Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

3 Comments

2016-07-04 13.59.07

I’ve been dreaming about and creating this dessert in my head for a while. Monday we celebrated America’s Independence Day so I had the perfect reason to make a special dessert. Not that I need a reason of course…but neither one of us like a lot of sweets lingering around the house as they become increasingly difficult to ignore.

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I’m very happy with the result. The flavors are exactly what I imagined in my head.  Believe me, I’ve dreamed up countless recipes in my head that didn’t translate well into real life, so when I get a perfect outcome the first try, I allow myself a little celebration and mental high fives.

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The only bummer was that it fell apart when I plated it. Only because I didn’t make it the day ahead and allow it to set in the fridge over night like I had planned. So when you make it, make it a day ahead and all will be well.

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My mother’s friend turned us on to a wonderful organic store just across the border in Idaho called Pilgrim’s.  When I was growing up Pilgrim’s focused just on supplements but now it’s turned into a very lovely health food grocery store. All the fruit on the tart came from Pilgrim’s and it was gorgeous. Not one yucky piece or under ripe morsel in the whole bunch.  It made me want to move right next door so I could wander around in there every day basking in the glow of what healthy produce should look like. They sell almost everything that Whole Foods sells, just on a smaller scale.  They also have a salad bar, hot food bar, and freshly baked GLUTEN FREE (can you believe it?) goods. It’s amazing and I think it’s well worth the 20 minute or so drive seeing that I typically have to go to three grocery stores in our own town to get what I need and it’s rarely very fresh.

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For the tart filling if you’re not bothered by cow’s milk dairy, you can use cream cheese instead of the goat cheese, regular heavy cream for the whipped cream instead of coconut milk, and regular vanilla yogurt (plain  will be too tart). If you’re vegan or don’t care for goat cheese, you can substitute the goat cheese with Diaya cream style cheese. You could also add pureed fruit to the filling for different flavors. You could make it a chocolate filling by adding cocoa powder to the yogurt and goat cheese mixture and maybe some dairy free chocolate chips to the filling. There are many options to fit different needs. The crust does have gluten free grains, but you could easily make it with a grain free cookie crust as well.

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Mixed Berry Tart with Goat Cheese & Coconut Cream

*For everything to come together properly, you’ll need to make the whipped cream ahead of time. The tart will set up more solid and plate better if allowed to chill in the fridge overnight or all day prior to serving.

For the tart shell:

1 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/4 Cup of Ground Buckwheat Groat Flour (I buy the groats and grind them in my VitaMix)

1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

2 1/2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

1/3 Cup of Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, cold

Measure the flours, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a mixer, whip the butter and coconut sugar until fully combined and creamy scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the almond extract and the flour mixture and mix on medium high until combined and the mixture begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Quickly press the dough into a removable bottom tart pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour until solid and chilled. Remove from fridge and poke holes throughout the tart with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until crust is a light golden color. Remove and cool completely. (I cool completely and then chill for 15 minutes in the freezer before adding the filling.)

For the filling: 

1 oz. of Goat Cheese (the log is creamier and softer than a brick of goat cheese)

1 1/4 Cups of Coconut Milk Yogurt (you can use store bought, but you may want to cut it down to 3/4 – 1 cup as mine is thicker than store bought)

Sweetened Vanilla Coconut Whipped Cream made with 2 Boxes of 100% Coconut Milk – 2 Cups (Chilled over night and then whipped into coconut cream with vanilla and sugar. I think the whipped cream is more stable when it’s allowed to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. You could also make it a day ahead, then just pour off any amount of coconut water separation.)

Zest of 1 Lemon

About 3 Cups of Berries/Fruit For The Top Of The Tart

In a mixer with the whisk attachment, add the goat cheese and  yogurt and whip until smooth. Add the lemon zest and whip to combine. Remove the whisk and mixer bowl and gently fold in the whipped coconut cream. Pour into tart shell and smooth with a spatula. Top with desired fruits.

2016-07-04 13.59.07

Cherry Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons

4 Comments

2016-06-09 10.42.03

Sometimes you just need a little something. Rather than eat my way through the pantry trying to satiate that “something” I’m craving, I just usually go ahead and make what I know will satisfy it.

These are bite size macaroons. This recipe makes 32 miniature servings. They don’t require any added sugar because the chocolate chips and cherries are just the right balance of sweet and tart.

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It all comes together very quickly so they’d be easy to make in a pinch if company showed up or if you felt like I do today…in need of a bit of something!

I’d say about 5 minutes to mix the dough, a few minutes to scoop them out, 18 to bake, a couple minutes to cool…that means you can have a delicious treat in under 30 minutes. A satisfying treat that ends up being lower in overall thigh growth potential than grazing through the pantry trying to satisfy the longing for what you really want.

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I love the crispy coconut mixed with the soft, tart cherries and the sweetness that comes from the chocolate. A perfect, satisfying, balance!

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Cherry Chocolate Chip Macaroons

2 Cups of Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Flaked Coconut

1/2 Cup of Organic Dried Cherries, chopped

3/4 Cup of Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Organic Pure Almond Extract

1 teaspoon of Organic Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Organic Egg Whites

4 Tablespoons of Arroy D 100% Coconut Milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.

Measure all ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well with a spoon or spatula until fully incorporated. Scoop dough out a Tablespoon at a time and bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool before transferring from baking sheet.

2016-06-09 10.42.03

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

8 Comments

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Yesterday was Memorial Day.

Evidently there’s a bit of controversy about it on the internet because some people get angry when people tell each other, “Happy Memorial Day!” I guess some people don’t feel it’s appropriate to express happiness for their freedom.

I for one AM happy to remember all of the brave people who fought for my freedom. It IS a happy day. Because without them, and their willingness to fight for what they believed in and for the freedom of people who can’t fight or don’t fight, our lives would look entirely different. I know people miss their loved ones who gave their lives, that’s understood. So while we mourn for those relationships lost, we can still celebrate their bravery and character.

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My mother’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident when my grandma was pregnant with her. Prior to that, he was a POW. He was missing for quite some time. Little did anyone know that he would come home only to be killed in a hit and run accident. Little did anyone know that her future second husband would be part of the first group into that POW camp to rescue him.

My mother and I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her father of course, but the man who freed him ended up being a wonderful father to my mother and her brothers and the  best grandpa I could have ever hoped for. He loved me dearly. He taught me how to ride a bike and he let me dig around in his tools in the garage. He took care of me when he fed me too many tacos and I threw up all night long. I got to sit in a rocker on the porch with him and take sips of salted beer during long, hot, summers. He let me ask questions. He was patient with me and always happy to see me. Their house was my favorite place to be in the entire world. I took afternoon naps on the couch with him and Punkin, their weiner dog. I got up when it was still dark to eat smiley face chocolate chip pancakes and bacon with him before he left for work in the mornings.

The best part about my grandpa was his character. I’ve never met anyone who rivaled it. He wasn’t perfect, they swore like truckers in the garage when he and his friends worked on cars together, sometimes he was a little prejudice. He was born in a different time and a different world.  He was real and not afraid to show he cared or to show he was angry or to say he was sorry. He loved “his girls” and I never once doubted it even when he got so ill with leukemia and it tried even his nerves of steel and made him grumpy.

He taught me what love looks like. True, imperfect, love. He and my grandma were a wonderful team. They worked together like a well oiled machine. Smooth and humming along. All parts working together to keep it whole. He worshiped her. He willingly and lovingly raised her three children alongside her and believe me, it wasn’t an easy task.  He was the backbone of our family. This man who rescued my mother’s father from torture and certain death. Amazing! I wish everyone in the world could have the opportunity to have a man in their life like that. What a different world it would be.

Without the bravery of my grandpa, my mother’s father likely would not have made it out of that POW camp alive, he was in very bad shape. I remember my grandma saying that when he finally came home he could only stomach ice cream. No one was allowed to touch him to wake him or to startle him. He needed lots of healing.

Imagine if none of that had ever happened? My mother wouldn’t even exist and neither would I. That series of seemingly terrible yet brave events, created an entire life for us.

I love how God always  has all the details worked out.

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So when I say, “Happy Memorial Day!” I mean it in the best of ways. And I am consistently reminded when I take the time to pay attention, that everything happens for good reason whether we understand it or whether it hurts initially.

We spent the early morning washing windows and tending to a few chores. The afternoon was spent on the patio in the sunlight and fabulous weather enjoying a lovely lunch of assorted goat cheeses, hummus, a cucumber and tomato salad with avocado, and two varieties of gluten free crackers. We found a new flat bread cracker that was delicious!

When I think about the abundance of that, I’m reminded of the story my grandma told me about how my mother’s father had made friends with a guard in that POW camp. The guard would bring him bits of bread and food and tell him when they were doing inspections so he could hide whatever he needed to hide. My grandpa and his fellow soldiers were always working on a plan of escape. That guard was also the reason my grandma finally found out through the grapevine on the radio and through letters from people all over the country, that my grandpa was no longer missing in action.  That guard relayed notes to someone who spread the news…wouldn’t it be fantastic to figure out who that was?

They survived on bits of bread and tiny scraps….a sharp contrast to the abundance we have. We have that because of the people who fought for our freedom. Imagine if we weren’t happy about that? Celebrating it? Then what on earth was it all for?

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We finished the day with a steak dinner and delicious dessert. Because in my family, food and gathering together and celebrations, always went hand in hand. My grandpa would have wanted us to celebrate the bravery of others. To remember and be respectful but not mourn to the point that we can’t celebrate the opportunities and doors opened that their bravery provided us.

This chocolate cake is AMAZING. Versatile for cupcakes, snack cakes, birthday cakes, trifles, or whatever you like. It’s incredible moist and delicate but holds together very well and is wonderfully flavorful without being overly sweet.

For The Strawberries:

Stem and slice 2 cups of fresh organic strawberries. Sprinkle with 2-3 generous Tablespoons of coconut sugar and set aside stirring occasionally for a few hours. You can also do it the night before and refrigerate them.

For The Coconut Whipped Cream

Pour 2 cups of chilled (overnight) 100% coconut milk  into a stand mixer and attach the whisk. Whisk on high (you may need to cover your mixer with a hand towel) until it thickens to medium peak. Add 2-3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 3-4 Tablespoons of powdered sugar. (You can also use powdered coconut sugar…but your whipped cream will be a tan color. Or, you could add a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder and do chocolate whipped cream.) Continue whisking on high about 2-3 additional minutes until thickened and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Sometimes it will separate just a bit at the bottom after being refrigerated but it doesn’t ruin the consistency or taste of the whipped cream. Just pour it off!

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

*This recipe is grain free and dairy free. It will make two 8×8 square pans or two 8 inch cake pans, or 24 cupcakes. For this recipe I did the 8×8 pans and stuck one in the freezer for later use. One 8×8 pan yields 9 servings.

*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats

Preheat oven to 350° line two 8×8 inch square pans with parchment and spray with coconut oil. 

1 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour

3/4 Cup of Organic 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 Organic Eggs

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

2 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk (set 1/2 cup aside)

1 Tablespoon of Decaf Instant Coffee

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

Add the dry ingredients to a stand mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the coffee to the coconut milk and stir to dissolve. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, and 1 Cup of the coconut coffee milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk  and mix on medium just until combined.

Bake for 25-27  minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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An Unforgettable Experience & Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

1 Comment

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A few weeks ago I went on the most amazing learning adventure! I belong to a kind of support group, a “tribe” of people who want to make healthy changes in their lives and help others do the same. The group was created by a licensed marriage and family therapist, but he is not your typical therapist and likes to approach things in new and innovative ways. About twenty of us did a 30 day video challenge. Others in the group who didn’t do the video challenge were also able to participate by watching, sharing their own experiences in relation to ours, and giving feedback. Therapists and life coaches were also involved and some of them participated in the video portion as well.

We were asked to do a 3-5 minute daily video and simply come to the table being completely authentic and genuine with whatever was going on that day or in our lives at that time. Happy, sad, mad, crying, excited, bored, sleepy, whatever was going on, the goal was to be completely authentic about it. Not as easy as it sounds. But…

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It. Was. Amazing. Very scary at first. Unsettling. Emotional. Cathartic. Life altering. Empathy, sympathy, and compassion inducing. Ground breaking. Healing. Unbelievably rewarding. Eye opening. People were raw and funny and loving and depressed and happy and in incredible pain and lonely and hurting and best of all, real.

It has changed my own life and the way I view life, forever. We all started off a little nervous and guarded. All of us at one point or another had to struggle with, “Why am I putting myself through this?!” It didn’t take long though before we could all see that it was turning into something inspiring and amazing that I don’t think any of us expected. My goal was to get something positive out of it and to learn about myself and others. It was a bird’s eye view of people’s lives and how we all deal with our choices and life circumstances. In order to open myself up to learning and understanding, I had to step out of my comfort zone and allow myself to be raw and vulnerable. Something most people avoid like a swarm of killer bees.

As the challenge warmed up, many of us began to notice patterns in our own lives. Things we thought we might like to focus on. Watching other’s videos and the feedback and support we all gave to each other was monumental to the change we all experienced. It was healthy, thought provoking, challenging in positive ways, it involved tools, love, support, and the utmost of kindness and genuineness. We all had the same goal, to learn to understand what it really means to be truly authentic and genuine with who we are and to place less worry and focus on what other people think.

When we worry too much about what others think of us or fear their reactions when we are genuine, we stifle who we really are, what we really want, and it changes the outcome of situations that we’re in, relationships we have, and most of all, it doesn’t allow us to live life fully. Because everyone in the group shared the common goal of authenticity, there was zero drama or nasty judgement of any kind. In fact, there never is in this group, it’s really quite something. We agreed not to share anyone else’s stories outside of our group. This created what the founder of the group calls, a “safe container”.  It allowed for vulnerability and honesty. It was incredible and I have made life long friendships.

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Here’s just a few of the learning opportunities I came away with:

1. Many of us look to others and how they treat us as a barometer of our own self worth.

2. We worry about our value based on what we can or cannot do to help others.

3. We put others before our own self-care, which depletes us of energy and in the long run causes us to feel resentment.

4. If we aren’t used to self-care, the concept of it can be very uncomfortable, but it is imperative to our own health and the health of our relationships.

5. By not caring for ourselves and setting healthy boundaries, we become a doormat to others and invite narcissistic, overly needy, unhealthy, and manipulative people into our lives.

6. Feelings of guilt and not putting our emotional well-being first, stops us from feeling true joy and fulfillment when we do things for others.

7. Our self-worth is NOT defined by others. I read a quote by someone somewhere once that said, “Worthiness has no prerequisites.”

8. You can say “no” without guilt. It takes a lot of practice.

9. We can take time for ourselves and do things for ourselves on a regular basis without feeling guilty or selfish because in the long run, we are then healthier and ready to help others.

10. We need to realize without proper self-care and a “healthy container”, we are unable to give of ourselves fully, and unable to receive fully.

11. We have the power to form new and healthier habits, and break negative patterns. It can be done in a healthy way with the right tools.

12. We should strive to be aware of our wants and needs, to understand them and stick to firm boundaries for ourselves, and to care for ourselves so we can fully love others.

13. We are of value, just as we are. We all have gifts, talents, and qualities that add to our life and experience with others, but those gifts or the lack thereof, are not the barometer by which people should be loving us or the barometer by which we should be loving ourselves.What the world teaches is the complete opposite of that statement. Ignore it.

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For a lot of us, doing things for others is relatively easy. The difficult part for those of us who are big “feelers” and “givers” is that twist of guilt every time loving ourselves comes into play. Isn’t it selfish? Shouldn’t I always put others first? Isn’t this where the treasure is? In self sacrifice for the greater good? There’s nothing wrong with loving people and taking care of others, but we need to make sure that the cost isn’t so high, that it ends up being an unhealthy type of love and care.

The ins and outs of life tend to get in the way of how we love ourselves and how we love others. Relationships can be confusing and painful. They can start off great and then all the sudden something raises your red flags. How you deal with those red flags, makes all the difference. Our tendency is often to ignore and overlook our feelings on a regular basis. We don’t like to face uncomfortable truths about ourselves or others. Issues grow like weeds and over time if they aren’t dealt with properly, they choke out anything good. Your gut instinct is important. The action you take can make a life changing difference in your happiness.

Issues over the years that aren’t worked out properly, family dynamics and dysfunction, trauma, making unhealthy choices for ourselves, and pairing ourselves in friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships with people who don’t know how to love or can’t love in a healthy way, cause our own life containers to be cracked. So does not taking the time to care for ourselves and not setting healthy boundaries.

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Life with a cracked container doesn’t work because no matter how much or how often we try to fill our container with peace and joy and people and stuff…it all just leaks right out eventually. So what then? Find perfect people to surround ourselves with? Protect ourselves by not having relationships at all? Always strive to do the “right thing”? Strive to be perfect? Strive to pretend that we are infallible? Pretend we aren’t in pain when we are?

Do we think that is the key to loving others and ourselves? Pretending? Living an inauthentic life? Not being genuine in our feelings, words, and actions? Or maybe the key is being a doormat? If I’m a doormat, surely people will see how loving I am and how much I sacrifice…surely they will love me for that sacrifice. Right?

Wrong.

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We all have cracks in our containers. It’s a fact. The key is to take some time to get to know ourselves enough to want to fix those cracks so that we can love others properly, receive love properly, and embrace life fully. What if we could stop wondering why we are surrounded with dysfunctional people and circumstances, and start figuring out what functional looks like and how we can get more of it? Choosing functional over dysfunctional means we work to be fully aware of our choices and patterns and how significantly they alter and change our overall happiness. We must be willing to ask ourselves all the really tough questions and then do the hard work to map out a plan to break the unhealthy patterns in our lives.

Why have I been complacent? Maybe I’m just now more aware? Sometimes things in life stir this awareness. Is it fear? Is it anger? Am I being lazy in my relationships and sticking my head in the sand? What makes me truly happy? Why am I willing to live with the status quo? What are my healthy life tools? Am I being genuine with myself? Am I being genuine with others? Who is in my “tribe” and are they adding or only taking away? Am I afraid people won’t like or love me if I’m genuine? Am I afraid of disappointing people? What does loving myself look like? What does loving others look like to me and is it a healthy picture?

Is my life balanced properly? Am I relying on others to fix and fill my container? What ARE the cracks in my container and what can I do to repair those cracks and fill my container with  fantastic life experiences, love, and peace, and joy? Why do I think I can give in a healthy way to the people I love if my own container is leaking? Do I have unhealthy relationships/experiences that I am still relying on to fill my container?

Do I have a solid vision of what my healthy, filled, container looks like?

Pretending that we are happy with certain situations, relationships, friendships, and circumstances, when we really aren’t, only creates more cracks. Healing comes with authenticity. With looking at ourselves and our environment clearly. Pretending may feel comfortable initially because inviting change can be unsettling and difficult.

Unfortunately over time, pretending steals our joy.

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Some people cling to their cracked container. Maybe it’s because it’s what they’re used to and they’ve become comfortable, maybe it brings them the attention they crave, maybe it gives them a good excuse not to work on their own life stuff. Sometimes it seems the more damaged their container, the better they like it. The same negative life choices are made over and over again. They cling to it like it’s a trophy. An unhealthy, personal memento of past pains and grievances. I deserve these cracks! People have hurt me! Experiences have hurt me! I OWN these cracks! They make me who I am!

We are not our cracks. Our cracks hold us back. They steal our peace and our happiness. Our cracks are not who we are but are an indication of what needs to change so we can live happily, peacefully, and healthfully. Authentically us. The way we were created to be as unique individuals. Practicing self awareness is achieved by looking at the negative and positive patterns in our own lives. We aren’t stuck with a cracked container. It CAN be fixed and filled with the most amazing tools, experiences, and healthy forms of love.

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A good place to start? Stop trying to fix other people’s cracked containers. We need this tattooed in our subconscious. We can only do the work to fix our own container. Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing wrong. Oh believe me, there’s plenty of people doing wrong…but it won’t do you any good to focus on them. They have their own unhealthy patterns that only they can work out. If  you have someone willing to work with you, then great. If not, don’t let that stop you from working on your cracks!

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Once our cracked containers are able to hold great things without leaking, amazing change begins to happen. Our perspective changes. Do you really know what that feels like? To really and truly have your perspective change? To have the realization that nothing has changed except YOU and in that process your entire outlook on everything changed in a positive way even though…everything and everyone else stayed the same?

It will rock your world.

Just by changing yourself, working on you and I don’t mean “self help” crap, I mean truly getting down to the nitty gritty of patterns (relationships, choices, issues) and directing them in a different way …just by changing the pattern,  you and your environment will change. You may think, “Well, that’s easier said than done!” And you would be right.

Changing our environment whether it be ourselves, the relationships we’re in, our health, our jobs, our social circle…is not an easy task. But it can be done and it is worth the hard work.

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A healthy, fulfilling, life takes awareness and elbow grease and here’s a newsflash:

Nothing. About. Life. Is. Simple. The actual act of changing  your perspective and letting go of the past, your mistakes, other people’s mistakes, and patterns that hold you back… takes work and insight, and a lot of uncomfortable self evaluation.

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When true perspective change hits you, it’s all at once an unsettling, wonderful, peaceful, mind boggling, awareness, that will change how you look at yourself and others forever in the very best of ways.

A changed perspective brings new experiences instead of the old scratched record playing over and over again. A repaired container allows us to fill up with healthy, soul fulfilling, experiences and relationships and enables us to receive and give love and support to ourselves and others, properly.

What does your container look like? How will you begin mending the cracks?

We repeat what we don’t repair.

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The vision behind the “tribe” mentality is that we were not meant to do life alone without other humans. That we can repair and heal with the help of others in a non-traditional “therapeutic” environment. A tribe is a group of people who you can relate to. No one has the exact same story, but a tribe is there to support and everyone learns from each other’s experiences and tools. People are heard without judgement and when there is no judgement, and people are given support, tools, and healthy, logical, feedback, people feel free to share and it deepens connection and builds strength. This is possible because there is the understanding and acceptance that everyone struggles with life’s ups and downs. With a firm focus on being authentic and transparent, it opens up a new and refreshing level of support.

John Kim, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and life coach. He will have a book available in the beginning of 2017. It’s called “Transparency”. I’ve read the short version. It will open your eyes to the relationships around you and the choices you make. Keep your eye out, it will be well worth the read. 

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Homemade Dairy Free Strawberry Ice Cream

*This recipe is best when the cream mixture is made a day ahead and allowed to chill over the night in the refrigerator before churning.

1 Pound of Ripe Organic Strawberries, sliced

1/4 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

3 1/2 Cups (27oz) of Full Fat Coconut Milk

8 Organic Egg Yolks 

2/3 Cup Organic Coconut Sugar

Scrapings From 2 Vanilla Beans

Place the sliced strawberries and the 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until sugar is melted and simmer for 20-3o minutes until strawberries are soft and sauce has thickened a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add the coconut milk, egg yolks, 2/3 cup of sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Turn the burner on medium-medium low and stir constantly until it begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Do not overcook or cook on too high of heat or the eggs will scramble and the ice cream batter will be clumpy and taste “off”. 

Add the strawberry mixture to the cream mixture and pour into a container and refrigerate over night.

Pour into ice cream maker of choice. I use the ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. Churn according to directions and freeze to set.

 

Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

2 Comments

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I can see these crepes becoming my new favorite thing.

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Crepes are so incredibly easy to make.

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Seriously.

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And versatile. I’m big into versatile foods.

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Crepe batter is made with few and simple ingredients and they are kind to whatever you top them or fill them with.

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Crepes can be dressed up with anything you like.

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Sweet or savory.

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Layered, rolled, flat…topped with mounds of coconut whipped cream, syrup, powdered sugar and lemon, filled with fruit, filled with chocolate, filled with vegetables, filled with meats…you name it, your options are only limited to your imagination.

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Monday, I topped mine with ripe bananas sauteed in dairy free butter and coconut sugar. Amazing.

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Tuesday, I topped them with coconut sugar powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious and refreshing. 

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They keep well in the fridge if you don’t use them all, but I doubt you’ll have a problem with that.

Grain Free & Dairy Free Crepes

*Makes 8 Crepes

1/2 Cup of Sweet Potato Flour

1 Tablespoon of Coconut Flour

3 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

Dash of Sea Salt

3/4 Cup of 100% Coconut Milk 

2 Tablespoons of Water

Dairy Free Butter for Frying

Whisk the flours, eggs, vanilla, salt, coconut milk, and water together well. I also whisked it every time I scooped batter to make a crepe.

Heat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan on medium heat. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of dairy free butter to the pan and allow it to melt. With a 1/4 measuring cup, pour crepe batter into the pan and swirl lightly to coat bottom of pan. After a minute or so when you can see tiny bubbles begin to form, flip crepe. They fry very quickly.

For the Banana Topping:

2 Ripe Bananas, sliced

2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

1/4 Cup of Coconut Sugar

Heat the butter and sugar in a small pan until melted and lightly caramelized. Add the bananas and toss gently.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

2 Comments

2016-02-19 18.10.47After telling you in my last post that adding non gluten grains and nuts back into my diet in small amounts “was working just fine”…I ended up sick, sick, sick. First with a cold sore on the left side of my mouth, then a few days later with one on the right side of my mouth. Then flu symptoms and now a bad and lingering cold.

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Seems crazy I know, that food can wreak such havoc on our bodies. There’s research upon research proving that it does and how it does, yet most of the time, we have to learn it the hard way.

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Sometimes the only way to figure out if there are foods that make you sick is to do an elimination diet, removing all of the foods for an extended period of time that commonly cause issues with people.

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I’ve done that numerous times over the years and I keep a food journal so that I can see if there are ties with what’s going on with my health and what I’m putting into my body. This is especially important when you deal with a chronic illness. People with chronic illness like Lyme Disease and auto immune disorders, have to be very loving with their guts and immune systems.

By doing elimination diets and keeping a food journal, I’ve discovered that my body cannot handle dairy or gluten. And since contracting Lyme Disease and dealing with the inflammation and problems that arise with an ongoing bacterial infection, I can now no longer handle grains and nuts & seeds on a regular or even semi regular basis.

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So while I’m always gluten and dairy free, it’s back to grain free and nut free living the majority of the time for me. My body has certainly given me some red flags that cannot be ignored. And since my goal is healthy living and feeling well, I listen to my body.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of delicious and healthy foods that we can all enjoy, even on what most people would consider very strict diets.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

*Makes 15 cinnamon rolls

For the dough:

2/3 Cup Arrowroot (plus more for rolling)

1 1/2 Cups Sweet Potato Flour

3/4 Cup Coconut Flour

4 teaspoons Xanthan Gum

4 teaspoons Double Acting Baking Powder

3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

3 Tablespoons Yeast

3 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar

2/3 Cup Dairy Free Butter

6 Eggs Separated

3 Tablespoons Grass Fed Gelatin

1 Cup Cool Water

3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

For the filling:

About 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter (room temperature)

About 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar

Ground Cinnamon

For the Frosting:

Powdered Sugar

Dairy Free Butter

Pure Almond Extract

Water

Measure the arrowroot, sweet potato flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, yeast, and sugar into a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Measure in the dairy free butter and work lightly through the dough with your fingers until the butter is about the size of small peas and distributed throughout the flour mixture (or use a pastry cutter). Set aside.

Next, separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until stiff peak.

In a glass measuring cup filled to 1 cup with cool water, add the 3 Tablespoons of gelatin and quickly whisk with a fork. Place in the microwave and heat for 25 seconds. Add the egg yolks to the beaten egg whites, add the apple cider vinegar, and turn the mixter on low. Slowly drizzle the gelatin mixture into the egg mixture. Beat on medium for 15 seconds.

Switch the whisk attachement to the paddle attachement and with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and butter mixture. Once it’s all been added, turn the mixture on medium and beat for one minute. It will be very wet.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your counter and flour it with arrowroot or sweet potato flour (arrowroot is much less expensive). Spray a 13x9x2 baking dish with coconut oil and set aside. Turn the oven to 375 degrees.

Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment paper and sprinkle with more flour. Pat into a rectangle with floured hands and roll dough out with a floured rolling pin to about the size of a baking sheet.

Dot the dough all over with the room temperature dairy free butter. Spread with a spatula. Sprinkle with the coconut sugar and spread out a little if necessary with your hands, and then sprinkle generously (very) with the ground cinnamon.

Using the parchment, carefully roll up the dough into a cylinder, pressing the dough down a little as you go to seal. Pinch the ends and squish them in a little. Cut into about 2 inch sections and place in rows in the baking dish. Cover loosely with sprayed plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place on top of the oven to rise for 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic and towel and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes and frost. The frosting is a personal preference depending on how much you like. Just make a basic powdered sugar frosting flavored with pure almond extract.

2016-02-19 18.10.47

Cherry Turnovers

3 Comments

I hear from a lot of people that they don’t like to bake.

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Many complain that it’s too labor intensive, or they’re single or there’s only two of them left at home and much of their baked goods go to waste.

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Or, it’s too calorie dense.

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I can’t help you with your calorie worries, other than to tell you that life’s way, way, too short not to indulge in an extra special treat now and then. Especially pastries!

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But, I can tell you that if you want to learn to love baking, preparation is key, especially when baking things that require a crust.

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I try to keep a batch of pie dough in my freezer at all times. That way, when the mood strikes, we have unannounced company, or a birthday dinner is coming up like last night, all I have to do is thaw it and roll it out.

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For me, making the dough and baking with it at the same time, seems labor intensive.

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Plus, most doughs require refrigeration prior to use anyway.

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With the dough made ahead of time, whipping up an impressive dessert or even a chicken pot pie, or quiche, with little notice is pretty darn easy.

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If there’s only one or two of you at your home and you think these aren’t going to get eaten in time, these pastries freeze very well. You can also cut the recipe in half, or even quarter it. I wrap each one in a freezer bag and then layer them in a larger freezer bag. Simply take out however many individual servings you plan on eating and allow them to thaw before serving.

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 Cherry Turnovers

~ Makes 14 Turnovers~

*Preheat oven to 35o degrees

1 Recipe of my Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pie Dough

3 – 14.5 oz cans of Tart Cherries, drained well

1/2 Cup of Coconut Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour, plus more for rolling

1 teaspoon of Pure Almond Extract

About 4 Cups of Confectioners Sugar

About 1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Butter

2 teaspoons of Pure Almond Extract

Water to thin out frosting

Remove dough discs from freezer and allow to thaw on counter for about 30 minutes. If you’re making the dough the same day you’re making the turnovers, refrigerate the dough for two hours before rolling. Place a large sieve over a large bowl and drain all the cherries while lining two baking sheets with parchment, preparing your rolling surface, and preheating the oven.

Move the drained cherries to a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, and 1 teaspoon of almond extract. Toss carefully to combine thoroughly. Set aside. Roll dough out one disc at a time and cut into rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets. Continue to roll out dough until you have enough rounds to top the turnovers. Once the rounds are on the sheets, pat each one out a little bit with your fingers.

Place a large spoonful of the cherry mixture in the middle of each round on the baking sheets. With a spoon, drizzle a small amount of cherry juice around all of the edges. Roll each top out a little more after cutting and cover the cherries. Press down into the cherry juice on the bottoms, and crimp edges (I used the handle end of a fork). Poke each top once or twice with fork tines.

Bake for 35 minutes. Move to cooling racks and let rest for 30 minutes before frosting.

For the frosting:

Melt the butter, add the powdered sugar and almond extract. Whisk until combined adding a little water at a time to make a thick drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the tops of each turnover, allow to set before serving.

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Happy 49th to my hubby. xoxo

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