Annie’s Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins: Low-Carb, High-Love

Hi Bakers! Team Reilly has been koo-koo lately to say the least. Our youngest child Annie (age 2 3/4) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February, joining the ranks with our son Jake. Just like Jake, she was diagnosed at home when I got worried about the fact that she peed her pants twice in a row and was developing a yeast rash in her diaper area (she still wears a diaper at night). Her fingerprick blood sugar after eating a bowl of dried cranberries was 418. Luckily, her A1C was 7.8% and according to our doc, we caught the diabetes earlier than any other patient (Yay? Not necessarily a claim to fame that I was striving for!). And since she had only trace ketones, we put her to sleep and headed to the hospital the next day. Once we saw Annie’s high blood sugar, Jake (age 7 now) immediately took Annie to “Diabetes Camp” in the basement and secretly whispered to me that he’s glad he’s no longer the only kid in the family with type 1. On the bright side, these 2 kids will have each other for the long haul and that gives us amazing comfort.

While I dreaded the possibility of another type 1 diagnosis in our family, Annie has been unphased and was immediately put on a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor and the Omnipod insulin pump making our lives incredibly easier and making it so that she basically doesn’t even know she has diabetes. In fact, check out my blog on type 1 diabetes on KrisCarr.com – it was written before Annie’s diagnosis, but talks about the tricks and tips that have helped us with Jake’s diabetes management. And apparently the universe congratulated us in February for our mad skills in managing diabetes! Yikes.

So! Inspired by Annie and her minuscule needs for insulin right now, I created these mini muffins that she (and we!) could snack on all day long without needing insulin. They are full of healthy ingredients, taste amazing, are gluten-free, and go down really easily. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Annie’s Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
Makes 30

2 bananas, mashed (can be fresh or thawed frozen)
1/3 cup Smart Balance or Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 cup almond butter
2 Tbsp ground flax seed meal
1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup Swerve sweetener (Erythritol, found cheapest at Vitacost)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Lily’s mini chocolate chips (Stevia-sweetened, but regular dark choc chips work too)

Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips. Once mixed, stir in the chips and pour into lightly sprayed mini muffin tins 2/3 of the way, or regular muffin tins half way.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool before removing from tins (if you can!).

Per muffin: 70 calories, 6 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber (2.6 g net carbs), 1 g sugar, 2 g protein. 

Now I want to hear from you! Post your favorite low-carb snacks and recipes — Annie and her blood sugars will thank you!

xo, Jen

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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:

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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.

Breakfast in Dessert Clothes

Choc Chip Protein

If you’re a busy parent, busy person, or night owl, this is one of the best quick breakfasts that has ever come out of my Bitchin’ Kitchen. Make a batch on a slow morning or weekend, freeze individual portions, and booyah! when the natives (or you) get restless and hungry. I went into the kitchen with my lab coat on specifically trying to invent a lower-carb, higher-protein, cravey (crave-able?) breakfast for my type 1 diabetic 5 year-old in prep for his upcoming kindergarten year — using stevia-sweetened protein powder to both boost and sweeten it. But now, we have something that is a family staple for the whole team. Best thing is, it tastes like dessert! Why not get the chocolate river flowing first thing in the morning? You only live once!

Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
Makes 12 large bars
325 degrees, 40 minutes

WET INGREDIENTS: Stir to combine
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup milk (I use vanilla soy)
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

DRY INGREDIENTS: Sift together in a separate bowl
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 scoop Plantfusion protein powder or other protein powder providing ~20 grams protein per scoop

COMBINE WET & DRY, THEN STIR IN:
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal, or ground or whole chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds, ok to use other seeds or leave out)
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9X9-inch pan.

Stir to combine wet ingredients in a large bowl, and in a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine, and then stir in flax, hemp seeds, and chocolate chips.

Bake in a 9X9-inch pan for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

NUTRITION FACTS PER BAR: 227 calories, 8.5 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 6 g protein, 9% daily iron.

Mason Jar Salads: Lunchin’ Munchin’ for Smart People

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So I’m a little late to the party, but figured maybe some of you haven’t even gotten on the subway yet!? BuzzFeed posted these 18 great mason jar salads back in December, and not only are they pure genius, but they’re nice to look at, easy to make, store, and transport, and they are all about Operation: Fit Into Last Summer’s Clothes.

But what I love more than any of those things is that you can make your week’s worth of lunches in about TWENTY minutes! What’s 20 minutes? That’s about how long I spend trying to figure out why I just walked into the dining room. I could be making salads!

So, what you do:

It’s Sunday. Line up five 24-ounce mason jars, grab a bunch of ingredients, a cutting board and a knife, and get all assembly line-up in the kitchen. Everybody clear OUT! The salad belt has been turned on. Stuff your jars in this order:

Start with Dressing: Either something bottled (like TJ’s Light Champagne Vinaigrette) or 2 T rice vinegar plus 1 T olive oil plus 1/2 tsp salt.

Next, fill with Protein: Tofu cubes, beans, tempeh cubes, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and shelled edamame beans are some of my favorites. They’ll marinate in the dressing. Genius again!

Next up, Chunky Veggies and/or Grains: These are ones that can afford to get a little juicy with dressing: Cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, jicama (is that a veggie?), corn… and quinoa, wild rice, pasta, roasted potatoes…

And Finally: Greens and herbs. Spinach, kale, mesclun, basil, dill, cilantro…

Optional Salad Toppers: Croutons, cranberries, sunflower seeds, those Asian noodle thingies. Not necessary, but oh so good.

Stick those 5 pieces of gloriousness in the fridge and take one each day for lunch (or have for dinner if that’s where healthy food prep time is at a minimum). Either shake it while IN the jar, or if it’s too jam-packed, empty the contents into a bowl and toss to coat dressing. No more excuses people!

What’s YOUR favorite salad stack?

Now and Later Veggie Curry (Slow-Cooker / Freezer Meal)

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Now and Later Veggie Curry Ready for the Freezer

I posted 4 years ago (!!) about slow cooking, and I’m finally starting to have a love-love relationship with it. I have to admit, for quite a while, my crockpot did nothing other than look down on me and laugh from its prime real estate space the pantry. Now, it is pure LOVE, especially with the discovery of Little House on the Prairie-style freezer meals. So what if they didn’t have freezers on the prairie? I can still wear my apron and bonnet and call it homestead survival.

So here is my latest. I make a double batch: One goes in the crockpot for that night’s dinner, and the other compilation gets thrown in the freezer. The freezer concoction can be taken out and thawed in the fridge overnight and then tossed into the crockpot in the morning. 2 dinners, 1 dinner-prep cleanup, and lots of telecommute cooking.

Now and Later Veggie Curry
Serves 6

1 block extra firm tofu, diced
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen greens

15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 can coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, makes it quite spicy)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 onion, diced (optional, sometimes I skip this b/c I don’t have onions or time to chop)

Add all ingredients to crockpot and/or freezer container.* For the crockpot meal, cook on “low” for 3 hours. Thaw freezer meal in fridge overnight before crockpotting. Serve over rice or with whole grain bread.

*Sometimes I take the extra step and combine the tomato sauce, milk, water, spices, and agave in a bowl, and stir through–or even use a mixer–and then pour it over the chunky ingredients. I poured it over the tofu and beans, and then added the peas and greens in the picture above.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: 213 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 7.5 g sugar, 13 g protein, 74% vitamin A, 36% vitamin C, 60% manganese, 17% folate, 12% calcium, 17% iron, 20% phosphorous, 11% zinc, 15% selenium, 22% magnesium.

What’s YOUR favorite freezer meal?

Clean Bean Casserole

Clean Bean Casserole

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Well. Grandma’s classic isn’t exactly broken, it just needs a little modern-day health booster. This version is just as easy, even tastier (if you can believe it), dairy-free, gluten-free, uses all plant powered, clean, whole foods, and even has a touch screen. Welcome to the millennium, green beans! Give them a spin anytime you’re feeling thankful.


Clean Bean Casserole

Serves 8

Creamy Mushroom Gravy:
1 cup raw cashews, submerged in water and soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours)
1 Tbsp olive oil
20 oz sliced white mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 vegetable bouillon cube

“Fried” Onions:
1 large onion, sliced into crescents
¼ cup almond meal
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Green Beans:
2 lbs green beans, ends removed

Preheat oven to 350°

Mushroom gravy: Blend cashews with soaking water. Set aside. Heat oil in sauté pan and sauté mushrooms and garlic until cooked through. Add cashew “cream” and bouillon cube and continue to cook over medium heat until bouillon cube dissolves. Set aside.

Onions: In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond meal, cornstarch, black pepper, and salt. Stir sliced onions until well-coated. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and “fry” coated onions. Set aside.

Green beans: Place green beans into a 13 X 9-inch baking dish (pre-steam them for softer beans). Pour creamy mushroom mixture over top and stir to coat green beans. Top with onions and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 211 calories, 13 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 8.5 g protein, 16% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 6.5% calcium, 15% iron, 11% zinc.
Cheers and thanks!

xo

Jen

High & Mighty Brownie Cookies

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Ever thought to put veggies and beans into brownie mix and then turn them into cookies? Wait, that’s not what you think about as you lie in bed at night? Oh. Well, I’ve taken on the age-old question and attempted an answer: How do we make brownies a complete meal? Announcing the High & Mighty Brownie Cookie. High in nutrients, mighty in taste and energy. And while I still serve them for dessert, they can certainly pass for a side dish or maybe even a main squeeze…

High & Mighty Brownie Cookies
Makes 48

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained & rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
Large handful kale, about 2 cups chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (the canned type)
1 box brownie mix
1/2 cup coconut flour, almond meal, or cashew meal

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Blend or food process beans, kale, and pumpkin into a smooth, olive green glop (probably not wise to taste-test this…).

Stir glop together with brownie mix and coconut flour (or almond or cashew meal).

With slightly wet hands, form into 1 1/2-inch round balls (slightly smaller than golf balls) and drop onto an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

Press down gently with a fork in a criss-cross fashion.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and chow down!

Nutrition Information Per Cookie: 74 calories, 1 g fat, 36 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 1 g protein, 21% vitamin A, 3% iron.

Now you (or at least I) can rest soundly. Cheers to chocolate! xo

Anytime Apple Crisp

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When the Reilly kids go apple-picking, they take it to the extreme. I kid you not, they picked 100 pounds of Fuji apples in less than 15 minutes! Of course, they had to taste-test an apple before deciding Fuji was the one they wanted, and I *have* read that an apple can energize you more than caffeine….

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So other than eating them, handing them out to everyone we see, and making a lifetime stash of addiction-worthy Pumpkin Apple Butter, what will we do with all these apples? First on the list, an apple crisp so tasty and balanced, that it qualifies as a complete meal. My oldest mini chef played a key role in the super simple prep…

Anytime Apple Crisp
Makes 8 generous servings

FILLING
8 apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
Juice of 1 lemon, or about 2 Tbsp lemon juice

TOPPING
1 cup oats (I use gluten-free rolled oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
1/4 cup almond flour, cashew flour, or coconut flour
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup melted non-hydrogenated margarine, or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss to combine all FILLING ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 X 13-inch baking dish.

In the same bowl (no need to rinse), stir together the TOPPING ingredients. Pour evenly over apple combo, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes to let the topping brown.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (including walnuts and chia seeds): 292 calories, 14 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 41 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 21 g sugar (mostly apples!!), 5 g protein, 10% iron.

How do YOU apple up? xoxo

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