Category Archives: allergy-friendly

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Zughetti with Mushroom Fennel Pasta Sauce (SCD/GAPS/Paleo)

I was surprised by the interest in this recipe I posted on FB last week.  I figure zucchini pasta is such old news by now as I’ve been making my sun dried tomato and artichoke heart zucchini pasta for about a year and a half (and freaking LOVE it).  Also check out my raw pesto sauce with zucchini and carrot noodles.  Well, turning squash into noodles may be a standard in our house, but it’s not common for everyone.  Anyway, it’s a good reminder that everybody is on a different journey and at different points on their journey.  This recipe is near and dear to my heart.  The meat sauce is based on my Gramie’s pasta sauce recipe.  I love making it because the smells bring me right back into her kitchen.  As you might know from reading my blog, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up and lived with them for many years of my life (in childhood and as a teenager).  And I was exposed to my Gramie’s deep, devout love for food and her passionate cooking and baking (everything was from scratch).  I made a few adjustments from the original pasta sauce recipe, but it’s still wonderful and lovely and if she were still alive today, I have no doubt she would gobble this upand laugh hysterically at these funky little non-pasta noodles.
 Zughetti with Mushroom Fennel Pasta Sauce 
-3 to 4 pounds of zucchini (I do 3 1/2 lbs)

-2 1/4 cups homemade marinara sauce or THIS is my favorite store brand (it’s in a glass jar, organic, and salt free)

-2 pounds ground turkey 
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-1 chopped fennel bulb (1 1/4 cup)
-2 cups chopped mushrooms
-1/4 cup coconut vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
-1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or sub: honey, maple syrup)
-2 tablespoons coconut oil + 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
-1 teaspoons salt + 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon 
-2 teaspoons garlic granules 
-1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and basil (both optional) 
How To:
1.  In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, onions, and fennel and saute 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add in the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 3 minutes. 
2.  Move the onion mixture to the sides of the pan, add the two final tablespoons of coconut oil to the middle of the pan and then add the ground turkey in the middle, chopping it up, browning, and incorporating it with the onion mixture.  
3.  After the meat and onion mixture are well combined and the meat is starting to brown, add in the garlic granules and the final teaspoon of salt.  
4.  Now add in the marinara sauce, the vinegar, and coconut sugar.  Mix everything together, turn down to low, and cover for 20 minutes.
5.  Turn off heat, remove the cover and add in the fresh chopped basil and additional dried spices (optional).
1.  Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil 
2.  While the water is coming to a boil, peel and trim edges off zucchini. Make sure the cuts are straight to work best in the spiralizer.  
3.  Create the zucchini noodles.  I love this gadget or this peeler works too.
4.  Place noodles in the boiling water for 4 minutes (I love the texture at this cook time).
5.  Drain into a colander and allow the water to drain off for 5 or 10 minutes or so (you could also rid excess water by spinning in a salad spinner).  
6. Plate the zucchini noodles (zughetti) and top with the sauce and fresh basil (or parsley). 
Serves 4 to 5

*Try THIS recipe for a nightshade free marinara sauce 
*Vegetarian?  Simply skip the meat and double all the veggies.  I would also add in 2 cups chopped carrots and 1 cup chopped celery.
Fabulous zucchini noodles! 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, GAPS, main dish, Paleo, SCD.


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Monday, June 24, 2013

Raw Nutrient Dense Key Lime Pie Creamsicles (also makes a tasty pudding) SCD/Paleo/GAPS

I’m always looking for new ways to serve not only sweet treats, but healthy sweet treats.  My freezer is usually full of popsicles at the ready.  It gets super hot here in the summer and so they are a necessity.  We usually go with juice based pops, but I love the use of coconut milk or other non-dairy milks for a fun, healthy twist.  I wasn’t sure how my kiddos would respond to theseand yeah, they LOVED them! And mommy loves how much nutrition they get in every cold, sweet and sour bite. 
This also makes a great pudding, you know, kind of like key lime pie without the crust.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours to thicken. 

-1 can (1 1/2 cups) coconut milk this or this 
-1 cup fresh spinach
-1 avocado 
-1/3 cup honey* (vegans use maple syrup or coconut nectar)
-1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

How To:
1.  Add the above ingredients to a blender and blend until well incorporated.  Fill popsicle molds and freeze at least 4 hours.  
2.  I like these popsicle molds which are made with toxic free plastic. 

*Please adjust the sweetness to your preference.  Taste test before and add more as needed.  
*You can also add in some protein powder of your liking for additional nutrition. 
*A banana with 1/4 cup water would add in another fun flavor combination to these pops. 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dessert, GAPS, Paleo, SCD, snacks, summer treats.


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Favorite Chicken Salad ~ With Apples and Fresh Tarragon

I flippen LOVE chicken salad.  Especially with lots of add-ins.  Oh the flavor and texture combination can be magnificent.  And I am one who loves to mash food together. There are no boundaries between food on my plate.  It’s a friendly place.  I will mix everything together on my plate so each bite equally represents each food.  That must be why I love things like chicken salad.  Everything is nicely mixed together and I just love it.  I can eat chicken salad for any meal (yes, even breakfast).  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s super easy and a fantastic way to use up that leftover chicken (see the notes section for additional add-ins).    
Chicken Apple Salad with Fresh Tarragon 

-2 cups shredded chicken*
-1/2 cup dill pickle, small chop
-1/2 cup celery, chopped 
-1/2 cup peeled apple, small chop 
-1/3 cup diced red onion
-1/3 cup mayo ~ here or here vegan or homemade vegan
-1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground mustard (optional) 
-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules 
-1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
-1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried

How To:
1.  To a bowl add in the above ingredients and mix.
2.  Best if made 4 – 6 hours before serving.  

*The best way to “shred”  chicken is in a food processor.  Simply add in the two cups of chicken and give it a whirl.  Personally, I like to cook chicken in the crock-pot, this makes it shred naturally.  So I use leftover crock-pot chicken for my chicken salad.  You could also used cubed chicken, it’s really up to you.  
*There are endless possibilities with chicken salad.  Here are some of my other favorite add-ins: sliced grapes, sweet yellow or red peppers, cucumber, hard boiled egg, radish, green onions, fresh dill, cashews, mango, slivered almonds, walnuts, kalamata olives, bacon, curry spice, or dried cranberries.  Go crazy folks.  

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, gluten free, lunch, snacks, summer cuisine.


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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Right Coconut Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free, nut free, cane-sugar free)

You might remember last month I shared my kitchen epiphany regarding baking.  Well, I’ve been having a grand ole’ time here in the kitchen BAKING and loving it, yes, Amber the “I am soooo not a baker” loves to bake.  Why the change of heart?  Well, things are working out.  Things are happening.  Things are not tasting like dirt and cardboard.  Things are delicious.  


I’m starting off here with basic gluten-free baking (using eggs)vegan gluten-free baking will be my next conquest.  Last month I shared my banana chocolate chip muffins (that I’ve also made into a banana walnut breadsharing soon).  I have to tell you, a couple of my friends have made my banana chocolate chips muffins and like them very much.  My friend Jen tells me she makes a double batch every week. How great is that!  I love it when my recipes are enjoyed by others.  So nice.  

Okay, so these muffins (that really taste like cupcakes) were my latest baking adventure.  I played around with the recipe about four times before I found the PERFECT moist factor.  Last night’s batch was the winning batch.  Yeah.  When I took that first bite, I thought, “ahhh, just right.”  These muffins are so moist, I just can’t get enough.  They are moist, yet light and fluffy.  The sweetness is right-on for me.  BUT, you know I’m not a huge sweet tooth, so make them once yourself and adjust the sweetness as needed the next time.  I think they’re fantastic.  I’m super proud of this recipe.  I hope you try it soon, and perhaps enjoy with a glass of non-dairy milk, such as: almond, hemp, walnut, or macadamia.  
Just Right Coconut Blueberry Muffins 
(gluten free, dairy free, nut free, cane-sugar free)

-2 eggs room temperature (weighing 4.5 ounces in the shell)
-1/2 cup coconut sugar
-1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk (room temperature)
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla or plain stevia
-3/4 cup fresh blueberries 

-100 grams sorghum flour (3/4 cup + 2 level tablespoons)
-100 grams brown rice flour (3/4 cup)
-60 grams tapioca starch/flour (1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon baking powder 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
-1/2 teaspoon salt 

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
1. In a medium bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients.  
2. Next, in a large bowl, add in the eggs, coconut sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and stevia (please make sure everything is room temperature).  Beat on medium with a hand mixer for 30 seconds.  Drizzle in your coconut oil with the beaters running on low.  Beat on medium for 15 seconds.  
3.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix gently until incorporated   Then beat with mixers on medium for 15 seconds.  
4.  Fold in the blueberries.  
5.  Fill batter to the top of the muffin cups.  
6.  Bake for 18 minutes.  
7.  Remove muffin from tin and cool on rack.  
Makes 12 muffins

*Due to the high coconut content in these muffins, they will stay moist at room temperature, but if they get cold, they will become stiff.  It’s warm here in my neck of the woods (high 80s to mid-90s).
*When baking, I suggest following the weight of the ingredients exactly. This might mean investing in a small kitchen scale.  I cannot guarantee results if the recipe is not followed as specified and measurements are not accuratejust sayin’.
*For wet ingredients use only a 1 cup glass Pyrex for measuring.  *For dry, use metal measuring cups.  And when measuring flours, spoon the flours into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife.  Never pack in the flour. 
*The muffins will stay moist for 3 or 4 full days at room temp in a container.  
*Oh, and I only use these large baking muffin cups.

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, nut free, snacks.


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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mini Strawberry "Cheesecakes" ~ Inspired by Chef Amber Shea

Last week on Facebook I shared a recipe by Chef Amber Shea: Cinnamon Swirl Caramel Cheesecake Bars.  These totally blew my mind.  I kid you not, these babies taste like REAL cheesecakeand the texture is spot on.  Needless to say, I have been obsessed with the recipe. So for a family gathering over the weekend, I turned the bars into little mini strawberry “cheesecakes.” I kept most all ingredients the same with the addition of strawberries to the topping (instead of maple syrup and cinnamon).  Amber’s recipe is so very versatile.  You can have fun with it and add in your favorite flavors.  The possibilities are endless.  I urge you to try Amber’s version first, as it’s just delicious!  Thank you Amber for such an amazing, healthy recipe.  
Mini Strawberry “Cheesecakes”
Inspired by and based on: 
(By Chef Amber Shea)


For the crust
-1 1/2 cups almond flour or sunflower seed flour* 
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

For the filling:
-1 cup raw cashews soaked for 2 – 3 hours, drained & rinsed
-1/4 cup honey (vegans, use coconut nectar or maple syrup)
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-4 large ripe strawberries 
-1 tablespoon honey (vegans, use maple syrup, coconut sugar, or coconut nectar) 

1.  Fill a regular sized muffin tin with muffin cups.  
2.  To make the crust, combine the almond flour and salt in a large bowl.  Add in the maple syrup and coconut oil. Using a pastry cutter or large fork, cut/stir the mixture together until it is crumble but just starting to clump together. 
3.  Press down the mixture in the muffin cups, make the crust as thick as you want.  Just make sure there is an equal amount in each cup.  
4.  To make the filling, in a high speed blender (I used a Vitamix, or you can use a food processor as Amber suggests), combine the soaked and drained cashews, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and salt.  Blend to combine.  With the blender running on low speed, pour in the coconut oil in a thin stream, then blend on high until the mixture is completely smooth.  
5. Pour the mixture into the muffin cups all in equal amounts, leaving about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the blender.
6.  To the blender add in 4 large ripe strawberries and blend together with the mixture until smooth.  Top off the muffin cups with this strawberry mixture.  
7.  Place the muffin tin in the dehydrator or 4 hours at 105 degrees.  OR as Amber suggests (and what I do) is leave out on the countertop for 5 to 8 hours.  Then transfer to fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.  I like to leave out at room temp for about 10 minutes before serving. 

*To make sunflower seed flour, simply add about 2 cups raw sunflower seeds to a food processor and blend until well ground and BEFORE it turns into sunflower seed butter.  I used sunflower seed flour as the base, as almond flour is difficult for me to digest.  But I’ve made this recipe with almond flour too, and I actually prefer the taste of the almond flour.  So I would go with the almond flour if you can digest it.  

This is how I served the little cheesecakes!  I blended up about 8 strawberries with 1 tablespoon of honey and drizzled over the top.  I finished with fresh blueberries.  EVERYONE was raving about these puppies.  I hope you try them soon.  
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, raw.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce (gluten and dairy free)

Do you have a favorite food?  Mine is, hands down,  Mexican.  It’s been a favorite for years, and it was an easy transition food when I went dairy and gluten free.  And living here in California we are spoiled with amazing Mexican restaurants.  The Mexican culture is also a big part of our lives, as our children are in Spanish Immersion school (learning this great language that is so prominent here in California).  While I would not consider myself a creator of traditional Mexican dishes, the basic spices and staples of the cultural food inspired me greatly.  I reserve two nights a week for something Mexican inspired and with the help of so many amazing gluten and dairy subs these days, it’s easy to create something satisfying and delicious.  I hope you enjoy this fun spin on enchiladas.  
Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce 

-16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa.  We like this one
-Daiya non-dairy shredded cheddar cheese*

For Chicken Mixture 
-2 large cooked chicken breast shredded or well chopped up (great use for leftovers)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow pepper (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups squash – I used a mix of leftover butternut and sweet potato.  (You can use any leftover veggie you have in the fridge.  Or just skip if you don’t have anything).
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon garlic granules
-Oil for the saute 

For the Enchilada Sauce
-8 ounces Anaheim peppers, seeded and veins removed (this is where the heat it)
-1 cup chopped yellow onion
-1/4 teaspoons salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt 
-1 1/2 cups filtered water
-1/2 teaspoon cumin 
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules 
-2 tablespoons oil 
-Salt and pepper to taste

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

1.  Anytime that day, preferably before you start making the enchiladas, roast the Anaheim peppers for the enchilada sauce. In a 8×8 glass Pyrex (or favorite roasting dish).  Combine the seeded and de-veined Anaheim peppers, onions, oil, and 1/4 teaspoons salt and toss the ingredients together.  Roast, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (or until you start to see some browning and roasting action).  After the peppers are roasted, remove and set aside until you are ready to make the sauce.

2. Start now by sauteing the 1 1/2 cups of onions and 1 1/2 cups yellow peppers in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of oil and a dash of salt.  While this is sauteing, work on the chicken mixture.

3.  In a large bowl, add in the chopped (or shredded chicken), vegenaise, salt, and garlic granules.  Mix.  

4.  Return to the onion/pepper saute and add in your cooked squash to warm through.  Then add in this entire sauteed mixture to the chicken mixture and mix thoroughly. 

5.  Now build your enchiladas in a 13×9 glass Pyrex (see instructions and pictures below)

6.  Finally, make your enchilada sauce.  To a blender, add in all the roasted Anaeim peppers and onions.  Add in the 1 1/2 cups filtered water, 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Blend on high until mixture is smooth.  Now it’s important to check for spice and add in more salt, cumin, garlic granules, or pepper if needed.  Then pour a generous amount of the enchilada sauce on the enchiladas, making sure to get it all around the sides.  

7.  Baked covered for 45 minutes.  Since I don’t use foil in my kitchen, I simply cover with a stainless steel baking sheet.  Allow enchiladas to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.  Serves 6.

*Top with dairy free sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, or cilantro.
*I understand that Daiya cheese is not for everyone, so just use real cheese if you can have it, or just omit.  It’s not necessary for this dish to turn out.  It simple adds a cheese-like flavor that my kids love.
Chicken mixture 
Saute mixture
Chicken and saute mixture becomes friends 

How to Assemble

1.  Spread 1/4 cup salsa with some oil on the bottom of the dish
2.  Add in tortillas 
3.  Spread around 1/3 of the chicken mixture
4.  Add some cheese 
5.  Add some Salsa 
6.  Place two more tortillas in the dish
7.  1/3 of the Chicken
8.  Cheese
9.  Salsa 
Then tortillas, chicken, cheese
I layered 3 times for a total of 8 tortillas used
Top everything with the two remaining tortillas and pour on enchilada sauce (I don’t use all of it, but I do drench the dish with it so the top and all sides are covered.  This sauce thickens and firms up when cooking, so you won’t have a sloppy mess – it’s okay to add in lot of sauce.  

Here is the top.  
At this point, pour on your enchilada sauce
Here we are fresh out of the oven
Here is what it looks like cut
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, gluten free, main dish.


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Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free)

It seems I’ve had it all wrong.  You see, I tried to perfect gluten free vegan baking before I was successful in simply gluten free baking!  I have plenty of experience with traditional baking from years of helping my baking-extraordinaire Gramie bake everything from apple pie to German chocolate cake (from scratch).  But for me, attempting to perfect gluten free vegan baking first was not the best order of things.  Especially for someone who never really loved to bake as an adult.  Case in point – it took me nearly 4 months to feel comfortable sharing my gluten free vegan chocolate cake recipe after making it like 15 times, and I am STILL tweaking it here and there.  Blasted baking.  If you follow my blog you know I’m not a huge baker and don’t really enjoy it.  And now please allow me to reframe that thought.  I did not really enjoy baking until I made these muffins.  For the first time I think I felt what avid bakers feel: exhilaration.  I created a baked good that was fantastic and it workedit actually worked, and tasted awesome!! What a rush.  Anyway, I do believe I have fallen in love (in a big way) with baking.  I plan on experimenting much more with gluten free baking and bulking up that sorry excuse of a baking section on my recipe page.  I hope you try this recipe.  Especially if you’re new to gluten free baking, this will be a great starter recipe for you.  Listen, if I can do it, you can FOR SURE do it.  I promise.  Be sure to read over my notes below before you get going.  Salud.
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins 


-10 ounces of peeled banana (about 3 largish bananas)
-1/2 cup coconut sugar (3.0 ounces)
-2 room temp eggs (weighing 4.5 ounces with shell)
-3 tablespoons full fat canned coconut milk
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia

-80 grams sorogum flour (3/4 cup)
-100 grams brown rice flour (3/4 cup)
-60 grams tapioca starch (1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon baking power 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if you can’t use xanthan gum, try 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk instead). 
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional, these contain cane-sugar).  I like mine with chopped walnuts. 

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
1.  In a bowl add in the banana and mash it around for a bit with a fork until it’s a wet mixture.  Then add in all the other wet ingredients and mix everything with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) for 45 seconds on medium speed.
2.  In another bowl, add in the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and whisk everything together until everything is well incorporated.  
3.  In small batches, add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue mixing with the hand mixer.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.  The batter will be somewhat think.    
4.  Add in the chocolate chips and stir by hand.  
5.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.  The muffins will rise quite a bit here, so don’t over fill them.  This recipe makes 12- 14 muffins (depending on how full you make the cups).
6.  Top muffins with chopped walnuts and coconut sugar 
7.  Bake for 18 minutes on the middle rack.  
8.  Remove the muffins from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack.  

*When baking, I suggest following the weight of the ingredients exactly (even the banana).  This might mean investing in a small kitchen scale.  I cannot guarantee results if the recipe is not followed as specified and measurements are not accuratejust sayin’.
*For wet ingredients use only a 1 cup glass Pyrex for measuring.  *For dry, use metal measuring cups.  And when measuring flours, spoon the flours into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife.  Never pack in the flour. 
*The muffins will stay moist for 3 or 4 full days at room temp in a container.  
*Oh, and I only use these large baking muffin cups.

  These muffins are incredibly light, yet moist.  They have been taste tested many times (and by traditional eaters) with rave reviews.  I’m very proud of this recipe and I hope your family enjoys it too! 
Coconut butter tastes fabulous on top of these puppies 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, snacks.


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Healthy Sunflower-Hemp Seed Granola Bites – A Great Afternoon Snack for Mamma (gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free)

One of my favorite sweet recipes on my blog is the SCD “caramel” sauce.  It has a wonderful deep flavor, so creamy and (in my opinion) very rich.  I use this sauce as the base in my SCD “granola” bars.  The sauce works great, as it really holds everything together quite nicely.  I figured this sauce would also work great with oats, and it sure did.  Last month I made Shirley’s granola cookie bites.  She inspired me with these little morsels. I like how she made bites instead of bars.  Bars can be hard to form sometimes and often don’t stay together.  And it all tastes the same, so why not make it easy.  So I gathered some of my favorite dry ingredients and added it to the caramel sauce and voila, healthy little granola bites were born.  My husband is addicted to these.  My kids love them too.  They are almost too sweet for me, but I have a very low tolerance to sweet, so I prefer these with cranberries instead of chocolate chips.  These are the perfect mid-afternoon snack for us mommies (you know, around that 3:30 time when the tummy starts rumbling for a little something).   The ingredients are simple and healthy.  I hope you’ll give these little granola bites a try.  They will satisfy mommies…and kids alike.

Healthy Sunflower-Hemp Seed Granola Bites - A Great Afternoon Snack for Mamma (gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free)
Recipe type: Snacks, Desserts
  • 4 ounces seeded Medjool dates (7 dates), soaked for 3 hours*
  • 3 tablespoons honey (vegans, maple syrup is a great sub here)
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups gluten free oats
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • -1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. To a food processor, add soaked and drained dates, honey, cashew butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Blend for 90 seconds. While the food processor is running, drizzle in the coconut milk. Blend until everything is well incorporated.
  3. In a bowl, add the oats, chocolate chips, sunflower, hemp, and chia seeds. Mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients from the food processor to the dry ingredients. Mix well and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. With a spring scoop, make little balls and place on a baking sheet with a non-stick surface. Make sure to really pack the mixture in the scoop. Use your hands if necessary. Get a little dirty. It's fun.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer the bites to a cooling rack.
  7. Makes 24 granola bites. I recommend making two batches at a time. Enjoy.
*I've made these using soaked and dehydrated oats and sunflower seeds. They are equally tasty. The color is more gray-ish and the texture is softer.
*Please soak dates for the time recommended. I cannot guarantee the same results if the soaking time is not as noted in directions.


Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cane sugar free, cookies, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, snacks.


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Delightful Vegan Double Chocolate Cake (free of: gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, and cane-sugar) – with a VIDEO

Last week I shared my trip to the East Coast.  It was all amazing.  But there is one thing I just CANNOT get out of my head: Babycakes.  It was there in that small, cramped, ridiculously cute and hip little bakery I fell in love with chocolate cake.  Yes, we are in love and it’s going greatalthough we haven’t seen each other since May.  Humhow to see more of this chocolate cake?  This long distance thing is NOT working out.  So I set out on a mission.  Recreate this moist, fluffy, delicious cake at home.  Now I know Babycakes has a cookbook, but I thought this would be a great learning experience and baking challenge.  You see, I’m NOT a baker (it’s not something I particularly enjoy).  But I plan on changing this.  So this non-baker is ready for the challenge: to make the perfect dairy-free, gluten-free, cane-sugar free, vegan chocolate cake.  Well my friends, after much trial and error, this non-baker did it (can I call myself a baker? perhaps after I perfect my grain free baking).  At any rate, I am pleased to share with you: my very own chocolate cake recipe.  And it’s everything I love about chocolate cake (er, or cake in general), everything I never knew I loved.  I’m no chocoholic (like my sweet husband) but I will say this cake makes my toes curl up a little.  I’ve baked this thing about 15 times (no joke) and the last 3 batches came out perfectly consistent, so I feel confident sharing the recipe.  I wanted to make sure the recipe was precise with exact measurements.  Please follow my notes too, as this will ensure a superior cake.  I’m very proud of this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it too.  Tastes fab with a cold glass of dairy-free milk (such as my homemade walnut milk).  Cheers.  
~See below for chocolate cake making video~

P.S.  Nine people taste tested different variations of this recipe (and yes, I even printed out questionnaires regarding the texture, sweetness, chocolaty-ness, etc.).  The below recipe was the favorite, and overall, the taste testers claimed they could barely tell this cake from traditional chocolate cake (taste testers also favored frosting #2).  

Delightful Vegan Double Chocolate Cake


Dry Ingredients (please see notes below about weighing flours)
-1/2 cup (55 grams) garbanzo/fava bean flour  
-1/2 cup (60 grams) (1/2 cup) sorghum flour 
-1/3 cup (40 grams) (1/3 cup) tapioca starch
-1/2 cup (50 grams) raw cacao powder 
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon GF baking powder 
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) xanthan gum
-1/4 teaspoon salt 

Wet Ingredients (please see notes below about measuring wet ingredients)
-1/2 cup room temp maple syrup (I recommend grade B)*
-2/3 cup room temperature unsweetened applesauce 
-1/2 cup liquid coconut oil  
-2/3 cup hot water (just before it starts to boil)
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia 

How To:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Prepare cake pans by oiling and dusting with flour (I use coconut oil or grapeseed and sorghum flour for dusting  – or you can use parchment paper, but I prefer the oil/four method.  I DO NOT recommend using a glass pan.  If you do use a glass pan use baking parchment paper for the bottom to prevent sticking.  A regular non-stick cake pan is recommended and I’ve only made this recipe in non-stick pans. 
3.  In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients  
4.  In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients
5.  SIFT dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until well combined (do not over mix).  The batter will become thick, this is normal.  Scoop batter into cake pan and spread out with silicone spatchula.  Tap down pans to even out batter. 
6.  Baking instructions: 
-For two 9″ cake pans filled with one batch of batter, bake for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out dry). You may need to bake 3 to 5 minutes longer in the wet, winter months.  Check at 20 minutes and continue on from there.    
-For one 9″ cake pan filled with one batch of batter, bake 20  – 25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out dry). Bake up to 28 minutes in the wet, winter months. Check at 20 minutes and go continue from there.  
-For cupcakes, bake 20 – 25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out dry).  Bake a little longer (maybe 2 or 3 minutes) in the wet winter months. When cupcakes come out of the oven, immediately remove the paper cups and cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.  
7.  Allow cakes to cool on cooling rack for 30 – 45 minutes

-The recipe in this post will yield 15 cupcakes, or 1 round cake which would be just a single layer (baked in one 9 inch cake pan), or two single layer cakes (which is the double layer shown in the pictures – the batch is obviously split between two 9 inch cake pans). 

Frosting #1:

-2 very ripe avocados 
-3/4 cup raw cacao powder 
-1/2 cup maple syrup + 10 drops liquid stevia (adjust sweetness to taste)
-1/3 cup melted coconut oil

How To:
1.  Mix all ingredients in a food processor until creamy, smooth and well incorporated.  Frost cake.  This frosting yields enough for two layers (the above recipe baked in two 9 inch cake pans).

Frosting #2:

-1/3 cup vegetable shortening
-1/3 cup grade B maple syrup (or more to taste)
-1/4 cup liquid coconut oil 
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-5 – 10 drop liquid stevia (to taste)
-1/2 cup (40 grams) raw cacao powder 

How To:
1.  Add ingredients to a food processor and blend until well incorporated.  Frost cake.  This frosting yields enough for one layer of cake (the above recipe baked in one 9 inch cake pan).
2.  Place in fridge to firm up frosting if need be.

Recipe Notes:
*I cannot guarantee results of this recipe if flour weights and liquid measurements are not followed exactly.  Just sayin…!
*I highly recommend weighing the flours.  This will ensure a superior cake.  Being off with the flour too much or too little will compromise the texture of the cake.  So PLEASE invest in a scale with grams and ounces.  
*Please ONLY use a glass Pyrex measuring cup when measuring liquids.  Do not use tin measuring cups, as there is a big difference in these measurements.  I’ve also included liquid measurements in grams for accuracy.   

Single Layer with shortening frosting:

Double Layer with avocado frosting:

Cupcakes with avocado frosting:

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free WednesdaysGluten Free WednesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Wellness WeekendFight Back FridayFresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Friday FoodWhole Foods Friday, My Birthday Pot Luck Party Friday, Allergy-Friendly FridaysSweet Saturday, 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, dessert, egg free, gluten free, vegan.


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Allergy-Friendly Camping Cuisine (with s’mores of course) + Happy Birthday To Me!!

I LOVE camping.  I grew up camping – it’s in my blood.  My happiest memories in life are of being out in nature, singing around a campfire, playing for hours in a creek, fishing, hiking, lazy afternoon naps in a tent with a cool mountain breeze wafting around me…ahhhh.  Thinking about it makes me instantly happy and calm.  We took the kids camping last week in celebration of my 35th birthday.  We had a great time.  I was a busy bee cooking/baking, but over the years I’ve become accustomed to all this preparation.  I hope these recipes and food ideas are helpful for your next camping trip (allergy-friendly style).  

First up: S’mores.  
A MUST when camping. 
(these were amazing – they melted nicely and were ooey-gooey)
(these are the perfect chocolates for evening s’mores, caffeine free so the kiddos have a good night sleep)
(there are so many recipes out there to choose from)
S’mores – yes please.
I tried my hand at some grain free SCD graham crackers before we left.  I was sort of in a hurry (after alll my cooking, I was tired) so I googled “grain free graham crackers” for some ideas and literally threw this recipe together (I didn’t write anything down).  The recipe was…okay.  Certainly not blog worthy, but they did the job and held the good stuff in.
Next: allergy-friendly breads – and hot dog buns.
Another MUST when camping.  
Here is a list of homemade and store bought food items we enjoyed on this camping trip
7.  Chocolate Milk
8.  Slow-Cooker Curry Chicken
11.  Tomatoes and zucchini from our garden
From the store:
7.  Fresh Organic Local Eggs
9.  Bananas, Apples & Nectarines
12.  Mustard & Vegan Mayo 
13.  Dried sugar & sulfur free cranberries
14.  Carrot & Celery Sticks
Here are some pictures of our fun time:
   Mommy playing some guitar – a MUST when camping.  
My sweet husband
My mountain girl
There was a lovely creek running through our camp site.
We had fun playing in the refreshing, cool water.
Mountain Mommy!
I feel my happiest in nature, especially near tall, beautiful, delicious smelling pine trees.  So healing.
 Here are a few pictures of me on my birthday
(35 years baby- woot!)  Here’s to many, many more happy, healthy years to come.
I’m an avid thrifter, and I found this super cute dress and belt while thrifting with my best girlfriend, Moe.  We are thrift store/garage sale addicts! Moe is my lucky charm, as I always find cute stuff and great deals when we’re together (plus she is really good at haggling).
My sweet-pea son, Ethan
 My sweet-pea daughter, Sky
And check out my birthday cake!!

(yes, I made my own birthday cake)
Thanks to Jenni at The Urban Poser for this great recipe.
It was amazing.

Shared on: Whole Foods Friday

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dessert, SCD, summer cuisine, summer treats.


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