Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Almond Tart (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy/Refined Sugar Free)

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite new bloggers with you. Her name is Zainab, and while she's not gluten-free, she occasionally shares gluten-free recipes on her blog. I've been following her for a while now, and I am in awe of her decorating skills. They seem to improve exponentially with every post. 

And today's recipe? Freaking awesome. Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Almond Tart. Four words that should always go together. 

Stop by Zainab's blog to send her some love and check out her other foodgasm photos. 


Hey guys, I am really excited to be over here today!! When Iris asked if I wanted to do a guest post over here, I was shocked. I was (still am) so honored and was immediately in panic mode for two days. No idea was good enough at first because I admire the work of this fierce lady very much. I read one of her posts on Facebook and left a comment on the link saying something along the line of “I love this article and how honest the author is.” My friend responded saying, “That’s my sister’s blog”. Turns out I went to college with Iris’s sister and that’s how we connected. She is the first blogger friend I ever made when I started this journey barely eight months ago and she has been nothing but supportive and a constant inspiration.

Because I love to decorate as much as I love to bake, I wanted to make an easy yet elegant dessert to share with you guys. Something you can whip up easily if you have guests coming over for dinner or for a romantic night in. This chocolate coconut raspberry almond tart is just that: easy and elegant.

It starts with an easy to make almond coconut crust that is then filled with a creamy coconut chocolate ganache and topped off beautifully with toasted almonds and coconut flakes. Of course I used raspberries because they are one of my favorite berries in season, but you can use whatever berries you would like to pair with chocolate.  Not being as much of a chocolate fan as a coconut fan, my favorite part of the tart is the crust. It is crunchy and chewy with bites of coconut flakes. The coconut filling is creamy and pairs very well with the fresh raspberry.

Chocolate, Coconut and Raspberry Almond Tart

For the crust:
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ½ cups almond meal/flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup

For filling:
1 cup canned coconut milk
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup fresh raspberries
Pinch of sea salt

For full directions, please visit I replaced the macadamia nuts in the topping with sliced almonds, and added fresh raspberries for a summer pop of color. 

Thank you very much Iris for having me over.  

Zainab Mansaray-Storms is a newly wed neuroscience student and a budding baker/ blogger. She loves shoes; especially Manolo Blahnik heels and lives in Central NY where she enjoys baking, cooking, shopping and long walks at the park that were meant to runs. She shares her passion for baking and cake decorating over on her blog, Blahnik Baker;

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Inspirational Gluten Free Stories: Better, Younger, Stronger

My name is Mulu, and I am gluten intolerant. 

Food has always been an important part of my life, ever since I got my Betty Crocker cookbook when I was ten years old. Cooking, and most especially baking, let me use my creativity and became my stress reliever.

I have spent a large part of my life in chronic pain, mostly due to gynecological issues. But it wasn't until I took care of those issues that I realized that I had other things going on. I had really horrible gastric issues, low energy, debilitating migraines, and I couldn't get any sleep no matter how tired I was.

Before going gluten free

I went to countless doctors. I took so many tests, from brain MRIs to CTs to blood tests, and had so many pointless doctor's appointments. It was so frustrating because no matter how horrible I felt, every doctor told me that it was all in my head and there was nothing wrong with me. I just kept feeling miserable. I actually had one physician tell me that this was all in my head because there was no way I was in that much pain and that I needed to be on anti-depressants. I don't have a problem with anti-depressants if I'm depressed. But I didn't know what anti-depressants were going to do for explosive diarrhea or migraines so bad that I couldn't leave my dark bedroom. So I kept suffering and had a total mistrust of physicians.

Things changed for me when I started working at a naturopathic clinic. It was about three months in that I started having horrible gastric symptoms. I wasn't absorbing anything that I ate. Everything I ate would come out whole, like I never chewed it. I missed a lot of work and couldn't focus on any task. It was horrible. I saw a couple of NDs that actually asked me what I ate and if I had considered that maybe I was gluten intolerant. One ND that I saw told me that I should do the elimination diet so we could have an idea of what was irritating my body. I didn't even consider it since it was the week before Thanksgiving and all I could think about was stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. And I honestly never thought that what I ate would be the cause of all my pain and misery. So I kept eating and drinking the way that I always had for the next eight months.

Eventually, I couldn't take it any longer. July 5, 2012, I started the elimination diet. It was very difficult and I had a bad attitude about it. I was mad at the fact that I couldn't eat any bread or cheese anymore. I just kept thinking about it as being deprived and as a loss. It wasn't until six week later that it clicked. A co-worker asked me how I felt, and I realized that I hadn't had a migraine or diarrhea in a while, and was sleeping for more than three hours a night. I was more focused at work, had more energy, was moving better, and was less irritable.

That was the turning point.

It has been almost a year now, and I have not had a migraine. When I prepare my food or go out to a gluten free restaurant, I feel great and don't have any symptoms. Whenever I accidentally ingest wheat or gluten, my body reacts quickly and sometimes very violently.

I feel better, younger, and stronger than I have in twenty years. My quality of life has improved so much.

After going gluten free

Life is amazing now.


Read more of Mulu's story at her new blog, Free and Whole Living.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chocolate Strawberry Pie (Gluten/Dairy/Egg Free)

Today's recipe comes from the kitchen of Eryn McEntee, the health coach behind Marisa's Team Chocolate.

Decadently "De-Lite-ful" Chocolate Strawberry Pie
Completely vegan and gluten free, this is light enough for frequent enjoyment, yet packs a punch of flavor and richness. It is easy to double the recipe for a thicker pie using the same size pie plate. Feel free to experiment with different combinations. Substitute whole fate coconut milk for all or some of the almond milk, switch nectarines or peaches in for the berries, or try cherries and mint...the sky's the limit!

¾ cup unsweetened organic almond milk
1 ¼ teaspoons agar agar flakes
⅔ ounce dark chocolate (I used 2 squares of righteously raw synergy spice chocolate)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 pound container organic strawberries
¼ cup almonds, chopped

  1. Measure almond milk and agar flakes into small saucepan. Stir to combine. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile grate chocolate or finely chop. I love using a mandolin for this part. Set aside.
  3. After 10 minutes, bring almond milk and agar to low simmer over medium low heat. Stir occasionally. Simmer about 7 mins or until agar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. 
  4. Add grated chocolate and vanilla extract. At this point feel free to add other herbs or spices as desired. Stir to combine. 
  5. Pour mixture into a 9 inch or smaller glass pie plate. Chill in fridge for 1.5-2hr to allow to set. 
  6. Once “pie” has set, slice strawberries into rounds and decorate top of pie. Sprinkle almonds over the top of the strawberries. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gluten Free Orange Almond Cake with Cardamom Coconut Whipped Cream

Today's recipe comes to us courtesy of Drew Parisi, Dorothy's health coach on Team Smoothie. 

Gluten Free Orange Almond Cake with Cardamom Coconut Whipped Cream

Last fall I had the fabulous privilege of traveling through Italy with my family, enjoying the history, art, wine, and learning to cook traditional Italian dishes. Our host knew we were gluten free (yes, the whole family) so she taught us to cook Italian meals that are naturally gluten free like risotto, polenta, and for dessert, orange almond cake.

I instantly fell in love with this dessert because it uses WHOLE oranges – the peel, seeds, everything! I’m often zesting oranges and lemons to add powerful antioxidants to my meals, but I’ve never used the entire fruit before. This cake is quite simple to make and incredibly moist.


Cooking class in Italy 

For the Cake:
An original recipe by Drew Parisi

2 oranges
4 eggs
 ¾ cup raw honey
2 cups blanched almond flour
 ¾ cup olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda

  1. Wash the oranges and boil them whole (peel and all) for 1 ½ hours, or until soft
  2. Place whole oranges (peel and all) in a food processor and blend until almost smooth
  3. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the almond flour and baking soda
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, honey, and salt and whisk, on high speed, until light and fluffy
  6. Using a large spatula, carefully fold the citrus mixture into the egg mixture
  7. Pour batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean
  9. Cool in the pan for 2 hours

For the whipped cream:

1 can full-fat coconut milk (cream only)
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground cardamom

  1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Being careful not to shake the can, open and remove the cream that rises to the top and place in a chilled mixing bowl (reserve the liquid portion for another use).
  2. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cardamom to the coconut milk and mix with a hand mixer for 3-5 minutes, until stiff peaks form in the cream.
  3. Serve over cake and enjoy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mint Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Sauce (Gluten Free)

Today's delicious recipe is from Georgianna Dolan-Reilly, the coach behind Shannon's Team Strawberry. 

Mint Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Sauce

This is a light refreshing dish that is both gluten and dairy free, if made as instructed below. Make sure to refrigerate your coconut milk for at least two hours, if not overnight. This cooling allows the milk to separate into solid and liquid, and you will be using only the solids for this recipe. You could also use agave instead of honey to make this recipe vegan; however, not using heavy cream or eggs does leave this mousse with a more pudding-like consistency. This is why you refrigerate the mousse before eating, so it will harden while cooling.

Mint Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
An original recipe by Georgianna Dolan-Reilly

Strawberry Sauce

1 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar, or sugar alternative

1.  Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for approximately 30 minutes.
2. Place in container and refrigerate. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Chocolate Mousse

1 can (~13.5oz) coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 2 hours (solid part only)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract *
4 tablespoons honey, or agave
1/2 cup 100% cocoa powder*
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh Mint leaves for garnish

1. When you are ready to prepare the mousse, place the solid portion of the coconut milk in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
2. Add the peppermint extract, honey or agave, cocoa powder, and salt to the food processor. Blend on high until completely mixed and smooth.
3. For best results, transfer mousse to a container and cool for at least 30 minutes to thicken.
4. When ready to serve, spoon mousse into bowl, drizzle with strawberry sauce made earlier, and garnish with 1-2 mint leaves.
Makes approximately 6 small servings

1. Using 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract gives you a rather minty mousse, so if you are less privy to mint flavoring use 1/4 tsp.
2. Using the Cocoa powder makes this a dairy free dish, however if you want to stick with your favorite gluten free chocolate use 4oz of solid chocolate. Melt it in a sauce pan prior to adding to the blender.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups (Gluten/Grain/Dairy/Egg/Soy-Free)

Today's recipe comes to us courtesy of Shirley Plant, health coach for Rose at Team Avocado:
Frozen Peanut Butter Cups

I love these frozen peanut butter cups. Why not try a healthier version of a beloved favorite?

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups
an original recipe by Shirley Plant

1 cup organic peanut butter (made from 100% peanuts- no added sugar or salt)
2 tablespoons pure cocoa
1 banana
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons hempseed


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, and fill them until they are about half to three quarters of the way full (depending on how big you want your peanut butter cups to be).
  3. Place in the freezer, and store in airtight container

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rebecca's Balancing Act: Cooking and Learning

Pic 1 - murdering cherries for the cherry-arugula quinoa salad

Pic 2 - results of the cherry-murders

Pic 3 - Kale Chips


Since my last post I've murdered cherries and freaked out while ricing cauliflower. The inner bridezilla poked her head out during the cauliflower ricing - the combination of a too-small food processor and a sink full of dishes was just too much and I had a melt down.  Don't try to rice cauliflower with a small food processor. It takes like 12 rounds of blending.  SO Annoying.

Why "murdering cherries"?  Well, I had to pit the cherries, and I don't have a cherry pitter, so I watched three methods by the folks at Whole Foods, and having tried the paring knife option (SLOW), and the paper clip option (didn't work for me!!) I went with the garlic crushing method.  It's messy though, be warned!  But quite effective.

Also made kale chips for the first time.  By the time the third batch was in the oven, I kind of got it, and it didn't seem too hard.  They were surprisingly tasty!!  But then, I LOVE salt, and these were covered in salty goodness :-)

I guess cooking is still pretty hit or miss, but I am proud of myself for trying. Not too bad to be trying to cook in the midst of planning the wedding (31 days), running the business, taking (nearly) daily walks and getting (more or less) enough sleep.


Aside from what I cooked, it's kind of hard to know what to write.  I was so elated when writing of my last post, such an incredible feeling to vanquish a ghost that had been with me for so long, and realize my own power in determining how to treat others.  

This week I think the biggest moment was with my coach Aimee of Vibrance Nutrition.  I shared with her that I feel so frustrated because as soon as I finish one thing I immediately jump to the next.  I never ever take a moment to pause, appreciate what I have accomplished, and reflect.

In talking with Aimee, I recognized that a long time ago I'd stopped journaling and that I have missed it.  With such a crazy busy schedule, I always believe that I don't have time because it has no 'purpose.'  When you keep your plate as full as I do, it feels like there must be purpose to everything.  (Don't get me wrong, I know that journaling and self-care have a purpose, but it's the urgent vs important conundrum that always gets me).

I still miss it though, and I realized I could use the journal at the end of each day to reflect on what happened that day.  First, I can create my to-do list for the next day (I always do that, or I feel anxious that I am not ready for the next day and don't sleep as well) but then I can record what happened today and take a moment to be proud of what I did, how I spent my time, how I took care of myself and what I did to grow my company and nurture my marriage.  Last night was my first entry.  It was short, but it felt amazing.  Thank you Aimee.

Wedding countdown: 
- 31 days as of writing this post.  
- Left to do: build the deck, plant the new garden (may not happen), find flowers, order cakes, finish painting signs, get marriage license, and finish legal docs. Finish  projects for nine more clients.  Ooph!

THIS WEEK'S KEY TO SUCCESS: My support system - acupuncturist, fiancé, health coach, and friends.

THIS WEEK'S PERSONAL CHALLENGE: A month to go. Time to up the workouts and the water intake.  Two liters a day is my goal.



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