I grew up on Jiffy cornbread. In fact, I learned to bake with these packaged mixes. I know they have their time and place but once you learn more and more about processed foods it is hard to buy pre-made mixes. In fact, there are many reasons to stay away from baking mixes. For one, the fewer ingredients a recipe contains, the more wholesome it is. Eating WHOLE foods is the key to a healthy existence.
This recipe for healthy cornbread is made with coconut oil and a low amount of sugar (instead I like to use honey) instead of up to ½ cup of sugar and lots of butter. For those kids who used to the super dense moist cornbreads of school lunches it may be hard to transition to but just serve it warm with a little bit of honey and the kids will enjoy as much as the husband and friends.
Healthy Cornbread Recipe
Yield: 10-12 inch pie dish or cake pan. 1 loaf pan about 1 ½” thick.
Equipment: oven, baking pans, oven mits!
1 and ⅓ cup milk (I have used whole, organic, raw milk from the mountains of Pa‘auilo), you could also do ⅔ buttermilk (2 teaspoons lemon juice and milk and let sit for 10 minutes) and then ⅔ cup regular milk.
2 eggs (organic)
1-2 tablespoons honey (Big Island honey all the way)
This raisin cinnamon swirl bread recipe will take you back to you childhood. Nostalgic sugar sweetened plump raisins in chewy bread. This recipe is not complicated. Just follow the steps and allow time to let it rise until it doubles in size 2x. This recipe is perfect for a Sunday morning when you are just hanging around the house. Don’t rush the rising process!
Recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
wire cooling rack (optional)
heavy duty mixer or food processor
dry ingredients (step 1):
½ teaspoon salt
2 -3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 and ½ cup flour
wet ingredients (step 2-3):
⅔ cup milk
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
⅔ cup buttermilk (⅔ cup milk + 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice-let sit for 5 minutes)
2 teaspoons yeast (for step 3)
1 cup + raisins, for best results they should be brought to room temperature (for step 8)
1) mix dry ingredients
2) add ⅔ cup milk regular milk (not buttermilk) into a bowl and add ½ cup of brown sugar, stir to dissolve
3) add yeast to milk and brown sugar mixture. let sit for 5 minutes. stir to dissolve (make sure you STIR and allow it to dissolve before adding anything else).
3) mix until combined and makes a soft dough
4) knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic and then place in oiled bowl covered with towel. (although metal bowls are said to conduct too much heat, and rise the dough too quickly. even though I live in the tropics, where it is always warm and humid, my place is windy. I find that my dough rises good in my kitchen aid bowl.)
5) let rise until double in size (no matter how long it takes).
6) after doubled in size, punch down and turn over onto lightly floured surface, let rest for 10 minutes
7) roll out dough into large rectangle, a good 5 inches or more long than your loaf pan
8. Add raisins and rolls into a loaf, tuck the sides in and place in the loaf pan and let rise again (until doubled in size (can be ½ hour to 2 hours).
9. bake in an oven at 425 degree F until the top starts to brown
10. reduce to 350 degrees F for about 20 more minutes. Cool on wire rack and love it.
I love cookies and cookie dough and cookies. This recipe for coconut oatmeal cookies is made with coconut oil instead of butter. Therefore, this recipe is dairy-free for those who are sensitive to butter. Also, coconut oil is full of medium-chain fatty acids that aid in your overall health. As a rule I bake as much as I possibly can with coconut oil.
Because these cookies are made with coconut oil, don’t expect the same vibe as your typical oatmeal raisin cookies. This recipe is also designed to be less sweet than the typical cookie recipe. In general, this is also a great practice. Our world is now addicted to sugar. Our taste buds have evolved to expect super sweet baked items. Try gradually reducing the amount of sugar you put in your recipes. Your taste buds and bellies will be pleasantly surprised. Also, you can try reducing the sugar and putting a few drops of alcohol-free stevia, which is calorie-free and completely plant derived.
To make this recipe gluten-free, you can substitute the flour in this recipe with your favorite gluten-free flour mix. Alternatively, you could try substituting other flours like Spelt, Einkorn etc.
Frittatas are one of my favorite meals to make for guests. They are simple, only require a few dishes and you can add as many ingredients as you have on hand. Additionally, they are flexible, forgiving and filling!
I see frittatas as the perfect way to get you veggies and protein into the beginning of your day. However, this is not just another breakfast dish. Of course it is great at brunch too. Yet, sometimes I also love making this for dinner (if I didn’t already have eggs for breakfast). It is quick and easy and warming. Another plus is that frittatas are great eaten cold and leftovers are the perfect snack or to-go lunch for the next day. If you want to make your frittatas a little more filling try adding sliced of boiled potato. This is most similar to the Spanish tortilla.
Adding fresh herbs to this recipe is a really good way to get some of those beneficial micronutrients from garden. Add fresh basil, oregano, parsley, or thyme. Experiment with dill and other fresh herb favorites.
Recipe for Herbed Vegetable Frittata
Best in stainless steel or an oven-safe pan
10-12 eggs, beaten
½ medium onion or 1 small onion chopped
2 cups chopped kale or other greens (spinach, chard, kai choy, bok choy)
Chopped fresh and ripe tomatoes (½ cup or less)
½ cup goat cheese, or shredded mozzarella, cheddar, manchego
⅓ cup chopped fresh herbs (oregano, Cuban/Mexican oregano, stick oregano, all basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
optional boiled potato sliced into half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste (about 30 fresh ground turns)
*preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
First, sauté onion (3-5 min) until translucent
Then, sauté the greens until wilted (3 minutes or less)
Add chopped herb and sauté a few minutes minutes longer
In a separate medium sized bowl beat eggs and salt and pepper. Be careful not under or over salt. You can start light at first and test a small bit of the egg by cooking a few drops.
Once the vegetables are cooked add it to the egg bowl and them in fold in.
If you are using a totally stainless steel pan with no plastic (i.e. it is 100% oven safe) then you can quickly clean it and re-oil the pan generously with olive oil or refined coconut oil.
Now, you can either add the cheese to mixture or just put cheese on top in the last 5 minutes of baking.
Finally, add the egg and vegetable mixture to pan
And bake immediately, about 20-25 minutes until it is clearly cooked on top and slightly brown on top and bubbling.
Grandpa traditional challah bread is a classic family recipe. Whenever Grandpa Piasek is in town, you can be sure to fill up at least a half of day making several loafs of Challah. Finally, in my late 20’s I decided to document the recipe.
Challah bread is traditional Jewish bread that is most usually eaten on Sabbath or Holidays. The dough is enriched with eggs and oil and then braided and sometimes a little sugar is added to the dough as well. The styles of braiding or forming into different shaped loaves mean different things. For example, when there are three braids it symbolizes truth, peace, and justice. When there are 12 humps, they symbolize the miracle of the 12 loaves for 12 tribes of Israel. Most modern, several diners and deli, and fancy brunch places serve up Challah French Toast. Whenever or however you bake and eat it, you should know that you are experiencing a huge taste of tradition.
Recipe for Grandpa’s Challah Bread
2 lbs of flour
2 cups of luke warm water
2 tsp dry yeast (a little less than 1 packet)
½ tsp salt
1 cup eggs
8 0z. sugar
¼ cup oil (to keep it moist)
Mix the above ingredients together
Then, add 2 lbs of all-purpose flour (or more) –not too soft not too dry- for 6 or 7 minutes by machine (by hand 12)
Next, place the dough in large oiled ceramic or glass boil with towel or on baking sheet. Alternatively you could place it on cutting board and wait until it doubles in size.
Then knead lightly again for 5 minutes
Again, wait 10-15 minutes to let rest
Finally, roll out dough into strands about ½ thick and at least six inches long. use three for each loaf and braid as naturally as possible. don’t be discouraged with your braid! Just rock it -the bread will be delicious no matter what.
Next, let the rolls rise again for about 45 minutes to about 1 and ½ hours (until they almost double in size).
Wash them gently with mixture of beaten egg and a little (less than a tablespoon water).
This recipe for cinnamon buns with coconut oil is a very special treat in my house. It is not exactly a quick recipe as you have to let the dough rise twice. When developing this recipe I was inspired by a recipe from Allrecipes.com http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ninety-minute-cinnamon-rolls/ . The Allrecipes.com recipe I found duplicated across the web with slightly different instructions.
A healthier version of cinnamon buns
The first time I made them I could taste the butter in every bite. It was a little too rich for me. On me and my boyfriend’s first year anniversary he begged me to make it healthier. Mainly he wanted me to make cinnamon buns with coconut oil instead of butter. In this recipe I still use just a little bit of butter in the filling because I was scared it would not come out good. In the future I will probably try it with no butter, or maybe make like a nut butter filling instead of serving it with nut-based frosting.
This recipe also features a little honey instead of sugar in the dough so the dough itself is not overly sweet. Then for the frosting, instead of refined powdered sugar, I use macadamia nuts and pure maple syrup which gives the icing a dose of nutrition that you can feel good about slathering on to your buns.
Recipe for cinnamon buns with coconut oil and served with macadamia nut frosting
Yield: Makes about 12 rolls
Equipment: Bread mixer like a kitchen aid for kneading (otherwise a food processor or other heavy duty mixer) and a blender for the icing.
Ingredients for the dough:
3 and ½ cups unbleached white bread flour
1/4 ounce packet of active yeast (2 ½ teaspoons)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole milk
1/4 cup organic coconut oil (4 tablespoons)
1 medium-large egg
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons Big Island honey
Ingredients for the filling:
one cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons coconut oil (solid state preferred)
2 tablespoons butter
Ingredients for the frosting:
1 and ½ cup macadamia nuts
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water or less
Steps for the buns:
1) Mix 2 and 1/4 cup flour (reserve 1 cup for adding after wet ingredients). ingredients together in large mixing bowl.
This recipe, and any other recipe where the dough must be kneaded, is best with a heavy duty stand up mixer that has both a paddle attachment and a dough hook. If you have one, use it and mix the dry ingredients briefly with the paddle. If not, you should be using either a hand mixer, other stand up mixer, or a large food processor will get you half way there.
2) Heat the milk until bubbly and add the 1/4 cup coconut oil
3) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 1 egg, 1/4 cup water, honey to taste, milk and coconut oil mixture.
4) Mix until incorporated. Slowly add the remaining 1 cup of flour to the bowl and when the dough starts to come free from the sides of the bowl you need to stop the mixer and knead it by machine or by hand.
Kneading the dough
5) Kneading, if you have a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook, you can replace the paddle attachment now with the dough hook. Set to the lowest speed and let it knead for 5 minutes (do not over do it). If you do not have a dough hook, than turn it out on to lightly floured surface, and start kneading! Set a alarm for 8 minutes and don’t think about it until it goes off. If the dough is uniform and elastic it’s probably done.
6) Let rest for 10 minutes, place a towel over it for better rest.
7) Meanwhile mix the cinnamon, coconut oil, butter and sugar together.
8) Flour a large surface like a clean counter or large cutting board. Roll the dough into a large rectangle (about the size of a pan, 12X9 and about 1/3 inch thick).
9) Spread the cinnamon/sugar mixture with a rubber spatula or spoon evenly on the rolled out rectangle dough.
10) Starting at the longest side, roll the dough gently into a log.
11) You can try cutting with a knife, but no matter how sharp it is, it’s hard to cut without handling or deflating the dough.
Instead, you could be a pro and use a piece of unscented dental floss, placed under the roll to wrap around and cut off the perfect bun. In some of the pictures below, you’ll notice I tried making heart buns. To do this just unroll the most forward side and curl it to the center to make a heart.
12) Place in 2 round cake pans oiled with coconut oil, slightly touching.
13) Then let these rise for 30 minutes until they are almost doubled in size.
14) Finally, bake in oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.
Step for the icing:
1) While the buns are baking make the icing.
2) To do the icing add the mac nuts, vanilla extract, and maple syrup into a high powered blender and blend until smooth adding little bits of water as needed to make a smooth consistency.
3) When the buns are done, cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.
This recipe for healthy oat flour banana bread is famous among my family and friends. It is inspired by a recipe on www.plantoeat.com blog. It is a little bit different than your typical sweet and gooey banana bread. Instead, it is gluten-free and made with simple healthy ingredients like coconut oil, and unprocessed sugar like maple syrup or honey. It’s texture is still moist, filling, and it is just sweet enough. If you want an extra treat try it with the passionfruit cream cheese frosting.
Why unrefined sugars or sweeteners are best
Refined sugar either comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. If the package does not say sugar cane, than you can bet the sugar comes from genetically modified sugar beets. In the refining process they strip raw sugar of any remaining nutrients. They also use chemical processes to ensure uniform texture, shape and color, which may result in levels of chemical residue of Phosphoric Acid, Sulfur Dioxide, and Formic Acid in the sugar. In contrast, unrefined sugars are in a more pure form. Usually unrefined sugar comes from sugar cane juice which is rich in minerals like Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium. In addition, when sugar is refined and processed there are many harmful ingredients that are added to the sugar as a result.
Unrefined natural sweeteners are even better for you than unrefined cane sugar. These have even more nutrients and may require less processing. I come from the Northeast of the US where Maple trees are abundant and the maple syrup industry thrives. Therefore, maple syrup is my sweetener of choice. However, maple syrup isn’t always affordable and it is definitely not the local choice. That being said many of my recipes use honey interchangeably with maple syrup. This lends a slightly different, but just as pleasing taste. Other options include: coconut sugar, date sugar, brown rice syrup, molasses, and sucanat.
Recipe for healthy oat flour banana bread:
6-8 small-medium bananas
½ cup coconut oil (liquid)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup maple syrup (honey, or sugar is ok)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups oats (I use regular, old fashioned, but quick oats work fine as well). Blend these in a high speed blender on pulse. Until they are fine but still a little crumbly. Use 3 cups of this in the final recipe.
½ teaspoon salt
1 and ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free is best for your health)
This sautéed chicken and vegetable recipe satisfies your craving for Asian flavors in a healthy, home-made and simple way. You can prepare this recipe gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan without sacrificing flavor. Also, the cooking time is approximate and you don’t need to be overly concerned with the crispness of the vegetables. You just make sure the sauce tastes good. However, it is also important if you are adding meat that it is not over cooked. Furthermore, you can substitute any vegetables to suit the season, your garden’s abundance, or your personal tastes.
Recipe for Sautéed Chicken and Vegetables with Ginger Soy Sauce
Ingredients for the Sauté
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion sliced
1-2 carrots, sliced
1 long eggplant sliced
1 zucchini cut into half moons
2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces*
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 small cabbage sliced (bok choy, kai choy, green cabbage etc.)
fresh herbs (Thai basil, stick oregano, thyme, green onion)
*This recipe is also great with just vegetables, or with tender chopped steak.
Do you remember what you used to like about chicken nuggets or fish sticks? Cross that with eggplant parmesan…mmmm… that breaded, warm, crispy, yet moist mouthfeel. This recipe steps those memories up to high level breaded and baked health food realities. This recipe does not require the chicken and veggies to be fried. Instead, they are coated lightly with olive oil and baked. This breaded chicken nugget and veggie recipe is also friendly for gluten-free fans. I use the broken bits of gluten-free bread. Food For Life “Rice and Millet Bread” and “White Rice” varieties are good but the corners often break off. Then, I save these in the freezer and then make a big batch of breadcrumbs by adding a little oat flour and blending them.
I recommend using high quality chicken either local, organic or free-range. Conventional chickens are probably the worst of all the meat products in terms of their impact on the environment, and the impact on your health.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that organic livestock:
that animals have year-round access to the outdoors except in extreme weather.
that they are not without antibiotics (except in cases of sickness)
can not have added growth hormones
their feed is prohibited from having animal byproducts, urea, and arsenic compounds
must be raised on certified organic land
all animals feed needs to be 100 percent certified organic.
cattle, sheep, and goats must need to have access to organic pasture for 30 percent of their diet
In contrast, the difference between conventional and free-range chicken is only that free-range chickens are required to have some access to the outdoors. Although this access is not specified in size or time and is not regulated by periodic instructions.
Servings: about 4
Equipment: blender, oven, optional oil sprayer
sliced chicken breast (4 breast), eggplant (2 small or one large), zucchini (2 medium)
1 tablespoon or less olive oil (for the baking pan)
about ¾ cup gluten-free flour
3 eggs (plus a little (<1/4 cup water)
2-3 cups homemade breadcrumbs (see recipe below)
½ – 1 cup shredded, hard cheese for adding to bread crumbs (manchego, parmesan, romano, etc.)
Steps/ingredients for bread crumbs:
About 8 slices worth of left over bread (I freeze the ends of gluten-free bread my hunny doesn’t eat, and break them into pieces for the blender) and ½ cup oats or other gluten-free flour.
Plenty (a handful or two) of fresh herbs (any variety of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
1 teaspoon salt
Mix bread and flour in high speed blender or other chopper
Place in deep dish with shredded hard cheese like manchego or parmesan.
How to coat the goods:
1) Coat the sliced chicken, eggplant or zucchini in flour. For eggplants, it is good to salt them after cutting and before dipping in flour to draw out their water.
2) Dip the veggies and chicken in egg and let them drip a moment.
3) Then, coat in the chicken and veggies in prepared breadcrumbs
4) Place on an oiled pan and bake at 375° F for an initial 10-15 minutes (depending on what and how thick it is) until golden on top and browning on the bottom.