Ooey Gooey Banana Samoa Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

My younger sister just turned 21 – I am so excited! To celebrate this momentous occasion (and since I’m always on birthday cake duty) I decided to make her a cake. But being the indecisive little third child she is, she told me to “get creative and do whatever” each time I asked her what kind of cake she wanted…

Ooey Gooey Banana Samoa Cake (Gluten-free, Dairy-free) // Naturally Lindsey

So I did. And it was glorious.

Ooey Gooey Banana Samoa Cake (Gluten-free, Dairy-free) // Naturally Lindsey

She loves bananas and banana cake, so I decided to combine that with another favorite: Samoas. Yes, like the Girl Scout Cookie. The result is tender, moist banana cake layered with creamy banana coconut filling and flooded with ooey gooey caramel sauce and chocolate ganache. Needless to say, it was a hit.

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Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Cream Sauce (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo)

Pancakes conjure up memories of my Saturday mornings as a child. My parents would be in the kitchen cooking up a storm on the griddle. Pancake after pancake hit the plate, drowned in butter and syrup. It was something I so enjoyed; I would eat until I could no longer eat anymore. While I still cherish the memory, I also know that Bisquick pancake mix and Hungry Jack syrup aren’t exactly a tradition I want to continue in my kitchen! But when the pancake pang strikes, it’s great to have a healthy equivalent. Enter Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes…

Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Cream Sauce (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo) // Naturally Lindsey

Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Cream Sauce (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo) // Naturally Lindsey

Let’s just face facts for a second: coconut is amazing. I eat some form of coconut every single day, and each time I do it not only makes me happy because it tastes so darn good, but because I know how nutritionally beneficial it is as well. Coconut has some pretty amazing stuff going on — good fats, lauric acid, caprylic acid; supports digestion, fat loss, keeps you full and reduces inflammation… and that taste? So indulgent.

Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Cream Sauce (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo) // Naturally Lindsey

Cinnamon Coconut Pancakes with Coconut Cream Sauce (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo) // Naturally Lindsey Continue reading

Gluten-Free Coconut Protein Pancakes

Lately I’ve been getting bored of breakfast. Seriously, how many ways can I make eggs or oatmeal and expect it to taste differently than the eggs or oatmeal I had the day before? These protein pancakes are not only easy to make, but super tasty and nutritious as well. For a total of 280 calories you get SIX 4″ pancakes and a whopping 23 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. That’s 60% of the recommended daily allowance for women, and 40% for men. Crazy!

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes // Naturally Lindsey

Since a high protein and/or gluten-free diet can often suffer from lack of fiber, it’s important that you make a point of incorporating as much fiber in your meals as possible. Unlike other food components (fat, carbs, etc.) fiber isn’t digested by your body, but rather it passes through your system until it makes its way… out, which is why it’s often praised for keeping you “regular.” Besides that, fiber can also help lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels, and it keeps you feeling fuller, longer. So after you eat these, you should be ready to take on the day without having to worry about any mid-morning hunger pangs.

This recipe can be made with your favorite protein powder. Mine is PlantFusion Vanilla Bean, which can be found here for super cheap! It’s tasty and not too… planty, which is totally a real word (if you’ve ever had a lesser quality plant protein powder, you’ll know what I’m talking about!) However, if you don’t dig protein powder you can just use almond milk instead (see recipe for sub measurement). There are a couple other subs that can be made in the recipe to accommodate different dietary restrictions, like replacing the egg whites with a flax egg (1 tablespoon flax + 3 tablespoons water, stir, refrigerate for 15 minutes) instead of eggs to make this vegan, or using a “paleo-approved” protein powder to make this paleo. And if it’s sugar you’re concerned about, you can sub stevia extract for the maple syrup. Easy peasy!

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Refined sugar-free
• Soy-free
• Nut-free
• And can be paleo/vegan/sugar-free (see above)

Gluten-Free Protein Pancakes // Naturally Lindsey

Gluten-Free Coconut Protein Pancakes

• 2 egg whites (or 1 flax egg)
• 1/4 cup coconut flour
• 1/2 cup water mixed with 1/4 scoop protein powder (or sub with 1/3 cup almond milk)
• 1 tablespoon flax meal
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cinammon
• dash of sea salt
• coconut oil, for cooking

1. Mix all ingredients except coconut oil together in a medium bowl.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in a small bit of oil and swish it around the pan. Pour the batter in (I used about 2 tablespoons per pancake) and let cook until air bubbles appear. Carefully flip the pancake with a solid (not slotted) spatula. These things are fragile, so be careful! Cook for another minute or so and remove from heat. Repeat until all your pancakes are cooked.
3. Top with whatever you please! I topped mine with a small bit of almond butter, maple syrup, and unsweetened shredded coconut flakes. Nomz!

What’s your favorite gluten-free breakfast?

Too-Good Gluten-free Dairy-free German Chocolate Cake

My dad turned 60. Crazy! It’s funny how when you’re little you think 60 is SO OLD… like the dinosaurs. But now it’s like wow, is my dad really 60? I’m normally in charge of baking for birthdays; this year instead of making his standard yellow cake with chocolate frosting I wanted to make something a little bit fancier, so I decided on his other favorite: German Chocolate Cake.

Gluten free Dairy Free German Chocolate Cake

Now, yes, I do try to cook as healthfully as possible – and this recipe is no exception– but by no means is this health food! It is only healthier than you average cake in that it is full of nutrient-rich ingredients and uses fewer simple starches and processed sweeteners. And of course NO artificial colors or flavors or preservatives, thank you very much! But this cake really is too good. It’s decadently rich, filling, and wholly satisfying – be sure you have plenty of people to share it with!

Though the recipe for the cake itself came from one of my favorite blogs: Elana’s Pantry, I’m not as much of a saint as she is when it comes to desserts. I used agave for the cake as Elana has her baked goods down to a science, but for the frosting I went with something else. Why, you ask? I think agave has a weird taste, and as it turns out it’s almost as highly refined as high fructose corn syrup, AND contains just as much if not more fructose (55%). What I prefer instead is Sucanat. This is different than Sugar in the Raw, or Turbinado sugar, which has been stripped of its molasses content and the nutrients that come along with it (as I discussed in this post) including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium. Sucanat is simply dried sugar cane syrup that retains all of the molassesy goodness, which gives it a subtly more complex flavor that goes wonderfully with the chocolate and coconut. Plus, Sucanat is lower in sucrose than Turbinado or white sugar, which makes it slightly less sweet. I personally love the flavor.

And in case you’re wondering, this cake has been given the seal of approval by four generations of my family: both grandparents, my parents, my sister, and her 1- and 3 -year-old (my nephews)! The cherry on top was the 1-year-old, who knows sign language, sitting in his highchair signing “more!” after each bite my sister fed him. Precious moments! The recipe does take a good chunk of time to put together (3-4 hours for me), but the result is well worth it – especially for such a memorable occasion. Happy 60th, Dad!

This recipe is:
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Soy-free
• Refined sugar-free

Gluten free Dairy Free German Chocolate Cake

Gluten free Dairy Free German Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free Dairy-Free German Chocolate Cake

• ¾ cup coconut flour, sifted
• ½ cup cacao powder
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 10 eggs
• 1 cup grapeseed oil
• 1 ½ cups agave nectar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
2. In a large bowl, use an electric hand mixer to blend eggs, oil, agave nectar and vanilla
3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
4. Oil two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour
5. Divide batter evenly and pour into pans, baking at 350° for 35-45 minutes (mine took 45-50)
6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then carefully remove from pans

Coconut Pecan Filling

• 1/2 can coconut cream
• 1/2 cup coconut milk (the “drinkable” kind – if you don’t have this or the coconut cream you can use 1 can full-fat coconut milk instead)
• 1 cup Sucanat
• pinch sea salt
• 1 ¼ cup coconut oil
• 1 ½ cups toasted unsweetened shredded coconut (about 8 oz)
• 1 ½ cups pecans, toasted and chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, Sucanat and salt, simmer for 10 minutes
2. Whisk the contents of saucepan vigorously and bring to a boil until it starts to thicken and carmelize, about 3 minutes
5. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil
6. Place pot in fridge for 30-40 minutes, until frosting starts to solidify
7. Meanwhile, turn your broiler to low and spread the coconut and pecans on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and watching carefully so the coconut does not burn. The pecans should be sizzling and the coconut golden brown. You can also start preparing the ganache frosting at this point (recipe below).
7. Remove frosting from freezer and blend with an eletric mixer, until fluffy, then stir in shredded coconut and pecans

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

• 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chunks (I use Enjoy Life)
• 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
• 2 tablespoons Sucanat
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• pinch sea salt

1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil, stirring constantly so chocolate does not scorch
2. Stir in Sucanat, vanilla and salt, and continue to stir until the Sucanat dissipates into the mixture
3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool
4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it thickens slightly. Frosting should still be slightly liquid, but thick enough to spread.

Assembling the Cake

1. With the Chocolate Ganache Frosting, frost the outer inch of the top of one of the cake layers and down the sides.
2. Top with about half of the Coconut Pecan Filling. Then place the layer on a plate or serving tray (this keeps your serving surface much cleaner).
3. Spread the ganache around the outside of the second layer and place on top of the first layer.
4. Top with the rest of the Coconut Pecan Filling. Serve with So Delicious Coconut Milk “ice cream” – trust me, you’ll be happy you did!

What kind of birthday cake is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Clean Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Protein Bars – Gluten & Dairy-Free!

I am constantly on a mission to get enough protein and, often times, enough calories – especially on days I work out. You have to get the right fuel to get the best results! However, it’s very challenging to find a natural nutrition bar that’s gluten- and dairy-free and also has a high protein ratio. It seems that either it’s whey protein, low quality soy protein isolate, or it’s a straight up “nutrition bar” with next to no protein at all! I’ve seen many a bar that contains something like 9 grams of protein with 45 carbs and 350 calories. That’s a little too steep for me, especially considering most of the GFDF/Vegan options cost upwards of $2.50 per bar which adds up quickly!

In order to obtain a high enough protein ratio, this recipe requires you to use a clean plant-based protein powder, so be sure to choose an all-natural kind that tastes good! In addition to being high in protein, these bars are also packed full of antioxidants thanks to the addition of dried cranberries and organic raw cacao powder, a superfood! The recipe also has no added sugar (besides that in the cranberries). Woohoo!

proteinbars

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Cranberry Protein Bars

• 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
• 2 cups unsweetened coconut or other non-dairy milk, divided
• 6 scoops best-quality plant-based protein powder (I used vanilla flavored)
• 1/2 cup shredded coconut
• 1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
• 5 tablespoons creamy almond butter
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoon golden flaxseed meal soaked in 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup organic whole dried cranberries, chopped

1. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup nut milk with the rolled oats. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until there’s no extra milk in the bottom of the bowl.
2.  Add in protein powder, shredded coconut, and cacao powder. Mix thoroughly, using a fork to blend out any lumps that form.
3. Add almond butter, stirring until thoroughly coated.
4. Add in 1 cup nut milk plus flaxseed/water mixture, combining all ingredients until wet. Mix in cranberries until evenly distributed.
6. Line a 13×9 pan with foil or parchment. Pour in protein bar “dough” evenly into the pan. Cover with saran wrap and press into the pan until level. Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Once chilled slice into 14 bars, wrapping each one with saran wrap for an easy grab-and-go snack to take with you throughout your week!

Since macros are such an important factor in any nutrition bar, I’ve broken this recipe out for you: 180 calories, 8g fat, 14g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 15g protein. Please note this will change based on the macros of your protein powder and other ingredients used!

Do you incorporate protein bars into your daily intake? What do you normally look for in a protein bar?