Category Archives: Baking

happy holiday {s’mores truffles}

before the conclusion of another blessed year, i have one more recipe to share: s’mores truffles.

these were such a happy little accident that came about just in time for homemade gift giving season!

they’re chewy, nutty, sweet, and most importantly: MALLOWY (let’s just pretend that’s a real word). let’s also pretend i’m an expert photographer…


1 cup chocolate chips (i used lily’s stevia sweetened)image

1/3 cup coconut sugar

2 tablespoons raw honey

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

one batch of elana’s pantry’s graham crackers, crumbled (about 2 cups) *SEE NOTE BELOW

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

48 mini vegan marshmallows (optional, omit if you prefer less sweetness)

1/3 cup powdered coconut sugar (optional, to coat truffles)


prepare one cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and greased with coconut oil spray.

heat chocolate chips, coconut sugar, and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. once the mixture melts, stir in almond milk until chocolate mixture is smooth. remove from heat, let cool slightly (about 5 minutes).

stir in graham cracker crumbles (*NOTE: for a shortcut, mix the batter for elana’s graham crackers, but don’t worry about shaping them – just spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 5-7 minutes – let cool before adding to truffle mix) and walnuts, then let mixture cool 10-15 more minutes.

fill a 1-1/2″ portion scoop halfway with truffle mix, then stuff 4 mini marshmallows into the scoop before filling the remainder with truffle mix. press tightly into portion scoop then place onto prepared cookie sheet. repeat. repeat again…you get the idea. you should have about 12 truffles.

place the cookie sheet with prepared truffles into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

remove from fridge, and roll the truffles by hand to create more uniform spheres. roll truffles into powdered coconut sugar and place back on cookie sheet. chill or freeze 1-2 hours before consuming (i recommend frozen!).

happy holidays and a happy 2015 to my millions (okay, so there are two of you) of fans out there!

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cocoa nib sea salt cookies {two ways}

i’m proud to announce that i can retire from (cookie) recipe testing!

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these are by far the best cookies i’ve made — free of gluten, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar.  slightly crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, with two of my favorite components in a dessert: a hint of saltiness, and the richness of chocolate.

i’ve made these two ways because i’ve come to realize that some people believe oats are off-limits to those of us going gluten-free, but others seem to be A-OK with them. i haven’t noticed any reactions when i have bob’s red mill gluten-free rolled oats, so that’s what i used in version #1 of my cookies (my favorite version!).


first things first…here’s the flour mix i used for each (each makes about 5 cups):

flour blend A (used in version #1): 

2 cups brown rice flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1/2 cup quinoa flour

3/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup tapioca starch

flour blend B (used in version #2):

2 cups brown rice flour

1-1/4 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup almond meal

3/4 cup arrowroot starch

3/4 cup tapioca starch


VERSION #1: cocoa nib sea salt oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

{dry ingredients}

1 cup flour blend A (above)

1 cup GF oats (i prefer bob’s red mill gluten free rolled oats)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cocoa nib salt — i made mine with this —

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{wet ingredients}

1/4 cup palm oil shortening

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup grade B maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flax meal + 2 tablespoons warm H2O, whisk, then let sit for 5+ minutes)

1/2 cup chocolate bits/chips/chunks (i recommend either enjoy life dark chocolate chunks, or chopping your own raw/dark chocolate or cacao bar)



mix all dry ingredients together, then in a stand mixer bowl, combine all wet ingredients except the “egg” and chocolate chips, mixing on medium speed until you achieve a fluffy texture (about 3-5 minutes). add “egg,” then mix on medium speed for about a minute before adding dry ingredients, gradually increasing mixing speed back to medium-high. slowly stir in chocolate chips until incorporated. drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

VERSION #2: cocoa nib sea salt almond butter chocolate chip cookies

{dry ingredients}

1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour blend B (above)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cocoa nib salt (see version #1 recipe above)

{wet ingredients}

1/4 cup palm oil shortening

1/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup grade B maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flax meal + 2 tablespoons warm H2O, whisk, then let sit for 5+ minutes)

1/2 cup chocolate bits/chips/chunks (i recommend either enjoy life dark chocolate chunks, or chopping your own raw/dark chocolate or cacao bar)


mix all dry ingredients together, then in a stand mixer bowl, combine all wet ingredients except the “egg” and chocolate chips, mixing on medium speed until you achieve a fluffy texture (about 3-5 minutes). add “egg,” then mix on medium speed for about a minute before adding dry ingredients, gradually increasing mixing speed back to medium-high. slowly stir in chocolate chips until incorporated. drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet. bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. makes approximately 20-22 cookies.


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two favorites: {holiday cookies}

since baby #3 is due any day now (actually, she was due three days ago…), i figure i’d better blog while i can. this is a post i’ve been looking forward to sharing, because it features my favorite baked good: COOKIES.

i hope you’ll enjoy these two cookie recipes; these are my go-to cookies, and as a bonus, are both suitable for the holiday season!

1)  cranberry coconut cookies


these are a spinoff of “dina’s delightful cookies,” featured on elana’s pantry (one of the best recipe blogs EVER!). they are so wonderful – they have the taste/consistency of shortbread cookies.


1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cup almond flour or favorite GF flour mix (or a combination of both, which is my personal favorite)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup frozen or fresh cranberries


after toasting walnuts on the stovetop (til aromatic and browning), place walnuts and cranberries in a food processor or blender and quickly pulse until ingredients are pea-sized. next, mix wet ingredients: coconut oil, maple syrup (or honey), and vanilla. separately combine dry ingredients, including the walnut/cranberry mix. stir dry into wet ingredients, mix well. form dough into 1″ balls, flatten slightly with the palm of your hand, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

2) peppermint chocolate cookies

these require very little modification from sarah’s gluten free vegan chocolate chocolate chip cookies, so i’ll simply refer you to her site for the recipe. the only changes i made were as follows:

  • i used 1/2 cup coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar, and omitted the cane sugar.
  • i used almond milk instead of coconut milk.
  • i replaced 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with peppermint extract.

these come out soft and fluffy, with a perfect balance of chocolate-peppermint flavor.

i’m also working on a cut out “sugar” cookie recipe that i hope to be able to share with you before the new year…stay tuned!

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three unexpected uses of {avocados}

my husband and i love avocados in just about any form. in fact, my husband has a “guacamole” tattoo, featuring all of the ingredients of guacamole in their whole food form…


love the diversity, the flavor, the texture, the nutritional benefits. if only my children felt the same. sure, they’ll try a little guacamole every now and then (especially if their dad makes it – his is the best!), but beyond that, they seem frightened by the sight of an avocado. so, i finally figured out that i can HIDE avocados in the unexpected (i know, i’m way behind most moms who’ve been hiding veggies in their kids’ food for ages), in several dishes and treats, and my kids are none-the-wiser.

my top three unexpected uses of avocados:

1) as a substitute for mayo in a tuna, salmon, or chicken salad recipes (got this idea from this post by aprovechar)

2) as a base for chocolate pudding or mousse (giada’s recipe is wonderful, with a few substitutions to suit our dietary needs: use 3/4 cups cocoa powder instead of chocolate chips + cocoa powder, and 1/3 cup maple syrup instead of 1/2 cup of agave) – delicious with fresh fruit on top!

3) as a substitute for butter in chocolate cookies (i liked this recipe by two peas and their pod. subbed gluten free flour mix for all purpose flour, and 1/2 cup coconut sugar for both the brown and white sugar)

please feel free to share more ideas for hiding this amazing fruit, particularly in some kid-friendly dishes!

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maple cinnamon “cream cheese” {spread}

this is so quick and easy, i only regret that i didn’t think to make it before…VEGAN MAPLE CINNAMON “CREAM CHEESE” SPREAD. no dairy, no refined sugar, just simple goodness. the basic concept came from this recipe for a basic vegan cream cheese spread. i imagine you could spruce this up any way you’d like: savory (like…onion and herbs), or sweet (i think i’ll try fruit next time).



1 can full fat coconut milk

1 cup raw cashews

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, depending on your preference)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon starch (i used potato starch, but cornstarch or tapioca starch would work here too)


place all ingredients EXCEPT starch in a food processor or high-speed blender. mix on high until smooth. transfer to small saucepan over medium-high heat, add your starch, and stir until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. let it cool, then go ahead and indulge, or refrigerate if you prefer it cold. spread on your favorite gluten-free bread or cracker – enjoy!

my super fan:


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berry-filled {cinnamon rolls}

these berry-filled cinnamon rolls were inspired by some mouth-watering photos by veggie and the beast.

as you may or may not know, baking yeast breads with gluten free flour and no eggs is extremely tricky, and is rarely as pretty as the pictures you see on her site (you’ll see my proof below). but if you’re in the predicament of avoiding eggs, dairy, gluten, and refined sugar but still long for the occasional breakfast treat, bear with me, and try to look beyond the outward appearance — i promise their taste will overshadow any unattractiveness you see on the outside. actually, the end result is not too bad, if i do say so myself…


{dough ingredients}

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup ghee, cut into chunks (if you unable to tolerate ghee, any butter substitute would work)

3-1/4 cup gluten free flour mix (see my post about pancakes for my recipe – double this, b/c you’ll obviously need more than the 2 cups the recipe yields)

2 tablespoons instant yeast

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flax meal whisked with 3 tablespoons warm water – allow to sit for 5-10 minutes)

{filling ingredients}

2 tablespoons ghee, melted (or other butter substitute)

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

{glaze ingredients}

1/2 cup maple syrup

4 teaspoons almond butter

a few dashes of cinnamon

(glaze recipe from this no sugar cinnamon roll recipe)


warm the almond milk over medium heat until it starts to boil. remove from heat, and stir in ghee. let it sit and cool a bit while you prepare the dough mix. in a stand mixer bowl, start by whisking together all of the dry ingredients for the dough, and then add your wet ingredients, including your almond milk mixture and flax egg. add the hook attachment to your mixer, and knead on medium speed for a few minutes (3-5). if your dough is too dry and won’t come together, you should add some water, a couple of tablespoons at a time (i only had to add 2-3 tablespoons). after 3 or so minutes, your dough should hold together and be soft to the touch. cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise for a half hour.


meanwhile, mix all of the filling ingredients together (except the ghee) in a small saucepan on high heat for about 7 minutes. the mixture will boil, which helps it thicken as it should. be sure to keep stirring as it boils. if you don’t like a lot of seeds, you can then put the filling in your vitamix or other high speed blender for a minute or two to create a smooth filling.


roll out your dough into a large rectangle (about 16″ x 12″).  i like to use cling wrap to roll my dough — simply tape down a large rectangle of it to your countertop, put your ball of dough on top, and then put another rectangle of cling wrap on top before rolling out with a rolling pin to your desired size. remove the top layer of cling wrap, and then spread the butter substitute (or brush melted ghee) onto the dough. add your berry filling, distributing it evenly across the dough.


roll your dough carefully, and then, using a serrated knife, slice into 8 pieces. place them into a greased (i used coconut oil spray) 8″ or 9″ round cake pan. WARNING: as you roll your dough, much of the berry filling will likely ooze its way out onto your cling wrap. my parents taught me not to waste my food, so i spooned up the excess filling and spread it on top of the cinnamon rolls.


cover, let rise for another half hour while you preheat your oven to 375.

NOTE: these gluten and egg free cinnamon rolls do not rise a whole awful lot, so don’t expect them to double in size or anything. you’ll notice they spread much closer together than in my photo above within that rise time.

bake for about 20 minutes. while they’re baking, use a small saucepan over low heat to whisk together the glaze ingredients. you can immediately drizzle the glaze onto the cinnamon rolls once you remove them from the oven.

hope you enjoy them as a special treat like i did!

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cast iron skillet {banana bread}

banana bread is another one of those that i have tried to make gluten, dairy, egg, refined-sugar free many times, with absolute failure each time. this morning i came across gluten-free goddess’s vegan banana bread recipe, and was so excited to give it a try, especially seeing as how it would require very little tweaking.

if you make this banana bread, USE A CAST IRON SKILLET. it was so wonderfully delicious, i’ve basically been thinking about it all day, and i’m pretty sure it was largely because of the consistency/texture the skillet created. i’m sure it would have been great in a loaf pan too, but something about that crispy texture around the outside and that heartwarming feel of the cast iron skillet really made my day.


the only changes i made were:

  • i used 3/4 cup of coconut sugar instead of 1 cup of brown sugar
  • i used 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup chocolate chips (i think i would have preferred it with 1/2 cup walnuts only – no chocolate chips)
  • i baked it for about 40 minutes instead of a full hour
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strawberry basil honey {quinoa muffins}

i have literally waited eight months for the opportunity to use fresh strawberries and basil so that i could publish this recipe. i am happy to say it was well worth the wait. these muffins are light and soft, flavorful, and great for a quick, nutritious breakfast or snack (which especially comes in handy with my preggo munchies coming on every half hour it seems).

NOTE: these used to be my blueberry muffins, but once i tried the strawberry-basil combo it totally won me over. but if you are in the mood for blueberry rather than strawberry, simply substitute equal blueberries for the strawberries and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for the basil.

NOTE, AGAIN: when you bake anything involving almond flour, be sure to allow ample time for cooling or your baked goods might just crumble apart on you.

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1-1/2 cups quinoa flakes

3/4 cup almond flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (frozen works fine too, but fresh is always best!)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1/2 cup honey or liquid sweetener of choice (i usually measure just under 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/4 cups almond milk (unsweetened)

1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flaxmeal combined with 3 tablespoons warm water, whisked, then let rest for 5-10 minutes)

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (then cooled to room temperature)

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combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. mix wet ingredients separately, then add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. spoon batter into prepared (greased with spray coconut oil unless you’re using stoneware, then no grease necessary!) 12-muffin pan. bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. let cool at least 30 minutes in pan before attempting to remove. cool muffins completely on wire rack before indulging. (since these muffins do require a longer cooling time, i like to make them once the kids go to bed, allow them to cool overnight, and treat myself to them first thing in the morning.) try topped with a bit of ghee! THIRD AND FINAL NOTE: store leftovers in refrigerator.

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summertime and the discovery of perfect. {pancakes}

what a crazy, exciting time for our little family! we recently moved to the country, all while anticipating the birth of our third (due in november). we’ve kept ourselves plenty busy during these hot, texas summer days unpacking, decorating, organizing, playing, and having fun in the kitchen.

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since i mentioned the kitchen, i’ll conveniently get to the point: PANCAKES.

finally. a gluten/egg/dairy/refined-sugar free pancake that delivers. most of the recipes i’ve tried (i’ve tried at least 15 or so) are too dense or too chewy: altogether less-than-desirable.

in order to at last have success with a pancake recipe, i had to go back to my old flour-laden days and borrow ideas from what used to be my old standby: good old fashioned pancakes. i made the necessary substitutions, and VOILA! – FLUFFY, TASTY, PERFECT PANCAKES!

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1-1/2 cups of gluten free flour substitute (i make my own: 3/4 cups brown rice flour, 3/4 cups sorghum flour, 1 cup potato starch, and 1 tsp xanthan gum, based on recommendations here – NOTE: this makes over 2 cups of flour, so you’ll have a little left over after making the pancakes)

3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

1-1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 flax egg (mix 3 tablespoons warm water with 1 tablespoon flax meal, let rest for 5-10 minutes until an egg-like consistency develops)

3 tablespoons ghee, melted


whisk dry ingredients together, make well in the center. add wet ingredients, mix with a wooden spoon til nearly smooth (a few lumps are fine). spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto heated griddle (low-medium heat, greased with coconut oil spray), and cook about 1-2 minutes, til browned, on either side.

makes 6-8 pancakes.

these work great with any of your typical toppings (almond butter or sugarless jam) or mix-ins (chocolate chips for a special treat, or blueberries, for instance).


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whole30 and {sweet potato salmon cakes}

since february 1st, i’ve been trying out this whole30 thing. in 20 days, here’s what i’ve experienced:

a horrible “carb-flu” (exhaustion, grumpiness, hunger) for a week followed by…

  • a daily surge of energy
  • elimination of nighttime and sweet cravings
  • a pleasantly full feeling all day
  • better fitting clothes

honestly, it’s been fun to experiment with different recipes and really make sure that each meal counts.

yesterday i found myself desperate for a new lunch idea, and after assessing our pantry and fridge, then browsing blogs for about an hour, i decided to be really brave and try to create my own recipe, although it was based very loosely on this recipe. COCONUT CRUSTED SWEET POTATO SALMON CAKES. with lots of bacon grease. yep, that’s right. hopefully all that grease won’t kill me because it certainly had everything to do with the success of my meal!




1 can salmon (15 oz)

1 baked sweet potato, mashed

2 tsp dijon mustard

1/4-1/2 cup bacon grease (reserve 1-2 tablespoons)

large pinch of salt and pepper

1 egg (an exception in this instance since this recipe was already a bit risky for me)

1/4 cup diced onion

approx. 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes

1-2 tablespoons ghee

heat your reserved bacon grease (1-2 tablespoons) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. add diced onions, and cook until softened.

mix everything from the salmon to the egg in a medium bowl, then add the onions. form into patties, and coat generously with coconut flakes.

melt ghee over medium heat and cook salmon cakes until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

i served mine over a bed of baby kale with grapefruit vinaigrette and sliced avocado and radishes.

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