Friday, September 28, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake

I've seen the one-minute cake or microwave cake recipes floating around over the years. Before going GF, I even kept a box of chocolate cake mix on hand, with the exact measurements for a "single-serving" cake posted on my fridge. You know, just for that time of the month, and other emergencies which only chocolate could fix. But I never really gave the gluten free version a chance...

I got really excited earlier this year when I saw this Paleo Mug Cake recipe over at The Wannabe Chef's site. It was grain free, and had the option to be sugar free to! So I tried it out. I loved it! And then...I kept making it. Over and over and over again!

I've adapted this recipe a bit to suit my preferences. Honestly, I never measure the ingredients I'm adding, just eyeball it. I have added chia seeds to give it a little more texture, and for some extra fiber and Omega 3's. My favorite mix-ins are chocolate chips and/or nuts (walnuts or pecans work great). I also enjoy topping it off with a little something extra once it's made. Try an extra tablespoon of peanut/almond butter (let it melt on the hot cake). Or a dab of cashew cream. Or your favorite fruit preserves. However, it really is amazing just by itself.

Topped with extra chocolate chips and walnuts.

Give this little treat a try next time you have a craving for something rich and chocolatey! I promise, you will quickly become addicted as well.

Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake
Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, grain free/Paleo, can be nut free

Serves 1

1 small, ripe banana
2 Tbsp nut/seed butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5-10 drops stevia, or 1-2 tsp agave (optional)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I like a mix of regular and dark cocoa)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
Mix-ins: 1-2 Tbsp chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit (optional)
Topping: 1 Tbsp nut butter, jam, whipped cream/cashew cream (optional)

In a small bowl, mash banana with a fork until it is smooth. Add nut butter, and mash again. Then add the egg, vanilla, and sweetener. Mix again until everything is well blended. Add cocoa and chia seeds, and mix very slowly (cocoa can be messy if you try and mix it too fast). Then stir in any mix-ins.

Pour batter into a microwave safe dish or mug. Do not over-fill the container, because this cake will rise in the microwave.

Microwave on high for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, or until center of cake looks set.


Cake can be eaten hot or cold. Or for breakfast. Or however you want it ;)

Topped w/ homemade Oregon blackberry-raspberry jam from my dad and step-mom! Amazing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chocolate Chip "Milkshake" (Green Smoothie)

Yup, this is the latest and greatest of my green smoothie experiments. I've been on something of a cashew milk kick lately, and for some reason all that creamy goodness has me craving milkshakes! This baby boy LOVES his milkshakes!

The other day, I was craving a chocolate milkshake, and then once I created it, I realized that what I really wanted was chocolate chip ice cream! So I took the smoothie a bit further...

I've played with this one a bit over the past few days, and have really come to enjoy it. Of course, I added the avocado and spinach to justify it as a "healthy" treat ;)

As with most of my smoothies, the measurements are more of approximations. Taste test as you go, and you'll come up with results that work for you.

A great tip I wish someone would have told me awhile back is to experiment slowly w/ avocados in sweets. I absolutely love avocados, and obviously I love dessert, but I jumped in too fast with trying them out together, and had a few bad experiences before I figured out that I liked to add avocado slowly. Here's my rule of thumb: Start w/ half of the amount of avocado called for in a recipe (unless it's the centerpiece ingredient), then taste and add a little more if you like it, and then a little more...and compensate if it becomes too strong (add more chocolate, sweetener, etc). I really don't want to actually be able to *taste* the avocado in my smoothie, but it does add to the texture. Plus, it's a fantastic, healthy fat!

Anyway, back to the recipe!

Chocolate Chip "Milkshake" Green Smoothie
Gluten free, dairy free, coconut free, can be nut free
Makes about 2 c (1 large serving)

1 banana, cut into chunks and frozen
1-2 tbsp almond butter, or other nut/seed butter
1/2 c cashew milk, or milk of choice
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 - 1 c raw spinach
1/4 - 1/2 avocado
Additional sweetener, to taste (I have enjoyed a couple drops vanilla stevia, and a dollop of molasses the most)
A couple ice cubes
1 tbsp dairy free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Blend all ingredients except ice and chocolate chips in a high-powered blender, until smooth. Taste, add additional sweetener, liquid, cocoa, as desired.

Add ice and chocolate chips. Blend again, until ice is incorporated. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Newest Dairy Free Obsession - Cashew Milk

I've mentioned in previous posts that going dairy free was just as hard for me, if not more difficult, than going gluten free. I miss all the smooth, creamy sauces, melty cheeses, and rich ice creams of my past. Unlike the plethora of easily replaceable gluten free foods that taste just as good as the "original," there seem to be few products that legitimately work as dairy free substitutes.

One dairy replacement product that I truly loved was coconut milk. Coconut milk is a very versatile substitute for many dairy-based products, such as cream and milk. It can be used in savory recipes as well as sweet. The best dairy free ice cream I have ever had was made with coconut milk. I also loved this lemon cream coffee cake, and made it several times. However, sadly, I developed an intolerance to that had to go too :(

I've experimented heavily with using nuts as dairy replacements - from my favorite almond milk, to cream cheese substitutes. I have found that nuts work exceptionally well in many forms to create a pretty good milk or soft cheese sub.

Lately, I've been on a nut milk kick. Blame it on being pregnant, where I am consuming way more refined carbs than I'd normally eat. The only thing that seems to appeal to me first thing in the morning is cereal. Thank goodness for GF Rice Krispies and the GF Chex line! When I am ill-prepared, I'll grab a box of store-bought almond milk out of the pantry, and choke that down w/ my cereal. However, nothing beats the consistency and flavor of freshly-made nut milk.

Enter cashew milk.

This has become my go-to recipe for surviving the mornings. It's incredibly rich, it's creamy, and it can be sweetened if you want to have a glass with your favorite gluten free cookies! It works fabulously in smoothies, milkshakes, and ice cream.

Even better, unlike the process of making almond milk, there is no straining involved with cashews! Just run your high-powered blender long enough, and it will get the job done quick and easy! Note: If you don't have a high-powered blender, I would recommend soaking your cashews for at least an hour before processing them, to make them softer.

You can alternate between the sweetener of your choice. I have tried Elana's recipe w/ agave nectar, Gena's vanilla-tinted variation w/ soaked dates, and I've even experimented with adding stevia or a bit of molasses for the calcium benefit. All have turned out great, but I think the agave nectar might be my favorite.

The "recipe" for cashew milk is really quite simple. Give it a try sometime, and you'll see why I love this creamy dairy free drink!

Cashew Milk
Gluten free, dairy free, coconut free, grain free/Paleo

1 c cashews, soaked at least 1 hour
4-5 c filtered water
Sweetener of choice (agave nectar or a few dates soaked for 20 min), to taste
A pinch of salt, if desired
A splash of vanilla extract, if desired

Rinse cashews well after soaking. Combine with other ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend for 2 minutes on high. Taste, and add additional sweetener if desired.

Serve chilled, and stir well before use. Stores well for 3-5 days.


*Most of the recipes I've seen recommend soaking your cashews for 1-8 hours, but I've skipped this step numerous times, and still had success.

*You can also thin the milk out a bit more with an extra 1/2-1 c water, if you'd like to get more bang for your buck.

*One great tip for that last-minute cashew milk craving: Throw a couple ice cubes in with your serving of milk and blend. This will chill the milk enough to pour over cereal.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Chex on sale!!

Here's a sweet deal!! I just hit up our local Macey's grocery store and stocked up on their honey nut, cinnamon and corn chex. I paid $1.69 a box! This sale applies to every 4 boxes bought. Make sure you watch them apply the discount for each group of 4. I had to have them credit my card b/c they missed one :)

Thanks to Eating Gluten Free for sharing this!

For all those in the western US: If you live near an Associated Foods store (if a store near you sells Western Family brands, they are likely an Associated Foods store), head in to stock up on Chex cereals this week. The Associated stores near me (Macey's and Ridley's) are selling Corn, Rice, and Cinnamon Chex for $1.69 and $1.50 a box (respectively). Broulim's (in Idaho) is also selling Chex this week for $1.50 a box, so I think it's a system wide Associated Foods thing. It's a pretty good price for a great GF cereal, so I thought I'd let you know!

Think I got enough???