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. I 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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Kale Pear Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is your new best friend. Once you learn the ways of quinoa and buy the bulk bag at Costco- you and quinoa will be BFF's for life. You can make a quinoa salad in a variety of ways, but I always come back to adding fresh greens, herbs, and sneaking in a fresh fruit and finishing it off with a little crunch of seeds, nuts or maybe even some crispy chickpeas. These are my quinoa salad guides- learn it's ways and you will be forever be inspired by how to mix it up.

It's true- a great earthy, spring salad like this will carry you through till summer. Also once you make a quinoa dish like this, it is easy to see how you can make this same salad a hundred times with mixing in and out whatever fresh or dried ingredients you have on hand. I do this throughout the whole summer with whatever lovely and fresh produce and veg I can scrounge up at the market that week.  Let this recipe be your teacher and before long you will be the master of the quinoa salad.
Kale Pear Quinoa Salad Recipe
{gluten, egg, and soy-free, can be made without nuts, seeds and dairy as well}
1/2 cup of minced red onion
3 grated cloves of garlic
2 TB of olive oil
2 cups of dry quinoa
1 ts. of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
4 cups of water

In a medium pot saute 1/2 cup of red onion with 3 grated garlic cloves in olive oil until they get soft and then mix in the dry quinoa and stir around for a minute or two, then add in the water and let it cook until it boils. Then turn down the heat, half cover the pot and let it cook until the water is cooked in. Then when you see no more water, turn off the heat, and cover the pot to let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then add in the following...

1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
(more or less of the above according to your taste...)

The warm quinoa will help wilt the herbs and cooked quinoa will soak in it's flavor. Let it sit for another few minutes and then pour into your serving bowl and mix in the following...

1 heaping cup of finely chopped lacinato kale
1/4 cup of finely minced fresh red onion
1 fresh bartlet pear cubed, about 1 cup's worth
handful of dried cranberries (or cherries)
handful of crushed pecan (or pumpkin seeds)
diced ripe avocado

Toss all ove the above together and then the following you can add as much or as little as you want...

Sweet Lemon Dressing
1 fresh lemon squeezed
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. 

Also, it is also a great touch to rub the dressing into the fresh chopped kale leaves before mixing as well- it helps the leaves soften and even taste less bitter too.

Also, if you are going to serve and eat right away, finely dice up a ripe avocado to top with as well. Or if you are going to chill and then serve, cover with fresh avocado when you are ready to serve so that avocado stays green and fresh.

optional addition of goat cheese sprinkles over top is a great touch if you can tolerate dairy

Serve warm just like this or if you want this salad can be easily stored in the fridge to pull out as a chilled salad for any gathering. It is a great side dish or could also be the main course- especially if you add some nuts, or you could even add some garbanzo beans for more protein and substance. It is also a great salad to make ahead of time for lunches on the go or for a picnic dinner at the park. It truly is a versitle protein packed delicious meal. 

Much love to you friends, xoxo

Friday, March 31, 2017

Snickerdoodle Cookies

My kids have been loving these Enjoy Life cookies the past few months- I think because I love to bake so many GF treats that their version of a 'treat' is actually something coming from a crinkle wrapper or box. Which I guess I understand- and these cookies are some of the best out there for allergy-free treats. But even still I thought maybe if me and the kids tried to make our own version of the 'snikerdoodle cookie' that maybe we could like that one too and not have the begging for boxed treats every time we go to the store together. I know- that is a pretty tall expectation- but I thought we could at least give it a try.
They turned out pretty good...very simple ingredients and flavors, but still a yummy treat or easy take-along goody for travels and snack times. Our homemade cookies were much more crispy and crunchy with a cinnamon coated crunch than the soft boxed version. So it was a bit different but still loved by all. They almost reminded me of cinnamon coated graham crackers- the ones that you would want to dip in your kid-sized milk cup or as an adult maybe a nice cup of tea. The pictures of these cookies may not be that appealing, but don't let that stop you if you get the urge for some cinnamon sugar crunch goodness. Happy baking and ENJOY! Much love, xoxo
Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, nut, soy, seed, egg and refined-sugars-free}
1 cup of finely ground GF certified oat flour or buckwheat flour
(or if you prefer you could use a mix of both above flours)
1/3 cup of white rice flour
1/3 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
1 ts. of baking soda
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/4 ts. of baking powder
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of softened coconut oil

In a small blender mix 1/4 cup of each coconut sugar, tapioca starch, and ground cinnamon. This will make a cinnamon sugar powder to roll each cookie in.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingreidnets, and then add in the wet and mix together well. It should be a slightly sticky dough and then you take a TB sized ball and roll it out and then roll it in the cinnamon sugar powder. Then place the cookie balls on the cookie baking sheet and press down with your palm or with the bottom of a glass jar or cup. This recipe will make about 2 dozen TB sized cookies. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes depending on your oven and desired cookie crunch. Pull from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes to avoid cookie crumbling while still super hot. Store in container or cookie jar on the counter and ENJOY!
I love how sometimes loving certain store-bought-goodies bring out your own cooking and baking creations. That is what these cookies were for us in our kitchen and hope that you give then a whirl or do some kitchen experimenting on your own. Much love and happy baking as always, xoxo

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Goodmorning, Blueberry Muffins

It's a good morning when you can have your day start with a cup of hot lemon water and a little muffins of blueberry goodness. These little muffins start your day off with protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber and blueberry wonderfulness. So, it IS a good morning!

I have been struggling with my little 3 year old to get her to eat in the morning and then she doesn't and then she will want to just snack the rest of the day on crunchy and sweet treats. Well, this not only discourages me but also it is exhausting to have to keep being asked for little snacks after trying so hard to just eat the main meals you are preparing.... can I get an AMEN ?!? I know I am not alone. This is the struggle of almost every momma I know- how can we keep trying to give our kids the choices and nutrients they need as they grow their amazing bodies?!?
So these little muffins are my manifesto for my little one. I was so happy when she ate two of them for breakfast. Success! I may have done a little victory dance in the pantry and tried hard to not show my excitement- because we all know that if we do that- it might be the end of the victory after all. Kids like to do their own thing so it's got be their idea to love them, amiright?! :)
Goodmorning, Blueberry Muffins Recipe 
{gluten, egg, seed, nut, soy, dairy and corn-free, VEGAN}

3/4 cup of finely ground GF oat flour
(I make my flour by grinding 1 cup of GF oats in high powered blender)
3/4 cup of quick cooking certified GF oats
(I used Bob Red Mill's brand for oats)
1/2 cup of white rice flour
1/4 cup of tapioca flour
1/3 cup of coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder
(I like Hain brand for it to be corn-free)
1 ts. baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt

1 cup of mashed ripened banana

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk or coconut milk beverage
(I use So Delicious brand)
mixed with 1 TB of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1 TB of pure vanilla

fold in 1 heaping cup of frozen blueberries (can you fresh if you got them!)

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 apple cider vinegar 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 and the mix may even get stiff as the coconut oil cools down. It may also look more like a thick batter with the mix of warm and cool to the batter. Fold in the frozen berries and not too much so avoid blue berry bleeding. Use an oiled 1/4-1/3 measuring cup to spoon the batter into the muffin tins in the pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes until stiff and no more gooey center.  Pull from the oven, let them cool and eat warm.
Hm hmm delicious! These muffins also remind me that summer blueberry picking is coming and all those frozen berries are better now than ever. I hope these muffins will bring you some joy and nutrients to your breakfast routine. And maybe a little hope too that each day is a gift. 
Happy baking and much love as always xoxo

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fresh Golden Ginger Milk

I guess I got on the "golden milk" train this past month. It's been dreary, cold and in need for some liquid sunshine and warmth. February was unseasonably warm this year and now in March we are seeing the other end of being unseasonable cold. So this is what forced my desire for some liquid sunshine. A few weeks ago I was ready to start thinking about some spring cleaning smoothies and flushing tonics, but then with the freezing cold and sickness bugs still moving around fiercely, I felt my body saying to still burrow inward with warmth and grounding roots and herbs. 

Fresh ginger and tumeric have been making me 'happy and warm' all winter. I have been buying them fresh at my local health store and have been adding them in all my soups and stews and curries this winter. I like using dried too, but there is something so deep and strong about the strength and power of the fresh roots. Tumeric and Ginger are antioxidant and anti-inflamatory roots that have been proven to prevent, treat and restore the body after many health ailments. We all need more of these 'super foods' in our lives.  And I swear they have been keeping my family away from the sick germs too. Some how we have managed to escape weeks of illness this winter and I completely credit this to chewing and sipping on fresh ginger. Well, that and sleep.

It is not too crazy complicated to make this little spicy tonic. It's main ingredients are fresh grated ginger and fresh grated tumeric. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there on the internet for this and you can google and read all about the benefits and pre-made powders and secrets. This is just the simple version I have been making in my kitchen and thought I would share if you haven't been exposed to these ingredients before.
Fresh Golden Ginger Milk
1/3-1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger (2 smaller claws)
2 TB of fresh grated tumeric (2 inches long piece)
1 ts. of black peppercorns
a cinnamon stick or a hearty pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
pinch of sea salt
2-3 TB of raw local honey
4 cups of non-dairy milk or regular milk (I have used coconut and rice)

In a medium saucepan, put all of the above ingredients in and heat on medium heat till it starts to steam and then be careful to not boil or scald the milk, you are just heating and steeping. Let this low-to medium heat steep the ingredients and after about 10 minutes you can use a very fine sieve or even cheese cloth to drain the milk from the grated ingredents. Then I usually use a cheap milk-frother, or you could even put in a high powered blender to get a frothy milk latte treat. 

Also, my friend Tina is the queen of making herbal tonics and remedies and in "latte" form is my favorite. Here is a few of my favorites.... Chamoline LatteCardemom LatteGinger Chia, Tumeric+Ginger Latte. Her recipes were my inspiration to even doing this homemade milk latte treat anyways.  I've had the gift of being a recipient to her amazing concontions in person- check out her magic!

I hope you are staying warm. Let this little cup of sunshine help give you the strength and hope you need to make it to the spring and summer. Much love as always, xoxo

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Banana 'Caramel-Date' Pancakes

Some days call for pancakes and snuggling. If we could do that most days, I bet we would be so happy... but...... get tired of it eventually. But because in real life, pancakes usually land on a day on the weekend and it really is a special occurrence- we treasure the time. We can look forward to it. It's one of the simple loves of life that get us through the hard or exhausting moments of life throughout the rest of the week. Pancakes and snuggles are those little gifts that make the world go round. 
These pancakes are made from bananas and dates mostly- but they do not contain eggs because my littlest one is still very sensitive to eggs. So we have discovered a way to make pancakes vegan without the eggs by adding bananas and dates too. These little touches help keep the cakey texture and from being a floppy mess. There are so many pancake recipes out there with lots of protein, easy with just a few ingredients to keep things easy and still full of great nutrients, but I have found all of those to be containing eggs, so this is my contribution to the recipe piles of pancakes.... one without eggs for those of us that are sensitive and still looking for a little fun and cozy-ness over the weekend. 
If you can tolerate nuts, this would be a great pancake recipe to add some crushed walnuts or pecans too- or a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips- if you want to go all crazy about it. These pancakes have that subtle sweetness from the dates that have that caramelly touch with the bananas. Such an amazing combo! You gotta love that bite of the stack of 'cakes all smothered in maple syrup caramel goodness.... is it Sunday yet?!? This is your mid-week motivation to get to the weekend- it's coming folks so let's not loose heart in the hard stuff. Let's keep going and when the 'day-off' comes.... let's really rest and enjoy it. Living fully present in the good and hard and beauty and brutal is what makes this life more worth it. I hope you find ways to do this- and my hope is that this little recipe will only help us all find the simple ways to truly live into that. 
Banana 'Careamel-Date' Pancake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined sugar-free}

fruit mixture:
2-3 small medium ripe bananas mashed up
(about 1 cup of mashed banana)
1 cup date puree paste
(1 cup of pitted dates mixed with 1 cup boiling water to sit for 10 minutes and then blend in high-powered blender to make a puree date pudding-like mixture)

'buttermilk' mixture:
2/3 cup of non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)
------mixed with....1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of avocado or light olive oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 ts. of fresh pure vanilla

flour mixture options:
2 cups of finely ground certified GF oat flour or buckwheat flour or a mix of each
PLUS
1 cup flour mixture options:
1. tapioca, potato starch, rice (1/3 cup of each)
2. millet and quinoa (1/2 cup of each)

So you will need 3 cups of flour total---but depending on what you got in your pantry and if you want more hearty whole grain pancakes, you can mix up your choice of flours in few ways. I grind my own GF oat, buckwheat, millet and quinoa flours from the dry grain/seed.

Then you need to add the baking powder, one of the most important ingredients in vegan pancakes!

4 ts. of corn-free baking powder (I use the Hain brand)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of ground cinnamon or ground ginger

2-3 TB of coconut oil for cooking on electric skillet or pancake pan

In a large mixing bowl, add in the fruit mixture and mix well. Then add in the buttermilk mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients. Then add in the flour and start folding in and then add in the baking powder and rest of the dry ingredients and whisk together well. It will start to bubble and rise right before your eyes. Fold together with hand held whisk or spatula for best results. 
Then use an-oiled-1/3 cup scoop and scoop on the batter on a preheated-coconut oil-greased pan. I pull out my electric skillet and get 8 pancakes on there twice for a total of 16 pancakes with this recipe. Let the pancakes cook on each side for 3-5 minutes and try to keep the heat around 325-350 degrees on the electric skillet to help with not burning. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven or serve right away with vegan butter (or regular or ghee), maple syrup, jam, or fresh fruit or any other favorite pancake toppings.
This meal is not super 'green' with veggies- but it is a special occurrence. If you want to add a veggie or egg scramble to this and omit the turkey/tofurky sausage or if you want to add a squash or potato hash those are also great additions to a breakfast meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner for that matter.
I hope you find the little moments in life- yes this can be found in the simple pleasure of fresh and enjoyable foods- to help you live life in a full and real way. A way that can travel through the hard and exhausting, but also look forward to and treasure the rest and downtime of being with those you love. Much love to you friends, xoxo

Monday, March 13, 2017

"YES" Cookies

The kids were helping me the other day in the kitchen. We decided to bake a batch of cookies to share. I asked... "Should we add chocolate chips? Should we add raisins? Should we make them chocolatey? Or what about molasses cookies?"... and the answers kept being "Yes! Yes! Yes!" So these are the cookies where everything was thrown in and it actually turned out kid-approved-amazing. They are a mix of just a plain oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with added chopped dates and sweet raisins. Also some how a little molasses into the dough added a whole new level of taste and now I'm so glad the kids said "yes!" Sometimes it's the curious creativity of kids that reminds us that there needs to be more YES's and less NO's in life.
We made these from my base Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe idea and added in some extras with what we had in the pantry. I used up some date paste and added some chopped dates as well- so the cookies have the sweet and soft caramelly taste weaved throughout the rest of the crunchy chewy goodness. Dates are a new favorite combo with chocolate chip cookies.... it's a sweet and salty component that can't be beat!
They remind me almost of a trail mix granola bar type treat because of all the crunchy and sweetness of the dried fruit. I bet you could make a big batch of these before the hike, camping trip, or long-drive adventure and your people will thank you for it. Seriously- I know if we are going on a little adventure my people seem to stay happier longer if I have little treats to keep us going. Not to mention.... nourished! These little babies are packed with protein, minerals and vitamins- also all things my kids can say "yes" to without really knowing it while chomping on a cookie ;)
"YES" Cookies Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined sugar-free}

2 cups of rolled gluten-free oats
2 cups of finely ground certified GF oat flour (I grind my own out of rolled oats)
1/3 cup of cocoa/cacao powder
1/3 cup of tapioca flour (or arrowroot)
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of rice flour

2/3-3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ginger

1/2 cup of date puree paste (I make this out of pitted dates soaked in boiling water and blending in high powered blender until you get a pudding like substance- same amount of dates per water, in this recipe that would mean 1/2 cup of each but you can make a few cups at a time and store in the fridge for further use)

1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup of soft or melted coconut oil

1/2 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add the wet and mix well and add the oil and mix into a sticky dough. Use a TB to spoon the dough into balls onto a baking sheet. For best results one your baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until your desired crispy cookie liking. Let the cookies cool for at least 15 minutes before moving to avoid cookie breakage. This recipe made about 2 dozen medium/lg sized cookies....but you could make 3 dozen small ones I bet.

I hope you can say "yes" to this cookie recipe and make some for yourself. Happy baking!!!!

Much love, xoxo