Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oatmeal and Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has been SO long since I have posted anything here! But if you still follow me on here, hopefully these will make up for the absence.

I wanted to make a healthier version of an old favorite. My son's eczema has come back because we have allowed dairy back in to his diet, so unfortunately we are back to having to cut it out of his diet again. But the best thing about the cookies that I make are that they don't contain eggs, so there is no worry about kids helping and eating the uncooked dough. My 5 year old loves to help me bake cookies for that reason!

These are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free. They can be refined sugar free if you use my Chocolat chunk recipe in place of the ENJOY LIFE chocolate chips I used for these cookies. These are also PEANUT free, but do contain ALMOND flour, so they are NOT nut free.

But, they ARE delicious!

2 Cups Almond flour (I buy mine in bulk at Winco. I used a blanched almond flour, and I don't know if almond meal would work)
1 Cup GLUTEN FREE Rolled Oats (Again, I purchased them in bulk at Winco)
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (or butter if you don't care about dairy)
1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar (or regular granulated sugar if you don't care about refined sugar)
1/2 Cup UNSWEETENED Applesauce (can be homemade or store bought)
1/2 Tbsp GLUTEN FREE vanilla (I buy mine at Costco)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (again, I buy mine in bulk at Winco)
3/4 Cup chocolate chips (see my note above. I used Enjoy Life chips for these. They are dairy, gluten and soy free, but not sugar free)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine ingredients and mix by hand or with hand mixer on low. I usually combine my dry ingredients first and then add the wet ingredients. I also warm the coconut oil until it is soft but not melted before I add it.

I use a cookie scoop to divvy out the dough on to the cookie sheets. With these, they don't spread very much, so I put about 15 on a sheet that normally holds 12. Pat them down with your fingers so they are round discs about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.

Put in oven and bake from 12-18 minutes.


With Love,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Delicious Almond/Coconut Milk

I am amazed at the health benefits of Almonds. But I can't justify spending so much SO MUCH for pre-made, packaged Almond milk in the stores.

In the last few months, I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroid problems, and more recently diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Hashimoto's is an auto immune disease that causes hypothyroidism. It's nasty honestly. The symptom list is long and, sadly, I have ALMOST EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM, (with the exception of high cholesterol).

So, I am working on getting my health restored, and it's not easy. It is NOT easy. With Hashimoto's I have to remain gluten free, (which I will always be no matter what) as well as eliminate inflammation causing foods such as dairy, soy, table salt, and refined sugar (I can only have honey or maple sugar sparingly)... Now, to you this might sound like a diet I am used to, but it isn't really. Before, I would choose to eliminate things because I wanted to (with the exception of gluten) not because I HAD to. This is kind of scary to me. I have to say. Before, if I decided to slip up and allow myself a sugary dessert (gluten free) that had dairy or refined sugar, I'd say, "It's okay, a little won't hurt." But now, I know that is not true. I cannot deviate from this diet.

So, I have started to follow the Paleo Diet. Many of you might have already heard of this, but it was new to me. It follows exactly how I need to eat for my Hashimoto's and to keep the inflammation in check. Alas, it is A LOT more meat than I am used to eating. Some days I am okay with that, others, I am not. But, I have to get better.

On the Paleo diet, I can have almonds, and coconuts, and in fact, coconut has anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an IDEAL food for me. So I experimented and I came up with a new recipe for milk using both almonds and coconuts.


1 Cup of RAW almonds (skins removed)
1 1/2 TBS pure vanilla extract (gluten free)
3 Cups water
1 handful (approx. 1/2 Cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
1/8 - 1/4 Cup (depending on how much you want to add) Extra Virgin Coconut oil

First, I take my raw almonds (if they still contain shells) and soak them overnight in the fridge. The next morning, I take them out, rinse and drain them, and then take a paper towel and remove the skins by rubbing it off. (You can do this in less time if you blanch them, but I just soak mine overnight. It takes a little more prep time, but I don't mind).

Once my almonds have no more skin on them, I put them in the Vitamix and add the water and vanilla.

I blend on high for approximately 2 minutes and then pour in to a container through a muslin cloth. I then squeeze all of the liquid out through the muslin, and save the almond bits to use later. ( once dried, it can be used as almond flour in baking). Then I pour the milk back in to the Vitamix and add a handful of dried, unsweetened shredded coconut and 1/8-1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil. Blend on high for 2 more minutes, and strain through the muslin again. (I have to wring the muslin to force the milk through it). Then put a lid on the container, and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

It is delicious! I love using it in berry smoothies.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkins and Chocolate... Something comforting

Lots of personal details of my life first... Scroll down for the recipe...  GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, SOY FREE, REFINED SUGAR FREE, VEGAN Chocolate pudding...

In the last few weeks our family has been going through a lot. As some of you may know, or remember, I announced in my last post that we are planning to adopt a child from Ethiopia. In addition to all that comes along with getting prepared for our home study and dossier preparation, we have decided to add a little more crazy to our lives and buy a house too! So, there has been no end of stress for us in the past few weeks. More stress was piled on with the announcement from our adoption agency that Ethiopia, in the hopes of cleaning up the corruption within it's adoption program has slowed to a crawl the number of referrals it is processing per day to 5 (instead of 50). What does this mean for us? It means that our adoption wait time has jumped from 9-18 months to 36+months... Yes, that's 3 years. It has been truly devastating to me, and though we still feel that adoption from Ethiopia is right for our family, it also means that our plans for our family are not going to happen the way we had hoped they would. At this time, I would like to ask for your prayers, or your good vibes, (depending on your own beliefs on the subject). We will gladly accept all good feelings and thoughts for our family (including our son whom we wait anxiously to be united with) and for the Ethiopia program itself to speedily recover from the devastation of finding corruption within some of its orphanages. They are trying to clean things up to make sure that children are coming in to the system appropriately, and not being trafficked. It is so sad. Money ruins so many lives. I also ask for prayers that the U.S. embassy will not shut down the international adoption program with Ethiopia.

So, in addition to that particular stress, as those of you who have purchased homes before understand all the headache that goes along with it... Things are going fine, then they aren't, then they are, etc... Hopefully that will be over quickly and we can move in to our house by the end of the month. But along with that, we have the added insanity of having to pack up the entire house, and try to figure out if there is anything we can sell in a yard sale, as well as try to sell our rental lease...

Now my mind wanders to the family I want to grow and all the ways in which I can do that. Our insurance will fully pay for IVF (3 tries) and I wonder, is this something I should consider? I so desperately want to be pregnant one more time. Then, if it works, and our adoption is completed, we will have 3 miraculous children, and we will be complete... Only time will tell. So many things going on and so many heavy things weighing on my mind. In all of this fog and confusion, I need some things to bring me comfort and help me feel that all is well. Here is a small list of things that are helping me right now...

Brandon Flowers' Solo album, FLAMINGO (I am in love with his voice)
My vintage dishes from the 1970's... I seriously love the earth tones
My clearance orange throw blanket from IKEA
Hugs and kisses and cuddles from my son
Being held by my sweetheart, (who lets me sob and doesn't judge me for it)
The crisp Autumn air

Oh yeah, that's what this post is supposed to be about... This is a food blog after all...

So, back in January when I started this little blog I wrote a post about how to make homemade Chocolate pudding out of Avocados...

Well, I've been feeling stifled creatively as of late due to the simple reason that I am incredibly (understandably) distracted by my world being thrown upside down... I almost forgot that this time of year is my favorite time of year, and the one time of year that I thoroughly enjoy the variety of pumpkin flavored items everywhere you look... Here are some amazing examples as of late from some of my favorite food bloggers, (and all around amazing people)...

The INCREDIBLE Amy Green over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free has shared a VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD!
The WONDERFUL Maggie Savage over at She Let Them Eat Cake  has shared PUMPKIN AND PEAR STREUSEL MUFFINS!
The TALENTED Karina Aldridge over at Gluten Free Goddess has shared too many posts to count about pumpkins lately... Just check out her blog and scroll through them! One after the other! 

They all have my head spinning... How can I ever compete? Well, I decided to re-invent my pudding recipe using pumpkin instead of avocado... Here is what I came up with. 

Chocolate and Pumpkin (A match made in heaven)

You will need:

12 pitted dates
1/2 Cup HOT water
2-3 Cups of Canned (unsweetened) pumpkin
3/4 Cup Cashew Milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/4-1/2 Cup RAW ORGANIC Agave Nectar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3-1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder (start with 1/3 C then add if it needs thickening)
2 Tbsp Pure Gluten Free Vanilla extract
1/2-1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste preference)
Pinch of mineral rich Sea Salt (1/4-1/2 tsp depending on taste)

Boil some water on the stove top, (I use my teapot) and put your dates in your Vitamix. (You can use a regular blender, but it might not get as creamy of a consistency). When your water is boiling, add 1/2 cup of that water to the dates and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. (If you want this to be a RAW recipe, don't boil the water, and let the dates sit for about 45 min-1 hour).

After that time, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high until it is a nice, thick, creamy consistency and tastes good to you. Then put it in a container and store it in the fridge. It should last about 3-5 days, (if you don't eat it first).

I must say that my son, who is notoriously fond of pudding LOVES it. He likes it more than the Chocolate/Avocado pudding I have made in the past.

One bite, and I feel better already.

Much Love,

Friday, August 26, 2011


Okay, first things first. IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I POSTED! I am so sorry! But, I am back. I went on a hiatus from eating like I should, (rest assured, I never strayed from my gluten free diet) and now I am back, omitting dairy and sugar from my diet, and MOSTLY soy too. I have decided to eat a little bit of soy, but don't worry, I will ALWAYS tell you when a recipe has soy in it. I want to look out for my friends who absolutely can't eat soy! My recipes will continue to have substitutions for omitting eggs, (which I am limiting for myself too now) and soy.

So, there are a few things I want to talk about. As some of you may know, I have fertility issues... It took us 2 years to get pregnant with Z, and here we are 4 years later, and we can't get pregnant again... It has been a long, heartbreaking road to haul, and honestly, I have been angry a long time, as well as very very sad. There is a large amount of grief attached to not being able to have a child when you really want to. And, when you finally come to grips with it, you have to let go and really mourn... Once you do that, it makes the next few steps a lot easier. You have to get to a good place in your mind and in your heart to truly move forward. The truth is, I would love LOVE to get pregnant again. I loved being pregnant. Even when I was pretty miserable, I loved that I was helping to create a life. It was the most incredible thing I have ever done. Honestly. But, I have to admit that that may not be in the cards for me again. So, I got angry, I got real sad, and you know what? One day, I just decided to turn a negative in to a positive.

In the world, there are over 147 MILLION orphans. And you know what? Lately it seems that there are a LOT of people being diagnosed with infertility. What is the one way that these numbers can be alleviated, and BOTH parties are happy? ADOPTION!

In Ethiopia alone, there are over 5 million orphans. Adoption could be the difference between life and death to one of those 5 million children. After a long time meditating and praying, my husband and I have decided to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. A child who is waiting for a family. I know that many people have strong opinions about inter-racial families, and international adoption, and I want to clear something up. I am in no way shape or form against domestic adoption. EVERY FAMILY needs to find their own path in life. Our path just happens to be taking us to Ethiopia. We really feel that we have a son there waiting for us. As for the strong opinions about inter-racial families, I say this... We are not adopting from Ethiopia because it is trendy, or because we want to appear above racism or to seem as if we are better than others because we care more about third world countries. That is truly sad to think that ANYONE would ever adopt for those reasons. The truth is, we don't care about the race of our children. We realize that hearing people's opinions is going to become a big part of our lives once our son comes home. We are not taking this lightly. We want to make sure that we keep the culture of Ethiopia alive for him, as well as incorporate different aspects of that culture and mesh them in to our own traditions and everyday life. But we are opening our hearts to a nation that is numbered among the world's poorest and most in need. I really don't see anything wrong with that. I don't plan on "white washing" him, or disregarding the country he comes from. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I want to embrace it, and help him celebrate it.

So, that is something very very big going on in my life right now, and we are very excited about it!

Now, in honor of this announcement on my food blog, I am giving you a recipe for the traditional Ethiopian Flat bread, Injera. This was my first experience both in making and eating injera! I wanted to keep it as close to the original recipe as possible. So, without further ado... I give you, INJERA!

Injera is often served with a stew like meat called Wot (sometimes spelled WAT). Injera, as I have read and understand, is used often in place of utensils. It serves as a means to get food from the plate to your mouth. It soaks up the sauces, and compliments the dishes with it's earthy flavor.

Last night I started it. (You have to start 1-3 days before you want to eat it)! Since it is still summer(ish) around these parts, I only needed it to sit out for about 16 hours. It worked very well!

What you need:

1 1/2 Cups Teff flour (naturally gluten free)
2 Cups water
sea salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
oil of choice (I used olive oil)

Mix the teff and the water in a bowl and cover for 1-3 days. You can cover it with a lid or a dish towel. I used a lid. Leave it out on the counter to ferment. It will start to look puffed up and bubbly. When it looks bubbly, you know it is ready. I would check it once a day until it looks like you want it to. Mine just had formed a mound on top that almost looked like a crust, and when I got the spoon out to tap it, it collapsed and was all bubbly underneath. This is the same method people making sourdough use. It is safe. Just make sure it doesn't get moldy! That's why you should check it once a day.

Once your injera is bubbly, it is time to cook it!

Use a cast iron skillet if you can, (I tried a few failed attempts with a non-stick pan... didn't work) Turn the heat up to about Medium, or Low-Medium. Let it get hot. Pour some oil in the pan, take a paper towel and rub it around so that it is evenly coated. I got the sides of my skillet too.

Pour in just enough injera in to the pan to be thicker than a crepe, but not as thick as a pancake after you roll it around. (If you have ever made crepes before, that probably makes more sense to you). So, what I did was take a ladle, poured it in the middle of the pan, took another HALF ladle full, and dumped it in there too. Then I grabbed the skillet by the handle and rolled the injera around until the entire bottom of the skillet was covered. Then I let it cook.

You will know it is finished cooking when the dough on the upside looks the same color all around, and when you take a spatula to pull it up, that it comes up easily without any tearing or crumbling. It takes about 2-4 minutes to cook.

DON'T FLIP IT. Just cook one side, and then put it on your plate.

Then you can add whatever dish you want to on top of it, (I made home made garlic shrimps to eat) and enjoy the flavor of a traditional Ethiopian sourdough flat bread! And while you do, send good vibes to my family during our adoption process!


It passed the Z test! 
He gobbled it up!


With Love,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes!

THESE ARE NOT REFINED SUGAR FREE! THE CUPCAKES CONTAIN "RAW" TURBINADO CANE SUGAR (technically unrefined but still cane sugar), And they are topped with Sugar Crystals (you can leave those out if you want to keep it Refined sugar free)... I do have notes at the bottom for substitutions...

This weekend I am going to be a part of a charity/fundraiser bake sale for a sick little boy named Cole and his family.

For the bake sale, I decided to make my Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Red Velvet Cupcakes. Mmm... Red Velvet is our family's favorite. I like it for the aesthetics, my husband likes them for the taste, and my son loves them because, well, they are sweet and RED.

Look at how moist that cake is! 


2 Cups "Raw" Turbinado Sugar (or you can substitute Coconut/Palm Sugar for this)
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 Cup Soy Free Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 Cup Palm Shortening
1/3 Cup Vegenaise Original Mayonnaise (seriously) (Can be omitted to make SOY free)
1 1/8 Cup UNSWEETENED Applesauce
1 Cup Non Dairy Buttermilk (1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar + enough unsweetened Coconut milk to equal one cup... let sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp - 2 1/2 tsp Red food coloring (some are weaker than others... you just want to make sure you have a nice deep red color or else you will end up with chocolate cupcakes.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.

Prepare your "buttermilk" by adding 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg's) and enough unsweetened coconut milk to bring your mixture to the one cup mark, and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. 

Whisk together Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium sized bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the margarine, palm shortening, sugar, vegenaise, vanilla, and food coloring until creamy.

Take dry ingredients and add about 1/3 of the mixture to the wet ingredients.  Mix with hand mixer. Add about 1/3 of the buttermilk, continue mixing. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk until everything is well mixed together.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way, and cook for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Take cupcakes out of oven at that point and allow to cool in the pans.

This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.


1/2 Cup Palm Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter flavored Palm Shortening
1 lb Confectioners Sugar (You CAN make your own using Palm sugar or Turbinado sugar... see my notes below)
1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp unsweetened Coconut milk
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 drops of food coloring of choice (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended and creamy. Spread on cupcakes and enjoy!

(make however much you need)
1 Cup Turbinado (or palm sugar)
1 Tbsp Arrowroot starch

Mix together on high in a high powered blender until the consistency of powder. (Don't let the blender get too hot or the sugar will start to stick to the blades).

A word about using Palm Sugar: It will speckle your frosting with brown flecks. To avoid this, use a different sugar.

Eat and Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chocolat Covered Chips

Now, this is NOT, I repeat, N-O-T a healthy food by ANY MEANS. This treat should be considered one of those, once in a great while treats... definitely not a staple.

I was perusing a site that has become a new obsession of mine, Manifest Vegan, and discovered among the archives a post about Chocolate Covered Potato Chips... I was intrigued. Very intrigued. What a BIZARRE sounding idea! But, one that I decided to try.

Now, my chips don't look nearly as amazing as Allyson's, but they are tasty none the less.

All I did was melt some Baker's UNSWEETENED chocolate, (3 oz.) along with 3 TBSP NON HYDROGENATED PALM SHORTENING, and 2 1/2 TBSP RAW Agave Nectar... (You can use less agave if you would like. For a thicker chocolate, you can use a little less shortening as well.

For instructions on how to melt chocolate correctly, please see my CHOCOLAT post.

Once melted thoroughly, remove from heat, and let cool slightly. It will thicken a little more at this point. Then take some chips, (I used Classic LAYS) and dip them in to the chocolate... Next time, I might just dip HALF the chip to get more of the salty flavor added with the sweetness of the chocolate.

Then set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and place in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 45 minutes. Then, eat and enjoy... in moderation! ha ha.


HFCS... making people fat is just one of the perks

I have been trying to avoid High fructose Corn syrup like the plague... but it is in SO MUCH! I can't believe all the products that have it in it. Why? It's a cheap alternative to other sweeteners.

People wonder why obesity has reached epidemic proportions among our children, and why Type 2 Diabetes is no longer considered "adult onset" Diabetes. What about all this hullabaloo about our children's generation being the first in a very long time not expected to out live it's parents. That is a SCARY SCARY statistic.

A short answer could be HFCS. There are MANY more factors involved obviously, but the fact of the matter is, if you cut out HFCS from your diet, you will see better health (maybe not perfect health)... I know from personal experience.

Here is just a little video that I thought was hysterical, and spot on about the attitudes towards HFCS, and the accompanying results those attitudes can lead to.

I also want to say that I am not trying to offend anyone. I mean, this is mostly a dessert site, and I am not perfect. I may give my son more treats than he should have. I do believe in moderation when it comes to sweets, and I am picky about the types of sweets he has. I am refined sugar free, but that doesn't necessarily make me the healthiest person in the world either. I just think we need to understand what we are putting in to our bodies, (and the bodies of our children) and make informed decisions about it. We shouldn't turn a blind eye to the effects of certain food products because of lobbyist propaganda...

I am NOT a nutritionist, a dietitian, or a doctor... just a parent, a human being, and a person who genuinely cares about the nutritional decline in our society.