Coconut Passion Fruit Angel Cake

Coconut.  It's everywhere.  I've become a huge fan of using coconut in cookies, cakes, soups, snacks, sauces, you name it.  I even use it to make the best deodorant I've ever used.  At least a can or two of coconut milk and a tub of coconut oil end up in my grocery cart each week.

I thought I had tried every form of coconut until I came across coconut flour on Nuts.com.  I wanted to find a way to turn a baked treat into something healthier using this flour.
I read up on the nutritional profile and was very pleased.  Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat so it's loaded with protein and fiber.  So, substituting coconut flour for all purpose flour in baked goods lowers the glycemic index or "sugar load".  You'll feel fuller longer and your pancreas will thank you.

Coconut flour
  • contains about 1/3 less carbs and a whopping 10x more fiber than all purpose flour.
  • is grain and gluten free.
  • has a granular, yet light and airy texture.
  • is not just for baking.  It can be added to sauces and smoothies for a nutritional boost.
Since it's summer and we're still having flashbacks to our mini vacation to sunny Florida, I'm all about the tropical flavors lately.  I brainstormed healthy desserts with my sweet, new sister-in-law.  She's an endless source of creative ideas.

Passionfruit is a perfect pair for coconut so an angel food cake made with coconut flour and covered in a sweet passionfruit syrup sounded perfect.  I can almost hear the waves.
This cake comes together fairly quickly so it's a good idea to have all of the ingredients measured and waiting for you.  

I lucked out and found this flute pan with a removable base at Home Goods.  Lifesaver!  No more gluing cakes back together!  If you don't have one, it's a wonderful investment in your sanity when it comes to baking.

Be ready for a monster-sized batter.  This almost overflowed out of my mixer.  I'm sure I could have whipped even more but it would have been on the counter.  

After whipping until stiff peaks form, fold in the flour mixture and gently spoon it into the pan to maintain as much air as possible in the batter.

Then comes the yummy part.  Drizzle sweetened passionfruit puree on the batter. I found this passionfruit pulp in the freezer section at the grocery store.  It's great for smoothies too.  

Make sure to save some for topping when you serve the cake.

It's delicious and you'd never know it's packed with fiber and protein.  One slice and you're full!

Passionfruit Angel Food Cake made with Coconut Flour
(Gluten Free)

20 egg whites
1 C coconut flour
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1T cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 T vanilla extract (or, 1 tsp of orange extract)
1 1/4 cup sugar
Sweetened passionfruit puree

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour and confectioner's sugar.  
Whip egg whites in mixer bowl with cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.  Add sugar and continue beating the eggs on the highest speed until stiff peaks form, another 3 minutes.  

Fold egg whites into flour mixture gently, maintaining the air pockets.  Fold just until combined and then gently transfer mixture to an ungreased angel food tube pan.  Lightly swirl dollops of sweetened passionfruit puree (recipe below) on top of batter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes and then use a knife to loosen the cake from the edges and either invert the pan or pull the pan center from the pan base and continue to cool.  Serve with more sweetened passionfruit puree and enjoy!

Sweetened Passionfruit Puree

1 C passionfruit pulp, defrosted
1 C sugar 

In a medium sized pot, boil puree and sugar until reduced to 1/2 cup.  Let cool.

To check out more nutritious facts and ways to incorporate coconut flour into your diet, visit the coconut flour page from Nuts.com.


Buns Buns Buns

I've been growing my hair out for about a year.  Actually, that really means I haven't gone to the hair salon in that amount of time.  I seriously need to get there ASAP.

Funny how that happens.  Before kids, I went to get a cut and highlights every three or so months.  After having kids, a salon trip every few weeks is a comical idea.

In the mean time, it's becoming such a chore to style hair that's way past my shoulders.
To go from wet, shower hair to looking acceptable, is taking for-ev-er.

The ends need to be cut so it takes quite a bit of heat styling to make them look smooth.

Since it's summer, I've just been pulling it into a pony tail. It's fine but looks very much like one of those moms in desperate need of a makeover on the Today Show.

I found this bun tool and thought it was worth a try.

Given that it was only a few dollars, I didn't have high hopes for it to hold all day.
I was wrong.
This this has become my favorite hair tool in my 20+ years of styling my hair.  Seriously.  It's like a dream.  I am done in literally 30 seconds and my hair looks like I spent time actually concerned about my appearance.

A huge bonus for me is it actually stays in all day.  After it's in, I don't even have to touch it until I take it out.  No touch ups.  And, when I do take it out, my hair is full and wavy from being rolled inside.

They sell them for blondes or brunettes and also have a size for girls.
Here's how simple:

I can't believe I never knew about this before!


Cocoa Banana Rollers

This is a favorite treat at our house. It's also a great way to use up the last of your cocoa or shredded coconut. The recipe is very simple. 

Just slice, roll, and dip!
Although my babies are out of preschool (still not sure how they grow so fast), these would be a fun, make-your-own snack for little ones.

Start with sliced bananas. The less ripe, the better so they'll hold their shape fairly well. 

Roll around in a some cocoa...

Dip the ends in some finely shredded coconut...

And you have a very quick and tasty summer snack ready for hungry kiddos!

Note:  If you are not into coconut, you could dip the end into cereal crumbs or just leave it and add the banana to a fruity kabob.  


Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup

My good friend, Katie shared the original recipe with me.  I added a few things and this has turned into a much-loved family favorite dinner.  My husband went from being a "Please NEVER feed me soup for dinner!" kinda guy to a "Hey, do you think you could make that chicken tortilla soup for dinner tonight?" kinda guy.  The secret is in the chipotle pepper.  
It's SO good.  It's very filling.  ...and It's perfect for warming your belly in January.  

Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 T Oil
1 lb Bone-In, Skin-on Chicken Breast and Thighs
8 cups water
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1-2 chipotle peppers
1-2 tsp adobo sauce (chipotle peppers usually are canned in adobo sauce)
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 can black beans (optional)
Tortilla Chips
Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
Sour Cream

There are two ways to make the broth.  The alternative, time-saving method is listed below the recipe instructions.

In a large soup pot, brown the chicken on both sides in oil on medium-high heat.  Once chicken is deep brown, pour water in the pot, covering the chicken completely.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium-high and let the chicken boil for about 20 minutes (semi covered), or until the meat falls off of the bone easily.  Transfer chicken to a plate.  Remove skin and discard.  Shred the remaining chicken meat and set aside.  

In blender, combine the onion, garlic, cilantro, and ONE can of the tomatoes.  
Also, ladle into the blender enough (semi-cooled) soup broth to help the ingredients blend.  Pour blended mixture into soup pot containing chicken broth.  
Add the remaining can of tomatoes, shredded chicken, chipotle pepper(s) and adobo sauce to the pot.
Chipotle Pepper
If you like, also add corn and beans.  Let soup simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes and serve with toppings.  
An alternative method for preparing the chicken broth is to simply use a store-bought broth or bouillon concentrate and already-cooked chicken.  
(Chicken Stock Concentrate - 'Better Than Bouillon' Brand)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! to Katie for this delicious recipe!

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Brownie Accessories

I'm a brownie junkie.  I can eat 'em raw, cooked, frozen, ...whatever.  They're my favorite.  
This brownie habit just got worse when I found the recipe for the best fudgy brownies I've ever tasted.  Sometimes I even frost them with Martha's super shiny frosting.  

So, this afternoon, I checked out all-things brownie on amazon.  I've always baked them the old fashioned way...in a glass 9x12 dish.  Nothing fancy.  Who knew there were so many options for baking brownies?

Brownie Baking:

You may have seen these before.  I'm enticed by the chewy edges and I'm really wanting to try this pan, given it's 5 star status on Amazon.

Chewy Brownie Pan

Same outcome as the previous pan...just a different design.

Perfect Brownie Pan Set
It apparently bakes each brownie in a separate divider, creating evenly cooked and perfectly cut brownies.

Wilton Brownie Squares Baking Mold
This is a great idea for making brownie pops or covering brownies in chocolate.  This reminds me of the brownie bites at The Melting Pot.  

I had no idea they made brownie lifters.  I'm sure a fork or other utensil would work fine.  This just looks all fancy and brownie-ready.

Brownie Appliances:

Ultimate Brownie Maker

This is a quick and easy-to-use brownie baker.  I like that I can make brownies in the summer without heating my kitchen.

Brownie Bite Maker

It can crank out 7 mini brownie bites in 5-8 minutes!

Brownie Bar Maker

If you need a little more substance than a small brownie bite, here's what you need!  A full brownie bar is more my speed.

Storing and Gifting:

Wilton Brownie Treat Box

It comes with the inserts and a sticker sheet.

Brownie Liners

Just place on a cookie sheet and fill with brownie batter.  The paper peels away like a cupcake liner.  Or, use to hold already cut brownies.

Brownie Heart Cutters

Perfect for Valentine's Day treats.  The two hearts interlock into one large square to reduce brownie waste.  (Is there such a thing as brownie waste?)

Brownie Heart Plunger

This sounds like something you'd find in an OR.  Nonetheless, it's a heart-shaped cutter if you're ok with brownie waste :)

Cookies and Cream Brownie Crunch

Brownie-flavored brownie topping.

Brownies Everywhere:

Essie's "Brownie Points" Nail Polish

Brownie Cologne

To smell like rich, chocolatey brownies.  This cracks me up.

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