still a bit high in carbs but it quelled my hunger from 8am until 2 pm when I next had a chance to eat.  I had participated in a 5K, driven my family all over creation and gone grocery shopping in that time and honestly didn’t feel hungry.  So here is the recipe and I hope you enjoy it.  I am thinking I might replace the raisins with almond butter tomorrow to see how it goes but who knows.

Chia Hemp porridge

2 tbsp chia seeds

2tbsp hemp seeds

1 scoop (half serving) of USN diet fuel vanilla (I am sure any brand would do)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

20g (1-2tbsp)  raisins

200ml (just under a cup) unsweetened almondmilk 
I just tossed it all in a milk pan and heated it on the stove until it was my desired porridge consistency.  I stirred constantly.  
No extra sweetener required.  It was just right without the maple syrup or honey.  The raisins add quite a bit of excess carb/sugar but it is also a serving of fruit.  It all came out to about 500 calories with about 37g protein and 33 g carbs as I recall but I forgot to screens hot the details from my fitness pal and am not completely certain of the numbers.  Overall a thoroughly enjoyable breakfast that didn’t leave me feeling heavy but lasted for hours.

Castle Combe

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Since I last posted anything, my family and I moved back to the UK, stopped homeschooling (giving the UK schools a chance) and have been working toward getting back into our old hobby of walking/hiking. Our first big hike (relative to my fitness level) was at Castle Combe in Wiltshire. It is a beautiful village….not a castle. This first picture here is actually from near the end of the 5 mile circuit we found in Country Walking magazine.

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Now let me explain that I am a big woman….if a trainer looked at me he would probably refuse to work with me until I had a doctor’s note…BIG woman. I am however more capable than most expect when they see me. Five miles on a flat is not a problem however this walk was not on a flat. This walk was labelled as challenging but I so wanted a good we in the woods and this was bearish and I was determined.

The walk started with walking downhill from the carpark and down through the village then we found our footpath off to our right and headed UPHILL. It was reasonably steep for someone of average fitness… for me it was a sheer cliff! I stopped several times just to catch my breath but I made it and sat on a big log at the top. The photo above was the first one I took in the rain at the top of a hill looking over the landscape.

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We made our way down the hill through the lovely mud and cow pats and through a style or two. As we wondered through the valley we saw sheep in field and took a wrong turn that lead us to a wide stream. We discussed where we went wrong and the kids measured the depth of the stream with the plan of either wading through or crawling over a log then we backtracked and found our path. We talked about how kissing gates got their name. At some point we found this little path with stone walls on both sides and a tree that I guess had lost its soil around the roots and hung over the edge of the path so the kids needed a picture of them under the tree.

Near the end of the walk, in the last mile, there was another hill. I swear my heart was pounding a couple hundred beats a minute. I again had to stop several times to catch my breath. At the top of the last big hill and a short bit of walk we could see the steeple of the village church peeping through the autumn leaves. We also found several stick built hideouts scattered around the trees before descending back down to the road via a bridle way.

We climbed up hills and down hills. We played pooh sticks on a bridge. We tracked through mud and fell on our butts. We pushed ourselves pretty good and all were tired at the end. I probably pushed myself a bit too hard really but I made it the whole way round. I feel pretty proud of us all.

**I apologise for not having more pictures but for some reason after choosing the first 3 pictures my app decided it no longer had the right password. I don’t think I will ever get the hang of WordPress.**

Caramel shortbread

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Yesterday, I made caramel shortbread because my daughters want to learn about making caramel. I had never attempted caramel myself so I figured the only solution was to have a go at it on my own first. The above picture is of what remained this morning. Wow are these rich and yummy! I tried to have two yesterday but these things are too rich for even me to have more than one without a very poorly tum ensuing.

Now for the recipe!

For the short bread layer:
1/2 cup butter (real thing guys)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup almond flour

Beat these items until a dough ball then press into a 9″x 13″ baking pan that is lined in parchment. The parchment must cover bottom and sides or you will have a witch of a time getting the bars out. Bake at 350F (175C) for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan a few minutes while making the caramel.

Next step is the caramel.

Add to a med sauce pan:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
14oz sweetened condensed milk

Melt these items together and bring to a boil. Boil (I did this on a gentle boil) for about 5-7 minutes (I did 7 minutes).
Pour the thickened caramel onto the shortbread which is still in the pan. Allow to cool for about 40 minutes. Now onto the third layer.

CHOCOLATE:

In the saucepan melt:
8 oz of chocolate (either chips or 8 chocolate baking squares)
2 tablespoons coconut oil.

Gently on low heat melt the chocolate until smooth and pour over the caramel. Put in the freezer and allow the chocolate to set.

Enjoy!

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