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Saturday, June 2, 2012

I would totally put some Monkey Butter on that!

Well I'm back! Miss me? I got lost for quite awhile... firm within the grasp of higher education, our crazy and adorable two (almost 3) year old, and an attorney husband who stays REALLY busy. Toss in lots of holidays, a relocation, and a terrible case of plantar fasciitis with a heel spur and you have the recipe for a huge fruit salad. That's exactly what I was: a fruit salad. Not only that, but I was not paying attention to my diet, my health, or my mental well-being.

So, for some time now I have been trying to re-center myself and get my diet back on track. It's not easy, let me tell you! I would never consider myself to be a complicated person, but most days I think I'm not smart enough to figure myself out. I think I'm still suffering from serious "baby brain" and I fear I'll never get it back while I gain 5 pounds just by looking at a slice of cake with one eye closed. Needless to say, I've been approaching this re-centering and diet thing with baby steps.

I'm still working on step 1: Diet re-vamp and light to moderate exercise. Let's face it, the light to moderate exercise is a no-brainer. I NEED exercise, but if you've ever had a heel spur you know how incredibly difficult it is to exercise. Most days the pain is so excruciating that I'm sucking back the tears at night so I don't look like a huge friggin wimp. I've tried faking it and "walking" like it doesn't hurt, but my husband is totally onto that scam. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking. Blonde chubby white girl with a pimp walk is NOT convincing. Sooo,  lot's of trips to the doctors office and we'll get that worked out. Onto the diet...

The best move I have made so far is cutting way back on carbs. I have been doing a lot of diet research and digging deep into the catacombs of my brain back to my culinary school lab days for suitable replacements to all that flour and sugar. I have come across/re-vamped/created some pretty dang terrific recipes that totally dupe my feeble mind into not missing those addicting little refined carbohydrate "drugs" at all. You know, they're the one's that make you look all bloated, big in the stomach and giant in the hips, take your breath away when you climb a flight of stairs, want to take a nap 1/2 an hour after lunch time and then wake up 2 hours later and eat a cupcake. Devilish refined carbs...

So if you're considering slashing those carbs too so you can re-center yourself and get on track, I have including a couple of recipes that are a GREAT place to start. If there is anything I have learned, forgot, then remembered again it's that most foods taste totally great all on there own and really REALLY don't need 1 cup of sugar and 1 stick of butter. "Monkey Butter" is an excellent example of that. I found the initial recipe during one of my Pinterest marathons, but I revamped the recipe to make it more diet appropriate. "Monkey Butter" is a tropical fruit spread that you will easily want to eat straight from the jar, but I would totally add it to a size-right portion of steel-cut oatmeal, pour it over some frozen yogurt or homemade protein packed ice cream (recipe to come), as a dip with low carb tortilla chips, add 1/2 a cup to the blender with a few choice ingredients for a tropical smoothie, or just smear a little on the almond flour biscuits recipe (totally Pinterest) included below. You're gonna love it and your kids will love it too!

"Monkey Butter" (find the original recipe here)
4-5 ripe banana's peeled and sliced
1/2C unsweetened coconut (ground or shredded)
1C mango chunks (fresh or frozen. I buy mine fresh, then peel and cut to store in the freezer for later)
1C sliced peaches (fresh or frozen. Ditto on the mango remark. Just don't use canned peaches)
1C apple cider
1tsp cinnamon
1/2C pure honey

Add all ingredients to large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for several minutes; stirring often and sort of mashing the bananas while you stir. Cook until desired thickness is achieved. Pour into a blender/food processor to take care of the larger peach and mango chunks. Then pour into sterilized jars and immerse in boiling water for 15 minutes to seal.

"Almond Flour Biscuits" (find the original recipe here)
2 ½ cups almond flour (just grind some raw almonds in the food processor until fine)
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
 ½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tablespoon agave nectar or pure honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda and stir together with a fork or whisk. Add coconut oil, beaten eggs, and honey. Stir all until well combined. If mixture is still too dry add a splash of milk until mixture is scoopable, but still somewhat firm. Don't add too much milk or the biscuits will spread and give you almond flour "cookies". Drop biscuits by large spoonfuls or using a scoop (that's what I use) onto parchment paper leaving a little room in between biscuit for spread. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned on the bottom edge. You could also spoon mixture into a greased muffin pan, but you may need to add a couple minutes onto the bake time. Allow to cool slightly.

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