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

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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 Turnovers

4 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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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

5 Comments

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We’re finally getting a light dusting of snow in our neck of the woods.

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I was just lying in bed this morning praying for it.

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Not world peace, the end of hunger, an end to violence, or that my husband would stop snoring so I could get some sleep, or even that Romeo would quit passing gas on the floor next to me…but…snow.

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 It’s just so peaceful and beautiful.

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The thing I love most about the omnipotent One, is that our little prayers matter too.

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When I came downstairs at 5:30 this morning to let Romeo out, there was not only a dusting on the ground, it was still falling from the sky!

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I immediately said my thank you’s, turned on the Christmas Instrumentals on Spotify, and started to put some of the recovered ornaments back onto our 11 foot tree in the living room.

We had a tree “issue” yesterday. I’ll share more about that tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be doing this and that and tackling the never ending to-do list… but never forgetting to stop by each window as I go, thankful for the snowy winter blessing.

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Frosted Pumpkin Chai Pudding Cakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Makes 10

2 Cans of Pumpkin Puree

1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil – solid

4 Eggs

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Coconut Flour

1 Cup of Tapioca Flour

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

5 teaspoons of Chai Spice Mix, + extra for sprinkling

Measure all ingredients into mixer and beat on medium until combined. About 1 minute. Spoon a generous amount of batter into muffin papers. (Cooking time will depend on the size of the cakes. Mine were in tall muffin papers, I would say about 1 1/2 times the size of a normal muffin.) Bake for 85 minutes. Do not overbake or they will end up dry without a bread pudding texture on the inside. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before frosting and serving. Best served slightly warm or at least at room temperature.

While the cakes are baking, make the frosting:

Frosting

About 1/3 Cup of Dairy Free Butter, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups of Corn Free Powdered Sugar 

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

A Few Drops of Pure Almond Extract

1/2-1 Tablespoon of Non Dairy Milk, I used Hemp

Combine the butter and sugar with a fork until it forms a rough paste.

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Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and non dairy milk and whisk until smooth.

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Refrigerate and about every 15-20 minutes or so, give it a quick whisk. It will become fluffier as it chills.

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Place a generous dollop on each cake and enjoy.

Frosted Banana Love Bites

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Our son came over the other day to help me go through some storage things in our basement and re-organize. He was a HUGE help. I don’t mind admitting that at 43, I really no longer have some of the oomph I used to that’s needed to haul huge boxes up and down the stairs and load the car for dump runs.  He ran up and down the stairs for me, loaded about 200 pounds of old paint cans in the car, made runs to the dump and Goodwill, and helped me lift and move things that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own. By the way, he’s almost 20 years old and 6 feet tall, so not a little boy anymore. Enter big sigh here. I’m loving the man he’s becoming but I sure miss the little boy he used to be!

While we were digging around under the stairs we ran across a storage box full of items that he’s given me over the years. What memories! It was so much fun looking through everything. It’s a good thing he was here with me, otherwise I probably would have bawled through the whole thing. Moms are weird like that. But with him here to go through it with me, we were able to talk and reminisce about some of the items. Wonderful, wonderful, memories that I will cherish forever. Among the paintings, art projects made with Fimo clay, water colors, chalk drawings, school binder projects, funny and original stories written in his young little hand, were some other very special items to me.

Heart rocks that he would find and give to me when we traveled or when he and my husband were on their boy’s get aways. I was always amazed when he could find rocks shaped like a heart. When he would present them to me it would melt my heart and I would kiss him all over his sweet, soft, cheeks. He even wrote “I Love You” on one of them in pencil that is still there after all of these years!

We dug deeper and then I ran across a chain filled with dime machine rings. Twelve in all. When he would go to the grocery store with me or run errands with my husband he would often buy one for me. The crucifix chain they’re hanging on was also a dime machine find that he found for me. Finding that was one of those moments where you just have to clutch it to your heart, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Such wonderful memories that on one hand seem like yesterday and on another hand when you look at your grown child, seem like a lifetime ago.

How blessed am I to have such wonderful memories of a little boy with a huge heart for his momma and now, a young man who is so helpful?!

I had a bit of time to burn in the morning before he arrived so I thought I would make a little treat for us. Quick and easy and the only thing better than banana bread slathered in butter is FROSTED banana bread. Banana bread made into cute little cakes is even better.

Frosted Banana Love Bites

Pre-heat oven to 325° and oil 2 non-stick mini bundt pans, set aside.

1/3 Cup Olive Oil

2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 tsp. Pure Vanilla

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Xanthan Gum

1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

3 Very Ripe Bananas

1 3/4 Cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour

In a mixer, add the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and bananas. Mix on medium until ingredients are combined and bananas are broken up, about 30 seconds.  Turn mixer off, scrape down sides, and add flour and xanthan gum. Mix on stir setting  until combined. About 40 seconds.  Spoon into prepared bundt pans. I filled them about 3/4 full. It made about 14 miniature bundt cakes.

Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Do not overcook as banana bread dries out very easily. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

Cinnamon Sugar Drizzle

About 1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

About 3 Cups Powdered Sugar

About 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

About 1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

Almond Milk

Melt the butter in the microwave. Add sugar, cinnamon, and almond extract. Stir to combine. Thin with almond milk to create a thick drizzling consistency. Whisk to remove any lumps. Drizzle over cakes and allow to set.

Bring on Spring Cupcakes!

3 Comments

Evidently, Mother Nature lost her rule book or something, because we aren’t supposed to have as many rainy, cloudy, days as Seattle. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my neck of the woods, I basically live on the Washington/Idaho border. I am pretty sure that we could give Seattle a run for their money on who has had the most rain in the last 12 months. I bet we’re pretty darn close. I’m running out of positive things to think about all of this rain we’ve been getting. It’s relentless and it seems like it’s been going on for months on end. The more I think about it, it probably isn’t even the rain that is driving me to grimace when I hear those drops smacking the window as much as the lack of sunlight. Now if it could rain and be sunny all at the same time…maybe then I wouldn’t be so apt to sigh and roll my eyes when I look outside lately.

Since there’s not much hanging around outside going on around here, I took some extra time to wander around our local Fred Meyer yesterday. (Woo hoo, what fun right?) Well, I ran across some cute little cupcake papers that I thought were really cool and very “Spring like”. At this point, I’m willing to do just about anything to bring Spring to my house, even if it’s in the form of cupcake papers and pastel colored sprinkles.

I also decided to buy myself a few bouquets of flowers to brighten up the house.  Set three different vases out, and you know what? It does brighten up the house and bring a little of the outdoors in. So until Mother Nature remembers that we’re on the eastern side of Washington state and brings us the beautiful Spring weather we’re used to, I’ll have to rely on tulip cupcake papers, and fresh bouquets of flowers.

See, even Romeo, one of our dogs is enjoying bringing a little Spring into the house. Notice sweet, furry, nose on the left.

Red Raspberry Surprise Spring Cupcakes

Preheat Oven To 350°  (Makes 12 Cupcakes)

1 Box Betty Crocker Yellow Gluten Free Cake Mix

1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter

1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract

3 Eggs

2/3 Cup Water

*Red Raspberry all fruit jelly – about 5 oz. or half a jar. (This will get piped into the cupcakes after they have cooled)

*Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Cream Cheese Frosting (It’s gluten-free and dairy-free)

Follow mixing directions on box. Line a muffin tin with 12 white cupcake papers. Lightly squirt each one with just a tiny amount of non-stick spray. Fill cupcake papers with batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 21 minutes. Cool completely.

Once cooled, fill piping bag with jelly(use at least a #5 round tip). Gently squeeze jelly into center of each cupcake.

Place cupcakes in flower papers.

Frost as desired.