Paleo Chocolate Doughnuts

I have a new obsession and it is in the form of the coffee from Sidecar Doughnuts.  I’ve written about their doughnuts numerous times, but it wasn’t until recently that their Forty Winks blend made with Stumptown coffee has stolen my heart.  I get the same order every time; large cup of coffee with some steamed almond milk to add just a slight bit of sweetness.  So what does this have to do with paleo chocolate doughnuts?

Paleo Chocolate DoughutsAs we all know, Sidecar makes delicious doughnuts.  And every time I step into their shop to grab a coffee you can smell the freshly baked doughnuts in the air.  The Englishman and I have now established a Sunday tradition where we pop into Sidecar to get a morning cup o’joe and sometimes a doughnut (gluten-free for me) or two.  If you follow me on instagram, then you probably saw that we also started a birthday coffee and doughnut tradition.

sidecar doughnuts and coffeeDon’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in treating yourself and enjoying delicious things like these doughnuts, but for my wallet and waistline I can’t exactly buy them every time I step into the shop.  So what’s a doughnut-lovin’ gal to do?  Make her own!

These paleo chocolate doughnuts are simple low in sugar, and the perfect accompaniment to my Sidecar coffee.  The great thing about these doughnuts is that you can add nuts or chocolate chips into the batter…or just top your doughnuts with them!

paleo chocolate doughnutsIf you don’t have a doughnut pan, you can easily convert these into muffins as well.

Paleo Chocolate Doughnuts (adapted from The Detoxinista)

Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup maple syrup or honey

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Grease your doughnut or muffin pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together your coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Gently fold in your olive oil, egg, egg whites, water and vanilla until everything is well blended.

Gently fold your batter into the doughnut pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the doughnuts cool for 15 minutes.

Pair with your favorite cup of coffee (or tea!).

Now serious question: do you spell it donuts or doughnuts?  I always have the “ough” when I write it out but I see the other spelling quite often too.

Nakd Bars

When we were preparing for our trip to Europe last month, I made sure to pack all the snacks and paleo bars to get us through the 10 days we would be there.  But what I didn’t account for is the fact that I literally would not be able to eat anything on the flight over and that we would find ourselves in France on a National Holiday when everything was closed.  So needless to say, by the time we got to London, my trusty bag of snacks was gone.  Enter Nakd Bars.

Nakd BarsOne of the things the Englishman and I love to do when we travel is visit grocery stores.  In France, we spent a significant time in Carrefour and as soon as we arrived in London, we made a beeline for Tesco to stock up on goods for our Air BnB.  I was looking for some grain-free bars to replenish my stash and stumbled upon Nakd Bars.  Not only was the cheeky packaging great, the bars were made with minimal ingredients which is an automatic win in my book.  Plus, they had all sorts of fun flavors like Rhubarb and Custard and Cocoa Orange.

And I have to say, these bars are quite delicious!  They are lower in sugar than some of their American counterparts, and it was the perfect snack to keep me going through the remainder of our travels.  In fact, I bought a few more to get me through the flight home, and Virgin Atlantic surprised me by having a Nakd Bar in one of our snack boxes (which was much appreciated since I had just watched the Englishman eat a tasty ice cream bar an hour earlier).

nakd bar flavorsNaturally when I arrived home I immediately reached out to the Nakd Bars team to see if they had any distribution in the US.  While the bars aren’t in stores, you can order them online….OR you can win a sampler pack for yourself right now!

Nakd bars PackagingThe Nakd Bars team was kind enough to send me a box of bars to enjoy and are offering one lucky winner their own sampler box!  This will include their more traditional gluten-free bars as well as some of their “crunch” bars with soy protein.  And with so many delicious flavors offered, chances are you’ll fall in love with the bars as fast as I did. Word on the street is there’s a new Bakewell Tart flavor I can’t wait to try!

nakd wholefoods logoa Rafflecopter giveaway

  Offer open to U.S. residents only.  Ends 7/2/15.

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

There’s something about making birthday cakes which always causes me to break out in a cold sweat. Since it’s a cake for a special ocassion, there’s a lot of pressure not to mess it up. Per birthday tradition, it was time for me to make a cake for the Englishman, and this year he requested red velvet birthday cake.

red velvet birthday cakeI’ve never made red velvet cake before and normally my cakes turn out to be more like quick breads, but I was down for the challenge. I ordered special cake pans, got all-natural food coloring, and consulted my baking guru Karla for moral support.

With my game face on, I scoured the internet for red velvet birthday cake recipes and finally decided on this one from Real Simple Magazine.

After getting my cakes ready and in the oven, it was time to tackle the frosting.  I was initially going to go with a buttercream frosting, but I didn’t allocate enough butter, so I went with a simple vanilla frosting recipe instead.  Martha Stewart has never steered me wrong, so I went with her recipe.

The cakes came out perfectly cooked (although not as red as I hoped due to the natural food coloring) and after letting them cool for a half hour, it was time to frost.

red velvet cakes

My frosting skills are pretty amateur, but I figured the cake was going to be covered in birthday candles anyway, so if it was a little uneven, it wouldn’t be the total end of the world.

red velvet cake frostingThen came the official taste test.  Would the birthday boy like his cake?  I’m happy to report that he declared it was one of the best cakes he’s ever had.  Red velvet birthday cake success!

I’ve included the cake recipe below in case you want to make this cake yourself.  It’s very easy to follow and the end result is a delicious, moist (I know) cake.  Traditional red velvet calls for cream cheese frosting, but I think the vanilla worked perfectly.

red velvet birthday cake

Red Velvet Birthday Cake (from Real Simple)

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Frosting Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cashew milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a separate bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Slowly add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean for 45 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15-30 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make your frosting. In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.

Transfer one of your cakes to a plate and spread with frosting. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting on the cake. Serve and enjoy!

Now that I’ve conquered this cake, I’m ready to try another one.  What should I bake next?

Dinner at La Cave a Champagne

So I have one more France post that I feel I must share.  While in Epernay (my new favorite place), the Englishman and I had an amazing anniversary dinner at La Cave a Champagne at an insanely affordable price.  In fact, our dinner at La Cave a Champagne may rank as one of my top meals in LIFE.

La Cave a Champagne is a small, nondescript restaurant tucked away off a side street in the heart of Epernay.  In fact, we walked by it twice because we weren’t even sure it was open!  We saw someone else go inside so we quickly followed suit into the cozy restaurant that only seats about 30 people.

anniversary dinnerOnce we were seated we were presented with a variety of prix fixe three course menus ranging in price.  The Englishman and I both decided on one of the cheaper menus, which was three courses for roughly 25 euros a person.  It was also at this point I realized we were dining in a Michelin-star restaurant which was pretty exciting.  I should also note that all the pictures were taken with my cell phone camera since taking pictures of your food isn’t exactly the most popular thing to do in France.

We started our evening off with a glass of champagne, because when in Epernay, you drink champagne.  And of course it was delicious.

la cave a champagne champagneFor our first course, I had ordered the foie salad, and for some reason in my head I spaced out that “foie” means liver, but I actually really liked it!  The salad had chicken liver, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes and was dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.  It was also my first time ever having chicken liver and I am pleased to report it did not disappoint.

foie saladThe Englishman ordered a seafood flan, which is exactly what it sounds like: seafood prepared in the same consistency as flan.  I’m used to traditional Mexican flan so this was a little strange for me, but the flavor was really good.

seafood flanFor the entrée course, I had to go with boeuf bourguignon, which came with some parsnip puree and potato gratin and it was outstanding.  I’m pretty sure I used my spoon to lap up every last bit of sauce.

beef burgundyThe Englishman went with salmon in a creamy sauce with lentils and potatoes.  We both shared bites of each other’s dishes and agreed they were fantastic.  But salmon is always a winner in my book so I knew I would like it.

salmon and lentilsThen it was time for dessert.  You can’t go to France and not indulge in the fromage, so naturally we ordered 3 different cheeses for dessert.  I’m pretty sure I housed the camembert all on my own.

fromageWe also ordered a trio of fresh fruit sorbet to go with our cheese.  It ended up being the perfect sweet and salty pairing and we found ourselves having bites of cheese followed quickly by a bite of sorbet.  Perfection.

sorbetI was beyond impressed with our dinner at La Cave a Champagne.  The food was top-notch and there wasn’t one dish we didn’t like.  We dined there on a Monday evening and by the time we left it was packed, which is just a true testament to how great the food is.

If you ever find yourself in Epernay, you MUST dine at this restaurant.  The quality of food and price can’t be beat.

Where have you had your most memorable meal aka where do I need to eat next?