By Be Well Health Coach Laura Kraber
The recipes in this new cookbook from the GuiltyKitchen blogger meet all my criteria for an excellent kitchen companion: enticing, healthy, and, most importantly, easy. Full of delicious Paleo-friendly recipes utilizing coconut oil, Elizabeth Nyland’s book is an inspiration for all types of eaters, Paleo or not.
Admired for its many health benefits, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride which supports the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone, lowering cholesterol, boosting thyroid function and improving overall hormonal health. MCTs are absorbed directly into your liver where they are metabolized to provide instant and sustained energy for your body and brain. To reap all the benefits of MCTs, supplement with MCT oil, starting with one teaspoon per day and gradually building up to 2 teaspoons, two or three times per day.
Coconut oil is also celebrated as an immune booster and its antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Additionally, coconut oil wards off free radicals that cause degenerative diseases and premature aging, and it is helpful in fighting wrinkles and reducing inflammation.
As author Elizabeth Nyland says in her introduction to her cookbook, coconut oil is not only healthy, but it tastes great too, “with its slight tropical scent and creamy consistency, coconut oil has become the most used ingredient in my pantry.” After experimenting with a few of the 77 recipes in the book, it may become one of the most used ingredients in your kitchen as well!
Zucchini is a wonderful vegetable (botanically speaking, though, it’s actually a fruit!). Not only is it packed with folate, potassium, manganese, and vitamin A, but it is useful in savory and sweet recipes. One of my favorite foods as a kid was a chocolate zucchini loaf made by my aunt. I have found, though, that most people prefer their zucchini in savory dishes and cooked. I could eat it raw any day of the week, but some people find it bitter or not overly pleasant. Making it into pancakes, however, seems to appeal to even the pickiest of consumers. In the peak of summer, when zucchini takes over your garden, making these as often as possible is a good way to keep up with their overabundance.
Yield: 10–12 pancakes
- 1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis)
- 3 eggs
- Sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp–1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp chopped chives or spring onions
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- Grate the zucchini on the largest side of a box grater or in a food processor. Squeeze out the excess moisture and place in a bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the grated zucchini.
- In a nonstick pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. (If you don’t think you will be able to put the whole batch of pancakes in the pan at one time, preheat your oven to 300°F and put a baking pan on one of the racks to hold the first batch while you cook the remainder.)
- Add the remaining ingredients to the zucchini-egg mixture.
- Scoop out some of the batter and place in the hot oil. Continue until the pan is full, with enough room to flip the pancakes. Cook each pancake for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to oven for holding or onto plates for serving. Serve immediately.
Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Energy Bites
- 6 medjool dates
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, macadamia, cashew, etc.)
- 1 cup dried fruit (cherries, figs, apricots, etc.), roughly chopped
- Soak the dates in warm water for 20 minutes to soften them up. Drain, then add them to the bowl of a food processor with the almond meal, coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pulse until smooth and sticky.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse again until a dough forms.
- Scrape out into a bowl and roll into small balls (slightly smaller than golf balls) or pat into a greased 8 x 8 pan for cutting into bars. If putting in a smaller container, it’s best to put wax or parchment paper between layers to keep them from sticking together.
- Refrigerate and store up to 1 week.