GF Carrot Cake – Shovin the Produce Anywhere it Will Fit

Ha!  Don’t you love just the idea of carrot cake?  Why not replace some of the other moisture for a cake (like oil or eggs or milk) with some nice wet produce?  Why not indeed.  Anytime you can make something yummy that has produce in it, that’s a plus.  And carrot cake is even socially acceptable.  You don’t have to lie about what those little orange bits are in the cake.  This recipe is a favorite of our Step-Mother and she made it for Little Sis on one of their first evenings getting to know each other – what Little Sis fondly refers to as their ‘first date.’  Here’s to first dates, healthier cakes and parents who are wise enough to bring fabulous new people into their children’s lives.

So Step-Mo, also being very generous and wanting to look out for everyone, wanted Mr. Bigg Sis to be able to eat carrot cake as well, so we went GF and the results were truly delicious.

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Step-Mo’s GF Carrot Cake
(based on Fran’s Carrot Cake)

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil.  (I recommend avocado)
3 eggs (or flax eggs if you prefer)
1.5 – 2 cups sugar depending on how sweet your tribe is accustomed to
1 tsp salt
1 cup GF flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Baking Mix)
1 cup oat flour (you can pulverize oats in the blender to make the flour)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups flaked coconut (We used sweetened)
1 15 oz. can chopped pineapple – drained
1 cup chopped nuts (we used pecans)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Cream the wet ingredients together
Blend the flour, spices, salt and baking soda
Combine the two mixtures.
Then add carrots, coconut, pineapple and nuts
Grease and flour a bundt panBake 1 hour at 350 – until toothpick comes out clean

We dusted with just a touch of powdered sugar for looks.  The original recipe (from a personal friend) suggested cream cheese icing but this is a sweet cake – I don’t think it needs icing.  And it is very moist.

We enjoyed this and most of all because it was prepared for and shared with people we love.  It’s been a terrific year and we thank you for visiting us here at the pantry.  If you are looking for some encouragement and guidance in improving your nutrition and health in the New Year, check out our e-book, Baby Steps to Better Health.  Also great to share with a friend or loved one.

We wish you all a very happy and safe celebration of all that you’ve experienced, learned and loved this year with high hopes for a healthier New Year marked by peace and love.

Pumpkin GF Brownies? You Bet!

We were lucky last week and had a visit from Bigg Sis and her crew.  They were headed north, so we crammed as much fun and visiting as we could into 36 hours and it was absolutely splendid!  So fun to be together, to cook together, and to celebrate our mother’s birthday together.  We all met at a lake nearby for a day of fun in the mostly sun.

The question of celebrating a birthday in a state park presents a quandary for the cook.  Mom is not a huge dessert fan, truth be told, and the tippiness of a cake while carting around beach gear and picnic lunches, towels and goggles for two developing swimmers was a little more than I could imagine carrying off well.  So I turned to the natural picnic choice for dessert (at least for my family), brownies.

I remembered a recipe from my pal Sarah, a brownie recipe that delighted my crew and made my tummy happy, happy, happy.  I knew it wouldn’t do for the gluten free members of our extended family, though, so it came time to tweak and do the usual “what I’ve actually got in my pantry” tango with the recipe. And here’s the final fabulous results.  We liked them so well we’ve made a second batch today.

Super Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies (GF,V) adapted from Sarah’s awesome Sweet Potato Fudgy Brownies

  • 1/4 c coconut oil, meltedIMG_9607
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 c rolled oats, blitzed in food processor or blender until flour-like
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar (or more if you are used to sweeter treats)
  • 2/3 c canned pumpkin (Sarah used sweet potato puree and it’s stellar – I just wanted to try with what I had)
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbs flax meal with 3 T water) or whatever kind of egg works for your tribe
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • a couple of handfuls of pecans and chocolate chips (because really, shouldn’t you?)

IMG_9588Set oven to 350.  Oil a square pan. Combine coconut oil and cocoa in large bowl. If you live where I live, you needn’t melt the coconut oil.  Northerly climes or those in winter, melt first. Stir until smooth.  Combine dry ingredients (except sugar) in small bowl. In yet another bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, flax egg, and vanilla and whisk until the sugar is not so granular. Add chocolate/oil combo.  Stir to combine. Add dry ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Add nuts/chips/whatever floats your brownie boat.  Give one last stir and transfer (you will not be pouring) into waiting pan.

IMG_9598Bake for 25 minutes (or so), until the top is dry, maybe even has a crack or two and it feels firm to the touch.  If you like em drier, leave em in longer. Let cool in the pan for a bit, sneak some crispy edges while nobody’s looking.  Delish. Super chocolate.  Super yum.

A Cookie By Any Other Name

A cookie is a cookie is a cookie, right?

I’ve known that is not true since I was very young.  Not to brag, but my mother baked when I was a kid.  Her cookies were better than any store bought cookie…. but not as good as bakery cookies (sorry Mom).  I preferred a good cookie.  Who wouldn’t?

Once she started working she didn’t bake as much but still being budget conscious, she bought the cheapest cookies available.  I thought they were really lame…. until my best friend would come over and be delighted to break into the cellophane wrapped goodies.  She didn’t get cookies at all, so she thought even the cheap-o, 3 dozen for $1, lame ones from the store were okay.  It’s what you get used to, isn’t it?

I also like to bake and I have always been a cookie person as opposed to a cake person.  Many of our friends can tell you that they looked forward to dessert at our house because they knew it would be really good.  Every person’s good.  Plain old good.  Good old good – sweet – good.  What you get used to good. Continue reading