Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

IMG_0431Looking for a coffee cake recipe that tastes delicious, but contains no refined carbs and a fraction of the added sugars compared to traditional coffeecake? Look no further! This recipe is family tested and approved for flavor and texture (i.e., just as good as the “normal” stuff).

As a dietitian, I have three criteria for my recipes.

  1. They need to taste good.
  2. They need to be made of mostly “good for you” ingredients.
  3. They need to be easy to make and contain easily available ingredients.

This coffee cake recipe is gluten free, “good for you,” and tastes just as good as traditional coffee cake.  This recipe features whole grain oat flour, almond flour and coconut flour, a combination which is chock full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as well as vitamin E, magnesium and iron.  Unlike a lot of gluten free replacements, this coffee cake is rich in flavor, texture and nutritional value!

IMG_0441

Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake 

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour (not almond meal)**
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour (or grind oats* in a food processor until they turn into a fine powder)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour**
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 3 eggs (beat together with a fork in a small bowl)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk or non-dairy milk
  • 1 TB vanilla

Cinnamon Crumb Topping

  • 1 TB Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup oats*

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 8×8 pan or 9in round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2.  Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in mixer. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Spread coffeecake with topping, bake for 25-30 minutes until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Serve with butter if desired. Enjoy!

For Topping: Melt butter, cinnamon and sugar in the microwave. Stir well. Hand mix in nuts and oats and spread topping over the unbaked coffee cake.

Reheat leftovers the next day in the microwave for 15 seconds with a little butter or heart healthy margarine for the best results!

IMG_0432
Gluten Free Cinnamon Coffee Cake

*To make sure this coffee cake is Celiac-Safe, be sure to use Certified Gluten Free Oats, as most commercial oats are contaminated by gluten.

**  Store high fat flours, like coconut and almond flour in the freezer or refrigerator to keep them from going rancid.

The Most Important Half of Your Plate

Dietitians often use the “Healthy Plate,”  combined with portion control, to help people plan healthy meals in order to help control their blood sugar, lower cholesterol and to lose weight.  The healthy plate is similar to the USDA’s “My Plate,” except that half of the plate is just vegetables, instead of fruits and vegetables.  The other half of the plate is divided evenly between lean proteins and high carb (and hopefully high fiber!) foods. Also, corn, potatoes, and peas  count as a starch, not a vegetable.  Beans and legumes count as a protein and a starch.  There you have it- the healthy plate in a nutshell!

How does the healthy plate method help with weight loss and blood sugar control? Vegetables are high in fiber, water, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and very low in calories. As you eat more vegetables, you will naturally start eating less of the high calorie, high carb, high fat foods that contribute to chronic disease and weight gain when consumed in excess.

The main problem of the typical American diet, is that it is full of high fat proteins and highly refined carbs, with very little room for vegetables.   If you are like most Americans, as far as your diet goes, Incorporating more vegetables into your diet is the #1 most important thing you could do to improve your health and your family’s health. 

Since veggies are so important, I decided to share what eating the healthy plate way would look like throughout the day and give you some tips to get started.

Breakfast:

IMG_4379
Breakfast Burritos
  • Toss a handful of spinach into the pan while frying your eggs.
  • Toss in a handful of spinach or kale to your favorite Smoothie Recipe.
  • Make a Veggie Quiche with a potato crust instead of a normal crust.
  • Try Breakfast Succotash
  • Make a Breakfast Burrito: Saute onions, green and red peppers, and a diced sweet potato in olive oil. Heat until soft. Add black beans. Combine until heated through. Serve with avocado, salsa and cheese on corn tortillas.
  • Eating out? Get a veggie omelet!

Lunch: IMG_0303

  • Make a meal out of your salad. Salads are a great way to fill up on vegetables, but they don’t always fill me up. To make a salad a complete meal, add some lean proteins like baked or grilled chicken, a hard boiled egg or roasted chickpeas. Then add a high fiber carb, like cooked quinoa, corn or more beans.  For more filling power, add a sprinkling of sunflower seeds, almonds or avocado.
  • Add leftover steamed or roasted veggies from the night before to your lunch sandwich or wrap
  • Take vegetable soup or stew to work with you.

Snacks: Try Veggies and Hummus or veggies and dip

Dinner:  Veggie should be the main event at dinner time!

  • Start Dinner with a simple side salad
  • Sauté or Roast Fresh Vegetables to go with your dinner.
  • Steam frozen vegetables in the microwave, sprinkle with some cheese or your favorite dressing.
  •  Stir extra frozen veggies into pasta, rice or casseroles before cooking.
  • Scroll down for more inspiration!
  • IMG_0247
    Salmon, “fried” rice and roasted peppers, onions and zucchini

    IMG_4970
    Salmon with steamed broccoli and carrots, and asparagus mixed with rice
IMG_0180
Vegetarian version of the healthy plate featuring roasted potatoes, zucchini and onions and chickpea, spinach and rice stir fry
IMG_0416
Baked chicken with roasted asparagus and carrots

What’s your favorite way to eat vegetables? Please post a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Easy 5 Minute Crepes (gluten free)

IMG_0232I love this recipe because it’s simple, easy and doesn’t require any expensive baking mixes or hard to find flours. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and is nutritious and delicious! Serve topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon and fresh berries!

Easy Gluten Free Crepes Recipe

(Makes 3-4 large crepes)

Crepe Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Light Cream Cheese
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Gluten Free Oats
  • 1/3 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp Gluten Free Vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender (I made mine in my Ninja Bullet). Pour batter onto hot griddle prepared with non-stick cooking spray. When batter starts to bubble on the pan, flip crepes over. Leftover batter can be stored covered in the fridge for the next day.

Serve crepes with powdered sugar, cinnamon and mixed berries!

3 Tips to Make Any Recipe Healthier

As a dietitian, it pains me just a little bit to ever follow a recipe completely, without trying to make it healthier with a few tweaks. Here are a couple tips and tricks I do on a regular basis to make recipes a little bit healthier.

Tip: Use a blend of half whole wheat and half white flour for everything. 

Nutrition Boost: Increases dietary fiber. Substitute half the flour in a recipe for whole wheat flour. This works well for pizza crust, muffins, cookies, bread, pancakes and coffee cake. Everything will be a little bit denser, but still just as delicious! I wouldn’t do this for cakes or delicate cookies, since it might make them too crumbly.

Tip: Reduce the sugar by 1/2 of what the recipe calls for. 

Nutrition Boost: Baked goods will have less empty calories. I do this for breakfast foods, like rolls and muffins and quick breads, like pumpkin, banana bread and zucchini bread. When cutting the sugar in half, you can sprinkle to the top of the baked goods with a little cinnamon and sugar or lemon and sugar glaze for an extra pop of flavor. Not feeling super confident to start altering recipes?  Try my 20 Minute Cinnamon Biscuits or Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal which have already been tweaked for you!

Tip: Use Olive Oil for cooking sautéing, baking or roasting meats, grains and vegetables. 

Nutrition Boost: Improve the balance of heart healthy fats in your diet. Even if a recipe calls for something to be sautéed in butter, I substitute most or all of the butter for olive oil. Why olive oil? Olive oil is high in heart healthy monounsaturated fats, is easy to find, and lends a mild and pleasant flavor to most savory dishes. If you really want that buttery flavor, melt just a tablespoon of butter into the dish at the end.

What are your favorite ways to improve recipes? I’d love to hear from you!