Tag Archives: desserts

Our Peter Cottontail Cake

My mom has never had a passion for baking. She prefers to cook, as the recipes are more forgiving when the creative mind takes over. However, every Easter my mom would gather us kids around the kitchen counter and we would eagerly make our annual Peter Cottontail Cake. I’m not sure exactly when this tradition began, but I can’t remember an Easter without this cake.

When my two girls came along, I decided that I would continue this tradition. Our cake has certainly evolved over the years. Not just in appearance (the kids always take over the icing and decorating) or flavour, but in the chosen cake ingredients. Our Peter Cottontail Cake has been gluten-free for several years and gluten-free and vegan for the past two years. Changing our diet and lifestyle, did not mean that we would live without our beloved Easter cake.

Every year leading up to Easter weekend, the girls continuously remind me of this cake. As if I would ever forget.

Meet Peter.

Bunny Cake

This year our cake will be taken on a road trip to be enjoyed by our many extended family members. The girls decided that a mocha flavoured bunny would be best. So, the recipe was a no-brainer.  We decided to go with Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe for Mocha Almond Fudge Cake since we have had so much success with it in the past. We easily made it gluten-free with an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix. We substituted the sugar in the recipe for coconut sugar and the canola oil for coconut oil. It made two beautiful 9-inch round cakes.

Creating the bunny is super easy. Like my mom, I’m not one for fiddly things, but this I can do. 😉 Once the cakes have cooled, one is carefully cut in half. The sides are then “glued” together with icing and the cake is stood cut sides down on a cake plate.

My 11 year-old daughter covered this year’s cake in a mocha icing and added some shredded coconut sprinkles. My teen made a great set of floppy ears from cardboard. The girls completed our bunny cake with some candy. A big marshmallow is always our bunny cake’s tail. Something all the kids like to fight over when it’s time for slicing. Usually the younger child wins.

This post could not be complete without sharing a couple of photos of Basil. Basil is our bunny we adopted from New Moon Rabbit Rescue a year and a half ago. He is now two years old. He is our baby.

 

Wishing you all a beautiful Spring-like weekend! (Let’s hope we get some much-needed sunshine!!). As well, a very Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this special occasion!

Maple-Glazed Apples (with spiced non-dairy yogurt and buckwheat granola)

I rose this morning to a beautiful winter’s day and to the sweet sound of my 10 year-old strumming “Jingle Bells” on her guitar. Ahhh, I am so thrilled she loves to practise. 😉

Over a hot cup of chai tea, I decided to go through my binder of old recipes. I came across this one which I thought was a perfect dish for celebrating our first Sunday of Advent.

maple-glazed apples

I used to make this a few years ago with unsalted butter, non fat yogurt, and a low-fat granola. Like most recipes, this one can easily be made without all the dairy and be just as tasty, if not better.

Today, I used a wee bit of coconut oil, yoso coconut yogurt (a carrageenan-free, non-dairy yogurt), and an adapted version of Laurie Sadowksi’s tasty and wholesome Raw Cacao Buckwheat Granola.  So delicious!

MAPLE-GLAZED APPLES (WITH SPICED NON-DAIRY YOGURT AND BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA)

  • 4 spartan apples, cored, and each cut into 8 slices
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup yoso creamy cultured coconut (plain unsweetened) yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat granola

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place apples, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and melted coconut oil in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Toss until well coated.

3. Roast apples for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are crisp and tender.

4. Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, spices and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl.

5. Spoon roasted apples into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with granola, then drizzle with spiced yogurt.

*Note on the granola: I have made Laurie Sadowski’s granola recipe a few times now and love it. In my latest version of her recipe, I substituted raw almonds for hazelnuts, added dried cranberries, and eliminated the cacao and cacao nibs. My kids enjoy eating a bowl with my homemade almond milk, but I prefer eating the large clumps as an afternoon snack.

As I write this, it’s early afternoon and the snow has been flying since dawn. Our tree is lit (soon to be decorated) and my daughter is busy putting together our advent wreath. My plan is to spend the afternoon pouring over, once again, all the amazing vegan dishes at last month’s Virtual Vegan Potluck. Tonight I will make my final decision and vote for my favourite dish in each category. (December 2 is the last day to vote). Have you checked it out, yet? If not, you must! (uberdish brought a side dish – herbed spaetzle with beet puree!)

An Awesome Allergy-Free Cookbook Giveaway

As we head into what is going to be a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, I would like to offer all my readers a chance to win one of my favourite gluten-free and vegan cookbooks!  If you, or someone you know, suffers from food sensitivities or food allergies or you just love wholesome and mouth-watering treats then you absolutely need this cookbook.

The Allergen-Free Cookbook

Laurie Sadowski, The Allergy-Free Cook, has created recipes for the most decadent and delicious baked goods.  In The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies, you will find easy to follow recipes for sweet treats that are free of dairy, egg, gluten, nightshades, soy, sulfites and wheat.  Many of her other recipes, like Maple-Cinnamon Biscotti, are also free of legumes, nuts, peanuts, seeds and yeast.

As mentioned in a past post, Laurie’s recipes contain gluten-free flours that are nutritionally superior not only to wheat flours, but to many commercial gluten-free flour blends.  For instance, the Wild Blueberry Brunch Cake (pictured above) contains sorghum, millet or quinoa, and tapioca flours.

“A number of suppliers sell packaged gluten-free flour blends, but I prefer to make my own for a few reasons. First, I like to try a variety of flour combinations in different baked goods. Second, most commercial blends contain a large proportion of rice flour and an excessive amount of starch, a combination that lacks nutrition. Third, commercial blends often contain gelatin or powdered milk, both of which are animal derived.” (Laurie Sadowski in “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”)

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies. 🙂

This is what you need to do:

  1. Share uberdish with a friend or family member and get them to either ‘like’ my Facebook page or subscribe to my blog by email. Both you and your friend or family member will be entered into the draw.
  2. Please leave a comment below letting me know you and your friend or family member (include their name) have entered this cookbook giveaway contest.

***This contest will end October 17 at midnight (Eastern Time). I will draw a name at random and announce the winner the following morning.

If you are wishing to add Laurie’s first book, The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread, to your collection then you can contact Laurie here.  She is willing to offer my readers a discount on both of her books.  Laurie will also provide my readers with a generous discount on her gluten-free consulting service. 🙂

I will end this post with photos of a couple of goodies made from The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread.  

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I plan to make a Cocoa-Pumpkin Loaf (from the same cookbook) to take to our family cottage. It will make a nice treat for when we finish pulling up the docks, closing up the boat, and raking some leaves.

Good luck with the giveaway! I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Banana-Apple Oatmeal Energy Chews

banana-apple oatmeal energy chews_edited-1

A few weeks ago, my daughter was feverishly pouring through my cookbooks looking for a healthy “granola bar-like” snack that she could take to the skating rink for her long evening practices.  In the end, she bookmarked a recipe from Lindsay Nixon’s book, Everyday Happy Herbivore,  with a sticky that read “Mom, please make for me”.  The recipe was for “Oatmeal Chews” – a no added sugars or fat cookie that was easy-to-make and looked delicious.

In our house, this cookie has evolved over the past two or three weeks.  After the first batch, we quickly decided that this recipe absolutely had to be doubled to make 30 cookies.  Thirty cookies should take us right through to the end of the school/work week.  It should, but we have yet to make that one happen.

Next, we decided to add some additional ingredients.  Our recipe now includes chia seeds, grated nutmeg and a chopped McIntosh apple.  On Tuesday morning, I thought I was brilliant when I mixed in a chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar  prior to baking.  (On this particular day, chocolate was absolutely necessary for survival). 😉

These chews make a perfect snack prior to any workout. They are also great for those mornings when you find yourself on-the-run.

BANANA-APPLE OATMEAL ENERGY CHEWS

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soaked raisins (try soaking overnight)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 chopped McIntosh apple
  • 1 chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar (optional)

Combine bananas, soaked raisins, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add chia seeds, oatmeal, apple and chocolate (if desired) and mix with a spoon until well combined.

Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Grease or line your cookie sheet and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto your cookie sheet and then flatten slightly with the back of your spoon or with your hands.

Bake for about 14 minutes.  Let stand on your cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

*********

We had a beautiful Wednesday morning this past week and I took full advantage of it.  I packed up some of our banana-apple oatmeal energy chews and took my kayak out on the Mississippi River here in Almonte.  It was so peaceful!  Not a soul on the river.  Just me, some blue heron, turtles, geese, and ducks.  I love this!

Ottawa’s Veg Fest, The Allergy-Free Cook and a Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

The kids are back in school and I am one happy camper.  (But don’t tell them this).  As much as I love the kids being home and all of Summer’s fun-filled moments, I am now looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine.  Especially the routine of doing what I absolutely love – and that is writing about all the delicious gluten-free and plant-based dishes that have made the voyage across our dining room table and into our much appreciated tummies.

This particular post is well overdue.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending Ottawa’s 5th Annual Veg Fest (and its 1st Annual Yoga Fest) with my extremely veg-curious sister.  I absolutely love hanging out with this girl!  She nearly always makes me laugh – not when we were kids, though 😉 – and she is so enthusiastic about trying new things.

We were super excited about our Veg Fest weekend.  This event had an excellent line up of speakers including a showing of the 2011 documentary film “Forks Over Knives”.

There was one lecture that particularly sparked our interest.  It was a lecture by Canada’s own Laurie Sadowski.   After grabbing a couple of Simply Raw’s black bean wraps and a bottle of Flexi Lexi’s green lemonade, we made our way into St. Paul’s University Amphitheater for an extremely informative lecture on “Gluten-Free Vegan Baking”.

I immediately liked Laurie, otherwise known as “the allergy-free cook”,  from the moment she told us that she was in love with her Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  Naturally, I hung on everything this girl had to say.   Let’s just say that Laurie is a wealth of information and, quite frankly,  a walking encyclopedia on gluten-free flours.

I was quick to buy Laurie’s cookbooks shortly after her presentation.  It’s no wonder her books were flying off her display table!  Laurie uses nutritionally superior flours in all her recipes such as, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff flours.  These flours contain more fiber and protein than rice flour – a flour which is prevalent in so many commercial blends.

Knowing that I am a freak for cookbook authors and culinary celebrities, my sister snapped a picture of me with Laurie.  Here I am proudly holding autographed copies of her two books 🙂

Laurie Sadowski

Laurie’s recipes are all gluten-free and contain no dairy or eggs.  Her latest book “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies” (2013) is also soy-free.   Laurie uses minimally processed sweeteners in all her recipes.  One cookie that is absolutely loved in our house is her “Chocolate Chunk-Tahini Cookies”.  These cookies are sweetened with maple syrup – one of my personal favourites. 🙂

gluten-free chocolate chunk-tahini cookies

My sister was loving her role as photographer this particular fine day.  Here, I am standing all giddy-like with Natasha Kyssa (you may recall my raw food cleanse posts) and Flexi Lexi (we loved her green lemonade!).

Both my sister and I are looking forward to next year’s Veg Fest.  As far as I know, the date has not been released, but we have it “penciled in” from mid to late June.  We are also looking forward to Laurie Sadowski’s new cookbook, “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Pies and Desserts” which is expected to be released later this year.

I will end this post with a dessert that I made last month.  The recipe is from “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”.   I made it as a bundt cake and it turned out perfectly delicious.  Let’s be honest –  it’s addictive.  Seriously.  Try stopping at one piece.  (My daughters and I are guilty of polishing off half of this cake, within minutes,  while standing in the kitchen watching it cool).  Thankfully, I remembered to take a photo before we dug in.

Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

WILD BLUEBERRY (BUNDT) CAKE

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil bundt pan.

Put the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a dry whisk until combined.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer,  beat the sugar and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy and well combined. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, the vanilla extract, and vinegar. Beat until combined.

With your mixer on low-speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and the remaining coconut milk (in 2 additions).  Beat well after each addition.  Turn off the mixer and stir in the blueberries using a baking spoon.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan using a rubber spatula.  Smooth the top with the spatula.  Bake in the center of your oven for 40 to 55 minutes*, until golden brown.

* If using fresh blueberries, check your cake with a toothpick after 40 minutes.  Frozen and very juicy berries will require a longer baking time.

Enjoy!

“For the Road” Raw Balls

powerballs

This post is going to be short, but sweet.  I made these for a very long car trip that I will be taking tomorrow morning.   I thought these tasty fudge-like morsels would be a perfect pick-me-up for my long haul.

For the next 3 weeks, I will be away from my computer, so I will not be making any posts.  Instead,  I will be engaged in some kayaking, snorkeling and some all around good outdoor fun with a few very adventurous family members.  Reading is definitely in order.  I packed the newest addition to my library, Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. 🙂

These raw balls were inspired by Alicia Silverstone’s Raw Balls. They are quick and easy to put together and are forgiving if you desire to get “creative” in the kitchen.  If you don’t like getting your hands messy, then ask the kids to do it!

For the Road Raw Balls

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • a little less than 1/2 cup raw carob powder
  • a little less than 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • some shredded unsweetened coconut on a plate for rolling

In a food processor, process almonds until coarsely ground. Add the dates and pulse a few times. Add the carob powder, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cashews and sunflower seeds and pulse a few times. I like the cashews and seeds to remain in chunks.

Roll the mixture into approximately 12 balls with your hands. Roll the balls on a plate of shredded coconut. Place balls in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened.

These may be my breakfast. 😉 See you in 3 weeks!

Friday Night Freezer Fudge

fudge

My grandmother used to make the most amazing dish of chocolate fudge.  As a child, I would bring a chair up to the stove and eagerly watch her add the sugar, butter, and milk.  At the right time, it was poured into a large casserole dish and I would get the honours of licking the spoons and pot clean.  Over the course of what seemed liked forever, we would run to the fridge to see if it had hardened.  When it finally did, we would sit at the kitchen table giggling and laughing and savoring every last bite.

My grandmother died just a couple of years ago.  I miss her terribly.  My aunt recently gave me a large cardboard box of all her journals.  Nearly every day, for well over 30 years, my grandmother sat down each night and wrote about her day.  I have spent many evenings this past month reading all her entries.  I have to laugh – many of her afternoons were spent making fudge!

It only seemed fitting that I end the week and celebrate the beginning of March Break (a special time when I would stay for extended periods with my grandmother) with a good batch of chocolate fudge. 🙂

This is a recipe for a quick and easy melt-in-your-mouth freezer fudge.  It contains no dairy and no refined sugar.  I used Ani Phyo’s Lavender Chocolate Bars recipe from her book “Ani’s Raw Food Desserts”.  I eliminated the lavender flowers – wrong time of the year for those!  I opted out of the topping of sliced almonds.  I was just too anxious to eat a piece and, frankly, it was just too late to slice those almonds!  As well, I substituted the agave syrup for maple syrup.  After all, I live in the maple syrup capital of Canada.

FRIDAY NIGHT FREEZER FUDGE

  • 1 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional)

In a food processor, chop almonds and raisins and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Combine the coconut oil and maple syrup in a food processor or high-speed blender.   Add the cacao and almond butter and process slowly until well mixed.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl with almonds and raisins and mix with a spoon.

Spread the mixture onto a 9 x 13 dish lined with parchment paper.  Top with sliced almonds, if you wish.

Place dish in the freezer to chill until solid.  This takes about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.  Keep fudge in the freezer, as it softens at room temperature.  It will keep for a month or more in the freezer.  Mine just doesn’t last that long!

If you get it all over your hands and face, you’re eating it too slowly.