Oh boy, this blogging business has really gotten my mind’s creative health juices flowing. Every recipe I see, has me wondering what I can do to make it healthier. Suddenly it’s not enough to make it gluten free, I find myself thinking about changing things up so that my cooking is refined-sugar-free, low-fat, higher fibre and so on. I’ve definitely been leaning towards cleaner living these days.
Lately, I’ve even taken to veganizing some of my recipes.
You see, I subscribe to at least a dozen GF Bloggers. Their blog stories, info and recipes are what inspired me to start this Fox-in-the-Kitchen blog. As I read their new posts and follow their links to other Bloggers, I’m continually awed by their talents for creating such amazing recipes and their stories of remarkable recoveries. They are proof that by simply cutting the umm, crap (my word, not theirs) out of our diets, we can experience drastic improvements in our overall health. After having been sick for so many years, my health is something I am very much focused on these days.
This posting was originally about a recipe for Ginger Cake. I wanted to convert and publish one of my old tried and true wheat flour cake recipes. This new healthier version of my Ginger Cake was supposed to show how far I’ve come since going Gluten Free. I took my old reliable cake recipe (I think the original came from an old magazine) but instead of just exchanging the all purpose wheat flour for a comparable gluten free flour blend, I decided to step it up a notch. I replaced the butter with lower fat grapeseed oil…an oil that actually boasts of antioxidant qualities. In place of the brown sugar, I used agave and I added some unsweetened fruit purée (applesauce) to further reduce the sweetener, the fat and to cut out the egg.
It all looked really good on paper. I had done my homework, I knew I had to add xantham gum and increase the baking powder/soda in my GF version of my recipe. I thought about playing with the flours but in the end opted to use a packaged All Purpose Gluten Free flour blend. After the batter came together so nicely, I figured I was going to get some good results.
While the cake was baking in the oven, I assembled a lemon frosting (I love a Lemon and Ginger combination). This was not just my usual recipe for lemon frosting. As I said, I was looking to kick things up a notch. I was going to try something new, a yummy refined-sugar-free-vegan-version of a Lemon Frosting.
My cake rose beautifully in the oven but as has happened more than once before with my gluten free baking, my poor cake sank after it came out of the oven. I frosted it anyways and found that it tasted good (nice and gingery, just the way I like it) but it was too dense. Sigh, make that a heavy sigh. Time to see what would happen if I changed up the flours or adjusted the wet to dry ratio. Time to crack open my copy of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman. I’m determined to make my Ginger Cake recipe work. I guess it’s just going to take me a bit longer than originally expected.
Now, what am I going to offer you in the way of a recipe? Well, my Lemon Cashew Frosting turned out pretty good, even if I do say so myself. It’s not nearly as sweet as traditional frosting. You know, the kind with confectioners sugar as the main ingredient. The texture of the Cashew Frosting was certainly different but I liked it and will surely use this recipe again. I think it would be great on some zucchini bread or muffins…um, if you frost a muffin, does it become a cupcake?I’m going to squeeze in a note here about green smoothies and one particular GF Blogger who inspired me to give them a try. You see, I’ve always looked on Green Smoothies as something “healthy” that was “maybe good for you but probably tasted yucky”. The colour alone looked unappealing and then, when I found out the green colour came from spinach or kale or some other leafy salad vegetable…nu-huh, I preferred to chew my salads, not drink them!
Well, that was before I came across a post written by the self-proclaimed “Smoothie Queen” – Heather of Gluten Free Cat. She wrote about a Green Smoothie she had made with her favourite sugar-free vanilla flavoured coconut milk. Her enthusiasm and pretty pictures made me actually consider trying a Green Smoothie after all. Then, when I read her post about Smoothing the GF Transition With Smoothies, it really cinched the deal for me.
If you’ve never tried a Green Smoothie, you must! As well as being just plain good for you, they are really delicious. Surprisingly, you can’t taste the green leafy vegetables at all. I’ve fallen in LOVE with Green Smoothies.
So far, I’ve really only tried Heather’s Island Paradise Smoothies but I’ve made variations of it by changing up the fruit. One time, I used frozen banana, mango, strawberries and blueberries. It made for a chocolate coloured Smoothie! I didn’t get a picture, but believe me, it was real yummy looking!
If you are new to Gluten Free Living or if you’re thinking about doing a Gluten Free Trial, I would highly recommend you check out Heather’s post about Smoothing the GF Transition With Smoothies. It has information that I wish I’d had when I first started out on my GF Journey earlier this year.
Ha, changing recipes to make them Vegan and drinking salads?? I’m pretty sure my family, at least those of the meat and potatoes crowd, are beginning to wonder what’s next for me? Am I going to suddenly show an interest in ocean kayaking, swimming, running or cycling? Am I going start training for a sprint up the Grouse Grind?
This recipe is linked to:
Recipe: Lemon Cashew Frosting
(Gluten-Free / Refined-Sugar-Free / Vegan)
· 1 Cup cashews (soaked for 30 minutes)
· 4 medjool dates pitted, soaked in water for 20 minutes (reserve water)
· juice of 1 lemon
· 1/4 cup coconut oil
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· reserved date soaking water (as needed)
· 1 Tbsp agave or to taste (optional)
1. Soak cashews in water for at least 30 minutes but not more than 1 hour. When done, drain the water.
2. Soak the dates in warm water for about 15 minutes. When done, drain but reserve the date soaking water.
3. Transfer the dates to a food processor or a high-speed blender. Add the lemon, coconut oil, vanilla, drained cashews and agave (if using).
4. Process (or pulse) slowly at a lower speed, increasing speed as the mixture begins to blend.
5. Add the date soaking water a tablespoon at time until the mixture starts to become smooth. Be careful not to add too much liquid, as you don’t want your frosting too watery.
6. Continue processing at high-speed until the mixture is nice and creamy.
7. Frost your cake after it has cooled.
8. This recipe makes enough for a 9 inch round cake.