Paula’s Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake

Have you ever had a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake? Remember the texture? The gooey, light, melt-in your mouth cake, with the sweet syrup and pineapple bits glazed perfectly on top?

Well, if you prefer chocolate like me, you’re in for a delicious, unexpected twist on that classic! I couldn’t help but make this at the same time I was experimenting with that cobbler the other day, and it turned out to be so good I now feel no need to order that chocolate flourless lava cake at restaurants because I feel I can make something just as satisfying at home! Okay, who am I kidding, I can’t turn down a flourless lava cake when I’m out… 🙂

But back to business! So this recipe, which was kind of like a cool science fair project, works in mysterious ways. You must have faith it will turn out– it’s very odd but the end result is amazing.

Note to my fellow GF people out there– this is not gluten-free because I made it the original way. I wanted to see how it would turn out with the original recipe before I started doctoring it up to be gluten free. Yes, I tried it, and I received quite the hefty migraine after on account of the gluten I presume, but it honestly was worth it in the moment. Next time I post this recipe though, I promise it will be GF so everyone can enjoy it– including me– guilt free.

Alas— Paula Deen’s DELICIOUS, melt-in-your-mouth-warm-fuzzy-feeling- Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake

Double-Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside-Down Cake
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour (Used unbleached whole grain all-purpose flour)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use (I used organic raw cane sugar– which is less processed and Non-GMO)
2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (sea salt)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (I used KerryGold pure irish butter)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided use
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder, the baking powder, and the salt. Add the milk, the oil, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and stir until blended. Stir in the nuts,if using.

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Pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch pan.

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In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the 1/4 cup cocoa powder; stir well. Sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan.

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 Using a large spoon, drizzle the boiling water over the cake; do not stir. 
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Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm. Let the cake cool slightly. Cut the cake into squares and place them upside down (gooey side up) on dessert plates.

When you take it out of the oven it looks like this (aka you will think your life is over because you have ruined your precious cake)…..

IMG_20140714_152232530But no fear…. turn that CAKE upside down…..

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And voila! That yummy chocolatey sauce that was on the bottom is now on top!

Serve warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream! Your guests will love you.

Happy eating, #treatyoself!

Trish

France’s Healthy (and Not-So-Healthy) Habits

Reminiscing the sweet life of France, important insight into stopping and smelling les fleurs!

It’s true, the french are much thinner, have far better complexions, and live much longer than we do. Their population life expectancy is 81.46 (male: 78.35 years female: 84.73 years (2012 est.) , as compared with the US, at 78.6 years.

Although, for a population with such healthy eating habits (and yes, I am including their consumption of fatty foods in healthy), they certainly could use some help in some areas. For one thing, I haven’t been able to walk past the french high school once without having to dodge cigarette buds on the ground or cigarette smoke wafting through the air on every side of me. Not only that, but most french students that I have met, have told me they’ve been drinking alcohol since before they were legally allowed. Which, of course, is normal for us in America too, but that usually means we get a little crazy in…

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Nectarine-Lavande Cobbler (GF)

Good afternoon, friends!

It’s been FAR too long since I posted an authentic Nutrishus recipe, so without further ado, I present you with the perfect summer treat! As I searched our cupboard for cookbooks to choose inspiration from, I came across one of my most favorite, the most classic:  “Lady and Son’s Cookbook” by Paula Deen, which arguably started it all. You can say what you want about the woman, but I happen to think she, like all of us, sometimes says things she doesn’t mean. Aside from my PR statement in an attempt to cut her some slack, one thing no one can deny she’s one wholesome, talented cook!!

This delicious, and super simple recipe is based on her Pear-licious Cobbler. Only I have made it gluten free, used nectarines, butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows [so you get more Omega 3’s which all of us could use more of!], less fat[kefir], and a little less sugar. I also added my secret ingredient which I have been meaning to use since I got back from France over a year ago– Sirop de Lavande.

This is ridiculously simple, and if you don’t have any of the ingredients I switched in, feel free to get creative. You could use peaches, pears, raspberries, blueberries…. etc.. instead of the nectarines. And obviously if you don’t have the Sirop de Lavande–simply sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top!

Luckily I had enough nectarines, because I realized just in the nick of time that this little nugget (our puppy Zuzu) had grown a liking to them…

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Food lovers everywhere: For best results, serve this right out of the oven with a scoop of french vanilla bean ice cream on top. MELT IN YOUR MOUTH GOOD.

Here’s how to make it:

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Nutrishus® GF Nectarine-Lavande Cobbler

  • 6 juicy ripe nectarines, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick of butter) (I use KerryGold Pure Irish Butter from grass-fed cows)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Sirop Bio Lavande (aka organic lavender sugar syrup)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup Kefir (1% fat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract— and if you’re lucky, vanilla beans!

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First place the butter in a baking dish and place in oven at 350 degrees F until the butter melts. Peel nectarines and cut into slices, set aside. Remove the baking dish from the oven (but keep oven on). IMG_20140714_135326455Stir together the brown sugar and brown rice flour. Slowly stir in the kefir and mix well.

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Pour the batter over the melted butter in the pan. Do not stir. 

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Place the nectarine slices on top of the batter; gently pour the Sirop de Lavande over the nectarines.

IMG_20140714_141119275 (Or, if using instead, sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the nectarines). Do not stir. Bake the cobbler for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. 

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This is how it comes out! It’s honestly so delicious that you don’t even need ice cream! Gooey, somewhat crispy, not-too-sweet, delicious!

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Bon appetit et bonne sante,

Trish 🙂

An Amazing Au Jus for your Summer BBQ!

My uncle  Jim is known for his killer BBQ ribs, but recently, after taking a couples cooking course with my aunt, he came home with a delicious, absolutely amazingly simple recipe for chicken!

With corn on the cob, fresh fruity salad, and hungry appetites, we sat down and dug in. I was actually blown away by the flavor–and even more impressed by the simplicity and, at the same time, elegance of the recipe.

Since I only watched from afar, my recipe is a bit rough (ie. I don’t know if he used 5 or 6 sage leaves!), but I promise if it tastes anything at all like what we ate, it’s worth the risk.   
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Here’s how to make it:

CHICKEN

You’ll need:

  • 5 Organic Sage Leaves, chopped finely
  • handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil to drizzle

Cut a whole chicken down the middle. Place open-side down with skin exposed in a deep oven-safe dish. Drizzle a liberal amount of olive oil and with your hands, make sure oil is evenly distributed on chicken. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly on skin.  Add your thyme, sage, garlic. Add your lime juice to pan. Place in oven at 425 degrees F. Remove from oven when center is no longer pink (approx 40 minutes).

Pour drippings (Your AU JUS) from chicken into oven-safe dish and keep warm until serving.

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Voila! Au Jus!

Flavor doesn’t have to be compromised when you want to make a healthy, mouth watering dish! YUM.

Bon appetit et bonne sante!

Trish

Honey and the Black Aronia Berry: A beach trip-turned-lesson on natural healing

Pop quiz— what’s a beach bum’s favorite fruit? Why, the beach plum of course! Daily double– What’s the berry with the highest antioxidants on the planet (yes, even higher than the elderberry and blueberry) Answer: The black aronia berry! (Aka the black chokeberry!)

There’s a good chance you never heard of either of those fruits until now.Well, I hadn’t heard of them either, until a very spontaneous and very fun trip to Ocean City, NJ! 

Originally the plan was to spend the day at Stone Harbor, but after a few hours on the beach there and remembering signs of Ocean City, we decided to do a “beach crawl”  and drive over. (You gotta show those out-of-towners the ropes afterall!) After Jake and I walked on the boardwalk we came upon a flower show that was themed after great literary minds. There were flower displays of authors from Huckleberry Finn’s Tom Sawyer to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, and the creations were quite fun.

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As we exited the room and noticed a charming display about beach plums and black aronia berries.

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It was there that we met Alma, the director of the operation, who allowed us to taste test multiple flavors of her raw, local honey and learn all about her life’s work– the harvest and cultivation of the beach plum and the aronia berry.

Alma  co-owns Jalma farms of Cape May ( the “J” we learned comes from her husband John) where she grows and harvests the fruit with the help of her hardworking pollinators, her honeybees! Because her farm has so many hardworking pollinators, she also reaps the benefits of their honey, and makes delicious varieties and flavors. We tried two different kinds– lemon, which she told us is simply a lemon slice inside honey– the aromas and flavors combine over time– and habanero. As I like heat, the habanero pepper honey was especially yummy to me, and gives me such inspiration for culinary creations I could make in the future. Of course, the sweetness and consistency of the honey quells the initial pain your tongue might endure, so fear not.

As we were very interested customers, Jalma told us the many benefits of honey and made sure we knew that store bought honey is absolutely not the real thing. I was beginning to like Jalma more and more with her philosophies on nature as nature intended. It is scientific fact that unpasteurized, raw honey, as opposed to store-bought pasteurized honey, is best for health because pasteurizing anything (a process that requires heat) removes a large amount of nutritional benefits from the product. Jalma gave us a brochure with all the fun facts:

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Fun facts about honey (if RAW and LOCAL):
  • Prevents cancer and heart disease (honey contains flavanoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
  • Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal “All honey is antibacterial because bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide” says Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand
  • Increase athletic performance. Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners
  • Reduce cough and throat irritation
  • Balances the five elements. Honey has been used in ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea.
  • [Like honey in your tea? Added bonus!] When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them reach the deeper tissues.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Heals wounds and burns. External application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. [Man I wish I had known that when I got my staph infection last summer– I could’ve saved some bucks!]. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s antibacterial nature combine to create this effect.
  • Probiotic: Some varieties of honey posses large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey”.
  • Beautiful skin: It’s antibacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing. (JalmaFarms)

According to my handy dandy brochure, Jalma farms is a 130 ace farm, where farming has been continued for 300 years.

By 2010 they had grown “2000 beach plums and 500 aronia berries planted orchard style”– the largest cultivation of such fruit on the East Coast!

Fun Facts About Black Aronia Berries:

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  • Black aronia berries are naturally sweet, but low in sugar, and even assist in the treatment and management of diabetes.
  • Improve blood circulation and strengthen the vessels
  • Possess anti-bacterial properties which support a healthy urinary tract
  • Their anti-inflammatory values help suppress viruses by boosting the immune system
  • Are currently being researched for their cancer-fighting abilities. Ohio University study found aronia berries to provide a natural defense in fighting colon cancer! (Jalma farms)

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After taste-testing multiple variations of honey and aronia berries, Jake and I decided they were worth purchasing. One hot pepper jam and one pure and natural honey later, we enjoyed the rest of the day at the beach. It was a great trip and after setting sail to originally spend the day at Stone Harbor, I never would’ve thought a spontaneous detour to Ocean City would give me such great fruity knowledge! : )

If you’re here because of my post on Instagram, then now you know what the aronia berry is all about. If you’re here because you follow the blog, then here’s the pic I posted on Instagram..:

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I had my udi’s gluten free bagel with some sweet cream butter and hot pepper aronia berry jam for breakfast this morning, and it was yummmmy. The jam is reduced sugar so it is mainly berries, but is naturally so sweet. The added habanero pepper gives it a nice , but not overpowering bite of heat.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these nutrishus® and delicious benefits. 🙂

Bon appetit et bonne sante,

Trish

Introducing Teff Flour …and a Healthy PB Chunk Cookie Recipe

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Good afternoon,  have I got a treat for you!

Last night my good friend Paige, who we affectionately call “Gugs”, came over armed with a baker’s spirit and a little Athleta bag  full of ingredients. She introduced me to a gluten-free grain that I had never heard of before called “teff” .Turns out teff is a grain from Ethiopia that has many nutritional properties, and for that reason alone is worth learning about! So now, I am here introducing it to you as well.

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According to my research, teff, a North African cereal grass, is the smallest grain in the world and has been used in Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. It has even been used to make beer!

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Teff is gluten free, high in protein, fiber, and calcium, and has 20% your DV of iron in one serving! (BobsRedMill.com)

Side note…. That reminds me, have you ever bought anything from Bob’s Red Mill? They are a great company with delicious flours perfect for baking, and seem to be run by a pretty great guy too. The video they have on their website may make you cry (not that it made me tear up…why would I do that?!) :P…. I get really inspired when I see people doing what they love and helping others. If you’re into that, check out the website’s short video intro.

Back to the teff…. so it turns out not only is this gluten free grain a nutritional powerhouse, but it also makes a pretty darn tasty cookie! Gugs adds chocolate chunks (the ones from Trader Joe’s) to her cookies, and thus I have renamed them to Gug’s Teff PB Chunk Cookies.

For those of you out there who are watching your refined sugar intake, I would say skip the chocolate chunks and use unsweetened dark chocolate instead. The only other sweetener in the recipe is maple syrup, which is processed by the body much easier. Thus, that makes a pretty darn delicious and healthy cookie! You be the judge– either way you can’t go wrong–the chunks don’t have too much sugar regardless, and hey, compared to your average cookie recipe, these might as well be called healthy round biscuits or something!

When baking your cookies, make sure not to leave them in the oven too long. I do this by checking with a fork when it seems like they look done.

Here’s that recipe for you:

Gug’s Teff PB Chunk Cookie Recipe 

(adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Teff PB Cookies)

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter (do not use freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1-1/2 cups Teff Flour
  • 1/2-2/3 cup TJ’s Chocolate Chunks (We add these to the recipe for extra fun!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside an ungreased cookie sheet.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together syrup, oil, vanilla and peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; blend well with whisk. If the dough seems too dry to shape, continue to mix.
Shape dough into walnut size balls. Place on cookie sheet and flatten gently with the tines of a fork. Bake about 13-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Makes about 20 cookies.
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Voila! 🙂

Bon appetit et bonne sante– and keep innovating!

xox,

Trish

A delish Smoothie recipe and how exercise is a Godsend.

Stress, I am beginning to realize, is more of a choice than an affliction. The more I think about how upset I am with being unemployed, and the more I think about how upset I am that I am lonely and bored, the worse I feel and the more my heart races.

The more I focus on bettering myself and my health, the better I feel.

Today I went to the funeral of our good family friend who passed away . He was a brilliant man, the father of 10 children, faithful, hardworking, a bit shy, and very humble. He didn’t believe in wearing his accomplishments on his sleeve, despite how successful and talented he was, especially in the fields of engineering, math, and science. He believed in creating happiness and using knowledge to fix that which had been broken.  He didn’t believe in finding all the answers, but in the importance of understanding your questions. In his son’s reading about his father, Matthew recalled a beautiful memory that exemplifies who he was as a person. One night when Matthew’s sister Christine was sleeping she woke up suddenly, swearing that she heard blades on the new ice rink that her dad had just built the day before for her and her siblings to skate on in the cold winter months. She looked out her window to find her mom and dad, alone on the ice, skating together.  Years into their marriage and the romance survived, 60+ years on earth, and more to come later. A beautiful memory of the love they had for one another that never faded and continues on eternally.

As I sat in the pew listening to that story, it gave me remarkable hope and faith. We choose the moments of peace in our lives, just as we choose the relationships. From beginning to end, Matt’s love for his wife and his children was not ostentatious, was not flamboyant, but was beautiful, real, and strong. He is an excellent example of a faithful man to look up to, and I feel so lucky to know the beautiful, loving family he created. Being with them today, even in such  circumstances, gave me comfort.

When I got back from the funeral and celebration of his life, I decided to take charge of my own destiny in the small steps I can presently. I went outside for a run/walk and promised myself that I would only come back when my heart calmed down. Exercise, it turns out, has remarkable benefits in terms of relieving stress. I’m not talking about 10 minutes of jumping jacks, or even 15 minutes of sprinting. I’m talking about walking, running, in nature, and soaking it all in. Separating yourself from all negative thoughts, working out your inner struggles and clearing your mind. A run, I find, is a remarkable miracle worker for that.

Being outside allowed me to admire the beautiful landscape that God has created. Acknowledging the animals and insects move about, the trees wave in the wind, admiring a flower that a neighbor took care to grow, making friends with a tiny snail, even dodging some geese poop along the way……each object gave me peace. It was an experience, and made me feel connected to the natural world.

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My run/walk ended up turning into a 3 hour affair, and the rewards were awesome. I got back, feeling significantly more relaxed and at the same time energized, danced around with, as I like to call her, “my little crouton” (our puppy Zuzu) and made a delicious smoothie.

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Nutrishus® Berrylicious Smoothie

  • 3 scoops vanilla flavored organic hemp protein powder (TJ’s)
  • juice of one half lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 banana
  • about 2 cups frozen organic berries (I like to go heavy on the strawberries and don’t add too many blackberries b/c of the pits)
  • handful organic tuscan kale … and voila!

It was AMAZE, seriously delish…. tart, tangy, refreshing, satisfying.

I then got in the shower, blasting the “Singing in the Shower” playlist on Spotify of course, singing “Stayin’ Alive” and Spice Girls’ “Ziga zig ahhh”. Then the song “Angels” by Robbie Williams came on which made me so excited because it brought back memories of dancing on tables in the Hoffbrau Haus in Munich while abroad. In that moment, despite how ridiculous I feel for being unemployed and bored, I was happy and goofy and fun.

Life goes on. You must have faith and choose how you handle it. Better yourself, trust in who you are and what you stand for, and you feel better. Relish in the love of the people who you know will be there forever, and hold on to the relationships that matter most to you. Faith, above all else. These are my life lessons for today.

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Wishing you a peaceful night,

xoxo,

Trish