Sunday, September 30, 2012

Scottish Apple Bread Pudding

I am totally ripping off my own recipe for Irish Apple Bread Pudding with this sweeter version that I use Scotch in making.  So, try one, try both, love them all!

Scottish Apple Bread Pudding

In a large bowl, combine:
a full loaf of cinnamon raisin bread
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, pomegranate)
4 large (jonagold) apples (peeled/cored/diced)

Over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup butter. Switch to low heat and whisk in 3/4 cup apple cider and 1.5 cups half and half (or light cream). Cook over low heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, then one at a time, whisk in 4 eggs, making sure to whisk until completely combined after each addition. Whisk in 1/3 cup brown sugar. Slice open and scrape 1 vanilla bean, whisking to combine. Add 1 cinnamon stick and stir well. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Whisk. Up heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk. Cook for 3 more minutes on medium-low. Whisk. Up heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Add 1/3 cup Scotch and whisk well, removing from heat.

Pour your pudding mixture over the bread mixture and stir, mixing well. Pour the finished product into 2-3 8x8  baking dishes that you have greased with either cooking spray or some left over butter.

I froze 2 dishes and refidgerated one overnight, but I think you'd be fine baking right away, just as with the Irish version.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350.  Remove from the oven while you make the Scotch Caramel Sauce.

PER 8x8 PAN:
Prepare your ingredients in advance:
1/4 cup butter
1tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup Scotch
1 egg yolk

Straight to heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the vanilla until well combined then slowly pour in the sugar. Continue to whisk as you drizzle in the cider. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved; do NOT add the scotch prior to this step, as you will cook out all of the alcohol and some of the taste. Whisk in the scotch, then add the egg yolk, whisking vigorously for 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. (If you've made the Irish version, the Scottish sauce is a bit thinner).

Game Day Nachos

Normally, I dont specify brands, but I'm going to make an exception, since a lot of the deliciousness of this dish came from some specific ingredients.

What you will need:
Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks Blue Corn (entire bag)
Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks Sweet Chili (entire bag)
2/3 container of Bobbie's Black Bean Hummus
8 small tomatoes, quartered
1 small-medium orange bell pepper, diced
1/3 large (or 1 small) red onion, diced
1/2 can spicy black beans (I used organic, 365 (Whole Foods) brand), drained
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup (or up to 1/2 cup) of mixed cheese (I used organic "Mexican" blend of colby, jack, and cheddar)
1/2 jar black bean and corn salsa (I used 365 (Whole Foods) brand)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix up the bags of chips and empty 3/4 of each bag into a 13x9 dish. Dollop out the hummus evenly. Sprinkle the onions, peppers, tomatoes, and olives.  Spoon over the beans, followed by the salsa, then sprinkle with cheese. (You can use vegan cheese to make this vegan friendly).

Bake for 15 minutes and serve with the remaining chips.


Go NY Giants!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Bringing in Finn

Originally posted here on September 29, 2012 as "Book Review: Bringing in Finn"

Last week, I was asked to review Bringing in Finn which, according to the press release, centered around "one woman’s hard-fought and often painful journey to motherhood", including "the tragedy and heartbreak of losing pregnancies; the process of opening her heart and mind to the idea of her 61-year-old mother carrying her child for her; and the profound bond that blossomed between mother and daughter as a result of their unique experience together."

When I first read the premise of the book, I debated on whether or not to review it. Although infertility, pregnancy loss, and parenting after loss are extremely relevant to me, as a practicing Catholic, Peter and I had nixed IVF (and therefore things like gestational hosts and surrogates) from our fertility treatment possibilities a decade ago. Was I really the right person to read a book that's premise rests on that? Could I do it without bias and without projecting my personal beliefs about the process itself onto the book? After meditating about it for a bit, I ultimately decided that I could; after all, I work with clients all the time who have made choices that I wouldn't personally make. And I'm really glad that I agreed; while my personal views remain the same, I highly recommend this book for those battling through the trenches of infertility, suffering the devastation of loss, and those who have struggled with connecting with their parents- especially with a mother/daughter connection- on a deeper level, as well as anyone pursuing surrogacy. Mrs. Connell writes with a voice that is passionate and real; it is not surprising that she is a successful life coach and workshop speaker. As I read through the book (which I began on Thursday evening and finished Friday afternoon because it captured me that much), I felt that I was sitting next to this stunningly attractive mother on my sofa and she was unabashedly (and with language that mirrors my own at times!) opening up the heart and soul of the 6+ years of infertility and loss that ultimately led to her 'bringing in' her son Finnean.

Part of the connection was that with her Irish looks, she looks a lot like one of my dear friends. The honesty in her language was another. Like me, she had a history of sexual abuse, and our infertility and loss stories were so achingly similar that it hurt. Even though our paths diverged, our outcomes are so close: we are both mothers who are parenting after a difficult war with infertility and the heartbreak that comes with the loss of beloved children. We are mothers who, like those in the ALI community, choose to break the silence that has plagued our grandmothers and even our mothers and share with others the walk that we've taken.

Bringing in Finn begins with something many of us are familiar with: aching arms. After trying alternative options for getting her womanly health and fertility on track after she learned about the ill-effects of hormonal birth control and stopped using contraception altogether, Sara Connell and her husband, Bill, seek out the help of a reproductive endocrinologist and ultimately proceed with caution into the world of in-vitro fertilization. When they conceive fraternal twin boys, they are overjoyed. But when Sara begins bleeding and an emergency cerclage fails, she wakes from the fog of general anesthesia to learn that her sweet sons were delivered stillborn by Cesarean and that she almost died herself. With depth and honesty, she delves into the shards of her broken heart to walk the reader through her grief journey. There is no self-pity; neither is their shame in the fact that this happened to her. Instead, she openly expresses her anger, sorrow, and frustration; you are there with her- in the blinding lights of the hospital, on the floor as she sobs, bravely at her side as she hands over items to be cremated with her sons, sitting with her as she gazes at the shrine she and her husband prepare at their home for their sons. Her words are raw; her feelings are valid and, for the reader who knows this path (or is just beginning it), they are validating.

As the book continues, we see the emotional and financial turmoil of continuing IVF. She shares the sadness of a chemical pregnancy, of not getting pregnant at all, and the miscarriage of a singleton in the first trimester. In her honesty, Sara touches on the desperation, fear, and hope that are swelling inside of her in her quest to mother a living child, while at the same time openly discussing the strained relationship with her parents that she has struggled with since childhood.

But loss changes you. And it changes those who love you.

Vowing to open herself to her family, Sara talks to her parents about her struggles to conceive and, in her losses, she comes to find someone in her corner that she never imagined: her mother, Kristine. Having always viewed their daughter a bit flippantly in light of her alternative healing choices and career path, Sara is shocked when her mother shows up at a seminar she is teaching. But there is a greater shock yet to come: after meditating on what her life in retirement should embody, Kristine drops the bomb. She believes that she- even after menopause and on the cusp of 60 years old- should carry Sara and Bill's baby.

The book could read like an awful reality show or try to inspire heartwarming fuzzy feelings like those happy-ever-after baby shows, but it doesn't. Instead, Sara is brutal in her feelings- the joys, the happiness, the envy and jealousy.
"I felt brittle that morning...I wanted to be the one sitting in the...chair. I wanted to feel the baby moving in my body...I was not unconditionally at a point where I felt grateful for my body's inability to carry our children, but our path had already revealed undeniable gifts. I was experiencing a physical intimacy with my mother that I had likely not had since I was inside her womb. The love I felt seemed to burn away what had caused us pain... I'd heard clients speak of experiencing such relational transcendence when they were with a parent as the parent died. Yet we were being given this experience while bringing in a life." (pg.253)

As the book closes in on Finn's birth, she openly talks about the desire that somehow the medical staff could transport the ready-to-be-born Finnean into her womb so that she, herself, could deliver him, both having that experience while at the same time, sparing her mother the pain of labor and, ultimately, a C-section. Sara doesn't sugarcoat the sadness of being unable to breastfeed (she did prepare and was able to nurse for a short time) or her feelings of brokenness. But in the places where the book could fall into self-loathing or create its own pity party, she uses her honesty to keep on point. In no way is her story happy-go-lucky, but in a way that, no doubt, has helped numerous clients, she maintains balance and integrity and finds not only motherhood in her loss and in the successful delivery of Finnean, but also a daughterhood that she thought was lost forever. Bringing in Finn is more than a story of infertility, loss, and surrogacy; it is the story of mothers and daughters, of heartache and triumph, of suffering and healing. She sums up her story beautifully in the Epilogue:
"Before you name [situations] as broken and bad, consider that there may be something profound and important- not just for you, but for a greater good- that could not come any other way... I liked the idea of being open to chosen-ness, contemplating how even the broken-seeming parts of my story were and could be a portal for good. Perhaps I had been chosen. Perhaps we all had been." (pg.313)

Book Information:
Bringing in Finn by Sara Connell
(c) 2012 by Seal Press
Available at and your local bookseller or library

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book at no charge in exchange for reviewing the title.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/4 cup crushed nuts
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth

Cut the papers in half and seed them. Place the peppers cut side down in a pan and pour 1/8 cup broth over them.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

While the peppers are roasting, bring the 2 cups of broth to a boil.  Add the quinoa, fruit, and nuts.  Cook for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from heat and sit for 5 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the oven.  Turn them over and stuff them with the quinoa. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Slow Cooked Delicious

Because freshly picked apples in fall never gets old... :)

You will need:
a dozen medium apples (6 red delicious, 6 golden delicious)*
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup apple cider*
2 cinnamon sticks

Wash the apples but do not peel them.  Split them into quarters and thinly slice them, tossing them at random into your crock pot.

Sprinkle over the sugar and combine well.  Pour over the apple cider, then tuck the cinnamon sticks into the apples.

The apples, prior to cooking

Slow cook for 8 hours on low heat, stirring every few hours.

These are delicious as a topping to pancakes or waffles, spooned hot over ice cream, mixed in with yogurt, or served as a sweet side dish.
You can freeze these; reheat by simply adding a splash of apple cider (or water) and bringing up to your desired heat.

*The apples and apple cinnamon are from our local orchard, Tabora Farms (Lansdale and Chalfont)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fried Corn

This is a southern treat that I grew up on and love to make it (unhealthy though it is!) for my family, especially with our delicious PA white corn in season.  Like my mom and grandmother and great-grandmother before me, I make this dish and then freeze it to have when fresh corn isnt available.

You will need a cast iron pan for this.  This recipe is for 1 dozen ears of corn, which requires either a huge pan or a large pan plus a medium pan.  If you are using 2 pans, you'll need to use 1/3 of the ingredients in the smaller pan and 2/3 in the large one.

Shuck 12 ears of white corn. Using a sharp knife, shear the corn kernals from the cob.  Melt 1 stick of butter. Scoop the kernals into the pan, over medium heat, and pour in one pint of heavy cream. When the corn begins to boil, lower the heat to low.  Stir in 1tsp salt and 1tbsp pepper. Stir frequently to avoid scorching or burning.  Cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. 

When you bite into the corn, it should be al dente and should 'pop' in your mouth.

Irish Apple Bread Pudding

Fall is wonderful for so many reasons, but fall in Pennsylvania is especially wonderful because of the access to so much delicious, harvest produce.  From squash to (my favorite!) apples, it's a bountiful autumn.  Our local farmer's market is in full swing until November, and this recipe is dedicated to the farmers we have had the pleasure of meeting in our little part of paradise (i.e. southeastern PA).  Primarily, the food I made this with was sourced (very) locally (sometimes coming from right down the street!).

apples freshly picked from Tabora Farms in Chalfont this morning!
Note: this is not an overly sweet bread pudding.  It is a savory, fall treat that gets a hint of sweetness by adding the Whiskey Cider Glaze.

Irish Apple Bread Pudding

In a large bowl, combine:
325g cinnamon raisin bread (about 2/3 of a standard loaf)*
25g raisins
287g (red delicious) apples (about 3 medium, peeled/cored)*

Over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter~. Switch to low heat and whisk in 1/2 cup apple cider*, 1/2 cup buttermilk~, 1 cup half and half (or light cream)~. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Whisk in 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, then one at a time, whisk in 3 eggs+, making sure to whisk until completely combined after each addition.  Slice open and scrape 1 vanilla bean, whisking to combine.  Add 1 cinnamon stick and stir well.  Cook on low heat for 3 minutes.  Whisk.  Up heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes.  Whisk.  Cook for 3 more minutes on medium-low.  Whisk.  Up heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. 

Pour your pudding mixture over the bread mixture and stir, mixing well.  Pour the finished product into an 8x8 or 7x11 baking disk that you have greased with either cooking spray or some left over butter.  Allow it to sit while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook for 45 minutes (give or take 5 minutes depending on your oven). The pudding is done when the pan is completely set, a caramel brown, and bubbling.  Optional: sprinkle over a handful of white sugar and/or a handful of brown sugar if you want a sweeter bread pudding.

Remove the bread pudding and allow it to rest while you prepare the Whisky Cider Glaze.

Prepare your ingredients in advance:
1/4 cup butter~
1tbsp vanilla (I make my own with Bulleit Bourbon and whole vanilla beans)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider*
1/4 cup Irish whiskey (I use Redbreast for cooking and for drinking, although Midleton is my favorite for a drink! A shoutout to my kickass (step)Dad for encouraging my love of fine food and cooking, and teaching me what a good drink is all about!)
1 egg yolk+

Although you can cook this straight to heat, I highly recommend using a double-boiler to avoid scorching.

In the top of a double boiler (over boiling water), melt the butter.  Whisk in the vanilla until well combined then slowly pour in the sugars, which you can mix together prior to adding.  Continue to whisk as you drizzle in the cider.  Whisk until the sugars are completely dissolved; do NOT add the whiskey prior to this step, as you will cook out all of the alcohol and some of the taste.  Whisk in the whiskey then add the egg yolk, whisking vigorously for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

NOTE: This recipe is best served warm and the sauce will thicken as it cools.  If you are making this in advance, cover the pan with foil and heat for 15 minutes at 275 degrees (or 10 minutes at 300 degrees). Return the sauce to the top of a double boiler and heat, slowly adding 1/8 cup of cider and 1/8 cup whiskey (depending on how thick the sauce has gotten, you may need the full 1/4 cup of liquid; otherwise, just eyeball and add, a tablespoon at a time, the cider and whiskey until the sauce is the correct consistency).

Ingredients marked with "*" were sourced from Tabora Farms (Lansdale and Chalfont); the apples were actually picked from the tree TODAY in Chalfont by my family- doesn't get better than that!
Ingredients marked with "~" were sourced from Natural by Nature of West Grove.
Ingredients marked with "+" were sourced from Alderfer Farms in Telford.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock Pot Roast

One of the easiest recipes in the world (and tastiest on a cool night) is my mom's pot roast in the crock pot.  It makes the house smell divine and warms you up no matter the temperature outside.

Toss the following into your crock pot, in this order:
2-3 pound roast, 1 bag of baby carrots, 1 white onion-diced, 4 red potatoes-diced.

Add your favorite spices.  I like to throw in 1tsp oregano, 1tsp rosemary, 1tsp basil, and 1tsp pepper.

Pour over 4 cups vegetable broth.  Cook on low for 6 hours. 

Remove 1 cup of the broth from the crockpot and whisk with 1/4 cup corn starch until there are no lumps.  Return to the pot and stir, shredding the beef as you go.

Serve with crusty bread or potato rolls.  This recipe freezes well; when you heat it up, add in 1/4 cup broth or water for every cup of stew.

Butternut Squash Soup

I've made this both vegan and non-vegan, with equally delicious results.  So, pick your dairy (or non-dairy) poison and dig in!

Butternut Squash Soup

Peel one medium-large butternut squash and dice it into 1 inch pieces.  Toss them with 2tbsp olive oil and roast them at 400 degrees for an hour.

Place the cooked squash in a crock pot on low with 2 cups vegetable stock.  Mash the squash well, then add 1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg and 1 stick of cinnamon, and stir.  Cook for 2 hours over low heat, stirring every 30-45 minutes.

Puree the finished soup with 1 cup light cream (or 1 cup nut milk for a vegan alternative; I prefer unsweetened coconut milk for its thickness). 

Serve immediately or freeze.  If freezing, defrost overnight in the fridge, then mix with 1/2 cup light cream/milk/nutmilk before heating.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

If I could bake only one thing that sums of "autumn", it would be this cake.  Moist and delicious, it doesnt even need the glaze, but if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, then drizzle some on!

Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

In a mixing bowl, combine 15oz canned pumpkin, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup white sugar.  Mix until 'creamed'. 

While your pumpkin mixture is mixing, combine 1 and 1/2 cups A.P. flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/2tsp baking powder, 1tsp baking soda, 1/2tsp salt, and 1tbsp pumpkin pie seasoning.  Stir to combine. 

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the pumpkin, followed by 1/4 cup apple cider.  Repeat twice more, at the end adding an additional 1/8 cup apple cider.  (All together, you need 3/4 cup plus 1/8 cup of cider).

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes in a bundt pan.  When done, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate.  Glaze the entire cake or individual slices, as desired.  Serve warm or room temperature.

(Vegan) Apple Cider Glaze
In a jar, mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup apple cider.  Shake well to combine.  Store at room temp. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

End of Summer Waffles

As summer winds down and we welcome fall, treat your family to this warm breakfast with a hint of summer sweetness!

For the waffles... (makes 8)
Blend 2 cups of malted flour, 1/4 plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, and 1/4 cup applesauce until no lumps remain.  Pour into a pancake iron on "3" (medium) and cook until done.  You can keep these warm in a low heated oven.

For the peaches...
Peel one peach and slice it.  Preferably in cast iron, melt 1tbsp of butter and saute the peach.  Add 1/4 cup of sweet/dessert white wine (you could use apple or white grape juice) and simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Top the waffles with the peaches and drizzle real maple syrup (grade B!) to your heart's content!

Vanilla Bean Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream and Figs

This embodies the warm flavors of fall with the final summer harvest of figs.  We picked up the dozen I used from the local farmers market yesterday and yummy oh yummy... My mother-in-law says this is her new favorite dessert.

For your convenience, you can have the homemade recipe and my thoughts on a cheat (for the dry cake ingredients!)

The homemade... (It's my basic butter cake with added vanilla)
Basic Butter Cake:
Mix & Set Aside: 2c A.P. flour, 1tbsp baking powder, 1tsp salt
Cream: 1/2c softened butter, 4oz. applesauce (a snack size cup)
Slowly beat in: 2/3c white sugar, 1/2c brown sugar
Add in, one at a time, and mix well: 6oz plain Greek yogurt, 1tbsp vanilla, 2 eggs + 1 egg white, 1/6c
almond milk, and 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped.
Add in the flour mixture slowly then beat on medium-high for 2 minutes
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (however your oven works) until done. Makes three, 8" squares.

If you dont want to mix your own, take a box of Duncan Hines French Vanilla and add 1/4c oil, 1/4c Greek yogurt, 1 1/3c water, 2 eggs + 1 egg white, 1tbsp vanilla, and 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped.
Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes (however your oven works) until done. Makes three, 8" squares.

For the frosting...
Beat 1 cup of softened butter, 2tbsp raw honey, 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, and 1tbsp vanilla until light and fluffy.  A quarter cup at a time, add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, beating well between additions.  After you last addition, drizzle in up to 1/6 cup almond milk (add only as much as you need to make the consistency correct for frosting).

For the fig filling...
In a food processor, process on high: 12 small green and ripe peeled figs with 1tbsp raw honey.  Pour into a bowl and whisk in 1tbsp cornstarch.  Sit aside for half an hour while you cook and cool your cakes.

When the cake is compelely cooled, ice your first layer with the frosting then spoon over a thin layer of the fig filling.  Cover with a cake and repeat.  Cover with the top layer of cake.  Frost the outside of the cake.  When you serve each piece, drizzle over some of the fig mixture.

Enjoy this combo of summer and fall as the season changes!

Welcome to RDG!

I know what you're thinking... Why in the hell is there a welcome some 30+ entries in???  This blog is new, as of September 2012, even with the backdated entries (which match up with their original posting dates on my blog, My Life After Loss.  So, my apologies for the confusion, but welcome anyway!

The Rantings of a Domestic Goddess are my rants and raves, my recipes and reviews, and whatever other "R" words I can come up with!  As someone who loves to cook and really glorifies in my role as a homemaker, housewife, and stay-at-home mom, I try to pull out all the domestic goddess stops in my daily life and thought maybe, just maybe, you might be interested in having them in your life too.

So wave your magic wand, grab a cup of coffee, and pull up a chair.  Domestic goddesshood, anyone?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vegan Irish Oatmeal

Originally posted here on September 14, 2012 as "Vegan Irish Oatmeal"

My mom used to make oatmeal for us on cool fall and cold winter mornings, before we'd head off to school. While Bobby and Maya aren't sold on the idea of oatmeal yet (unless it's in a cookie and, even then...), Peter and I have often spent a chilly a.m. with a bowl of piping hot, Irish oatmeal. And there's no better way to have it than with a hot cup of tea!

Vegan Irish Oatmeal (serves 4 @ 425 calories per serving)

In a pot, heat 1 cup of almond milk until boiling. Add in 160 grams (4 cups) steel cut oats (also called Irish or Scottish oats) and reduce the heat to medium-low (around 4/10 on the range). Cook for 10 minutes, then add 56 grams (about 1/2 cup) chopped walnuts and 80 grams (about 1/2 cup) raisins. Stir well every few minutes and cook for another 15 minutes. Add 28 grams (about 2tbsp plus 1tsp) brown sugar and 2tbsp vegan (or dairy if you prefer, but then it isn't vegan!) butter and stir well to combine, cooking for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 2-5 minutes, then enjoy!

I find the oatmeal a tad sweet, so if I'm making a single serving, I usually only add 1tsp of brown sugar; Peter on the other hand, always tosses in an additional squeeze of maple syrup. You could also omit the butter and add a dollop of apple sauce or omit/lessen the brown sugar and use maple syrup to sweeten completely.

BainigĂ­ sult as an bia!
(ya'll dig on in!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vegan Orange Almond Chocolate Cake

Originally posted here on September 4, 2012 as "Vegan Orange Almond Chocolate Cake"

I love orange and chocolate... There's something about it that just really makes me happy. I've blogged before about my favorite chocolate cake recipe, so I modified it (it originally comes from the Veganomican) and came up with this winner!!! At 200 calories a slice (and only 150 calories a slice if you dont glaze it), it's pretty groovy).

Come on: you know you'd eat whatever this little guy made... ;)

Vegan Orange-Almond-Chocolate Cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray/grease a bundt pan. (Or, if you are me, spray it with the 'flour'/'baking' spray.)

Over medium heat, warm 1 3/4 cup orange juice. When it is hot, add 2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa and whisk until well combined. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine: 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, 1/4 cup coconut oil/butter, and 1/4 cup cornstarch. Mix on low (stir setting on the Kitchen Aid) until smooth and creamed.

In a measuring cup/bowl, stir together: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.

Add the (cooled) chocolate mixture and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Mix on low until well combined.

Pour into your prepared bundt pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and continue to cool at room temperature. Top with the glaze (below) if you wish, once the cake has cooled.

Nutrtional Info: Vegan Orange-Almond-Chocolate Cake

How we'll be eating cake tonight!

Orange-Almond-Chocolate Glaze

Over low heat, melt 1 tbsp butter with 75 grams of orange-almond chocolate.* Slowly pour it into 1 cup of confectioner's sugar as you mix on low/stir setting. Add up to 1/4 cup (or none, if you like a thicker glaze) of chocolate milk to make the glaze the consistency that you prefer.*+ Pour over the cake and, if you'd like, top with festive sprinkles to really put you in the autumn mood!!!

*this version is NOT vegan; to make it so, exchange the butter for a vegan spread and the chocolate milk for chocolate almond milk, in addition to using a vegan orange-almond chocolate)
+the nutritional information for this recipe includes 1/4 cup chocolate milk

Nutrtional Info: Orange-Almond Chocolate Glaze