Gluten Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate-Glazed Donuts (Baked, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Option, Sugar-Free)

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Yes!! A donut made gluten-free and with NO cane sugar, even down to the delicious chocolaty goodness that is dripping from each heavenly little round of joy.

I can’t begin to post this recipe before, first, apologizing for the delay in posting. Life seems to happen, at least for me, in waves. Sometimes I feel ultimately inspired and the time seems to be so friendly, like we are working together, me and the hours of the day, so beautifully. Then there was November of 2013!  Haha! It really seems like amay have accidentally sneezed off the entire page of November from the calendar or something. But here I am, back in the saddle again and glad to be posting this delicious gluten-free treat!

When I need an idea for a recipe, I always hit the ol’ search engine for some inspiration. My five year old’s pre-school today was serving up a store-bought chocolate donut with pretzel antlers and a gum-drop nose. Well, yes, that sounds very cute and very creative, but I was just sure I could come up with an alternative for him that would be gluten free, sugar free, soy free, (high-fructose-corn-syrup-free). We do mostly a dairy-free diet, but for these, I did use one tub of yogurt that was from a quality source, grass-fed and organic. Because we are far less sensitive than we once were, this shouldn’t pose any real threat as a one-time treat.

I started with a recipe from The Gluten Free Goddess for baked donuts. Her pictures looked very promising and yummy! I made a few tweaks here and there; used an all-purpose flour blend instead of individual flours for simplicity {and because I found a large bag of Namaste Perfect Flour Blend for a thrifty price at our Costco}, I opted for piping my batter out into donut shapes, since I don’t have donut pans and my batter was a bit stickier (probably due to more liquid ingredients, since I used coconut oil instead of palm shortening, and maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I also used real eggs, since we rotate those into our diets now, too. I chose to dip ours in a cane-sugar-free chocolate syrup.  Um, yum. Yes, that’s it, just three letters to sum that up. Yum.

Hope you enjoy :o)

The DONUT.
Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend GF Flour
3 tablespoons blanched almond flour (I keep this on hand in my freezer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon real salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid measure
1/3 cup organic grade b maple syrup
2  eggs (or 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer powder mixed with 1/4 cup water for egg-free option)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used organic unsweetened rice milk)
1 small container of grass-fed, organic, plain yogurt (I used Maple Hill Creamery)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, I whisked together all of my dry ingredients (I just really hate sifting because I always make such a mess, so this is my compromise – using a wire whisk for my dry ingredients.)

In another container, I combined all of my wet ingredients, poured the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, and carefully stirred everything together.

I used a large zip-top bag and cut about a half an inch corner off to pipe out my rings. I eye-balled the piped out rings into about the size of a mini-donut you would find in a hostess package. They do rise a bit in the baking process, so if you want  a hole in the center, which I DID for my cherry “Rudolph nose”, be sure to make your ring large enough for the expansion during baking.

I used my fingertip dipped in a little coconut oil to smooth down the seems and help give a little better crisp during the baking process.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature before dipping.  {You could also sprinkle with some cinnamon & coconut sugar at this point and not dip in the chocolate at all}

The CHOCOLATE DIP:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grade b organic maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Heat the first three ingredients in a small sauce pan just until melted and dippable {oh, sure, that’s a word!))
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Now, simply dip those donuts, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture and return to the wire rack to dry.

For our Reindeer, we used Tillen Farms Dye-Free Bing Cherries for the Rudolph nose, and two halves of a gluten free pretzel on each for the antlers. Picture of those to come, they are lost for now on my cell phone, which took a plunge in the bath tub just this morning. I will make a new batch of donuts tonight and hopefully recapture the delight, for now, at least I have one!

~Happy donut-making, Canaries.

Scared Of The Dark Cherry Gummy Bears

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I’m not quite sure when Halloween became synonomous with massive quantities of food-dyes and high-fructose-corn syrup, but I don’t have to tell you that these are not the healthiest selections for our kids. The last thing you want to read, I’m sure, is another study about how dangerous some of theses  chemical food colorings can be (or why many other countries don’t allow them into their foods), or how high fructose corn syrup will get your child closer to diabetes by the day.

I know this is a major sugar-buzz-kill for so many parents. They escape into the “one day out of the year won’t hurt them” mentality, and they may be perfectly right (at least a percentage of them). As a family who already battles a neurological disorder, I have made a choice to remove all chemical additives from our diet, so most of the store bought “goodies”, we simply walk past as if they are a piece of store furniture,  When I happen upon a circumstance where I have to admit to the layman that…

“We Don’t Eat Candy.”
or
“My Kids Are Allergic To Sugar”

…I undoubtedly get a look that, if I could freeze-frame the moment, would most appropriately be marked with a scribbled thought bubble and a big. red. question-mark.  Then comes the pity. Its really kind of comical at this point. Do I dare tell them the real kicker? That even if they weren’t allergic I wouldn’t give them sugar. {{{(gasp!)}}}

Huh?
Huh?

I assure you, though, that I AM NO PARTY POOPER!  My kids have fun stuff. Almost daily! And holidays are just a creative person’s dream because they provide a theme, a canvas for creation.   Halloween is no exception.

The past few Halloweens, I have ordered some really great candies from our go-to allergy-friendly candy shoppe, Natural Candy Store. But even here, it is tough to find candies that aren’t made with sugar.  So, it has been my mission this year to create some great home made candies and treats (adding more by the day) to make our Halloween celebration SCARY FUN this year!

These Gummy Bears will be PERFECT.

Three Littel Bears


SCARED OF THE DARK CHERRY GUMMY BEARS (also, see below the Valentine’s Version)

1/2 cup black cherry concentrate*
1/2 cup pure water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons gelatin**

*You can find this in the supplements section of most health food grocers, or simply order online from a source like amazon or vitacost.
**For the healthiest option, try a brand of gelatin that is from grass-fed cows. I use the Great lakes Brand {the red or orange can, not green}.


Directions:

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine all the liquids.

In a saucepan over medium heat, I started with about half of the liquid mixture and all of the gelatin and whisked together while the pan was heating. When I had a sort of paste, I added the remaining liquid in and continued to whisk until the gelatin was completely dissolved.

I turned off the heat and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, just to cool.

The next step is where the fun comes in! I added powdered probiotic at this stage and then poured into my molds. You do not have to add anything at this point, but the sky is the limit if you want to make these “gummy-vites”.

Pour into your mold or desired dish. Refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours).
I used these fantastic bear ice cube trays. I first saw them on one of my favorite blogger’s sites (Elana Amsterdam’s Elana’s Pantry) and marked them as a MUST HAVE!! She had done some other great bear flavors, as have many other bloggers, so this is by no means a new recipe. They are a healthy take on the old “Knox-Blox” recipe (A favorite of our Papa’s … hopefully we can pass these off as the knox-blox he loves so dearly and save him from himself! :))    I found the bear molds here.

The existential Gummy Bear

As you can see, there is much fun to be had with these gummy bears. PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

When Halloween night comes this year, I will be making a batch of these “Sacred Of The Dark Cherry” bears, and also an Apple Cider version. Yummy!!

~Happy Halloween Eats~

For Valentine’s Day, I ordered these cute little heart-shaped molds and we had a blast making Very Cherry (with cherry-pomegranate juice) and Very Berry (with Cherry & Raspberry Juice) Gummy Hearts. <3 <3 <3

Very Berry Gummies

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don't have to feel guilty about eating.
Delcious layers of pumpkin and a cheesecake you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

PUMPKIN PIE ChiaSCAKE

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THE FALL ~ well, I haven’t mentioned it yet today, so there it is. Guilty!

My husband would tell you that I have been distracted as of late. My kids would likely say that I have not been a “good listener”. Well, if you could be a fly on the wall of my brain, you would know perfectly well that all this spaciness is due to the pumpkin eclipse that occurs once a year in October!  All I can think about is pumpkin : how crazy we should get with carving, which grocer to grab from, which patch to patron, and mostly, what creative pumpkin concoctions can I come up with in the kitchen?!

This year, I really wanted to test out an idea for a pumpkin cheesecake. Being dairy free, this would be a pumpkin cheesecake without cheese. Yes, you read that right. Many of the dairy-free cheesecake recipes call for vegan cream cheese. This is not my favorite option. I really wanted to find a different way to do a dairy-free cheesecake, one that seemed somewhat healthy and had no artificial ingredients and no cane sugar. So, my creative juices started to flow down a pumpkin path of a freezer cake, a layered freezer cake, and I thought about the creaminess I can get from chia seeds, like with the chia pudding that I sometimes make.  This is what I came up with:


This recipe is done in stages, but it is not difficult, so please don’t let the long explanation scare you off. I suggest reading through the instructions before you begin so that you can plan for each step.

LAYERED PUMPKIN PIE FREEZER ChiaSCAKE

Prior to making your cake/pie, soak 1/2 cup pecans and 1 cup of cashews in the refrigerator (seperately) for two hours. If you can plan ahead, it is easy to simply soak them in the fridge over night.


THE CRUST

{This part is a work in progress. I loved the flavor of this crust, but the consistency was a bit too gooey to me and made the pieces hard to serve, I will revise when I come up with a better solution, but my next try will be more nuts and less dates} :

1/2 cup pecans (or nut of choice), soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
10 medjool dates
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Combine in food processor or blender. Press a thin, even layer into a glass pie pan or a 6-cup pyrex dish (8x6x2)*
Set aside and move on to the PUMPKIN PIE LAYER.

THE PUMPKIN PIE LAYER
1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
pinch salt
I always opt for the simplest method possible. I combined all the ingredients into my Vitamix and blended until smooth. (You may see some specs from the chia seeds. This is okay)  Spoon the mix over the crust and smooth out with a spatula. Stick in the freezer while you rinse out your blender and move onto your ChiasCAKE LAYER.

THE ChiasCAKE LAYER
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours and rinsed)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Combine all the ingredients for the ChiaSCAKE Layer into your Vitamix or blender. Blend, starting on low and moving up to higher speeds, until you reach a thick, creamy consistency. There may be some specs from the chia seeds again. This is okay. Take the dish out of the freezer and add this layer to the top.

Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, take the freezer cake out of the freezer and thaw on the counter for 20-30 minutes, just until it is thawed enough to cut into pieces. Cut and serve.

The first time we tried this, I was not sure how the flavors would go over for the kids (they are 5 and 7). They looked at it skeptically at first, which could always go either way. After the first bite, I could see it written all over their faces. We had a winner, folks! They were soon licking their forks clean and asking {politely, of course} for another piece.  {Music to a momma’s ears.}  2 pieces each for breakfast the next morning and 1 more for an after-dinner-dessert and we managed to polish off this cake in close to a 24 hour period. Not too shabby!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

~Happy Dairy-Free Cheesecake eating ~

Pumpkin-Pie-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Pumpkin-Pie-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Sometimes the simplest of ideas turn into the best treats! The fall flavors of pumpkin-pie-spice pair beautifully with the sweet & nutritious sweet potatoes. Use coconut oil and bake and you have a healthy version of french fries to make your fall meals spooktacular!

These were hand-cut organic sweet potatoes, sliced into thin strips. 2 tablespoons of coconut oil melted to a liquid and tossed to coat the sweet potato strips. About 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and a couple of pinches of salt and these were quickly on their way to a 450 degree oven. The cooking times will vary greatly depending on the size of your fries. These cooked for about 25 minutes and were perfectly browned and crispy in parts and deliciously “fluffy” on the inside.