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26th Birthday Recap featuring the Raw Vegan Birthday Cake!

 

raw, vegan, cheesecake, gluten free, dairy free, egg freeraw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, cheesecake

Monday, May 7th was my 26th Birthday! Mondays are kind of a sad day to have a birthday. Had to go about my normal work day, etc. and couldnt stay out too late, boo!  Thankfully everyone at work was very nice and I had a HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign at my desk when I arrived at work & my boss gave me a $50 gift card to Kroger, she knows I love to bake :) So that was really nice.

That night we went to Season’s 52, one of our favorite GF restaurants with our wonderful friends Eryn & Jared, who are also fellow GF’ers!! :) We saw the cast from Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta which was really fun, I honestly dont think in the 22 years Ive lived here that I have seen a celebrity, so I was really excited!! Austin was soo sweet and got me & Eryn all day passes to Spa Sydell including a massage, mani & pedi. Now we just need to decide when to go! Cant wait!!

Eryn gave me an awesome shirt from her amazing collection called “So Worth Loving”. If you want to know more about it or purchase an awesome shirt you can go here. The awesome “Cursive Tee” is what I am wearing here:

so worth loving tshirt
Now, for the last part of the night: CAKE! I was a little nervous about this. This was my first time making a “Raw” Vegan dessert, and one that I was going to be serving to other people! I came across this awesome site called Nouveau Raw. Her food is so beautiful and so creative! When I saw the picture of this cake I just had to make it! It is actually super easy and it requires NO baking at all, which is the best part! I changed a couple of things around because some of the ingrediants I didnt have, but it turned out great. Everyone was shocked when I told them that it was made from cashews!! It is also nice to eat a dessert that I feel like is actually healthy for me! This dessert is no gluten, eggs, dairy, oils, or refined sugars!! To make the awesome Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake head on over to here–> Cake Recipe

I am thankful for Austin, family, and friends that made my day special! Thank You! :)

Week 1: Wake up call to the body!

 We have now done one week of the plant based diet as seen on “Forks over Knives” !! To refresh your memory this is no meat, oils, refined sugar, eggs, or dairy. We definitely have adapted it to our needs and did not go into it 100%. After talking I dont know if we will ever do it 100%, we will probably be flexitarians! I read that flexitarians are people that most of the time do this diet, but if you are somewhere where you cant (ie: family Thanksgiving) that you still eat meat, etc. Being gluten/dairy free is already hard when going out or to family gatherings so we dont want to just add another layer of hassle if we dont have too. All that being said we are for sure limiting meat to only 1-2 days a week and only eating chicken, since beef was really the main cause for concern.

The reason I titled this “Wake up call to the body” is that simply enough, it was! Obviously I thought I was being “healthy” before but when you start really reading labels, and learning about what is good and not good it is eye opening. I learned that we do not eat enough fiber. Women should eat 21-25 grams and men should eat 35-38 grams per day. The average person only eats about 10 grams per day. Now, eating 25 grams of fiber after only eating about 5 is a little bit of a shocker to the digestive system. I am going to be honest here because that is the most helpful :) So I am very sorry if this is TMI!

The first couple of days were definitely the worst. My stomach had sooo many bubbles in it and I had lots of gas and went to the bathroom alot more than I was before! After all of the really annoying and embarrassing side effects subsided it has been alot better and my system feels more regulated. It will take about a week or so to adjust. It’s funny because you would think doing the right thing for your body would make you feel great, but honestly the first couple of days I felt like crap! I also read alot of useful forums about this that said that you should ease into it and eat easier to digest foods like lentils and work your way up to black beans, etc. OOHHH….haha Well the first 3 days I ate probably 2 cans of black beans, that explains it :) haha SO, my advice is to spread out the fiber into all 3 meals if you can that way you dont eat a can of beans at dinner and the next day have crazy stomach bubbles!! These were all things that unfortunately they did not address in the documentary but should have!

Now the most common question I have been getting: WHAT do you EAT?! People are like OMG you eat plants? no meat? It really freaks them out, especially here in the south where everything is meat covered in gravy! It really hasnt been that hard actually. I will say that it is a little of an upfront investment because some of the key ingrediants you need are a little expensive but you are cutting out one of the most expensive products, meat, so it all evens out. Here is what we ate for the week to give you an idea:

Friday: I still ate my GF Rice Chex for breakfast!
We just did PB&J since we still needed to go to the store.

Saturday: I had a chocolate/banana/soy smoothie at Starbucks for breakfast. Went to the store and got all of the goodies! I made myself GF pasta with lots of sauteed veggies & pinenuts and a little Earth Balance.

Sunday: Fruit for breakfast. Homemade GF flatbreads with DF cream cheese & veggies. Inspiration here: Cream Cheese with veggies  Flatbread
Also made this tasty dessert adapted to GF: Cookie Sandwiches

Monday: Smoothie for breakfast.
Breakfast for dinner: GF oatmeal pancakes & fruit

TuesdayVegan Overnight Oats for breakfast (GF)
Salad with lots of veggies & fruits and homemade honey mustard dressing

Wednesday: Rice Chex & fruit for breakfast.
Our one meat meal of Chicken Tacos with rice & plantains
Make this little treat, you will not believe how good it tastes!: Raw Food “Brownies”

Thursday: Rice Chex and fruit for breakfast.
I was home alone so it was a quick sandwich!

Friday: Butternut Ravioli Stacks
Inspiration here: Ravioli Stacks

For snacks I ate dried fruit, larabars, and nuts. Surprisingly I didnt feel starved at all this week, my body was the perfect amount of full :)

Now onto the second week..stayed tuned as we continue on the journey & thanks for reading!!

Our New Food Journey!

forks over knives, movie, poster

Source: www.forksoverknives.com

So, over the weekend Austin and I watched “Forks over Knives” on Netflix. We have watched “Food Inc.”, “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”, but this film really made me want to change my life. The other films are very condemning and convicting and truly make you think about where our food comes from and what we are putting in our bodies. “Forks over Knives” does the best job giving you the facts and then real life examples of how this type of lifestyle has literally changed people’s lives by reversing cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.

Why am I telling you this?? They are not paying me to say any of this :) I know there are lots of critics on the other side saying that we do need meat, dairy, etc. to be healthy. This is just my personal opinion and what Austin and I think is best for us. So, with that said we are starting our new food journey this week. Now, you are probably wondering what exactly the new lifestyle is. It is called a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Basically you take meat, eggs, dairy, refined sugars, and oils out of your diet and eat more fruits, veggies, nuts, and foods that are more natural.

The main focus is taking meat and dairy and any animal proteins out. The argument is that the animal proteins actually don’t help us and hurt us in the forms of cancers and heart disease. There were many studies documented in the movie, but I will give you one example. One of the doctors featured in the film and activist for this diet did a trial with 20 people over about 20 years on this diet and he saw cancer reversed, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol and lots of other little complaints that people had disappear. When they did the study in rats, the animal fats and proteins were causing tumors to appear, when they took them off the proteins and had them on a whole food diet the tumors disappeared. So, maybe I am just an easy person to convince, but doesn’t that seem amazing?! Why wouldn’t you want to do that?!

The nature of my blog will be changing just a bit now. We already do gluten and dairy free, so now we are just cutting out the meat :) So in a sense I guess we are becoming vegan, but i dont like calling it that! I am going to try and get our stats before we truly start this and track our progess here. I will write about our experiance, our findings, and recipes. Mainly, we want to see after a month if this is as great as everyone is claiming it to be! Austin’s mom has diabetes and both of his grandfathers have had heartattacks. He is also trying to lose weight, so we just think that this is something very important that we need to do now! So the recipes maybe changing, but in a good way! I am hoping to post things that are great for your health while also tasting good, AND dont have 20 ingrediants and take 10 hours to make!

So, come along on our newest food journey and hopefully there will be a great outcome for a healthier life!

GF/DF Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache

birthday, cake, chocolate, ganache, dairy free, gluten freebirthday, cake, chocolate, ganache, dairy free, gluten free

 

Two weeks ago it was my dear friend Eryn’s birthday!! She is a fellow GF person and it is so nice to have someone that understands :) As my GF buddy, I wanted to make her a GF cake so that she could have a wonderful birthday and not miss out on the yummy part! My inspiration for this cake was found here on Bakerella’s website. The cake looked so good and pretty, yet so simple too. I adapted it to GF/DF needs and also added the strawberries as well! The cake was a hit at the party, and more importantly Eryn loved it!

What you need:
* 1 or 2 batches of chocolate cake, recipe here ; used in previous posts. I made a 4 layer cake so I did two batches.
* 2 batches (or depending on # of layers) of perfect crusting buttercream found here; used in previous post, just sub coconut or almond milk in for DF
* 3/4 cup DF chocolate chips
*1/4 cup butter (Earth Balance)
*3/4 cup coconut cream
*some extra chocolate chips for filling
*strawberries for garnishing
*VIVA paper towels if you want a super smooth cake!

Directions:
1.) Make either 1 or 2 batches of the chocolate cake recipe above, depending on how many layers you want. Let the cakes cool completely.
2.) Meanwhile make the buttercream with the recipe above. set aside until it is time to frost.
3.) Once the cakes have cooled you can start frosting and assembling the cake. I put chocolate chips inside each layer, like Bakerella. It is a fun little surprise! Do a crumb layer on top and on sides (quick messy one) and then stick in the freezer for about 20 minutes to let the frosting harden.
4.) Once frosting has hardened you can do the real layer which is really thick so you can cover the whole cake. To get the frosting very smooth use the “paper towel method”. VIVA is the only one that works because it has no pattern and is very smooth.  In a circular motion rub the cake with the paper towel, and the heat from your hand smooths it out. It is pretty amazing!
5.) Next, to make the ganache melt the butter and cream in a skillet. Once the butter has melted and is boiling, poor over bowl of chocolate chips and stir until melted. Ganache takes awhile to thicken up, so just stick in the refrigerator and come back in about an hour or so.
6.) Once the ganache is thick poor over the cake and garnish with strawberries, chocolate chips, or whatever you would like!

ENJOY!

GF/DF Oreo Mint Brownies

gluten free, dairy free, oreo, brownie, mint, marshmallow fluff, frosting, st. patricks day, green

 

So, this was really meant to be a St. Patrick’s Day post, but I didnt end up making these until this week! They will definitely be on my St. Patrick’s Day list for next year though! Do not be overwhelmed by all of the steps and different parts, they were pretty easy to make! The most important part is that they taste good!! The brownie part came out really moist and there was just a hint of minty taste, not to over powering! These can be semi-homemade if you use store bought frosting and a GF brownie mix!! Hope you had a great belated St. Patrick’s Day and I hope you enjoy!

What you need: (Adapted from here)
* 1 package GF Oreos (Kinnikinick brand)
*1/8 tsp mint extract
*1  7 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
*green food coloring
*3/4 cup melted white chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)
*1 brownie recipe or 1 box of GF brownie mix (Betty Crocker, Pamela’s, etc.)
*1 recipe homemade frosting or 1 can store bought

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) Make the marshmallow mint-Mix together the marshmallow fluff, green food coloring (use as many or as little drops as you need to make desired color) and the mint extract. Mine was VERY hard to mix together, the fluff was so sticky!! Set aside.
3.) Make the brownies either according to brownie mix or your own brownie recipe. If you dont have a GF brownie recipe, I have one on here from a prior post! Stir in 12 crushed Oreos to the batter and also 1/2 of the marshmallow mint. Bake the brownies about 20-25 minutes. Mine took awhile because there was so much gooey yumminess!
4.) Now, add in the frosting and the melted white chocolate to the rest of the mint marshmallow. Since this doesnt spread well at all, I recommend putting it on the brownies as soon as they come out of the oven so that it can melt all over them. Crush the rest of the Oreos and press them into the brownies.
5.) I refrigerated mine overnight, but if you need right away I would freeze, it makes them much easier to cut when they are cool and hardened!

ENJOY!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free “Oreos”

 

 gluten free, dairy free, oreos, homemade, recipe

I think we can all agree that Oreos are amazing!! When accompanied by a tall cold glass of milk (almond of course! ) they are perfection!! These actually came about because I made some cupcakes for a little party I was having at my house and used this frosting. It really is awesome frosting if you are decorating because it keeps its shape really well and it pretty thick. I had a sudden revelation when I was eating it though, it seriously tasted like the middle of an Oreo!!!!! So it got me thinking..so I googled homemade Oreos! I found this recipe but I had tons of leftover frosting so I used that, I did not make her frosting, only adapted her cookie part. Now, they dont taste like Oreos of course, to me anyways. The frosting definitely gives it that taste, but the cookie part is not as dark or crispy as regular oreos. All that to say, they are still darn good, they just wont be the perfect Oreo! If you want more authentic GF Oreos you can go buy some GF K-Toos at the store that run almost $6 for a little package, so this is definitely a cheaper way and you get more cookie!! Hope this helps your Oreo craving!

What you need: (Adapted from here)
*1/2 batch of this frosting: Perfect Crusting Buttercream ; I subbed coconut milk
* 2 cups GF white rice flour
*1/2 cup cocoa powder
*1/4 cup cornstarch
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp xanthan gum
*1 cup & 2 tbsp sugar
*1/2 cup shortening
*1/3 cup water
*1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Combine the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and xanthan gum together.
3.) In the stand mixer cream the sugar and shortening together. Next, add in the water and vanilla.
4.) Now add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until the dough forms. I had to pour in a little more water because my dough was so dry and wouldnt even stick together!
5.) Once the dough has formed, shape into a log and freeze for an hour at least.
6.) Cut the dough into rounds, try to make them thin so that they will be a little more crisp.
7.) Bake them for 15 minutes. Wait until they have completely cooled to frost them.

ENJOY!

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Coconut Muffins

gluten free, dairy free, muffin, breakfast, coconut, homemade, recipe

 I dont know about yall but I really love some coconut! When we went dairy free my love for coconut grew since I was now using coconut milk for drinking and baking with and eating coconut milk ice cream! It has such a subtle but sweet flavor which I love. When I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen I fell in love! On Sundays I try and make a big batch of something that I can eat all week for breakfast because I am trying to get out of my regular cereal routine, I need a break! These looked like a perfect breakfast treat for the week and boy are they! They are so moist and yummy, and just the right amount of sweetness! This is the perfect way to start off the day! :)

What you need: (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
*1/2 cup & 1 cup coconut cream, used at seperate times
*1 & 1/4 cup GF white rice flour
*1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
*1/4 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp xanthan gum
*1/3 cup sugar
*1 egg
*1 tsp vanilla
*3/4 cup shredded coconut

Directions:
1.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Use either paper liners, or spray 12 muffin cups.
3.) Warm the 1/2 cup coconut cream, only about 30 seconds or so, you dont want it really melted.
4.) In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, & salt. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.
5.) In a seperate bowl combine the 1 cup coconut cream, egg, vanilla, & warmed coconut cream. Mix in the dry ingredients. There will be so chunks of cream so try to smooth them out but it is ok, as long as the dough has been mixed throughly. Divide batter into muffin cups & sprinkle more coconut on top. Bake for 20 minutes.

ENJOY!!

Gluten Free Breadsticks

gluten free, breadsticks, homemade, italian

I am so sorry for the long absence!! I hope you all have been well! Things have been a little busy, but I dont really have that many excuses for not posting :) So, get excited because I have 3 more new posts for this week since I am a little behind!! This recipe is very exciting because I LOVE Italian food and although these breadsticks are not as fluffy as regular ones, they were still really good!! This recipe is really easy to make and a great side dish to any Italian meal!! You dont have to miss out just because you are gluten free!! I hope you enjoy!

What you need: (Adapted from this recipe)
*3 1/2 cups white rice flour
*1 package rapid rise yeast
*1 tsp sugar
* 1 1/2 cups almond milk
*2 tsp olive oil
* 2 tsp cider vinegar
*1 cup cornstarch
*2 tsp xanthan gum
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/4 cup Earth Balance butter
*shredded mozzarella
*garlic powder
*italian seasoning

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Warm the milk for about 30 seconds, you dont want it steaming, just a little warm. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk and wait for the yeast to bubble so you know it has activated. Set aside.
2.) In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, xanthan gum and cornstarch.
3.) Once you see that the yeast has activated pour the oil & vinegar into the yeast mixture and then mix with the flour. After the dough has formed let it rest for 5 minutes.
4.) Melt the butter and pour half of it on the pan. Place dough on the pan and let rest for another 2-3 minutes. Now spread the dough all the way to the edges. This took me a second because the dough kept breaking but keep working with it and it will stretch to the edges eventually!
5.) Now, pour the remaining butter all over the dough along with all of the seasonings and cheese. Now, with a pizza cutter cut into sticks. Put pan in oven for about 10 minutes for the breadsticks to rise.
6.) Next, heat the oven up to 350 degrees and cook 12 more minutes or until golden brown, which took mine more than 12 minutes. You will have to cut them again, but it will be easier since the original cuts have already been made. Now enjoy and dip in marinara sauce!!

ENJOY!

Gluten Free Homemade Herb Tortellini

tortellini, homemade, gluten free, herb

I was so excited to come across a recipe about how to make homemade tortellini. I have found several recipes that I wanted to make but couldnt because I went to 3 grocery stores and no one sells GF Tortellini. I was a little wary about making it homemade because I thought it would be a really long and intense process, wrong!!! It is so easy and really takes no time at all. The best part is that it tastes good! The recipe makes a ton, which is great, so I just froze mine and will save for other recipes or just to have with some sauce!

What you need: (Adapted from this recipe)
*3 cups GF white rice flour
*4 eggs
*pinch of salt
*2-3 Tbsp of any spices you like (I used parsley, basil, oregano, italian seasoning, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes)

Filling
*1 cup shredded mozzarella
*pinch of garlic powder
*water

Directions:
1.) Combine all ingrediants in stand mixer with a dough hook until it forms a ball. My dough was really dry so I had to add some water to it for it to create the ball.
2.) Knead the dough by hand for about 15 minutes, then wrap it up and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3.) Combine the cheese and garlic powder together. Split the dough into 3 parts and wrap up the parts that you are not using. Roll dough out as thin as you can get it and then cut into circles, I just used a glass to cut into circles!
4.) On one half of the circle place a little cheese, on the other half use your finger to put water on it and then fold in half and seal shut. Fold again to make the tortellini shape and seal the edges together. Keep repeating this until you have used up all the dough. I froze mine but you can use right then, or save for later!

ENJOY!

GF/DF 7-UP Biscuits

7up, biscuits, gluten free, dairy free

 

Im sure most of you have seen this recipe floating around Pinterest and maybe have even tried it! I know as a GF person I long for biscuits, especially when we go somewhere like Cracker Barrel and I end up staring at everyone eating them and drooling which leads into a food depression and all I have to eat are  my 2 pieces of bacon and one egg. *sob* Well, NOT anymore!!! These biscuits taste like Popeye’s to me ( YUM!) and they are insanely easy to make! There are minimal ingredients and can be easily made allergy free!!

What you need: (Adapted from this recipe)
*2 cups GF Bisquick
*1/2 cup 7-UP
*1/2 cup DF Sour Cream (Tofutti)
*1/4 cup Earth Balance Butter, melted

Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the 7-UP, Bisquick, & sour cream. The dough is going to be pretty sticky. I rolled mine into balls, but you can just press into the pan & cut once they are done.
2.) Melt the better & place in the 8×8 baking dish. Place the dough on top of the butter. Now, I had some problems with my dough cooking on both sides. The side that is down in the butter browned beautifully, but the side that is up looked like raw dough, so I flipped mine halfway through and added a little more butter so that both sides would brown. They ended up turning out fine, and tasted great, but just didnt look like the one in the recipe, which I am assuming is probably a GF quirk :)
3.) Cook the biscuits for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

ENJOY!!

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