Lemon Lavender Cake (Paleo)

How did this happen?

What, you ask? Well, we are already a week into February, which to me makes no sense. I remember New Year’s, I remember Christmas, I remember last summer, and somehow we are already a month into 2018. A lot of nice things have happened so far, and I really get the vibe that this is a good year unfolding, for everyone. A lot of things that have bothered most people have come out into the open, and I almost feel a collective sigh of relief from the world at large… things like the “Me, too” movement, people standing up for one another… their beliefs… it’s been a very nice thing to take notice of.  Here’s my take on February, and what we’ll notice.

This month, as I’ve pointed out, I think is a time to notice and reflect on how we’ve spent 2018 so far. We are well past our New Year’s Intentions, so it’s a likely time where people are asking themselves if they’ve adhered to their beliefs, and if they’ve set out to take the action they planned for. I think it’s also a time where people start to have that “oh, crap!” moment, that it’s already been a month, and how quickly time really goes when you worry about it.

A reminder to everyone reading this is that, whatever your intentions for yourself were, do not compare yourself to anyone else as you think about them. Skip the highlight reels on the internet, forget the nasty comments made in the media, and start remembering why you made your intentions for this year in the first place.

Did anyone take notice of how we started out this month the day after a beautiful full moon? February has a reset button for those who need a do-over, or another chance to set the pace for the rest of the year. Reevaluate what you brought into 2018 with you, and reflect on how you’ve actually improved upon your concerns, or made changes for the better. Is something still not working, no matter how hard you try? Perhaps this is the month where you take advantage of the “reset button”, and you shed what weighs you down to continue improving yourself and sticking to your intentions for the rest of the year.

On a side note… today was bad weather so I worked from home. It was an intention of mine for 2018 to be as productive as possible on these days… which means squeezing in any extras I can without the distraction of my work friends, and to take advantage of my oven being right next to me as I work so that I can find new ways to feed my tribe of fellow foodies 🙂 This took some experimentation, but it came out every bit as good as I hoped on my final try. Who wants Spring time? I do! Have this in your recipe stash for the first day of Spring.

Side note! Follow me on Instagram if you haven’t already, @thedivinekitchen. Lots of pretty recipe pictures… head over that way and follow!

Lemon Lavender Cake (Paleo)

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 5 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid (melted but not hot off the stove)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp culinary lavender, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp finely ground Himalayan salt

For the frosting

  • 1/3 cup of coconut butter
  • 1 tsp agave
  • juice from half of lemon

Directions:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan (mine was about 8in x 4in) with coconut oil or ghee.
  2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon zest. If you’re melting your coconut oil on the stove top, be sure not to add it as soon as it’s finished melting – you don’t want your eggs to scramble! Give it a few minutes to cool down.
  3.  Next, mix in your coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly. You’ll notice that the mixture may look a bit fluffy – this is fine… science at work with the baking soda. Allow the mix to sit for about 5 minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb. Gently mix in your lavender.
  4.  Add your batter to your greased loaf pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center of cake shows no batter on it. Remove from heat and allow to cool once finished.
  5.  As your cake is baking, mix together your coconut butter, agave and lemon juice. If it starts to separate, that’s ok! You can melt it so that it melts together, remove from heat and stir, then place in a small bowl in the fridge for 5 minutes. Stir to get the consistency back, and then spread over your cake. Optional – garnish with slices of lemon for a pretty dessert centerpiece.

Enjoy!

-S

Winter Apple Crisp (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I learned something interesting this weekend about this month. January 1st was a special new year’s day, as is the rest of this year, actually. In numerology, 2018 is an “11” – this number is considered by some to be a “master karmic number”, which holds a sacred vibration. Have you ever looked at the clock and caught that special 11:11 time? I always felt it was special, but I never really thought about why it was. Little did i used to know, the number 11 represents an enlightening and transformative sense a balance and alignment. This will feel especially different on days like New Year’s Day, January 11th, November 1st, and November 11th.

 If you aren’t familiar with numerology, I highly recommend taking a look into some books about it. Each number, much like anything else present here on earth that has roots in ancient civilization, has its own vibrational energy and meaning, and ties into literally everything. We base everything in today’s world off of numbers – time, money, organization, everything. Number 1 can mean something different to anyone, but in its purest form, it represents the beginning. Are you looking to start something? This month (or even this year!) is a great time to do so — not just your New Years’ Intentions, but something to carry through the rest of your life. This could be meditating, a new hobby, exercising more — anything that can improve your life for the better.

 This is particularly important today, as today is the start of the New Moon for this month. Set some goals, be clear about your approach, and stick with it! 🙂

Winter Apple Crisp (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

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Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Serves 5-7

Ingredients:

For  the filling

  • 5-6 apples (any kind you like!) – peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
  • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup gluten free-certified oats
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free baking flour
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
  • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss apples with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
  4. Spread the apple filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the apples, ensuring all of the apples are covered.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the apple mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

-S

Orange Banana Spiced Breakfast Muffins (Paleo)

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! What an eventful weekend.

The weekend started out pretty intense – a few friends and I dedicated an evening to belief clearing through muscle testing, and that was followed by my Level I Reiki class and certification the next day. An interesting thing, doing all of that healing in a very condensed timeframe… I turned into a bit of a crazy person for the next 48 hours. A lot of intense releasing of negative energy, beliefs, etc, down to a molecular level. But that’s a story for another time. On a side note, my crystals have been EVERYWHERE. Including some in the below picture. I love them, don’t judge.

I was on a baking FRENZY this weekend! I bought bananas, which is never a good idea. I waste fruit, too often. When I was food prepping very strictly when I thought I wanted to do a physique show, I really limited my fruit intake. I think I’ve convinced myself I don’t want, need or like fruit, which is a bummer. Nevertheless, I bought a bunch of bananas and let them fester on the counter until I absolutely had to do something with them. These babies were born.

I think I could probably add some dark chocolate chunks to them to make them a little more indulgent, but I’ll save that for when I know I can give some away (so that I don’t eat all of them). I hope you like them! 🙂

Orange Banana Spiced Breakfast Muffins (Paleo)

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Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 25 min

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (unflavored is fine)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your muffin tin lightly with coconut oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups – the muffin cups should be about ¾ full so they don’t overflow and bake over the sides.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes until starting to turn golden on top. Check if they are done by sticking a knife or toothpick into a middle muffin – if it’s clean, they’re finished. Let cool, and serve!

Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, spread a little ghee over them. Otherwise – I wrap them individually and take them for breakfast 🙂

Enjoy!

-S

The Holiday Hustle: Made Better with (Paleo) Chocolate Chip Peppermint Skillet Cookies!!

The weather has turned! This is both good and bad. I have a Jeep and I grew up in the Northeast — I am not afraid of any snowstorm, any time. There’s two sides to this situation — the first, I work too much to be inconvenienced by snow. Closed roads, inexperienced/bad drivers… not a fan. The good part — if it’s bad enough to not go into work, it means I get to cook all day… SCORE!

I’ve been doing a lot of shopping, trying to get it all out of the way early this year. If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look at my Gift Recommendations for kitchen gadgets, natural beauty products and other fun stuff — link here!

The last few weeks have been so incredibly busy… I can’t believe it’s already December. I’m not sure where last week this month this year went. Appointments, dinners, parties, working, traveling… so much going on. At a doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago, I came across the concept of a “skillet cookie”, which is basically a giant cookie pie inside of a cast iron skillet. I had big plans to incorporate pumpkin or spices during October and November, but I clearly missed that boat. So, here we are in the middle of Christmas season, and I have decided to make a Christmas skillet cookie. Cue the peppermint.

Honestly, I sort of don’t like peppermint in a lot of things, but there’s something wonderful about a sweet little bite of chocolate chip cookie with a hint of mint in it. A few drops goes a long way, this stuff is quite strong.

There’s a few ways you could do this recipe — you can use multiple mini skillets  for personal sized cookies, or you could use one big one. Don’t be alarmed if you think you don’t have enough batter for a big skillet — a thicker cookie will turn more into a pie-like thing if there’s too much batter (plus it will take a lot longer to cook!). This was even approved by my non-Paleo parents, who enjoyed a few slices after I brought it over on Saturday. My stepdad enjoyed a nice scoop of regular vanilla ice cream on it, but you can absolutely add some non-dairy ice cream for a nice treat!

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie (Paleo)

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Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 15 Min

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil (room temperature, but still solid)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops of food-grade peppermint* essential oil
  • 1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-10 in. cast-iron skillet lightly with some coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and egg until smooth. (If you aren’t using a mixer, mash coconut oil with a fork to get rid of clumps—this part is really important! Add coconut sugar, vanilla and egg; continue to mix until smooth.)
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined – you should end up with a dough that is a bit sticky. Stir in the chocolate chips, mixing evenly.
  4. Add the mixture to the skillet. Using a rubber spatula, scoop contents from the bowl and spread evenly through the skillet to ensure it bakes consistently.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the middle is just set and the edges begin to turn golden brown.** Test doneness in the middle with a toothpick to see if any batter comes out on the toothpick.
  6. Allow to cool a bit in the skillet. Optional: top with vanilla ice cream prior to serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*I use Young Living’s Peppermint Vitality essential oil, which is certified for food/drink and safe for internal consumption. Do NOT consume products not intended for internal use – adhere to your product’s directions for proper use.

**If your cookie is still gooey but the edges are quite dark, you can drop the oven temp down to prevent the edges from burning until the  center has cooked thoroughly.

Enjoy!

-S

Pumpkin Chai Spiced Cheesecake (Paleo, Vegan)

I’ve had some really great ideas lately for things I want to start doing with this blog. My ultimate goal is to have a cookbook (working on it!), but I want to add a few other cool things to my repertoire too. I have so many little recipes for natural household cleaners with essential oils, herb infused cooking ingredients, the whole nine. Once I get some more time, I will definitely be sharing!

On a side note, Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away, and I’m left wondering where 2017 went. I think I can speak for most when I say that 2016 was just a lengthy and traumatic, so we were all waiting for 2017 to be a nice transition to figure all of our shit out.

I don’t think that happened, because it’s November and I’m not sure what I’ve done for the last 10.5 months. And I only drank a *few* beers.

Regardless, I plan on spending the rest of this year making my time count – I have a lot I want to accomplish, and I’m tired of letting time pass me by. To start, I want 2018 to have newsletters, updates, and I want to share with you all whatever it is you’re looking for when you walk into your kitchen and want to be inspired.

This post is short and sweet, didn’t take a lot of time… much like this recipe J I have another variation of this that I’ll have to post, but I wanted you all to have a delicious, gluten free/vegan alternative to bring to the Thanksgiving table next week! For a person that doesn’t really eat desserts… this one takes the cake. Pun intended.

Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake (Gluten Free, Vegan)

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prep time: 25 min

cook time: n/a

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1¼ cup Medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Filling

  • 1½ cup raw cashews, soaked and drained**
  • ½ cup coconut cream
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup liquid virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tsp chai tea leaves (approx. 2-3 tea bags)

**soaking the cashews for 4-5 hours is best, but you can also soak for about 20-25 minutes in a bowl of boiling water)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

For the crust:

  1. Add dates, cinnamon and almonds to food processor and pulse on high for 1-2 minutes until finely chopped and mixture starts to become sticky when you pinch it together. If the mixture is too dry, add more dates. If it’s too sticky, add more almonds, a small handful at a time.
  2. Transfer your crust to an 8″ springform pan. Firmly press crust into the bottom of the baking dish, ensuring that it is packed evenly around the entire dish and no air bubbles remain. Set aside.

For the cheesecake:

  1. In a blender, add cashews, coconut cream, agave nectar, vanilla extract, pumpkin, coconut oil and pumpkin pie seasoning. Blend on high until filling is very smooth and appears creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Pour half of the batter over the crust, making sure to get rid of any bubbles and that it’s covered evenly. Place in the freezer while you work with the remaining batter.
  3. Add the chai tea leaves to the last half of the batter and blend for another minute or so, making sure the entire mix is evenly blended.
  4. Gently pour the chai batter over the first batter slowly, so as to not mix the two. Tap  the sides of the dish to ensure the layer is evenly covering the rest, and to get rid of any air bubbles.
  5. Place cake in freezer for at least 2 hours to set. Before serving, remove from freeze for about 15 minutes to allow to thaw.

Enjoy!

-S

Pumpkin Ginger Spiced Muffins (Paleo)

I am not a baker. While I feel as though many of my best recipes are desserts, I think it’s because they’re a version of something everyone already likes… with a healthy twist. It’s like getting the best of both worlds.

In my attempt to fill my life with as many seasonally appropriate things as possible, I’ve studied Pinterest religiously, and canvassed the house with mums and Indian corn. I bought all of my cans of organic pumpkin puree BEFORE the mad Fall rush, and I have even thought of my outfits ahead of time, according to what sweater I want to wear that day. This last one is a fail because the weather is unseasonably warm, but I am determined to fill the house with smells of fall recipes and pumpkins, and spice.

Once the weather cools down, I’ll tackle more fall soups, salads and main dishes, but for now — I will continue my hand in baking. I grew up on carrot cakes,  ginger snaps and potpourri, but I never really had a sweet tooth. I’m not sure what happened between then and now, but I really enjoy baking.

These ‘lil beauts happened after much trial and error, and after a few rounds of bland muffins, I decided to dump in  a bunch of my favorite spices, sub in some pumpkin for apple sauce, and lo and behold, the perfect little breakfast muffin was born. Though they don’t need to be limited to breakfast, I find it’s just enough sweetness with the spice to satisfy. I use unsulphured/unsweetened molasses, which gives them a really nice earthy flavor.

I guess, the moral of the story here is that there are things in life that we don’t think we’re good at, but really, it’s just that we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to succeed. If you were to ask me if I’m a great baker, I’d probably say that I’m terrible… a “baking dunce”, if you will. When I think about it though, I should give myself at least a little credit for the things that ended up being pretty good.

This can really go for anything. A sport, playing an instrument, singing, etc. A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to drive a manual transmission. I thought I was always terrible at it — I couldn’t remember the last time I drove one. I got in, drove away, completely forgetting why I thought I couldn’t do it. Sometimes, you just need to remind yourself that you’re capable of whatever you want to do — sometimes you just need to try it.

Go make these muffins — they’re a delicious and healthy alternative to normal fall cakes and cookies. Yum!

Paleo Pumpkin Ginger Spiced Muffins

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Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup of full fat canned coconut milk, mixed/shaken thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
  • 3 Tbsp organic molasses
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of fine ground Himalayan sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a non-stick 12 cup muffin pan. You can use liners, but I find they get a nice shape when directly in the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined – since the flours aren’t wheat based, allow to set for about 5 minutes so everything  can absorb.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups, about 1/2 to 2/3 full. The batter will rise at it cooks.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until starting to brown. You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick in a few of the center muffins — nothing should stick to the toothpick.
  7. Remove from oven, allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 2 minutes or so before carefully removing them to cool.

 

Optional – if you prefer a more decadent muffin, feel free to mix some leftover coconut milk, maple syrup, pinch of cinnamon, ginger and allspice and drizzle over the top.

 

Enjoy!

Golden Milk (Paleo, Vegan)

Autumn equinox – what a great day. Today marks the start of many things. On this day, it is the time when the length of night and day are of exactly the same. It’s the beginning of autumn (pumpkin spice lattes, y’all) and one step closer to cooler, darker weather.

While this equinox is not the more uplifting of the two, it is certainly just as important. Instead of being on the dawn of Spring, renewal, rebirth and other beginnings, this is the close of what was, and what is now behind us. Sounds a little spooky, and maybe a little woo-woo, but this would really be a great calendar change for the New Year.

So what actually is the equinox, and why should we care? Great question.

Back before smartphones, Lovesac couches and Keeping Up With The Kardashians, humans spent most of their life outside. The sky and everything in it served as both a clock and a calendar for civilizations, which allowed them to measure time, daylight, and the like. Without getting too involved in the science, the equinox and solstices mark Earth’s axis tilt and orbit around the sun, which greatly influences the weather, the energetic balance and our alignment with it.

From a spiritual standpoint, Fall represents the time of year to gather your harvest in preparation for the winter. Everything that souls experience is cyclical – this is the Universe’s gentle reminder of lessons we may have forgotten, or continue to learn. Human behavior, weather, science, thoughts… everything always has a chance to come full circle. It’s a great way to look back at your year and see the progress you’ve made as a human floating around on this big ol’ rock. Do something to honor your continuance, such as lighting a candle, paying it forward, or really just taking a few moments to be grateful for everything going on around you.

This makes it so much easier to “clear out your land” in time for the next cycle you enter, free of anything you’ve needed to shake off.

To me, though, more importantly, is that as of 4pm EST today, the Libras are now in the driver’s seat. That’s right – you read that correctly. The Justice League is here, with our logical left brains and fair judgment, until October 23rd. It’s no coincidence that Libra’s timeframe starts with day and night at equal length, promoting a sense of balance and equality. The forest greens, ocean blues and floral purples will be replaced with warm oranges, fire reds and golden yellows, in lieu of countering the darker end of the year. The tradeoff is equal, just different. What a great time!

This brings me to my favorite part…. What are we eating? Another great question.

Golden Milk! This years-old concoction is the perfect way to warm up and stay well as the weather cools, the sun sets earlier, and my sweater drawer finally opens up. A spicy blend including turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and almond milk is the perfect replacement for chilled drinks and summery fruit mixes. There’s a few ways to make this and you can always swap out almond milk for something else, but boy does this turn into a rich little drink.

Can we talk about how amazing Golden Milk is for a moment? Turmeric is known for its inflammatory properties, as well as regulating blood sugar. It’s also been known to aid in sore throats and stuffy noses.

So, cheers! Enjoy your spicy cup of deliciousness.

Golden Milk (Vegan/Paleo)

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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups almond milk
  • 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, add all ingredients and whisk together over medium heat. It should steam, but shouldn’t boil.
  2. Remove from heat. Taste, and adjust sweetness to preference with additional maple syrup. If you need more spice, add additional ginger or turmeric, a pinch at a time.
  3. (Optional) Use a frother to add foam to your latte.

Enjoy!

-S