Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Banana Pumpkin Cake


chocolate pumpkin banana cake

Denby Cake-Off Cake


For this year's Denby Cake-Off, I wanted to create a healthy, light cake that tastes quite decadent yet could be suitable for dessert, tea or even breakfast (but perhaps, skip the frosting for your breakfast cake...or not!)

As my pregnancy due date grows nearer, I've found myself baking more and more as if I will never again have the chance.  I do look forward to baking with my twin girls though when they are a bit older, and I'd like to think creating and enjoying a (healthy-ish) cake together could be a fab tradition. For now though, I'm taking advantage of my remaining weeks by inventing (and sampling) recipes and savoring my quiet moments with tea and a treat.  Side note: this cake tastes especially good with an almond milk decaf chai latte--I had almost finished mine before I realized I should include it in the photo, so no, it's not just a prop!

vegan gluten-free pumpkin chocolate cake


Banana Pumpkin Cake
(Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Nut-Free)

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or other unrefined sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1-1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour or flour of choice
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup nondairy mini chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup nondairy butter
2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8" square pan with parchment paper or spritz with oil.
2.  Mix bananas, pumpkin, sugar, water and vinegar together; set aside.
3.  Sift gluten-free flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together, and then fold into wet mixture.
4.  Stir in chocolate chips, reserving 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top.
5.  Bake for 30 minutes or until batter has set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
6.  Cool on a wire rack and frost if desired once fully cooled.

healthy pregnancy cake


Frosting Directions:

1.  Whip nondairy butter and powdered sugar together until creamy and light.
2.  Add cinnamon and vanilla, continuing to beat until texture is creamy and spreadable.
3.  Garnish with additional chocolate chips as desired.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gluten-Free Sprinkled Pancakes

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning (starting at 27 weeks exactly my body seems to be expanding and aching like crazy.  Hopefully this is just a good sign the twins are growing healthy and strong!)  Instead of making it to my usual Tuesday morning routine of aqua aerobics and 30 minutes of lap swimming, I decided to have a healthy breakfast and walk the dogs.  I did in fact have a very healthy breakfast--sweet pea greens and leafy greens with snap peas and an egg with broccoli....and then half an hour later I was sheepishly whipping up a very birthday-ish breakfast: pancakes with sprinkles!

Why not?  Though they look and taste decadent, they are a healthy pancake option and the only sweetness comes from applesauce and the bit of sprinkles (I highly recommend the gluten-free vegan organic kind without nasty artificial colors and sweeteners).  They are also super light and fluffy thanks to the lemon-nondairy milk mixture which imitates buttermilk nicely.

For a fast, yummy and fun breakfast (I'm adding this to my list of fun kid friendly food for when our girls are older), try this recipe!  Kids and adults will love this, and I do think it would be a great holiday, birthday or hey, random Tuesday treat! 








Gluten-Free Sprinkled Pancakes
yields 8-10 small pancakes






Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free oat flour (aka finely ground gf oats)
1 tablespoon baking powder (corn-free like this Hain Pure Foods Featherweight Baking Powder, 8 Ounce)
sprinkle of sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice + enough coconut or almond milk to make 3/4 cup
1 egg or egg substitute for vegan version ( Ener-G Egg Replacer or chia mixture)
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons gluten-free organic sprinkles

Directions:

1.  Squeeze lemon juice (approximately 2-3 teaspoons) into a measuring cup and fill with nondairy milk until it totals 3/4 cup.  Stir and set aside to thicken slightly.




2.  Finely grind gluten-free oats in a food processor or coffee grinder until it resembles flour.
3.  Add baking powder and sea salt to oat flour, whisk and set aside.



4.  Mix egg or egg substitute of choice into "buttermilk" followed by applesauce and extracts then pour this into the dry mixture, stirring until combined.



5.  Gently fold gluten-free organic vegan sprinkles (I love Let's Do Organic Sprinkelz Organic Confetti Sprinkles) into pancake batter.






6.  Heat a griddle or pan, spritz with oil of choice and portion out 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.
Once bubbles form and it is set, flip and cook another two minutes, until pancakes are golden and fluffy.



7.  Serve plain, with syrup, honey or applesauce and additional sprinkles.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mini Raw Apple Tarts

raw apple pie


 I went apple picking with a friend recently, and came home with 6 lbs of little organic Fuji apples.  For some reason, apple picking has always felt like the "welcome to autumn" activity, and now it officially feels like fall.  (Especially when I am currently living somewhere that is hot for this time of year).  I miss Oregon fall season--the cool weather, rain and falling leaves this time of year.  I also had three apple trees in our backyard growing up, and though they were small, misshapen tart little ones, they produced a great applesauce or apple pie.

Though the apples I picked are good plain, they honestly aren't amazing; I'm an apple snob and Fujis are not usually my variety of choice.  I also learned the hard way they do not produce the tastiest dried apples.  They do however, cook well and I was curious to see how the perform in a raw dessert with other flavors enhancing the fresh apple taste.  The verdict?  Amazing!  My husband even exclaimed it tastes like apple pie, and with the "crumb" topping, it is similar to a crumb-topped apple pie.  I made four little mini tarts in this super convenient Chicago Metallic 4 Cavity Tartlett Pan, 10.60 by 9.90 by 1.30-Inch (the removable bottoms make it so easy to get the tarts/pies out), but you can use a regular sized pie pan to make one large one as well.

*to make them truly raw, you can use dried vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract and ground sunflower seeds instead of oats unless you have access to raw rolled oats, and raw honey instead of maple.  See bottom of page for additional substitutions!

raw apple tart


Mini Apple Tarts
yields 4

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 cup dried mulberries
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash sea salt
1-2 tablespoons filtered water as needed

Filling:
2-1/2 to 3 small apples
1/4 cup dates
2 teaspoons ground chia seeds
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Topping:
1/2 cup roughly ground sunflower seeds or oats
1/2 cup almonds
2 teaspoons pue maple syrup
1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Spritz or rub a mini tart or regular pie or tart pan with oil of choice.  I used a Misto Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer with olive oil for convenience, but rubbing coconut oil in the pan works perfectly too.  Set aside.

mini tart pan


2.  Pulse the seeds or oats with the almonds in a food processor or chop with a knife until they are crumbly and coarse.  Stir in the remaining topping ingredients until it looks like a yummy granola.  Set aside.

gluten-free crumb topping
pulse oats and almonds together until crumbly, not fine

healthy crumb topping
Mix all topping ingredients together

gluten-free healthy apple pie crumb topping
Stir until mixed well and resembles granola


3.  In a food processor or similar device, mix the mulberries, dates and almonds, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt until it comes together like raw cookie dough.  Add a little water if necessary for dough to stick together.  Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the dish you are using.

mulberry date crust
either white or purple-black mulberries will do!


raw pie crust



4.  Peel and very thinly slice the apples.  I did this by hand; some food processors have an attachment to create very thinly sliced items, but I didn't mind if they weren't perfect; some pieces were thicker and I liked the varying texture.  Set aside.
5.  Puree the dates, cinnamon, allspice, ground chia all together with 1 to 1-1/2 of the apples.  It should be like a chunky applesauce.  Scrape down the sides as needed to get it as combined and smooth as possible.

raw apple pie filling


6.  Mix the filling mixture with the remaining sliced apples, coating it well.

raw apple tart filling


7.  Divide the filling/apples amongst the mini pans or place it all into your one large pan.  Top with the topping.  Freeze for 20 minutes to set, and store frozen.  Let thaw in the fridge or at room temperature just until the apples unfreeze but it is still chilled and set.  Also, you can freeze them and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds until the apples defrost if you're in a hurry.  We only have one left so I can tell you they keep for three days at least; they very well may keep longer and I'll update this with the exact maximum storage time if we can keep them around longer than a few days!

raw apple tarts



Alternate ingredients:
-Raw honey can be used instead of maple syrup
-I used gluten-free oats in the topping, but other seeds or regular oats work well too
-Almonds may be replaced with sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option
-The chia seeds may be omitted in the filling though it may seem a little thinner (and with less protein!)
-Raisins or cranberries may be used in place of mulberries; I had just recently purchased an overpriced bag of organic dried mulberries from Whole Foods, so that's the only reason I didn't use another dried fruit.

This is the Misto I use to have a non-aerosol way of spritzing my pans with avocado or olive oil.
I love it!  Also, Amazon sells organic mulberries too if your local store does not.  Use the links below if you're interested to help me out and enable me to continue with my free recipes and sites!





healthy apple pie
This is 2-day old still delicious raw apple tart--perfect with chai tea!

Gluten-Free Mini apple tarts
Fresh apple tarts: gluten-free, vegan and raw!