Archive for July, 2010

July 30th, 2010

Gluten Free Heaven and Hell Cake

I did it, and no one knew the difference (I don’t think).

It’s a sad, sad sight to see the ingredient list of conventional store bought cakes. Have you tried to read one? At a pool party we went to, someone brought a “death by chocolate” cake. It came in it’s plastic dome, as if to say, “Don’t eat me, I’m awaiting testing for the damage done to your body.” It looked like Count Chocula’s #3. I would have no part in it. It was frustrating to see the people eating it, so happy in the process, and then so guilt-stricken, with their hands holding their full, aching bellies after. It’s just not worth it to me. I would rather make my own cake, skip all the chemical additives, preservatives, processed sugars and flours.

I first saw this recipe on whisk kid‘s blog. It seemed like a no brainer. Why hadn’t I thought about layering angel food cake with salty layers of whipped peanut butter mousse and layered more with the rich, sinful devil’s food cake, and top it all off the the thickest chocolate ganache ever? Who knows. But I’ve been doing really well with avoiding massive amounts of grains, and my body is thanking me for it. B and I had a get together last week, so I thought it was the perfect time to try this recipe out, sans gluten.

This cake is good; real good. Just a sliver will do you just fine, and it will feed a lot of people. It’s so rich. This cake’s best friend is definitely coffee. You’ll need that bitter edge it provides to set your taste buds straight after each bite. If you love the mix of peanut butter and chocolate, you will love this cake. Even the last slice was good and relatively moist, considering it was five days old and all alone.

I made the devil’s food cake with no grain flours at all. I used coconut flour. This is the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve made with the flour yet. For the angel food cake I used a combo of millet flour, sweet and white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch. It was good, and the texture was the same as a wheat based cake but there was a little earthy-ness I could detect, I’m guessing from the millet flour, that I wished wasn’t there. However, I could not taste it when it was layered in the cake.

I felt better about eating a slice (or 3) of this cake since there was the presence of coconut flour, which is high in fiber and a good source of protein, boosts energy and thyroid function and no gluten. Again, this is no health food by any means but, you can take a rather ordinary, unhealthy dessert, and add some health benefiting ingredients back in.

1.Make the angel food cake first since it takes longer than the Devil’s food. 2.Then, make the chocolate ganache so it has a little time to cool off and set up a bit. 3. Next, make the devil’s food cake. Once the cake is done and cooled, I froze the layers just to assure complete cool down so it doesn’t melt the ganache and peanut butter mousse, and also so it was easier to work with. 4. Make the peanut butter mousse. 5. Assemble. Start with devil’s food on the bottom, mousse, angel, mousse, devil’s, mousses, angel on top, ganache. 6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake
modified from

1/4 C millet flour
1/4 C sweet rice flour
1/4 C white rice flour
1/4 C tapioca starch/flour
1 t xanthan gum
12 egg whites (room temp)
1 1/2 t cream of tarter
1/4 t salt
1 T vanilla
1 1/2 C granulated organic sugar

Sift flours together along with xanthan gum and 1/2 of the sugar and set aside.
Whip egg whites until foamy and add cream of tarter. Continue to whip, on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly incorporate the remaining 3/4 C. of the sugar and whip until stiff, but not dry peaks form. Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites a spoon-full at a time until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and pour into an angel food cake pan. Place into a preheated 325 degree oven for about 55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool up side down until ready to use. Run a knife along the edges until it releases.

Devil’s food cake
1/2 cup butter – softened
1/2 + 1/3 cups sugar
5 eggs (at room temperature)
½ t vanilla extract
1 C coconut flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C milk
1/4 C strong brewed coffee room temp
Coconut oil
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 1 8 inch layer pan, line with parchment greased with coconut oil and dust with cocoa powder.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar, and beat together for about 2 minutes. Add eggs in one at a time and beat high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla while beating the eggs and butter mixture. Combine the dry ingredients with a whisk and add into the butter egg mix alternately with the coffee/milk. Beat batter for about five minutes on high speed. Spoon batter into the prepared cake pan and smoothen out tops. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Place pan on wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool cake completely before frosting.

Peanut butter mousse
1 8 ox package cream cheese room temp.
1 1/2 C. creamy organic peanut butter (this has to be pre mixed)
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. heavy cream

Beat together the creamy cheese and peanut butter until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar and continue to beat until combined. In a chilled metal bowl, whisk the heavy cream on high speed until whipped but not butter. Fold the whipped cream, a little at a time, into the peanut butter mix and combine.

Milk chocolate ganache
795 g milk chocolate chips organic or high quality
1 1/3 C heavy cream

heat the cream in a pot until it comes to a slow boil. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and cover with the hot cream. Stir until completely combined and velvety. Set aside, covered to cool and set up a little bit. When your cake is assembled, pour the ganache over it all, getting the sides. Refrigerate and repeat until you achieve the desired coverage.

July 28th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

July 23rd, 2010

Sweet Rose Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Perfectly perfect.  This summer, I have admittedly become obsessed with ice cream.  Be it the heat or the nostalgic idea of having a drippy scoop of  cold ice cream to top off a summer dinner, I love it.  For some reason, ice cream doesn’t have calories, or sugar in the summer.

I have become quite the homemade ice cream master in the past couple of months.  I have made the most perfect vanilla ice cream I have ever had and a close to perfect, buttered scotch.  Some thing just clicked while making this chilly treat.  Before I was a self proclaimed master (of vanilla at least) I was using tons of egg yolks and having to find something to make with the left over whites.  I didn’t like having to buy all those eggs just for one batch of ice cream.  So, I found a new method, tapioca starch, which I learned by reading the ingredients on my favorite bought ice cream/ pint label.

I’m lucky enough to live in the same state as the true ice cream master, Jeni Britton-Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (named best ice cream in the US).  B and I have taken more trips than I’d like to mention to her shops to satisfy our little addiction.   I love the way that the base ingredients are glorified.  She uses Snowville Creamery cream, and it wouldn’t be anything less than a sin if she used artificial flavors and heavy add in’s to cover  up the precious taste.  Snowville is a small, mom and pop operation, located here in Ohio and they take a lot of pride in the lives their grass-grazing cow’s live.  I have the pleasure of buying this milk on a regular basis.

To stretch my, so called, ice cream skills I really wanted to make a rose flavored ice cream.  Not the kind that tastes like eating straight perfume, the kind that is ever so slightly blushed with that pink, floral taste.  I had the perfect solution.  I just bought a new Tulsi tea, sweet rose, which I love!  It’s a wonderful swirl of fragrance and body with the health benefits of Tulsi (holy basil.)  Holy Basil is an herb  that is sacred in India.  It is said to promote calm, stamina, immunity, metabolism etc.  I drink this tea often and I can say I’ve never felt bad after drinking it.

I’m not saying ice cream is a health food by any means, but I am saying, if your going to eat it, make it your self.  You control the ingredients and at Jeni’s, a pint in $8!!  I’m also saving money.  A lot of people don’t realize it, but sometimes after eating conventional ice cream, especially from chain shops, they experience a pseudo sinus infection/flu.  This is from the “natural & artificial” flavors.  Our bodies know what their doing, and when we consume something that is artificial, or bodies issue and auto immune response to protect itself.  This is why I only eat ice cream at one place  (Jeni’s) and  I make the rest!

This is the most creamy, scoop-able-right out-of-the-freezer ice cream ever! Happy Churning!

Sweet Rose, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

  • 15 oz. organic whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 C. organic whole milk
  • 3/4 C. organic  sugar
  • 1/4 t Fleur de Sal
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T + 1 t tapioca starch
  • 3 T organic whole milk
  • 2 Tulsi sweet rose tea bags
  1. add the milk and cream in a medium size sauce pan.
  2. on medium/high heat gently boil them together.
  3. add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. continue to gently boil to reduce the liquid mixture by at least a 1/4. *this will foam quite a bit so do yourself a favor and take a set at the stove, or else you will be cleaning a burnt on, milky mess.
  5. add the honey and salt, stir and turn off the heat.
  6. split a vanilla bean and scrape it with the back of a knife to get out all of the seeds and add pod and seeds to the hot cream mix.
  7. cut open the tea bags and also add to the hot cream mix.
  8. cover the cream and let all the ingredients steep for at least one hour.
  9. strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and add back into the pot.
  10. add the 3 T (cold) milk to the tapioca starch and mix with your clean fingers until it dissolves and add to the cream.
  11. stir until it thickens, about 3 minutes.
  12. store in a lidded container and refrigerate over night.  This is necessary so it is completely cool.
  13. prepare your ice cream maker according to the manufactures directions, ie freeze the container.
  14. add the cold custard to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturers directions. It took me about 20 minutes.
  15. When it’s finished churning, store in a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours to set.
  16. Enjoy!
July 21st, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

July 20th, 2010

Tuesday’s tip: Stinky sink

If you have a garbage disposal, chances are, it’s not always april fresh. When ever there’s a funky smell in the kitchen, my first thought is to clean the sink and the disposal. The easiest way to do this, for me, is to make myself a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and chop up the orange peels and put them down the garbage disposal. I chop them up to make it a little easier. There are wonderful, aromatic essential oils in the peel of the orange, and when these get squeezed or chopped at a high speed, the fragrance is released. Orange oil is also a great degreaser, so if you’ve dumped something oily down the sink, this is a good maintenance tip.

July 15th, 2010

Update: First Physical In Years

I feel like I’m slowly (mentally) being starved.  Not really, but it just seems like that.  B and I made a doctor’s appointment back at the end of May.  Neither one of us has had a physical since… I don’t know when.  I thought it was about time, especially since some of the small aches and pains complaints from B couldn’t be solved with my “magic potion” (apple cider vinegar).

I had started myself on an iodine supplement program and I wanted to find a doctor who was competent with iodine.  My search lead me to a practice two hours away.  I wasn’t thrilled with the drive, but I thought it was probably going to be worth it after I had a phone consult with one of the PA’s.  It seemed like a good fit.

As I was watching the doctor read over my 15 page questionnaire, I was a little nervous with her “all business” demeanor.  After we talked and I had answered questions and asked some of my own, she said she thought I had a leaky gut!  I thought, “Wow, I study every thing, why haven’t I studied this?!”.  She explained why she thought this was, and told me I should limit my consumption of grains.  I told her that I tried going gluten-free before and that it made me sick all the time.  She said that my dependence on other grains was probably causing the digestive issues.

There were several blood tests B and I had done.  After feeling like I was attacked by a vampire, B and I crashed the minute we got home.  Once I woke up, I studied leaky gut  and grain impact, for quite a few hours.  I even watched video diaries of children with autism be completely healed through diet and supplements and environmental detox.  It’s scary what our every day conveniences are doing to the next generation of children.

It seemed so much easier this time, not eating as many grains.  Maybe it was because the doctor B met with told him to watch his carbs, so we were in this together.  Or, maybe it was because I wasn’t trying to keep a tally of slip-ups and I was choosing to just back off on all grains, not eliminating them completely (do you know how depressing that would be!).

After getting over the shock of “what am I going to eat?” and thinking of creative ways to rethink my eating style, I think we’re going to make it!  I made simple changes, like using bib or romaine lettuce instead of burger buns, eating more greens so I feel full, and eating a lot of black beans because they don’t make me feel bad and finding creative ways to use coconut flour for baked goods.  I’ve been eating almost a cup of brown rice a week, which is pretty good for me.

I had, what some call a “wheat belly” before, and now my stomach lays flat.  B has lost quite a few pounds since cutting back and I have also maintained a small weight loss even though I don’t “need” to lose weight.  I don’t feel bloated anymore (which was a constant), much less heartburn,  my skin is much clearer, and my case of eczema that popped up out of nowhere last Easter has completely gone away!  I was freaking out because nothing would make it stop itching and I would scratch so hard I would break the skin and bleed.  I had never had it before and I think it was part of a “health crisis” (when you detoxify your body to the point where everything bad surfaces at one time).  After I started eating less grains, I noticed one day that it was completely gone, and is still gone!

I think this is going to be a life-time commitment,  so I will probably post a lot of recipes that are sans-grain and gluten but not all the time.  As I explore this new world, I hope I can be a guiding light for some who wish to join me.  You know that saying “Nothing taste as good as skinny feels?”  Well, I think it should change to “Nothing grain, tastes as good as not feeling bloated feels!”

Here are my before and after pictures of my shins where the eczema had been.  I took then with my phone, so sorry about the quality, but you get the point.

July 14th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Daisy the cow