Sunday, July 31, 2011

Heathy cakes, no sugar no egg cakes & agave cakes

Since my oldest son is having a is time once again for my adventures in healthy cake making!

The first year, I made a no sugar, no egg cake. (The adults had the bad stuff, hehe). Check out that recipe HERE

The second year, I made a no sugar cake, sweetened with agave nectar. I made everyone try it! While most of us are used to the tooth-rotting sweetness of refined sugar, everyone agreed that it was still very good. Check out the recipe HERE

NOW for the third birthday celebration- I am debating between two choices. I am allowing a bit of sugar these days on very rare occasions, so the first recipe does have some...(Even though there is only one cup of total sugar in the recipe between many servings...I still might omit some and substitute some agave nectar)

Blueberry Crumb Cake

(Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 192-193)
Yield: 8 servings

For the Crumbs:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup sugar 
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the Cake:
1 pint (2 cups) organic blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons organic unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon or 1⁄4 orange
3⁄4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup buttermilk

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square pan (Pyrex is great for this) and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well, the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

To Make the Cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don't be concerned if the batter looks curdled - it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.

Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the refrigerator and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. There's no need to try to get even pieces - these are crumbs they're supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

The other option is The Vanilla Agave Nectar Cake/frosting

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy of Ania Catalano (author of Baking with Agave Nectar)
Makes 2 cups (frosts one 9” layer cake)
Ania says, “This is my favorite frosting.  It’s a real buttercream, rich and creamy, but not too sweet.  It’s great on any cake or cupcake.”
½ cup unsalted butter
6 tbl. Madhava's Light Agave Nectar
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
4 tbl. Whole milk
pinch of sea salt
Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light in color.  Slowly add the agave nectar and beat until fluffy, about one to two minutes.
Gradually add the dry milk and beat again.  Add the vanilla extract and the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until completely blended.  Add the salt, turn the mixer to high speed, and beat about two minutes, or until very fluffy. 
 Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Agave Sweetened White Cake

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup light agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Grease and flour a 6 inch round cake pan.
  2. Beat the eggs and agave in a mixing bowl on med speed.  Meanwhile, melt the butter being careful not to brown it, and add it to the eggs slowly.
  3. Let the mixer continue to beat the egg mixture while, in a medium bowl, you measure out and combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder). Turn down the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer back up to medium speed once the dry ingredients are moistened and continue to beat, while measuring and adding the water and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined; it will look like thinned out mayonnaise, kind of.
  4. Pour the batter into your pan; pan should be about half full. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn cake out of pan, and let cool completely.

I will post pictures once I decide on which one to make! Let me know if you have a favorite "healthy" cake recipe!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your breastfeeding story in 100 words

A wonderful blogger- Amber McCann, is putting together a great project sharing stories about breastfeeding. Check out what she has to say:

 (Photo courtesy of:

"I’m going to spend time over the next few weeks working on my own 100 words.

And because I believe so strongly in our collective story, I want you to join me.  Don’t you find strength in the stories of others?  Our culture has demanded that breastfeeding be hidden, closed behind doors and covered up  but I can be instantly encouraged when I know that I don’t walk this road alone.  So, will you walk with me?  I want to hear your story, your breastfeeding story in 100 words or less.

I want to hear them if they are wonderful.  I want to hear them if they are heartbreaking.  I want to hear them if they don’t make any sense.  I want to hear them if they make you angry or empowered.  I want to hear them.

*  Stories can be submitted for publication to this blog by emailing them to me at Please keep them to 100 words or less.  Before publication, stories will be edited only for minor spelling/grammatical errors.  If the stories will be published in any other medium or venue, other than this blog, your permission will be obtained.  Feel free to widely share this post and encourage others to also submit their stories. Deadline for story submissions is September 1."


Click here to submit your story and read more about her project

Monday, July 25, 2011

Recipes of the Day- Peach fruit leather and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I love Weelicious! You should are two amazing recipes from their site for you and your kiddos to try today.

Peach Fruit Leather

4 Ripe Peaches (skin on)
1 Tbsp Honey

1. Preheat oven to 225 F degrees.*

2. Rinse and remove seeds from peaches.

3. Place the peaches and honey in a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula in a large rectangle (my rectangle was 11 x 15 inches) making sure that the thickness is completely even.

5. Bake for 3-4 hours or until dry and not sticky to the touch. Remember, cooking times will vary depending on how thick you spread your mixture and how much water (juice) is naturally in the fruit.**

6. Set aside and cool at room temperature; it takes several hours for the fruit to soften up. Note that when you first take the fruit leather out of the oven, the edges will be a bit dry and crispy, but if you allow it to sit out for several hours it softens up nicely.

7. Cut with a knife, pizza cutter or scissors into strips, keeping the paper on if desired, then roll the leather into “roll ups”.

8. Serve.

* If you choose to use a dehydrator, cook the fruit leather at 135 degrees for 5 hours.
** Every oven is different, so the cooking time maybe less than 2 hours if your oven tends to run hot.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (Makes 1 1/2 Cups)

10 Tomatillos, husked & rinsed (about 1 lb)
2 Small Garlic Cloves
1 Small Onion, cut into chunks
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, packed
Juice of 1 Lime
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

1. Preheat oven broiler.

2. Place tomatillos, garlic cloves and onion chunks on a foil-lined baking sheet and place on the middle rack of the oven. Broil for 10 minutes, remove and set aside to cool.

3. Once cooled, place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree.

4. Serve with tortilla chips or over grilled fish or chicken


Click HERE to visit Weelicious

(photos courtesy of

Friday, July 22, 2011

A FANTASTIC article for expectant or new parents!

Finally- a mainstream parenting article that gives good advice and help for breastfeeding!! (They are rare).

Please pass this along to any expectant parent or new parents- some very helpful information about breastfeeding and issues that come up!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Breastmilk donation in Arizona

I just wanted to share some great information. If you are in need of breastmilk/colostrum or have a surplus that you would like to donate, consider donating to Eats on Feets. (They have chapters all over the country, including here in Arizona)

"Eats On Feets ~ Central AZ supports commerce-free sharing of breastmilk for babies and children. We provide a space where families can connect with each other to share human milk. All of the milk matches are made by the families, and this space is owned by the babies and children that are served."

A friend of mine from high school just donated some milk and I am just so happy to know that a baby in need will receive this liquid gold! 

Click here to access the Eats on Feets website

Click here to access the Eats on Feets Central Arizona Facebook page, where you can connect with donors and moms in need.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Led Solids

Baby led solids (or baby led weaning) refers to the practice of not giving babies pureed foods, and giving them regular foods so that they can decide how much they want to eat.

This is important because babies are born knowing exactly how much food their bodies need for survival, and then adults interfere and that instinct goes away. (Then...we eat emotionally, for fun, etc.). Many parents worry about choking, but if done properly, this is not a big problem.

Check out these great resources for information on Baby Led Solids:

I have a great pdf. as well, leave me a comment and I will e-mail it to you!

Also watch these cool videos, both of which clearly demonstrate Baby Led Solids in practice:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Want to know what ISN't toxic in Cool Whip?

Check out this article- it discusses how bad Cool Whip is for you and why only 2 ingredients are not hazardous to human health!


Cool Whip, invented in the late 1960s, used to be all the rage for housewives perfecting a key lime pie, strawberry shortcake or chocolate mousse for the family. The fluffed whipped cream alternative is a quick-fix for all things dessert-in-a-snap, but nothing about it is reminiscent of real whipped cream. In fact, of the 12 or so ingredients in Cool Whip, there are only two that aren’t toxic to humans—and water is one of those.

It’s hard to resist the charm of Cool Whip: It’s fluffy, it’s sweet, it’s light and, until just recently, it used to be dairy-free. But there’s nothing natural about the stuff. In fact, its ingredients are loaded with chemicals and additives known to be toxic to human health.

Here’s a rundown of what’s inside the Original Cool Whip: Water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skim milk, light cream and less than 2% sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate and beta carotene (as a coloring).

And here’s a play-by-play on just how toxic each of those ingredients may be to our bodies:

Hydrogenated oils: Hydrogenated oils have been shown time and again to cause heart disease by increasing LDL (the bad stuff) and lowering HDL (the good stuff).

(High fructose) corn syrup: Not all calories are alike, and neither are all sugars. Princeton University recently found that corn syrup causes stronger weight gain than regular table sugar—and may also contributete more heavily to obesity and diabetes. And recent studies show it may also contain trace amounts of mercury, which may cause cancer, reproductive disorders and a myriad of degenerative diseases.

Skim milk and light cream: Researchers have found a strong association between skim or fat-free milk and cancer—especially prostate cancer in men.

Sodium caseinate: This dairy derivative has been linked to autism, brain malfunctions and allergies.

Natural and artificial flavor: Come on now. This can really be anything. “N&A,” as dubbed in the food chemistry world, can be from vegetable or animal sources, can contain gluten or chemicals, can be various forms of MSG (which, as a “flavor enhancer,” pops up in most “flavors”).

Xantham & guar gums: These are used as a laxative, in medicines, and as a thickener in foods by mixing sugars and bacteria. In small doses, it shouldn’t pose a problem for individuals, but large amounts can cause diarrhea.

Polysorbate 60: Used in foods and beauty products, this chemically-derived emulsifier has been linked to organ toxicity, diarrhea and tumors in lab mice.

Sorbitan monostearate: This chemically-derived substance is commonly referred to as “synthetic wax”—yes, you’re eating synthetic wax. In numerous studies, this substance has been linked to skin, eye and respiratory irritants to stomach disruptions.

Beta carotene: This might be the sole ingredient in Cool Whip that actually isn’t toxic. Hooray for that!

This summer, when you're making key lime pie or want a perfect garnish for your fresh cherry cobbler, skip the Cool Whip and opt for the real stuff: Homemade Vegan Whipped Cream.
Follow Kimberley on Twitter @GreenGourmetKim
image: vauvau


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Recipe of the day- Strawberry Muffins!

Thanks again to my friend Mattie for finding this recipe from Weelicious!

Strawberry Muffins (Makes 18 Muffins)

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cup Milk (low fat or whole cow’s milk, almond, rice or soy milk will work)
1/4 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp Lemon Zest
1 1/2 Cups Strawberries, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and add milk, oil, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest and stir.
4. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet until incorporated (try not to over mix the batter).
5. Add the strawberries to the batter and slowly combine.
6. Line or grease muffin tins and fill 2/3 of the way with batter.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean.
8. Cool and serve.

* If you want to make mini muffins, fill 36 muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Click HERE for more recipes from Weelicious

Click HERE to follow Weelicious on Facebook

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I LOVE this video!!!

A great PSA about breastfeeding...

My favorite line..."It's what your tits are for!"

It's funny because it is true. Share this video!!