Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread

Have you ever run into somebody that you were super close to but haven’t seen in a long while? At first the conversation can be a bit awkward and clunky but then you fall back into a natural exchange that is easy and comfortable.

That’s kind of how this post has been for me… I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen for a while not sure what to say. I start typing but stop short and then start over. I’m hoping that I’ll find that natural rhythm soon…

So, it’s been pretty quiet around here, as you probably have noticed. While I have had the best intentions of posting, time constantly evaded me. In fact, I have had such a hard time carving out time for blogging that I considered just walking away. But, I still have so much I want to share. So, what can I say? Here I am.

I had promised to share my Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread last week, but I moved to a new platform and had some technical difficulties. So, it’s a week late (hopefully this isn’t a sign!) but at least it’s finally up!

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Coconut Pancakes with Berries & Coconut Flakes
 
Like most people, we make a conscious effort to eat healthy and fuel our bodies with nutrient rich foods most of the time (everything in moderation!).  My Love has always eaten healthy and recently upped his game by replacing juice with coconut water and adding kale and other green leafy vegetables to smoothies, and actually liking it.  Thankfully, our girls take after their father and devour their green smoothies.  I, on the other hand, think that the smoothies have a faint flavor of ‘grass’.  But, I still drink them for the health benefit.  
 
My Love keeps telling me that if I drink it enough the flavor will grow on me and eventually I’ll like it.  Jury is still out…
 
But, being healthy is really important to me so I’ve really been evaluating the items in our pantry and looking for ways to move towards more natural, less processed products that have high nutritional values.  This search lead me to coconut flour.  
 
Did you know that coconut flour is naturally gluten free and that it is full of protein and fiber?  Me neither!  But, there’s more!  You can read all about the health benefits and recipe substitution ratios here!  You know what the best part is?  Coconut flour smells and tastes heavenly and nothing at all like grass!  (I realize that coconuts wouldn’t taste like grass, but my point is that it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’ like the grass-like flavor in My Love’s smoothies).  I’m not big on coconuts but the coconut flavor does not overpower and the natural sugars make the flour slightly sweet, which is actually quite nice!  Who knows, coconut flour may have converted me on coconuts!?
Coconut Pancakes
As a baseline, I wanted to try coconut flour in a recipe that we know and love.  So, I decided to make pancakes.  I started with a basic pancake recipe that used coconut flour instead of all purpose flour and it was tasty with just a hint of warm coconut flavor, but I didn’t LOVE it.  So, I decided to try the recipe below from Food and Wine and it was delicious!  The whole family loved these coconut pancakes!  They were light but filling and had just the right amount of coconut flavor.  We topped them with strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and maple syrup for added flavor!  They are so good and, in retrospect, they look rather patriotic so they would be a great option for the upcoming 4th of July holiday! ๐Ÿ™‚  
 
I was super impressed with coconut flour and can’t wait to try it in other recipes!  But, for now, we have added these delicious coconut pancakes (that happen to be full of protein and fiber!) to our breakfast repertoire!  
 
Coconut Pancakes with Berries and Coconut Flakes
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  5. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  6. 1 tablespoon honey
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. Fresh strawberries
  11. Fresh blueberries
  12. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  13. Maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and honey. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the coconut milk and vanilla. Slowly sprinkle the flour mixture over the wet ingredients, whisking as you add the dry ingredients. NOTE: Do not dump the flour mixture in because you will end up with a lumpy batter!
  3. Heat a non-stick griddle or large pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Cook until the top of the pancake starts to set, about two to three minutes, then flip and continue cooking an additional one to two minutes.
  4. Top with berries, coconut flakes and maple syrup and serve immediately.
Adapted from Food and Wine
Adapted from Food and Wine
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/

Enjoy!
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Homemade Peach Butter

Do you ever have peaches sitting around that are about to become too ripe and/or go bad?  No?   Me neither, but I suppose it can happen?  If it does, this recipe is the perfect way to use up those peaches.  And if you never need to find ways to use up peaches, you should consider getting some extra just to make this delightful recipe because it will allow you to enjoy fresh peach flavor all year long! 
 
I’m talking about Homemade Peach Butter!  
 
Peach butter is a very misleading name for this recipe, by the way.  There is exactly zero butter in it and it tastes nothing like butter at all.  So, why the butter name?  It’s so confusing!  It should be called thickened peach puree or peachsauce (like applesauce, only with peaches) or something.  Who came up with peach butter and who agreed it was a good name? 
Peach Butter
 
Anyway, peach butter is essentially peach jam minus the pectin (also a great name option, if you ask me).  All you do is cook down some peaches add a little sugar to cut the tartness and you’re literally done.  So easy to make and you will have peach yumminess for weeks to come!  
 
Peach butter is perfect served on toast, biscuits, pancakes, crepes, etc. or it can also be used as an ingredient in other things like muffins, cookies, ice cream, or sauces.   If you love peaches or have a peach lover in your home, try this recipe.  I promise you’ll love it!
 

Homemade Peach Butter
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 fresh ripe peaches
  2. Sugar, as needed
Instructions
  1. Peal the peaches, remove the pits and cut them into large chunks. Place the peach pieces into a blender and puree until they are just smooth. The goal here is to make peach puree so you don't want them to be to liquid-y.
  2. Transfer the peach puree to a small pot and cook it over medium low heat. Allow the peaches to cook, stirring frequently, until the peaches have reduced to a really thick consistency, about 30 minutes. The peaches will be ready when hold their shape when scooped with a spoon.
  3. Taste the peach butter to determine if any sweetener is necessary. I added 3 teaspoons to cut the tartness but still maintain that delicious fresh peach flavor. I would recommend starting with a 1/2 teaspoon and adding from there, tasting as you go along, so you can control the sweetness.
  4. Allow the peach butter to cool to room temperature before serving.
  5. The peach butter can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
Enjoy!

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Strawberry, Banana, Nutella & Chocolate Crepe Cake


Lovebug recently came up on a half birthday so, of course, we had to celebrate!  I had seen this image of a half birthday cake on Pinterest a couple years ago and have been sitting on an idea for a crepe cake for a while now.  So, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do both.
 
Lovebug happened to take a nap on this particular day.  So,  I pulled together the crepe cake while she napped. She was so surprised when I brought this cake out for her afternoon snack!  It was perfect!  
 
The instructions below are for a full cake, but I just cut the crepes in half and layered the cake the same way.  I decided to layer two crepes without fruit between them on the bottom and the top of the cake because I wanted to create a sturdy base and top to hold everything together.  I filled my cake with strawberries, banana, nutella and chocolate, but you could really fill it with anything you like.  Plus, although I used 9 layers, you could really do as many layers as you like.
 
This cake is versatile, colorful, delicious and super easy to make.  Plus, it can be served for breakfast, a snack or after dinner dessert.  It is really unique and is sure to be a show stopper any time you serve it.
 
 
Crepe Cake 2
 
Strawberry, Banana, Nutella and Chocolate Crepe Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 9 Crepes - I shared this recipe last week but you could also use store bought
  2. 1 cup Nutella
  3. 1 cup chocolate sauce
  4. 1 pint fresh strawberries, slice
  5. 5-6 bananas, sliced
Instructions
  1. Lay one crepe down on your serving dish and spread 3-4 tablespoons of nutella over top, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge of the crepe.
  2. Lay a second crepe down and spread 3-4 tablespoons of chocolate sauce over top, again stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge of the crepe.
  3. Arrange a layer of bananas on top of the chocolate sauce, lining them up next to one another starting around the outer edge then moving inward, without overlapping.
  4. Lay a third crepe down and spread 3-4 tablespoons of nutella over top, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edge of the crepe.
  5. Arrange a layer of strawberries on top of the nutella, lining them up next to one another starting around the outer edge then moving inward, without overlapping.
  6. Continue layering: 1 crepe, chocolate sauce, bananas, 1 crepe, nutella, strawberries, repeat, until you have two crepes left.
  7. Top the last layer of strawberries with a crepe and spread 3-4 tablespoons of chocolate sauce over top.
  8. Lay the last crepe on top and decorate with nutella, chocolate, bananas and/or strawberries.
  9. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Notes
  1. The strawberries and bananas need to be sliced to the same thickness to keep the crepe layers straight.
  2. You'll want the crepes to be as close to the same size as possible for the best results.
  3. It's best to assemble this cake on your serving dish. The layers may slide and/or the fruit could fall out if you transfer it.
  4. If you have trouble spreading the chocolate sauce and/or nutella on the crepes when they are laying over the fruit, you can spread the chocolate sauce and/or nutella on the crepe on a cutting board then place them over the fruit.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
Here’s a view of the half cake.
Side view


Enjoy!
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Sweet Crepes

During the week, we usually have cereal or yogurt and granola parfaits for breakfast.  But, weekends are an entirely different story.  On the weekends, we usually go big by making eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, etc., just not usually at the same time.  ๐Ÿ™‚

Lovebug’s very favorite weekend breakfast is “cramps”, otherwise known as crepes.  She called them “cramps” once and after fits of laughter from My Love and I, the name kind of stuck.  We all really enjoy having crepes for breakfast, but we’ve also had them for a sweet afternoon snack or even dessert.  They are pretty versatile that way.  We usually serve them with strawberries, bananas, nutella and/or chocolate sauce.   But, you could put just about anything on them and they would be delightful.
Crepes 2
 

Sweet Crepes
Yields 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups flour
  2. 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  3. pinch salt
  4. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  5. 1 1/4 cups milk
  6. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. In a large measuring cup, sift together the flour, sugar and salt until combined. Set aside for a moment.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
  3. Add about 1/3 of the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture, whisking to create a paste.
  4. Whisk in the melted butter in the paste mixture.
  5. Then add the remaining egg and milk mixture to the batter, whisking until the batter is smooth.
  6. Heat your crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot.
  7. Pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, turning and tilting the pan until it is covered with a thin layer of batter. Allow the batter to cook a minute or two, until the bottom begins to turn golden and completely releases from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Flip the crepe and continue cooking another minute or so, until the crepe is golden on both sides.
  9. Transfer the crepe to a plate and continue cooking the remaining crepes.
  10. Serve crepes warm or cold with your favorite toppings folded inside.
Notes
  1. A nonstick skillet can be used in place of a crepe pan.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
Enjoy!

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