Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Almond Cake

3 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
6oz container of vanilla cultured coconut milk ("yogurt")
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sliced honey roasted almonds

1) Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2) In a separate bowl, mix eggs and sugar together using a hand blender on medium speed until creamy consistency is achieved. Thoroughly combine applesauce, cultured coconut milk and vanilla with the egg mixture. Add to almond meal and mix to create batter.
3) Lightly spray a 9" round cake pan (or springform pan) with baking spray. Add batter and top with sliced honey roasted almonds. Bake for 30 minutes.

Review: This recipe uses maple sugar, which Trader Joe's used to carry at an affordable price. However, they no longer carry it and Whole Foods sold it for about $16. Eesh. I read online that I could substitute the entire amount with maple syrup, or just add some maple extract to regular sugar. I didn't have maple extract and figured maple syrup wouldn't work in a cake. So, I used 3/8 cup sugar and 1/8 cup maple syrup. My cake sunk in the middle and was moistly dense. I think it would have been more cake-like if I'd just skipped the maple component (not like I tasted it anyway!). This was a big hit with the family. It wasn't very gritty and had a wonderful almond flavor.

Adapted from:

Holiday Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups frozen chopped kale
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs honey
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup mint, fresh
1/2 cup pomegranate arils

1) Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked (about 12-15 minutes).
2) Add frozen kale to still warm quinoa and mix, allowing the kale to fully defrost. Set aside to cool.
3) In a food processor, add cranberries, pistachios, mint, olive oil and honey. Pulse until chopped into medium sized chunks.
4) In a large bowl, mix the contents of the saucepan and food processor. Add pomegranate arils and mix gently. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Review: A similar recipe was circulating the internet/pinterest/facebook and my mother-in-law sent it to me. I tried it and thought it was tasty, but there were too many competing flavors. I tweaked it and focused on the colors being only red and green so I could serve it for Christmas. This was a much better flavor combination and was liked by many. It was super easy and quick to make (I also made stuffing and a pie). It's sweet and tangy, and a lot healthier than most holiday fare!

Adapted from:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blueberry-Lavender Lemonade Popsicles

1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp culinary lavender
1 1/4 cups water, divided
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1) Bring sugar, lavender and 1/4 cup water to boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and steep for at least 30 minutes.
2) Combine remaining water with lemon juice. Strain lavender from sugar syrup. Add syrup to lemon water and mix well.
3) Evenly distribute into popsicle molds, filling each 3/4 full. Drop several blueberries into each mold, until the liquid reaches the top. Insert sticks and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Review: Of course, the picture that accompanied this recipe had blueberries distributed throughout the entire popsicle - defying the laws of physics. Luckily, the blueberries seem to be just decorations since the lavender lemonade was so tasty it didn't need the blueberries! I adore this recipe and am going to quickly eat up all 7 (Mike broke one of the molds) popsicles!

Adapted from: