A good day for donuts

gluten free vegan donuts

My ultimate zen is a Songza playlist of the “sunshine indie” variety and a mid-morning baking session, which is also when the natural light is best for capturing photographs along the way.

Luckily, I never face a shortage of baked goods I want to try for the first or fortieth time. Ever since I tried Babycakes’ unbelievable gluten-free, soy-free, vegan donuts in New York, I have had a major craving. And is it just me or is there an unusually high number of donut recipes floating around Pinterest lately?

So this Saturday I took a short, relaxing break from what is shaping up to be a jam-packed January to try out this recipe I found from Bubble Girl Bakes.

The perfect playlist blasted, the sunlight hit just right and these guys turned out delicious. It’s been a good day.

gingerbread cake donut holes - gf vegan

Here’s her recipe, with my notes in parentheses.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons flaxseed, finely ground
½ cup warm water
¼ cup light extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup maple syrup (All I had on hand was the corn syrup variety…)
¼ cup molasses (I happened to have some gingerbread flavored syrup I used in its place)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons bg bakes gluten free all-purpose flour mix (I used a store-bought GF flour mix)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

1. Whisk the flaxseed and water well; let sit for minimum of 5 minutes.
2. Mix all liquids including flaxseed mixture on high.
3. Sift dry ingredients in until just combined, each in order of how listed above.
4. Pour into a greased donut pan, roll on a pan for donut holes, whatever! I put the gingerbread ones in a cupcake pan I had, then finally had the bright idea to put the chocolate batter into an icing piping bag to shape into the traditional donut shape on a pan.
5. Bake at 375 F for ten minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Enjoy!

chocolate donuts - gf and vegan

I also tried her chocolate donut recipe, which was good (although the gingerbread ones win my vote). It was actually my first flaxseed baking experience, and I have to say, it went well! The donuts came out moist and not crumbly at all, which can sometimes be a problem with gluten-free baking.

Next up, jelly donuts!

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Scones for brunching

Well friends, I made up for the prior weekend’s purposeful antisocial agenda by emerging from my cocoon as a full-fledged social butterfly this weekend. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at The Foundry, treating Lydia’s cousin to a one-night version of the Dallas Experience (drinks overlooking the skyline at NYLO followed by late-night early morning Velvet Taco), hot dogs behind home plate at a Rangers game, North Park shopping and a Teavana splurge followed by Rusty Tacos with a visiting Fort Worth friend, Sunday brunch with Lydia and our loverly friends…whew.

I’ve also recently become a tad addicted to Instagram as of late so you can even see the discrepancy for yourselves.

Last weekend:

jennifer lawrence vogue

This weekend:

the foundry - chicken scratch dallas

the rangers ballpark in arlington

flowers

strawberries and cream scones

Which leads me to the below recipe, found at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. It was pretty delicious while, like all things gluten-free/vegan baking, pretty trial and error. For example, I subbed Bob’s Red Mill baking flour for her flour blend in an effort to be financially and time efficient (read: cheap and lazy). This led to more of a cupcake-like batter consistency than cookie-like, resulting in a first round of very flat, wide wanna-be “scones.” Using only about 2/3’s of the called for coconut milk and adding in a little more flour definitely helped the next time around!

gluten free vegan strawberries n’ cream scones

  • 1 3/4 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend (Or in my case, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (For me: 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced (Even more is better!)
vanilla glaze
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons So Delicious barista style coconut milk french vanilla coffee creamer

They ended up being a pretty big brunch success, and testing two batches means I get to start my mornings all week long with baked sweetness I can actually eat. We also enjoyed White Peach Gin Fizz cocktails, which fit my gin phase and peach craving quite nicely. So nicely in fact, that I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement of actually drinking them so you’ll just have to take my word for it or try the recipe out for yourselves…

Adventures in Quinoa

gluten-free, dairy-free, mostly sugar-free apple crisp dessert recipe

Somehow my busy weekend managed to feel slow-paced, which brought some much needed de-stressing to stop my lungs from attempting to squeeze my sternum right out of my body (…too graphic?). After some sunny, windows-down drives listening to my 90’s Pop Pandora station and admiring the buildings through downtown Dallas, I settled in for another one of my favorite stress-busting activities – baking. I put in a DVD from The OC: Season 1 and got to work.

While apple crisp is commonly a fall dessert, the lemons in this recipe make this a refreshing dish. Plus the fact that it’s gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free (okay, so there’s maybe just a tiny bit of optional honey) make it a light treat that also happens to be relatively healthy.

healthy, vegan apple crisp dessert

Ingredients

  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (Ex: Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour)
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  • Oil spray

Quinoa

Combine rinsed quinoa with the water, vanilla, honey, one squeezed lemon juice, its lemon zest, olive oil and a dash or two of cinnamon. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer. After 15-20 minutes, test-fluff the quinoa. If it’s still a little wet / clumpy, just recover, turn to low and let sit until dry. When ready, turn off stove and leave covered.

healthy dessert recipe

Prep

Very lightly coat pan with oil spray. Peel apples (I only partially peeled mine to get a little mixed texture from the apple skin). Thinly slice apples – the thinner, the easier they’ll cook through. Fill the pan halfway.

Dust with a handful of flour then with nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Squeeze a little of the second lemon and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the apples.

Mix cooked quinoa with flour then sprinkle the mixture evenly until all apples are covered. Spray one light coat of oil over the top.

Bake

350 degrees until top is crispy and edges are starting to brown (25-35 minutes).

healthy apple crisp recipe

Enjoy!

Tax-free treats

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

Doing your own taxes is an adulthood rite of passage all must face at some point or another…unless you happen to be one of those girls whose dad does it for you until you get married, at which point your husband does it for you.

I am not one of those girls.

Entering the “Adults who do their own taxes” club is particularly celebratory because of how deeply I dread it each year. Last year I was supposed to do my own taxes, only to practically cause my phone water damage from tearfully calling my dad until he took pity on me. But this year, I vowed to confront my fear of taxes like the independent, most-of-the-time intelligent woman I am…after months of procrastination of course.

I can’t really explain my somewhat irrational fear of taxes, but it probably has something to do with the shaming from seeing my total made versus the total in my bank account, the fact that I literally don’t understand a word of IRS-speak, the frustration from not understanding, the feeling of stupidity that follows for getting so terribly lost in those forms and the pressure of sending it off to the government, who I hear could really make my life hell if I screw it up. It’s all an awful lot for a perfectionist to take.

Despite my best efforts, some tears and multiple phone calls to my boyfriend, bank and TurboTax later, I finally filed my own taxes. Now let’s just hope I did them correctly?

It’s enough to make a girl stress eat, but my allergy elimination diet (ONE more week!) has me avoiding a lot of my typical edible solutions. Fruit is pretty much my only allowed source of sweetness, so I adapted my favorite low-fat pie crust recipe to make fruit turnovers. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free / vegan and added sugar free, so eat, eat eat away!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup Gluten-Free Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Mix)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used flax milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Fruit of your choice (I used peaches, strawberries and blackberries)

Directions:

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

  • Slice your desired fruit up into small bits.
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a medium – large bowl.

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

  • Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well – It should look just like pie crust dough now, so if it’s still crumbly add equal parts milk (for crisp flakiness) and oil (for soft, anti-crumbliness) until it is malleable and crumble-free.

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

  • Roll out the dough and use a small bowl to cut the bottom of the turnover out. Sometimes this dough is hard to maneuver, so I rolled mine very thin straight on the cooking pan sheet.
  • Place your fruits of choice in the center of the dough circles on the pan.

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

  • Peel the remaining dough off the pan and roll out on your counter to cut the turnover tops out with a slightly larger bowl. The tops will probably need to be rolled thicker than the bottoms and picked up with a spatula so they don’t rip.
  • Seal with a fork pressed around the edges, then cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. You may want to bake them for an additional 5 minutes at 425 or 450 for extra crispness (I did). 

gluten dairy free turnover recipe

Enjoy your basically healthy treats and cheers to ten months of no taxes!

Giving myself a break bisquits

baking photography mixing bowl baking photography baking biscuits strawberry biscuits - sidestrawberry biscuits

This weekend I was determined to rest.

Like all good intentions, this idea started out so well, with a slow morning spent sleeping in then getting creative in the kitchen…but after celebrating two friends’ engagement, making a couple drives across the Dallas metroplex and one unhappy head/stomach later, it was clear that I had not exactly been the image of peace and stillness I’d envisioned all week leading up to that point.

Since I was not one of those lucky enough to have this President’s Day off and wishing it was still the weekend isn’t making my weekend any magically longer, I’ve been thinking of little ways I can treat myself to some relaxation throughout the week rather than just keep putting all my hopes into the weekend to recharge.

This week I plan to…

Wake up earlier. I know what you’re thinking…didn’t she just say she was needing more time relax not less? The thing is, I’ve found that even though I absolutely love my hibernation, er…sleep, I love my peace of mind more. Waking up with enough time to journal, do some yoga or run, shower and get myself looking how I’d actually prefer people to see me goes so much farther in getting me ready to tackle each day. The holidays completely threw off all the progress I’d been making, but I suppose with the passing of Valentine’s Day I can’t exactly pretend that now still counts as ‘the holidays’ anymore, can I?

Cook real food. Confession. My laziness knows no bounds…I’ve been eating out a LOT this past week or so. Even when I had the good sense to actually be in a grocery store I ended up getting frozen Asian food (never a good idea) and blue box mac and cheese (always a good idea, except when you end up making and eating two boxes in one sitting. But hey, it was Valentine’s Day…). How can I expect my body to feel good (and look good) if I don’t put good things in it? I really enjoyed taking the time to make myself something fun and good this weekend. I think adding time for that into my week is just what I need to force myself to slow down, make the most of my time with food I truly enjoy/can be proud of and oh yeah, take care of myself.

Light candles. This one’s just plain fun. They look pretty, smell pretty and make me feel like life is just a tad more on the luxurious side. Plus I have quite a few that even though I love everything about them, I’ve never actually ever lit. And if there’s one thing Finding Tiffany’s is all about it’s that life is not for hoarding and hoping, it’s for actually experiencing and enjoying. Now this goal, I can accomplish.

Update – Last week’s goals to read more and be nicer to myself have been going so well, I’ve decided to continue them…I will finish that book…one day…

{Vanilla Biscuit Recipe: Gluten-free Bisquick, Vanilla, a tiny bit of sugar, milk, eggs and butter. Plus fresh fruit and whip cream. I wish I could tell you measurements, but I had way less than the recipe called for so I had to eyeball it. Basically my rule of thumb for pretty much everything is to start with the recipe on the back of the box, then add way more vanilla than it calls for. Voila.}

Dolce Far Niente

Why is it that waking up on a weekday feels like getting slapped with bricks of death and on the first Saturday in a month when I have nothing to do I wake up at 8:30 a.m. ready to seize the day? (You’re welcome for the Newsies reference.)

According to Italians (which I am) and Eat Pray Love (which I love), la dolce far niente means the sweetness of doing nothing, of just embracing and enjoying the fullness of life as it comes:

This is exactly me! Often, I feel I spend the work week thinking about all the things I’d like to do for fun and like to accomplish…and then the weekend rolls around and I get very lazy with my spare time. No more.

Of course, my type-A self can’t help but make a few “plans” for my weekend of no plans. Here’s what I’m hoping my weekend will look like:

If I’m feeling extra ambitious I may even start and finish Perks of Being a Wallflower (I’m absolutely in love with the movie and can’t believe I still haven’t actually read the book) and go on a run around White Rock Lake or Katy Trail…

What are you doing to embrace and enjoy your weekend?