Sunday, December 29, 2013

(Not so healthy but yummy) Chocolate Cake

Woke up this am and made a yummy treat (pictured above) for our guests tonight...

  • Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1½ cups butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. For the cake:
  3. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, & salt to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  4. Add milk, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Frost cake with Chocolate Frosting.
  8. For the Chocolate Frosting:
  9. Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  10. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  11. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  12. Add vanilla extract and combine well.
  13. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Whole Wheat Coconut Lemon Almond Bread - DELISH

So I found a Donna Hay recipe for coconut bread and tried it.  It turned out alright but nothing I would run back and bust calories for (which is unusual for her recipes- they are usually mouth watering).

At any rate, I determined to get creative this morning and try again.  I mixed it up (a lot) and here's what I came up with:

Whole Wheat Lemon Coconut Bread:
1c shredded coconut
1c almond flour (you can grind your own almonds but I just bought the flour from Whole Foods)
3c whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 lemon, juiced
3/4c sugar
1 stick of butter - yep, that's right a whole stick (you can cut this back but I didn't want to on this one)
1 whole lemon zested (I used a meyer lemon for juice and rind to make it even better)
1/2c applesauce
1c milk

Whip room temp butter with applesauce until smoothish.  Add egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar; mixing until combined.  Add almond flour, then milk, then whole wheat flour until combined but not beaten to death.  Pour into greased bread loaf pan (I oiled mine with lemon infused olive oil) and bake for 1.5 hr at 320 or until a toothpick/skewer comes out clean.

Take out of oven and cool to liking.  Can be served with a nice fruit jam.
*****Donna's recipe also called for 2tsp baking powder but I forgot to put it into my version and it still turned out great but I might add it in next time, as this kind of bread is automatically dense bread so it might fluff it up a bit but the bread had no trouble rising for sure.

My house smelled so great I jumped right in after pulling it from the oven and it was delicious!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cooking with essential oils - A good idea?


Essential oils add rich and brightening flavors to your dishes while also adding the health benefits.

Essential oils are so concentrated that only 1-2 drops of a therapeutic grade essential oil is necessary.  One Tablespoon of a dried herb is equal to ½ to 1 drop of pure therapeutic grade oils.

Here are some guidelines to get you started:

Here is a recipe appropriate for this time of year:
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

1 ¼ cup Butter
2 cups White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
2 ½ cups Flour
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
5 drops CPTG Peppermint Essential Oil
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F
2.  In large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.  Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture and stir until entire mixture is an even dark brown.  Add Peppermint Essential Oil and stir until evenly blended.
3.  Roll dough into balls about 1” in diameter.  Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on parchment covered cookie sheet.  Cookies will spread during baking.  Bake for 8-10 mins or until tops have a crackle appearance

What WebMD says about peppermint oil

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Natural Remedy for Snotty Noses and Congested Cough

Natural Remedies for a snotty nose or congestion and cough - Eucalyptus oil PASSED THE TEST!

So our daughter was sick for the last 2 weeks and our son as well before I remembered to visit my oil cabinet.  What is wrong with me?  It always takes my "wits end" before I remember what worked the last time.

At any rate, I plugged up my diffuser and added a couple drops of eucalyptus oil.  Twice a day for 36 hours I would either diffuse by water vapor or burning the oil over a candle and voila!... the kids cough and runny noses dried right up.

Apparently, the oil is known for being a cold and flu remedy.  But don't take my word alone, here's an article I found that helped me have confidence in experimenting.

Discovery Health How Stuff Works

Again, I make the following claim:

I in no way am a sales lady.  I only want to share what I've learned through experimentation because it's by the experiences of others that I have discovered what helps me and my family.
That being said, I love essential oils so much and am super picky on which ones are best, that I am a distributor of Young Living so if you are interested just let me know or order yourself at the link below and click the referred by a sponsor square.  Sponsor # is 1557832

Healthier Carrot Cake - Making it's way to your Thanksgiving Table


So many people love to have carrot cake on the dessert table at Thanksgiving but with so much food as the main dish perhaps saving a few calories and fat grams in the dessert department isn't such a bad idea, especially when this one tastes so good.  I made this cake for my son's 3rd birthday party, at his request, and yet again it was a hit so we blog about it for you now.

2 and 2/3 cup of Grated Fresh Carrots 3/4 cup of unsweet applesauce 1/4 milk 1/4 cup of Honey (Maple Syrup or Agave substitute) 1 full tsp Vanilla (I usually run over the tsp a bit) 1 tsp Baking Powder 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon 1/2 tsp of all spice mix 1 and 1/3 cup of flour (for non-kids it can also be made with a cup of pecans or walnuts)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease cake tin. Combine carrot, applesauce, milk, syrup, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder, soda, and spices. Combine wet and dry ingredients and bake for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool first then remove from pan. *this can be made into cupcakes which makes about 10 and the baking time is 15-20 minutes. *the key to this is the applesauce plus vanilla & spice mix that masks the no sugar butter combination.
For the icing: One package of low fat cream cheese at room temperature. Mix until creamy slowly adding maple syrup until desired sweetness. Ice the cooled cake and then refrigerate until serving (since it is cream cheese). I think the last time I made it I added a bit of milk and whipped it all on high until desired consistency but careful not too overwhip or it will "break" and be runny.

Yummy Cookies with a little protein

Made them, love them, had to share
Almond Flour Cookies
Ingredients(Makes about 12 cookies):
1 1/2 cups(6 ounces) almond flour 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1/4 cup sugar but I sub the syrups again. About equal swap ratio 1 egg 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat to 375 Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the egg. Next, add the almond flour, vanilla, salt, and baking soda and mix until it’s all incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips - optional. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Scoop the batter into even portions onto the parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly before removing the cookies from the tray.

Quick Food Tip Post

A product I love!

This little invention has saved me MASSIVE amounts of time and frustration so I had to share.

If you haven't ever tried one, they are worth the small cost ($5-$10).  I ordered one thinking "well this could be a waste of my $ but I at least need to try and see if it's the next big thing or the next thing making it's way to my give away pile". 

Nope it's a keeper.  I cut the top off the pineapple and began spinning it in.  In one minute my fruit was out and ready to eat.  And I've even used the remaining pineapple shell as a centerpiece.  I filled it with overflowing grapes in the middle of a fruit plate and got great compliments.

Get one, you'll love it!

Here's the centerpiece after it was picked over (I forgot to take a photo before) but you get the idea.

Natural Beautiful Hair - Our daughters regimen

Keeping our daughter's hair chemical and frizz free takes work but with a few secrets we are managing it quite well.

The picture above is not our daughter but it does show just how curly her hair type is and how easy it could frizz if not well maintained.

Let's begin....
Speaking of beginnings, it's never too early to start hair care for your Bi-racial or African American hair type.  Our daughter entered this world with a lot of hair and it never rubbed off but only grew and grew and grew.  Her hair care started from a month old and has continued for 13 additional months.

What's the secret to non frizzy beautiful curls?  Moisture and Time!!!! (okay so not a shock)
We do not over wash her hair.  Once every 2 weeks she gets a Conditioning Cleanser (so no shampooing).  Then on the in-between week we Shampoo it to get the scalp squeaky clean.  Just prior to the shower we use buttermilk lotion or straight coconut oil for 24 hours the day before.  After rinsing the shampoo out completely, we add some curl milk for moisture and make sure to comb with a wide tooth comb immediately to detangle.

Daily I use a shine spray and either a dab of hair milk or smoothie lotion to style and keep it well hydrated.  Nearly every time we head out to the park, mall, or store we get a lot of compliments on how cute she is and how amazingly healthy her hair looks.

Frizz is an enemy to those with curly hair but it can't be defeated.  Try any coconut or argan oil when you feel it starting to get dry.  Just run it through coating the hair then pull the hair back and leave it to sit for hours.  Rinse and be amazed at the smoothness you will feel.

The hair natural/organic products we use for our sweet girl are made by Shea Moisture and they do make a baby line.  And as usual, I add the disclaimer....I do not work for them nor do I get any kind of compensation for recommending their company.  I simply know it works great on my daughter's hair and am happy to refer any product that genuinely makes our lives simpler and better.

Migraine Be Gone - Without heavy drugs?

PEPPERMINT OIL as a headache remedy - PASSED THE TEST!

At various times each year I have had an ocular migraine headache.  It's bad to have a headache but even worse when one begins with the loss of vision and ends in immense pain.

I awoke one morning at a friends house and noticed my center vision was disappearing.  "OH NO!" I thought.  I was visiting friends who lived at the beach no less and now? Now was the time for a headache!  I popped a tylenol (the only way I knew to begin to diminish the pain and get my vision to start coming back.)  After a while of hiding in the back bedroom my husband finally told them what was happening.

To my surprise, their answer was to pull out a bottle of peppermint oil.  If you've never used essential oils, no worry they are always strange in the beginning and most everyone is hesitant :).

A few drops massaged on the balls of my feet, a dab at the base of my head and poof the pain was actually beginning to subside!  Instead of being "out of commission" for 24 hours I was able to join the crowd and have a wonderful vacation.

This is all a true story.  Try it for yourself but only use therapeutic pure grade oils:  Anything else is just another chemical making it's way into your organs.   Don't get me wrong, sometimes Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen have been known to make their way back into my life; mostly because I doubt natural remedies can be that effective again.  I am usually wrong.  I have to go back to the basics - Natural remedies are not cliche, goofy, or weird...they work with the body quite well and I need to remind myself of this.

Peppermint oil is now my go to for any headache just beginning or already causing me grief.

(ocular migraine info:

I in no way am a sales lady.  I only want to share what I've learned through experimentation because it's by the experiences of others that I have discovered what helps me and my family.
That being said, I love essential oils so much and am super picky on which ones are best, that I am a distributor of Young Living so if you are interested just let me know or order yourself at the link below and click the referred by a sponsor square.  Sponsor # is 1557832

Natural Remedy for Ear Infection

GARLIC OIL as a home ear remedy - PASSED THE TEST!

As children my brother and I had ear trouble and even had tubes and ear surgery.  So when my toddler began having ear infections and antibiotics regularly I decided to look for alternative answers.

Let me just say...I love the idea of using natural elements over chemicals but I am also a super cautious mother worrying about risking further injury with my desire to look for answers and experiment with them.

Well today, Noah with his sweet eyes and soft voice (usually boisterous) says to me, "mommy my ear hurts, my ear really hurts."  Thoughts flashed through my head: "oh no, we leave for a conference this weekend, can't be getting sick again." "no more antibiotics please!" "what can I or should I do?".

Noah is allergic to Penicillin so the strong stuff is prescribed to kill the infection quickly.  No thanks!  No more!

I did it, I googled my options as I had done in times past but this one was different.  I have to try something before packing up and heading to the Dr. and pharmacy yet again.

Out of all the options I've read: colloidal silver, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon oil, and garlic; I chose garlic.  I mean come on, we eat it so how bad can experimenting with this be?


According to several posts I read I poured a quarter cup of olive oil into a double broiler, minced up 4 garlic cloves and let it warm on low for one hour.  The house smelled like my grandmother's teriyaki.  After it has cooled back down to room temp. I needed to strain off the minced garlic with a cheese or very fine cloth so that all that remained was the garlic infused oil.
After Noah's nap came time for the application.  Hands shaking as I drip a kitchen concoction down my sons ear canal.

Additional steps and tips I tired: I found it best to turn on a movie or show and have the child lay with the infected ear up.  Drop in four drops of the oil at room temp.  Place a damp washcloth and something warm over top of that to produce a damp heat and have the child lay for 20 to 30 minutes.  Repeat twice a day for two days.


It works!!!!!  It stinks, but it is very effective.  In fact, Noah felt slightly warm on across his head and after the drops were in a few minutes his head was completely cool the touch and he was running around happy.  We did this twice a day for two days and then he did not complain of his ear hurting at all.


Buy the drops and have them on hand.  The process of making an oil is cheap but then when you consider how much of your olive oil and garlic + time you use, it is worth just buying something like "Herbs4Kids, Willow/Garlic Oil Ear Support drops".  The Herbs4Kids brand is also a preventative so for a weekly or monthly ear cleaning just drop a couple in each ear before they head to bed.

**note I do not in any way work for Herbs4Kids, it's just the brand I've found to be most effective for our son.