Sunny Chocolate Chip Rice Cream

Who wants a little extra sunshine in their lives that is Top 8 Free and Vegan?? I certainly do! A few weeks ago I made this recipe up with the hopes of making a coconut free ice cream. I know that some of my followers can’t have coconut so I gave it a whirl. There are times that I get wild hairs for flavors and this is one of them. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but let me tell you, it is nothing short of AMAZING!! This definitely brought some extra sunshine into my life when I tried it. I hope you love it just as much as I do. Let me know what you think! Thanks to one of my followers on Instagram for giving this a great name!

Sunny Chocolate Chip Rice Cream

Ingredients
32 oz Rice milk
4 t Vanilla extract
1 C Coconut sugar or regular sugar for my no coconut friends
6 T Cocoa powder
2 t Guar gum
1/4 C Tapioca starch
¾ C Enjoy life chocolate chips
1 C Frozen sunbutter cut into small chunks

Directions
In a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix all ingredients through tapioca starch together well. Place all liquid into an ice cream maker. My Cuisinart electric ice cream maker takes 20 minutes to turn into ice cream, but mix until yours is done. Once you have soft serve ice cream pour in the chocolate chips and sunbutter chunks. Continue to churn until the chocolate chips and sunbutter are well incorporated. Place all of the soft serve ice cream into a freezer safe tupperware. This recipe requires an ice cream maker or you will end up with a gummy ice block. :/ If you freeze it completely, it will need to thaw for 10-15 minutes on the counter before you can scoop it. I typically use a spoon that has been run under hot water to scoop. Make sure that you freeze this completely before you eat it or it will be gooey. Enjoy!

*There are affiliate links above for your convenience and helps support my blog 🙂 always check ingredients to be sure the items are safe for you.

Vegan ice cream

Ice cream is a must on a hot summer day! My husband loves his ice cream, plain vanilla is his favorite. All of my girls love ice cream as well, but they love other flavors. I have made vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and mint chocolate chip. Having an ice cream maker has been so much fun for my family. When I was growing up we had an electric ice cream maker that took a long time to make ice cream and required rock salt. Since it took so long we didn’t make ice cream very often, but I remember loving it when we did. I figured my family would love homemade ice cream just as much as I did when I was a kid so I started looking into ice cream makers a few years ago. I’ve reached the point in life when I look for new kitchen appliances and gadgets for my birthday, I must be getting old! LOL! Each year I have added new appliances and gadgets that I love. This Cuisinart ice cream maker is what I ended up buying and I just love it. It is super easy to use, cleans easily, and makes ice cream in 20 minutes without needing rock salt. What could be better?!

For an end of the school year treat for my girls we had ice cream Sundaes. We started with vanilla ice cream and then added Enjoy Life chocolate chips, and added sprinkles on top. The neighbor girls decided to come and join in the fun as well. It was a great way to end the school year and cool off on a hot summer day. BTW- the price on those chocolate chips is the best I’ve ever seen, $3.73/pack with free shipping if you have an Amazon prime account. I’ve never seen them for less than $4.95. I’m off to buy these. 🙂

I hope that you can enjoy some amazing vegan ice cream this summer as well. You don’t need an ice cream maker for this recipe, but I think it turns out much creamier if you do. Also note that you don’t need to use the guar gum or tapioca starch if you don’t want to. The ice cream with be much harder once frozen completely if you don’t use them. For years I didn’t use them, but my husband would get frustrated having to wait so long for the ice cream to be soft enough to scoop. If you don’t want to use those two ingredients, by all means don’t. Just be sure to leave the ice cream on the counter for about 30 minutes before you want to scoop it. It also won’t be as soft, but still tastes great. Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy. Add any toppings that you want, we’ve tried and loved all kinds. The ice cream is made from coconut milk which I know has recently been added by the FDA as a tree nut, though it technically isn’t a tree nut.

Vegan vanilla ice cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients
*32 oz Coconut Cream
1 T Vanilla extract
1 C Coconut sugar
2 t Guar gum
¼ C Tapioca starch

Directions
In a large bowl and a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together well. Place all liquid into the frozen insert of an ice cream maker. My electric ice cream maker takes 20 minutes to turn into ice cream, but churn until yours is done. Place all of the soft serve ice cream into a freezer safe tupperware. If you do not have an ice cream maker you can just put the liquid into a freezer safe tupperware and freeze until nearly firm. Enjoy!

*this is the coconut cream I use because it has no other ingredients other than coconut

There are affiliate links above for your convenience and helps support my blog 🙂

S’mores and more

As I have made marshmallows and graham crackers several times in the last few weeks, I thought I’d share the love with all of you. We have a fire pit in our backyard and love to go camping through the summer so both of these are a must. Who doesn’t love a s’more?? I know that we do and eat plenty of them each summer. We are heading out in a few weeks to go camping so I like to start baking in advanced. This way I don’t feel stressed out trying to back the week of our trip. My girls always love this as well because it’s a good excuse to eat a random s’more with fresh marshmallows and graham crackers. Of course if you don’t like s’mores (shame on you ;)) or don’t have a reason for a campfire, these marshmallows are great for rice crispie treats and eating plain as well.

I have come up with this amazing marshmallow recipe. There have been many tasty attempts prior to this recipe but they all failed the roasting challenge. The others tasted great and worked well to eat plain or to use in rice crispie treats, but I needed them to roast well without melting everywhere. These babies are the perfect roasting, rice crispie treat, and eating marshmallow. Of course they are allergy friendly and have no refined sugar. Yay!! Here you go, they are super easy to make as well.

Marshmallows

Ingredients
3 T Gelatin (aff link)
1 C Ice water divided
1 C Pure maple syrup
½ C Coconut sugar, or regular sugar if you can’t have coconut sugar
¼ t Salt
1 t Vanilla
Powdered Coconut sugar for dusting (1 C coconut sugar + 1/3 C Tapioca starch in a high speed blender until powdered) or regular powdered sugar

Directions
In a stand mixer put ½ C ice water and the gelatin and mix on medium speed until they are well combine. Leave the mixture to sit. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and cover it with non-stick spray. Then sprinkle the bottom of the dish with enough powdered coconut sugar to cover the whole thing.

In a medium sized pot combine the other ½ C of water, coconut sugar, and pure maple syrup. Turn the heat on high and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved reduce the heat to medium and keep the mixture at a rolling boil. Once the mixture has reached 240 degrees with a candy thermometer take it off the stove. Carefully pour the sugar mixture into the stand mixer while it is on medium speed. Once you have poured all of the mixture in, turn the mixer to high speed and let it mix for about 15 minutes. The mixture will eventually fill the stand mixer 2/3-3/4 full. When the mixture has reached this point, add the vanilla and mix until it is well combined. Using a well greased spatula, pour the marshmallow fluff into your prepared baking dish. Spread the marshmallow fluff evenly and then put it in the refrigerator to cool (3-4 hours). Once the marshmallow is springy take it out the refrigerator and cut into desired shapes with small cookie cutters, a large knife, or a pizza cutter. Just be sure to spray whichever one you choose with non-stick spray. Once you have cut out all of your marshmallows roll them in powdered coconut sugar then dust them off. The goal is for the marshmallows to not stick to each other. I store these in a freezer safe airtight container all summer. They work beautifully this way. Always feel free to eat them right away as well. ☺

*I have tried these with different sweeteners and these are the only ones that roast like real marshmallows. You can try other sweeteners (I have tried many) just know they will be a melty mess if you try to roast them.

Graham Crackers

Ingredients
2/3 C Brown rice flour
2/3 C Tapioca starch
2/3 C Sorghum flour
1 t Guar gum
½ C coconut sugar, or regular sugar if you can’t have coconut
¼ t cream of tartar
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
6 T Spectrum shortening
¼ C Honey
½ t Vanilla
1 Egg or egg replacer
¼ C Water

Directions
Preheat oven to 325° Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients until well combined. Next, cut in the shortening with either two knives or a pastry knife until dough is in small chunks. Once your dough is in small chunks, add all of the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Press dough out onto a large greased baking sheet. The dough should cover the whole baking sheet in a nice thin layer, about ¼” thick. Once the dough is all pressed out, use a pizza wheel to cut into squares. Then use the prongs of a fork to score each graham cracker.

Bake for 12-15 minutes and remove the crackers that are golden brown around the edges of the pan. Put the pan back in the oven and bake at 4 minute intervals until the rest of the crackers are golden brown as well. They should all be light brown when done. Place them on a cooling rack and they will crisp up once they are cooled.
Store in an airtight container. They also freeze really well in an airtight freezer bag. Enjoy!

* If the graham crackers get a bit soft, just pop them back in the oven for up to 5 minutes and they crisp right back up nicely.

Top 8 Free, Yeast Free Donuts

Today’s Tuesday Tip is: Make these Top 8 Free and Yeast Free donuts, and lots of them! 🙂 I have been working on this donut recipe for the last few weeks. In the past, I have made donuts and of course loved them. They typically turned out pretty oily though which I didn’t like. This time, I wanted a very simple to make but delicious donut. That is what I have come up with. In the last week, I have made these three times. The first time I made them was just for fun. I get wild hairs in the kitchen often and this happens to be the one I got last week. It was a good thing because last Friday was daddy donut day at my youngest daughter’s school. Both my husband and youngest daughter require allergy friendly donuts so I made a fresh batch for them the night before the event. The day after the event my oldest daughter complained that I glazed all of the donuts except two with cane sugar, which she can’t have. I told her I would make a whole batch with coconut sugar glaze for her. Now everyone was happy! 🙂 We have a freezer stocked with donuts ready for special events.

As my daughters ate these donuts fresh out of the oven, my oldest exclaimed that these were the best donuts she had ever eaten. Apparently I hit the jackpot with this recipe and now you get it as well. I hope you enjoy these donuts as much as my family does. They come together quickly and are oh so good!

Top Free Donuts
1/2 C White rice flour
1/2 C Brown rice flour
3/4 C + 2 T Tapioca starch
2 T Expandex modified tapioca starch (affiliate link)
1 t Guar gum
6 T Coconut sugar
1 t Cream of tartar
1/2 t Baking soda
3 T Spectrum shortening
3/4 C So Delicious coconut milk original, or any allergy friendly milk alternative
3 T Aquafaba (juice from Garbanzo beans/chickpeas)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 375° Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together until well combined. Next cut in the shortening with a pastry knife or two knives until the flour is a coarse meal. Add the milk and aquafaba and mix until well combined. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to let the dough chill. This step is imperative, don’t skip it.

While the dough is chilling, prepare a medium sized pan on the stove with cooking oil. You oil needs to be about 1 1/2 inches deep. Turn your stovetop to high and let your oil heat up until it reaches 350°. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. If you don’t have one, you can test the oil with a dab of dough in the oil. If the oil is hot enough the dough will turn brown right away and bubble around it. Once the oil is ready, take your dough out of the freezer. Don’t freeze for longer than 15 minutes. You don’t want frozen dough, you just want it to be chilled. If you want to make them later,put your bowl in the refrigerator not the freezer.

With wet hands, use a large cookie scoop, place a ball of dough into your wet hand. Mold it into the shape of a ball and gently place one finger in the middle to create the donut hole. I have found that using my thumb and middle finger work well for this. My thumb goes on top and my middle finger meets it on the bottom. Then I spin the donut between my thumb and middle finger until I have a good hole. Carefully place the donut in the oil. Be very careful not to burn yourself as the oil can splatter! I cook 2 donuts at a time to speed up the process. Fry the donuts on each side for about 15 seconds, then using a slotted spoon or spatula, carefully flip them. Once they are lightly fried, place them on the baking sheet. Repeat this step until all of the donuts are fried. Bake the donuts for 8 minutes at 375°. This ensures the donuts are baked all the way through and aren’t drenched in oil either. After the donuts are done baking, place them on a cooling rack. While they are cooling, make the glaze.

Glaze
1/3 C melted Earth balance soy free buttery spread
1 C Powdered sugar, this one is corn lite (has no obvious corn in the ingredients). If you need cane sugar free or lower glycemic, blend 1 C coconut sugar with 1/3 C tapioca starch in a high powered blender
1 T Vanilla
Milk of choice

In a small bowl, mix all of the glaze ingredients together through vanilla. Then add milk one teaspoon at a time to get your desire consistency. Once the donuts are completely cool, glaze them and Enjoy!

* A few notes-

1. You don’t have to use Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch but I highly recommend it. It gives and amazing texture of a little crisp on the outside while leaving the inside soft. I use this in buns, french bread, rolls, and bagels all for this same reason. It is on the expensive side, but I don’t use very much at a time so the bag has lasted me a very long time. It’s completely worth the price in my mind. If you don’t use the Expandex, just use 1 C of Tapioca starch.

2. Always let your kids put on the sprinkles 🙂

As always, enjoy this recipe! If you have questions, please let me know. I’m happy to answer any questions I can.

How to have that Awkward Conversation

I have a few more topics to post about in celebration of Food Allergy Awareness week which is this week. The question I will be answering today is: How do you navigate awkward conversations with other people that do not understand food allergies?

I will admit that I am not perfect in this area, but I am well known for having many awkward conversations with people when necessary. My professional history is counseling at risk kids and their parents. Talk about some awkward conversations… Trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those. Having those kind of awkward conversations and having awkward conversations about food allergies have many things in common. Here are some guidelines that I try to stick with when having awkward or difficult conversations with people that do not understand what you are going through. I hope these are helpful. Remember, these are ways that I have learned to deal with these situations, they may or may not work for you.

1. Don’t be awkward yourself. I know that may not come off very nicely, I don’t mean to offend anyone. There are times when we feel self conscious, have had bad past experiences, etc. and we take those emotions into our conversations about food allergies. I try to remain matter of fact when telling people about my family’s food allergies and intolerances. If I act like they are no big deal, others will behave the same way. If I overreact emotionally, others will likely not take us very seriously. I find that when I talk very matter of factly about our food allergies and intolerances, other people want to hear more and find it all fascinating. This to me, is a great place to arrive. They have taken me seriously and are comfortable asking me more questions.

2. Be calm. For those of us with severe food allergies or have kids with them, our lives are very stressful. Our emotions can often be found clearly on our sleeve. It is a VERY emotional journey! Remember, I’ve shed buckets of tears over the span of having kids with food allergies. Since our emotions are so raw and our stress levels high, we can tend to drag those emotions around with us. When we enter into a conversation with people that don’t understand our food allergies we can spew our bottled up emotions quickly and easily. We often think these people deserve it. This doesn’t help our plight with our family and friends that don’t understand our food allergies, it only makes it worse. Hear me clearly, it is OK to have all of these emotions, but we need to find the right place to deal with them. I HIGHLY suggest finding others in your area that have food allergies to be in fun active community with them. It not only helps to have other people that understand, it also gives you safe people to have meals and outings with that “get it”. This should help when you have to have those hard conversations with people that don’t get it because you have a village that does. Then, be sure to go into conversations with others that may not understand you with a calm attitude. In any situation, being calm is always helpful.

3. Put yourself in their shoes. I really do my best to understand where other people are coming from. We may not see eye to eye on some things, but I really want to hear them. It’s important to really seek WHY someone doesn’t understand our food allergies. Do they just need us to educate them better and in a kind way? Are we behaving in a way that may feel offensive or crazy to them? I meet people all the time that I just don’t understand their situation, because I’m not in their situation. The same goes for others that don’t have food allergies. I have had to realize that I can’t expect people without food allergies to understand us fully because they aren’t in our shoes. It does feel so good when friends and family that don’t have food allergies attempt to understand us the best they can. Let’s have the same attitude towards them as we want them to have towards us.

4. Be an educator. Living with food allergies has made you an educator whether you want to be or not. It is our job to educate people that don’t understand what we live with on a daily basis. If we want to be understood, we must be willing to help people understand us. A good teacher is one that is well versed, has an engaging way of educating (this varies with our personalities which is good), and teaches the facts. From there, our “students” get to choose whether or not to believe what we have taught them. It is no different than a school teacher, it’s just in a different context. Life is full of teaching and learning.

5. Let it go. Some people just simply won’t ever understand us and will think we are crazy. That’s ok and we need to get to a place where we can embrace that. We will be misunderstood by someone at some point in our lives because of food allergies. That’s unfortunately the way life goes, for everyone, food allergies and not. For those that you have tried to educate, have had very calm conversations with, and been very kind to about it, but they still just don’t understand, let them be. I have had to learn that there are some people that just don’t want to understand us or what we deal with everyday. With those people, I just have to learn to still be kind to them, but not spend meals with them very often or ever if I can. I don’t let these people get under my skin, they just simply won’t be someone that I live a close life with. That’s ok, I have plenty of amazingly supportive family and friends that do understand us.

I hope that you find my tips helpful. Know that I have been in those awkward food allergy conversation shoes. I have someone close to me that just doesn’t get it, makes snide comments often about food allergies, and thinks I’m crazy. You aren’t alone if you find yourself in those shoes. While it can be very difficult, I have learned to be thankful for the MANY family and friends that do get it and are very supportive. I hope you have a great village around you that “gets it” too.

I’m also posting a recipe for you today as I will be out of town on Friday. A reader hinted that she would love my blueberry rhubarb (blubarb) crumble recipe. It’s hot off the press, so here you go!

Blubarb Crumble

Ingredients

2 C Chopped rhubarb
2 C Frozen or fresh blueberries
1 C Coconut Sugar, divided
2 T Lemon juice
2 T Tapioca starch
6 T Earth balance soy free buttery spread
1/2 C Gluten free oats
1/2 C Gluten free oat flour
1/4 t Salt

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350°. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, blueberries, lemon juice, tapioca starch, and 1/2 C coconut sugar. Mix them until all of the ingredients are well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, oat flour, the remaining 1/2 C coconut sugar, and salt. Then cut the butter into the oat mixture until it is pea sized. Using a spatula, scrape the fruit mixture into the 8×8 baking dish and spread the mixture until it is even. Then sprinkle the oat mixture over the top of the fruit and make sure it is evenly coated. Bake in the oven at 350° for 45 minutes or until the fruit mixture is bubbling. Eat warm with your favorite allergy friendly ice cream. Enjoy!

Fish Pops

Happy Friday everyone! I don’t usually like to talk about the weather as I think there are so many more interesting things to talk about in life. Living in Seattle brings a whole lot of rain, shocker, I know! I grew up here so I am used to the rain and have found ways to enjoy life even with the rain 9 months out of the year. This winter has been especially rainy. I’ll be honest, it’s getting real old, even for this native. When it’s sunny out, this is one of the most glorious places on earth. Everyone and their dog (literally) are outside walking, running, at the park, and enjoying any other outdoor activity they can. I love these days! Today is one of those days. There is a break from the rain, the sun is out, and it’s supposed to be a balmy 64° here. Let me tell you, that is an amazing treat. Since that is the case you better bet we are heading outdoors. My girls get out of school early every Friday so we will be heading to the park.

These popsicles would be a perfect snack for my girls today. My mom bought this fish pop mold (affiliate link) for my girls last summer. They are the cutest molds I have ever seen. There is a shark, clownfish, octopus, whale, puffer fish, and a Zoku scuba diver. You have to line up the symbols to ensure the bottoms come out correctly. These were really easy to fill, freeze, and clean. If you are silly like me, you can even inter mix the legs with the tops so you have scuba legs with a fish body, etc. 🙂 I can’t wait to use these again and I’m thinking about purchasing another set of molds from Zoku as well. My mom is super fun this way, I have always really appreciated that about her. Thanks mom!!

Here is a simple recipe for you. We typically make our own popsicles because many store bought ones have cane sugar and/or corn syrup in them which we can’t have. Making them is super easy. They don’t freeze very quickly so it does require planning ahead. Other than that, I love making our own popsicles and have tried many different flavors.

Homemade Popsicles

Ingredients
2 C frozen strawberries (or other fruit without too many seeds)
1 C Orange juice

Directions

In a high powered blender, add the frozen strawberries and orange juice. Place the lid on the blender and pulse until smooth. If the mixture is to thick, add more juice. If it is too thin, add more fruit. It’s hard to go wrong here. Carefully pour the mixture into each mold to the fill line. Place the top of the molds on, be sure to line up the symbols together to ensure the legs/bottom half comes out the correct way. Place on a flat surface in the freezer for 12-24 hours. Once the popsicles are completely frozen, gently pull them out of the mold. Enjoy!

The chemistry behind natural food dyes

I am so excited to have my friend, Alexis from chemistrycachet, here guest posting today. A few months ago I found her on Instagram and loved everything she posted. She is the chemist I always wished I could be. I love a good science experiment, changing the colors of things, making bubbling eruptions with my kids, seeing how different chemicals interact with each other, knowing the why behind the experiments, etc. This has been true since I was a little girl. My poor parents had to put up with a lot of experiments and messes from me when I was growing up. Thankfully they were very gracious and didn’t seem to mind any of it. With all of my experimenting and finding joy in all of it, I still didn’t “get” the science behind it. That didn’t seem, and still doesn’t, to stop me from enjoying what science has to offer. Now I experiment in my kitchen several days a week making recipes. 🙂 I took science classes in high school and barely scraped by and avoided them like the plague in college. My mind just simply doesn’t work the way a scientist brain does and I’ve learned that’s ok. I can still love it all and lean on people like Alexis to fill in the blanks that I can’t. We all need each other. 🙂
In the fall, I was making cupcakes for my daughters birthdays and one of them wanted pink frosting. One of her friends can’t have food dye so I wanted to figure out a natural way to make pink frosting without food dye. After all, I make allergy friendly foods all the time, I should be able to feed a child that doesn’t eat food dyes as well. I knew that beetroot powder made a beautiful pink, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted the flavor of beets in the frosting. Truth is, I don’t think frosting with beetroot powder tastes like beets, I just wanted to experiment. I made my first pink frosting out of dehydrated strawberries. Once they were dehydrated and crisp, I ground them in my coffee grinder until they became a powder. I added the strawberry powder to my white frosting until I got my desired pink color. My oldest daughter loved the natural pink and said it was a great light strawberry flavor.
After the party, I was talking to a client of mine that has become a friend. We were talking about the pink frosting and how I would love to make other dye free colors so we brainstormed some other colors. She has the science brain that I don’t, so she told me that if you add baking soda to any purple berry that the color would turn blue. The wheels in my brain started turning and turning. My excitement grew and I wanted to start experimenting again. Last month, I was drying blueberries in my dehydrator for a snack and forgot them overnight. When I woke up in the morning, the blueberries were dry and crispy. Not good for snacks, but the perfect time to experiment. 🙂 Again, I ground them into dust in my coffee grinder and got out four small bowls. I put a small amount of white frosting in two of them and mixed one with just blueberry powder. The next one I mixed with blueberry powder and a pinch of baking soda. These were fun colors, but not very vibrant. I did end up with a purple from the straight blueberry powder and a blueish grey color from the blueberry powder mixed with baking soda. These didn’t satisfy my expectation of vibrant natural food dye. In my next two bowls, I started with blueberry powder in each of them and then mixed a bit of water into them to make a watery paste. This made the color very deep and vibrant, just what I was looking for. I took one of these bowls and put a pinch of baking powder in it and voila, it turned a deep midnight blue. Now we’re talking! I added white frosting to each of these mixtures and got exactly what I was hoping for, a vibrant magenta/purple and a lovely blue color. Mission accomplished.
Since we are talking frosting today and natural food dyes, I thought I would throw in a fun deep green as well. A few years back, I made sun butter cookies and they turned a deep green color. I thought this was so strange, but didn’t think much deeper into it than that. Every time I made something after that with sunbutter and baking soda, I ended up with a dark green item. This happened with cookies, bars, muffins, etc. At some point, I read that there is a chemical reaction between sunflower seeds and baking soda that makes the green color. Below, I made a sunbutter frosting just for the fun of having green frosting and it tastes delicious too.
Alexis, will you tell us all a bit about you, your passions, and where your love for chemistry came from?
I have loved science since I was a little girl. My dad bought me a little chemistry set when I was 6 years old, and I was so fascinated by the experiments, chemicals, and equipment. Although I didn’t always want to be a chemist, I knew I would be a scientist someday. It changed every year, but by the time I graduated high school, I wanted to go back to the root of all sciences….chemistry.
The more experiences I have had as an adult, the more I realize how valuable chemistry is in every aspect of life. My husband was in the Marine Corps for many years and got very ill. I became a caretaker at a young age, and shortly after my husband became ill, he lost his entire colon. We spent years learning about nutrition, supplements, and any detail that can help him live a normal life. Chemistry has played a huge role in my cooking and baking for him. All my recipes are gluten-free dairy-free with natural sugars. Chemistry has also helped me with my own health. I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 10 years old, so I have experimented and tested the science behind so many supplements and health tips.
My favorite part of being a chemist is starting Chemistry Cachet and getting to share chemist solutions with others! Like making your own cleaning solutions, easy gardening tips, and healthy living!
When I am not working on the website or writing, I love spending time with my husband and English Bulldog 🙂
Please share with us all of the fun science behind the color changes in the frosting experiments.
The beauty of natural foods dyes is how science does all the work for you. All foods have natural pigments and chemicals responsible for the bright, vivid colors unique to each one. Not all color pigments are easily extracted or strong enough to use in things like frosting, but others are strong enough to transfer over, like your saw with the blueberry experiment.
Green plants and their seeds contain a chemical called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is deep green pigment which gives plants all that beautiful dark green color. Sunflower seeds also contain that pigment. Chlorophyll is also known as chlorogenic acid. Since this is an acid, mixing it with a base like baking soda creates a neat chemical reaction leaving behind the green pigment!
Remember as kid a when you would mix vinegar and baking soda together? It would erupt and cause an awesome reaction! Well, vinegar is chemically known as acetic acid. An acid mixed with a base will always react. This is the same reason you get the reaction with the sunflower seeds and baking soda 🙂
What other fun natural food dyes could we make?
One of my favorite dyes to make is with red cabbage. Red cabbage has a pigment known as anthocyanin. It will actually change color depending on the acidity of something. This is why I love using it for a pH indicator too (you can read more details on getting the pigmentation out here) Once you get the pigmentation out you can use it for dyes. Since it does change coloring depending on the acidity, it turns blue when it’s mixed with a base, like baking soda. If you mix it with an acid, like vinegar, it will turn pink!

What else would you like to share with us, we’re all ears?

I would just love to say it is a joy to find others interested in science and healthy living. I love getting to share that enthusiasm with like minded people 🙂 If anyone enjoys chemistry tips and tricks for better living, feel free to follow me on social media or reach out. I love questions and enjoying getting to help others 🙂
You can find me everyday on snapchat (Username is alexisroch) sharing my baking tips, everyday eating, and experiments. And I am always on Instagram (username alexis.roch) sharing my favorite inspiration for healthy living!
Thank you Alexis for sharing your expertise and love of chemistry with us. I have really appreciated all of your posts and the wisdom you share. Please check out Chemistry Cachet to read more about Alexis, the chemistry behind food, natural ways to clean around your house, natural gardening tips, and more.
And now for the cupcake and frosting recipes!! 🙂 There are affiliate links below.

White Frosting

Ingredients
2 C Spectrum Shortening
3 C Powdered sugar (no corn starch)
1 t Vanilla
1/4 t Salt
2 T Rice milk

Directions
In a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and powdered sugar. Add the salt, vanilla, and rice milk, mixing well to combine. If the frosting is too thick, add milk 1 t at a time. If the frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar 1 T at a time until you reach your desired consistency. For frosting that you are wanting to pipe, you need the frosting to not be stiff and not thin. You will have a difficult time piping thick frosting and it will not come out smooth. If the frosting is too thin, it won’t stay in the place you want it to. Add whatever color you prefer from the video above to this frosting. Enjoy!

Sunbutter Frosting

Ingredients
1/2 C Sunbutter
1/2 T Baking soda
2 T Olive Oil
Spray bottle with water

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350° Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the sunbutter, baking soda, and olive oil. Be sure to mix them thoroughly together to ensure the baking soda is evenly distributed. Spread the sunbutter mixture as thinly as possible on the parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 17-20 minutes. The sunbutter should be golden brown when done, but not any darker or it will burn. Once the sunbutter has baked, immediately take the pan out of the oven and spray the whole mixture with water and let sit for 20 minutes. By 20 minutes you should see the mixture beginning to turn green. With a rubber spatula, stir the mixture and spray with water again. Do this 3x total and then let the mixture sit until it turn a dark green. Once it is dark green mix with the white frosting (recipe above). When you mix the sunbutter with the frosting, the color will be light at first, but will darken with time. If you want a light green, then don’t mix too much in, but enough to see the color. If you want dark green, mix most of the mixture and wait 24 hours to frost your cupcakes. By then, your frosting will be a nice deep green. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients
1 C Brown rice flour
1 C White rice flour
1/2 C Potato starch
1/2 C Tapioca starch
1 1/2 t Guar gum
1 t Salt
¾ t Cream of tartar
2 t Baking soda
2/3 C Coconut milk +1 1/2 t Lemon juice
1 C Spectrum shortening
1 1/2 C Coconut sugar
6 T Aquafaba (the water from a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas)
1 1/2 t Vanilla
1/3 C Cocoa powder

Directions
In a bowl, mix the milk and lemon juice together and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. Line your cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream shortening and sugar together. Add the rest of the liquid ingredients to the creamed shortening, including the milk. Next, add all of the dry ingredients together and mix well until combined. Using a large scoop, place one scoop of batter into each muffin tin prepared with paper liners. Makes 18 cupcakes. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes. When the cupcakes are done baking place them on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Peppermint Patties

Growing up I loved eating Peppermint Patties, did you? Since we have multiple food allergies and intolerances, there are many foods we can’t eat that we once enjoyed. I really try to not let this discourage us, but rather give us the determination to figure out how to make it ourselves so we can still eat them. This is where the peppermint patty recipe came in. I was determined to make them and they are really good. My kids devour these as often as I allow them to. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 🙂

Peppermint Patties

Ingredients
2 C Allergy friendly chocolate chips like Enjoy Life or Lily’s (for sugar free)
2 T Spectrum shortening or Coconut oil
¾ C coconut sugar
3 T Tapioca starch
1 C Coconut butter
½ T Peppermint extract

Directions
In a high powered blender, pour the coconut sugar and the tapioca starch and blend until you have powdered coconut sugar. Scrape down the sides once the dust has settled in the blender. Add the coconut butter and peppermint extract to the blender and whip until smooth. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes as it thickens a bit. If the mixture seems too hard, you can add more coconut butter, 1 T at a time.

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening or coconut oil, stirring occasionally. If you do not have a double boiler, use a large pot with an inch or two of water in the bottom. Put a heat safe glass bowl on the pot and let it rest on the pot. The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t quite touch the water. Once the chocolate is melted, put cupcake papers in a 1 dozen cupcake pan and spray with cooking spray. I use silicone liners, but paper will work too. Using a small cookie scoop, fill each cupcake liner and then gently tap the pan on the counter to get the chocolate even. Put in the freezer for a few minutes, just until the chocolate is hard enough (but not solid) to put filling on top without it smashing the chocolate.

Take the cupcake pan out of the freezer and place a small amount of the peppermint filling on the chocolate. I use my smallest cookie scoop for this. It takes about ¾ small cookie scoop. You want to be sure to not let the peppermint filling reach the edges of the paper or the chocolate layers will separate. This is why it is important that your first layer of chocolate is still a bit soft. Smooth out the peppermint layer and then add one last scoop of chocolate to the top, then gently tap the pan on the counter to get the whole patty even and flat. Return these to the freezer for at least 10 minutes. These will be fine on the counter once they are hardened. You can also keep them frozen if desired. Enjoy!

Why I love oats

About three years ago, I had just completed 90 days on the Whole30, with the exception of only being able to eat 2 fruits. I did this for health reasons, and it worked for me. After the 90 days was up, I had lost quite a bit of weight and needed to be able to add more foods into my diet, but my gut wasn’t very happy with very many foods. The one food that I was able to add to my diet was oats. At first this felt disappointing since I didn’t like oatmeal for breakfast and cookies were off limits for me. I have learned though that when I am in a bind of some sort, I am fiercely determined to not let it get the best of me. So I made up my mind that I was going to learn to love oats.

It took me several months to find recipes that I liked, that fit my specific dietary restrictions, and ones that wouldn’t take forever to make. This began my journey of all things oats, and I do mean all things. I have tried almost everything possible with oats and found that they are an amazing food for lots of reasons. Now I absolutely LOVE oats and eat them multiple times a day. Since it is the only grain I have been able to eat for years now, it has become my best food friend. Here are the reasons that I love oats so much.

1. Oats don’t have a ton of flavor. While this might sound boring, it really is amazing. Because it is pretty bland in flavor, it really can go with most foods really easily.

2. Oats are very forgiving. When cooking/baking with oats if you added too much liquid, no worries just add a bit more oats. If your oats are a bit dry, just add more liquid until it is the right consistency. I actually rarely measure when I am making items with oats because I know that I can easily add more oats or liquid depending on what I need. This is a huge bonus for me.

3. When oats are met with liquid, they stick together. I can’t eat any gums (guar, xanthan, etc.) so this too is a huge win for me.

4. Oats are very simple to work with and recipes come out very quickly when I use oats. One flour, no gums, or any other ingredients. Win all around.

5. Oats have a lot of health benefits as well which is great. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration claims that oats, as part of an overall heart healthy diet, could lower the risk of heart disease.

The possible health benefits of oats include: reducing the risk of coronary artery disease, lowering levels of cholesterol, and reducing one’s risk of colorectal cancer. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270680.php

I bet you are wondering what I have actually made successfully with just oats. Here is a list, though not likely exhaustive, but my main staples with a few pictures.

Breakfast bars. I have eaten these breakfast bars every morning for the last three years, maybe a handful of times I have skipped these. They are definitely a staple for me.

Oat pancakes. Who doesn’t love a good pancake? Oats make great pancakes!

Oat tortillas. I make these in huge batches and freeze them. I use them for sandwiches, “quesadillas”, buns, chips, etc. These are very versatile and I also eat these in one fashion or another every day.

Pizza crust. I’m not one to cry over missed food. While it can feel discouraging sometimes, I’ve learned to be thankful for what I can eat. When I made this pizza crust, I nearly shed a tear, seriously. It was that good and exploded my mind for the possibilities of what oats could do for me.

Oat Crackers. Everyone needs a simple go to snack, including me. Of course I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, and nuts for snacks, but sometimes I just want a good cracker. I have made these multiple times with multiple different seasonings and they are great to have around.

Oat muffins. I have made all kinds of muffins with just oats, you might be surprised. Again, I love the versatility of oats. Sometimes I add nut or seed butter into my muffin mix which works well too.

Oat cookies. I went for years without having a cookie, or any dessert for that matter. One night I was determined to make myself a chocolate chip cookie without any sugar, without a “gum”, or a rising agent (baking soda, baking powder, etc) because I couldn’t have any of those. My mom and I texted back and forth about how to do this and I was determined to make it happen. What came out was utterly amazing! Who knew?! Next came a pumpkin cookie that was just as fabulous. My world has changed because of oats. If you have food allergies or restrictions, I promise life doesn’t have to be boring in the food department. It just takes more creativity than it once did. It is possible to have food allergies and restrictions and eat amazing food!

Pumpkin Bread for the win!

Happy Friday everyone! Yes, I am still loving pumpkin recipes. 🙂 Not to worry though, peppermint and other festive holiday items will be coming soon. This pumpkin bread recipe is one that we grew up eating. My mom gave my sisters and I all of our family recipes as a wedding gift. Now that my family has many food allergies and restrictions, I am in the process of slowly converting all of our old family favorites to fit my families food allergies.

I was needing to make breakfast muffins for my family yesterday. Instead of making breakfast muffins I decided to convert our family pumpkin bread recipe. It was quite easy to throw together and the reactions from my family made it worth every minute it took to make.

My husband was the first to get to try the bread since it was done after the girls went to bed. I cut three pieces of bread to begin with and slathered them with dairy free butter. This is how my dad ate pumpkin bread when I was growing up so I thought I’d keep up the tradition. If having that much butter isn’t what is best for you, it is very good without butter too. 🙂 My husband ate two pieces right away and all he could say the whole time was “MMMMMMM”. Then he begged for the third piece, because why should a piece be left not eaten.

This morning, my girls all had the bread for breakfast and all had the same response as my husband, “mmmmmm”. Then they begged to take more in their lunches. All that to say, I guess I nailed it on the first try. Wahoo!! I know you are all dying to have some too, so here you go. I’d love to hear what you think of the recipe once you try it as well. Lucky you, you are getting the recipe straight off a piece of paper, I haven’t even typed it for myself yet.

Family Pumpkin Bread

INGREDIENTS
1 1/8 C Brown rice flour
1 1/8 C White rice flour
1 1/4 C Tapioca starch
1 T Guar gum
1 1/2 C Coconut sugar
2 t Salt
1/2 t Cream of tartar
2 1/4 t Baking soda
1 t Cinnamon
2 t Pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs or Ener-G egg replacer
1/2 C Apple sauce, unsweetened
1/2 C Oil of choice, I used light tasting olive oil
2 C Pumpkin puree
2/3 C Water

DIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 350° and spray two loaf pans with non-stick spray of choice, then set aside.

In a bowl fitted with a stand mixer, or hand mixer, cream together the apple sauce, oil, and sugar. Next, add in the rest of the liquid ingredients. Once they are well combined, add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Divide the batter into the two loaf pans equally. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!