15 Smoothies in 15 Days, Day 10: Paleo Banana Bread Smoothie

I’m really into the dessert smoothies lately, probably because all I really want is ice cream, but I’m trying to eat things that aren’t, like, totally terrible for you. With my blood glucose test (screening for gestational diabetes) tomorrow, I’m trying to load up on good stuff and hope for the best. For that test, you have to fast for 3 hours prior to it, then drink some nasty, sugary stuff and get your blood drawn an hour later. I’m really not looking forward to it. But, if I fail, I have to go back for another, similar test that takes 3 hours, so I REALLY don’t want to do that. I’ve heard that if you don’t eat a ton of dessert-y foods the day before, it can help reduce your chances of a false positive (which is, incidentally, really common).

So, I’m trying not to have dessert-y foods today. Of course, what does that mean I am dying to have? You guessed it: dessert.

I turned to none other than Pinterest to get me through this day, and found this banana bread smoothie which looked promising because it’s dairy free. But then I saw that it required tofu and gagged a little bit. I really, really hate tofu. This is probably a remnant of my vegetarian days, but I think it’s truly disgusting. Unless it’s fried, and then it loses all healthy properties.

So, I modified the recipe. I not only modified it for preferences, but also for what I had in my pantry. We were out of honey AND maple syrup, so I went with brown sugar. (Yes, I just said I was avoiding sugar. One tablespoon in a smoothie before a yoga class is not going to do me in tomorrow. I hope.) This would definitely be healthier and a tad less sweet (which would maybe be a good thing) if I had gone with maple syrup, so I’d recommend that. You could also add a dash of vanilla if you like that sort of thing. I also went with only a little almond butter because that was all we had left (Clearly, we need to go grocery shopping.) and then supplemented walnuts, but had I thought about it, I might have gone with walnuts from the beginning because what is banana bread without walnuts?

Let me just say: This. Smoothie. Was. Amazing. Maybe even better than my previous favorite, the Peanut Butter Perfection Smoothie. It is sweet. It is creamy. It is delicious. It tastes exactly like banana bread. It is packed with calcium, potassium, and protein (plus some good fats with the coconut oil), which will get me through my yoga class that starts in 45 minutes. I am totally sold.

It doesn’t hurt that this smoothie kind of tastes like ice cream, either. Because I really want some ice cream.

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Paleo Banana Bread Smoothie
Makes two 16-oz smoothies

Ingredients:
-2 cups coconut milk
-2 ripe bananas
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-2 tablespoons almond butter
-2 tablespoons coconut oil
-2 tablespoons brown sugar (You can substitute honey or maple syrup, or cut this down by half. It was almost too sweet.)
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon ginger
-Ice cubes

Directions:
Add all ingredients. Blend and enjoy!

Bonus Pumpkin Recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Bread

Y’all know by now that I love pumpkin. (Need proof? Here’s some. And another. And another. And one more.)

Here’s the thing about pumpkin, though, especially in smoothies and lattes, which are my favorite places to put it: Usually, those recipes only call for 1/4 of a cup, maybe 1/2 of a cup at most. So, what do you do with the rest of that precious pumpkin? Usually, I put it in a container and stuff it in the fridge, only to forget about it later.

But today, I felt a little adventurous and decided to make some easy Paleo pumpkin bread with the leftover pumpkin from my earlier pumpkin peanut butter smoothie.

This bread is pretty good. And, by “pretty good,” I mean I just ate two slices of it as soon as it had cooled enough out of the oven. It definitely hits the spot if you’re looking for a moist bread for breakfast or a snack. It’s only a little sweet, which I think could be remedied if I used the full 1/2 cup of honey or if I used maple syrup. I only had about 1/3 of a cup of honey left, though, so I went with it.

If I make it again, which I will, I will probably include pecans and dark chocolate chips to make it a little sweeter and more filling and to give it some chunky texture. Plus, the chocolate would add a little bit more sweetness. I’d also definitely double the spices. I always put in heaping amounts of the spices anyway, but I’d be sure to double them next time for a little more flavor. The cool thing about this bread recipe is that you can modify it quite a bit and still retain the integrity of the bread.

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Easy Paleo Pumpkin Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 2 mini loaves
Recipe adapted from Spinach for Breakfast

Ingredients:
-2 cups almond meal
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon ginger
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-1/3-1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
-2 eggs
-optional: 1 cup dark chocolate chips + 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your pan with coconut oil.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. This includes almond meal, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
3. Combine the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. This includes pumpkin, honey or maple syrup, and eggs.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
5. If using chocolate chips and pecans, fold those into the batter.
6. Pour batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Paleo Brunch: Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

We were supposed to have our last speech tournament before regionals today. Needless to say, we didn’t go. In fact, no one in northern Illinois went to any IHSA events today because they postponed everything due to the predicted snowfall. When the Weather Channel says there’s a 100% chance of snow and is predicting 10-18 inches of total accumulation, you don’t bust out the busses to head to your events. You stay home. Which is exactly what I’m doing today.

There’s just something about snowy days that makes me really want carbs. Maybe it’s a Christmas-ey feeling (and we all know how I feel about food and holidays), or maybe it’s just me wanting to actually feel full for five minutes – which is hard to do on the Paleo diet.

Whatever the reason, I woke up today really craving some coffee cake. I don’t usually eat coffee cake, even when I’m cheating, and I almost never crave sweet things. Today was different, though. Mysterious.

I don’t often question my motives when it comes to food cravings. I feel that when you want something, your body probably needs it for some reason, so you should eat it. So when I want coffee cake, I will have coffee cake.

Of course, it’s snowing like a beast right now and none of the roads are plowed, so I hit up Pinterest to find a Paleo recipe I could make without having to go to the store. I found lots of recipes, but this one from Gluten Free Homemaker caught my eye. I’m not a huge fan of honey flavor, so I made some substitutions, but it turned out absolutely amazing. This is definitely going to be my new go-to for brunch with the ladies in my book club along with my cheeseless, crustless quiche, for sure. It’s filling, moist, and sweet without being too sweet. Plus, no sugar, dairy, or wheat makes it guilt-free, too!

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Paleo Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake
adapted from Gluten Free Homemaker

Ingredients:

For the Topping:
1 cup pecan pieces
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons honey

For the Cake:
1 cup almond flour (using almond meal would probably work, but almond flour gives the cake a nice, smooth texture and color)
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with extra coconut oil and set aside.
2. Combine all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and coconut milk together.
5. Add egg/milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until all ingredients are combined.
6. Spread the batter evenly in the cake pan. This may take some work as the batter will be very dense.
7. Add the topping over the batter and spread evenly.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and serve warm.

Paleo Meal: Salmon with Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Steamed Broccoli, and Roasted Asparagus

You know those things that you don’t ever think should go together, ever? Salt and caramel. Pineapple and pizza. Sardines and ice cream. (OK, Sardines and anything!)

When I first saw this post about Grilled Blueberry BBQ Salmon from How Sweet It Is, I thought blueberries and barbecue sauce were two of those things.

Boy, was I wrong.

This is absolutely one of my favorite meals. Ever. Any time Tim comes home with salmon from Trader Joe’s I grab some blueberries from the farmer’s market – they are in season RIGHT NOW! – and whip up some of this barbecue sauce. It. Is. Amazing.

If you hate salmon, you can probably use this sauce on anything you might want to barbecue – chicken, tofu, whatever! I’ve never tried it, but if you do, let me now how it goes in the comments.

Also, barbecue sauce is technically not Paleo because there is vinegar and ketchup and all sorts of other things in it that are not great for you, but it’s amazing enough and homemade enough that I’m counting it!

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Salmon with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Like I said, I followed this recipe exactly. Make sure you go to that site, too, because there are really great pictures of the entire process. My mouth is drooling just looking at them!

sauce adapted from The Neely’s

serves 2-3

  • 1 1/4 pounds salmon filet (whole or cut into portions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

for the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used blueberry flavored)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add blueberries. Heat until the begin to bubble and burst, about 10 minutes, then mash with a fork. Add in ketchup, both vinegars, brown sugar, onion and garlic powder, ground mustard and worcestershire sauce. Whisk well to combine and break up blueberries and turn the heat up to medium. Heat until mixture bubbles, stirring every few minutes, then turn heat back down to low. Cook for 20 minutes, whisking every few minutes. Sauce will be slightly clumpy and thicker than regular BBQ sauce.

Preheat your grill to it’s highest setting. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, and once the grill is hot, lay filet directly on top. Cook for 5 minutes, then gently flip. Using a pastry brush, brush BBQ sauce on salmon and let cook until flaky and opaque, about 5-6 more minutes. This will also depend on the thickness of your salmon (mine was about 1 1/2 inches thick). Once salmon is finished, slather with remaining BBQ sauce and serve.

Sometimes I substitute 1/2 teaspoon plain old mustard for the ground mustard. It tones down the tartness and works just as well if you don’t have ground mustard. I’ve also never used blueberry flavored balsamic vinegar. Also, I ALWAYS double the recipe, even if we are using just over a pound of salmon, because I love the sauce that much.

Steamed Broccoli

Steaming broccoli is really easy. All you have to do is separate the florets, fill a pot 1/4 full with water, put a metal colander (make sure it won’t melt!) or vegetable steamer over the pot, then put the broccoli in, cover it, and turn up the heat. Once the water starts boiling, your broccoli will start cooking. You can cook it to your desired tenderness; I like mine a little crunchy, so I only steam it for about 7 minutes. Add whatever flavoring you like – salt, pepper, cheese – and serve!

Roasted Asparagus

I. Love. Asparagus. It is literally my favorite vegetable. I couldn’t even tell you why, I just love it. I especially love it with the blueberry BBQ salmon because the green, pink, and indigo look so beautiful on the plate together. My favorite way to prepare it is super easy. You’ll need:

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and trim your asparagus. Lay it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a glass baking dish. Drizzle the olive oil over it, then squeeze the lemon over it to taste and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how large your asparagus spears are.

If you’ve made this one, let me know how it went in the comments!