Monday, April 30, 2012

Tea Time

A sweet labour of love for a friend whose talents are far too numerous to count. You can check out some of her mad skills at TheAngryTurtle. I just really wanted to honour her with something beautiful for her birthday. Since she is a tea lover, this seemed the obvious choice. The challenge was how to make a cake for someone who doesn't really like cake.

These are Brownie Bottom (most anyway), Banana Bread Cupcakes with a yummy Buttercream Frosting and finally decorated with tiny gum paste teapots. I also made a few "Cupcakes" out of rice krispie cake (one of her favourites). You can see in the background on one that I also sculpted a teapot from these yummy marshmallow treats. It was cute and I know she really enjoyed it & I hope you do too!

Brownie Bottom Banana Bread Cupcakes
makes 20 cupcakes

Brownie Layer:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or xylitol if you have)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup grated dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add in chocolate, flour, salt and cocoa powder, mixing until just combined. Line a cupcake tin with liners, then spoon about 1/2-3/4 of a tablespoon of brownie batter in each cup. Press down with the back of a spoon.

Cupcake Layer:
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside. In a bowl, whisk egg and add brown sugar, mixing until smooth. Add vanilla yogurt and melted butter and mix. Stir in dry ingredients, then add mashed bananas and mix until batter comes together. The batter will be thicker than normal cupcakes. Measure 1/4 cup batter in liners over top of brownie batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, then let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting
(coloured coral)

2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:
(I darkened a bit more with colouring)

2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cream
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

I know this pretty much goes against ALL my no sugar rules, but I am still working on my sugar free version. I found recipes for confectioners sugar and sugar-free marshmallows so testing should begin as soon as my xylitol order comes in. More on this in the future...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This is What We've Eaten Lately

With so many recipes adding up and very little time I thought this might catch me up. My A-type personality has a hard time blogging in bulk like this. My preference is to have one blog post per recipe to keep things neat and tidy, but this will have to do for now. In no particular order...

• Okay, I know that most people when they take a look at this link will just say "dream on" and shut it down. I did the 1st time though too, but I promise it is well worth the prep time. So tasty and completely flour & sugar free if you replace the noodles with a coleslaw (we cheated and used brown rice noodles) and just skip the corn starch.
Pork Dumpling Soup (Dan Jaio)

• Our first time sharing artichoke with our children (my 1st time making it actually). Owen loved it, but it could have been the novelty of roasted garlic butter dripping all over these green scoops of artichoke.
Lemon Butter Tilapia, Artichoke w/Roasted Garlic Butter & Steamed Cauliflower 

• A family favourite makes another appearance. Still working out the thickening of the sauce. We've been using arrowroot powder instead of corn starch. We'll get it right yet, but this taste so yummy. I made a separate mini pie for Daddy while Mommy was away at a ladies retreat.
Paleo Chicken Pot Pie

• These were pretty good and not too hard to make. Wishing I had made these week 1-2 of the 30 day challenge. Also could have made them thinner to get more crunch, but very tasty. 
Chickpea Crackers

• May have already posted this, but we've been learning more about herbs and such to help maintain better health in a natural way. Elderberry is a better flu fighter than any flu shot. Here are some sites for more research: &
Flue Fighting Tea
Morning Mocha Protein Shake

• This was so good that I will make it over and over. I get to a point now with Thai-style food that I just look at the photo & list of ingredients and wing it. The basic is really just red curry, coconut milk, lime & fish sauce (or soya sauce). I always replace any sugar with xylitol.
Red Curry Shrimp (adapted from:

• I originally saw this on Pinterest and was surprised that it was a magazine recipe. This tasted so good and I didn't even need to adjust the recipe to be sugar-free. Obviously we made it without the Quinoa.
Salmon Florentine w/Cauliflower "Rice" 

• Craving Potatoes Gratin? This is a great replacement. I just threw it all in a casserole dish and baked it, rather than steaming the cauliflower first.
Rosemary Balsamic Steak w/Cauliflower Gratin

• Not a biggie here, just felt like having a "treat". Not to guilty about Organic Blue Corn Tacos (the sugar was cane sugar). Just a few around the rim and pile on the good stuff.
Taco Salad

There you have it. A few like the delicious Rice Paper Rolls, Spaghetti Squash Gratin, Pineapple Ginger Smoothies, Coconut Kiwi Smoothies and a lot of spinach salads.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Heart for the North

Short and to the point – a new one for me!

I am not posting as often as I would like; I have a whack load of images ready to go for recipe blogging, but the time to sit down isn't there these days. My focus has changed even more since our recent trip to The Pas to visit some friends. After seeing the brokenness there (the town and a bit from our friends), my heart has grown even greater for the restoration of God's kingdom on earth. My heart cries for His lost children who don't see their worth to a God who loves them and created them for such greatness.

This is why our friend's hearts grieve as well. They have seen this pain, that could be so easily lifted by the blood of Christ, every day for the past 2 years and they won't give up and for that I am so very proud of them. So that is why my time to blog is so rare right now. We find ourselves spending our time more purposeful and in prayer as much as we can (the children and myself throughout the day especially). There is an urgency to pray for those living in Northern Manitoba right now. Change is coming and I don't know what it looks like right now but we pray the hand of God is in the lead.

Praying on...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pineapple Un-Burger

It has been so warm in Winnipeg these days and with this warmth brings a hunger for a big juicy burger. Since we don't really "do" bread I thought I would really be missing the full burger experience. Well, I have got to tell you I do not miss bread with this on my plate.

The Pineapple Un-Burger

Assembled from the bottom up:
  • Spinach: drizzled with balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pineapple Mango Salsa: lime juice, grilled pineapple, mango, orange pepper, ginger, caramelized onion, (chopped), salt and pepper
  • Burger: ground beef, ginger, garlic, grated onion
  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Caramelized Onions and Saut├ęd Mushrooms