GRAIN-FREE CARROT CAKE

It's Easter Week! We will be celebrating one of our favorite holidays with decoration and recipe ideas. Here's a delicious cake without all the post-junk food guilt!

I took one of my favorite grain-free recipes and put a holiday twist on it. I love this cake because it's the only carrot cake I've ever had that doesn't make me feel sick after eating it. I adapted the recipe from Elana's Pantry, but I have changed several components. I also use real cream cheese in the frosting. Elana has a great coconut-based frosting, should you want a dairy-free option. 

Cake Ingredients:

3 Cups Blanched Almond Flour

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

5 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Warmed Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or a combination of both)

3 Cups Carrots, Grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice.

In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and oil. Add Carrots. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until completely combined.

Place batter into two well greased round 9" cake pans.

Bake for 35 minutes. Do not over bake! Allow to cool. 

Frosting Ingredients:

3- 8 oz. Bars of Cream Cheese (at room temp)

3/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

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Topping:

1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut

*For Easter, I've also added some chocolate caramel eggs from Whole Foods.

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Serves 8-10

Combine cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla in a bowl and mix on high for 1 - 2 minutes until thoroughly combined and creamy. Do not frost the cake until it is completely cool.

When you are ready to frost the cake, take a pastry bag with a 1/2" open tip and fill it with 1/2 of the frosting. If you don't have a pastry bag, create your own by taking a large Ziplock bag and cut 1/2" off of a side corner.

Place the first half of the cake top-side down on your cake plate.

Frost the first layer, by starting in the middle and work your way out in a continual circle. It's fine if it doesn't look perfect! Just make sure it is all covered out to the edge.

Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosting top-side up. 

Fill your pastry bag with the remaining frosting and repeat. Now gently smooth the frosting with a spatula. 

Sprinkle coconut shreds evenly on top.

Decorate with candy eggs to add an Easter touch.

I also added this adorable Meri Meri Easter cake topper to make it extra festive. xx

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Our friend and amazing personal chef, Kimi Reichenberg, was kind enough to share her delicious butternut quash recipe with us today. It is my favorite soup and works with almost any diet/dietary restrictions you might have -- it works with paleo and/or vegan diets. And if you don't have any restrictions, it's still just plain old tasty (and perfect for a chilly fall day)!

Ingredients: 

1 Medium Organic Butternut Squash Peeled and Cubed

4 Cups Organic Vegetable or Chicken Stock (preferably homemade) 

1 Small Organic Yellow Onion, roughly chopped

1 Organic Shallot, roughly chopped

6 Fresh Sage Leaves, chopped

1 TBS Ghee or Coconut Oil

Directions:

Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large soup pot. Sautéed onions, shallots and sage until onions are soft and slightly golden. 

Add squash and stock. Bring to a boil. 

Turn heat down to low. Cover & simmer until squash is fork tender (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, purée using a hand blender (or blend in a regular blender in batches). 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Kimi Reichenberg is a personal chef based in Los Angeles and cooks (any and all) specialized diets. To see her food blog, or contact her for orders, click HERE. xx!

GLUTEN-FREE PEACH + BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE

I am continuing the #NationalPeachMonth party today with this gluten-free and refined sugar-free peach + blueberry crumble. I have been making this a lot lately and it has been quite the crowd pleaser! I like that the crumble is "real food," packed with organic fruit and sweetened with maple sugar, instead of refined or cane sugar. And it's got lots of good healthy butter! Say what?! "HEALTHY BUTTER?!" See my post from last week about the health benefits of high quality, grass-fed butter. So here we go! Let's make a summer fruit crumble for the whole family to enjoy!

Filling Ingredients:

5 - Medium Sized Peaches, cut in 1/3" slices

3 Cups (1-1/2 Pints) - Blueberries

1/2 Cup -  Maple Sugar

1/4 Cup - Pamela's All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour

Juice of One Lemon

2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1 Dash of Salt

6 Tablespoons - (Good Organic!) Cold Butter, Cubed

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Preheat overn to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine peach slices, blueberries, maple sugar, gluten-free flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Gently toss until fruit is completely covered by the other ingredients. Add butter cubes and toss until better pieces are thoroughly scattered around the fruit. Pour fruit filling into a pie dish and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the blueberries start breaking. You want to make sure that you see blueberry "goo" before you proceed to the next step. 

While the fruit filling is cooking, make the crumble topping.

Crumble Ingredients:

1-1/2 Cups - Finely Ground Almond Flour

3/4 Cup - Almond Meal

1/2 Cup - Maple Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon - Salt

1/4 Teaspoon - Cinnamon

6 Tablespoons - Butter (left at room temp for 5-10 minutes. If butter is soft, it won't make crumble as well), cubed

**I like the combination of two almond flours for the topping. I prefer the taste of the finely ground flour but I think adding a little course meal adds better texture. If you only want to bother with one type, use finely ground flour and make it total 2-1/4 cups.

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In a clean bowl, combine the almond flour, almond meal, maple sugar, salt and cinnamon. Stir until combined. 

Add butter cubes and with your hands, mix into the dry mixture, until the crumble looks like damp corn meal.

Place the crumble back into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown. 

Allow to cool for 30 min. before serving. Serve with homemade or Straus Organic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for the ultimate summer treat. 

IT'S ICE CREAM SEASON: THE EASIEST RAW VEGAN ICE CREAM

National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday and if you want to celebrate the greatest holiday ever, without a sugar hangover, we've got the perfect (and simplest) recipe for you! I make this healthy dessert for my family a lot and it's always a surefire hit. 

Ingredients (per serving):

1 Large FROZEN Banana (I freeze several ripe bananas ahead of time so I have them ready. They must be frozen, minimally, overnight to work)

8-10 Frozen Strawberries 

2 Soft Dates

Approx. 1/8 Cup of Water

You will need either a VitaMix or blender. 

Put all of the fruit and 1/2 of the water in a VitaMix. Turn on low and use the tamper to push the ingredients down and blend. If it is very dry, slowly add more water. Be careful not to add too much water, or your ice cream will become a smoothie. A blender will work too but will take more effort. The tamper in the VitaMix makes this extremely easy. If you use a regular blender, you will have to start and stop and use a rubber spatula with the blender turned off to mix it. I have done it, but it takes more time!

Scoop out and serve immediately. You can top with fresh fruit, nuts or coconut shreds if you like a little added texture! Happy (and Healthy) National Ice Cream Day! xx

 

GREEN BUNNY SMOOTHIE

I recently concocted this healthy, spring smoothie packed with fruit, veggies and healthy fats. I love finding ways of getting Brixton to eat more veggies. The whole family loves it.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Almond Milk

2 Carrots

4 Large Spinach Leaves

1 Banana (frozen is best)

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

1-1/2 Tablespoons Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

Ice

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In a blender combine all ingredients (except 1/2 teaspoon of shredded coconut - save for garnish).

Add two cubes of ice.

If your banana is not frozen, add two extra cubes (four total).

Blend until smooth and completely combined.

Pour into a glass an garnish with the remaining coconut shreds. I topped mine off with a plant-based straw.

I think this bunny is enjoying his smoothie! xx