Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins

Friends- It's another Tuesday muffin recipe, a day late ;) Better late than never. This flavor and scent of orange has been uplifting my spirits that past week or so. I like imagining the groves they come from in sunny California. Grateful for their vibrant color and love they share with us Michigander's this time of year!
What a gorgeous November we've had though... so much sunshine, and beautiful fall days. This morning I sat in my kitchen with these gorgeous muffins coming from the oven, sunshine shining super bright through the door and a dear friend to join me in sharing it all. I don't think I could ask for a better Wednesday morning. I may sound overly positive- but the truth is, it has been a hard month of change and sadness. But as this season of advent has come, I am reminded of hope. Hope is what keeps us going and carrying us onward. In life, in our country, in our churches and communities, in our kitchens. 
So this recipe is very similar to my Cranberry Orange Cake, but wanted to make it in muffin form to and adjust the measurements if needed. It turned out fabulous and *almost* like them more since they are so easy to plate, pack and share if need be. The texture is just right and the scents just make you want to cozy up and snuggle next to the Christmas tree.
The cranberries are local Michigan berries though. I guess you could use dried in this recipe, but with local cranberries in season it sure is a delight to soften them up and add them to baked treats. They add so much color, fresh tart flavor and beauty to baked goods. You know me, my obsessive love for local berries and fruit ;) I'll try to keep my love under wraps and get to the ingredients... Happy baking, friends!

Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut and seed-free}{vegan}

1 cup of rolled certified GF oats
1 1/4 cup of ground certified GF oat flour
2/3 cup of rice flour
1/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. sea salt
2 ts. baking powder (I use Hain brand for no-corn)
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice blend (ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
2/3 cup of coconut suagr
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup of date puree
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
I organic orange: for 1/3-1/2 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice and the fresh zest (2 TB's worth)

optional extras: food grade orange essential oil 4-6 drops or 1/2 ts. orange oil flavoring

2 cups (1 pint) of fresh cranberries cooked down to 1 1/2 cups. Put 2 cups of fresh cranberries in a saucepan with 1/4 or so of water. Let the cranberries start to heat and pop open, do not let them get too hot or turn into sauce, just heat them long enough to get soft and reduce to 1 1/2 cups worth.

First grind your GF flours and mix well with all the other dry ingredients. Then mix in the wet ingredients, and lastly the warmed oil. Mix well and you will start to see the orange juice and baking powder do it's work and make the batter poof up a bit. Fold down and then mix in the fresh cranberries, but making sure to not over mix and break open the berries.

Pour in a coconut-oil-lined muffin baking pan or with parchment liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and firm. Let cool before serving. This recipe will make 12 large muffins or 24 small mini muffins. 
Happy baking and much love (and hope) to you...xoxo

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie. It seems like we should be allowed to make such delicacies more than once a year... or for a certain holiday... Yes, Thanksgiving is special because of such treats, but must we leave it to only one day a year? I say not. I say it will still be a special occurrence no matter when!
 
Perhaps you stocked up on extra canned pumpkin, or maybe you still have a chance to hit the grocery sale shelf before it's December. Or maybe you baked off a handful of fresh pie pumpkins and stuck that liquid gold in the freezer for all winter long. Then we can be long lost friends and talk about how much we love pumpkin and what a gift it is sent from heaven above.
It's true, I'm crazy about pumpkin and have made many varieties of pumpkin pie or pudding bars over the years (and more and more pumpkin). It's hard for me to make a version more than once, maybe twice, so this new recipe is my latest invention over the past holiday. So naturally I'm most in love with this one :) And this one contains some DATES for sweetness and texture. So amazing creamy caramel-like taste and texture. Delicious on so many levels.
I'm sharing it because I ate my last piece today and I'm missing already. Maybe I could convince my loved ones that we may need to celebrate some of our Christmas festivities with another one. Because. Just one pie a year?!?  No, way baby! This one is too good!
Maybe it's the taste, or maybe it's just the feelings of being around a table with family and friends that share their hearts about what they are thankful for and how this year has brought pain and love. Every soul shares in this journey of moving through life with the pain, sorrow, but also the joys and abundance too. This pie has a part in that story too. It is almost as if it has a seat at the table of such thanksgiving and gratitude.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed and refined sugars-free} contains eggs

Crust Recipe:
3/4 cup finely ground certified GF oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 ts. sea salt
2 TB of palm oil shortening
2 TB of room temperature coconut oil
2 TB maple syrup
2 ts. apple cider vinegar
1 ts. of water

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the oil and shortening and make it a sandy mix, and then add in the syrup, water and vinegar and mix it well together. It may be a sticky dough but it will start to form a dough ball and you can knead it and let it sit for it to all meld together well. Then toss into a pie pan and press it into all the sides of the pan, or you can roll it out to size of a 9 inch pan, and put it into the pan and cut accordingly. Its a pretty easy recipe to do either way. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and slightly firm. Let it completely cool before putting the pumpkin filling in and baking again.

Pumpkin Filling:
1 15 ounce can of organic pumpkin puree-I used Green Valley (or 1 3/4 cup of fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I use So Delicious unsweetened)
1/2 cup of date puree (1/2 cup of boiling water poured over 1/2 cup of pitted dates, soak for 5 minutes and then blend in high powdered blender to make a pudding substance)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
2-3 TB of maple syrup
2 beaten eggs *you can omit these if you are allergic or vegan, the texture is just different
2 TB of melted coconut oil
2 TB of tapioca flour
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder (I use the Hain brand- to be corn free)
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 TB of pumpkin pie spice blend
1 ts. of ground ginger 
1-2 ts. of pure vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, add in all of the wet ingredients and the beaten eggs. Then add in the spices, and few dry ingredients and whisk together well. Then pour into cooled pie crust. You then can place on a baking sheet or just put in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tightened up. This may be confusing because it will still appear to be gooey or giggling, but the baked cracks usually show that it is baked through, but needs to set up while cooling on the counter and in the fridge. So do not be alarmed if it seems too soft after 50-60 minutes of baking. You do not want it to get too browned or burned. Then let it cool on the counter after baking for 1-2 hours. Then lightly cover with some kind of wrap and put in the fridge for overnight or for 6-8 hours. 

Then, after refrigerating for 8-10 hours it will be ready for eating. I like cutting into it and removing one slice so that the rest of the slices are easier to fork out. It is so good by itself, but if you are looking for a great dairy-free alternative to pure dairy fresh whipped cream-this Coconut Whip from So Delicious is fabulous and made from better ingredients and brings back all cool-whip-feelings from younger years.

Each bite is fabulous and you don't want it to end. I also have no problem and recommend such wonderfulness for breakfast the day after :) I mean it has a good full servings of veggies and much lower on the sweetness scale. So with a coffee or chai latte- you just can't beat it.
I confess the above picture was my breakfast for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It really is something I look forward to after all the work of preparing food for a few days. Those lazy mornings after with jammies on till noon and eating pumpkin pie for breakfast- such is the life my friends.

Hope you had a blessed holiday and looking onward to this advent season of longing, and hope. 

Much love as always,
xoxo

Monday, November 28, 2016

Creamy Ramen and Veggie Soup

I love soup. Especially this time of year- have you noticed with my recent postings?!? I could eat soup every night if it was up to me. My husband has been coming around with eating more and more soups, and my kids, well, it takes a little bribing. Mostly with my bread. Which they affectionately call "soup bread" because well, that's what they care about when it comes to another meal of soup and bread. Until this one. They actually ate a good amount before asking for another slice of bread ;) So while I am trying to contain my excitement, and still shovel in some bites, I was doing the happy dance inside. Because this soup is simple, delicious, and full of great nutrients too. I have made it 3-4 times now, mostly on Mondays the past few weeks, and plan on making again tonight...it has become a new family favorite. I hope you give this simple soup a try and maybe even bring up some college life nostalgia in the process ;)

sidenote:
I found these ramen noodles at Costco-which started this whole recipe anyway. They are the Lotus brand, and are made from millet and brown rice.  It says you can buy at Target, or maybe even your grocery store. But you can also buy online at Vitacost (here's a $10 off coupon for first-time shoppers) and Thrive Market, if you cannot find the bulk package at your local Costco. So each noodle cake has 8 grams of protein. So it is an easy way to get good protein and nutrients in a meal without meat protein. Yes, you can add in some chicken if you want, but the simplicity and bare bones of this soup is also just great by itself. Even without the bread ;)

sidenote #2:
I would most definitely suggest having an immersion blender for this recipe to get the best consistency and the most kid friendly version possible.

sidenote #3: (last one I promise ;)
Do you eat this soup with a fork or spoon? The debate happens every time at our dinner table :)

Creamy Ramen and Veggie Soup Recipe
{gluten and dairy-free, vegan without added chicken}

2 TB of avocado oil for sautéing
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic cloves
1 TB of grated fresh ginger
1 TB of grated fresh tumeric
1 pound or 2 cups of carrot slices
1 1/2 cups of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
1/2 cup of finely chopped lacinato kale
1-2 TB of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 heaping cup of fresh finely chopped parsley
4 cups of vegetable broth (or bone or chicken broth)
4 cups of pure water
1 TB of pure raw honey
1 ts. of apple cider vinegar
1-2 ts. of sea salt (add a sprinkle over the sautéing veggies and then again in the end by taste)
sprinkle of cracker black pepper

4-6 ramen noodle cakes (I used GF brown rice and millet noodles by LOTUS)

1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk beverage ( I use So Delicious unsweetened)
additional 1-2 TB of fresh finely chopped herbs if wanted to add some fresh green

optional:
add 1 pound of cooked chicken chunks. I bake 1 pound of organic chicken tenders in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes drizzled with oil/broth/garlic and onion and then chop in chunks and add to the soup if I want to add some extra protein

In a large 8 quart pot, saute the chopped onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger and celery and carrots too. Add in the kale and green onions and herbs and cook for a minute, then add in the water and broth and bring back up to a boil. Then spoon in the honey and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook for 30 minutes on medium heat or so until carrots are soft. Then get out the immersion blender and blend in about half the soup so you get a creamy veggie consistency, but also half the soup still has chunks of carrots and celery.  You can do this or you cannot, or you can do it more or less depending on your preferences. After doing this step you can add the 4-6 cakes of the ramen noodles (and this is where you can add the chicken if you prefer). Then, you can add in a touch of coconut milk and fresh chopped herbs, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes until the noodles are soft and separated  Then serve up and ENJOY! Serves 4-6 or 1-2 and leftovers for a day or two. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili

It's a few days after Thanksgiving now... the leftovers have started to disappear... and you are *almost* maxed out on good food. So much goodness. I always say the best part of Thanksgiving food is the leftovers (well, and the stuffing ;) But the leftovers do eventually end and you may have decided to make a turkey soup or pot pie or have your bones simmering and making stock. But, you may be also looking for a simple meal that is meat-free, and full of protein and nutrients. This chili recipe also helps use up some of those sweet potatoes you got on sale, and it will feed an army if you still have family and friends at home. Or it could be an easy warm-up on the crock pot if you need to refuel after Christmas shopping runs.
I actually made this recipe a few weeks back and was just pondering it again because it was so warming and full of great flavors and nutrients. It is such a cozy meal when the Christmas lights are being turned on and the magical scene of Christmas is being gathered in your home once more.

I love putting together a simple, nourishing meal for those I love, and this one is at the top.

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili Recipe
{gluten and dairy-free, vegan}

2 TB of avocado oil for sautéing
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic cloves
1 TB of minced fresh ginger
1 TB of minced fresh turmeric
1 pound or 2 cups of chopped carrot
4 cups of pealed and cubed sweet potato chunks
1 28 ounce can of crushed organic tomatoes
4 cups of vegetable broth
4 cups of pure water
1 1/2 cup of washed, dry green lentils
2 TB of chili powder
1 ts. ground cinnamon
2 ts. ground cumin
2 ts. of dried cilantro
1 ts. smoked paprika
freshly chopped thyme and cilantro (1-2 TB of each)
1/2-1 cup of finely chopped kale or other greens
3 cups of cooked black beans / (2) 15 ounce cans

In a large soup pot, a 8-10 quart pot, saute the onion, garlic, turmeric, giner, carrots and sweet potatoes for 5-10 minutes until they get a bit soft. Then add in the crushed tomatoes, broth, water, lentils, spices, and herbs. Then let it come to a boil and add in the black beans. Cook on medium heat for 40-50 minutes until the lentils are soft and the you can add additional herbs, or serve up and top with avocado slices and more fresh herbs. 

Some topping/serving ideas:
diced avocado and fresh cilantro or green onion
sour cream or greek yogurt
Hope you are finding ways to be warm and nourished this week. Much love as always, xoxo

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Just in time for another Thanksgiving recipe! Maybe a cranberry and orange cake, aint your thang, or maybe you need a little pumpkin + chocolate in your life or on the Thanksgiving menu. If so, this cake is for you :) I have made this cake more than a few times now and haven't wrote out a recipe. Yesterday I made it again for a family gathering, and finally wrote it out and was very happy with the results.
The first time I made it I was working from my pumpkin date muffins  recipe that I had made, and it was great, but to fill a bundt pan and to have the texture and moist-ness it needed it had to have the measurements adjusted to get the cake at it's best. So, I've done the leg-work for you and the experimenting ;) now it's your turn to try out this treat for the holidays or family gathering.
I hope you are finding time to reflect this season. It's so easy to be sad and stressed when your life revolves around what you can and cannot eat because of your health. And that can only escalates in a season of food traditions and even if you are a food blogger ;) Trust me, even after a decade of eating gluten-free (and many allergies-free) the depression/anxiety/sadness/grief feelings still unmask it's ugly self. So a simple way for me to deal with these emotions and stress is simply making a list of the many foods I CAN eat, and then finding a recipe or two that I CAN eat and enjoy and making it apart of my menu and even if it means starting a new tradition. I know that this does not take away the grief, and it is important to sit with that grief and really see it as that. Something that has also helped me over the years is writing out the simple things that I am thankful for each day....sometimes silly, but when you need to be reminded of how much in our lives is a gift- it seems really important. So it can be the things you use every day, the hot shower, indoor plumbing, the favorite mug from a friend, that one recipe you love and enjoy, the sunrise, chai tea, the sunset, your dear loved ones, and as you can see, an endless list of the gifts in your life. Food is a very important part, but it is not the only part, so trying to not let it be the controlling factor of your emotions is really important. And then when you can see it as just part of the balance to fill you up in your life, then you can start to find how food can be a gift to nourish a tired and weary body and soul. My prayer and hope for you is that food might be just that- a way for you to nourish your whole self. A way to inspire and fill up your body and soul to be the best version of your self. Many blessings and much love to you, friend xoxo
 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed, nut, and refined sugar-free}VEGAN

1 1/2 cup of finely ground GF oat flour
1 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of potato starch
1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
2 TB of pumpkin pie spice blend

1/3 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (I used 1 can of Green Valley pumpkin)

1 cup of date puree ***This involves pouring 1 cup boiling water over 1 cup of pitted dates and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes and then blending in a high powered blender to whip up a creamy date-pudding like substance.

3/4 cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup of coconut milk beverage ( I use So Delicious)
 plus 1 TB apple cider vinegar
juice from 1 fresh lemon - 1-2 TB of juice

1 cup of dairy-free mini chocolate chips (Enjoy life brand)

First grind your GF oat flour and mix well with all the other dry ingredients. Then mix in the wet ingredients, date puree and lastly the warmed oil. Mix well and you will start to see the lemon juice and baking powder do it's work and make the batter poof up a bit. Fold down and then mix in the mini chocolate chips, but making sure to not over mix.

Pour in a coconut-oil-lined baking pan. I baked mine in a bundt or angel food cake pan. But you could also make this in a 9x9 circle or square pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until it is no longer wet and giggling. The cake should show a clean toothpick from the middle of the cake and firm, but soft. no wetness. Pull from the oven and let it cool completely.
Chocolate Glaze Recipe
1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 TB of cocoa powder
pinch of sea salt

In a small saucepan, melt the above ingredients and whisk very quickly with a hand whisk then pull off the heat. Be very careful to just warm and not boil or over cook and burn. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, and then pour over the top of the cooled cake just on top and let it drip over the sides in an organic fashion. Let it cool for 1-2 hours before serving. 
Then cut and serve. It is a beautiful cake and holds it form so beautifully... it's so easy to serve and would match well with some tea or coffee as well. Hope you give it a try and ENJOY!
 much love xoxo

Friday, November 18, 2016

Quinoa Minestrone Soup

Soup and bread. They go together hand in hand...Nourishing the body and soul. There is something about this time of year too- I just love how you can clean out your produce bin in the fridge or from a trip to the farmer's market and come up with a simple, but completely nourishing pot of goodness. The making of a big pot of soup does more than just feed you and your family dinner. It feeds the soul with the process of making it. The chopping, and the gathering, and the creativity and colors and smells. It feeds you on another level as a human being. I feel the same about bread-making. These are the simple practices in the kitchen that only aid you in the healthy and nourishing road to a healthier, and more balanced self. So this soup has been recently thrown together for some dear friends and I couldn't help but share it with you as well.


Quinoa Minestrone Soup Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, seed, egg, sugar-free and vegan}

1-2 TB of olive or avocado oil for sautéing
1 large onion chopped
3-4 minced or grated garlic cloves
1-2 TB's of minced or grated fresh tumeric
1-2 TB's of minced or grated fresh ginger
2 cups of chopped celery
2 cups of chopped carrot slices
2 cups of chopped parsnips
1-2 cups of finely chopped kale
2 cups of chopped winter squash (acorn or butternut)
sea salt/black pepper to taste
4-6 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken/bone broth for non-vegan)
2-4 cups of pure water
1 24 ounce jar of organic pasta marinara herb sauce
2 cans of organic cannellini beans
2 cups of frozen organic chopped green beans
1-2 cups of frozen organic peas
3 TB- 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, or sage)
1 TB of Italian dried herb seasoning
1 cup of dry quinoa

You like how I estimate the amounts of many of the ingredients. That is because you can make this soup even if the measurements are not exact. And if you have more or less of another veggies you need to use up- then throw it in. Another name for this soup coal be- Clean Out the Fridge Soup :)

In a large soup pot (8-10 QT pot), sauce the onion, garlic, turmeric, and ginger in the oil until it starts to soften, then add the rest of the veggies and saute for another 5-10 minutes. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper to help in the saute process. 

After 10 minutes of cooking veggies down, add the broth, water, marinara sauce, beans and the herbs then cover the pot. Let it come to boil and cook for 30-40 minutes until the squash and carrots are soft. Then add in the frozen beans and peas and quinoa and more fresh herbs if wanted. Make sure the heat is on low so the quinoa can cook in the broth and not burn in the bottom of the pot. After about 15 minutes- the quinoa will be fully cooked into the broth and it will all come together.  You made need to taste test the level of sea salt or pepper at the end. I usually cook with less salt and then add it in the end to draw out the flavors but make sure you don't add too much. Serve with fresh chopped parsley for topping and add some bread and you got yourself a hearty nourishing meal.

Hope you enjoy! Much love, as always xoxo

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cranberry Orange Cake

Last week I had the honor of being invited to help cook (and bake ;) for a group of women who were on a Holistic Health Solitude Retreat. The heart behind the retreat was of women to find the space to heal, rest, grow and breathe. See at the end of the post for more info. It was set at a gorgeous location in northern Michigan looking over one of the most loved bays of Lake Michigan. It was just rejuvenating sitting at the shores of such beauty. Watching the sun rise and set  over the waters was one of my favorite parts. And more so, it was so amazing to watch women give themselves permission and grace to rest, to be nourished, all in efforts to be their most truest and best selves that God created them to be. Women are truly the force of beauty and change in the world. Such amazing respect for these strong and courageous women. And loved, LOVED, baking them yummy treats and bread to add to the amazing local and nourishing menu. On Saturday morning, the plans for a menu item was changed, and so I tried to whip up some extra autumn sweet goodness in a cranberry orange cake. That is how this recipe was born and now it is being documented for all of those that asked for such details to try and re-create.
I based most of this recipe off of one of my tried and trues, the Blueberry Lemon Cake from last summer, and then I made it a second time and added a few more additions to try and make it a little less crumbly and a little more moist. So I rested upon this final recipe as being the best to follow and give a whirl.
I'm glad to offer this recipe just in time for a little Thanksgiving treat. It would be a great addition to the spread or even for the holiday's morning as a coffee cake or maybe even the morning after for a little Christmas-shopping fuel. You know me, after Thanksgiving breakfast most definitely involves leftover pie or cake :) But cranberries and oranges with a little spice is great for any holiday gathering this time of year... The scents of the cake alone bless you with holiday cheer :)
Cranberry Orange Cake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, refined-sugar, and eggs  free}

*can be easily made vegan* just don't add frosting or switch out honey with maple syrup

1 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour (I grind my own from GF rolled oats)
1/2 cup of certified gluten-free rolled oats
3/4 cup of white rice flour or sweet sorghum flour works as sub
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of potato starch
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain for corn-free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

1/2 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
1/3 cup of pumpkin puree
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage with 2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1 organic orange to get...1-3 TB of fresh orange zest and....
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
optional additional orangey-ness: 4-6 drops of food-grade sweet orange essential oil,
or 1/2 ts. of orange flavoring

2 cups (1 pint) of fresh cranberries cooked down to 1 1/2 cups. Put 2 cups of fresh cranberries in a saucepan with 1/4 or so of water. Let the cranberries start to heat and pop open, do not let them get too hot or turn into sauce, just heat them long enough to get soft and reduce to 1 1/2 cups worth.

First grind your GF flours and mix well with all the other dry ingredients. Then mix in the wet ingredients, and lastly the warmed oil. Mix well and you will start to see the orange juice and baking powder do it's work and make the batter poof up a bit. Fold down and then mix in the fresh cranberries, but making sure to not over mix and break open the berries.

Pour in a coconut-oil-lined baking pan. I baked mine in a bundt or angel food cake pan. But you could also make this in a 9x9 circle or square pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until it is no longer wet and giggling. The cake should show a clean toothpick from the middle of the cake and firm, but soft. no wetness. Pull from the oven and let it cool completely.

You can top the cake with this optional topping:

Honey Cream Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup of room temperature soft but NOT liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup of pure local honey ( or sub in maple syrup to make VEGAN)
2-3 TB of fresh orange juice plus 4-6 drops of food grade essential orange oil 
or 1/4 ts. orange flavoring
pinch of good sea salt

Whip up the ingredients with a fork in a bowl, DO NOT over mix because it will soften too much

Then you can spread/pour over a slightly warm cake and it will melt into the crust of the cake, or if it is cooled will be a frosting like topping and you can dress it up with fresh or dried cranberries on top and even some additional orange zest to add some color too. 

Serve warm with tea or coffee :) or as cooled-down or leftovers. Good both ways :)

Retreat INFO:
There will be more info coming soon- but I am working with a group of four wonderful women to start offering Michigan (local readers) one-day and three-day retreats. So much more info coming soon- just wanted to put a little bug in your ear if you are a local friend and this might be something you are looking for or interested in :)

Much love xoxo

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pumpkin Date Pudding

Have you ever accidentally mixed some ingredients and made something incredibly delicious? This has happened to me a few times in my experiments, but this one surprised me. I mixed some leftover pumpkin puree with some leftover coconut cream with some leftover date puree. It turned into a pudding and I am so excited this magic decided to make an appearance in my kitchen. It is obviously super simple and with simple ingredients You might think I was slaving over this one for hours, no. Just used a blender and viola! It turns out so rich, creamy and perfect!
It is also a type of cream that you can sub into your coffee (or tea) instead of coffee creamer. I know! Crazy, right?! Well if you are all about buying the pumpkin spice latte creamer to add to your half cup of coffee this time of year- this pudding, creamer, whatever is your healthy solution! Such a great combo- and surprising creaming, thick, and decadent in every way. Seriously- try it!
Pumpkin Date Pudding Recipe
Gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, seed, and sugar-free
raw, vegan, and paleo too ;)

1 cup of pumpkin puree* I used Green Valley brand this time around
1 cup of date puree**
1 can of full fat coconut milk
dash of sea salt
1 TB of pumpkin pie spice
(or you can use 2 ts. of ground cinnamon,
1 ts. of ground ginger,
1/2 ts. of ground nutmeg,
1/2 ts. of ground cloves)


*I used some organic pumpkin from the can for this experiment. I know fresh pumpkin puree would work just as well, but if you are making your own pumpkin puree, you MUST blend in a high powered blender first to make the pumpkin soft and creamy before you add. Otherwise your pudding with be stringy and not creamy just like pumpkin is after you bake it before you blend it.

**To make the date puree, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of pitted dates. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then blend in a high powered blender to make the puree. Then, add in the 1 cup of pumpkin puree, and ONLY the cream from the coconut milk from the can. Then add the dash of salt, and spice. Blend again and pour into a glass bowl that you can put a lid on and let it sit in the fridge for up to an hour.  This only helps it stiffen up if you are looking to have a thick custard like pudding. Then it is ready to serve. Serve by itself, or with these Coconut Shortbread cookies . You won't be sad!

I already mentioned, but you can also save pudding cream in the fridge in a covered container and add a scoop to your coffee in the morning too.  

So hope you enjoy this little discovery as much as I do. You could also add come cocoa/melted chocolate chips and blend and make a killer chocolate spice pudding too I bet!

Much love, ENJOY xoxo

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pumpkin Date Muffins

I know I just posted a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin a few weeks ago. But after I baked those Caramel Apple Date Muffins last week- I couldn't help myself with a little date and pumpkin baking as well. Dates add such a great taste and texture to GF/vegan baking. I haven't used them much this last summer, and I forgot how much I love them. And if you ask me, they pair so nicely with the fall flavors and spices. They seem to add warmth and richness to everything you add them too. I love dates :) can you tell?!
These do not need as much of the coconut sugar because the dates add a natural sweetness and so if you are one of those people that likes to add sugars and sweetness through fruits rather than powdered substances then this muffin is for you. If that is the case you could omit the coconut sugar completely and add 1/4 cup of more honey or maple syrup and along with the dates I bet you will be more than happy with the level of sweetness. I also added those mini chocolate chips to half of the batter. Some little one {that will remain anonymous} loves a little chocolate in her muffins- and I guess I completely understand :)- but sometimes pumpkin is just as dandy by itself- and these certainly are!

It seems like dates added in the muffins also helps hold texture and moisture for longer than my usual GF baked goods as well. I liked how they were very hearty and had the feel of a regular (gluten) muffin. The recipe has a few more flours in the mix, but if you have started buying these flours you see how making a GF recipe with flour turns out best with a little flour mixing. Not a ton of mixing, but I have found just a little makes a worlds difference. So it doesn't hurt to invest in some of the "weird" flours to have them in the pantry ready for a little mixing while baking. Now for the recipe.... READY, set, HAPPY baking :)

Pumpkin Date Muffin Recipe
free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, seeds, eggs, refined sugar

1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup of rice flour
1 1/3 cup of gluten free oat flour (I grind my own out of GF rolled oats)
2 ts. of baking powder (Hain brand-corn free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice (or mix up cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

3/4 cup of date puree This involves pouring 3/4 cup boiling water over 3/4 cup of pitted dates and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes and then blending in a high powered blender to whip up a creamy date-pudding like substance- this would also make a nice dip for fresh apple slices :)

1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
1/3 cup of coconut milk beverage with 1 TB apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh  or canned)
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1 ts. of pure vanilla extract

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the wet and whisk together well. Pour into 12 muffin tins and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-28 minutes until browned tops and stiff. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving.