Friday, August 17, 2012


I get overexcited over pretty simple things, maybe to the point of embarrassment to those around me. I often catch myself overly panting and awkwardly commenting to myself when these periods of overwhelming elation happen. Case in point, the blueberry sale at whole foods yesterday. It was a “EUREKA” highlight and apparently my subconscious decided she had to celebrate publicly.

Let me paint a picture for you. I had been aimlessly wandering around the store prior to the eureka occurrence, pondering what kind of birthday cake I was going to make for my neighbor, and dear friend. It had to be quick. It had to be delicious. And, it had to be gluten free. Does anybody else feel the desperation that manifested itself while I mulled over these monstrous demands?

Ok, maybe not monstrous, but last second miracles rarely turn out as well as this did. I fist pumped the gluten free gods after this one.

I digress. After grabbing Pamela’s gluten free cake mix (yes I had to cheat friends, don’t judge), I found myself trying to find solace in the produce section. And there they were. Carton after carton stacked delicately upon wooden crates and screaming, “Here I am! Use ME in you cake and all your troubles will melt away.” I may have hit the point of frantic delirious cook at this point. Blueberries. Bright, juicy, unbelievable plump blueberries. The saliva pooled in my anxious dry mouth, and I began to tremble with excitement. Lemon zest, blueberries, whipped vanilla icing… perfection. And to pack in a real punch, and feed the crowd, I decided it had to be two layers. Yes, I embraced insanity and it never tasted so good.

Lemon Blueberry Gluten Free Cake
I have always liked how moist Pamela’s gluten free cake mix turns out for me. I am excited to try this recipe subbing my own almond flour mix next time, but trust me don’t overlook this recipe. The cakes stacked with fluffy delight on top of one another and burst with sweet blueberry and fresh lemony flavor.

• 1 bag Pamela’s gluten free vanilla cake mix
• 1 pint blueberries
• Zest of one large lemon
• ½ large lemon, squeezed
• 4 eggs
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• ¼ cup water

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease two round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except blueberries and mix well. Do not over mix. Gently fold in your blueberries. Pour evenly into the 2 pans.

Bake for 20-23 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes at least before transferring to stack. I made the cakes at lunch and let them settle and cool in the pans for a couple hours.

To assemble, tip first cake onto serving dish. Gently pat a thin layer of vanilla, whipped with a little lemon zest, icing over the top. Place second cake on top, and gently press down to help it stick. Lightly cover the top of the cake with another layer of icing. Add blueberries for decoration if you wish.

I let mine sit in the fridge until it was time to serve which helped it not crumble, and keep moist.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Honey Lavender Almond Butter

Bless my husband who deals with my erratic cravings. I am worse than a pregnant woman when I crave something. Seriously. Steer clear when I am with child because it might get ugly. There will be tears and tantrums in my future, and not from the kiddo. I will admit it friends.

My recent craving is almond butter, and loads of it. I stand sheepishly shoving spoonfuls of the goop hurriedly in my mouth while my husband looks like I have lost it. And maybe I have. But I’m taking the jar of almond butter with me. Just you try and pry it from my hands.

Have you ever noticed how pricey store bought almond butter can be though? I feel like I could dip into my son’s college funds just trying to cover the cost. Justin’s almond butter is so sinfully delicious but I cannot justify seven dollars a pop once a week. And with my craving not sated and going on three weeks I decided to take action. I rolled up my sleeps (spotted with bits of creamy dots from digging the last drop out of the Justin jar) and preheated my oven.

Honey Lavender Almond Butter
I cannot believe how simple it was to make almond butter! The lavender brings a clean earthy taste to the butter, and the honey a smooth sweetness. I roasted my almonds before but you can use them raw.

• 2 cups raw almonds
• ¼ cup honey or agave
• Dash of vanilla extract
• 1 pinch lavender

Roast the almonds at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. When you begin to smell them, they are ready.

Put the almonds in your food processor and blend for 15 minutes. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally. The almond will form into a dough ball than smooth out into creamy heaven. Blend less for chunkier almond butter and more for creamier.

Add in vanilla and lavender. Pulse to combine. Pour into a container and stir in honey or agave.

Enjoy!! I am keeping mine in a mason jar in the fridge. Top your fruit or you can do what I do and eat it right out of the jar. This method repels husbands quite well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stinky and I Know It

I happily trotted down the produce section and eyed the snappy green asparagus bundle immediately. Oh the forbidden, oh the tormenter of my family’s soul, oh my gosh I can actually purchase without a side of guilt! I plucked the rubber banded stems out of the bin and placed them awe-stricken in my shopping cart.

Yup, I am throwing an “I’m-stinky-and-I know it” party tonight. My son seems to sing the M&M commercial, "sexy and I know it" song all the time now so it seems right to add my own G-rated spin off in hopes he'll adopt my version. Feel free to hum it while roasting.

Asparagus seems to be a point of contention at my house. My son looks at it like it’s the not so jolly green giant and my husband, well, let’s just say it makes him feel like the stinky kid in the room. I won't explain futher, you get the gist.

But, this week I am living solo so I can be "stinky" all I want. The boys are away and into the kitchen I play, cooking up dishes that have unfairly warranted teary eye ducts and turned up noses in the past. At least I think unfairly…then again I have proposed black bean brownies previously which probably lost me a few readers. I am more than okay with that though, more fudgy fingers for me. So a polite warning, those of you with an asparagus aversion don’t hate me for the following recipe.

I’ll be stinky and I know it,
An asparagus lover and I’m not afraid to show it.

Mustard Crusted Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms
Oven roasting vegetables brings out an incredible aromatic explosion of flavors without a lot of work or ingredients. This is very simple and very quick. After all, I wouldn’t want you slaving away in this heat to be the stinky kid the room.

• 1 bundle asparagus
• 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 3/4 jar stone ground mustard of choice, I found a lovely organic g-free french brand
• Pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Clean and trim the bottoms of the asparagus stems. In a large bowl coat mushrooms and asparagus witht eh olive oil. Add your mustard, combine well, and let marinate while your oven heats.

When oven has heated, lay spears and mushrooms evenly on a baking sheet. Lightly dust with black pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, turning half way.

Let cool and serve! I was eating it right off the baking sheet…but hey like I said, I am solo!