Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger: Kelly the Spunky Coconut

Kelly’s Gluten-free Grain-free Coffee Cake
This month’s adoption of Kelly, the Spunky Coconut, inspired me and I hope it will inspire you as well. I think I first came across Kelly when I was searching for restaurant options in Boulder, Colorado. Kelly is a local girl and has two beautiful daughters with another baby on the way. I was immediately drawn to her name, logo and bright, vibrant photos. I was lucky enough to meet her in person this year and I enjoyed chatting with her in person just as much as I enjoyed reading her blog. Kelly is one of those people that radiates health and well-being thanks to her healthful (and delicious) lifestyle. Recently I realized that while I like Kelly’s blog very much, I’d never made any of her recipes! So, I decided to adopt her and see what the Spunky Coconut was all about. Kelly’s first edition of her cookbook is out of print in order to make way for a new, improved second edition! Yay!

The first recipe I tried was her cashew milk. Kelly uses homemade cashew milk in many of her recipes, and she made it look so easy I had to try it myself. She soaks cashew pieces overnight and then blends them in a blender, without straining. My blender is not as good as Kelly’s blender so over time I found my cashew milk got a bit grainy. I did end up straining it a bit. Shhh…. Don’t tell! I gave Baby Yum a sip of cashew milk (which she referred to as juice) and she liked it- before dumping it over her pancakes. I guess pancakes are the new toddler cereal. I thought it was delicious as well, and so much easier than most nut milks. Kelly uses a lot of liquid vanilla-infused stevia to add mild sweetness to her recipes. I have been grumpy about stevia-aftertaste in the past, so I just left it out of the recipes and added a touch of vanilla flavoring to the milk when drinking it. Works for me!

Another cool trick Kelly has is using homemade beans, especially navy beans, as the base for her baked goods. I made a big batch of navy beans in preparation for making two of her recipes. First, I needed beans for the base of her coffee cake (I know, cool, right???) and then the vegetarian in me was drawn to her recipe for szechuan bean cakes. Yum. Sweet and savory from one batch of beans! The coffee cake was a HUGE hit at our house. This recipe is so creative! It is made from beans and lots of eggs, which was PERFECT timing as we were planting our tomatoes and they need eggshells for the soil amendment. Kelly originally sweetened it with some honey (YUM) and stevia, but in the comments suggested those who are stevia-challenged could use an additional 1/3 cup coconut sugar. I had coconut sugar in my pantry that I was just dying to try, so I took her suggestion. The topping also wasn’t a traditional coffee-cake crumble, being based in walnuts with a dab of coconut oil, spices, and coconut sugar. OK, OK, in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I used pecans because I was out of walnuts AND my mother and DH don’t care for walnuts but do like pecans. It worked like a charm, and the texture of this bad boy dessert (which really was not bad for you at all) was incredible! I would definitely make this again. It does make enough for an army, so I ended up freezing half of it… it would be a great potluck dish. Don’t tell anyone it is made from beans (barring any intolerance) and they will never know!

Kelly’s Gluten-free Yeast-free Vegan Sandwich Rolls
(makes 3)
I also made Kelly’s sandwich rolls. This recipe intrigued me because it was flavored with rosemary and garlic (I used toasted onion as we have issues with garlic at our house) and contained coconut flour as the main flour (along with tapioca starch) but was EGG-FREE! Amazing. The picture also drew me in. I love rolls for sandwiches! I didn’t realize until I was actually shaping the dough that the recipe only made three buns. Actually, this was okay, but I’m kind of a baked goods stockpiler (and was hoping to have extras for photos the next day) so this threw me off a little bit. (Yes the above was taken at night- sorry about the flat lighting.) We were quite satisfied with the amount in the end, and the DH made a great big batch of tofu-sloppy joes for the buns and proclaimed them quite good. This recipe is wonderful for anyone avoiding yeast breads but craving that savory type of experience. Even Baby Yum enjoyed the rolls, especially slathered in butter. (My girl is a butter fiend- I have actually found her stealing butter off the counter- hopefully she will outgrow it.) I usually prefer yeasty breads but this was a terrific recipe that I would make again! Some commentors had trouble with the bun texture- but I made the recipe in Northern California (not high elevation like Kelly) and it worked for me with her measurements. I just baked it a little longer until it seemed nice and “done” on the outside.

Kelly’s Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes
I couldn’t resist trying Kelly’s Chocolate Chip Pancakes. I didn’t add extra coconut sugar and left out the stevia so they weren’t as sweet as she had made them, but I really enjoyed them and found them addicting without being too heavy. Delicious! I did find the melty chocolate chips a bit messy. Not sure what to do about that. Baby Yum had some (without the chocolate chips) and gave them a toddler’s thumbs up. Really nice texture and subtle flavor, and the chocolate chips make them naughty enough that you’ll go back for seconds and thirds.

Kelly’s White Bean Szechuan Veggie Burgers
Kelly’s recipe for White Bean Szechuan Veggie Burgers was right up my alley! How could I NOT make this recipe? It was the second recipe I made from Kelly’s blog. I did have to swap in a different San-J sauce because ANNOYINGLY I had every San-J gluten-free Asian sauce (teriyaki, polynesian, peanut) EXCEPT the szechuan sauce. Fate can be so cruel! I used the Sweet and Tangy Polynesian sauce instead and found it absolutely delicious, even sans garlic. Yum, Yum, Yum! The only thing was I did have a little trouble with texture BECAUSE (I think) Kelly used Bob’s Red Mill coarse almond flour and all I had was Honeyville Farms finely ground almond flour. So the first batches were a bit too liquidy, and then later I added more almond flour and they were a bit too dry. Whoops. I’m sure it is because of the difference in flours. They were also rather delicate, so I had to be careful not to break them. What can I say, I am a clumsy cook. The flavor was delightful, and everyone in our household (except Baby Yum who is currently boycotting beans and mystery patties) loved them!

This adoption was a true delight, and positively educational. Kelly has a knack for working with coconut flours and has the casein-free diet down brilliantly, with delicious results. I enjoyed getting some insight into her culinary perspective and working with some new ingredients (beans, coconut sugar, coconut flour) and one of these days might even give vanilla stevia a chance. This blogger is a gluten-free blogger to know- and lucky us, she even has two cookbooks out! As soon as I get a copy I will review it here, so stay tuned!

What are your favorite cooking tricks you learned from Kelly? What are your favorite recipes of hers, from her cookbooks or her blog? Share in the comments!

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8 Responses to “Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger: Kelly the Spunky Coconut”

  1. I love Kelly’s blog and her recipes – especially that coffee cake. She actually does wonders with stevia – she’s converted me! But good to know you can make it without too.

  2. Valerie (m.) Says:

    Oh cool — my family has been looking for yeast-free fancy GF bread recipes, and your posting pointed me to several in Kelly’s Spunky Coconut blog. Thanks!!

    You mentioned that Baby Yum likes to eat butter. You probably already know this, but kids between age one and two need saturated fat for brain development. So she’s feeding her brain when she does that. I’ve met other toddlers who do that, and they do indeed outgrow it. :)

  3. What a great blogger to adopt. Having met her recently I can just say she is the sweetest thing! And I love her books!

  4. I love the rolls from Kelly’s site, and wow, now I have to try those white bean burgers! I love flavors like that.

  5. I love these ‘adopt a blogger’ – theyre a great way to share recipes and meet new bloggers! I love spunky coconut, and you posted some really great ones! I

  6. The coffee cake and the rolls – Rita and I need to try both of these.

  7. [...] adopted Kelly of Spunky Coconut and made Grain-free Coffee Cake, Yeast-free Vegan Sandwich Rolls, Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes, and White [...]

  8. Thank you so much! XOXO, Kelly

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