Primal Pumpkin Spice Cake w/ Cinnamon Icing

19 02 2012

This is a special addendum to my first post today. Two posts in one day!! I am feeling guilt that I haven’t blogged in a bit, but the reality is because of the Sick we had and me being away, it has been 3 weeks of Thai butternut squash soup and Kat prepared frozen meals for Ken. I haven’t really been cooking. I am making up for it this weekend.
Get your own cake!

I have, however, been market-ing. We took a 2 hour break from minerals and went to St Phllips Farmers market in Tucson. I love that place.. I bought Blue Moon blend from Adventure Coffee Roasting, more spices from Native Seeds/SEARCH, and two types of dates from the date ladies. My bag got mega-searched coming home as it was full of Mexican oregano, spices and hot sauces. OLE

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cinnamon Icing

from Heath-Bent by Meaghan Keatley
**adaptation for WLS people in bold

For the Pumpkin Cake
1 c pumpkin puree
1 c almond butter
1/2 c raw honey (I used sf maple syrup and 10 drops vanilla stevia)
2 eggs
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
**1/2 t ginger
**1/2 cup of cranberries, dried

For the Cinnamon Icing
1/4 c coconut butter
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c raw honey (I used half coconut sap, and half splenda)
1 t cinnamon

For the Pumpkin Cake
Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium sized bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine.

Pour into an 8×8 oven safe baking dish (I suspect you could squeeze 12 cupcakes out of this recipe if you use a muffin tin). Bake until completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.

For the Cinnamon Icing

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and use either your mixing blade attachment or a whisk to beat the ingredients until fluffy.

Once the pumpkin cake has cooled, cut it into 9 squares and remove from the pan. Now…if the cake isn’t completely, 100%, no doubt in your mind, cool you are not allowed to proceed.
I’m telling you, if your cake isn’t cool, the icing will just slide right off into a pile of goopiness and all will be wasted. If you haven’t experienced what disastrous-ness comes from not heeded the above warning, you only need try it one time to learn. Use a small offset spatula or a spoon and drizzle the frosting over the top.
**OMG they are so right!! This cake needs to be stone cold before you smear the coconut icing on it. I will say Ken and I loved the cinnamon topper, I wasn’t sure I was going to add it, but I am glad I did, even if it did slide off a bit 🙂

No pics of the icing, but this is out of the oven and cooling.

Store the Pumpkin Cake Bars you haven’t immediately annihilated in the fridge. The icing will harden in the fridge, let it come to room temp if you’d like it soft. If you’d like it softer, faster (for the impatient types, like myself) the frosting will melt beautifully if you stick the cake bar in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Goes great with your morning coffee or tea!

Winnie approves the cake and coffee combo..anything that promotes me lingering on the couch instead of doing chores is a good thing in her books. You’ll note my flat, bloat free tummy in this pic.


Frijoles Charros is Fiber-ific!

24 10 2011

You know it is winter when…….
Kelvin has taken up sleeping on a wooly Hudson Bay blanket.

If you have never used dried beans or need a kick in the GI track, this is a great recipe for you. This is the PERFECT one pot Sunday simmer meal, that keeps on giving and giving. Ken refers to it as the Mexican cassoulet, as it sticks to your ribs and a small plateful goes a long way.

This recipe makes a whooping 10.5 cups of stew- so be prepared to dish a lot of this out into freezer containers, as it really freezes quite well. The caveat being “YOU NEED TO USE DRIED BEANS”. Pinto beans in a can will long turn to mush in this recipe making this dish look like baby poo. The dried beans will hold up better on a low and long simmer. Don’t be intimated by dried beans, they are super easy to use. It is a complete no brainer.

Frijoles Charros
Modified from “this is not your Mother’s Slow Cooker recipes”

** I used a Le Creuset pot on the stove, but you definitely can use a crock pot for this meal.
HIGH for 3-1/2 to 5 hours in crock pot, or low simmer for 8 hours

One 1-pound package dried pinto beans
1 tetrapack of chicken stock- 1 litre
2 jalapeños, stems removed
2 dried chorizo (Mexican sausage), chopped
2 lbs FROZEN italian raw sausage (pork, beef.. whatever you have going)
4 strips bacon, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow or white onion, chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons salt, to your taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

SUPER easy… the night before I make this, I gather my largest Le Creuset pot and my beans. I get my beans from Rube, the bean guy at the market, but you can buy the package at the grocery store. Rube measures out 1 lb for me. Dump your beans in the pot, add water so that the beans are submerged in 3 inches of water, neglect until the next morning.

The next morning, post coffee and while Coronation Street is on in the background, empty the hydrated beans out of the pot and into a strainer, set aside.

Every time I make this it is slightly different depending on what I have in my veg drawer, so this time I added 1 poblano pepper chopped. I chopped onion, garlic, bacon, jalapeno, poblano and dried chorizo and let that saute for a good long while until everything was wilty, and there was some good loving on the bottom of the pan. If you were using a crock pot, I would saute the veg, add the spices, let them cook off the raw flavour, and dump it all in the crock pot at this point.

For those using the stovetop method, use a bit of the chicken stock to scrap any of that good browned stuff from the bottom of your pan. Add the beans, and the frozen sausages sectioned into inch sized bits, chicken stock, and spices. Get the whole thing up to a boil, and let simmer, with the lid on for 8 hours on the stove, checking it periodically for water content. If it is reducing down, then top it up with a bit of water. It really shouldnt though unless you forget to put the lid on it.

The last couple of hours I go in and test the done-ness of the beans. The pinto beans will be firm, but yielding but not squishy or look like baby poo.

Depending on the amount of liquid absorbed by the beans, I sometimes add a bit of corn starch for thickening. I will warn people though that once this cools, the beans are starchy and therefore thicken up as well. Be mindful of that before you get all heavy handed with the corn starch at by the time this has cooled, you may have cement.

Toppers on this meal are the best part.. grated radish, some chopped green onion, we added some Beemster cheddar, sour cream perhaps.. it is all acceptable. This MAY not look like a lot but this is really a gut buster, with loads of fiber, and protein to boot. Such a satisfying meal in the cooler weather.
As I said previously this makes 10.5 cups of stew. Nuts on this are as follows for 1/2 cup serving, no toppings included.
calories 161, carbs 16g (net 5g), 16g protein, 8g fat, and 1g sugar.

Cats: A Tale of Good Karma

1 08 2011

Ken and I always say the ultimate next life would be to come back as a cat in our house. Other than the occasional pesky “MOM” jamming a toothbrush in our mouths on occasion, it is a pretty sweet life here for a cat.

They have their own cat fountain that dispenses trickling tasty water, premium cat food to prevent illness and kidney stones, fresh cat grass to help with pesky hairballs and two humans that scoop their poop and give them unlimited pets. An ideal existence.

A couple of friends and I talked about writing a book.. hell if “LOL Cat” can have a book, then “Hiding Cats” could also corner the bathroom book market.
Where is the Winnie fat cat ??

Designer Hiding Cat

Princess and the Pea cat under Feather Bed

Underground Lair aka the Credenza

We had a bit of a scare last night as Kelvin (tabby cat) ate some ornamental grass from the balconey planter and then started bleeding from this nose. Turns out the grass got stuck and he flossed his sinuses as the blades of grass came out his nose. Emerg vet said it was the first time he ever saw anything like it. Getting home late last night after this ordeal had me dreaming of “what if” with our two little felines. They are both 15 yrs old and wont live forever. Sad to think they wont be around forever and it makes me wonder if this is cat nirvana, in their next lives, what plum assignment are they going to get ?? Does a Canyon Ranch spa for kitties exist ?

I Survived Germ Warfare !

5 04 2011

I have been terribly ill, the cold from hell ! Lemon week got seriously interrupted ! I had preserved lemons planned and a lemon cornmeal biscotti recipe to post-make. I was so sick, the motivation to cook-bake was sucked out of me by the evil germs.

I did make them… evidence !! I just need to post the recipe !

I will endeavor to post the biscotti recipe this week, as well as a kick ass homemade BBQ sauce I used to make a pulled pork. Ken was licking the plate. ‘Tis the season to BBQ and eat coleslaw, both of which we had on one plate the other night. Look for both of these recipes soon !
Pulled pork-a-licious !!

I also tried to make cake pops with the lemon liar cake… i ran out of steam after it baked and just threw on some cream cheese icing because I was being lazy…lazy = goodness this time around because it rocked.

Ken bought me a new coffee press… it is a beautiful thing.. 12 cups of love and it is double walled, so all that lovely coffee stays hot forever !

It almost makes me weep because it is so beautiful !

I went out for a run tonight… i have had a couple of weeks out of the gym, because of meetings, and being sick. I needed to put my foot down and exercise before I watched Biggest Loser or I would have felt guilty. Not only did I do my best time for a 5K (and the minute I stopped running I hacked up half my lung) but I came home to this…. it is like Winnie had a cupcake binge !

Things that make you go AHH – ver 2.0

27 03 2011

There are cute furry pets in this house.
Kelvin is pegged out in his bed, with all his friends. He has it pretty hard. He sometimes fights with DOMO and we find him ousted outside of the bed.

And to be fair to Winnie, we need to include her in this post. Equality is key.

Peanut Week a la Natalie Dee

14 02 2011

Natalie Dee is my favourite online cartoonist and both Ken and I have a bunch of her T-shirts. Natalie Dee has ode to weeks.. like Shark Week or Snake Week or Spanish Week. Well in true Natalie Dee fashion, I am having peanut week. This whole week the recipes will be an ode to the mighty peanut.

thank you to Natalie Dee and her fabulous cartoons !

This is a simple in a “why-didnt-i-think-about-this-before” sort of way. Ken LOVES bananas and it was Valentine’s Day today so I whipped up, with some help from Jello, some sf banana pudding and put it in ramekin cups to chill.

After chilling, I nuked 2 tbsp of whipped peanut butter until it was saucy, and poured half a tbsp over fresh bananas for a fabulous banana-peanut butter dessert. Sorry the colours are off. Trust me this tasted delicious.

I didn’t want fresh bananas on mine and I don’t eat dinner AND dessert so I used some of the molten peanut butter, spread a thin layer on the top, and popped the ramekin back in the fridge to harden up. I call it peanut butter banana cream brulee !!

Nuts on this are sugar free banana pudding with 2% milk + 1/2 tbsp of whipped peanut butter = 125 calories, and 6 grams of protein 🙂

viva la peanut !!

Storm-ageddon & a Recipe for Lynn

1 02 2011

We are expecting a huge storm here in Toronto, hence all the buzz about stormageddon. I thought ‘what would be cozy to make’ and I also thought about my friend Lynn, who is very early out post surgery. I vaguely remember early out that I wasn’t interested in hot liquids, just cold, but now I can’t get enough hot liquids. It seems hot makes me feel warm, cozy and full. I also think it relaxes my digestive system, and I usually have a hot tea as my last “thing” every night as I watch TV. Lynn should almost be off the liquids, but this is for her. She reads my blog but until now, hasn’t been able to partake in any of the eating.

I was buying pre-made mocha-frappa-disco coffee (sugar free of course) and sometimes having them mid-morning at work OR supplementing them with some protein to make a morning protein disco coffee.
When I was unable to find the Nestle brand in the stores, I decided it couldn’t be that hard to replicate.

Sugar Free Disco Drink
Loosely adapted from ‘bucks & my drive to make things on my own

1/2 cup of non-dairy creamer (read coffeemate)
1/2 cup of no sugar added hot chocolate (Nestle has a brand, Swiss miss etc)
3 tbsp cocoa (the stuff you use for baking)
1/3 cup of instant espresso powder (LOVE this stuff.. a kick in the pants and it is good in baking)
1/4 cup of splenda (or the sweetener of you choice)
1/2 tea ground cinnamon

Round up your ingredients !

Mix out all the ingredients into an airtight container. It smells so great. This is a great time to experiment. Want to add PB2 instead of cocoa, go ahead ?! A cup of joe that tastes like a reese peanut butter cup would be a good time. You could also add smoky chipotle to make this a Mayan inspired treat.

Boil water, measure out 3/4 to 1 cup per 2 tbsp of disco drink.
Kelvin, supermodel cat, heard me squirt the whipping cream and came running. I swear that cat huffs the can when we aren’t home.

The cup above I used 3 tbsp of disco drink to 1.5 cups of hot water. It was perfect. I also know this is a huge cup. I think 2 tbsp per 3/4 to 1 cup of hot water. Play with the ratio to suit your changing tastebuds. I rather liked the sweet factor in mine, and was doubly glad when I saw the numbers. I will definitely stop buying this stuff in the stores and make my own. Hmm.. cardamom flavoured next ?

Nuts per 2 tbsp serving are 35 calories, 1.4g of fat, 0.67g of fiber, 5 g of carbs, 0.75g of protein. A bit carby when you do the percentage, but seriously no major damage when you have a 1 to 1.5 of a serving. This is the same amount of calories as the cream in my coffee in the morning.