Pink celery!! Just kidding. Rhuuuubarb!

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Dumb question… Is rhubarb a vegetable? Wait. I have to go look this up.

It is! Okay good. I’m not going (too) crazy… I was pretty sure it was, given that it looks like celery’s pink cousin. ANYWAY, moving on after that little aside…

Spring has officially sprung! Asparagus with dinner last night and rhubarb for dessert (and for breakfast, obviously). Besides the seasonal produce (yay!) literally everything is in bloom right now — my yard looks and smells amazing!

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With that in mind, and given that there are a bunch of eating-type holidays this weekend (Eater, I mean.. Easter… I’m looking at you), might I recommend this rhubarb tart? It comes together in a snap and is delicious to boot.

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In other news… more drawing! (What else is new)

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Springy things!

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Keeping it short and sweet today – but do yourself a favor and get on that rhubarb before the season ends! It’s amazing — who doesn’t like pink celery? Just kidding…

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I love rhubarb in this galette because it can be it’s true tart self! I find that when it’s paired with strawberry it loses some of it’s punchiness, which is what I like about it — I prefer to let it shine on its own (accompanied by some ice cream, obviously). The almond frangipane keeps it from being overly tart and still desserty, but not too sweet – perfectly acceptable for breakfast alongside obligatory eggs & kale.

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Happy spring!

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Rhubarb Galette with Almond Frangipane

Grain & gluten free option and refined sugar free. Dairy free option is is probably a breeze – make the dough with cold coconut oil instead of butter. Yield: 1 galette – serves 4-6. Frangipane adapted from the Feed Feed, here.

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For the galette dough:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a food processor), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and almond extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the frangipane:

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour* (omit for grain free; replace with oat flour or rice flour for gluten free)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (if needed)

In a food processor, combine almond flour, coconut sugar, and whole wheat flour (if using). Pulse once to combine. Add in eggs, vanilla and almond extract, and pulse once or twice, until combined. Add in almond butter, and blend again until smooth. If the frangipane seems too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of maple to loosen it.

Topping & finishing:

  • 5-6 stalks of rhubarb
  • coconut sugar
  • beaten egg for brushing the dough

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top with the frangipane, spreading it carefully in order to not rip or crack the dough.  Add sliced rhubarb, in whatever pattern you like! Sprinkle with a little coconut sugar. Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides. Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 35 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely. Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

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Galette for breakfast: guaranteed to improve your election day experience

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Galette and pears and hazelnuts and dark chocolate and November!

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I love fall because it means pears are EVERYWHERE and I love pears so this just feels like a win-win situation. Besides that, throw in some dark chocolate hazelnut filling and put all that goodness in a cardamom crust? Sign me up. And then eat it for dessert with ice cream and then for breakfast with (what else) eggs and kale and sourdough toast? Yeeessssss please thanks.

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Let’s see, what else… today is election day! Did you vote?! I voted absentee ages ago and didn’t get a sticker… they should send stickers with the ballots!

And the time changed, woohooo for not having to get up in the dark anymore! I miss the extra daylight hours but I’d rather not go to work when it’s still dark out… Jessie and I enjoyed our extra hour of snuggles:

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Pretty skies lately!

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Annnnnd I’ve been drawing again, shocker I know. I just read a study that says making art reduces cortisol levels! Which is awesome and I think I subconsciously knew that because drawing always gets me into the flow state, pretty much without fail.

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But anyway, back to galette!

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This sounds complicated but totally isn’t. The crust is forgiving and easy to work with, and the filling comes together in a snap. Also, unlike the last time I made galette and crammed a truckload of blueberries into it, this one is far more structurally sound since pears are a little easier to wrangle than blueberries.

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Give yourself a break from watching those election returns and gaze on this instead. I guarantee it’ll lower your cortisol levels ;) 

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Pear Galette with Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Cardamom Crust

Grain free, gluten free, paleo and refined sugar free. Yay! There is butter, though a sub for coconut oil might definitely be possible (if you try it, tell me how it goes!). Yield: 1 galette, serving sizes are up to your discretion ;) A Wait are those Cookies original!

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For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, cardamom, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the dark chocolate hazelnut filling*:

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts, skins mostly removed (reserve a few for topping purposes if you want!)
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1.5-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

* measurements are approximate! Adjust as necessary to suit your tastebuds :)

Blend hazelnuts in a vitamix or high power blender / food processor until a nut butter consistency forms (it’s okay for it to be on the chunkier side; mine wasn’t completely smooth). Add cacao powder, sea salt, maple, and vanilla and pulse until combined. This can be made up to a week ahead — just store it in an airtight jar in the fridge!

For the galette:

  • 1 crust
  • most or all of the hazelnut spread
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced (I used d’Anjou; Bosc would also be good) — you can peel them if you want, I chose not to
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • extra hazelnuts for topping, if desired!

Preheat the oven to 375.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. If you’re feeling extra artistic or motivated, cut some extra dough off the edge of the circle and cut leaf shapes out of it because… I’m an overachiever and it’s FALL! YAY! Anyway… moving on.

Spread the hazelnut paste carefully over the dough circle, leaving about a 2″ border from the edge — I found that the back of a spoon worked nicely for this (Try not to move it around too much, just press it into place so that the bottom dough stays intact). Spread the sliced pears in a fan shape if you’re feeling fancy, or just toss them all in there (I’m definitely not going to judge!). Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Stick the leaves on the edges if you went that route. Brush the pears with the melted butter, and top with 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. Brush the dough with the beaten egg (I like a pastry brush for this), and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of coconut sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes (mine was perfectly done at 35, so check accordingly), until the dough is firm to the touch and golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then slide the whole piece of parchment paper and galette onto a cooling rack to cool completely (or serve immediately!). Eat with some kind of vanilla ice cream thing (dairy or not) because… you should!

Leftovers keep covered at room temp for about… 1 day. Because it will be gone by then anyway so you won’t even have to worry. Promise!

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Apples and Autumnal Dessert Shenanigans

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Good morning, invisible internet blog friends!

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I have apple-y, fall-y dessert for you today! And can someone explain to me how it’s almost November already? That snuck up on me… but whatever, I have baked apples (or at least I did, they’re all gone now, what a shocker) so it’s all good.

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Despite looking and sounding kind of complicated, these apples actually aren’t so bad, they just require some advance planning. But there’s no prolonged dough chilling involved, and the dumpling dough is very forgiving (all good things in my book).

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today — apples, fall, cooler weather, rain, and caramel sauce. All that’s needed on a lazy October weekend.

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In other news, I’m sitting with my legs wrapped in a blanket because it’s cool this morning and when I just went to get up, I got all tangled up and almost ate it. But I didn’t! I’m basically a mermaid…

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I don’t think desserts get more autumnal than this: apples stuffed with oats and walnuts, wrapped in pastry dough and baked in a caramel bath. Highly recommended both for dessert (with ice cream, obviously) and for breakfast, alongside eggs and something green. Happy Fall!

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Quinoa Flour Apple Dumplings with Caramel and Maple Glazed Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free! Can be dairy free with a very easy swap (coconut oil for the butter in both the dough and the caramel); a delicious and quintessentially autumnal dessert. Despite looking tricky, these aren’t especially hard — they just take a little planning. Yield: 6 apple dumplings + sauce + walnuts; we found that 1/2 an apple was totally sufficient in one sitting but this could easily be 6 servings if that was all you were eating! Recipe adapted from The Kitchn, here!

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For the crust:

  • 3 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk

*toasting reduces the natural bitterness of quinoa — I do mine in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes, until the flour is fragrant and the flour is just barely starting to go golden. Let cool before using.

For the filling:

  • 6 small baking apples (I used Gala and Jonagold)
  • cinnamon & coconut sugar to taste
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • a handful of glazed walnuts (reserve the rest for topping)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Glazed walnuts:

  • 1 c raw walnut pieces
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of fine sea salt

For the caramel sauce:

  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • scant 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp arrowroot starch

These have a lot of parts, but they’re not very complicated when you break it down! I made the walnuts several days ahead, which I recommend.

Heat a saute pan over medium until warm. Add maple (it should fizz when it hits the pan), walnuts, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir to combine and let cook, stirring frequently, until the maple has caramelized and the liquid is gone. The walnuts will feel soft until they cool, which is fine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread them out to cool, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight jar for several weeks (but, yeah right. Mine were gone in a day!)

To make the pastry: In a large bowl, stir together toasted quinoa flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and sea salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until the butter pieces resemble small peas. Add in maple, and vanilla. Add milk, 1/4 c at a time, stirring until the dough just comes together (I like using my hands for this, I find it easier than a spoon). Once most of the milk is added, the dough should form a largish shaggy ball. Turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. I found it easier to roll out two sections of dough separately, as my counters are slightly small. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6×6″ square, and use it to trace and cut 6 dough squares. Stack them on a plate with pieces of parchment paper in between, and let them chill in the fridge while you prep the apples for the filling.

Peel and core each apple. In a small bowl, mix together oats, cubed butter, cinnamon and a few glazed walnuts — this goodness should be chunky, which is fine since it’ll just be stuffed into the space where the apple core was.

Preheat the oven to 450, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (or large cast iron skillet).

Retrieve the dough squares. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut sugar on the bottom of each, put the apple in the center of the dough, stuff some of the filling in the cored space (I used a few walnuts per apple, and filled the rest with the oat/butter blend), and bring the corners of the dough up to meet over the top of the apple. Pinch the sides together to seal the seams. Repeat for all remaining apples, and if you’re an overachiever like me, make little leaves out of the excess dough for decoration.

Place the apples in the prepared baking dish or skillet, about 1″ apart. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown. While the crust is baking, make the caramel: in a small saucepan, melt butter / add almond milk, sea salt, and vanilla over medium, until it comes to a simmer. Stir in maple and arrowroot, and let simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.

Lower the heat to 350, and bake the apples for 30-40 more minutes**, until the apple is soft when poked with a fork and the dough is browned (quinoa flour is a little delicate, so if your dough cracks after baking, don’t worry! It’s still delicious). Remove from the oven once done, and pour caramel sauce over hot apples, and in and around them in the pan. Let cool for a few before eating — top with sauce and walnuts and ice cream for serving!

These keep well overnight in the fridge, and are delicious for breakfast (as well as for dessert, obiovusly, I can vouch for both). Store in the original pan, loosely covered with foil.

**I have some beef with the original apple dumpling method, which is to pour the caramel over after the initial par baking, and then continue baking for about a half an hour. That’s what I did, but I ran into some soggy dough and had to resort to some interesting pan switching techniques to continue baking them and THEN add the sauce back. SO. I would recommend the above method, which is how I would make them, when I make them again. That being said, they are delicious either way so you really can’t go wrong.

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Fig season is upon us!

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It’s fig season!!! Another reason to love fall, as if I didn’t have enough already.

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As much as I start missing the fresh summer berries, it’s so refreshing when the seasons start changing (ish. Emphasis on ish. It’s been in the upper 90s over here for the last few days…um okay I get it! We’re making up for lost time?! But seriously, enough). Figs are so fun with their little tiny seeds. I used to not be such a fig fan, but they’ve won their way into my heart. Especially when they hang out with goat cheese and hazelnuts and honey. But really, I’ll eat them in any form.

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Especially when rice pudding is involved… I never ever say no to rice pudding. EVER.

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This version is baked into a cake/tart type thing, and is sliceable and delicious and fantastic for breakfast as well as dessert. I could wax rhapsodic about this dessert but you really should just make one and thank me later. It’s delicious! It doesn’t use much sweetener either, which is a giant plus in my book and also makes it doubly acceptable for breakfast (also it’s excellent with coconut gelato… just looking out for you!)

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Handily enough, it also comes together quickly and doesn’t require any wildly unusual pantry ingredients.

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I’m reminded of the Italian cake Torta di Riso (I did one years ago and it’s somewhere on the blog… I used blood oranges for that one) — basically a rice custard that is baked into a sliceable cake. This one is a little denser than the Italian version (definitely NOT a bad thing), and is infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit is in season (though I highly recommend figs).

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I’ve also had some time to draw again lately, which I love. Baking + drawing = happy days.

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Enjoy fig season in all its glory and bask in some rice pudding. Happy Equinox!

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Baked Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Honeyed Figs

Gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free! Densely textured, lightly sweet cake perfect for dessert and breakfast. If you love rice pudding, this cake is for you. Yield: 1 9″ pie pan (mine is the deep variety, about 2″ deep). Recipe lightly adapted from A Fork and a Pencil, here!

  • 1 c arborio rice, rinsed
  • 1 c water
  • 1 1/3 c light coconut milk, divided (should be exactly one standard 13.5 fl oz can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • figs to your heart’s content (I used 4), halved
  • enough small dollops of honey to drop into each fig half

In a saucepan, combine rice, water, and 2/3 c coconut milk. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until it just barely boils. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid, no more than 10 minutes. Once rice is cooked (it should still have some chewy bite to it) and the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and let cool briefly while assembling everything else.

Lightly grease your pie plate with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together, add vanilla, sea salt, maple, and coconut sugar. Pour the cooked and cooled rice into this bowl, and stir to combine. Pour the whole thing into the prepared pie dish (don’t freak if there’s some leftover liquid on the top of the dish, it will be fine! Promise). Halve the figs and press them into the rice, dropping small dollops of honey into the center of each fig half.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is firm when touched and the surface is golden brown. Mine came out perfectly at an hour. Let cool for a bit before slicing. I like it cold, so I refrigerated mine for a few hours before eating, but that’s your call! Store any leftovers covered in the fridge (foil over the pie plate works just fine). Enjoy for dessert with your fave ice cream or gelato (coconut is marvelous) or for breakfast alongside your eggs and kale!

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Late summer galettes and camp shenanigans

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Hello! Long time no see.

Mostly because it’s summer so I had to do this:

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Step off the grid for 10 days to reconnect, laugh, love and play in the dirt at my favorite place on earth. Two Sentinels will always be my mountain home, and there is nothing like my camp family!

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But now I’m back! And because it’s late summer, all the fruit desserts are called for. Especially galettes, because there is something about the rustic pie dough thing that is so forgiving and accepting of whatever fruit you have on hand that reminds me of late summer. Besides that, galettes play much nicer than pie in the sandbox: less time in the oven, less fussy dough (usually) and less crimping, fussing, and general worries about ice cold this and that and the other thing. Which is mostly why I love them, but also because they’re delicious (and I am totally not hating on pie; I love it equally!! But I also love not dying in a hot kitchen, so there’s that).

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This galette made the perfect dessert with a spot of ice cream, and then a rad breakfast accompanied by eggs and kale… you really can’t go wrong here.

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Grain free, lightly sweetened, almondy crust surrounds almondy peaches and a homemade almond paste. Very little sweetner actually goes into this, since the peaches are so sweet on their own. Pretty much any summer fruit can go into this, but I love the combination of peach and almond!

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Hopefully you have some late summer produce hanging around, begging to be made into a galette. Trust me, it’s a good plan. Definitely recommended to eat this for breakfast… Happy baking!

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Grain Free Almond Peach Galette

Grain free, refined sugar free, and paleo! Yay! Minus chilling time, the actual galette making comes together in a snap. Lightly sweet: the perfect vehicle to highlight late summer produce that is so sweet on its own. Yield: 1 galette; serves two for dessert and breakfast with leftovers, or somewhere between 6-8 peeps. Your call on how much you feel like sharing… Crust recipe lightly adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here! The almond paste and filling are Wait are those Cookies brainchild. Happy eating!

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract

For the almond paste*:

  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract

*disclaimer: didn’t measure when I made this… so these are best guess estimates! Taste as you blend, and adjust the flavor as you like!

For the filling:

  • 3 peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar

Last little beautification elements:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, chopped

Let’s make galette!

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and almond extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

In the (cleaned) blender or food processor, combine the ingredients for almond paste: almond meal, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract. The texture should be pretty thick, and should stick to itself when you press it between your fingers. Add more almond butter or flour, and adjust sweetness accordingly. Set aside once made.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. Slice the peaches, and toss in a largish bowl with tapioca, extracts, and coconut sugar. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top the dough circle with the the almond paste, spreading it to about 2″ from the edge. Pile on the peaches, keeping them towards the center if possible. Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Top the exposed peach filling with dots of butter, and brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 35 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely. Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

Galette in situ:

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Ode to Cake

Happy Eater! I mean… Easter.

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And yes. I have absolutely no excuse for the dearth of posts, minus the fact that grad school owns my life for another 10 weeks (how is it possible that I graduate in 10 weeks… can someone explain this?!). At which point I will hopefully get back to posting on a semi-regular basis… Until then…. we’ll just see. But I’ve missed my invisible internet friends! I hope you’re all doing just wonderfully.

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To tide us over, here is an ode to cake. This is the same whole wheat banana cake with dark chocolate ganache that I’ve made umpteen billion times because it’s basically the most perfect banana cake I know. It’s not vegan, or grain free or even gluten free, but for what it is, I love it. It’s also large enough to feed a crowd, which was called for in this particular sitch.

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I’ve made this for birthdays of loved ones, thank you-s for advisors, and welcome home presents for besties. It’s a winner: silky chocolate ganache surrounding soft, not too sweet, not too dense but just dense enough banana cake. This particular iteration is refined sugar free, sweetened with a combination of date sugar and coconut sugar. Perfect for a mid afternoon Easter treat, no post-cake nap necessary. The link to the original post is here.

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In other news…

Sunbathing adorable Jessie.

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Flowers.

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Perfect avo.

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It’s good to be back! Enjoy the rest of your weekend — I hope it has a treat in it somewhere!

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Can someone explain how it’s already 2016?

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Woah. Apparently I’ve totally fallen off the blogging wagon. It’s nothing personal, don’t worry — I still love you, invisible internet friends!! But life seems to be taking me in different directions these days, so time to blog is few and far between.

That’s not to say I haven’t been baking…. or cooking… or eating… because all of those have been happening in spades.

AND I made cookies last night  apparently several days ago since I really failed at actually posting this when I thought I was going to… AND the cookies are fantastic.

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AND my winter quarter started today, how on earth is that possible?! I swear I just started break. Can I rewind and redo and have an extra month of break please?

In other news, my contribution to the Scott Fam holiday card was quite fun to execute, especially in fun new leggings…

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I’ve been drawing again, wheeee!

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But anyway, cookies! These are fantastic — chewy edges with softer centers, and extra chewy when you keep them in the fridge, which is my fave.

Happy 2016! I think this year is going to be pretty fabulous.

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Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan, refined sugar free, full of healthy fats and whole grains. Just sweet enough for the post holiday season. Thick, chewy edges with a softer center. Perfection. Yield: 17. Recipe lightly adapted and gratefully borrowed from Pralines and Greens, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole spelt flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • scant 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3  c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit for the flax egg.

In a larger bowl, whisk together almond flour, spelt flour, oats, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Add flax egg. Toss in chocolate chips. Form the dough into little balls, and flatten slightly once they’re on the cookie sheet. Bake for just about 11-12 minutes, then let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temp for softer cookies, or in the fridge for cookie with chewier edges (my personal fave).

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Sanctioned Birthday Indulgences (ie. Vati’s Annual Cake Nirvana)

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Happy Birthday, Vacuum Vati!

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His birthday was actually Sunday, but since my classes started again last week, I’m back on grad school time which means that all fun, personal things occur at least a day after I actually want them to, if not a few days or a week. Ha. Because grad school is just rude like that sometimes…

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A few days late, but I never want to miss out on a cake opportunity around here. Because, CAKE! Cake is awesome. Especially for birthdays (because then indulgences are sanctioned).

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Since we went chocolate-dark on the cake last year, Vati requested a lighter bourbon cake this year — sort of “dirty south” flavored, with bourbon, vanilla, and pecans. I lifted the cake recipe nearly intact from the Food Network, which is rare, but it was almost exactly what we had in mind, so why mess with a good thing?! I did, of course, make it whole wheat and reduced the sugar (though not quite on par with my usual reductions — it is a birthday, after all!), but then I put my spin on the glaze and candied the pecans (why use just toasted ones when you could candy them?!… Exactly).

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And since I actually made this on Sunday, Vati has been enjoying it since then with a verdict as such: delicious flavor combo, but the cake itself is ever so slightly dry. Solved by means of ice cream liberally spooned over the top, or an extra splash of bourbon poured over to hydrate it… because neither of those things is a bad thing when it comes to this cake.

Happy Birthday Vati!!! I know this year is going to be fantastic and I am thrilled you loved your cake :)

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Bourbon Vanilla Cake with Candied Pecans and Bourbon Glaze

Bourbony vanilla cake that has a lighter texture than a pound cake but is still fairly dense, complimented by a bourbon glaze and candied pecans. The whole wheat flour and addition of coconut sugar takes the sweetness down a notch, but this cake is definitely an occasion cake! And don’t feed it to the children (unless they have a taste for bourbon?!). Recipe adapted from the Food Network, here. Yield: 1 bundt cake + glaze + pecans for extremely liberal garnish.

Ps. This recipe isn’t complicated. But it will basically contrive to dirty every single bowl in your kitchen. Just saying. BUT. It’s worth it!

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For the cake!

  • 2 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c bourbon
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk, as that’s what was on hand)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) of salted butter
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • scant 1.25 c sugar (mine was about a 1/2 c coconut sugar, the rest white; use whatever blend suits you) + 1/4 c white sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the pecans:

  • 1 c raw pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar

For the glaze:

  • roughly 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • liberal 1/4 c bourbon
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, soft
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the pecans (I like to do them first, or even on another day, so that they’re cool when I need them). In a saucepan over medium heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, just a few minutes. Add butter and coconut sugar and toss to combine, stirring frequently until the pecans are evenly coated, the butter is completely melted and the sugar is incorporated. Take off the heat, remove from the pan and let cool in a heatproof container until needed or stored.

For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and liberally grease a bundt pan with coconut oil or butter. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon, and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring later, measure out the bourbon, milk, and vanilla and whisk together. It will look like it gets a little clumpy, but that’s okay! Set that aside too. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together butter and coconut oil until fluffy. Add 1.25 c of the sugar (whatever blend you choose is fine), and beat to incorporate until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquids, in four batches starting and ending with the dry.

In a non reactive bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then dump in the remaining 1/4 c of sugar, and whip until you get stiff peaks, about five minutes more. Fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. This crust makes a great “crust” which forms down at the bottom (when you flip it right-side-up) of the bundt pan — that was my favorite part! Let cool until you can turn it out without burning yourself, then let it cool completely before glazing.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze! Combine powdered sugar, bourbon, melted butter and vanilla in a smallish bowl and whisk vigorously until it’s all combined and delicious. Adjust to your personal taste, but I prefer it heavily bourbony!

Once the cake is cooled, go to town with the drizzle factor and liberally garnish it with candied pecans. And then eat it in rapture because isn’t that what cake is all about?

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Any excuse for a cake

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So! Fourth of July! Always fun in the dessert department, because who doesn’t love an excuse for a celebration-type of dessert. And hold the phone, is it possible that I put something up here that isn’t a bar?! …. *pin drops* No. can’t be.

But it is!

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Shocking.

A CAKE! And a layered one at that, because really, if you’re going to make a cake, why not go big?

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And despite it giving me much grief in the assembly (hot weather and butter-based icing are not really the best of friends), it did turn out rather pretty— Props to E’s mom Jana for the cute little flags! This is a pretty simple cake to put together as well, as the lemon curd can be made ahead of time, and the buttercream comes together in about five seconds.

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This is the first time I’ve made a fun dessert in quite a while… as I mentioned before a few posts back, I’ve been having quite the run of stomach issues lately, and have been attempting to figure out why my digestive system seems to hate me so much of late. Rude. Still no concrete answers, sigh… but one day at a time. I’ve been experimenting with reduced / no gluten,  though the jury is still out on that one. Well actually, jury is still out, period. So, cake. Because I don’t seem to feel much worse when I do eat it, and it was the Fourth! Celebrations should ensue.

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Apologies for the huge gaps between my posts these days… life has been crazy the last few months and isn’t really getting much calmer (in fact, I start grad school in less than a month, so I don’t expect to be able to keep regular posts coming. We’ll see how things shake out!) E and I move in to our apartment the first week of September, so maybe after that things will get a little more normal. We’ll see, nothing is ever normal around here (because normal = boring. ha)

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Whole Wheat Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Buttercream

Whole grains, healthy fats, and CAKE. Winner, winner. A lightly sweet, lightly lemony cake is complemented by a rich but not too decadent vanilla buttercream, and tart homemade lemon curd. The cake itself is refined sugar free, but there is powdered sugar in the frosting. If you have the time, definitely make homemade lemon curd. It is eons better than the stuff you can buy in the store, and about ten zillion times cheaper. Yield: a 2 layer, 9″ cake + enough buttercream for the filling and the top. I preferred a naked cake look for this one, as it was hot and nobody really wants a mega glut of frosting when it’s over 90 outside… the cake is light but very satisfying, and doesn’t make you feel like you need a nap afterwards! Cake adapted from I Bake, He Shoots, here!

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For the cake:

  • 2.5 c + 4 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 c coconut sugar, divided
  • 1 c avocado oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 c buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of two medium/good-sized lemons

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd

Lemon curd is the same recipe I used about three years ago (but with regular lemons instead of meyer this time); my recipe is here. Yield is about 1-1.5 c. You won’t use it all for the cake, unless you use the extra to top the individual slices. I used some in the buttercream, and some on the top. I suggest making it the day before, and just letting it hang out in a jar in the fridge overnight.

Raspberries, for garnish.

For the cake: preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease+flour two 9″ cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, mash together the lemon zest and 2 tbsp coconut sugar, until fragrant. Set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine remaining sugar, avocado oil, and eggs. Beat until lighter (though because of the coconut sugar, it won’t significantly lighten) and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add in lemon zest + sugar mixture. Combine buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice (I like using a liquid measure for easy pouring). Alternating dry ingredients and wet, add them to the larger bowl with the sugar/oil/eggs, starting and ending with flour. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes—the tops should spring back when touched lightly, and a tester should come out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream:

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add in 2 tbsp of lemon curd, and beat briefly to combine.

Frost the cooled cake as desired — I did a layer of buttercream/curd in the center, and topped the cake with the majority of the buttercream + another layer of lemon curd. Be careful of the cake sliding — my kitchen was hot so I ended up skewering the cake for transport, and letting it set up in the fridge for several hours prior to serving. Garnish with raspberries or another berry of your choice! Serve with extra lemon curd, because it’s basically the food of the gods..

Store covered cake in the fridge, assuming you have any leftovers!

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Cookies up the yin yang

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So guess what?

… No really. Guess!

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I got into graduate school for a masters in public health, wheeee! Which means I will be starting UC Davis in the summer session of 2015… UCD are you ready for this? I’m pretty rad and very sassy and generally crunchy. And after 18 months of that, I will go on to be rad but also have initials after my name, which makes me kind of a big deal. Ha. Kidding! Actually I’m really excited… and Davis has a legit co-op that I can spend hours in if not properly supervised.

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But enough of that. I went to LA last weekend and hung out with a bunch of super awesome relatives who also happen to follow very similar food philosophies that I do, so I ate extremely well (lots of nitrate-free bacon, plantain pancakes and pure maple syrup. And bacon. Did I mention bacon? Also beets. Mmmm beets), and swiped a few recipes because natch, that’s what I do. And this is one of them! I like calling them YinYang cookies! Light side, dark side… call them whatever you want but by all means make them because they’re fabulous and grain free/refined sugar free! Everyone just wins all around.

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Also, I just feel the need to leave you with this little gem. Obviously I got started early on my yoga squat… sassily, of course. Because no lady squats without a hat on. Obviously.

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Yin Yang Cookies

Almond butter dough and chocolate dough swirled together for chewy-edged, doughy-centered cookies. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free and paleo. The recipe is only tweaked slightly from the awesome book Make Ahead Paleoby Tammy Credicott.

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  • 1 c almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/3 c arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c roasted, unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate (I used 75%), roughly chopped into smallish pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, baking soda, and sea salt. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk (or use a hand mixer; I whisked and they came out fine) maple, coconut sugar, egg, almond butter, vanilla, and coconut oil until the coconut sugar has mostly dissolved. Stir the dry into wet, until combined, and toss in chocolate chips. Divide the dough in half, and put half in another bowl so you can stir in cocoa powder and water. Roll chocolate dough into a 1″ ball and smoosh it together with a 1″ ball of almond dough, then roll it between your palms to swirl it together. Flatten them slightly before you put it on the baking sheet, since they won’t spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes (I took them out at 10 minutes), when the top is smooth and starting to crack slightly. Leave on the cookie sheet until cool, since they are a little soft. Store in an airtight container for a few days if you don’t eat them immediately (good luck).

IMG_1966Also, apparently can’t sit in a car for a long period like a normal person…

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