Double Chocolate Muffins (allergy friendly)

Problem: you’ve just made a tasty Thai recipe that required half a can of coconut milk, and the remainder needs to be used within two days.  What to do, what to do?  Not being one to waste, I decided to try my hand at some dairy-free baking.  I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with dairy and gluten allergies (boo!), so I figured a little allergy-friendly treat would brighten her day.  Enter my good ol’ Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free flour, some cocoa powder and extra-dark chocolate chips…and…bam!  Decadent, dairy- and gluten-free muffins!

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They are so easy, and don’t have a trace of that signature gluten-free-cardboard texture we all love to hate.  I hired my hubby as a blind taste-tester, and before learning they were DF and GF he thought they were pretty good.  After I let him in on my little secret, he said “WOW!  Well in that case, these are amazing!”

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GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

Ingredients
1/4 c. sugar (can be unrefined, coconut…whatever suits your fancy)
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 egg
1 1/4 c. sifted GF flour (that’s sifted prior to measuring, for all you bakers out there like me who have ever wondered)
1/2 c. cocoa powder
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. coconut milk
1 c. extra dark, dairy free, chocolate chips (I used Guittard)

Method
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cream together sugar and coconut oil.  Blend in the egg.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add half to the oil mixture, stirring to combine.  Mix in milk.  Mix in remaining flour, and fold in chocolate chips (reserve a handful to sprinkle on top if you like).

Fill paper-lined baking cups 2/3 full.  My recipe made a dozen exactly.
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Bake about 20 minutes, and cool on a wire rack.
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Sound like a decadent breakfast?  I think so!  But almost completely guilt free!  Remember, dark chocolate is *good* for you!  Antioxidants, yes please!

In Him,
Monique

Granola

I haven’t bought cereal in almost a year.  Well, that’s not quite true.  I still buy the occasional box of rice puffs to make yummy chocolaty dessert bars (would you like a post on those?…let me know in the comments).  But for breakfast-eating purposes, cereal has been permanently stricken from the shopping list.  I love deleting items from my shopping list in favor of homemade!  And this recipe is awesome because it’s hubby-approved, kid-approved, and even inhaled by friends’ kiddos who are way pickier than mine.

I modified my recipe from several I’ve tried via friends’ blogs and Pinterest.  This one makes a nice big batch, and it’s versatile because I don’t add any nuts/fruit – you just toss whatever you like on top of your bowl.  Hubby is not a dried nuts/fruit fan.  Sinner.  He usually eats his granola on top of some agave-sweetened yogurt.  Plain and simple, and pretty yummy.  This is how I like to enjoy it: with a few almonds and cranberries on top.

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My boys like it any ol’ way, but I think their favorite is with fresh blueberries.  Try it!  You’ll like it, and have one less boxed-food in the cart!

GRANOLA

Ingredients
6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flaxseeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. brown sugar*
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla

*You can sub coconut sugar for part or all of the brown sugar, if you’re a sugar-limiting type.  I tried it this last time for the 2 tbsp and it still came out delicious.

Method
You will need two bowls – a big one and a medium sized one.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  Mix all your dry ingredients (oats thru salt) in the big bowl.  Mix honey, coconut oil and vanilla in the smaller bowl.  I love the way the honey+coconut+vanilla looks and smells.  It is smooth, pudding-y and divine.

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Now, pour your honey mixture over the oat mixture, and stir to combine.

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Spread it all out on a half sheet baking pan.  If you’re using a standard aluminum pan, coat it with nonstick spray or use parchment paper.  I have a silicone-coated half-sheet pan that is my current best friend in the kitchen.  No greasing needed, and silicone being a natural material is safe for your body (unlike Teflon).  Everything I cook on it (cookies, potatoes, granola, pizza…basically everything that needs a shallow baking surface gets thrown on this pan!) literally slides right off. It is a thing of beauty, tellyouwhat!

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Bake for 20 minutes, then gently stir.  Bake another 15-20 minutes.  Warning: your house is going to smell like heaven.  Exactly like heaven.  Your family will flock, drooling, to the kitchen and ask “what’s for dessert?” when in fact you are cooking up breakfast.  Mark my words!

When it’s done, remove from the oven and allow to cool overnight.  I always make this recipe after my kidlets have gone to bed, and then just let it cool in the cracked-open oven all night long.  Night time is usually when I make cookies, brownies, etc. so you can understand my poor husband’s confusion when presented with this lovely smell.

When completely cool and crunchy, pour the granola into a canister.  It keeps…well…far longer than it lasts in our house!  We gobble it down in under a week.

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Yum, yum.  Is it breakfast time yet?