Archive for April, 2013

April 30, 2013

Does Flourless Cake Have to be Chocolate?

If you’re like me, when you see the words flourless cake, you may breathe a secret sigh of relief. Just think how easy it would be to make a gluten-free cake if I didn’t have to worry about which flour, mix, or flour blend to use!

As I started to explore the idea of flourless cake, I noticed that many flourless cakes recipes contain chocolate. That works great for me because I can’t get enough chocolate, but I know that some of you are not chocolate lovers. So if you’re not a chocolate lover, is there a flourless cake for you?

Yes, there is! Here’s a recipe for Orange and Pecan cake. This cake contains no flour AND no chocolate. And did I mention, it’s delicious?

 

Orange and Pecan Cake

Oranges

2 large oranges

Water to cover

Butter

6 free range eggs, beaten

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups ground pecans

Powdered Sugar

Scrub the oranges well before boiling them whole in enough water so that they are well covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour until the oranges become completely soft. Cool, cut in half and remove the seeds. Place the oranges in a food processor and blend to a purée.

Preheat oven to 375º. Butter a 9 1/2 inch baking pan – ideally a spring form pan.

In large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar and beat the eggs with the sugar until they are well mixed. Fold in the baking powder, ground pecans and orange purée until evenly combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour or until firm to the touch. (Cook a little longer if the cake seems too moist for your taste.) Place on a rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

The cake is delicious with just powdered sugar, but for additional pizazz beat some vanilla or grand marnier into mascarpone, yogurt, or crème fraîche and top the cake, then sprinkle with orange zest. Another option is to garnish with sliced oranges and sprinkle with pecan pieces.

Yum! I love a fresh citrusy taste in the spring. It just seems to go with all that budding new greenery and bright sunshine. What do you think? Is this a great cake for a spring party?

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April 17, 2013

Feeling Deprived? Try This.

Sometimes we just can’t help it. Everyone around us is munching on cake or cookies or our favorite panini. We can’t have those things. We feel deprived.

I can remember standing in the middle of the cracker aisle of a rural grocery store pouting because I just wanted a cracker to eat with some cheese. I’m sure everyone in the store could see my turned down lip. Now this might have been cute if I had been 3. I was 46. But at that moment, I just couldn’t help it.

There was no amount of intellectual reasoning that could counteract this feeling. I managed to hold it together and leave the crackers on the shelf, but that didn’t make me feel any better in that moment. In fact, if I were guessing, I’d guess I moved out of feeling deprived by feeling angry. This was my default for pulling myself out of a funk – fight. But who wants to fight all the time? It just makes you tired.

So how could I counteract feeling deprived without getting fighting mad? 

The answer is simple although my path to discovering it has been circuitous and lengthy. Practice gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is slightly different from feeling grateful. It is deliberate act. In fact, when you begin, you may not feel grateful at all. When I decided to try this practice, my goal was to write down 5 things for which I was grateful each morning. I still felt angry. My list might look like: 1)The sun shining through the window. 2)I remembered to water the plants so they aren’t dead. 3)I have clean underwear in my drawer. 4)My bright colored boots. 5)That my stupid car is still running even though it’s old and dirty and I’d rather have a new one.

Boots

Some days I would sit for 15 or 20 minutes trying to come up with five things. Eventually, I learned that I could be sincerely grateful for those things about which I felt angry, annoyed, sad, or afraid. My lists began to include things like: 1)I had a chance to eat yogurt for breakfast because it always makes my tummy feel better than eating a GF bagel. 2)My friend didn’t call as promised because this gives me a chance to recognize that I feel afraid when someone is undependable. I know this is a chance to heal and grow. 3)My air conditioner failed because even though it may be a struggle to pay for a replacement, it allowed me to discover the water leak that was feeding toxic mold. 4)My heart feels broken by the loss of a loved one because it means my heart is intact, and I am able to bond. 5)I noticed the gorgeous sunrise this morning when I had to get up early.

Then, another shift took place. I learned that any time I am feeling vulnerable, inadequate, scared, angry, or deprived an immediate verbal recitation of gratitude anchors me so that I can show up in the moment. Sometimes I recite these lists in my head. I say them rapid fire and they look like: The budding green trees, that gorgeous tulip I see outside, it’s cool in the room, I remembered the sample for this meeting, my clothes feel like pjs, this is my only meeting today, this coffee is good, I can go home early.

As your practice grows, you may begin to feel unanticipated emotions emerging related to your lists. When you think about it, this makes sense. After all, as you rumble around your internal being searching for gratitude, you’re creating a connection to your core. Continuing the practice strengthens that connection and declutters the pathway to embracing your personal power. For some of us, this is a bumpy road that can feel like slogging through mud, then sliding easily followed by a need to serpentine through a minefield. The good news is that gratitude supports an openness that allows us to recognize, embrace, and full receive encouragement, affection, assistance, and love along the way. Over time, this results in a more full life with deeper connections and the courage to receive an abundance of love. In such an environment, feeling deprived can’t last long!

Do you practice gratitude? How does it help you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2013

I Want S’More!

From where I’m sitting, I can see a budding elm tree and white iris blooming in the back yard. These signs of spring remind me that it’s time to plan a trip to the river for some floating, fishing, camping, and s’mores!

Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, in my family we don’t need camping as a reason to eat s’mores. We’ve been known to make them in the oven…at Christmas…when it’s snowing. Because 4 of us can’t tolerate gluten, we all use gluten-free Grammy Crackers to encase that delicious chocolaty meltiness.

S'mores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that camping weather is approaching, we invite you to join us in savoring this yummy treat. Before you head out to the campground, stir up a batch of Cooking2Thrive® Grammy Crackers, and eat s’mores to your heart’s content. Here’s the recipe:

Grammy Crackers

Makes 8 dozen

2 1/2 cups sweet white sorghum flour

1/2 cups arrowroot flour

1/2 cup sweet potato flour

1/2 cup rice bran

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup club soda

1 egg white

1 tbsp milk

1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 385º.

In large bowl, combine flours, rice bran, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and olive oil. Mix with spoon or your hands until well distributed. Add honey, milk, club soda, and egg white. Stir until a stiff dough forms.  

Place 1/8 of the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll until 1/16 inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment. Cut into desired shapes and leave in place.  Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place parchment on cookie sheet.  

Bake at 385º for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Rotate pan every 4 minutes for more even browning. Remove parchment to rack to cool. Repeat process with the rest of the dough.  

Once the crackers are cool, you can pack them up in your favorite airtight plastic container and head out while looking forward to a treat when the campfire’s ready. Have fun!

Campfire