Archive for January, 2010


I don’t have a new recipe for you all today.  But don’t go just yet!  I do have something to share that will explain where my mind has been for the past couple of weeks – as my focus has clearly not been on baking.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I have tried a couple experiments that had great potential.  But they sadly didn’t work out – hence no goodies for Sweet + Natural!  I’m determined to perfect those though.  Stay tuned.

Anyway, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have already heard the news.

Dan and I adopted kittens!

And I have fallen into and been completely absorbed by the black hole that is kitty cuteness.  Seriously, friends, these kittens are amazing.  I instantly embraced my furmom role and have been taking an exorbitant amount of pictures and talking about them to anyone who will listen – which now includes you!  Allow me to introduce our new furbabies.

This is Chester.

And this is Nora.

Chester is so ridiculously crazy that we sometimes suspect he could be diagnosed as mentally unstable.  Think tearing through the apartment at lightning speed, jumping several feet in the air just because, pouncing on suspicious-looking pens at every opportunity, rustling manically in a paper bag and bolting out the door – or attempting to – the second it opens.

Troublemaker in action.

But our little menace also loves to cuddle, so it balances out.  He’s all about extremes that one.

Nora is a sweetheart.  She was very timid and mostly hid the first couple of days, not knowing what to think of her new home or Chester – lots of hissing occurred during their courting period.  But now she and Chester are BFF – they chase each other around the apartment, cat wrestle and curl up into one furball to sleep together.

She is quick to snuggle up with us for a nap on the couch too.  She also loves to let out teeny meows whenever she enters a room and has an obsession with drinking from our water glasses.

I call her our little supermodel because she’s so pretty.

Work it girl.

We adopted them both from City Critters – a rescue organization in NYC.  Chester was abandoned at a vet’s office with his mom, and Nora was found alone on the street in Brooklyn.  We’re SO glad to be able to provide them a happy home.  And I highly recommend looking at the City Critters adoption listings if you’re in New York and in the market for a cat.  The ladies we worked with are wonderful!

So there you have it!  I promise I will try to peel myself away from them soon to whip up something awesome for you!

Do you have pets?  Are you as obsessed with them as I already am with mine?

Coconut Flour

Friends, I am EXCITED!

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently – for the first time ever! – baked with coconut flour.  And I am officially, completely, utterly and hopelessly enamored with it.  Allow me to elaborate.

Coconut flour is made from coconut meat that has most of the oil taken out.  It’s dried up and then finely ground into a soft powder.  Simple!  The result is a flour with a beautiful creamy color and natural sweetness.  Open a bag and take a whiff – you will inhale coconut deliciousness!

But that’s not the best part.  Because coconut flour is made from just coconut, that means it’s also gluten-free and grain-free!  Amazing for anyone dealing with such intolerances.  Coconut flour is also a fiber-istic superstar – it has more fiber than wheat bran, oat bran, soybeans – even flax seeds!  And just as much protein as you can find in the traditional whole wheat flour that everyone knows so well.

Are you jazzed yet?

I am.

So how can we use it in our baked goodies?!  Well, this part requires a bit of attention.  Because coconut flour doesn’t have gluten – which helps keep it all together – your treats will just fall apart if you substitute it 100% for another flour.  Now, keep in mind I’m a newbie here, but from some quite extensive Googling, it seems you can replace about 20% of regular flour in a recipe with coconut flour – as long as you add an equal amount of liquid.  All the fiber sucks that stuff up!  So, let’s say your recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  You can use 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour and add 1/2 cup milk or water or juice.  If you want to use ALL coconut flour – which I totally do! – I’ve read that you should add one egg per ounce of coconut flour.  Eggs bind – just like gluten!  I really want to try a vegan ALL coconut flour recipe, so I’m thinking bananas or flax eggs could work too.  What do you think? Oh, and because coconut flour is already a bit sweet, you don’t need as much sugar in your recipe!

Whew!  I swear it’s not all that complicated.  It’s just baking after all!  Get out there and experiment – and let me know how it goes!

Do you have any great coconut flour recipes?


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