GF Lemon Cake…#yum

Hey everyone,

Can you believe all of the snow that we received this week…What is going on!? I know it was naive of me to think that winter was over but I wasn’t expecting the downpour that we received in the last two days…On a more positive note, the snow is quite beautiful…right ;).

Last Sunday, our son and I tried a new GF cake recipe from this amazing recipe book that a couple of my girlfriends bought me for my birthday last year. It’s called “Gluten-Free Sweet Treat: cakes, brownies, cookies and more” by Emma Goss-Custard. Not sure that that’s her real name but it’s cute either way.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

I’ve made a few of her recipes and, so far, they’ve been delicious. I find that they take longer to make than non-GF recipes but they’re worth it. This time we tried her Lemon Drizzle Cake and it was #delicious!!!

Today, I’m sharing her recipe with you.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, plus extra for brushing
  • 7.5 tbs GF flour of your choice (Tbs…I know, weird but her recipe uses them or ounces)
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I suggest using WAY less as the recipe was very sweet – maybe 1/2c max)
  • 2/3 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbs polenta
  • 1 tsp lemon oil

Note: Rather than using the drizzle, I sifted icing sugar on top of the cake. I’m happy I did since the cake is pretty sweet.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter your 1lb loaf tin.
  2. Melt butter with the lemon zest, but don’t let it get too hot. I heated it slowly in the microwave. Then add your lemon juice and stir again.
  3. Crack your eggs in a large mixing bowl fitted with an electric mixer. Add your baking powder, sugar, almonds, GF flour, cornflour, polenta and lemon oil.
  4. Add melted butter and zest to the mixture.
  5. Using your electric mixer, beat on low speed and then on high until your mixture is smooth with a rich yellow colour.
  6. Spoon your cake mixture into the buttered tin and tap tin until batter is smooth.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, check and then cover with parchment paper, especially if the cake is getting too dark.
  8. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool completely and then remove from tin.
  10. If you like, sift icing sugar above the cake for a nice touch and added sweetness.

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If you’re looking to try something new, I highly recommend this recipe, however, I would use 1/3-1/2 a cup of sugar rather than 3/4 since it was very sweet. I also suggest that you keep it refrigerated since it was a tad crumbly.

This recipe pairs well with a warm coffee in the morning or with an afternoon tea, which is when I tend to get my sweet craving ;).

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Voila!

For those who eat GF, what’s your favourite cake recipe? I would love to hear about it. Before going GF, I used to do a lot of baking but I haven’t been too interested in trying new recipes since I’m usually missing ingredients or I know that I’ll be the only one eating it.

If you do end up giving this recipe a try, please let me know what you think of it and whether or not you’d be interested in other GF recipes.

On a totally separate but very important note, I’d like to wish everyone a happy international women’s day. Today, I’d like to thank my sister, mother-in-law, female friends, family, role models and most importantly my mom who is truly my BIGGEST role model and inspiration. Mom, you are truly one of a kind and like no other. Since Chels and I were young you taught us the importance of being a feminist, of being kind, accepting and understanding and to stand up for injustice. I thank you today and every day for being the incredible role model and woman that you are!

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.” A serious quote but one that struck home.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend spent with friends and family, eating great food.

Bon Appetit!

Ash xo

Last minute Christmas dessert ideas

Hey everyone,

My apologies for not posting last week. I had promised myself that I would never miss a post but it just wasn’t in the cards last week. For those who follow me on Instagram (lovelylife.xo), you already know that Julien and I were away in Banff for four nights last week, so the beginning of the week was spent preparing for our trip. i.e. wrapping things up at work, getting things in order at home, and ensuring that the kids were packed for their time spent with their grandparents. The good news is that I plan on dedicating next week’s post to our time spent in Banff. It should be a fun post so please do check it out.

Missing five days before Christmas meant that I had to get most of my baking, shopping and meal planning done ahead of time which I sort of managed to do…sort of lol 😉 Although I had done most of my baking, I still had a couple fun and easy dessert recipes to make. My son and I managed to make them last night, just in time for their last day at daycare. For those of you who are late with your holiday baking or simply looking for a quick and easy recipe to make before Christmas, I highly recommend trying these out.

First up is a recipe for bark. I don’t know about you, but I always thought that bark would be difficult to make. The truth is is that it’s one of the easiest recipes to make.

White Chocolate and Cranberry Bark
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of pistachios, shelled

Method:

  1. Put your chopped white chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time. After 30 seconds, stir chocolate and repeat until fully melted.
  2. Once melted, stir in your dried cranberries and shelled pistachios. (note: feel free to add whichever  nuts or dried fruits that you like).
  3. Pour mixture onto foil-lined (or Silpat lined) baking sheet and spread to desired thickness.
  4. Freeze until solid and then break into pieces.
  5. Store in an airtight container and freeze.

Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Method:

1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

2. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and freeze ( or refrigerate) until firm, at least 20 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line your baking sheet with a Silpat or aluminum foil. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out to desired thickness between two sheets of floured parchment paper. Dust dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. (If dough gets soft, chill for 10 minutes).

4. Bake, rotating halfway through until edges are golden (approx.10 to 18 minutes) depending on their size. Cool completely on wire racks.

5. For the icing, sift icing sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in 4 tbs’s of milk until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thin, whisk in more sugar; if too thick, add more milk.

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6. If you want to make coloured icing, separate icing into a few bowls and add desired food colouring to each and mix.

7. Ice cookies and decorate as you like using sprinkles or candies.

As previously mentioned, whether I’m making cookies, brownies or bark, I like to freeze them and take one out at a time when I’m craving something sweet.

Christmas is only a few days away now so I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas with your friends and families. To those who have been following my blog regularly, I thank you for all of your support during the last 6 months and I hope that you continue to check out my weekly posts. Please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you like to see on the blog, as I would like to focus on topics that interest you.

Merry Christmas!!!

Ash

 

 

 

Our favourite Christmas dessert recipes!

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m going to share with you a few recipes of our favourtie Christmas desserts that we’ve been making annually for about 5 years now.

I’ll start with my favourite recipe, Martha Stewart’s Mint-Chocolate Brownies. OMG this recipe is to die for and they are a chocolate lovers dream. I don’t know what it is about Martha but all of her dessert recipes are the best!

Mint-Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • One stick of unsalted butter (8 tbs)
  • 8 ounces semisweet or bitter sweet chocolate, whichever you prefer
  • One cup of sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 25 small peppermint patties (these MAKE this recipe)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line your 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and then butter the parchment paper.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir for about 4-5 mins until chocolate is melted.
  3. Remove from the heat and whisk in your sugar and salt until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in eggs and then gently whisk in flour and cocoa powder until smooth.
  4. Spread 1/3 of your batter in your pan. Place peppermint patties on top of the batter in a single layer, making sure to leave a border on all sides. Note: I can never find the mini peppermint patties so I use the large ones.
  5. Top the peppermint patties with the remaining batter and smooth the surface.
  6. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Approximately 35-40 minutes.
  7. Cool the brownies completely before cutting brownies.

Yields: 16 delicious brownies

My second favourite recipe is a cookie recipe by Trisha Yearwood that I found on the Food Network’s website. WARNING: they are super sweet so this recipe is good for those who have a real sweet tooth.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate hips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Using your electric mixer, cream the butter with both sugars until smooth. Add your vanilla and egg, making sure to mix well.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking soda. Spoon the flour mixture into the creamed sugar mixture.
  4. Stir in your cranberries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  5. Drop large spoonfuls, about 2 tbs, of dough on prepared baking sheets and bake one sheet at a time for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Note: we aren’t the biggest fans of macadamia nuts but they go very well in this recipe.

Yields: 24 cookies

Last, but not least, is a recipe for bark brought to you by the blog browneyedbaker. The fun thing about bark is that you can put whatever ingredients you want in them, so you should totally try modifying this recipe and using your favourite nuts or dried fruit.

 

Pistachio and Cranberry White Chocolate Bark 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2lb white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Line your baking sheet with your silpat or parchment.
  2. Melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwavable bowl for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave.
  3. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add pistachios and cranberries and stir to combine.
  5. Spread the chocolate mixture onto your prepared pan and place in the fridge for at least 20 mins, until set, and then cute into pieces. (Note: I prefer freezing it and then cutting/breaking the bark into pieces).

The great thing about all of these recipes is that you can freeze them and take them out when you feel like a treat or when you’re hosting. We plan on baking each of these this weekend. Make sure to stop by my Instagram account, lovelylife.xo to see pics.

If you decide to try one of these out, please let me know what you think of them by leaving a comment below. I’d also love to hear about your favourite Christmas dessert recipes, if you have any 🙂 .

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Talk soon,

Ash

Gluten Free Oatmeal and Raisin Muffins

Happy Friday!

Hope everyone had a great week and an even better Halloween! Just a note that this post is one of two up on the blog today. If you’re interested in knowing what my favorite facial products are, please check out my other post A review of my favourite facial products.

For those who don’t know, I’ve recently been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance and then, after running more tests, as either partially treated celiac or Crohns. Unfortunately, my GI doctor wasn’t able to diagnose it as one or the other but highly recommend that I start a gluten-free (GF) diet so I’ve decided to do so. I’ve only recently started going GF and let me tell ya, this is no easy task lol Well, not for me anyway.

I’m happy to report that I have been GF for a little over a week now. Although I’m struggling with not being able to enjoy my Costco size bread for breakfast or my Ace baguette with anything and everything that is spreadable 😉 I’ve found a few tasty GF breakfast options. One of them being a nice GF muffin recipe that I’m going to share with you below. Please note that I was inspired by a recipe I found on the blog Abbey’s Kitchen. I used her recipe for her Ultimate GF oatmeal muffins as inspiration and tweaked it a bit. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lactose-free milk (we use 3% b/c that’s what our daughter drinks)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour mix
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
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Oatmeal and raisin muffins

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with 12 muffin papers.
  2. Slowly melt your coconut oil in the microwave. Once melted, let it cool down before using. Although I enjoy the taste of coconut oil,  I don’t always want to taste it in certain recipes. Next time, I will use butter.
  3. Using a mixer, mix your eggs, brown sugar, and lactose-free (or regular) milk. Once the ingredients are well-mixed, add in your cooled coconut oil.
  4. Then add your flour, oats, raisins, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt to the wet ingredients. Mix until well blended.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin papers and bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes (depending on your oven).
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Oatmeal and raisin muffins

My son and I made these muffins and decided to only make 12 in case we didn’t like the recipe. I’m happy to report that the whole family enjoyed them so I regretted that we hadn’t made more. Also, Julien was working when we made these muffins so he had no idea they were GF. He ate two for breakfast the next day and was surprised to find out that they were. He had no clue.

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Oatmeal and raisin muffins

If you have any favourite GF recipes I would LOVE to hear about them so please do feel free to share them with me.  Finally, another shoutout to Abbey’s Kitchen for sharing her recipe for GF oatmeal muffins. I look forward to discovering more dishes on your blog.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

Canada 150 cupcakes

Today was another rainy day so my son and I decided to make some dessert for Canada day. We will be spending the long weekend at my in-laws place, on the river, and are responsible for preparing one lunch and dessert. I have a pretty good idea of what we will be preparing for the main course but I wasn’t sure what we were going to serve for dessert, until today! After looking online and through my recipe books, for inspiration, we’ve decided to make red velvet cupcakes with vanilla icing decorated with red coloured chocolate balls. Yum!!! I found the red coloured chocolate balls, at Independent, and knew that our son would love them. Of course, when he saw them, he needed to taste test them immediately before using them. I think he ate ten of them before we actually used them lol You know how it is ;).

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At first thought, red velvet cupcakes seemed like a great idea. I didn’t really think about the mess the red food colouring could make with a toddler but quickly realized how messy things could get lol It was totally ok though and worth it. I mixed most of the ingredients myself, while he watched. He was pretty impressed with the colour of the cupcake batter and it took everything to keep his little toddler paws from going inside the mixer.

This was our first time making this recipe and it is a keeper. We used Sally’s baking addiction’s red velvet cupcakes. Even though I only used 2.5 tbs of red food colouring, rather than the 3.5 it required, the colour still turned out beautifully. Once things were mixed, my son licked the spatula dry. His face, arms, and clothes were covered in batter but he loved it. Getting messy is part of the fun. He helped me pour the batter into the cupcakes papers and here they are below, in all of their red glory, before we put them in the oven.

IMG_20170629_180504.jpgOnce they were cooked, we finished them off with the vanilla icing and red chocolate balls. The kids were excited about how they turned out and enjoyed eating them. The best thing about this recipe is that they were super fluffy and stayed so for five days until I froze them.

 

 

For those who are interested in the recipe, please do give it a try. You won’t regret it.

What is your favourite cupckare recipe? I would love to know.

Bon Appetite!

Ash xo

Canada Day long weekend!

Hey guys,

It’s Wednesday after the long weekend and what a fabulous weekend it was. We spent it at my in-laws home in Dunrobin, right on the Ottawa river. We drove up Friday and stayed until Monday.

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Their home is one of the best places to relax and for the kids to have fun. They built themselves their dream home, five years ago, and it is like visiting Le Nordik.

We kick started our Canada Day festivities with a 45 minute Kayak ride on the river with our son. This kid loves water. He always has. I love that he does but it also scares me to death sometimes since he is fearless. Our kayak trip was so relaxing. I’m always amazed at how quiet the river can be. You would assume that it would be busy and loud, overwhelmed with motor boats and sea-doos but it isn’t the case.  At least not where they live. While we were out, we only saw a couple of beautiful sailboats and one couple canoeing. It was as though we had the river to ourselves.

imageThe rest of the day was spent eating good food, playing with the kids and enjoying a cocktail or two ;). Paul, my father-in-law, made the most incredible mushroom, fig and caramelized onion and stuffed hamburgers for lunch. They were to die for. Dinner started with a beautiful strawberry bruschetta with Louis Buillot rose followed by confit de canard with garlic and herb potatoes and strawberries marinated in rum. If you haven’t had duck confit, you must. It is one of the most delicious dishes I have ever had in my life. My in-laws are both French (Mother-in-law is French Canadian and my father-in-law is half Austrian and half French) and make us this dish a couple times a year and each time I am blown away by the flavour.

Other highlights of our day were decorating our Canada day cupcakes, walks with the kids, searching for frogs and resting in the hammock while the kids napped. Note: napping in a hammock is good for the soul. The hammocks never fail us. Julien and I always fall asleep in those things. Once we get in we are down and out.

Last, but not least, we spent our last evening off at my parent’s place. Mom was feeling healthy enough to have us all over and it was just like the good old days. We caught up on their deck, while sipping on sangria, and enjoyed an awesome grilled chicken caesar salad. Mom had had her sixth chemo session, a week before, and will have the summer chemo free!!! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that she can rest, catch a break, regain some energy and enjoy the summer months with her many friends and family.

IMG_20170703_172349.jpgCanada day 2017 will be one to remember. The kids, Julien and I had an awesome weekend and we hope that you did as well.

How did you spend you Canada day long weekend?

Ciao,

Ash xo

Baking with kids

Baking and cooking are some of my favourite things to do, especially with my son. I’ve always found it to be relaxing, kind of like meditation, and I, of course, love the tasty end result! My son has been showing a keen interest in watching all that we do in the kitchen. He often pulls up his stool, grabs his plastic knives and cutlery and acts as our sous-chef. His auntie even bought him an apron with matching gloves so that he looks the part. He insists on wearing them whenever we bake or cook.

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Like most toddlers, he loves anything sweet. If he had things his way he would eat chocolate (or what he calls “choco” treats ) on a daily basis. Unfortunately for him, he only gets choco treats on the weekends, unless he is with his grandparents and in which case they can feed him whatever they like since that is their right as grandparents ;). Some of our favourite things to make together are chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, pancakes and pizza (which you will soon learn is my absolute favourite food EVER).

I have less than two months of maternity leave left so I will be making even more of an effort to cook and bake with him while I have the “time.” Like most moms, I don’t have all the time in the world to bake/cook but I really try hard to make our meals and baked goods from scratch. and with nutrient dense foods.

Recently, we’ve made a few yummy treats: oatmeal and chocolate chip muffins with cinnamon, whole wheat/oatmeal pancakes with cinnamon and gluten free M&M cookies. 

What are your favourite things to cook/bake alone or with your kids?

Bon appetit!

Love,

Ash xo