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RA Natural Way

Sharing what I have learned about treating chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and indeterminable autoimmune disorders in the most natural way possible while maintaining a positive attitude. Hope. Faith. Love. Yoga. Travel.

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party

Chocolate will make it better! (gf) (*df) (org)

I’m a big believer in baking away my problems. My boyfriend has been gone for 3 weeks and I’m really beginning to miss him. He flew to Alaska after Christmas to work on a crabbing boat for a few months. I’ve been trying to stay busy and keep myself distracted but then I got the flu, and of course felt very alone. When you are sick, all you want is to be taken care of! And clearly that didn’t happen this time. So when I started to feel better physically, I decided it was time to bake. I have been wanting to try Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Cake Mix because I’ve enjoyed many of their products as well as Pamela’s Vanilla Frosting Mix. Both of these companies are amazing!

ImageThe chocolate cake mix directions were very simple. Water, eggs, butter and milk. I used a lactose-free, fat-free milk, which I usually bake with and a olive oil/butter blend to cut down on some saturated fat and calories. The frosting called for more butter and again I used the olive oil blend. Both mixes tasted yummy! Surprisingly the cake only took about 25 minutes to bake.

ImageI was very impressed with the results! I let the cakes cool for a while before taking them out of the pans and mixing up the icing mix. The icing turned out to be a little runny, so I put everything in the fridge for a few minutes to cool before applying the finishing touches. Icing a cake is not an easy task! Thankfully everything turned out delicious! The cake is very mild and not too sweet. The vanilla icing is the prefect complement! Feeling much better after a job well done!

ImageIt isn’t the most stunning cake, so I used a few of my favorite flowers to add some beauty to the picture! 🙂

*These mixes can be made completely dairy free if needed!

Pumpkin Ninja

One of the coolest presents that I received this Christmas was the Ninja Mega Kitchen System:

My mother knows how much I love to cook and that my cooking gadgets are antiques! Today I opened up the Ninja, read a few instructions and put it to work!

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I wanted to make this gluten-free pumpkin bread to share with my friends at book club. I’ve never made this particular brand before, found at the discount grocery store. Hopefully I can find it again because it did turn out moist and delicious!

This particular Ninja set can be used for so many different things! First, I tested it’s chopping abilities with a 1/2 cup of pecans. Next, I changed the metal blade to the plastic bread mixing one. I dumped all of the ingredients into the mixer and held my breath while I pushed the “Dough” button.

Everything mixed together perfectly! But now I had to get it out of the mixer and into the bread pan. This proved to be much harder because the dough was thick.

Here I’ve removed the blade and tried to get all of the dough scraped off:

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While the bread was baking, I made myself a smoothie to test the single serve option. I didn’t have much to work with but it turned out yummy! This is so easy with very little clean up. I feel so lucky have have these fun gadgets to play with now!

blendertest

My Favorite Snack

Guacamole!

My most favorite dip to make and eat!  Yum yum!

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guacamole with sweet potato chips

My recipe:

  • avocados (2 peeled, seeds removed)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced & sauteed *most people prefer raw red onion, but they disagree with me
  • salt and pepper

Prep the onions, garlic and tomatoes. Lightly mash the avocados in a bowl and squeeze in lime juice. Let sit for a few minutes in refrigerator. When everything is prepped, use a wooden spoon to fold tomatoes into avocado along with garlic and onions. Salt and pepper generously. Put back in the refrigerator to cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy with your favorite chips! Here are a few I’ve been trying:IMG_3309 copy

Spinach Dip (Vegan)

I made Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip for a football party last weekend and learned a lot!

20131202-122950.jpgI’ve never made a dip for a party without using dairy products before! I used the recipe from OhSheGlows.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece bread + 1 tbsp earth balance (processed into crumbs) OR 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 (15oz) can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, stems removed, and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8th tsp dried basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes & other spices as desired

I went back later and read the vegan recipe, from which she adapted this one, and would make a few adjustments. I would like it to be a little creamier, by adding Vegan cream cheese and only 8 oz of beans. Another mistake I made was not draining the mixed ingredients properly before adding them to the baking pan. I had to cook the dip a lot longer to compensate, which ended up being too long…

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Add 1 tbsp olive oil into a very large skillet and add in the chopped onion. Cook about 7 minutes on medium heat until onion is translucent.

2a. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the bread into crumbs with 1 tsp earth balance. Remove and set aside. Omit this step if you use pre-made bread crumbs. *or Gluten Free breadcrumbs

2b. Now process the drained and rinsed navy beans, 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp kosher salt, basil, and red pepper flakes.

*If you don’t have a food processor you can throw it in a good blender!

NOTE: If you choose to add Vegan cream cheese, I would put it in a bowl and stir in the blended bean mixture. Modify water amount if only using 8 oz of beans; may be unnecessary.

3. Add in minced garlic to skillet and cook for another few minutes on low. Add in your 4 cups of packed spinach and chopped artichoke hearts to the skillet and heat until spinach is wilted over low-medium heat.

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4. Add navy bean processed mixture to the skillet and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in 3/4 of the bread crumbs (or just sprinkle them on top). Pour into an oven safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex dish). Sprinkle on the remaining bread crumbs and cover with foil.

5. Cook, covered, in the oven at 400F for 20 mins. Now remove the foil cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes watching closely so as not to burn. Makes 2.5-3 cups. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve immediately with sturdy chips and crackers.

Enjoy!

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