My little Marvel is 2, let’s eat cake!

My little Marvel is 2, let’s eat cake!

Tuesday was my little love’s 2nd birthday. Yes, I had a precious little Cinco de mayo baby. Poor thing will always have large groups of adults getting wasted on her birthday, a burden she shares with my hubby, born on the 4th of July. Partiers aside, it was a beautiful day full of smiles, sweets and celebrations. 🙂 Marvel has been spoiled silly this year; the celebrations began a few weeks ago at my mother’s house in LA and continued on until last night when we sat down with my in laws for dinner and more cake. I’ve eaten more birthday cake in the last three weeks than I have this entire year. I can’t complain though, I mean really, who complains about cake? The grinch maybe, or fascists? Perhaps nazis would complain about cake. Thankfully I’m none of those things. I absolutely love me some cake.

This delectable cake is a welcome reprieve from the traditional slathered in frosting, chocolate layer cake, that most birthday parties are sporting; which I totally made this last weekend for yet another of Marvel’s birthday parties. This cake is an orange and lemon bundt cake. My mother in law made this in a big flower cake pan so technically the cake you see in the pictures is not a bundt cake but it’s meant to be one. The edges are slightly crusty and taste of caramelized sugar. The inside is moist and spongy with bursts of citrus in every bite. It is an AWESOME birthday cake. Frankly, it is an awesome anytime cake. I ate a small slice after my breakfast this morning. If you haven’t had breakfast dessert yet, let me say, you are sorely missing out. It went absolutely perfectly with my green tea. I made some coconut whipped cream to serve on top and couldn’t have been happier with the pairing. I strongly suggest you serve this cake with some sort of whipped cream. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. 🙂

 

Triple Citrus ‘Bundt’ Cake

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe

DSC_1106DSC_1102

 

Ingredients

Cake

  • Coconut oil for greasing
  • 2 3/4 cups flour (I used a gluten free blend of sorghum, teff and white rice flour)
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup coconut sugar, processed super fine in a spice grinder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut sugar, processed super fine in a spice grinder

Process

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil
  3. With a sharp knife, cut away the peel and the white pith of a lemon. Holding the lemon over a bowl, cut between membranes to release segments in the bowl. Here is a handy video on how to do this. Squeeze juice from remaining membranes into another bowl. Repeat with remaining 2 lemons and 2 oranges
  4. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl
  5. Add coconut cream and using an electric beater, beat until combined
  6. Add eggs one at a time beating to combine
  7. Beat in coconut oil and citrus juices
  8. Add citrus segments and beat on low just to combine
  9. Transfer batter to pan and bake rotating pan once until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (If you are using a flatter, larger pan like I did, it will take about 15 minutes less.)
  10. When cake is done, set on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes
  11. Transfer cake to a shallow dish
  12. Brush top and sides of cake with syrup below
  13. Add some sort of whipped cream and make your mouth happy. 🙂

Syrup

  1. Bring citrus juices and processed coconut sugar to a boil in a saucepan stirring until sugar is dissolved, boil for 30 seconds more

DSC_1170

DSC_1130DSC_1137DSC_1145

 

 

 

 

 

No bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

No bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Happy Sunday all! Oh what an immensely luxurious weekend I’ve had. My daughter spent the last 2 days with Grandma so the hubby and I got to indulge in adult time. We watched a movie in the theater yesterday. I don’t even remember the last time I saw a movie, out of my robe, off of the couch, without a baby on my lap. We ate lunch at our favorite Pho spot in Oakland and then we just walked around the city leisurely… all day. I left my phone at home and didn’t even acknowledge it’s existence for a whole 24 hours. It was AMAZING. Being completely disconnected gave me such a lovely internal reset. I feel renewed, rejuvenated. I’m so ready to see my beautiful girl in a few hours but it’s been oh so invigorating to connect with my husband like this again. 🙂

On to my super yummy recipe- Thursday night I got to have one of my best friends over for dinner. She lives in Tahoe so I don’t see nearly enough of her. She is one of those special people that everyone adores. She’s down to earth while simultaneously frolicking among the clouds. She’s fun, she’s quirky, she’s outlandish, her heart is as vast as the grand canyon. I love her so and she loves pumpkin pie… so when she told me she was coming I knew I would recreate my raw pumpkin pie cheesecake for her. This time, I made sure to take a few photos before devouring it. 😉

Raw Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Crust ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • Seeds of 1 cardamom pod – ground in a coffee grinder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Filling ingredients

  • 2 cans pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups cashews soaked in water
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee (use coconut oil to make vegan)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Process

  1. After soaking dried apricots for an hour or so place both the apricots and the water in a food processor with all other crust ingredients and process until the mixture starts to stick together
  2. Press ‘dough’ into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan to form a crust/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4754.jpg
  3. Place crust in freezer to set for 3 hours
  4. Meanwhile place all filling ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth and creamy
  5. Once crust is set pour filling onto top of crust and place back in freezer to set for at least another 6 hours./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4684.jpg
  6. Bring pie out of freezer and let defrost a bit before serving.

This pie is best served when very cold in order to keep it’s consistency cheesecake like 🙂 Sending you all love and yummy holiday treats until next time… /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/712/73322791/files/2014/12/img_4748.jpg

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

Good morning lovelies! I hope your weekend was wonderful. Mine was packed to the gills with friends and family, in other words, perfect. Being busy giving and receiving love is my favorite use of time. 🙂

Yesterday was my family’s annual holiday gathering. We meet in Walnut Creek at my aunt and uncle’s beautiful home overlooking the valley; we feast, we catch up, we exchange gifts. This year was particularly precious because my daughter is the first baby we’ve had around in many years. She is finally old enough to grasp a bit of the magic that is Christmas. We watched her glittering eyes as she marveled at the tree and all of the pretty wrapped boxes underneath it. When she realized some (OK, most) were for her she could barely contain herself. It was so much fun to watch.IMG_4436.JPG

After we got our fill of baby cuteness, we moved on to dinner. My contribution to the holiday table was dessert. I planned on making my pumpkin pie cheesecake which was an already proven success but time constraints didn’t allow for a trip to the store. I decided to improvise. I looked in my pantry and fridge and realized I could easily transition to a vegan, raw chocolate cheesecake. My salivary glands began acting up immediately.

Raw Chocolate CheesecakeIMG_4473.JPG

Ingredients

Crust (I like thick crust, if you like a thinner crust, you can half this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • *1/4 cup mesquite flour
  • *1/4 cup cacao butter
    *Optional

Filling

  • 2 1/4 cups cashews, soaked for 4 hours
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted cacao butter (use coconut oil if you prefer)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup mesquite powder
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Pinch of salt

Process

  1. Using a food processor, blend all ingredients together to form a sticky dough
  2. Place dough in a 9 inch springform pan and press down to form a crust
  3. Place crust in freezer for 3 hours, give or take
  4. Once crust is about finished setting, place all filling ingredients in food processor and process for a minute or two, until filling is thick, creamy and smooth.
  5. Pour filling onto the top of the prepared crust and allow to set in freezer for another 3 hours
  6. Transfer ‘cheesecake’ to fridge an hour or two before serving to allow to defrost a bit.

*If you leave this dessert out of the fridge for too long before serving, it will start to melt and your cheesecake consistency will be off.

My family is decidedly un-vegan. I wasn’t sure that they were the right crowd to be wowed by my efforts. I was right to be skeptical. When I brought out this beautiful cake after dinner, I told them, ‘This is my chocolate cheesecake.’ At this revelation, most of my family perked up and although stuffed, began to sluggishly shuffle over to me. ‘It’s vegan and completely raw!’ I proudly proclaimed. ‘My aunt quickly whispers to me ‘Don’t tell them that! They might have actually enjoyed it.’ Despite their annoyance at this cheesecake being ‘healthy’ a few people still tried it. My aunt and uncle practically licked their plates clean and my dad actually complimented it. ‘This is really good’ he says between bites. ‘Thanks Dad. As far as desserts go, It’s super good for you too! ‘Yeah yeah, I like it despite that fact.’ he says out of the side of his mouth.

Ah… family. Can’t live with them and although I certainly can and do live without them, I’m super blessed to have them. It’s really pretty cool that a huge group of people with such different interests and personalities can all love each other so much. It’s a great exercise for me in accepting people as they are, as I’m sure they are challenged to do as well, by their crazy hippy sister, niece, daughter, granddaughter. 😉

Sending you all love and healthy chocolately kisses!

IMG_4490.JPG

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Hello lovelies! I have been enjoying this past week down in Southern California with my family. It’s been a luxurious few days. Lots of lounging, talking, laughing… nothing special I suppose but it’s meant the world to me to be here for the holiday. Getting to watch my mama light up as she plays with my daughter has been so darling, magical really. I’m beginning to really revel in these moments and truly appreciate how precious they are. I’m not taking a single one of them for granted. My mother has been known to be a bit of a grump. Her life growing up was rough to say the least. To be honest I’ve never seen her so happy as when she is being a grandma to my Marvel. I love it more than I can express to you. My mommy happy? It’s just the best. If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m having a wonderful week. 🙂

It’s raining today in Los Angeles. The air smells of wet concrete and dried foliage. I sit inside, writing to you all while my girl naps, the sounds of my family screaming at Sunday Football games is ringing in my ears. I feel content. I feel at home. 🙂

My Thanksgiving dinner was simply scrumptious. Perfectly roasted turkey, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, maple roasted carrots, green beans and my favorite fluffy gluten free dinner rolls. My rolls were an excellent addition to the feast. If you are gluten free and have been searching for a perfect dinner roll, today is your lucky day. I found this recipe years ago in a holiday edition of Living Without Magazine, I tweaked it ever so slightly and they have been gracing the Thanksgiving table every year since. You will love them. Everyone does… gluten eaters and non eaters alike.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey powder (or sugar)
  • 2 cups heated almond milk
  • 2 cups sweet rice flour
  • ¾ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • ½ cup gluten free AP flour (a blend of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, fava bean flour.)
  • 3 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup melted ghee
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Process:

1. Combine yeast, honey powder and warm milk in a bowl and whisk until honey powder is dissolved. Let sit until mixture is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Combine flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix with an electric beater on medium-low to break up any lumps in the potato starch.

3. Add the yeast, eggs, ghee, honey and vinegar. Mix on medium-low until combined. Then turn the beater on high and mix for 3 minutes. Batter should be very thick and smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush 2 standard muffin pans or 1 standard and 1 mini muffin pan with melted ghee.

5. Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop batter into muffin pans, filling about ¾ full.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put aside for about 30 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.

6. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Let cool slightly and serve warm with ghee or butter.

IMG_4210.JPG

This recipe is not the most nutritious you’ll find on my blog, this is true. But who cares? I personally cannot be sustained on veggies and seeds alone. 😉 My life is more enjoyable when it includes some well placed indulgence. ‘Everything in moderation, even moderation.’  I thoroughly enjoyed every delicious bite of this fluffy, buttery roll. I sure hope you do too. ❤

Friendsgiving!

Friendsgiving!

Hello friends! Oh… hello to you too Monday morning. In honor of the coming holiday and all of the yumminess that comes along with it, I’m feeling a lot more forgiving of your presence here today. This week, Monday means that only 3 more days separate me from visiting my family in Southern California and chowing down on some of my favorite food. I’ll be bringing some gluten free renditions of traditional holiday goodies that I can’t wait to share with you! It makes Thanksgiving so much more enjoyable when I have biscuits, stuffing and pie on my plate. What is Thanksgiving dinner without these things really? A hollow shell of the holiday feasts that I remember, that’s for sure. Good thing I won’t ever have to experience that. My recipes are healthier versions of some classics that don’t sacrifice any of the classic flavor. I got to try a few out on my friends this weekend and they, thankfully, were eagerly gobbled up.

Saturday and Sunday were a flurry of driving, eating, connecting and more driving. If I haven’t mentioned it before, half of my heart lives in Mendocino, a gorgeous little coastal town, nestled in the redwoods of Northern California. We were first acquainted about 11 years ago and after the initial shock of being so far off of the grid (what do you mean there is only one stop light and no shopping malls?) I fell in love fast and hard and haven’t strayed too far away since. Many of my dearest friends call Mendocino home so I make the 3 hour drive about once a month.

This weekend was our first annual, eagerly awaited Friendsgiving dinner. So.much.fun. Good wine, laughing, cute babies frolicking around together, buns in the oven. There was lots to celebrate and celebrate we did. Every delicious thing you could think of graced that table. A beautiful glazed ham, candied yams, a bright fresh kale salad with pomegranate seeds and golden raisins, homemade artichoke dip with fresh spinach and organic local cheeses… I stuffed myself and then went back for more. I haven’t eaten that much in years. I’m feeling properly primed for Thursday. 😉 Also on the menu was my gluten free cornbread stuffing bites and raw pumpkin cheesecake. I was so busy loving up my friends and stuffing my face with my stuffing that I completely forgot to snap a picture of either dish. 😦 It’s a good thing that I plan on making both again for one of the myriad of holiday gatherings that I will attend in the next 6 weeks. I promise to share my recipes soon. In the meantime, please enjoy some photos of my family and I being fabulous.
Xoxoxoxox

IMG_4018.JPG

IMG_4093.JPG

IMG_4013.JPG

IMG_4095.JPG

IMG_4096.JPG

IMG_4100.JPG