Gluten-free Cherry Lavender Cake

I hope you caught my earlier post about my adventures into the best little used book store on the planet!  “The Book Shop” in Penticton BC.  While there I picked up the amazing new cookbook Quinoa Revolution,  my last post features the awesome Basil Watermelon & Feta Quinoa Salad, a true taste of summer sensation.  What better to have for dessert than a decadent Cherry Lavender Cake!  Yum, here is my take on their recipe, it is basically the same but made with honey instead of cane sugar, a little lemon and no cornstarch…  Summer garden party here we come!

  • 1/4 cup Honeyimages-1
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Arrowroot or Potato Starch
  • 2 cups Fresh Pitted Cherries
  • 1 cup Quinoa Flour (I made mine in the blender from whole quinoa, you do have to sift it through a fine sifter and return the less fine parts to the blender to get a nice flour…)
  • 1 tbsp Dried Lavender Flowers or 2 tbsp fresh (if you don’t have this don’t worry the cake will be fabulous either way)
  • Zest of 1 Organic Lemon
  • 1 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  •  1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 cup Honey (or less, I’m sure 1/8 cup would be fine!)
  • 1/2 cup Milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter, Coconut or Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Sauce

*Pre-heat your oven to 350° and lightly grease a 10-inch spring-form pan or round cake pan.

  1. In a medium pot combine the honey, lemon juice, arrowroot and cherries.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, remove from heat and set aside for later.
  2. In a large bowl combine the quinoa flour, lavender, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the egg, honey, milk, melted butter/oil and apple sauce.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and then pour the cherry sauce on top of the batter.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a thooth-pick inserted into the centre comes out clean, let cool 10-15 minutes then serve with a scoop of thick greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream (my favorite is the dairy free coconut vanilla ice cream!)

 

Basil Watermelon & Feta Quinoa Salad

Recently I was in the sunny Okangan for my sisters wedding (Congrats Anna!) and whenever I get to visit down there I always end up in the best little used imagesbookstore on the planet (okay its not little!)  “The Book Shop” in Penticton is an amazing shop with used books stacked from floor to ceiling and in crates and boxes all over!  The aisles are tight and  you have to be careful to not knock over random stacks of books or people as you squeeze yourself in for a seat in front of your favorite section!  I always go with a coffee in hand and at LEAST an hour to spare and never leave empty handed!  One of the books I picked up was the brand new (another bonus of this store is half price new books!) Quinoa Revolution, by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming, they also authored Quinoa 365.  The new book looks amazing and every recipe features quinoa the healthy gluten free & full protein super seed!   So far I’ve made the Cherry Lavender Cake, which was divine (featured in the next blog post) and the Basil Watermelon & Feta Salad, amazing, like summer in a bowl! 

  • 1 cup WaterIMGP4002
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 3 cups Diced Watermelon
  • 1/2 cup Cubed Feta Cheese
  • 2 tbsp Thinly Sliced Basil
  • 1 tbsp Minced Red Onion
  • Juice and Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper to taste

1. Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a small pot, reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool, you can speed this up by pouring the quinoa into a bowl once it has cooled a little and popping it in the fridge.

2.  Once the quinoa has cooled combine all the ingredients and toss to combine.  Easy, Peasy, Summer!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

What a great time to be visiting the Okanagan, cherry season!

  • 1 cup Ripe Pitted Cherries (Frozen is fine)
  • 1 Frozen Banana (or add a handful of ice)
  • 1/2 cup  Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 tbsp Cacao Nibs or Cocoa Powder
  • Honey to taste if desired

Superfood Additions:

  • 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1 tsp Maca

Blend and enjoy!!!

1. Cherries they are packed with antioxidants which fight heart disease and cancer.

2.  Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

3. They are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A). In fact they contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries!

4. Cherries are rich in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and *fiber, which is important for digestive and heart health.

5. Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.

*Bonus Benefits of Cherries: Cherries make excellent earrings when found in pairs and are great for pit-spitting contests!

Strawberry Black Pepper Vinaigrette

The Strawberries are ready here in Golden, wild and in the garden so it’s the perfect time to make this simple and delicious salad dressing.  I love this dressing on a mixed greens salad with fresh strawberries, goat cheese and maple toasted pecans!  Devine!

  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar images-1
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Strawberries (frozen berries work too)
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (I do this in a coffee grinder)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Grapeseed Oil or other cold pressed vegetable oil
  • 1/2  cup Water
  1. Combine the strawberries, vinegars, honey, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. With the blender running on medium/high slowly add the oil through the hole in the lid, then the water.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

My Sister and her man are getting married in a few weeks and I am doing some of the catering.  They got in engaged in Morocco (on a sand dune, at sunset, after a camel ride into the desert where they were to camp….) but I digress, anyway one of the dishes I am making is a Moroccan Chickpea Salad.  I’m not sure on the final recipe quite yet but this is one I made up as a sampler and am loving right now.

  • 2 cups cooked & cooled Quinoa or Couscousmoroccan_carrot_salad_recipe_4
  • 2 cups Chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp each Mint, Parsley, Dill & Cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup Red Pepper, small dice
  • 1/4 cup Red Onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup Dried Apricots or Dates, diced
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries, chopped (not moroccan but my sis’s favorite)
  • 1/4 cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Other Chopped Nut
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika (if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 45 ml Plain Greek Yogurt
  1. Mix all ingredients in the first list in a large bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small pan on medium heat, drop a cumin seed in, if it starts to sizzle it is ready, add the seeds, cover and let cook 1-2 minutes until the all pop being careful not to burn them!  Let cool then crush with a mortar & pestel.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients with a whisk, pour dressing over the salad and mix.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Seed Jam

Chia seeds are great for thickening jam and getting useful protein and healthy fats.  This is a large recipe meant to be canned if you want to just make a little feel free to reduce the recipe.

  • 4 cups Chopped Fresh Rhubarbimages-2
  • 4 cups Strawberries or Mixed Berries (I used frozen as the strawberries are not even in flower yet!)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 4 tbsp Lemon Juice &  Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 2 tbsp Ginger
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 8 tbsp Chia Seeds, measure then grind in a blender
  1. Cook rhubarb, berries, water, lemon juice and ginger on medium/low heat until the rhubarb is soft and juicy and there are no big chunks left.
  2. Add the honey and chia seeds, cook another 15 minutes. Unknown
  3. Pour into well cleaned jam jars, leaving 1/4 -1/2 inch space at top.
  4. To can the jam boil the lids in a small pot.  Use tongs to put the lids on the jars, then screw down the rings.  Place jars in a large pot and fill pot 3/4 full of water, cover and bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes.  Use tongs to remove the jars and put on a cloth to cool.  Listen and you’ll hear the lids “pop” down, if the lids don’t pull down (leave them overnight to do this) store the jam in the fridge as it won’t keep as long.

 

Healthy Rhubarb Pie

Unknown-2I am so excited that there are things to harvest from the garden!  Yesterday was my first harvest day (seems wild as I’m just transplanting seedlings out to the garden!) but the rhubarb is ready!  I also cut chives that were going to flower and they are drying in the dehydrator down stairs.  Then the question was what to make?  Rhubarb Crisp, Rhubarb Ginger Jam or Rhubarb Pie?  Those are all my favorites!  So I asked my boyfriend and he said PIE, I have to agree that is for sure the first thing to make once rhubarb season begins.  My Mom makes the best pies and she used to make a lot of then since we had an orchard and fresh fruit out the door.  My sister and I are definitely pie people, no birthday “cake” for us, we’d both take pie anyday, she’s even having mini mason jar pies for her wedding this July!  Ok on to the recipe, for the crust I used whole wheat pastry flour, which has a finer texture that regular whole wheat flour and I sweetened the pie with maple syrup, you could also use honey or stevia if you’d like it “sugar” free.

Healthy Rhubarb Pie:images-3

Crust:

  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (Spelt works great too)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Oil or Grass Fed Butter ( used 1/2 and 1/2 as I love the flavour of both)
  • 1/3 cup Cold Water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just combined.  Pour into a bowl and split into 2 parts.  Make a ball and squash it down on a well floured surface, roll out into a circle and then roll it up onto the rolling pin to transfer it to a lightly greased pie plate (I like glass ones for best baking.)  *Whole wheat pie dough is more crumbly than white if the rolling isn’t working feel free to press the pie dough into place in pieces.images-1

Filling:

  • 6 cups chopped Fresh Rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Arrowroot Powder (or 2 tbsp flour)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  1. Combine all ingredients and pour into pie crust.images-2
  2. Roll out the 2nd ball of pie dough and place over pie.  Tuck the top edges over the bottom edges and use your fingers to “flute” the edges.  (You could also do a lattice pie crust it’s up to you, or crumble topped pie is amazing too!)
  3. Bake pie at 400° for 15 min then 350° for another 40 min or until golden.
  4. Let cool at least 2 hours before serving.