Paleo Gingerbread Men Cookies

These paleo gingerbread men were roll-out-able and deliciously soft, whether warm or cool. They had all of the gingerbread flavors we loved, and no gums or complicated ingredients.

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Healthy Cranberry Orange Gelatin – Quick and Easy Dessert

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

On a recent trip to Dollar General (outside of San Antonio) for some supplies for a holiday recipe, we were inspired by the cranberry jelly. Every Thanksgiving, I grew up having a wobbly cranberry sauce that slid from a can onto a serving dish…and it was pretty tasty. But I wanted to make something a little more than that fo rmy kids.

I already had cranberry jelly at home, and since we were about to leave to drive to Florida, I didn’t want to stock up on more pantry goods, so I used what I already had. Still, the recipe should work with DG cranberry jelly too, or whatever kind you like.

One of the snacks my kids like to have sometimes is those little mandarin oranges in a jar. (Some Dollar General stores carry them in juice like what we buy, but others only have the “light syrup” kind… so double check yours.) Since I do get the kind in juice, I like to use the juice versus throwing it out… we almost never actually buy bottles of juice, so it is a treat, and those jars of mandarin oranges, while affordable, are far more expensive than fresh fruit. So I want to use every bit.

Often, I just end up making gelatin from the juice. My kids both love it, and I’m happy that they’re getting all of the goodness of grass-fed gelatin. Great for joints, nails, hair, really healing, and protein sparing!

So I decided to combine that idea with the cranberry jelly I already had. They (and my husband) ate the whole thing that night. So I’d say it was a success.

Healthy Cranberry Orange Gelatin – Quick and Easy Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cranberry jelly
  • 1 cup of juice from mandarin oranges
  • 3 Tbsp gelatin
  • mandarin oranges

Method:

  1. Warm the cranberry jelly gently, until melted and warm throughout, but not boiling.
  2. Stir in the powdered gelatin until dissolved.
  3. Pour the juice into the cranberry mixture, and stir until combined.
  4. Place in a container (all I had was a tupperware type thing, since we’re on the road) in the fridge to set for a while.
  5. When the gelatin dessert is set, dip the container into hot water to loosen, then flip onto a dish.
  6. Garnish with mandarin oranges, and cut to serve.

I hope your family likes this as much as my family did!

Thanks for the inspiration, Dollar General !

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Coconut Oil Fudge

I had heard somewhere about eating more coconut oil in order to raise the fat content of your breastmilk, so I thought I would try it out. That was a couple of days ago, and the fudge I made has been really delicious, but I’ve read some more stuff since then… basically saying raising the fat content of your breast milk isn’t something you can control through diet (but trying to get more hindmilk through breast compressions, nursing/pumping more often or nursing/pumping for longer are strategies you can use). HOWEVER, it seems that the types of fats you eat are directly reflected in the types/ratios of fats found in your breast milk. And coconut oil with its medium-chain fatty acids is a fantastic fat to include.

The medium-chain fatty acids are used really easily by the body, which doesn’t have to break them down as much as long-chain fats, and coconut oil specifically has antiviral and antibacterial properties which can mean less sickness too.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that lactating mothers who eat coconut oil and other coconut products, have significantly increased levels of lauric acid and capric acid in their breast milk, creating milk rich in health promoting nutrients. Coconut oil is easy for an infant’s immature digestive system to absorb and utilize. It also provides energy in the form of medium chain fatty acids to help the baby grow and develop properly.

According to the research, when a lactating woman adds foods rich in lauric acid to her diet, the amount of lauric acid available in her breast milk increases substantially to levels three times the original level and nearly double the amount of capric acid. A single meal of coconut oil can significantly affect the breast milk fatty acid compositions for 1 to 3 days with the maximum increase occurring during the first 10 hours. This data supports the hypothesis that diet directly affects the quality of human milk and possibly the womb environment.

-from ModernMom.com

That is, if you need an excuse to eat yummy chocolate goodies. You might not need the excuse though.

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I tried making this a couple of different ways. First, by melting the coconut oil and dissolving everything into it before freezing to set. The second batch, I tried to make it have a fluffier texture by “whipping” the oil first in my stand mixer. I preferred the denser, but smoother version.

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Coconut Oil Fudge Recipe

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Melt your coconut oil.
  2. Stir in an equal amount of cocoa powder.
  3. Add honey to taste. The amount you add depends on how bitter or sweet you want your fudge to be. I added about 1/4 cup, for 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
  4. Stir in a bit of vanilla bean paste or extract.
  5. Sprinkle some salt into the mixture. Just a bit. But don’t leave it out.
  6. Stir well. You don’t want lumps or “pockets.”
  7. Pour into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. I used parchment the first time (I have a love affair with parchment) but the plastic wrap worked just as well and was easier to line the loaf pan with.
  8. Place the pan flat in your freezer, and wait until the fudge is hard.
  9. Cut apart with a sharp knife, and store in a container in the freezer. Because coconut oil has a pretty low melting point, if you leave it out, you’ll probably have a puddle in a couple of hours.
  10. Eat it straight from the freezer, cold.

Anneliese’s Birthday Cake

Anneliese’s birthday is at the end of July, and that means Summer is in full-swing and berries are busting out all over (well, here in Central California anyway!) My girl is a huge fan of fruit, so last year when she turned 1, I sought out a grain-free strawberry cake. I ended up making a variation of Elana’s Coconut Flour Strawberry Cupcakes, which were wonderful (with a homemade marshmallow frosting)! This year for her birthday, Anneliese asked for a Big! Cake! so I decided to translate the recipe to a double layer cake, and hope the texture stayed consistent. It worked fantastically.

Instead of making marshmallow frosting this year, I decided to go with a less-sweet (but still sugary — don’t get me wrong!) cream cheese frosting from Not So Humble Pie. Be sure to click over there and drool at her cinnamon rolls too. The frosting is delicious and not sickeningly sweet, and it pipes beautifully, helping me to actually make a cake that’s pretty for once in my life!

I mean, have you seen my cakes?? They’re often just passable… very frequently not frosted at all… or really freaking ridiculous (I actually really like that one). Oh wait! I did make a pretty cake, ONCE (Back in 2008).

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So, this cake… (Don’t worry. Printable recipe is at the bottom.)

Sift together coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda in one bowl. In another bowl, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla bean paste until combined, then add to the dry ingredients. It’s going to be a really thick batter like this. DON’T FREAK OUT. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

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Get a bunch of strawberries, then slice them so they don’t roll away.

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Then cut them into little teeny pieces. I just run my chef’s knife through them a bunch of times in different directions. It works swell.

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Do that until you have a whole bunch of strawberry pieces. And dump them into the batter.

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Combine until well incorporated. The strawberries add more moisture and make the batter a bit “looser” but it’s still very thick. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

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Prepare two 9” cake pans by buttering the sides, and laying parchment paper on the bottom. Then, (not pictured) divide the batter between the pans. I smooth it toward the sides with a spatula, and then bang it on the counter really hard to flatten it out nicely. I do this with a lot of my grain free baked goods and it works really well.

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Bake them until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake is just starting to pull away from the edges of the pans.

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Let the cakes cool in the pans for at least an hour, then loosen the edges with a knife and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack or whatever you want them on. I wanted mine on a cutting board for frosting and decorating.

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Once your frosting is made, grab a spoon and eat it , find a spatula. An offset metal spatula would probably be your best tool, but I’m not that fancy yet, so I used a silicone spatula and a metal butter knife, alternating.

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I put one of my cakes upside down, so the top would be perfectly flat, and spread a thin layer of frosting on it.

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Then add the other cake, right side up, and you have kind of a giant oreo type thing going on. With the flat sides together, there was no trimming involved, and they stick together perfectly.

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Then decorate it. You guys, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to decorating cakes. I just slapped frosting all over the thing, then added strawberry pieces and piped the rest of the frosting around to make it pretty. My piping bag is a super-fancy freezer ziploc bag (don’t use a sandwich bag. They explode.) with the very tip of a corner cut off. I do have like 3 actual piping tips, so I screwed on the one with the biggest opening and went to town.

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I felt inordinately proud of myself for pulling off the “slice a strawberry but not all the way and fan it out” decoration in the center of the cake.

Plus, this cake is really good. The actual cake part has a really nice honey flavor, and the cream cheese frosting makes it almost like eating a strawberry cheesecake. Almost.

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4 from 1 vote
Author: Joyful Abode (Adapted from Elana's Pantry & Not So Humble Pie)
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
  • Butter or oil for pans
Frosting
  • 16 oz cream cheese room temperature, 2 blocks
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream cold
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift together coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla bean paste until well combined.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add your strawberries and mix again.
  6. Prepare two 9" cake pans by buttering the sides, and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
  7. Divide batter between the pans and spread evenly. Pound them on the counter a few times to level everything. (Really.)
  8. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Frosting
  1. In your electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Remove the cream to another bowl if you don't have 2 mixer bowls (I don't). Don't worry about cleaning the bowl or the whisk though.
  2. Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture, and beat JUST to combine. If you overbeat it it will loose its fluff and no one wants that.
  4. Frost your cake.
Recipe Notes

Frozen or dried strawberries won't work.
Coconut flour recipes sometimes vary depending on humidity. If you live in a very humid area, consider adding a litttttle bit more coconut flour, or try cooking a bit longer.
Cool in the pans at least an hour before removing.

 

Salted Caramel / Butter Toffee Potato Chips Recipe


p>I recently tried out an idea I had had floating around in my head for a LONG time… a way to make homemade potato chips in the style of Baked Lay’s or Pringles. With the help of my awesome immersion blender and my amazing dehydrator with the non-stick sheets, I did it.

And it worked WONDERFULLY. So now I’m trying out flavor ideas, and posting the successes for you! I’ll add links to the flavor combos at the bottom of the original Homemade Baked Lay’s Recipe post, so you can check back there for other new ones as they go up!

Salted Caramel is one of the best flavor combos out there…Deliciously sweet-and-salty. And in potato chip form? It’s like the thinnest wafer of butter toffee… soooo good.

The original Homemade Baked Lay’s Potato Chips Recipe post has step-by-step pictures, if you’re interested in more detail. Here, I’ll just include the recipe for this flavor.

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Salted Caramel / Butter Toffee Potato Chips Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup water (hot water, so the sugar can dissolve more easily)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • “Big salt” for sprinkling. I used Kosher salt

Method:

  1. Cook the potato however you’d like. I pierced it several times and threw them in the microwave together for about 6 minutes. Let cool, and peel.
  2. Chop up the potato, and put into a bowl along with the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT for the salt.
  3. Use an immersion blender to combine everything into a creamy potato paste.
  4. With a spatula, smooth the potato paste over non-stick dehydrator sheets (If you don’t have them, you can use parchment paper cut to size). You want to make this as thin as you can without making holes in it. I got 2 trays’ worth out of this recipe.
  5. LIGHTLY sprinkle with your big salt. A little goes a long way.
  6. Insert your trays into the dehydrator, and turn it on to 145 degrees.
  7. After about 4-6 hours, flip over the “big chips” and return to the dehydrator for several more hours.
  8. When they’re completely dry, remove the “big chips” to cool. This doesn’t take long.
  9. When the chips are cool and crisp, break them up into smaller chips.
  10. Store in an air-tight container and eat within a day or two.

Tip:

If they get a bit “bendy” you can throw them back into the dehydrator for a few hours, but they’ll be best when they’re fresh. Remember: YOUR chips don’t have any nasty preservatives in them.

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I hope you enjoy your chips! If you like this recipe, please  pin it, share it on facebook or twitter, or email the link to a friend. I REALLY appreciate when people spread the word about my blog!

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, please do! I’ll have some more great chip recipes up soon, along with all of my other usual kick-assery. And don’t forget to check back at the original chip post for links to other recipes as I try them out.

Grain-Free Microwave Cake with Raspberry Sauce

On Father’s Day, my husband asked for “something sweet.” And after I looked through lots of recipe books, and asked him “What about this? What about that?” He finally told me, “One of those mug cakes you do in the microwave would work just fine. I didn’t mean anything complicated.” So I made us mug cakes.

The next night, he asked for another mug cake. Of course, I wanted one too. But instead of mixing up two separate ones, I decided to see if I could make a quick microwave cake that was several servings. It’s quicker than preheating the oven, and waiting however many minutes for the cake to bake, and it worked great. We ate it with homemade raspberry sauce leftover from Saturday’s waffle breakfast.

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Grain-Free Gluten-Free Microwave Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, or xylitol
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp water

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients well, until batter is smooth. I mixed right in the pie dish.
  2. Microwave about 4-6 minutes or until risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Frost or serve with freshly whipped cream, fresh fruit, or warm fruit sauce.

 

Grain-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze

I’ve been so excited about my new donut pan! I even have another one on the way, and even ordered the mini-donut pan too. There’s just something about baked confections with a hole in the middle! Why are they so fun??

So my Mother-in-law is in town this weekend, and since both kids were napping at the same time, I decided to make some donuts. But she isn’t a fan of coconut. A request for chocolate donuts later, and…

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Grain-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts

Donut Ingredients:

Donut Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for dark chocolate in a bowl until well-blended (I used my stand mixer with whisk attachment).
  3. Gently stir in the dark chocolate. Let the batter sit for a while. (Coconut flour recipes generally benefit from this because it allows the flour to absorb more, and it’ll give a less grainy texture to the finished product.)
  4. Fill your donut pan with the batter. The original recipe and the pan instructions say 2/3 full, but I filled them all the way… I just made sure to scrape off the “hole” part so they would have nice holes in the middle. I got 12 donuts out of this recipe, which means I had to do them in 2 batches (but when I get my second donut pan, I can do them all at once).
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Allow donuts to cool in the pan about 10 minutes before removing.
  7. Remove donuts and dip the tops in the vanilla glaze.
  8. Eat right away, allow the glaze to “set.

 

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Vanilla Donut Glaze

Glaze Ingredients:

Glaze Method:

  1. Combine the ingredients and mix well.
  2. Gently heat in a double-boiler or microwave at half-power until the glaze is warm and thin enough to dip your donuts in it. There is actually a spot on my stove that gets hot when the oven is on (in the center back) and I just set my bowl of glaze there, stirring occasionally as the donuts baked.
  3. Dip tops of cooled donuts in the glaze, and place on a tray to set for a few minutes.

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Grain-Free Triple-Coconut Delight Donuts

I’m a giant Pinterest fan, and when I saw this donut recipe, I had to re-pin it even though I didn’t have a donut pan. But the idea of donuts was sowed in my mind, and I couldn’t stop thinking of them… so I ordered this donut pan (recommended by my twitter friends), and now the donut-seed in my mind has come to fruition. These grain-free triple-coconut delight donuts are husband-approved, and really quick to whip up.

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Why triple-coconut? Because they’re made with coconut flour, dried coconut, and coconut oil (My favorite place to get ALL of those coconut products is here – everything is tested and glyphosate/round-up-free). And the flavor is delightfully coconutty without any of that weird fake “imitation coconut extract” flavor. Because that’s coconut you’re tasting.

I will be making them again.

Here’s the recipe, with my changes (of course… I can hardly make anything as-is) and thoughts.

Grain-Free Triple-Coconut Delight Donuts

Donut Ingredients:

Donut Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well-blended (I used my stand mixer with whisk attachment). Let the batter sit for a while. (Coconut flour recipes generally benefit from this because it allows the flour to absorb more, and it’ll give a less grainy texture to the finished product.)
  3. Fill your donut pan with the batter. The original recipe and the pan instructions say 2/3 full, but I filled them all the way… I just made sure to scrape off the “hole” part so they would have nice holes in the middle. I got 10 donuts out of this recipe, which means I had to do them in 2 batches (and may invest in another donut pan soon).
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Allow donuts to cool in the pan about 10 minutes before removing.
  6. Remove donuts and dip the tops in the coconut glaze.
  7. Eat right away, or refrigerate to help “set” the glaze.

Glaze Ingredients:

Glaze Method:

  1. Dump some coconut oil in a bowl.
  2. Dump in some powdered sugar.
  3. Stir well.
  4. You want it to look like a runny frosting, and taste like sweet coconutty goodness. Add more oil or sugar if needed to get to this point.

Joseph’s Grain-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Birth Day Cake

Since I kept torturing people with photos of this cake on twitter and instagram…

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I’ve been asked about a zillion times “WHAT IS THAT CAKE!?!” followed by “I MUST MAKE IT AND PUT IT IN MY MOUTH NOWWW!”

Well it’s really really good.

This is the cake I was GOING to make while in labor with Joseph, but that didn’t quite happen… So I made it a few days later (I think he was 3 days old), while Joey slept in a sling.

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Before Joseph was born, I decided to try out a different chocolate cake recipe. This one comes from Elana’s Pantry, with some changes because I don’t use all of the same ingredients she does. Topher and I liked it a lot, and I decided to go ahead and make it Joey’s birth day cake.

Elana’s Chocolate Cake (My Way)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup xylitol dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Butter for pans

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift together coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In the stand mixer, blend together eggs, honey, and xylitol-water. Drizzle in the coconut oil while still mixing. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the mixer a bit at a time, until everything is combined.
  5. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Be generous.
  6. Pour the batter into the two pans and smack them on the counter a few times to make sure the batter is even and there aren’t bubbles in it. Or just because that’s what I do when I make cakes…
  7. Bake 35ish minutes. Possibly a bit longer, but with coconut flour cakes, I tend to err on the side of less. A toothpick should come out clean when poked in the middle.
  8. Let the cakes cool in the pans all the way, and they’ll come out easily when you need to frost them.

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What’s that between the layers and on top? Why that would be my friend Joni’s amazing peanut butter frosting (blogged by my other friend Erin). Except that I used less sugar, and cream instead of milk (because I had it and I love cream, not because I’m anti-milk), and it was quite the yum.

It’s easy.

To-Die-For Peanut Butter Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • a couple “glugs” of cream (until the frosting is the texture you like)

Method:

  1. Toss the first three ingredients into the mixer and whisk until combined and creamy.
  2. Add some cream and continue mixing until it’s smooth and spreadable and delicious.

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And that chocolate on the top and the edges? (I’m no frosting expert… please excuse the mess.) That’s my easy microwave dark chocolate ganache.

Dark Chocolate Ganache in the Microwave

Ingredients:

  • a few Tablespoons butter
  • a cup or so of dark chocolate chips, or chopped dark chocolate
  • cream

Method:

  1. Microwave butter and chocolate about 30 seconds, then remove and stir. If necessary, microwave in 10 second increments, stirring each time until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  2. Then pour in cream a little at a time, stirring to completely combine after each addition until the ganache reaches the consistency you want.

And that was Joey’s birth day cake. I have a feeling it will make an appearance again in August for my husband’s birthday. He was a huge fan. He also loves his cake cold, and the ganache and peanut butter frosting both change texture into something marvelous when you put this cake in the fridge (see the top picture for cold cake)! Perfect with a glass of milk.