Not so long ago, I used to believe I could eat anything. Physically demanding work and raising five children kept me very active and I honestly thought I had been blessed with an amazing metaboliosm. Back then my favourite go to food was cereal - I loved it....breakfast, lunch, supper it didn't matter and it was so easy. Though not exactly a creative, culinary choice, I naively thought I was fortifying myself with a healthy, crunchy, yummy food. Not so anymore.
After turning 40, my body started rebelling. Aches, pains, chronic inflamation, burning stomach aches, poor sleep. It was my wise beyond her years oldest daughter who suggested that I may be lactose intolerant. As it turned out eliminating dairy did help me feel much better but how I mourned the loss of some of my favourite foods. When she suggested I try the gluten free diet that she was following I was terrified. She sent me a copy of the book "Wheat Belly" and with a doubt filled heart I started on my gluten free journey - and that has dramatically changed my life.
One year later and I still feel amazingly better - no more chronic pain in my shoulder and thirty pounds lighter. I still have weakensses and I find myself craving cookie like textures and crunchy cereals. A gardening girl and a busy working Mom needs to start the day the right way and it is so nice to add a little variety. If it can be quick, easy, healthy and provide much needed energy so much the better!
I have so many food allergies that I resort to using coconut flour for all of my baking - which has resulted in some dry and disappointing results...and honestly, as my husband frequently reminds me, coconut can get a little boring.
Yesterday, I was inspired by this cookie recipe from Steven and Chris on CBC. Not having all the ingredients on hand, I made some substitutions and was very, very happy with the moist, sweet cookies that came out of the oven. The quinoa packs in a lot of nutrition and adds a nice brownie-like heft to the mix while the eggs and bananas keep the cookie moist. Though there are 4 bananas in this recipe, they seem to balance nicely with coconut flour, and neither flavour is overly dominant. I use organic palm sugar (found in my neck of the woods at The Bulk Barn) as it is much lower on the glycemic index.
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c coconut oil melted but not hot
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c organic palm sugar
1 c organic coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c cooked quinoa
1/2 c dark chocolate chips (I splurged and used 1 full cup of Camino bittersweet chips this time, but a chopped dark chocolate bar 80-85% cocoa would be equally as fabulous)
You can get creative with this recipe and add in your own favourite healthy additions like shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, nuts, or sunflower seeds. The original recipe actually calls for 1 c. unsweetened coconut.
DIRECTIONSQuinoa is made the same way you prepare rice, twice as much water as quinoa. I like to make a big batch which will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It makes a great breakfast topped with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of palm sugar or agava syrup, or a nutritious lunch topped with chicken and steamed veggies. Also very handy when you want to whip up a batch of cookies or muffins!
- Prepare the cooked quinoa: Bring to a boil 1/2c. quinoa in 1c. water, reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. Allow to cool before adding to recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Beat the eggs until light and frothy
- Mash the bananas and blend with the eggs
- Add coconut oil, vanilla and mix thoroughly
- Mix in the palm sugar
- In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients until well blended
- Slowly add to the wet mixture incorporating well
- Stir in the quinoa and chocolate chips
Drop by tablespoons onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet - I can attest to the fact that coconut flour cookies will stick.
I roll the cookie dough into a ball then flatten with the back of a spatula - these will not spread like traditional cookie batter.
Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes
...and yes I did have some for breakfast this morning - they were a little bit of cookie heaven both husband and kid approved! These will make awesome little snacks when gardening season kicks in and weeding becomes more important than cooking.