Monday, November 9, 2015

Apple & Caramel Cake

Living in the Midwest, we love our Falls. It's cold enough to put on our favorite sweaters, scarves, and pull out the cute boots, but not so cold we hate the outdoors all together. We know winter is coming soon, so we all head outside to enjoy the last bit of warmth for 5 months. I love going to the apple orchard in the Fall and finding the best apples I've had all year (since my last trip to the apple orchard), indulging in an apple donut and some warm apple cider. Pair apples with caramel, and you've hit one of the best fall food combinations around.

This cake is just that, a perfect combination of apples and caramel. The caramel is swirled into the cake, which makes every bite from top to bottom sweet and delicious. Drizzle a little more warm caramel on top, and it's perfect.

I originally made this cake last New Years Eve actually. (It just shows how bad I am at posting...) Every year for New Years, I have my close friends from high school over and make them dinner. It's my love language- food and acts of service- so I love doing it. I love cooking for them because they are always open to trying whatever I put in front of them (unlike my family who asks what I did to it to make it healthy). This cake was a hit; I'm pretty sure we finished the whole thing.

As always, the recipe is dairy-free. This time it's even vegan! So enjoy some great fall baking!

Adapted from Oh, Ladycakes
Makes one 9″ spring form cake



2 cups whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk
2 flax eggs*
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup caramel sauce, divided
3 tart apples, peeled and chopped

*to make 2 flax eggs: combine 2 Tbsp flax meal and 6 Tbsp water, let sit for 5 minutes.

Caramel Sauce:

1 1/2 cups coconut milk fat
3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)



1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside.
2. Stir the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Create a well in the center and pour in the butter, vanilla extract, almond milk, and flax eggs; beat with a hand mixer on high speed for 30 seconds.
4. Fold in the pecans then pour half of the mixture into the prepared baking pan.
5. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of caramel, then top with the remaining batter. Run a knife through batter in a figure-8 motion several times.
6. In a small bowl, toss the chopped apples and remaining caramel. Place apples over batter and press to even.
7. Bake at 350˚F for 50-55 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve with warm caramel sauce drizzled on top. Keeps in an air tight container for 3 days, but is best the day of.

Caramel Sauce:

Yields 1 cup
1. Refrigerate two cans of coconut milk overnight, or at least 12 hours.
2. The next day, scoop the fat off of the top of each can and measure out 1 1/2 cups.
3. Place the coconut milk fat into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until liquid. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture turns a dark caramel color.
4. Allow mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes, whisking briskly every 3-4 minutes. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will become; cook a minimum of 15 minutes.
5. Refrigerate extras in an air tight container. Reheat to soften.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Perfect Guacamole

Avocados are still 5 for $5 at my local grocery store; therefore, in my opinion, they are still in season. Which means... this post is appropriate, despite the fact that tomorrow is November. Also, who doesn't like some good chips and guac while watching the football game?

This summer, I was tired of eating subpar guac that never turned out the same two times in a row from neglecting to measure the ingredients. Thus, I set out to perfect my guacamole recipe.

My family loves cilantro, so a lot of cilantro was a must. I know the like / dislike of cilantro is genetic; if you don't like cilantro, simply omit it. I like my guacamole to have a little kick, just barely, hence the cayenne pepper. Finally, this guac is also fairly lime-y, it's something everyone points out, yet they all love it and say not to change it.

I would say I reached my goal of perfecting my guacamole, so this post definitely earns the title "Perfect Guacamole," because it truly is delicious every single time.


3 Avocados
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 chopped tomatoes
1/4 chopped red onion
2 Tbsp lime juice (about 3/4 of a lime)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt


1. Mash avocado in a bowl using a fork
2. Stir in remaining ingredients
3. Enjoy with chips, on tacos, or anything else!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Raw Peach Cashew Cheesecake

 Warm weather is almost gone and fall is on the horizon. As one last hurrah to the sun (and the amazing Michigan peaches I finished off last week), this raw peach cheesecake deserves a spot on the table.

This two-layered cheesecake has the perfect lemon tartness from the bottom layer, contrasted with the sweetness of peaches from the top layer. The crust is, well, amazing as well. The dates hold it all together while the almond give it just that little bit of crunch. Since it's a raw cheesecake, that means it's diary free! (and gluten free for those who were wondering).

Enjoy this summer-filled peach cheesecake with the last rays of sun before winter!

Adapted from My New Roots
Makes a 9-inch cheesecake



1 cup raw almonds
1 cup soft medjool Dates
1/2 tsp sea salt


2 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours
juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
3 peaches


1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 9” spring-form pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.
2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient). If you have a Vita-Mix, absolutely use it.
4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the peaches to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid, about 5 hours. Its best to make this the day before.
5. To serve, remove from freezer 20 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Buckwheat, Apple and Ginger Muffins

The unfinished recipe for these muffins has been sitting in my "drafts" folder for about 8 months now. I was hesitant to post it for so long because there were a few minor changes I wanted to make in order to perfect these muffins that I had never gotten around to doing last summer. Being home for easter for a couple of days, I decided I should finally get around to remaking these.

After cutting the coconut oil in half by replacing some with applesauce as well as adding a little extra ginger, these are now perfect!
These muffins definitely have a unique taste. The buckwheat gives them a nice earthy flavor. The molasses and brown sugar add the slightest bit of sweetness. Plus, of course, the ginger. Oh, the ginger. I love ginger. The chopped crystallized ginger is brilliant in adding a pop of ginger in every couple of bites; plus, the ground ginger gives them a nice ginger flavor throughout the whole muffin.

As always, these are dairy free since they use almond milk and coconut oil. If you don't have these on hand, canola oil or rice milk would also work! Although not completely gluten-free due to the spelt flour, the spelt flour can be replaced with rice flour.

Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme
Makes 12-14 muffins


1 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (or brown rice flour to make it gluten free)
1/4 cup corn starch
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of sea salt

2 eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp molasses
1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup almond milk, at room temp
2 medium apples, grated with skin on  (about 1 1/2 cups once grated)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with 14 muffin tine liners nd set aside.
2. Whisk together flours, flax seeds, sugar, ginger and remaining dry ingredients in large bowl. Make a well in the center of the combined ingredients.
3. In a small bowl (actually use a separate bowl for this- no shortcuts), whisk together eggs, vanilla, molasses, oil, and milk. Pour mixture into dry ingredients, then add grated apple, stirring until just combined.
4. Spoon mixture evenly between muffin tins then bake for 17-21 minutes or until risen and cooked through, using a toothpick to test center of muffins.
5. Remove from oven and cool in tins for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cashew Coconut Granola

Mom told me to get rid of the cashews, so I opted for cashew granola.We had two huge containers of cashews (who knows why), and she didn't know how we were going to eat them all. In the process, I also got rid of our almonds, raisins, and coconut, so I'd say that it was a pretty good pantry-cleaning recipe!

This granola instantly became my new favorite granola. It is so good. It has the perfect sweetness from the maple syrup. It's crunchy like a granola should be, with just a touch of chewy from the raisins. I had never made granola with sesame seeds before, but toasted sesame seeds truly are delicious, so I thought I would throw them in! (Plus, they have calcium in them- which I am always in need of.)

Regarding the family test: passed with flying colors. Mom said it might be her new favorite too. Dad loved it simply from the coconut I'm pretty sure.

If you're into super yummy, crunchy yet chewy, pantry-clearing recipes- this ones for you!

Adapted from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Makes 8 cups; 225 calories per half cup


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup, room temp
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 250 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Stir oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, and salt together in large bowl
3. Combine maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in small bowl. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until dry ingredients are coated evenly
5. Spread mixture evenly on both baking sheets and bake for 1 hour and 10-15 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
5. Remove granola from oven and let cool then add in raisins. Store in airtight containers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

The month of February was not a good month for my stomach. Almost everyday ended with me eating crystallized ginger, drinking peppermint tea, and then lying face-down on my bed with a heating pad under my stomach. I eat mostly whole foods, and for the most part my diet hasn't changed. I just couldn't figure out what was causing this much pain and bloating! After tracking the pain and the foods I ate and talking with our schools dietician, we decided it could be either gluten, broccoli, or spinach. The only way to find out was to take each of these out of my diet for a few weeks and see if the symptoms resided. Long story short, I am now gluten free.

I really did not want to have to take gluten out of my diet. Granted, I don't eat much bread or things of the like anyways, but I just didn't want to be that person: the person who is dairy-free and gluten-free. But here I am, g-free for a month or so, and no stomach pain, bloating, or gas! In order to confirm this sensitivity, gluten needs to be out of a person's system for about two months, so the intestines can heal completely, then it needs to be eaten again to see if a reaction occurs. That will be my job next month.

That being said, mom, there will now be a lot more gluten-free items made in Your Daughter's Kitchen. Which is probably better for all of us since mom is allergic to wheat (not necessarily gluten), and my little sister is supposed to be without gluten for her hyperextension joint problems.

On to these amazing cookies. They are dense, and almost biscuit-like, but sweet like a cookie. I love the banana in this as it makes them sweeter and acts as a vegan egg-replacement. As with most of my recipes, they're great with a cup of coffee. If you're into milk, they would be delicious with that as well. 

If the mixture is a little dry, add a little more almond milk or mashed banana. If you would like them a little sweeter, add some more chocolate chips.

Happy gluten-free, dairy-free living to us all!

Makes 24-28 cookies; about 150 calories per cookie
Adapted from The Simple Veganista


3 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 heaping tsp baking soda
2/3 cup refined coconut oil (softened or melted)
1/2 large banana, mashed
1/4 cup + 3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (at room temp)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, mash banana as smooth as possible, set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and sugar, mix well. Add in mashed banana, vanilla and room temperature almond milk.
4. Add the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda to the liquid mixture, mixing well to combine and scraping the bottom to make sure there are no flour clumps. Add in oats, then chocolate chips, mixing in between.
5. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of mixture and place on sheet about 1 inch apart, flattening slightly. Cookies stay about the same size while baking. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

As Easter nears, I am reminded of the many delicious spring and summer recipes that are about to explode on every blog, magazine, and instagram account that I browse. Recipes filled with berries, leafy greens, baby carrots, and other color-filled fruits and vegetables. This dessert is one I made a couple years ago and had in a combined-post with another dessert (Blueberry and Lemon-Poppyseed Cake), but I felt it was time for each to get it's own post, since they are equally as delicious, yet completely different.

As I mentioned in the original post, I am often put in charge of desserts for family get togethers. In order to make everyone happy, I usually make a "healthy" and a "not-so'healthy" dessert. This cobbler was a perfect pick for the normal people in the family (whatever normal means).

My family could not stop raving about this cobbler; they ate the entire thing. The tartness of 
the berries worked so well with the sweet, yet plain, cornmeal biscuits. The biscuits have a great texture from the cornmeal as well. This cobbler is definitely best hot, and pairs perfectly with vanilla bean ice cream.

Serves 8-10
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit



3 pounds (8-ish cups) baking apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
2 cups frozen blackberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soft (not melted) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Biscuit Topping

1/2 cup medium-grind cornmeal (not quick-cooking)
2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
1/4 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
6 tablespoons soft (not melted) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream 



1. Preheat oven to 375°. 
2. Combine apples, blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, honey, butter, and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir. 
3. Transfer mixture to a shallow 3-quart baking dish (about 10x12) and set aside.

Biscuit Topping and Assembly

1. Combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt, flour, and sugar in a bowl with a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor. Add butter and mix/pulse until pea-size lumps form. Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl and add 1 cup cream and stir until a dough forms.

2. Transfer mixture to a lightly floured work surface and knead just until dough comes together, about 3 times. Pat or roll out dough into a 14x4-inch rectangle about 1/2 inches thick. Cut dough rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each strip crosswise into 4 equal pieces to make 8 biscuits.

3. Arrange biscuits over fruit mixture, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Brush biscuits lightly with cream and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

4. Bake cobbler until filling is bubbling around edges and biscuits are golden brown, 35-45 minutes.

5. Transfer to a wire rack and let cobbler cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**I made the dough and filling the day before Easter then refrigerated them overnight. I assembled it and baked it the day of so it was hot for serving. This worked great. To do this wrap the dough in cling wrap with a little flour around it to keep from sticking. Keep the filling in the bake tray and cover in cling wrap then place both in fridge.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dark Chocolate Coconut Oil Brownies

The minute I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. They're brownies- with coconut oil in the title. Therefore, they are automatically winners in my book. 

Coconut oil is a food item / product I use every single day. I say product purposefully because I use it as a beauty product as well. I use it as face lotion, body lotion, and mix it with vitamin E capsules and put it in my hair. It can be mixed with baking soda and peppermint to make toothpaste or swished around in your mouth to whiten your teeth. Since I can't consume dairy, I also use coconut oil in almost all my baking endeavors. Lucky for all of us, it has become a very popular product and can be bought almost anywhere!

These brownies are not for the faint at heart. Since they use unsweetened chocolate, they definitely live up to their name of dark chocolate brownies. They are very rich and almost fudge-like, which means pairing them with some milk, coffee, or ice cream is UH-mazing. If you prefer more of a milk chocolate brownie, use 60-80% dark chocolate instead. 

These brownies also have a distinct coconut flavor due to the fact they they use unrefined coconut oil, which is again, UH-mazing. Since I love coconut (as previously mentioned ranted about), I loved this. Don't be scared if you don't though! Simply switch it out for refined coconut oil, and you will never know it's there.

I decreased the amount of coconut oil from the original recipe, and also replaced part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. In the future, I may try to mess with the sugar, but for now I like these brownies just the way they are: full of dark chocolate, coconut goodness. 

P.S- I may have eaten the majority of this pan by myself (don't tell)

Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Makes 12 brownies, 267 calories each


4.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil*
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and line 9x9 or 7x11 glass baking tray with parchment paper
2. Combine chocolate and coconut oil in microwave save bowl. Melt in microwave, stirring every so often to prevent burning.
3. Pour chocolate mixture into bowl with brown sugar, stirring with whisk to combine. Add eggs and stir until mixture is thick.
4. Whisk in salt and flour. Batter with be thick and heavy.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 22-25 minutes until edges are set. The less you bake them, the more fudge-like they will be.
6. Let cool in pan. Cut and enjoy! Pairs great with a cold glass of milk, ice cream, or coffee (place a sliced banana on top and you could even call it breakfast)

*for a less coconut-flavored option, use refined coconut oil

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gingerbread Scones

Before Christmas this year, my parents took the entire family to Arizona. Entire meaning my brother and his wife, my sister and her boyfriend, my little sister, and my boyfriend and me. This was the first time Josh had met my brother (it only took a year and 8 months), and consequently it was the first time all nine of us had ever been together. With all of us getting older and in different states and stages of life, it's rare that even the six of us are together.  It's safe to say I was beyond excited about this; I love my family. 

The weird thing about being in Arizona around Christmas though: it doesn't feel like Christmas. It's 70 degrees and sunny, yet they are playing Christmas music and there are Christmas trees everywhere. They even decorate the cactus with Christmas lights (which is actually really cool). In order to try to get us little more n the Christmas mood, I made these gingerbread scones for the family!

These scones were a definitely winner. Nine out of nine voted yes. That right there is an accomplishment in itself. They're sweet, but not too sweet. They taste like gingerbread, but not too much. They're light and fluffy, like a scones should be. The glaze on top gives them the perfect amount of moistness. If we're being honest, I probably could have eaten them all by myself. Oh, and did I mention that unlike 99% of scones out there, they're dairy-free? (YAY!)

Random things to note: Use refined coconut oil, so the coconut flavor does not come through. I do love coconut, but in this case, we don't want that flavor to shine through. Also, it may seem weird to grate the coconut oil, but do it. It helps make them light and fluffy, just like a good scones it supposed to be. To do this, I froze it in the measuring cup, then scooped it out with a big serving spoon and used this to grate it against a cheese grater. Lastly, usually I am one to skip the steps that ask things like, "brush top with egg whites." Just do it. It seriously does makes them 10 times more pretty to look at, and it helps to seal in some moisture.

Christmas may be long gone, but these scones are just too good not to post. Enjoy!

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes 12 scones


Gingerbread Scones:

1/2 cup coconut oil
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground ginger, heaping
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
additional flour as needed, for rolling
1 egg white, for brushing

Maple Glaze:

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1¼ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1-2 Tbsp water


1. Measure out coconut oil and put in the freezer while you prep the other ingredients so it will be cold and firm enough to grate.
2. Mix flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, and baking powder.
3. Whisk the eggs, maple syrup, molasses, and almond milk.
4. Grate the coconut oil using a cheese grater and work into the flour mixture with your hands or with a pastry cutter until crumbs form. It's okay if there are visible chunks of oil.
5. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour/oil mixture until just combined.
6. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and form into two thick circles about 5 inches in diameter. Transfer to the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. While freezing, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the freezer and pat it together a few more times it so it's a tight circle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
8. Cut each circles into 6 wedges with a sharp knife and space the wedges out so they won't touch when they rise in the oven. Lightly press each wedge with palm of hand to flatten slightly to 1/2-inch thick.
9. Brush the top of each wedge with a thin layer of egg whites for shine.
10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
11. For the glaze, melt the coconut oil. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup. Stir until smooth. Add water if needed to thin out the glaze. Spoon over the tops of the baked scones