Brown Butter Chocolate Cake

Need I say more? The brown butter takes this to the next nutty, salty level. If it sounds yummy, i promise, it tastes even better!

I used my 2 ingredient chocolate sweet tater frosting in the middle. I also went with a simple sugar toasted coconut top in lieu of frosting, but you could easily put more frosting on top! Your cake, your choice! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?!

Ok. Here’s what you need:

6tbsp grass fed butter (i used kerrygold)

1+3/4c white whole wheat flour (i used King Arthur organic)

1/2c cacao powder (unsweetened!)

1/2c packed dark brown sugar

1+3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1tsp kosher or pink himalaya sea salt

1/2c+1tbsp organic granulated sugar

1+3/4c whole buttermilk

2lg eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

2tbsp coconut oil

1/2c unswt coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Spray 2, 9” pans

3. The Brown Butter: Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan and leave it there until butter turns foamy and starts to sizzle and pop a bit. That’s the moisture escaping! Give the pan a few good swirls then let it rest. Once the butter looks brownish and you can see little crispy bits on the bottom, remove the pan from heat and let it cool. You could remove the crispy bits if you want, but i like to leave ‘em in there.

4. Mix next 6 ingredients (dry) together until well incorporated

5. Mix next 3 ingredients (wet) until you can’t see the egg any more (good rule of thumb for the wet ingredients)

6. Add wet to dry, ya brown butter and coconut oil.

7. Pour batter into 2 pans (it will not full the pans). Sprinkle the top one with coconut flakes and sprinkle with 1tbsp sugar.

8. Bake at 350 for 35 min

Allow cake to cool. Spread the top of the bottom cake with the 2 ingredient frosting, then add the coconut topped cake to that! Phew! That was a mouthful. Now go take a mouthful of that cake you’re now dying to bake!!

Easiest Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting You’ll Ever Makek

Say whaaaa?! So easy, but so tasty. Not super redeeming, but hey, there still decently healthy and we’re all in a pinch sometimes-right?!

I’m about to blow your mind with these. Or at least I think I am. Again, this recipe came about pretty randomly after me tinkering around in the kitchen for hours, but it was fun. And the kids and I ate them ALL. I’m starting to notice an “we ate the whole batch” theme to this blog. Oh well. Not too upset about it.

These are so easy, I had to put fancy papers on there, just so that it looked like they were harder… cheating, I know. But we’re all in a pinch sometimes right?!

And this chocolate frosting made out of sweet taters is a game changer. You would NOT KNOW if I brought these to a party unless I told you. I promise.

For this, all you need is:

1 box spice cake mix

1 can canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!!!!!)

1 c milk of choice

1 large sweet potato, preferably freshly baked, but definitely warm

1/2 c chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix the first 3 ingredients until it resembles muffin batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for about 30 minutes or so.

While those are baking, whip out the ol’ food processor. Put the sweet tater in that and pulse. Add your chocolate chips process it (is that the right verb for that?!?!…) until the mixture resembles frosting. Feel free to adjust your sweet potato/chocolate ratio to accommodate your palate/flavor profile. I use bittersweet chocolate because I love a not-to-sweet, rich chocolate frosting, but I use milk chocolate chips for the kiddos. Allow it to cool a bit before spooning it into a piping/plastic bag.

By now your muffins should be done! Go ahead and try one to see if you like the consistency. Sometimes they’re still a little gooey in the middle and need a few more minutes.

Let the muffins cool completely. Frost and enjoy! You could even have these for breakfast and not really be cheating!

Lemongrass Chicken Bone Broth Soup

This recipe came about randomly, as most of mine tend to do, but it was unreal.

The Lemongrass combo realllllly took it to the next salty savory tangy level. AND the broth was packed with anti-inflammatory goodness like collagen since I just used my leftover home-made bone broth as the base. I know I use turmeric in the recipe for that, but it still worked really well with this soup.

Ingredients:

2 stalks of lemongrass (only the white and yellow parts, smashed. Or lemongrass paste to taste)

1 onion, chopped

1, 1″ piece of ginger minced or about 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 the chicken on an organic rotisserie chicken

6 cups bone broth, made from the rotisserie chicken bones

4 carrots, cut into coins

4 stalks celery, chopped

Corn from 1 corn on the cob

I started by sautéing the first 3 ingredients together in a little grassed butter until the smell really came through, about 2 minutes. Then I added the fish sauce, stirred for about 10 seconds. Then I added the chicken and bone broth and let that come to a quick boil. I reduced that to a simmer and added the rest of my ingredients and let the whole pot simmer for about 4 hours. Thats it! You could totally let it simmer for less time, but when I’m making soup, I tend to knock it out earlier in the day because soup is just one of those things that can’t really simmer for TOO long, ya know?!

Pair this with a delicious panini or grilled sandwich and BAM. You’ve got a pretty nutrition packed, family friendly, belly filling, crud fight, crowd pleasing supper!

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice Skillet with Roasted Tomatoes

Here’s another INSANELY delicious dish that I can’t really take credit for. Alison Wu of WuHaus is the genius behind this one. Only she does it WAY better, with WAY more fresh herbs and deliciousness. Mine is more, well the product of 3 kids in the house who end up putting your freshly prepared herbs in their “mud potions…” 🙄

Anyhoo. Still came out absolutely delicious… Alison Wu’s version calls for lots and lots of fresh dill, which I must admit, I am not a huge fan of. There… I said it! Oh- also if you want to see WAYYYY better/more professional pics of the dish that will make your mouth water, head on over to her blog. It’s amazing. Here- I’ll even like it to make it that much easier for you ;).

Ok, for this you will need:

Ingredients:

1/2 head of cauliflower, riced

1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes

2- 3 eggs

1 tsp turmeric

Ok, first thing. Preheat your oven to 225*. I know I know, I almost NEVER set it that low, but believe me… it makes a HUGE difference in the flavor profile of your cherry tomatoes. Halve your cherry tomatoes (the bigger the better) and place them seed side up on a baking sheet. I sprayed them with a little avocado oil and sprinkled pink himalaya salt over them and a little cracked black pepper. 

Roast those bad boys for about 90-120 minutes. I know. Long time, but it’s all passive cooking. You can do all sorts of things in that time. You can do anything… but don’t forget about them! They’ll shrivel up into little nasty tomato raisins. Trust me…

Ok, so when those are almost done, go ahead and sauté your cauliflower rice in some avocado oil, salt, pepper and turmeric. I like to make a cauliflower layer over the avocado oil and let it sit there over medium high heat for a hot minute (about 5) so that the bottom pieces get all crispy. 

When your cauli rice is done, go ahead and make 2-3 small holes in your cauli skillet. Crack an egg into each hole and let it sit over medium heat until the eggs are cooked through to your liking. 

Top with the sweet, roasted, delicious tomato jewels and devour it. I ate the whole skillet last time I made this. But I have some self control issues. hehehe

Probiotic Coconut Yogurt

Not nearly as good as Coconut Cult, buuuuut it’ll fill the gaps I suppose. And it is still yummy! And I can eat more of it 🤤… I’m still only in the 2tbsp/day of the real Coconut Cult club!

Definitely copied Minimalist Bakers recipe for this one, with only one tweak and that’s because I couldn’t find the Whole Foods brand coconut milk, so I just made my own from a big ol’ coconut 🤣. Result was pretty delish and I now keep a jar on hand in the fridge for smoothies, parfaits and nibbles here and there.

To make the coconut milk, I just took a coconut. Poked a hole where the “eyes” are. Drank the water. Mmmmm.

 

Then I just baked it in a 350* oven for about 30 mintes. Took it out. Let it cool. Then let my 6 year old whack at it with a hammer until it broke open. Then I harvested the pieces. Put them in my blender. Added 2 cups of water. Blended on high for a HOT minute. And strained with a cheese cloth. It took a little doing, but it was mostly passive work. And my son had loads of fun cracking that thing open. Cooking+entertainment. Win win.

Oh! And I saved the shreddy bits and made coconut flour. So many uses, so little time. So many purposes, 1 little item. I also bake a couple at a time and freeze some of the meat for smoothies. But I digress.

After I had the milk made, I just added 2 renew Life (50billion) capsules, stirred, covered with a cheese cloth and let it sit for about 48 hours. Bam! Coconut yogurt.

I also tried this with the PB2 strains and got a decently thick yogurt, but in the fridge it transformed into more of a kefir like consistency.

 

I ate it plain, in smoothies, but by far my favorite way is atop these pancakes with figs!

No Whey Pancakes!

Sooo I’ve began a love affair with ricotta cheese. Not just any ricotta cheese, but home made ricotta. I’m new to it and never knew how easy or delicious it could be! I just always thought it was that gross spongy stuff you added to lasagna to give it its density. Turns out, it’s amazeballs. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend it. Here’s the post to help you out.

Ok ok ok… why all this talk of ricotta cheese on a pancake post?! Well, there’s a WHEY you can make pancakes with a cheese bi-product. Hehehe, get it? The whey! When you make even a little ricotta, you get a lot of all natural, no fat, high protein liquid whey! I just save it in a jar and use it in smoothies and pancakes etc. And you can’t even tell. Here’s the pancake recipe I use:

Dry Ingredients:

2.5 c flour of choice* (I’m always playing around with my flours, but I’m a huge nerd that way. I typically grind up a mixture of whole wheat, steel cut oat, flax, almond and chia in my Vitamix, but you can use any flour)

1tsp baking soda

*except coconut flour… that would be one DENSE pancake

** Feel free to also add protein powders here. I don’t for these pancakes because I use the whey in the liquid base!

 

Wet Ingredients:

3 medjool dates, pureed with about 2 tsp warm water and

¼ c Coconut oil (I just LOVE the way coconut oil tastes, but you could use any oil)

½ banana (optional, for a little added sweetness)

2 eggs

½ c Cottage Cheese*

1 tsp ACV

3/4c Liquid Whey

*Could also sub greek yogurt, but I like the way the cottage cheese reacts with the baking soda and ACV and makes them a little bit fluffier

Blend/mix all the dry ingredients.

Blend the first two ingredients until pasty. Add the rest and blend until well incorporated. Pour wet into dry. Fold until all the batter is well mixed.

Spray and heat a large skillet. I use Trader Joes sprayable coconut oil. When pan is hot, use a 1/4c to pour batter onto skillet. Flip after about 30sec-1min.

 

These were so tasty my kids didn’t even eat these with syrup. Just hot off the plate, just about as fast as I could make them for a while. I topped mine with figs and Coconut Cult yogurt and HAD to go back for seconds. I absolutely could NOT help myself.

They’re also really tasty topped with an egg!

Wait for it…

It’s a hearty, but delicious pancake. Gives you energy for family hikes like these:

And shenanigans like these:

Salted Caramel Cashew Butter Cups

A million times better than a Reeses Cup. I promise. And a million times richer. I stumbled across this recipe from a blog called Hungry Haley and followed it exactly for the cashew butter, but modified the chocolate part with my own chocolate concoction recipe. It takes just as long as melting a chocolate bar, and I usually prefer eating those on the go or hiking anyway!

I mean, if I’m going to cook and be in the kitchen anyway, might as well melt and mix a few more things together, you know?

 

Ok. Enough banter. You want to make these already.

 

Salted Cashew Butter (from Hungry Haley)

1c Cashews, soaked over night

dash pink Himalaya salt

3 medjool dates

1 tsp vanilla

 

Drain water from cashews and combine ingredients in a food processor until a peanut butter type consistency is achieved.

Chocolate:

2/3c organic Cacao Powder

2/3c Coconut Oil

1/3 c Honey

1 tsp vanilla

*collagen Peptides

(optional add-ins include a dash of pink Himalaya salt, turmeric, chili powder/chilis, peppermint oil etc)

*optional add in- I used Vital Proteins, but there are others

 

Melt the coconut oil over med/low heat. Add in your cacao powder, honey, vanilla and salt. Pour into molds.

For these cups, I used silicon cupcake molds. I poured a thin layer on the bottom, froze it for about 5 min, added the cashew butter, froze again for about 5-10min and topped it with more chocolate and froze them again. OMG-g-g-g-g were they good. So chewy. So chocolatey. So rich. So creamy.

Ricotta me this

I know, cheesy title. HAHAHA. Ok, I’m done, I promise

 

But for reals. Have you ever made home made ricotta?! I am new to it and it is a GAME CHANGER.

 

It’s super easy, really versatile and even the by-products have their uses! I use the liquid whey that’s left behind in my pancakes and my kids gobble them up like crazy. They have no clue. And neither would I if you didn’t tell me.

 

And you can make the traditional savory ricotta you typically find in baked pastas like lasagna or a baked ziti or what have you. All you need is:

½ Gal whole milk (preferably whole, preferably not UHT pasteurized

1/3 C Lemon Juice (about 1-2 lemons)

OR 1/3 C distilled white vinegar

1 tsp salt

 

1. Warm the milk to about 200*F. Warm the milk SLOWLY. It’s important- you don’t want to boil the milk and you don’t want it to burn. If you don’t have a thermometer, 200*F is when it starts to get kind of foamy at the top.

2. Remove the milk from the heat and add the vinegar or lemon juice. I LOVE it with lemon juice… it adds a bit of tangy freshness, but isn’t overwhelming. Stir it really gently then let it sit for about 10 minutes.

3. With a slotted spoon scoop out the big curds and then just line a strainer with cheesecloth and put it over a half gallon glass ball jar. Then just dump the warm milk/curd/liquid whey mixture over it and let the strainer drain for around10-40 minutes. Then just transfer the ricotta in the cheese cloth to a container or use it immediately when its nice and warm. Mmmmm warm non-melty cheese just really hits the spot sometimes.

 

OH!- and SAVE THE WHEY! Some people drink it, but I just save it and use it in smoothies or pancakes etc. Here are some ideas: pancakes,

You can also make a slightly sweeter ricotta using the juice of an orange instead of a lemon! Same amounts, it’s just slightly sweeter. I eat this for breakfast a lot and add fruits, jams, or make delicious parfaits with yogurt and frut. SO SO SO good. Or you can eat it warm and add a warm fruit compote or FIGS or sautéed or grilled peaches. OMG I’m drooling already. What are you waiting for?!  If I were you, I’d go and make some! I know I am.

Browdgies


What else do you call a dense chocolatey morsel that's half fudge/half brownie?! I couldn't think of anything so Browdgie it is! They definitely started off trying to be just a brownie though 😬😬. C'est la vie

Ok. So for these,
Preheat oven to 375
Then, you will need:
1/2 baked butternut squash, cooled (probably around 2full cups)
2 eggs
1/4c honey
1/2c milk of choice (I've used whole, raw, unpasteurized and coconut)
3/4c 100% organic cacao powder
2tbsp coconut manna (could also use grassfed butter, coconut oil or could omit altogether)
1/4c oat flour

Optional add-ins that I used:
2 scoops chocolate protein of choice
1 tbsp chlorella
1tsp psyllium husk
1 scoop collagen Peptides
1 scoop beef gelatin

Blend first 5 ingredients until well incorporated. Add oat flour and any add ins.
*Note: seeds/nuts will NOT make good add ins for these. The texture really doesn't lend itself to that. Try these out and you'll see what I mean
**Note 2: if not using chocolate protein add in, add 1/4c more cacao and 1/4c more honey

Pour into a brownie dish (8X8 square pan). Bake at 375 for 45 min. Allow to cool. Once cool you can eat them, but definitely store these in the fridge! These are definitely better COLD! Trust me.

Ringing in 3 with a Tea (party)

I know this is primarily a Health and Fitness type blog buuuuut it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to LOL.

And this was just way too much fun NOT to write about. Plus I’ve had fantasies about a little girl Tea party since, well as long as I can remember. And I’ve been dreaming about it since I found out I was pregnant with our sweet Lils 🤗

I don’t really know where to start so I’ll start with what I did first- and that was buying all.the.THINGS! I went to one of those antique/small business booth shops and found my teacups/tea pots. I wanted a little whimsy and a little elegance, so here’s what I came up with. I spent about $114 total, but I admittedly went a little overboard, bought a few things impulsively and I do plan to use them all again. And the little tea set was Lily’s gift 😃.

I just couldn’t pass up this tea pot and matching plate. Or these plates for the sandwiches. 

They were just so fun and completely fulfilled the whimsical requirement!

The tiny teacups below I bought as a set of 8. I wanted the teacups to be cute, but more on the elegant side and I just loved these.


I bought a few other teapots/creamers and things, but those were more impulse buys because I was so excited 🤣.

But seriously, all of this was less than it costs to rent one of those big bouncy things you see at kids parties everywhere!

Anyhoo… Next I focused on the petit fours because I knew those would take the most time and I wanted to make sure I got them right!! I made 3 varieties: white chocolate, butterscotch and pink vanilla. 

Oh and look- there’s another teapot there too🤣. 

For the Petit Fours I just made 2 pound cakes. Froze them. Then cut them into little squares and poured/dipped them into a pourable fondant icing made of 4c powdered sugar, 1/4c water and corn syrup and 1c melted white chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Once I was confident in my ability to make those, I focused on the favors. I really really wanted a unique tea favor and decided on mini mismatched tea cups and saucers each girl could take home. I figured it would be a nice piece of memorabilia and something they could all play with again on future play dates!!

Once all those things were done, it was time to focus on the decorating! Not going to lie, this is my MILs gift and she did most of it, but I wanted to model it after the High Tea we had been to together in Victoria. 

It was so simple and elegant. I loved the tiered approach for the petit fours and little sandwiches and the little sugar cubes were a MUST!! I just thought they were so cute! Everything else we just kind of winged according to what sounded/tasted tea-ish; which ended up being lady fingers, pastry creams and some croissants. Oh! And we had to start with Strawberries and Cream! 

Oh! And the Lady Fingers ended up looking really cute on the plates too 🤗

I mean, can you tell I just had no fun doing this and putting this together…

It was a bit of effort, but it really wasn’t too bad. I would say you definitely need an idea in mind and it’s helpful to prioritize and focus on each thing individually, but it really was a complete blast! Don’t know if it qualifies as a “High Tea” experience, but our little princesses had fun.