Gluten Free Brownies.

I try to cut the sugar in half for everything sweet I bake. Not because I’m making a concerted effort to be healthy, but because I can’t handle (what seems like) the excessive amounts of sugar that things like cookies and cakes call for.

I went on an intense candida diet for a while where I cut all sugar, including fruit, for two weeks. After that I reintroduced fruit, but kept refined sugars out. Ever since then I have a much lower tolerance for sweet things which leads to awkward situations where I get served cornbread as an appetizer and it feels like I’m eating dessert before my dinner. I honestly wanted to save that cornbread and just have it after my meal with a bit of butter and honey, haha.

Anyway, I automatically cut the sugar in any given dessert recipe in half (excepting yeasted things because the yeast needs the sugar to actually work), which can create interesting results. In cookies it manifests as less spread, so you have to smoosh the dough before baking unless you enjoy oddly cake-like cookies. In brownies it manifests as a less fudge-y texture. So, if you’re a fan of cake brownies, no adjustments are needed.

I wanted to make brownies that were somewhere in between, so I tried various adjustments and I think I came up with something that is pretty awesome. I haven’t tried using liquid sweetener (like maple syrup) yet, but I’ll get back to you.20161112_112119

Gluten Free Fudge-y Brownines

  • Servings: 16 brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs) flour blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
7 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 Tbs butter
2 ounces cocoa butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
4 1/2 ounces (1/2 plus 1/8 cup) sucanat
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Melt the butter, cocoa butter, chocolate chips and sucanat in a large pan over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  2. While everything is melting line an 8 inch square cake pan with foil. You can oil this if you like, but it works without oil as well.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  4. Whisk the egg and egg yolks into the chocolate mixture and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes, rotating pan halfway.
  7. Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before serving.

Notes

  • The cocoa butter is completely optional. If you’d rather not use it, just use 8 Tbs butter.
  • You can substitute coconut oil for the butter for a dairy-free brownie.
  • The longer you bake these, the more like cake they will be when they cool.
  • Save the egg whites! Stick them in a jar in your fridge and they’ll keep for an amazingly long amount of time. You can use them to make coconut macaroons, or angel food cake, or any number of things.

P.s. Every time I went to type brownies I would write brownines…I have no idea why.

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‘Tis the Season!

Autumn has begun and so has the pumpkin-ocalypse! Everything is slowly being consumed with pumpkin spice flavor, sometimes with amazing results and sometimes with head-scratching disgust.

So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon! Heh.

20161023_132956I wanted to share a recipe with you guys for gluten free pumpkin breakfast muffins. They are really tasty! I found a recipe in a magazine for pumpkin cakes using regular flours and converted it to gluten free. These are perfect if you know you’re going to have a busy morning: you can make them the night before and take them with you to have breakfast on the go.

Don’t worry, t looks like it has a lot of ingredients, but that’s mostly because I broke up the pumpkin pie spice into separate measurements (because I don’t have the spice mix).

Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 cup flour blend
1 cup gluten free oat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sucanat
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients until smooth.
  4. Grease a muffin tin (or line with cupcake wrappers) and portion batter evenly between the cups. A cookie scoop works well for this.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Sweet Potato Pudding.

Well, here we are again. It’s Saturday. Oops.

Last night our little chicken died, we’re not sure what was wrong with her. She has always looked a little sickly, but I thought she had been looking better recently until she spent all day in the coop yesterday. Hubby opened the coop this morning and took care of her body. It’s a little sad, but life goes on.

On that note, today I’m sharing a recipe for a vegan pudding.

20161006_125006I love sweet potatoes and recently I’ve been buying them in bags (rather than loose) because Hamlette is really liking solid foods – she has 6 teeth already! I follow a paleo page on Facebook and they shared a recipe for sweet potato chocolate pudding I’d been wanting to try, but I couldn’t find it so I picked the first one I googled. I made that recipe but I didn’t like the texture at all so I tried mixing in some coconut milk. The coconut milk did the trick: the grainy mousse turned into a nice, smooth pudding.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pudding

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs sweetener of choice
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-3/4 cup full fat coconut milk

  1. Bake the sweet potatoes for an hour at 350°F. Cool and peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Blend everything but the coconut milk until smooth. At this point it will look a lot like a mousse.
  3. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a bowl and stir in the coconut milk until you reach a good consistency.
  4. Serve.

Notes

  • If making ahead, bring the pudding back to room temperature before eating: it firms up in the fridge and becomes less pudding-y
  • You could use melted cocoa butter instead of coconut oil for a richer flavor.

Millions of Peaches…

Millions of peaches, peaches for me
Millions of peaches, peaches for free

Look out!
-The Presidents of the United States of America

My parents brought a huge box of Palisade peaches with them when they visited for Hamling’s birthday. Last year I just split a box because I didn’t think we could go through a full box ourselves. Well, I was surprised when I went to finally make a cobbler and there were only 3 peaches left: we had eaten them all! So this year I decided to get a full box and freeze some for later use.

20160830_135930There are several ways to freeze peaches. You can freeze them in water, juice, syrup or dry. I opted for dry packing because I wanted to be able to use them in smoothies (if I ever actually made a smoothie). I packed them in two different ways: I put the peach slices straight into the bag and froze them, and I put the slices on a sheet, froze them and then placed them in a bag. Either way works, but I like the second method because the peaches stay fairly separated in the bag so you can take out two or three slices if that’s all you want.

Here’s how to freeze peaches using the dry pack method:

  1. Juice a lemon into 1 cup of water.
  2. Slice peaches, dropping the slices into the lemon water.
  3. Remove the peach slices from the lemon water and place in a small freezer bag (for portioning convenience) or onto a tray that will fit into your freezer.
  4. If using the tray, freeze until the slices are completely frozen -about 2 hours- then remove from the freezer, run some hot water over the bottom of the dish the slices were on to loosen them and scrape them off. Put the frozen slices into a small freezer bag.
  5. To remove the air from the bags follow the directions in the video below.

I didn’t peel my peaches because I’m lazy, and I don’t mind peach skin. If you’d rather peel them, just add a step before slicing.

Happy freezing!

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler.

20160911_201718It’s peach season (sort of, it’s kind of the end of the season now) so we’ve got a lot of peaches. That means a lot of peach cobbler (and lots of frozen peaches). I’ve been experimenting with different recipes to get the perfect peach cobbler and I think I’ve done it. It’s perfectly bread-y, and just the right amount of sweet. This is one of those recipes that, if you didn’t say anything, no one would know it was gluten free. It’s also easy to make this vegan and, though I can’t personally vouch for this, I bet it’s equally delicious because coconut oil is amazing.

The first cobbler I made didn’t have enough cobbler base. It called for a 3 qt (I think) dish, so I looked on the bottom of my 9×13 pyrex and confirmed it was the proper size. I think what the recipe actually wanted me to use was something smaller with a higher lip. Anyway, what I ended up with was a cobbler that was good. It was reminiscent of the “graham” crackers I make sometimes in flavor, but it was just too thin.

20160911_201612The second cobbler was all oat flour and it was the perfect thickness in the 9×13 pan, but it called for a whopping 4 teaspoons of baking powder. When I was mixing everything together I thought, wow that is A LOT of baking powder! But gluten free cooking can be weird sometimes so i figured I’d just follow the recipe and see how it turned out. Well, it definitely had too much baking powder. You could taste the baking powder. Not good.

So the third (and fourth) cobbler(s) I made were a mix of the two recipes. This recipe is a winner. I took two photos of it, but I couldn’t pick which I liked best so I included both of them because I think they both show the texture of the cobbler accurately.

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup sucanat
1 cup flour blend
1 cup oat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (any kind, I used almond milk)
6 cups peaches

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Slice the peaches into a bowl. Peeling is optional.
  3. Mix batter together and pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish and spread to the edges using a spatula. The batter will start rising right after it’s mixed, this is normal, don’t worry!
  4. Pour in peaches, making sure they cover the entire surface of the batter and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cobbler is light brown.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  6. Serve with heavy cream, ice cream, dairy free ice cream, or dairy free milk.

Fondant (that isn’t death by sugar).

20160827_135127When I asked Hamling what kind of party he wanted for his birthday this year he said he wanted an airplane party. While we were scrolling through the internet trying to pick out a cake he’d like to have he saw one that was made with fondant. I’ve never made fondant before, and I had only heard people say it was gross. Not only that, but any kind of frosting that takes as much powdered sugar as fondant gives me an unpleasant tickling feeling at the back of my throat just thinking about it. I wanted to make a fondant that was not as sweet, but still functioned fairly well. Impossible, right?

Challenge accepted.

I ended up with something that was still pretty sweet, but I was afraid to use any more starch than I already had. As far as frosting goes, this was pretty good, and it was very workable. Maybe I’ll practice my fondant smoothing skills next time I make it.

Fondant

  • Servings: 1 cake
  • Difficulty: medium
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1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (agar agar if making a vegan cake)
1/8 cup cold water
1/4 cup organic corn syrup
1 Tablespoon shortening or butter
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine gelatin and water and let sit until thick. Place it on a double boiler to melt.
  2. Add the syrup and mix well. Add shortening or butter and mix until just melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool mixture until lukewarm.
  3. Put 1 cup of starch and 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the liquid gelatin mixture into the well. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the remaining starch and stir.
  4. Generously dust a flat surface with powdered sugar and pour out the sticky mess in your bowl onto the sugar. Knead in the remaining powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the fondant no longer sticks to your fingers.
  5. Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap, brushing the top of the fondant with oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Apply to cake.

Notes:

  • If you want colored fondant and you’re using liquid coloring, add the color of your choice to the liquid before you mix it into the starch/sugar.
  • If your cake is going to be sitting out for a little bit, brush the entire surface with oil to keep the fondant from drying out and cracking.
  • This will store for up to a month in the fridge. If you find it’s dry when you take it out to use it, knead in some more oil.

Lilla Rose Giveaway!

I’ve been trying for a really long time to grow my hair out. I could never get it to grow longer than my shoulder blades, no matter how long I went before cutting it. Eventually I resigned myself to that length of hair and went on with my life.

Well, now my hair is down to the middle of my back! I don’t know if it’s because of my diet change, or maybe I’ve just always had latent thyroid issues and when I resolved them my hair started to grow longer. Maybe it was being pregnant a second time. Whatever the reason, I am pretty stoked!

Except I’m realizing that I have no idea how to style longer hair, or take care of really long curly hair. It’s definitely an adventure. Part of my problem is that I’m lazy: the reason I don’t wear makeup every day is it’s too much effort. I’d rather not spend a bunch of time every day in front of a mirror, so styles that require tons of bobby pins or a curling iron are a no-go.

Cue Lilla Rose.

I had heard of Lilla Rose from a good friend of mine when she hosted a party with Katrina. I didn’t pay attention then, because I didn’t think I needed any new hair stuff. It turns out I was wrong, but I wouldn’t figure that out for another two years (I think, I’m bad at keeping track of time) when the bee flexi popped up in my Facebook news feed:

I fell in love with it (because, dangly things!) so I ordered one from Katrina. Now I’m wondering why it took me so long! The style in the picture took me less than 5 minutes and it held all day long. These clips are really pretty and super comfortable, which is a plus because now that my hair is longer my bun claw isn’t so nice to my head.

I got really excited and when I get really excited about things that make my life easier I want to share them with everyone (hence this blog). So, to share this awesome thing with you Katrina has made a giveaway! This giveaway is only open to ladies who haven’t worked with another stylist before (we don’t want to poach anyone’s clients!) and it’s sponsored by the awesome Independent Stylist Katrina Burbank! As an added bonus, there is a sale happening until Saturday night on select Lilla Rose hair candies so you can save some money while you get your goodies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Paleo Carrot Cake.

084The first thing you need for this recipe is homemade almond milk. Specifically the almond meal left from making the milk. To make the almond milk, soak 2 cups of almonds overnight. Strain and rinse the almonds then put them into a blender, one cup at a time with 2 cups of warm water. Blend for at least 1 minute. Strain through a muslin cloth. Dry the pulp for 12 hours in a warm oven. Once dry, run the pulp through a food processor until it is the consistency of flour. This should give you enough to make the cake.

When you use the leftover almond meal form making almond milk you get the bonus of having soaked almond flour. This will give you a better flavor and more nutrients.

This cake is worth the extra effort, but you could also use regular almond meal or flour.

There are no eggs in this, so if you switch the sweetener it would be vegan.

Paleo Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded coconut
3 flax eggs
1/4 cup coconut butter
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Oil an 8×8 cake pan.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the flax eggs and allow to sit.
  3. Combine dry ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flax eggs and combine well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in the carrots.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan.

You can top this with a slice of Kerrygold butter and some honey for an extra amazing treat!

The Best Dairy Free Ice Cream. Ever.

IMG_0932I love ice cream. Since I can’t have dairy, I end up wistfully dreaming of Bonnie Brae (I used to work there – best. job. ever) and wishing I could indulge in some creamy goodness. It doesn’t help that summer is in full swing here and the days are pretty hot.

Good thing dairy free ice cream is easy to find, right? Well, sort of. The kind you can buy in the store is tasty, but the texture just isn’t creamy enough for me. The cashew ice creams are the closest to that satisfying creaminess I miss so much, but they’re just not quite there.

IMG_0933Enter the ice cream maker.

Hubby is awesome and got me the ice cream maker KitchenAid attachment a few years ago for my birthday. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one, it’s awesome! Mine did start leaking right after the warranty expired, but if I keep it frozen with the right end facing up it still works, and none of the magic blue fluid escapes. I’ve been using it that way for at least two years with no further problems.

Chocolate Ice Cream

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 egg yolks
3/8 cup sucanat
1 Tablespoon vanilla

  1. Warm the coconut milk, coconut oil and cocoa powder in a saucepan, whisking until no lumps of cocoa remain.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks into the sucanat until fully emulsified. You’ll know it’s ready when you lift up your whisk and get a nice, long ribbon of the mixture falling back into the bowl. The ribbon shouldn’t break until most of the mixture has come off the whisk.
  3. When the coconut milk is steaming, slowly pour 1/3 of the hot liquid into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Mix until the first 1/3 is incorporated before slowly adding the remaining mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the vanilla and cover. Allow to cool in the fridge completely, overnight is best.
  5. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker per the device’s instructions.
  6. Enjoy.

Breakfast Treat.

I was always intimidated by crepes. I thought they would be really finicky, or otherwise difficult to make. It turns out I was wrong, they’re actually not that difficult.

I was also intimidated by the thought of cooking crepes in a cast iron skillet. Again, I was wrong: the crepes didn’t stick at all. I did use a little bit of coconut oil, but not every time, just after every two or three crepes.IMG_0871

I have to say, I waited too long to try making crepes. They are so good! I’m really glad I found this recipe in the Natural Grocers paper they give out at the checkout. I did modify it because I’m not a fan of protein powder.

I know this is said a lot, but just in case you’re not sure: buckwheat is gluten free.

Buckwheat Blueberry Crepes

  • Servings: 6 (12 crepes)
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print
Crepes

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon sucanat
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus additional for skillet

  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Combine wet ingredients.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Warm a small amount of oil in a 10″ cast iron skillet on medium-low heat. Add about 1/3 cup of crepe batter, tilting skillet so that the bottom is evenly coated. Cook until the crepe releases from the pan, about 1 minute. Flip and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  5. Place the crepe onto a plate while making another.
  6. Fill the crepes with desired fillings.

Blueberry “Sauce”
Enough to fill and top 3 crepes

1 small bag frozen blueberries

  1. Place frozen blueberries in a small pan and heat on medium heat until the liquid begins to bubble. Turn heat to low and let sit while cooking crepes.

Custard Filling
Makes enough to fill 12 crepes

3 egg yolks
3 cups non dairy milk of choice (or a mix of two milks)
1/4 cup sucanat
1/3 cup nonGMO cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla

  1. Place a glass storage container into a bath of ice water. Do not submerge, the idea is to have the glass be cold when the custard is poured in.
  2. Mix egg yolks and milk.
  3. Mix sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture to make a smooth paste, then mix in the remaining milk mixture.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 20-25 minutes. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour into the glass storage container, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla. Put the lid onto the container and place in the fridge and chill for at least 1 hour.

Note: I make the custard the night before to make things a bit easier.