Vanilla, Chocolate Layer Cake. Gluten-Free.

Have you ever thought about the perfect cake recipe? The one that will work anytime, and you will have this recipe for every moment, from birthday to anniversary, in summer or winter, cold or sunny day.
There are so many variations of making cakes, but a lot of them always need a lot of butter, dairy products, sugars etc.
I am so in love with the recipe I am going to share with you today, because it’s GLUTEN FREE, healthy recipe that will make anybody satisfied.
By the way, it tastes amazing too.
Vanilla, Chocolate Layer Cake. Gluten-Free.
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for the vanilla layers:

2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, whisked
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted + slightly cooled
4 tablespoons vanilla
for the chocolate layer:

3/4 cups gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, whisked
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted + slightly cooled

Instruction:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease and flour all sides of cake pans.
  2. For the vanilla layers: In a large bowl stir your dry ingredients together until well combined.
  3. In another mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir together with a large wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. For the chocolate layer: Follow directions 2-4 including the cocoa powder with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour evenly into the cake pans and bake the vanilla layers for 22-26 minutes and the chocolate layer for 23-28 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness.
  7. Let cool for 20 minutes, slide a knife along the edge, then carefully turn out onto a cooling rack and let fully cool before frosting.
  8. Frost the first layer, place the 2nd on top, then repeat.  Lightly push the frosting to the edge so it drips down the sides on the top layer. Add sprinkles if desired.

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for the frosting:

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 – 2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

1.  rinse cashews then place in your high-speed blender with 1/2 cup almond milk and the rest of the ingredients
2.Blend on low working to high, using your blender stir stick to keep things moving until you have reached a fully smooth consistency. Scrape the sides to keep things moving and add more milk if needed.
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Christmas Time. Part 1.

Although we celebrate Ukrainian Orthodox Christmas in January, we still respect traditions of the country where we live, that’s why we celebrate Christmas in December too.

It’s hard to explain your 3 year old, why everybody have a holiday, get presents and she doesn’t. It’s easier to follow  local traditions and holidays.

Anyway, Christmas is the birth of Jesus, and if you believe, it doesn’t matter what day or what time you will celebrate it.

We have our own Christmas traditions and rules:

1.get Christmas dinner ready before the first star appears in the sky. It means, as soon as you see the first star the Jesus is born, so you can start eating and celebrate.

2. You should make 12 special dishes for Christmas Eve ( all of them are plant based, with no animal products). These twelve dishes represent the twelve apostles who shared the last meal with Jesus Christ.

3. You should make a special Christmas dish-koliva (boiled rice with raisins, poppy seeds and honey). This is the symbol of Ukrainian Christmas.

4. Kids, people go to everybody’s house on Christmas Eve to sing Christmas Carols. For that they get sweets, treats, presents etc.

I made some dinner at Christmas Eve, unfortunately didn’t make the koliva.

Earlier that day we made some cookies for Santa. To be honest, we spoiled our Santa this year, because we made different sweets for him:

1. Healthy sugar cookies:

It’s super easy recipe. You just use the alternative healthy ingredients instead of the regular one. They turned out very delicious.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted (or grass-fed butter at room temp)
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together and combine well
  3. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well
  4. Drop a tablespoon of dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  5. Bake cookies for 8-10 mins (until edges are golden brown)
  6. As cookies are cooling, sprinkle with a little coconut sugar after baking if desired
  7. Cool cookies for at least 5 mins before serving
  8. (Alternatively, if you are cutting out shapes, refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour and then roll out using a rolling pin and additional almond flour and bake the same way)
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2. Raw Chocolate Almond Cookies.
These were the bomb!!!! They taste even better the next day. Santa ate all of his.
Ingredients:
 1 1/2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups medjool dates
1 heaping tablespoon maca powder
2 heaping tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea saltFrosting:
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut nectarTo make the cookies: throw all the ingredients in your food processor and process until it all sticks together. Form into balls and press into cookies on a baking or dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate for 2-4 hours, or “bake” at the lowest temperature in your oven, until they hold together. Alternatively you can leave them as is and put them in the fridge. Up to you. Ain’t nuthin’ but a texture thang.To make the frosting: mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Frost your cookies.

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 1 cup any kind of nuts ( I used pecans)
1 cup medjool dates, pitted
½ cup cocoa or cacao powder
zest of two oranges
juice of half an orange
 Add the nuts in to a food processor, and then process until ground in to a dense flour. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to process until the mixtures starts to come together like a dough.
Use your hands to form small balls. You can dip them in water to prevent the mixture from sticking.In a separate bowl, add the extra cocoa powder.  Roll the balls in the cocoa until just coated, then transfer to a plate. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to set.
The truffles can be kept at room temperature, but they are best kept in the fridge.
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Santa was pretty happy, because he didn’t even leave us the crumbs.
To be continued…..

Raw Chocolate Tarts with Hazelnut Crust.

Should I mention again about my deep love to chocolate? I like the smell of it, the color, the taste. Everything about chocolate makes me happy.

I remember myself reading the book “Chocolate” and after that watched the movie few years ago. My dream at that time was to open the artisan chocolate candy store and experiment with making delicious chocolate candies.

Dreams changed from that time, but I still like chocolate and like to make chocolate desserts and enjoy them from time to time.

Raw healthy desserts become popular these days, and I am so into trying different raw healthy recipes now.

Here is the other raw healthy version of delicious chocolate melting treat.

Raw Chocolate Tarts with Hazelnut Crust.

Crust

1.5 cup ground raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw cocao powder
1/4 cup raw coconut oil
6 medjool dates
1. Set jar of coconut oil in a bowl of hot tap water until it becomes liquid.
2. Place hazelnuts and cacao powder in a large bowl and mix well, breaking up any lumps.
3. Add coconut oil to powder mixture and mix well.
4. Place dates in a small bowl and mash with a fork.
5. Add dates to dough-like mixture and combine well with hands.
6. Place crust into tart pans.
7. Place crust in refrigerator while making filling.
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Filling
1 avocado, pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or any other nut milk
1/4 cup raw coconut oil
10 medjool dates
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1. Add avocado, nut milk, coconut oil and 5 dates to food processor and mix it together.
2. Once mixture is smooth, add the 5 additional dates and combine until smooth.
3. Add cacao powder and mix well until smooth.
4. Spoon filling into tart crusts. Sprinkle with coconut.
5. Place in fridge to set. Serve chilled.
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Raw Carrot Cake.

Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. Honestly, I’ve never made it before. I usually have it from the bakery or Whole Foods. Many people’s favorite part of the cake is frosting, but it is so hard to find the carrot cake with the good frosting. Most of the times, I just scoop the frosting off the cake and eat the plain cake, because it doesn’t taste good to me.

Carrot cake sounds like healthy dessert, but using the butter, sugar, white flour in it does not make it healthy at all.

Trying to be creative with healthy cooking and trying different combinations, I came up with the raw carrot cake recipe.

This cake is nothing fancy, but is really easy to make and has suprisingly delicious flavors melting in your mouth.

I did it only once, but it was a hit at house. Sophia and my hubby were fighting for the last piece:) I couln’t be happier: two loving ones fight for healthy food.

Raw Carrot Cake.

1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes

1 large or 2 small apples( I used Golden Delicious)

1/4 cup of water

1tbs lemon juice

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp ground cinnamon

1/2tsp of nutmeg

1/4tsp sea salt

1 pound shredded carrots( I got the fresh ones at the Farmers Market)

3/4 cup coconut flour

walnuts

Frosting:

3/4 cup cashews or macadamia nuts soaked in the water for 3-4 hours and drained ( I used cashews)

1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

1tsp lemon juice

10 drops of Stevia or any other sweetener

Combine the drain dates, apple, water, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor and blend it until fairly smooth.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and blend again.

Mix the shredded carrots with the mixture from the food processor and stir well.

Add the coconut flour and stir until the batter is combined and uniform. Set the batter for 10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid mixture. Add some chopped walnuts.

Put the batter in the rectangle form, pressing it firmly and evenly, and freeze for 4 hours. After it firmed up, cut it half, making two layers of cake.

Frosting.

Combine the drained cashews, milk, lemon juice, stevia in a high speed blenderand blend until completely smooth.

Place one half of the cake on the plate and frost the top only with the frosting. Carefully place the other cake half on top, and use the rest of the icing to frost the top of the cake.

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Refrigerate overnight, or until ready to serve.

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Tomato, corn, avocado salad.

When it’s summer and you can get all the fresh and juicy vegetables at the farmers market, you are into making a lot of salads. This is about me. I like any kind of salad, and it doesn’t matter if I ate tomatoes three days in a row, and having tomatoes salad tonight again.
But I have to be creative for my family. They are not picky, although they like to try something new. You need to be creative for the salads sometimes. Salad sounds so easy to make, but one ingredient can make the perfect flavors or ruin it at once.
Last Thursday I picked some fresh tomatoes and corn at the farmers market. Usually I try to plan the menu for the week, but this time nothing was in my mind. I saw ripe bright red tomatoes, the other minute I saw juicy fresh corn, and I just bought them. At home my first thought was to boil corn for dinner, but then I decided to use it in the salad.
The combination of corn, tomatoes and avocados is perfect, and it tastes even better, when you use lime juice with it.

Do you know that tomato is considered both a fruit and vegetable and forms an integral part of the cuisine all across the globe especially in the Mediterranean region. Health benefits of tomato include improved eye sight, good gut health, low hypertension, relief from diabetes, skin problems and urinary tract infections.

Enjoy ripe and delicious tomatoes in my salad recipe.

Tomato, corn, avocado salad.
2-3 ears of corn, silks and husks removed
2 big tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
1 head of purple onion, diced
Lime juice from one lime
1tbsp. Olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Parsley

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Stand ear in a large wide bowl; with a sharp knife, carefully slice downward to release the kernels.
Discard cob.
Add onions, tomatoes, avocados, lime juice and olive oil.

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Season with salt.
Add some chopped parsley.
Toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately, otherwise the salad becomes watery because of tomatoes.

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Rosemary Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”.

Potatoes are very popular in Ukraine. I remember from my childhood, we ate potatoes almost every day. My favorite dish was mashed potatoes with piece of chicken. I could eat mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To tell you the truth, I still love it, but don’t cook it very often.

Because it is not recommended to mix the starchy vegetables with the animal protein, I kept looking for some recipe that will work and taste as good as my favorite dish from the past.

When I found Cauliflower ” mashed potatoes” idea, I wasn’t sure if it tastes good. It might taste good as a cauliflower, but not as good as mashed potatoes.

Anyway, I got the huge head of cauliflower and tried to cook it at home.

This cauliflower-based version is the same texture to enjoy as mashed potato, but sans the butter, whole milk and table salt that make mashed potatoes a beauty-busting food.

It turned out so delicious for me, and tasted like REAL mashed potato. My husband still doesn’t know, how I made it, because he called it mashed potatoes:)

Rosemary Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets, stem and leaves removed

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup almond or coconut milk

1tbs olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sea salt, to taste

1tsp. dried rosemary

Bring water to a boil and steam cauliflower in a steamer for about 6-7 minutes, until softens.

Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor with the blade in place. Add garlic, almond milk, olive oil, black pepper, sea salt and rosemary. Pulse long enough to achieve the desired consistency.

Adjust seasonings to taste.

I served it with baked salmon and fresh veggies salad.

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Read your labels

UnknownEat to live, don’t live to eat. If you want to live  healthy and long life you have to watch what you are eating. The global food market is a big fake “bubble”. When you go to the grocery store, you see tons of different products: green and bright veggies all year long, multiple kinds of cheese and meat, cereals, bread that never goes bad, milk with expiration date in 2 years, sauces, dressings,dips, cookies, sodas, candies, pastas etc. A lot of companies use the word “Natural” that works as a “magic” word for a lot of people. They believe “natural” means healthy, good for you and your kids, but in real it means” my product is packed with chemicals, but I will call it healthy, because, there is no government controls about it”.images
First, the term “natural” is not synonymous with “organic”. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service defines “natural” as “a product containing no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural( such as ‘no artificial ingredients; minimally processed’).”
Before you put something in your shopping cart and later eat it, please read the label, check the ingredients, even organic ones.
Here is the top MUST-AVOID-ingredients list:
1. Trans fat, aka hydrogenated oils. Found in: any vegetable oil that has been hydrogenated( hydrogenated soybean oil,hydrogenated safflower oil, etc.), margarine, chips and crackers, baked goods, and most fast food.
2. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or corn sugar. Found in: soft drinks, most processed foods, breads, cereals, candy, flavored yogurt, salad dressings, canned vegetables.
3.Artificial sweeteners( sucralose, aspartame, saccharin). Found in: most diet or sugar-free foods, including soda, desserts, sugar-free gum, beverage mixes, baking goods, sweeteners, cereals, breath mints, even chewable vitamins and toothpaste.
4. Artificial colors( Red no.40, Yellow no. 6, Blue nos. 1 and 2). Found in: candy, beverages, cereals, cheese, bakery products, and ice-cream.
5. Sodium nitrites and nitrates. Found in: hot dogs, bacon, ham, luncheon meat, cured meats, corned beef, smoked fish, and any other type of processed meat.
6. Growth hormones(rBST, rBGH). Found in: nonorganic dairy products and meats.
7. Monosodium Glutamate. (MSG). MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and many restaurant foods. Don’t be fooled if you don’t see it as a listed ingredient-MSG is often camouflaged under the guise of sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or autolyzed yeast. Found in: Chinese takeout and restaurant foods( ask to hold the MSG), many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, soup products, canned foods, frozen dinners, and lunch meats.
8. Butylated hydroxyanisole(BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene(BHT). These are preservatives commonly found in most nonorganic cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. Found in: potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, and Jell-O.
9. Antibiotics. Found in: conventionally raised livestock( including poultry) and farm-raised fish.
10. Pesticides. Found in: the majority of nonorganic fruits and vegetables.

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