Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

You know that feeling you get when you finally perfect something you’ve been working on for a long time? If you haven’t yet experienced that gratifying moment, I truly hope you do some day because let me tell you, it is incredible. Unfortunately, it is rare that I experience this feeling… primarily because I have a hard time sticking with new things. If I’m not innately good at something I often tire of it quickly. The one area of my life where this is not the case is cooking. Perhaps it’s the fun I have in the kitchen with my husband, maybe it’s the pleasure I get in watching my family enjoy a dish that I’ve nailed or maybe it’s the simple knowing that without food there is no life. Poetic isn’t it? Whatever the reason, I resiliently move forward and get back in my kitchen every single day no matter how bad any single dish turns out and believe me there are plenty. It is because of this persistence that I can finally say I have made the perfect gluten free cupcake.

For those of you who are new to gluten free baking, I don’t want to scare you off but I have been gluten free for over 4 years and I am just now starting to understand the subtle nuances of making a gluten free baked good comparable to a regular baked good. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve started baking with the best intentions and ended up with a dry, crumbly or unpleasantly dense pastry.ย Not this time my friends. This cupcake is so perfect. Oh did I already use that word already? Sorry, I just can’t help myself! It’s chewy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside. Can a cupcake be tender?ย I swear this one is.

The only thing I used to sweeten the cupcakes themselves was 1/4 cup maple syrup, that’s only 3 grams of sugar per cake. Not bad huh? The frosting adds another 7 grams but you can always use less frosting or omit it completely if you are trying to cut back on your sugar intake. In fact, this cupcake is so delicious without the frosting that you could easily scrape it off, call it a muffin and enjoy without the extra sugar! I for one am relishing in my indulgences this winter so feel free to just pass over that unwanted frosting to me, thank you very much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups grated carrots (approximately 3 medium carrots)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil (any vegetable oil will do)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt

Cupcake Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and maple syrup.
  4. Stir in the carrots, yogurt and half of the hazelnuts and pecans to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  6. Pour into paper lined cupcake tin.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. I always check by sticking a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, you are done!
  8. Let cool on cooling rack and await frosting.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 6 oz cream cheese (3/4 of a package)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of half a lemon

Frosting Process

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until light, creamy and spreadable
  3. Add remaining nuts to the top for garnish and crunch

 

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Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

Hot muffins right out of the oven. Is there anything better? That smell that permeates your kitchen and any other room with door left ajar… simply heaven. I make sure to close all windows and open the door to my bedroom while I bake so that when my head rests on my pillow that night I am lulled to sleep with the delicious scent of baked goods dancing in my nostrils. These muffins are to die for. The sweet earthly flavors of the sweet potato and carrot are a perfect match with the cinnamon and garam masala. Throw in some eggs, coconut oil, almond milk, coconut sugar and a dash of honey and you have a winning muffin. These taste reminiscent of carrot cake. With crispy edges and a moist and fluffy inside, my husband, daughter and I quickly gobbled them up. Breakfast dessert never tasted so good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

~Makes about 18 muffins~

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Ingredients

  • 1 baked organic Japanese yam or any variety or sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 organic shredded carrots
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose gluten free flour blend, I used this
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 oz dark chocolate chips, I used ghiradelli’s 70% and loved the slight bitterness

Process

  1. Bake sweet potato on 400 for 40 minutes, once cooled, peel skin off and discard
  2. Lower oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, honey, sweet potato, coconut oil and almond milk until smooth
  4. Add carrots and gently mix in
  5. In a medium bow, whisk dry ingredients together
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined
  7. Fold in chocolate chips
  8. Grease muffin liners and fill 3/4 of the way full with batter
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean

I enjoyed these best in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea, they were also a delicious mid day snack, and absolutely scrumptious for dessert… I guess what I’m saying is these muffins are perfect just any old time. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Triple Citrus ‘Bundt’ Cake

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe

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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.ย 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 ofย whipped cream and make your mouth happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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Raw Energy Balls

Raw Energy Balls

The clan and I have been doing quite a lot of traveling around these last few weeks. Moving, visiting friends, flying to LA to spend a few days with my family, driving to the beach an hour away for some fun in the sun… all of our little excursions require that we have handy sustenance for the road. Fruit and nuts are our go to car snacks but sometimes it’s nice to have a special treat to nosh on to make that hour fly by more quickly. 

These bite sized date balls are that perfect special treat. They are sweet enough to feel like an indulgence yet healthy enough to gobble up 6 of them without feeling those all too familiar pangs of regret. I whipped these up in just under 5 minutes. How groovy is that? Groovier than bell bottoms that hug John Travolta’s perfectly sculpted butt in Saturday Night Fever, I reckon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

You can dress these up with any of your favorite extras. I rolled a few of them in raw cacao powder for an elegant antioxidant boost. You could dip them in melted chocolate if you wanted a more decadent dessert ball. I found that these satisfied my ever present sweet tooth just fine as is.

Raw Energy Balls

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Dates
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Process

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor 
  2. Process until ingredients are finely chopped and starting to stick together
  3. Roll into bite sized balls and decorate however tickles your proverbial pickle. DSC_1033

XO ~ Sam

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

My daughter has been talking up a storm these days. Her favorite words seem to be Mama, Cookie, Please and Thank you; she prefers to use them in this order. Since I am such a dutiful servant mama I made her some cookies today when she asked for them. If you read my last post you will remember that I have just moved in with my parents in law. I now have many old and beautiful cookbooks at my disposal. One is titled simply, ‘Cookies’. I opened it up this morning and skimmed through while nearly drooling all over the pages. I found a recipe I liked and substituted a few things, honey for white granulated sugar, coconut flour for all purpose. The result is a very crumbly, very delicious, very toddler friendly cookie… My husband came home and ate 3 of them himself. I guess they are pretty husband friendly too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Orange and Lemon Coconut Cookies

~Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free!~

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup honey, sub maple syrup if strictly vegan
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, plus more for greasing

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Grease parchment paper with coconut oil
  4. In a small bowl mix together all dry ingredients, set aside
  5. In a small saucepan, heat orange, lemon juice, honey and coconut on low heat until it becomes slightly syrupy
  6. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients
  7. Scoop out little balls onto cookie sheet and slightly flatten with a spatula
  8. Bake for 10 minutes
  9. Nom nom nom!

These sweet little cookies are best with a cold, creamy glass of milk. I enjoy almond milk, my little one prefers goat milk. Any kind of milk will complement this cookie perfectly.

XO ~ Sam

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and Cheesy Herb Bread.ย 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and Cheesy Herb Bread.ย 

Hi, my name is Sam. I’m 30 years old, married, have a 2 year old daughter and I am living with my in laws. This is a reality I could not have guessed for myself. Weren’t you supposed to have your life figured out at 30? Seems the older I get, the more I realize just how clueless I really am. Life is one big experiment and we’re all trying our best to thrive in each moment while dodging the inevitable catastrophic explosions. I won’t get in to the long story with you now but I will say this, my thyroid has been acting up and we had to rule out cancer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that process, it’s an expensive one. Fortunately, very fortunately, I’m in the clear. Yay!! ๐Ÿ˜Š UN-fortunately, I’m down nearly 10 grand. Add that to the debt we were already nursing and you’ve got many thousand really good reasons to move in with your parents

As uncomfortable as it can be to share a space with your in laws, especially my in laws, there are enough perks that I think I can overlook the pitfalls for a few months. First, we’ll be saving nearly 3,000 dollars a month. Can you believe that? California, you are so obscenely expensive… good thing you are so effing purty. Secondly, living with my MIL means more help with my daughter. Get this – I was able to just up and drive off to my dentist appointment this morning. I didn’t have to bust my ass finding a sitter I didn’t trust or have to bring her along for a sweaty, traffic filled, hour long car ride. Nope. I.simply.went.by.myself. Gah! It was almost like I was a single unattached adult human again. Aside from the 10 minute tantrum she threw as she clung to my leg, begging me not to go of course. Trivial details darlings. Point is, having G-ma in the same house is granting me daily slivers of much needed freedom. I’m grateful to say the least. Thirdly but arguably most importantly, my MIL is a phenomenal cook. She is of Armenian descent but was born and raised in Turkey. Her cooking is fresh, vibrant, flavorful and I can taste her heritage and her love of food in every bite. She passed along this bread recipe to me yesterday. We baked together for nearly 2 hours. At the end of it I had dough in my hair, flour on my clothes and a belly full of cheese. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, even if it is with your MIL. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Gluten Free Cheesy Herb Bread 

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour, I used 1 cup buckwheat, 3/4 cup white rice and 1/2 cup garbanzo
  • 3 eggs
  • 1- 1 1/2 cup grated manchengo cheese
  • 1/4 cup dill, finely chopped
  • 1/3 bunch of italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Process

My favorite part of cooking with my Mama in law is watching the way she does things. She moves quickly, she makes a mess and she rarely measures anything out. She made a loaf with gluten – I watched her every forceful move and then copied her, sans gluten.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Throw eggs in a bowl and using either a fork or an electric beater, beat until nice and frothy.
  3. Add in herbs, onions, oil and salt and mix together until combined – I used my clean hands. It’s more fun that way. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Add in flour and baking powder and mix again until well incorporated. Since this recipe is gluten free you don’t have to worry about over mixing! You want to avoid over mixing wheat flour as it activates the gluten and can make your finished product firm, not fluffy and moist like you’d want. 
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool, slice and savor.

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Happy cooking loves!

XO ~ Sam

PS- Here are some of the pretty things I get to look at every day now… Maybe moving in with your in-laws isn’t all THAT bad after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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