Pineapple Carrot Cake

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I think it’s funny that all the things I hated when I was a kid, like mushrooms, blueberries, and carrot cake…are now some of my favorite things. When I was little, I thought carrots in a cake was some nasty trick grown ups played on kids. Of course, I was a kid and I knew nothing because I was obviously wrong. There is nothing nasty about Carrot Cake, especially this one! I have to admit there is more sugar in this recipe than I would like, but you’re not eating the whole cake all by yourself in one sitting. So make this delicious sweet treat for a birthday celebration or a party – your family and friends will absolutely love it!!

Pineapple Carrot Cake (makes a 3 layer cake, serves roughly 12)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • a dash or two of ground nutmeg
  • a dash or two of ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cups chopped pineapple (use fresh if you can it’s so much better)
  • 3 cups shredded carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • (2) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (I always use organic)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar or less (I did this in increments of 1/4 of a cup and tasted after each one to see if I wanted it to be sweeter. I ultimately only used 3/4 cup and it was plenty sweet to me).
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 3 cake pans. I sprayed my pans with coconut oil and dusted with a little white whole wheat flour.
  • Mix all dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix together coconut oil, sugar, eggs, molasses, and maple syrup.
  • Shred carrots by hand or using a food processor, add to wet ingredients.
  • Chop pineapple and add to wet ingredients.
  • Add 1/3 of dry ingredients at a time to wet ingredients until everything is incorporated.
  • Split cake mix between 3 cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean.
  • For the frosting, using a mixer, mix together the cream cheese, greek yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar at a time and decide how sweet you would like it to taste.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, ice between each layer before icing the entire cake!

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Banana Blueberry Muffins

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I have so many variations of this recipe and this is the latest version, which I really ended up liking and decided to share with all of you. There are several things I love about this recipe, the muffins are moist, soft, slightly sweet, and good for you! Whenever I make muffins, bread, or even my cookies I always like to throw in a little organic ground flax seed. I even put ground flax in my morning bowl of oatmeal – it adds a warm nutty flavor that I love and I get an extra boost of Omega-3 essential fatty acids to start my day with. Another benefit of flax is that it’s a great source of fiber! Having a good amount of fiber in your diet is not only essential to keep things moving, it can also help prevent many diseases including, heart disease, diabetes, diverticular and colon diseases. On top of all that, soluble fiber (found in flax seeds) helps to regulate and lower glucose levels, which in turn will keep you feeling fuller for longer. When I eat a bowl of oatmeal with ground flax and fruit in the morning, I do not get that hungry feeling two hours later that I would get if I had just a bowl of cereal. I typically go about 4-5 hours before eating my next meal and when I’m working like crazy (and don’t have time to eat or snack) it is a necessity to start my day with my oats & flax.

*On a random side note, if you use flax seed regularly you probably already know this, but if you’re new to using flax seed make sure to store it in your refrigerator after opening.

Other than adding ground flax seed to these muffins I also used 3 different flours to make these muffins: white whole wheat, spelt, and coconut flour. Spelt is an amazing alternative to use instead of whole wheat flour, it is still wheat so this is not a gluten free recipe, but spelt does have a nice nutty and slightly sweet flavor. And I personally think it makes wheat flour recipes less dense. Spelt also has great nutritional value and is a good source of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. Since spelt and coconut flour have a natural sweetness to them I did not add any coconut sugar or cane sugar to this recipe, but you certainly can.

I hope you enjoy these incredibly good for you muffins filled with tons of nutrients. Your body and mind will thank you! And yes eating healthy and having proper nutrition can truly benefit our minds. I feel like this is something more people need to be talking about – eating healthy is not all about losing weight and being fit, having a healthy body is just as important as having a healthy mind!

Banana Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup organic ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  •  1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg (or if you’re out of eggs like I was, make a flax seed egg substitute*)
  • 3/4 cup of milk ( I used organic soy milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups of blueberries (or add another 1/2 cup for super berry muffins)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional: add 1/2 cup of coconut sugar or honey if you would like a sweet muffin (I personally didn’t want my muffins overly sweet so I left out the sugar. Instead I added 1 tbsp of pure maple syrup to the recipe.

* Making a flax seed egg substitute is super easy. In a small bowl mix 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water. Let sit for 5 minutes then add to the recipe the same as you would with the egg.

Also, if you don’t have spelt or coconut flour you can use 2-1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour instead. Since there is a lot of liquid that’s added to this recipe because of the wheat flour do not use all purpose flour.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray (I used coconut oil).
  • In a medium size bowl mix dry ingredients: white whole wheat flour, spelt flour, coconut flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl mix together applesauce, bananas, greek yogurt, egg, milk, and vanilla.
  • Slowly add 1/3 of dry ingredients to wet and combine. Then add another 1/3 of dry ingredients to the wet and combine. Next add the blueberries to the last third of dry ingredients and coat the blueberries. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your muffins. Then add the blueberry, flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine, but do not over mix.
  • Spoon 1/4 cup of muffin mixture to each muffin cup in your pan and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until your muffin tops have a nice golden brown color. Allow time to cool and enjoy!
  • Store these in the fridge after they’ve cooled.

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Homemade Nutella and Nutella Brownies

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Do you like Nutella? Then make this, right now! It’s such a simple, easy recipe, and the end result is so perfect. Not only do you get the rich hazelnut flavor that makes Nutella amazing, it’s also healthy and a great alternative to the Nutella brand.

I made my spread with a little texture, which added the perfect crunch to every bite. I love Nutella so much and for the most part the brand Nutella doesn’t have the worst ingredients possible, but there are 2 ingredients that I specifically question and would rather not consume if I can help it, those are Palm Oil and Vanillin. Both of these ingredients are questionable in my book. You can find a couple of interesting articles from this time last year that shed some light on the Palm Oil industry here and here. Then there is Vanillin, which is not the same as Vanilla, Vanillin is a byproduct of the pulp and wood industry – doesn’t that sound yummy. You can read more about it here and here. When it comes down to it, this homemade Nutella only has 5 ingredients, all of which are good for you.

Homemade Nutella

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1-1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
  • 6 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond or soy milk

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the raw hazelnuts on top.
  • Toast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Remove the skin of the hazelnuts using a kitchen towel or paper towel.
  • Using your food processor or blender, blend the hazelnuts to your desired consistency.
  • Next, add in the remaining ingredients to your blender or food processor.
  • Blend until you’re happy with what you have. Of course, feel free to taste test at this point.
  • If you would like your Nutella to be smoother, add one teaspoon of coconut oil and blend some more.

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How do you like to eat your nutella? I love mine with strawberries, bananas, and raspberries. Of course if you want to take your Nutella a step further you can make some super yummy, low sugar, Nutella brownies.

Nutella Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup homemade Nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 x 8 with nonstick spray or coconut oil spray.
  • Using a stand mixer, mix eggs together starting at a low speed and increasing to medium-high. Whisk until the eggs are a light yellow color (about 6-8 minutes).
  • Warm your homemade Nutella slightly and add a little bit at a time to the beaten eggs.
  • Add almond flour and incorporate all the ingredients.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, check doneness by placing a toothpick through the center of the brownies. If the toothpick comes out clean then take the brownies out of the oven.
  • Set aside to cool and enjoy! The original recipe for the brownies can be found here.

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