Rolling with my BIT (baker in training)

When it comes to baking, at least for me, it’s usually something you do on your own.  It’s my escape from…….everything really!  However, there’s always an exception and that’s when any of my nieces, nephews or friends’ kidlets ask me to bake with them.  I just can’t say no to spending some fun time with them and helping them make some yummy treats!

                          Kya chilling in the leaves    Kya waterfall b&w

This is Ric’s beautiful daughter, Kya.  I have the joy of being able to hang out with her on a weekly basis and just seeing her makes my day brighter!  She’s a ball of magnificent energy and her smile lights up a room, so when she asked me if we could make some cinnamon rolls together, I was all over it.  We picked out a recipe together from Food.com, which took us a little bit to find, as we were looking for a recipe that didn’t call for yeast (we didn’t have any in the pantry and wasn’t able to go out & get any).  Kya then took over the reigns and basically did everything from the measuring to the mixing to rolling the dough out on her own.

     Kya rolling   Sprinkling cinnamon   Cutting the roll of dough

She wanted them to be extra tasty, so we used a little more butter and cinnamon/sugar mix than the recipe called for on the dough before rolling it up!  My only job was slicing up the rolled dough and taking them out of the oven.  Now, I have to admit, we probably should have used a recipe that included yeast, as these ones came out a bit dense and flat, but they were still tasty…. just look at that big smile, it’s obvious that Kya enjoyed them!

cinnamon rolls yum

What’s Up Doc?

Carrot cake – you either like it or you don’t.  There’s not really an in between, there’s no “Well, I’ll have a piece if there’s nothing else for dessert” or “Meh, it’ll do”.  However, those who do love their carrot cake can very persnickety about it and really, why shouldn’t they be?  If you’re going to take joy in indulging in something, you may as well have it made the way you like it!  Some love it with raisins, some with nuts (and can also be particular about what kind of nut!), some with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg, some without any spices, some like the carrots shredded, while others enjoy the cake with chunks of carrot…….and don’t even get me started on the icing preferences!  There are so many different ways that people enjoy their carrot cake, so when you make one, it’s always a good idea to find out if they do want any “funky stuff” in the cake (ie nuts or raisins) or if they are ok with the traditional cream cheese icing.

When I launched my blog back in October, I ran a contest for my wonderful followers and the winner received a dessert of their choice – whatever they fancied!  Patti Bulleyment was the lucky winner and since her daughter loves carrot cake, that was what I was going to make for them!   There are so many different variations for this simple recipe, but I decided to keep it simple, with no funky stuff added!  Plus, there was a special request to NOT use a cream cheese icing, so I traded it up for a basic whipped vanilla cream topping (which I think was way tastier anyway!)   My secret ingredient though, was adding 1/2 cup of applesauce, which added a bit of sweetness and also kept it moist.

ShreddingMix ready to goPouring the batter

 

 

 

 

I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com and although it wasn’t easy to find a basic recipe, it was worth the search!  I also got some other juicy ideas for more yummy baked goodness on the website!   I packaged up Patti’s tasty cake and voila!  Dessert Dutchess strikes again

                           baked cake     Boxed and ready to go

Kid Approved

With all the baking I do, most of the recipes are full on desserts, meaning they’re made with things like flour, butter, eggs, milk, a lot of the traditional ingredients you’d use when you think of desserts.  So when my beautiful and dear friend, Victoria, asked me if I could write a blog with some gluten free and vegan recipes, I happily went through my recipe books in search of a few good ones.

So, yes, most kids love ooey, gooey, sugary cookies and cupcakes, but in all honesty, how many do you know that would actually eat not just a ‘protein energy ball’, but a gluten free and healthy one?  HA!  Well, I found a crazy delicious recipe on thewhoot.com that is all of the above AND it’s kid approved!  These cutie patooties are Ryland and Jaks, 2 of the 4 sweet little munchkins that I have the pleasure of spending my days with and they are, without a doubt, typical kids that love their cookies!  So, I was very happy when they both devoured a couple of these little morsels!

                                  Ryland approved    Jaks approved

These seriously take about 5 minutes to toss these 8 simple, healthy ingredients together in a bowl – 1 cup oats, 2/3 cup coconut, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup ground flaxseed, 1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup), 1/2 cup cacao nibs, 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1 tsp vanilla. Chill in the fridge for about a 1/2 hour, roll into balls and voila…..you have a tasty treat!  Just keep in mind – with the flaxseed and chia seeds in them, if you eat more than a few of them in one day, they will certainly give your digestion a big boost!!

                                  Ingredients Mixed    Protein Balls

As I’ve done a 30 day healthy detox program with my USANA business a few times, there are a lot of gluten free and vegan recipes, but most are meals, not desserts.  However, one of the desserts in the program, which is both gluten free and vegan, is so delicious, that the pan of them literally does not last more than a couple days any time I’ve made them.  The No Bake Protein Bars recipe was created by Gorete Almeida, who is one of the brilliant nutritionists that helped create the program and some of the recipes.

                                   Ready for the freezer   Plated

Typically, dessert recipes that are gluten free and/or vegan have ingredients that some people really don’t care for too much (like tofu) or that you may need to do a little hunting around for, such as amaranth, buckwheat or coconut flour or even flaxseed meal.  Luckily, these sensational squares are made with simple ingredients and most are probably in your pantry or cupboards right now!  Coconut, oats, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, natural peanut butter……and they’re all healthy too!  And on a side note – these are out-of-this-world delish when you store them in the freezer!