Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw

It's almost time for the school year to close and official summer to commence. The coming Memorial Day weekend has people sprucing up their yards and venturing to the farmer's market looking for fresh greens and plants.  It's time to pull out the grill and have the friends and family over, and time to cook up a few great salads and grill the rest. And maybe an adventurous, but simple fresh kale slaw could catch your attention...
I was making a kale slaw I loved for years- my Tangy Kale Slaw- but then discovered a little avocado in place of some of the nuts and seeds was just the right move to try something a little different.
This is a bunch of curly kale, but you could use some lacinato kale too for this recipe. Both work great and you'll find that you like one variety over the other. Or perhaps you have some growing in the yard and if you do, you usually have TONS of it as it grows and need a little inspiration to keep up :)
I used some crunchy sweet and tart green apples in this slaw and if you cut them small and thin, they are the perfect match to the soft kale after its been rubbed with the sweet lime dressing. This recipe is ridiculously simple- so you can add or take away from it depending what is fresh that week in your garden or what you got on hand before a last minute cook-out. I hope you give it a try and seek a little green crunchy (maybe said at one point to be odd), but wonderful fresh and tasty kale slaw.
Green Apple-Kale-Avocado Slaw Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, nut, seed and soy-free

1 (1pound) bunch of fresh kale (washed, dried and finely chopped)
2 small green tart apples, finely chopped
2 very ripe avocados, finely chopped in chunks
1/3 cup of organic raisins
1/3 cup of finely sliced red or sweet onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro or basil or a combo

sweet lime dressing
2 TB olive or avocado oil
1 fresh lime squeezed (2 TB's juice)
1 TB of red wine vinegar
1 TB of Dijon mustard
1-2 TB of maple syrup
healthy pinch of salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, mix by hand the kale and herbs and apples and half of the avocado. In a small Ball jar, mix and shake up all of the dressing ingredients and then pour over the slaw and use your hands to massage well into the finely chopped leaves. Then top with the rest of the avocado, and raisins and optional onions. You can add more or less of the dressing if needs more and you can half or double this recipe depending on your group size.
Happy chopping, and ENJOY xoxo

Friday, May 19, 2017

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

This pan of messy, juicy, red delicious goodness is rhubarb strawberry crisp. It might not be the most delicate of desserts, but it's rich one-of-a-kind flavor and goodness will have you melting from the inside out in love for it. 
It is also special because I feel like it is the kind of dessert that you can only really make during rhubarb season. And rhubarb season is the ring-in-signal for the farmer's market opening and gift of all the spring produce and plants. 
This recipe I actually made with some leftover frozen strawberries from last summer, but it would be  divine in a few weeks when you can find both fresh local strawberries and rhubarb at the same time at your local farmer's market. Although a fruit crisp can be successfully and wonderfully made with frozen strawberries too :) but if for some reason you have local fresh strawberries popping up in your backyard or market- you are the luckiest :)
The deep red beauty of rhubarb and strawberries, and the combo of tart and sweet flavors is something I wait for each spring and early summer. It's like you've been holding on throughout the winter months for this precise moment. And when you finally get to see these gifts popping up from the earth- all you can do is offer thanks and truly delight in it's gift.  
Rhubarb is one of those foods that I feel like you either love because you know what to do with it, or otherwise just look at it and say, "Oh that's pretty, and people eat that?!" Rhubarb is actually full of many health benefits. Like many hidden benefits in plants, they are packed full of vitamin C and B and full of minerals, vitamins and even protein. They help promote healthy digestion and in some places of the world is used as a medicinal component to constipation. If you haven't tried rhubarb yet and always think about trying it then this recipe is for you. This is hands down my favorite way of eating it and once you give it a whirl you will wonder why it took you so long :) Happy Baking!
Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, egg and refined-sugar- free}

2 cups of cleaned and chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup of water

2 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries (whole small or larger halved)
1/3- 1/2 cup of maple syrup (or you can use a mix of honey and syrup)
pinch of sea salt
juice from one lime

2 cups of certified GF rolled oats
1/4 cup of rice flour
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
 2 TB of potato starch
* Or use 2/3 cup of your fav GF flour blend*

1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup of room temperature soft coconut oil
pinch of sea salt

In a medium sauce pan, put the fresh chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of water and let the rhubarb cook down for about 10 minutes on medium heat, it will turn into a mushy saucy mixture with not much stirring and mashing. Then add in the 3 cups of strawberries and let those get soft and juicy and add in the 1/2 cup of maple syrup. Cook for another 5 minutes but not letting the strawberries get too mushy or break down. Then pour the hot fruit mix into a 9x9 Pyrex baking pan.  Then in a small bowl, mix the dry oat and flour and sugar mixture with the coconut oil and make a crumble. Then sprinkle the crumble over the strawberries and rhubarb. Then bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minute until the crumble is crispy and the fruit is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving with come coconut ice cream. Or top with some yogurt for breakfast ;) 
You can make this recipe for a 9x13 pan or double it if you are making it for a crowd. The recipe for the 9x13 pan is brought up to 3 cups of rhubarb and strawberries and the crumble mixture can be made 1/3 bigger as well. So you need 3 cups of oats and 3/4 cup of flour and 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil. It is pretty easy to make this recipe in small or larger amounts depending on how much you want to have.  
I hope you give rhubarb and this recipe a try... Super simple and so delicious this time of year!

Much love as always, and happy baking xoxo

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Banana Quinoa Muffins or Bread [LOW-FODMAP]

Last fall I had a severe episode of digestive distress. Even while eating gluten free, dairy free and eating my usual clean diet. Sometimes the digestive issues are not really about the food, but are about the stress in our lives around us. I notice digestive distress always comes out in me when I am emotionally and physically stressed. It almost feels like in my head I am saying... "I am ok" but then after a few days my body says, "nooooo, you're not!" and in that recognition I become aware of the mind body connection once again. Have you heard the expression, 'your brain is in your gut'? Well this especially becomes true to me when I am experiencing uncontrollable stress. 
Something that has helped me is to eat very simply for a few weeks and go on the FODMAP diet. I am not one to promote diets of any kind really, but I gave this regimen a try after some help from a GI specialist friend and within a few days my IBS symptoms calmed completely. I gave the diet a try for two weeks pretty strict and then started back to my usual food flow slowly the following two weeks. To be honest- it really wasn't that hard because of already eating GF but there were some foods that had certain enzymes in them that were aggravating my stressed out nervous system. Onions, garlic, honey, and apples are just some of the few foods I tend to eat a lot of or put into my cooking to add flavor. I don't consider myself "sensitive" to these foods- just see it as foods that aggravate because of their enzymes and for some reason when I am in a spiral of digestive issues I see the most success of getting out of that downward spiral by slowing down and eating just the few things that my system agrees with.... which for me includes rice (preferably basmati or jasmine), chicken, and root veggies minus beets because they are higher on the FODMAP and drink lots of ginger or peppermint tea to calm my system as well.
Well last month I had a similar digestive stressed episode and it went on for a few weeks and then I had a light bulb go off and remember how eating the FODMAP way helped calm my system down and get me back on track. So I tried it again and low and behold, within a few days I was feeling much more myself and not so stressed. So these little muffins came into creation during that time because they are simple and VERY low FODMAP foods so they are a comfort while you are going through a stressful time.
I have made this recipe more than a few times now and sometimes it ends up being made into muffins or my latest way was just right into the bread pan. I love both ways. The bread is so moist and reminiscent of a good ol' classic banana bread recipe. I love the cruch of the quinoa and the moist bite of the banana. This is my favorite go to banana bread recipe now and especially when needing a little treat in times of stress and eating more simply. This recipe is so simple and it won't dissapooint whether you are looking for a vegan GF banana bread or you are on the hint for a low FODMAP baked goody. 
Banana Quinoa Muffins (or Bread) [LOW FODMAP] Recipe
gluten, dairy, egg, honey, nut, seed and soy-free
1/2 cup of quinoa flour
2/3 cup of GF oat flour
1/3 cup of dry whole quinoa 
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand for corn-free)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
3 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup of bananas)
1 lemon freshly juiced (1/4 cup)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil 

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the wet ingredients and whip up together well then use a coconut oil covered scoop to scoop into muffin tins ot pour into (2) coconut-oil-greased bread baking pans. Bake the muffins in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes depending on your oven, the bread will bake longer for 30-35 minutes depending on your size of pan and oven. 

I hope that you are not in need of a FODMAP baked good that is comforting to the digestive track, but if you are, this is your recipe. I hope you are well and happy baking, xoxo

Much love as always, 
Stephanie

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Hawaiian Pineapple Pepper Crockpot Chicken and Coconut Basmati Rice

So this is the kind of dinner that comes out of cleaning out my freezer space. I had leftover frozen pineapple from Easter-week, a lost lone bag of roasted red peppers and some frozen chicken. I thawed all out over night and put them in the crockpot the next morning with a few other staples to flavor and when 4-5 o'clock rolled around- dinner was ready and it was easy to feel like a queen being served dinner with no effort. Which after days of needing to cook and bake from scratch and keep up with all the food allergies, it is always a treat to have the crockpot do most of the work :) And it gets me ready after cleaning the fridge and freezer out to do a big trip of grocery shopping the next day.
I love when something is thrown together out of leftover ingredients and it turns out so great you start thinking how you would actually need to buy the actual ingredients to make it again next time. This recipe is also somehting you can find done a multitude of ways depending on your preferences. I just used what I had and made it work. Now if only I could get my kids more excited about it... they are picky about just about everything. They did give it a try though and the sweetness and rice made it worth it :) Hope you give it a try or at the least go into your freezer space and find what kind of ingredients you need to use up and clean out. Happy cooking, xoxo
Hawaiian Pineapple Pepper Crockpot Chicken Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut and seed-free} 

2 lbs of thawed or raw chicken 
(use what you got or what your preference is...if I was to choose I would do a mix of white and dark meat to keep the best flavor and moisture from the chicken)

1 medium red onion thinly sliced and chopped
4 garlic cloves minced or finely grated
2 inches of fresh ginger finely grated
2 ts of sea salt (more or less)
1/2- 1 ts. of black pepper
2 cups of fresh or frozen pineapple, thawed to have at least 1/2 cup of juices
drizzle of olive or avocado oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of coconut aminos (or sub a soy-sauce or aminos-sauce)
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar 
1/4 cup of tapioca flour

In your crock pot dump and mix all of the above ingredients and cook at the medium or low 6-8 hour time. I put the chicken in first and sprinkled in the spices and onion and stired to move all around and then added in the pineapple and peppers and made sure the suaces also got evenly mixed around too. I sprinkeld the tapioca flour last over the wet liquids and used a spoon to kinda mix in and make sure it was evenly dissolved in. Then I covered and set the heat and let it cook all day. When it was in there 6 hours it was done and the chicken could probably be easily shred up if you wanted to make tacos or fajitas out of the meat, but the chicken can be scooped out too in whole pieces and placed over the rice. 

Coconut Basmati Rice Recipe
2 TB of coconut oil
2 cups of basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 cup of coconut milk beverage
1 ts. of sea salt

In a medium saucepan, warm up some coconut oil and cook the rice in the oil for a few minutes while it gets toasted. Then add in the water and coconut milk and salt. Cook on medium to high heat until it is bubbling and then I turn the heat to low until the water is cooked in and then I turn off the heat completely and cover with a top and let it sit for 10-20 minutes for it to further the cooking process with no heat. Then I open up and fluff up and it is ready to serve. 

I topped this dish with fresh chopped cilantro, but green onions might also work. Like I said, whatever you got is what to go with ;) Some fresh lime or sea salt might be a nice finishing touch too if it needs it. 

Hope you get inspired to clean up the fridge and freezer and make something fabulous. Happy cooking and much love, xoxo

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring Miso Vegetable Soup

I made this spring inspired miso soup for the last retreat I cooked for. It came out warm and filling, yet had that light and flavorful touch I was hoping for. Sometimes when spring truly comes we are ready to give up the thick, creamy and hearty soups that have been keeping us warm and nourished throughout the winter, but still our bodies are needing that lighter, warm and nourishing broth and vegetables to help get us through the whirlwind of spring and seasonal changes. This soup used the miso based broth which I was new to trying, but I was pleasantly surprised to truly love it especially paired with sauted mushrooms and wild rice. Such a flavorful touch and grounding combo. I hope you give it a try, especially if you are looking for ways to try miso, bok choy or even the fresh spring peas that you might be starting to see at your newly opening farmer's market.

I wasn't able to snap more pictures and thankfully I captured one before the soup got eaten up, but hopefully these flavors and new recipe ingreidents will leave you inspired to give it a whirl- seriously worth it if you are feeling adventurous and looking for a warm and delightful spring soup.

Much love and happy cooking, xoxo
Spring Miso Vegetable Soup Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, seed and nut-free}

3-4 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 cup of sauted mushrooms
1 TB of olive oil
1 cup of wild rice cooked in
2 cups of water and 1/2 ts. of sea salt

In a small pot, saute the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until soft, then add in the dry wild rice and saute the dry rice into the oil for a few minutes, then add in the water and a good hearty pinch of sea salt. Let cook on medium heat until it starts to bubble- then turn down heat to low and cover and let cook at low until water is gone and then turn off the heat and let it sit under cover for another 15 or so minutes for the rice to finish it's cooking. Then it is ready to dump into the rest of the soup...

In a large soup pot add the following...

1-2 TB of olive oil
1 bunch of boy choy washed, dried and cut up (about 2 cups)
3-4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup of white onion finely chopped
1 cup of finely chopped green onions or scallions
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of black pepper

Saute the above until soft, about 10 minutes, then add the water, beans, cooked wild rice and the rest of the ingredients. Once the water is warm with all the soup ingredients you can drop in the 2 TB of miso paste and watch it dissolve and flavor the broth. Let it cook in for another 5 minutes, but then it is ready to serve. It is a super quick soup to make after you make the rice rice. It is ready to serve within 15 minutes or so after everything is mixed into the broth together. 

6-8 cups of water (can add more if you want it more brothy)
1 29 ounce can of white beans 
1 heaping cup of fresh spring sweet peas
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 TB of Eden shiro rice miso paste

If you would like to sub in thinly sliced asparagus unstead of peas, I think that could be a nice spring touch. If you wanted to add in kale instead of boy choy I think that could work too, but the bok choy truly adds a simple new flavor and I love how the stalks get soft and easy to eat within the soup. Give it a try!

Much love as always! Hope you are finding new ways to stay inspired int he kitchen this spring- this soup is here to help and also if you haven't gotten to your local farmer's market yet- that is a great place to start as well.... you should be seeing some spring greens, peas, and asparagus popping up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chocolate Buttercream Birthday Cake

Well, I said I have been doing a lot of baking lately and it turns out I made another birthday cake the same week of my birthday to celebrate with some friends who all had our birthdays within a 6-week stretch. We work together as facilitators and hosts for Holistic Health Woman's Solitude Retreats. It is our heart and desire to give women a space to breathe, heal and rest with yoga, outdoor hikes, meditation and naps. Or a place to take the next steps of self-love and self-care, or even a place to explore what are the next steps for relationships, career or whatever may be stopping you from becoming what the Divine created you to be. It truly is a special 3 days of these women being loved on and nourished in mind, body and spirit. So, it was fitting that we would offer love and celebration to ourselves as we encourage and desire other women to do for health and love.

I love an opportunity to be intentional about pouring love into food that shows love to people and that was this cake for my friends. I had some of those organic strawberries on hand and tried my hand at making some strawberry hearts to bring more love. It's sometimes the little things that make that make the biggest statement. I wanted to share this recipe as well just for the fun and love of it.... it is closely based on my Chocolate Snow Cake that I made last Christmas with dates and cherries. So this cake is extra moist and thick and creamy. Super delicious and perfect for any GF friend looking to celebrate a birthday or special occasion. I hope you give it a try and of course....MUCH LOVE and HAPPY BAKING, xoxo
Chocolate Buttercream Cake Recipe
{free of gluten, soy, corn, nuts and seeds, and optional dairy}

1 1/4 cup of gluten free oat flour
2/3 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1 TB of coconut flour
3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

1/4 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup of maple syrup
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.

1 ts. of pure vanilla
1 cup of warmed coconut oil
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I use So Delicious)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of chocolate chips morsels (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 vinegar and baking powder do it's work and make the batter poof up a bit. Fold down and then mix in the chocolate chips. 

Pour in a coconut-oil-lined baking pan. I baked in 2 9x9 circle pans to layer. But you could also do a bundt or angel food cake pan. In the 9 inch pans, bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until it is no longer wet and giggling. If you bake in a bundt type pan, then you will keep in the oven for around 45 minutes instead.

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. 


Choclate Buttercream Frosting Recipe
16 ounces or 2 cups of  soft ROOM TEMPERATURE butter of choice
(I have used Earth Balance Soy-Free, Kerrygold-Irish butter Dairy, and even have used butter-flavor Spectrum Organic Shortening)

1/2 cup of maple syrup (or honey if you prefer the taste)
1/3 cup of organic powdered sugar (I use Wholesom Brand to avoid corn starch in the sugar)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of cocoa powder

Put all the above in a large mixing bowl and use a hand held powder mixer, Or dump in a Kitchenmaid mixer and whip up on high for 2 minutes until you get a fluffy frosting. I taste test a few times ;) to make sure it is sweet enough or needs another pinch of sea salt. 
To essemble the cake: 
Find the plate you want to serve on and tip one cake upsidedown to the serving plate. Spread a 1 inch or so thick cover of buttercream frosting and then use a plate to tip the other cake upside down and then while on its top on the plate, turn back side UP on top the the frosting bottom.

Spread a thick coat of the frosting over the top and then to the sides. Use a flat knife or spatula to help smooth over the tops and make it a clean spread top. Then you can decorate with whatever you got. Sprinkles, fruit, chocolate chips.... options are endless.

Do not refridgerate cake before serving. Or if it is very hot before serving you can place in a cooler location to help from melting, but make sure to have it sit at room temperatue for at least 30 minutes before serving for best results.

Cut and Serve! Delish!!

Happy baking and much love xoxo

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

It's another year for me. My 32nd birthday. A day to celebrate life, my life, and all it's good things.
It's a day to remember the suffering and joys of the past year and look forward to the next. Maybe a day to think of some adventures or goals to encounter over the next year too. Some of mine for this coming year include getting my first tattoo ;) and being outside as much as I physically can!
This work of seeking more of who you are is brave and courageous work. Sometimes looking inward can be so ugly and exhausting. But once you start turning the mirror on yourself you can also see the light and the Divine within as well. This discovery is pure magic and brings so much love for thine true self. You don't have to go seeking very far and long before you find what you truly are and want to be already within. You are created very good- and now to live forward with this belief is revolutionary! This self-love will also allow you to have more empathy for yourself, and will in turn allow you to offer more love and empathy for others all around you as well. This love is what wins. 
I feel like my cake was simple this year. Just how I wanted it. I have been doing a lot of baking this past season, and was not overly looking forward to a decadent, rich, and overly sweet dessert. I felt inspired by some fresh organic strawberries I picked up at my local health store and decided that it just what I wanted... a little sponge shortcake and a dollop of berries and cream. It was perfect!  
Strawberry Shortcake Cake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, seed and nut-free}

1/2 cup of finely ground GF oat flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of potato starch
2 ts. of baking powder (I use Hain brand to have corn-free
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup of maple syrup
2/3 cup of melted organic coconut oil

1 cup of strawberry-milk puree- this includes 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries with 1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage or other non-dairy milk and blend all together in high powered blender with 1 TB of apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup of strawberry cream puree

1 organic lemon, zested and juiced for 1/4 cup of lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, mix all together all the dry ingredients first. Then add in the liquid ingreidents and mix well together. Pour into an oiled pan (I used an angel food cake pan for this one) but you could use a 9x13, or bundt pan too. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The can will turn a slightly golden brown color.  Let the cake cool for at least an hour before serving. 

You can either decorate and top the cake with coconut whipped cream, cut up strawberries or leave it all on the side and you can just have it seperate to serve for a more toppled version. I like it both ways. I decided to leave the cream off so that it would be easier for leftover this time around. 
Coconut Whipped Cream Topping Recipe
1 can of full fat coconut milk (use the cream only)
2-3 TB of pure maple syrup

Chill the can of coconut milk for at least a few hours or speed up the process in the freezer. Then right before serving, open the can and scoop out the separated coconut cream on the top and pour all of the remaining coconut water in a separate container to keep and use for other baked goods or smoothies. After putting the coconut cream in a bowl with syrup, use an electric mixer and whip up the cream for at least 3 minutes until you get peaks and a thicker cream. Then you can top the pie with this cream however you like. 

You can sub 1-2 TB of honey for the maple syrup. And if you want, prefer or like dairy you can use just regular whipping cream whipped up to perfection. 

Also, I have used this So Delicious CoCoWhip Cream in place of making my own coconut whipped topping and it is just fabulous too! Kinda like good ol fashioned cool whip from when I was a kid int he 90's :)      
I don't really do anything to prepare the strawberries, besdies, wash, dry, and slice. You could add a sprinkle of some sugar and let it sit in the fridge to make a more juicy and saucing strawberry topping, but that is totally preferance too. This recipe will be the best when the Michigan strawberries come into season in a few months. But I have found some organic strawberries that are coming into season in California right now- and they taste heavenly this spring and have me looking forward so much to our own berries very soon!
Well, it's no secret that I love celebrating birthdays, especially with cake. This picture above is how I savored a piece for breakfast the next morning- because it's my morning after tradition ;) So here's to another year and may it be a year of being brave to encounter more of who I am and who I want to be. Happy baking and much love to you, xoxo

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lemon Berry Muffins

Tis' the season to start seeing new life pop up all around you. Right now, I am looking out my kitchen window at my budding trees, swaying daffodils, and my neon green grass after a night of thunderstorms and rain. The colors are so vibrant and new. This live backdrop gives me such a feeling of creativity as I step into my day, also wanting to get outside and soak up all the newness. My 3 year daughter even mentioned this morning while driving the pink 'leaves' on all the trees that she loved from the backseat. She was actually noticing all the flowering trees that line our streets this time of year. But I was excited that she was watching and wondering about so much beauty and newness all around her. It's hard to ignore - the earth is waking up all around us!
This time of year usually also gets me all excited about lighter and fresher flavors in my baked goods and kitchen. Ones of lemons and berries and less creamy thick spice filled flavors that seem to keep me warm and comforted throughout the fall and winter months. So today lemon and berries made it into our muffins. And it has me sharing these sweet and tart beauties with you as well...
Lemon Berry Muffin Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut and seed-free}

1 cup of finely gournd GF oat flour (or buckwheat flour)
1/2 cup of white rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of millet flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder

2/3 cup of maple syrup or pure honey or a mix of both*
1/2 cup of soft or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage or other non-dairy milk
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of applesauce
1 organic lemon--- use the 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice + the zest from the whole lemon (1 TB)
1/2 ts. of pure lemon flavoring (or use food-grade lemon essential oil 10-12 drops [I used Young Living Lemon Oil])

1/2-1 cup of chopped fresh strawberries
1/4 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries

*I used a mixture of honey and maple syrup to keep the muffins a lighter color as well,plus their flavors with the lemon is amazing- but if for some reason you want to use coconut sugar instead or regular sugar you can add in 1/2 cup of sugar of choice 1/4 or so cup of either honey or maple syrup. 

First, mix all the GF flours and dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add in the wet ingreidents and whisk together well. Then you can use an oiled 1/4 cup scoop and pour batter into the mufin tins. Then I distribute the fresh and frozen berries on the tops of all the muffins... you can squish them in and cover each top generously. You could also pour all the berries into the batter and fold in bfore you scoop into muffin tins- I put the berries on top this time around so that they would look pretty and bake right on top. Either way is great or do a little of both too. You just have to be carefut to not over stuff each muffin with too many berries. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes and then take from oven and let cool well for at least 15 minutes before moving to avoid crumbling. 

These muffins could be made into minis too- just maybe make sure your berries are cut smaller and do not domintae the smaller size. 

I must say, lemon and berries is one of my most favorite flavor combos. So for me, these are a comfort muffin - but I hope they offer you some color and fresh flavor to your spring steps. 

Much love and happy baking, xoxo

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Abundance Bowls

I have been seeing recipes pop up over and over again on Pinterest and Instagram for such a thing called Buddha Bowls, or Healing Bowls, or Layered Bowls, or Abundance Bowls. Have you seen these too?!? I love it because it seems like they are always just a touch different, but really are all in the same recipe pool with a few common layered parts to make it complete. You can make them with different flavors or veggies depending the season or what you got left in the fridge or pantry. They are fully flavorful and always amazing in color and appeal. I am forever hooked!!!
The common thread for all these bowls is this....
-a grain base (basmati rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet...)
-a roasted veggie or root option
-a legume or bean protein
-a fresh veggie or green salad option
-a fresh avocado or herb topping

I like to stick to these bowls being vegan, but you could obviously add a meat protein or egg if that is more up your alley than some lentils or beans. But I will talk more about that later...

One of my close friends, Tina, also had me hooked this winter with her 5 Layer Warmest Winter Bowl. It covers all the bases of feeling nourished and satisfied after a meal. It is a beautiful bowl of what real healing food entering your vessel should be all about. It makes you stop and be mindful of each bite as it enters your mouth and as you swallow and reach for the next. The textures...the colors...the warmth and love....So good!
The name "Abundance Bowl" really stuck with me though and thought it would be worth a recipe post to help teach us that this "bowl" really is not super hard if we take the time to make the pieces and have it available for a few days of meals on end. I love that name though because it truly describes to me what it offers. Abundance. You don't need more than what this bowl can offer. It covers all the bases of tastes, textures, nutrition and on and on. It is more than enough. It offers abundance and maybe even a little hope for the journey....(to your mind, soul and body). And because they can so easily be made to be full of abundance without meat or animal proteins I like making them that way. You can add meat to many other meals through your week if that is your diet, but this one really can be so satisfying without meat. If you are looking for ways to eat less meat for health or environmental reasons- here is your start...!
Abundance Bowl Recipe Layers

Cooked Basmati or Quinoa are my go-to's. I like making at least 2 cups dried (4 cups cooked) for these recipes to enjoy and then have easily ready in the fridge as leftovers. 

I almost always cook my basmati in 1 TB of coconut oil and then add the water or even more coconut milk as the liquid part. I usually add a sprinkle of sea salt to the water as well. I cook on medium heat half covered until the water is gone and then I turn off the heat completely and fully cover and let it sit for 15 minutes and then it is always ready to fluff up and serve.

I mostly like to cook my quinoa with a little more flavor... I usually saute a little onion, shallots, or garlic forst with some olive oil and then toss in the dried quinoa and after a few minutes add in the water part and sea salt and maybe some pepper. I cook on medium heat till wayer is gone, half covered and then after water is gone I turn off all heat and cover fully and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then it is ready to fluff up and serve. 
Roasted Roots
1 medium Japanese Sweet Potato
1 medium sweet potato
2-3 carrots
2 medium beets
1-2 TB of olive or avocado oil
sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
1-2 TB of fresh or dried rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme

Cut up cubes of all the above roots and spread out on a parchment covered baking sheet, rub with the oil, salt, pepper and herbs and bake in a 375 oven for 25-30 minutes until soft and crispy.

Green Garlic Lentils
3-4 fresh garlic cloves sauteed in 1-2 TB of olive or avocado oil
1 cup of green lentils that have been washed and/or soaked and rinsed
2 ts of dried tumeric
1/4- 1/2 ts. of black pepper
1/4-1/2 ts. of sea salt
2 cups of water

In a medium saucepan, saute the garlic, and then add in the lentils, spices and water and let cook n medium heat, half covered until water soaks in and lentils are soft. Then turn off the heat and cover and let it cool and cook the rest of the way. Then within 15 minutes they are ready to serve.
Crispy Curry Garbanzo Beans
1 large 29 ounce can of Eden Garbanzo beans
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of black pepper
1-2 ts of curry powder
1 TB of olive or avocado oil

You can cook these two ways... Tp get them crispy, almost like crunchy chips or nuts, rub them with the oil and spices and spread them on a baking sheet and bake them around the same time as the roots, or maybe closer to 20 minutes at 375. Or you can put all the ingredients in a sauce/frying pan and warm and crisp up over the open flame in a pan and cook for 5-10 minutes. The crispy ones are great for snacking and topping almost anytime- the ones from the pan are a little more soft and easy to make the main dish with the rest of the ingredients. 

Kale or Mixed Greens Salad
1-2 bunches of lacinato or culrly kale washed, dried and cut up in chunks
rub with 1/4-1/3 cup sweet lemon dressing and then top with some of the following...

thinly sliced red onion, or celery, or radishes
sliced pears or apples
roasted pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
shaved carrots, raisins, craisins, pomagrante seeds, or dried cherries

Sweet Lemon Dressing
1 fresh lemon squeezed (about 1/4 cup of juice)
add fresh zest from lemon too
1/3 cup of California olive oil
1/4 cup of pure honey or maple syrup
1-2 TB of apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch or dried Italian blend herbs

Put all of the above in a small 1/2 pint jar and shake up until it is all well mixed and emolsified. Then you can pour over the salad or just have available to drizzling over as an option for your guests. 

Add fresh slices of avocado 

Add LOTS of fresh cut cilantro, parsley or basil or a mix of it all if you have a fresh herb garden
You can eat all the parts seperate in the bowl, or you can layer and pil it on and mix it all up, or you can put it in a wrap or make a larger salad with it all. It really is what you make it. These have been my go-to layers and like I said I am hooked! This is me on my deck the next day after I did all the cooking enjoying the left-overs and abundance...

I hope you give this recipe idea a try, or even at the least it insired you to eat more whole, fresh, and colorful. You deserve it- this is a way to show love and kindness to yourself and to those around you.
Much love and abundance to you my friends!! xoxo

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blueberry Lavendar Chocolate Cupcakes

It seems like I can't go more than a few days without having the joy of baking a GF baked goodie for someone. Whether it be for someone in my family or for someone that we are bringing or sharing food with. I have been known to always offer dessert and I am ok with that :) Even if some weeks I make a resolve to not bake any sweet treats this week- it usually un-does itself within a few days because of the need and desire to love people with gluten-free and allergy-free treats.
These little cupcakes were whipped up on a whim a few weeks ago when we were having a little spring birthday celebration. They were a fab flavor combo and would be a great addition to any spring gathering or Easter celebration.
The combo reminds me of a ice cream from a local ice cream parlor (LOVE's) that makes the best ice cream in my city. They make so many fun and adventurous combos, but more importantly for my family they make coconut ice cream with no dairy or egg ingredients. So this means that my allergy-prone kids can actually enjoy going out for ice cream every now and again and we can feel half-normal as a family. Our favorite flavor is one called Blueberry Lavendar Vegan Gelato and we call it 'superman' for the reason you might guess. Yes, it is because it is the closest thing you'll find to all-natural blue ice cream ;)
But this combo of blueberry, lavenadar and chocolate really knows how to bring me tears of joy. I truly stop each time I taste this combo and slow down and actually close my eyes and enjoy it. This combo truly is my go to when looking for a chcolate-fruit mix and adding in the flowery flavor of lavendar is calming and brings out a whole aromatic experience. Happy baking and ENJOY xoxo
Blueberry Lavendar Chocoalte Cupcake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, egg, and refined-sugar-free, vegan} this recipe is derived from my chocolate vegan cupcake recipe...

3/4 cup of finely fresh ground GF oat flour
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup of organic cocoa or cacao powder
1/3 cup of rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
2 ts. of baking powder
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

1/4 cup of applesauce
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1 ts. of pure vanilla
1/2 ts of pure lavendar flavoring  or use a culinary grade lavendar oil (4-6 drops)

1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage (or other plant-based milk)
2 TB of fresh squeezed lemon mixed into the milk beverage to make 'buttermilk type mixture' if you do not have fresh lemon you can use apple cider vinegar to do the same thing

1 heaping cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

First, mix all of the dry ingredients in one large bowl, then in a measuring cup or glass mix the coconut milk beverage with the lemon juice and let it curdle for a few minutes. Then add that and all the rest of the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl mix well. Then fold in the blueberries and the mix may even get stiff as the coconut oil cools down from the cool berries. It may also look more like a brownie batter. Use an oiled 1/3 cup scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake tins in the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes until stiff and no more gooey center. 

Let the cupcakes cool well and then frost with this little treasure frosting below...

Blueberry Lavendar Dairy-Free Frosting
In a small saucepan, cook down 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries with 2 TB of maple syrup to make a thick blueberry sauce. let it cool and then mix it in 1 TB of the sauce with the following.... or can add more or less for color and wet-ness of frosting....

1/2 cup of Spectrum Organic Palm Oil Shortening
1/4 cup of very soft coconut oil
1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
1/2 ts of pure lavendar flavoring  or use a culinary grade lavendar oil (2-4 drops)
1/3-1/2 cup of organic corn-free powdered sugar
(I like Wholesome brand)
pinch of sea salt

Use a hand-held high powered mixer to whip up the frosting to become a thick and creamy frosting without clumps. You may need to mix for a few minutes to get it to the texture you want. 

In the photos of the cupcakes I added the chocolate shavings to the tops of the cupcakes, but you can also add a sprinkle of culinary grade lavendar blossoms or dried tea lavender for an extra touch of aroma and sweetness.

Much love, as always, xoxo