Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

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I keep telling people that having food allergies does not mean the end of the world. With a bit of thought and planning, there are numerous exciting options for those of us with restricted diets.

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Most newbies who find out they have food allergies or sensitivities are completely freaked out. They’re so accustomed to eating a certain way and feeding their families a certain way that they become instantly overwhelmed with even the thought of changing their eating habits let alone the habits of their picky family members.

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They cannot fathom following an allergen free diet and going from fast food and packaged foods to a whole foods, allergen free, diet. Even if it means feeling better!

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Truth be told, we all have that battle until we realize what’s at stake. If we continue eating things that don’t agree with us, the issues build and build until we’re faced with more severe illness issues like autoimmune disease, obesity, ulcers, migraines, hormone imbalances, mood disorders, sleep disorders, and more.

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One of my inadvertent jobs while working in a naturopathic clinic years ago was to talk people off the cliff after they were told what they could no longer eat.

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Like a deer in the headlights they were stunned. They didn’t know where to begin, they were worried about the time and effort it would take, didn’t think they could do it, thought they would starve, and the grumpier more feisty ones thought they’d never be able to eat anything “fun” again.

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I often reminded them that they were at the doctor’s office because their life was anything but “fun”. Most of them had severe health issues. We find comfort in repetition even if it’s not good for us. Changing the patterns of how we eat and how we treat our bodies can be very stressful at first but it goes away quickly and the pay off is HUGE.

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Once the allergens are removed and the body has a chance to begin to heal instead of spending all of its energy on battling gut issues, histamine issues, and inflammation, people are amazed because they had forgotten what GOOD feels like. We get used to a certain level of “sick” and that becomes life. When we remove the things that are holding us back and we go up to the next level and then the next and so on, to where we are eventually feeling well, then the effort to maintain an allergen free healthier lifestyle, pays off and reminds us that it is indeed worth “it”.

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I blog because I like to prove that changing your diet IS worth it, that YOU and your health are worth a little extra research and time, and also to dispel the myths that living an allergen free life is too limiting and not enjoyable.

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We eat allergen free and very well in our house. We never feel deprived! I have hundreds of recipes to choose from not only on my own food blog but from other very talented allergen free bloggers.

Don’t allow the dread of change to overcome the importance of living a lifestyle that helps you be the healthiest you can be. Take the time to invest in yourself.

You are worth it.

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Grain Free Chocolate Cake with Dairy Free Fudge Frosting

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350°

1 Cup of  Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of  Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Sugar

2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

2 teaspoons of Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

8  Eggs

1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk

1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Decaf Coffee

1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chopped Dairy Free Dark Chocolate

About 8-10 Oz of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Raspberry Jelly for filling

Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, coffee, and 1 Cup of the coconut milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest while you’re getting the cake pans ready (Spray and line with parchment paper). Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk and mix on medium just until combined.

Pour evenly into two 8-9 inch cake rounds, two 8×8 square baking pans, or two 12 hole cupcake pans. If you’re going to make cupcakes, be sure to spray the paper liners.

Bake for 22-28 minutes. (I use convection, conventional ovens may vary.) Cool completely in the pan before removing.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

3/4 Cup Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (You can also use homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar, but it will be a heavier, more moist, consistency)

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

3-4 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk

About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Decaf Espresso

Pour the coconut milk in a measuring cup and add the instant espresso granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the espresso to dissolve.

Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.

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 With the mixture on medium, SLOWLY add the coconut milk coffee mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time (keeping an eye on the consistency…not too soft!) scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. I like a thick, rich, frosting…if you want that too, you may not need all of the milk. Once the coconut milk has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes until it expands and becomes fluffy.

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Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies

2 Comments

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! 

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Whether you have a honey to celebrate with or not, you need these cookies in your life.

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I consider them one of those special “once a year” treats. 

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Of course, they go well with anything. What cookie doesn’t? After any meal, with a cup of tea or coffee, or as your afternoon treat.

You’re worth it! 

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And as always with my recipes, they are not complicated to make. I like simple, delicious, beautiful food. It should taste as wonderful as it looks and be satisfying all around. 

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You won’t be disappointed. 

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Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

Raspberry Sweetheart Cookies

*Dough will need to be chilled before baking

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter ( I use soy free Earth Balance)

2/3 cup Vegetable Shortening ( I use Spectrum)

4 cups of Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour plus more for rolling (In your local gluten free isle or online. I cannot rave enough about this flour!)

2 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups of Sugar (White or Coconut…coconut will make your cookies brown)

2 Tbsps. of Almond Milk (Could also use rice, coconut, or hemp.)

2 tsp. of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 1/2 tsp. of Xanthan Gum

2 tsp. of Pure Vanilla

1/2 tsp. of Sea Salt

Raspberry Jelly

Powdered Sugar Frosting (Powdered sugar, dairy free butter, pure almond extract, and a tiny bit of water or milk)

Beat butter and shortening in mixer until light and fluffy. Add about half the flour, the eggs, sugar, milk, baking powder, xanthan gum, vanilla, and salt. Beat until thoroughly combined and beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half and place on plastic wrap. Press into discs, cover completely, and chill for at least 2 hours. This dough will last in the fridge for several days and I also like to wrap it well and freeze it to have on hand. It will last for months in the freezer. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After the dough has chilled remove one disc out of the fridge at a time. Flour your surface and roll out. Cut into shapes of your liking and place them on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges are just slightly beginning to turn golden. 

Cool completely. Add about 1 teaspoon of jelly to each cookie and top with another cookie. Drizzle with powdered sugar frosting. 

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Cherry Chocolate Crisps

5 Comments

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Cherry Chocolate Crisps

*Makes about 26

10 oz Bag of Enjoy Life Miniature Chocolate Chips (dairy free)

3/4 Cup of Tart Dried Cherries

1 Cup of Gluten Free Rice Chex Cereal

Mini Candy Cups

Melt the chocolate and stir in the dried cherries. Fold in the cereal and drop by teaspoon into miniature paper cups.  Allow to set. Store at room temperature. 

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Mini Peanut Butter Cups

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I don’t know where 2016 went but here we are almost into February of a new year. Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it!

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I am used to making my own treats because of food allergies and I prefer home made. I like that I know exactly what’s in the food I eat and the food I give as gifts.

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There are so many different types of candy that you can make easily and with minimal ingredients.

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Homemade candies also make really sweet and thoughtful gifts.

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These peanut butter cups only take a few minutes (not counting the chilling time for layers) and would be a great project for kids too.

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You can do any nut butter you like, add mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts…the options are all up to you.

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I’ll post another simple candy recipe tomorrow.

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Peanut Butter Cups

*Makes 34

1 1/4 Cups of Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (no stir)

1/3 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

4 Bars (3oz each) Organic 70% Dark Chocolate

34 Mini Candy Cups

In a double boiler or a pan with a bowl over the top (which is how I do it), melt the chocolate. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter and sugar and soften in the microwave for 20 seconds (you can also do it in a pan if you don’t use a microwave).

Spread out the candy cups on a cookie tray, this will make it easy to move them to the fridge or outside to chill between layers.

Drop a small amount of chocolate in the bottom of each cup and chill until set. Then drop a dollop of the peanut butter mixture into each cup. Tap the tray lightly on the counter until the peanut butter levels out (doesn’t have to be perfect). Chill for 20 minutes. Drop a small amount of chocolate on top of each cup and swirl to cover the top. Chill until set and store in fridge in an airtight container.

Epsom Bath Treats ~ 3 Ways

4 Comments

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Here’s another extremely simple way to treat yourself or others. Epsom salts with your favorite essential oils. Put them in cute jars or bags, make some tags and tie them with ribbon.

I have always loved taking baths. Hot water has some kind of soul quenching relaxing benefits for me that I can’t quite explain. Give me a good book and a bathtub every night and I’m happy. In fact, after making 4 types of cookies doughs and a big batch of pie dough last night, I crawled into an epsom bath with a book at midnight! It just washes all the stress away.

I didn’t really embrace additions to my tub water until I started dealing with chronic illness. I found that epsom baths were a big help with pain and sleeplessness. Later, when I tested positive for Lyme and started doing research, I realized the true benefits and why it’s so helpful for me.

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Epsom salt relaxes the nervous system, can cure skin problems, soothes joint pain, eases muscle strain, heals cuts, treats colds and congestion, and draws toxins from the body. Plus, it just feels really good to soak in a nice tub and relax. That alone is good for the soul.

I think this would be a great kid project too because it involves measuring, counting drops, and doesn’t involve a hot stove. I would highly recommend gloves for the little ones though because essential oils are very, very potent. If your children make these for gifts, I think a recipe card cut out from your child’s hand print would be a special and cute touch. Someday I’ll have grandchildren and we’ll do all kinds of fantastic projects together!

For now, it’s just me and the pups. They can’t make bath products but they are definitely always eager to “help” me in the kitchen and to cuddle when I take a break.

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Sore Muscle Soak

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

10 Drops of Peppermint

5 Drops of Stress Away

1-2 drops of Natural Green Food Coloring

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

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Peaceful & Happy ~ 2 Ways

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

Recipe #1 :

10 Drops of Lavender

15 Drops of Joy

Recipe #2

10 Drops of Lavender

10 Drops of Ylang Ylang

5 Drops of Stress Away

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

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Cold & Flu Soak

3 Cups of Epsom Salts

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

8 Drops of Thyme

20 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

This recipe has an additional cup of epsom salts because of the strength of the thyme essential oil. Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

Barkin’ Dogs Foot Rub

2 Comments

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A couple posts ago I talked about having some issues with the paint on one of my projects. I’m not sure why they didn’t cooperate, but if you’re going to spray paint your lids, I would suggest spraying them with a primer first.

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Our temperatures dropped dramatically so I couldn’t repaint the two lids with issues. Instead, I covered them with fabric and ribbon. I preferred the  painted sleek look but because I was pressured for time, I had to go with the fabric for a last minute gift.

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Of course the recipient didn’t know the difference so it was no big deal. You can see the fabric covered jars in the photo below.

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If you’d like more home made body product ideas and recipes, I’ve created a category for Homemade Body Products on the right hand side of my main blog page. There you’ll find all kinds of fun things to make for you and your family or gifts for friends.

Barkin’ Dogs Foot Rub

*This recipe filled four 8 oz jars

1 Cup of Cocoa Butter

 Cup of Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

15 Drops of Lavender

1 Drops of Frankincense

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

8 Drops of Peppermint

In a medium saucepan melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil on medium low. Pour into a bowl and place somewhere cool until it is almost completely solidified. This will take a couple of hours. Don’t let it solidify too much though so keep checking!

Scrape the oils into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until smooth. Add the olive oil and whip until fully incorporated. Add the essential oil drops and whip until light and fluffy. 

Spoon into decorated jars. 

Linen Spray ~ Two Ways

2 Comments

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Looks like my luck is turning around. Remember when I said I had lost the ingredients list for one of my Christmas projects and I couldn’t remember what I had used?

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Well, as I was going through photos, I noticed that the ingredients list was in one of them! Ha. I love it when things like that happen.

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These linen sprays aren’t just for spraying bedding. You can use them as room spray, car spray, whatever you like.

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They are safe and healthy and both smell fabulous. If you have a few essential oils on hand, they are also incredibly easy to make and the options are endless.

Fresh

30 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

30 Drops of Lemon

25 Drops of Lavender

30 Drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia

30 Drops of Peppermint

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.

Rest

20 Drops of Peppermint

15 Drops of Frankincense

15 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Lavender

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.