Primal Friendly Banana Nutella Cupcake Recipe

This is a recipe that is extremely popular with my boyfriend, Josh, who lives the primal lifestyle. For those who are unfamiliar with the primal way of life, it essentially cuts out grains, starches, excessive carbs, legumes and pretty much all happiness in life. Just kidding…sort of. Since cupcakes are traditionally made from wheat flour, I usually need to get creative with some substitutions using coconut or almond flour – both primal friendly alternatives. Since almond and coconut flour are drier than wheat flour the substitutions are not 1:1 so converting a recipe over is not as easier as it seems.

These banana cupcakes are probably one of my more successful recipes. The primal diet also preaches the avoidance of sugars and processed foods, so my usual choice of Nutella frosting is a bit taboo, but sometimes Josh likes to live life dangerously and break the rules. Here are my “half-way healthy” primal-friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting:

Primal friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting and chocolate chips

Primal friendly banana cupcakes with Nutella frosting and dark chocolate chips

 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

4 bananas
4 eggs
1/2 cup almond butter
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of sea salt
dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Combine your bananas, eggs, almond butter and butter in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add in your coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Nutella Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup Nutella
3 to 4 tbsp heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salt to taste (optional)

Directions: Beat softened butter on medium speed. Beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and continue to beat on medium speed. Add the Nutella and continue to beat on medium speed. Add 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and the vanilla extract. Add salt to taste.

My Notes:

  • If you want to make into a loaf for more of a banana bread style, use the same recipe and bake for 55-60 minutes.
  • I like to add dark chocolate chips as a little added bonus. I use mini chips in the muffins and regular sized chips in the loaf.
  • I add a bit of salt to the frosting to even out the flavor and cut the sweetness.
  • Heavy cream will make a creamier frosting. Regular milk will work in a pinch, but the frosting will be less creamy.
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Donate Your Extra Halloween Candy To A Soldier This Year

Halloween Candy

Whether your kids are being visited by the “switch witch” this year or you overestimated the amount of trick-or-treaters, you may be looking for a way out of the candy overload that’s about to rain down on your house.

Every year I collect people’s extra candy and send it off to my adopted soldiers. There are plenty of men and women overseas that would kill for the Snickers that our waistline really doesn’t even need. Last year I sent about 10 lbs of Halloween candy to my adopted sailor and her shipmates. While it is incredibly difficult to peel candy from Josh’s hands, we both know he can at least give some of it up to his brothers in arms. Here are a couple of questions I have gotten from donors in the past:

Won’t the chocolate melt?
I send chocolate year round to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, sometimes it melts, but individually wrapped snack sized chocolates are fine. I’m sure you’ve had candy melt in its wrapper and when you open it up it’s just ugly looking. Tastes the same, just not pretty. Usually in the cooler months, like now, the chocolate fairs just fine. Although you would think the desert is blazing hot year round that’s not true. Afghanistan gets surprisingly cold, especially at night. Blankets and hand warmers are actually common requests around now. Moral of the story is the chocolate makes it just fine and even if it’s a little melted, for people who don’t have any luxuries, they are still incredibly grateful.

What will a soldier do with that much candy?
I may be sending it to one person but overseas they all share with one another. Every soldier I’ve ever had that I got a chance to speak with either asks for multiples to share or they mention that they handout what they get so everyone gets some love from back home. I promise I won’t be sending my soldier into a diabetic coma on 10 lbs of Halloween candy. His entire platoon will be enjoying it together.

What about soldiers with allergies?
You know what you can and cannot eat right? Well my soldiers are smart enough to avoid the things they can’t have too. If someone would like me to send allergen friendly candy in a separate box I can absolutely do that, but I have never felt there was a need to do so. Candy being individually wrapped is usually enough for most people.

Can I send it myself?
To protect my soldier and his unit I am unable to give out his address information. Yes, I know I know most of you reading this, but it is a promise I make. I have to go through a verification and validation process to be given access to a military member’s personal information and I do not want to jeopardize my clearance with my organization or the safety of my adoptees.

If anyone would like to donate their extra candy please let me know and I would be happy to come pick it up and get it out to them on your behalf. You are also welcome to write a letter or note to them, I know they love to hear from other people too. They appreciate the support that extends beyond their adopting angel. If anyone is interested in making a different donation please let me know, I send out at least one package a month.

-AB

Recipe: 3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies

As I was trolling Facebook last night I found a Buzzfeed video on 3 ingredient Nutella brownies. Um yes please! Who doesn’t love a nice warm, fudgey, gooey brownies on a cool fall night. Considering it was almost 10 o’clock at night and god forbid I disturb Mara’s beauty sleep on Josh’s pillow, I vowed to make it today. Usually I have this huge problem with following through on things I promise myself I’m going to do. Usually my thoughts range from “it wasn’t important anyway” to “I need to make sure I’m well rested so I can procrastinate again tomorrow.” This time I stuck to my guns and hit the kitchen right after work. Just kidding. I moved my furniture back into place, played with the dog, talked to my neighbor, tried to make a few excuses and then got my butt into the kitchen.

So the recipe stands as this:

1/2 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups of Nutella

Mix well, pour into a greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Nutella BrowniesSince Josh lives the primal lifestyle I decided I wanted him to be able to enjoy brownies for the first time in god knows how long. I took the original recipe and changed things up just a little bit. First, I substituted the regular flour for coconut flour. Because coconut flour is very different from regular flour a 1:1 substitution wasn’t going to work. If I did a 1:1 sub I would have had brownies drier than the Sahara desert. Rule of thumb is the substitute half of the called measurement. Since this recipe called for 1/2 cup of regular flour, I did 1/4 cup of coconut flour. My second adjustment was adding two extra egg to make sure the brownies would be nice and moist. Coconut flour is extremely dry, so usually recipes using coconut flour require a lot of extra moisture from other ingredients. Eggs are commonly used to achieve this. For this particular recipe, the Nutella also has a lot of oil in it that helps the extra eggs.

My recommendation to make this a primal friendly 3 ingredient Nutella brownie:

1/4 cup of coconut flour
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups of Nutella

Mix well, pour into a greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Hot tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to “over mix” as coconut flour doesn’t have the same issues regular flour does. It’s actually necessary for smooth, non-clumpy batter.
  • Don’t overcook. Coconut flour is extremely dry already so over cooking will kill the brownies.

Nutella Brownies

I guess you can argue that mine aren’t exactly 3 ingredients because I also added chocolate chips. I mean, what’s better than chocolate? More chocolate! I find that they are not a sweet as regular brownies, but they are still good. They seem to be more bitter like a 85% dark cocoa chocolate. Josh said to him they are sweet. I guess it depends on the person’s taste. All I know is they passed the Josh taste test AND the Eric taste test so I’d say these are definitely a win.

-AB