Purity Coffee

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Even though I don’t have any more exams for a couple weeks, I still find myself studying on Friday nights🤓. And when I’m not doing that, I like to find interesting research to apply to my own life and share with all of you! Today I want to fill you in on the latest info I’ve learned about coffee.

As it turns out, a lot of conventional coffee is contaminated with various molds, mycotoxins, pesticides, and carcinogens. Not to mention that most pre-ground coffee has been sitting on store shelves for months and often contains artificial flavors. But if you love coffee like I do, don’t worry! Coffee can actually be really good for you!

Purity coffee (which is recommended by dietitians and certified clinical nutritionists) has tons of health benefits without the dangers of conventional coffee. All the beans are carefully selected and roasted with the most precise techniques to make it safe and higher in antioxidants than most other coffees. The video below does a great job of explaining all the science behind the Purity process.

Click the here below to give Purity a try! Be sure to use promo code: ROOTS to get 10% off your first order!

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins

Good morning! Since everything is still closed due to the extreme cold, I figured it would be a perfect time to bake a batch of muffins. Although I’m only egg free, I decided to make this recipe totally vegan for those of you who are. The egg is replaced by flax seed and butter with coconut oil. To make the muffins a little healthier, I used whole wheat flour instead of white and reduced the sugar to only 1/4 cup since the orange juice and cranberries have enough sweetness of their own. The recipe is also super simple and will be ready to go in the oven in only a few minutes.

Ingredients

1 Tbs ground flax seed

3 Tbs hot water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cup orange juice

Zest of one orange

1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a small bowl, mix the flax seed and water to form an egg substitute and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a muffin tin or line it with muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the “egg”, juice, oil, and zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is moistened, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the dried cranberries.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter and bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

Artisan Bread

Today I want to share a super simple bread recipe from It’s Always Autumn. There are only four ingredients and no kneading is required. All you need is flour, yeast, salt, and water! It’s crisp and chewy on the outside, but soft and delightful on the inside. Enjoy a slice or two alongside your favorite winter soup or by itself with butter and raw honey.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. It will still be sticky, but that’s okay.

Cover the bowl and set aside for 8-24 hours at room temperature. When you’re ready to bake it, turn the dough onto a well floured surface, form it into a ball, and let rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450° and place a baking dish with sides in the oven.

Remove the dish and grease with olive oil before placing the dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Lemon Cheesecake

Around Easter last year, I shared a recipe for Egg-Free Lemon Cheesecake. Since then, I have improved the recipe and would like to give an updated version. This is a great recipe to have on hand for spring and summer or right now in the middle of January when we sometimes wish it was already spring.

This cake features a soft graham cracker crust, sweet lemon filling, and is topped off with a tangy, curd. It’s a rather involved recipe, so I would recommend reading through it before starting so you know what you’re getting into. Enjoy!

Makes one 8 inch cheesecake or four 4 inch cheesecakes

Ingredients

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling

1 cup white chocolate chips*

2 Tbs. melted butter

2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbs. raw honey

2 tsp. lemon extract

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Zest of one lemon

Lemon Curd

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup water

1/8 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbs. corn starch

Directions

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with canola spray or melted butter.

Grind graham crackers in a food processor and until they are just small crumbs and you have 1 1/2 cups worth. In a small bowl, mix the cracker crumbs with sugar and add melted butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips* on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, honey, lemon extract, sea salt, and lemon zest. Use an electric mixer to blend all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined. Do not over-mix.

Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking and caving.

Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, remove the cake let it cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator. Wait at least three hours before serving.

While the cheesecake cools, it is time to make the lemon curd! In a small saucepan, heat the cream, lemon juice, sugar, butter, water, and sea salt on medium heat. Whisk frequently. After about 2-3 minutes, add the cornstarch and whisk continuously until it thickens. You will know the curd is thick enough when it has a custard-like consistency and the whisk leaves a mark in it. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the cheesecake with a small offset spatula. Do not wait for it to set up completely, as it would be hard to spread. Any leftover curd can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!

Tips

*Be sure to read the ingredients on the white chocolate chips and avoid artificial flavors. I use Trader Joe’s brand because they contain actual cocoa butter.

Make sure you put together the spring form pan correctly. Otherwise, oil from the crust will leak into the oven causing a huge mess. I’ve learned this the hard way. Three times to be exact.

Line a baking sheet with foil and put the spring form pan on it while baking. This will prevent any major mess in the event that some leakage does occur.

Again, whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but this is crucial to cheesecake success! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

If the cake does cave in, the curd will fill the space. To make the edges more appealing, you can make a little buttercream frosting and pipe a boarder around the cake. No one will know that it’s caved in and you get frosting too!

Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.

The lemon curd is naturally an cream color, so if you want it to be yellow, simply add a drop or two of yellow food coloring.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Happy Thanksgiving! Despite this being a clean eating blog, I just have to share my favorite Thanksgiving dessert. (Comment below with your favorites!) Besides, as long as it’s in moderation, a homemade dessert from scratch is always acceptable! This cheesecake features a buttery, chocolate chip cookie crust and a pumpkin spiced filling, topped off with a smooth, creamy, chocolate ganache. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, try piping a buttercream border around the top. 

This recipe is a bit involved, especially if you want to make your own cookies for the crust first, so I’d suggest reading through the whole recipe before you get started. Also, refer to some general cheesecake tips below:

  • Don’t open the oven at anytime will the cake is baking or resting in the hot oven. Rapid temperature fluctuations can cause cracking and caving.
  • Place a baking sheet under the spring-form pan. Sometimes butter leaks out the bottom which can cause a real mess in your oven otherwise.

Ingredients

Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup cookie crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese

1/2 cup sucanat

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbs. cornstarch

1 tsp. Penzeys ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Penzeys ground ginger

1/4 tsp. Penzeys ground nutmeg

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. melted butter

 

Directions

Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8-inch spring-form pan. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of the spring-form pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese can pumpkin using an electric mixer until smooth. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the other dry ingredients and add to the cream cheese mixture. Again, use the electric mixer, but do not mix more than necessary.

Place the filling in the spring-form pan on top of the cookie crust. Smooth it out using an offset spatula. Be sure that the filling is even and there are no large air pockets underneath. Set the pan on a baking sheet to catch any dripping butter and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let cake rest in the hot oven for another 30 minutes.  Do not open the oven at all during this time! Any rapid changes to temperature will cause the cheesecake to crack or cave in. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely before refrigerating. The cake will need at least three hours in the fridge to set up.

Chocolate Ganache

Place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream and melted butter to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. Let the chocolate and cream sit for 5 minutes before stirring to combine. Pour over cooled cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator to allow ganache to set up.

Optional

  • Use vanilla buttercream frosting to pipe a border around the cheesecake for an extra touch. 
  • Serve with whipped cream. 

Coffee Infused Cake with Mocha Frosting

Hi everyone! Today’s recipe is the latest rendition of crazy cake (also known as depression cake). Crazy cake is super simple and has no eggs, milk, or butter, making it vegan. However, I made a traditional style buttercream frosting, but the whole cake is still egg-free and it’s also possible to use a vegan frosting if need be.

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What makes this crazy cake different than most, is the coffee infusion and mocha frosting! First, I made a coffee syrup with a recipe from The Spruce Eats . Then I mixed some into the cake batter, giving it a mild essence of coffee. But where the flavor is especially evident is in the frosting! It really takes the cake to the next level and is a pleasant surprise to anyone expecting just plain chocolate!

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Ingredients

Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup water

1/4 cup coffee syrup

 

Frosting

Powdered sugar

Unsweetened cocoa

Butter

Coffee syrup

Half and half

 

Directions

Start by making the simple coffee syrup. The recipe is very simple, only requiring coffee and sugar. The recipe is linked above.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease either an 8×8 baking dish or two round 6 inch cake pans. Any regular cooking spray will work as will this cake release recipe from The Barefoot Baker.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then add the wet ingredients without mixing them separately first. Stir until a smooth batter is achieved.

Pour the batter in the cake pans, ensuring even distribution if using two pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool. When they are, a square cake can remain in the pan and be frosted. For a round, layer cake, I highly recommend removing them from the pans, wrapping, and freezing them before attempting to frost and decorate. (I will cover this in more depth in an upcoming cake frosting tutorial.)

While the cake is cooling, making the frosting. There aren’t amounts of each ingredient specified, because just like pie crust, I never use an actual recipe. To give an idea, a layer cake will need roughly four cups of sugar and anywhere from a stick to a stick and half of butter. Then add half and half and coffee syrup, mixing with electric beaters until it just comes together. With a round cake, having a thick frosting is key, but consistency is less crucial with a square cake. A good test is to dip a finger into the frosting. If nothing, sticks it is too dry and if it feels very wet and sticky, it needs more sugar. If the consistency is just right, a little should stick, but it should feel thick.

I apologize for the ambiguity in the frosting recipe. I’m a firm a believer that the best method is to guess and add a little of this and that until it’s right. If you ever have questions though, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Enjoy!

Allergy Pet Peeves

To be completely honest, living with food allergies really isn’t all that bad. As I mentioned in a previous post, Food Allergies: A Blessing in Disguise, allergies have made me much more conscious of what I eat and have really helped me make the transition to clean eating. That being said, I’m looking forward to the day when a cure for allergies is widely available and I don’t have to be paranoid every time I go to a restaurant or try a new food. Not only that, but there are some little things that people do that really get my goat. I thought I would take a moment to share some of them with my non-allergic readers so that you get a better understanding of how we feel. As far as any readers who do have experience with food allergies, I’d love it if you would comment below with your thoughts, ideas, insights, or personal pet peeves.

1. Food-Pushers

Plural noun. A word used to classify people who try to get others to eat more even when they refuse for any given reason.

Food-pushers are most often the mothering/grandma type of people. You know who I’m talking about. The people at any sort of social gathering who say, “Here try this!” or “Did you get enough to eat?”or “Make sure to go back for seconds!” These people may not even be family members, but rather a friend or a co-worker. Of course food-pushers always have good intentions. It’s just that if you have food allergies, those good intentions could have major repercussions. Moral of the story is, if you know someone has food allergies, NEVER encourage/force that person to eat something he/she is uncomfortable with. And if you don’t know whether or not someone has allergies, just don’t push them to eat if they don’t want to. Chances are, if someone has allergies, he/she might feel awkward saying so and would rather politely turn down food and move on.

2. Using Allergies as an Excuse

Few things bother me more than when someone uses “allergies” as an excuse to getting out of eating something they don’t like. For instance, someone might say, “I can’t eat that. I’m allergic to Brussels sprouts,” when we all know they just don’t like Brussels sprouts. Of course this person is just joking around, but allergies are actually very serious and if they knew what it was like to actually have to live with this serious, sometimes life-threatening, condition, they would realize that this is no place for fooling around and can be very offensive to people who do have allergies.

3. Allergy vs. Intolerance

These days, there is so much confusion surrounding terms like allergies, intolerance, sensitivity, etc. I plan to write a specific post on this topic to help clear up some confusion because it really bothers me when people throw around these terms without knowing what they mean. Without going into too much depth, a food allergy is an autoimmune disorder and can range in severity from something as minor as hives to something as life-threatening as anaphylaxis. There can also be gastrointestinal reactions in certain types of allergies which can get confused with an intolerance. The main thing is that allergies have to do with the immune system and everyone reacts differently.

Food intolerance is quite a different matter and can also range from a mild sensitivity where the food makes someone feel a little sick to something extremely serious like celiac disease (a severe gluten intolerance). Even though symptoms may be similar to allergies in the GI cases, the main difference is that sensitivities have to do with the digestive system–not the immune system. Hopefully that clears up a little confusion, but like I said, I will go deeper into this topic in another post.

4. “So what do you eat?”

A common question whenever someone hears just how many allergies I have. It’s less of a pet-peeve and more funny actually. As it turns out, there are way more things that I can eat than things I can’t. It’s just a matter of being extra careful when eating anything I didn’t make.

I also get asked how I survive without baked goods. Then I just have to laugh because as you all know, I find plenty of ways around the egg barrier. Honestly, if one day I can eat eggs, I don’t think I’ll start to bake with them. It’s easy enough to do without and if I used eggs, the batter wouldn’t be safe to eat… 🙂

5. When Someone Insists Something is Safe

Going along with the “food-pusher” idea is when someone insists that food is safe even when you know it might not be and have to awkwardly explain that it’s not while trying not to sound rude or accusing.

For instance, you go to a gathering and your friend says she made something specially without said allergen and thus you can eat it. Well that’s wonderful and a very nice gesture. However, how was that prepared? Was there cross-contamination? Are you sure you didn’t forget about my nut allergy and use almond milk instead of dairy? Or add some almond extract for flavor? That looks like a creamy sauce…are you sure there aren’t eggs? These are just a few of the questions running through my paranoid mind as I try to get out of this terribly uncomfortable situation. Even if after asking all sorts of questions, it may still seem supposedly “safe”, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable eating it and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings when they made something just for me.

Moral of the story, never insist something is safe for someone. You never know and even if it is, it’s never okay to make someone uncomfortable. It’s fine to offer things to food-allergic people when you have something “safe”, but don’t be offended if they turn it down. I can’t speak for everyone with allergies, but personally, I trust no one. It’s not something to take offense to, it’s just me in survival mode and trying to avoid a trip to the hospital. That being said, I still appreciate good-intentions and people trying to help and be nice–sometimes it just ends up being a really awkward situation of me trying to be safe while also not hurting anyone’s feelings.

 

Okay, so living with allergies isn’t as horrible as it may seem. By taking the proper precautions, most issues can be avoided altogether. I just want to raise awareness and help others understand what to do and what not to do to keep the food allergic population safe and comfortable. Food is a very social aspect to cultures across the world, and not being able to take part makes life a little awkward (this is the main reason why I like to avoid some gatherings). There are always explanations needed when I’d rather not answer questions and I don’t like the extra attention I get from all of it. It’s best to not press people with questions and not force anyone into anything–allergies or not.

I hope that helps clear up any confusion and as always feel free to comment with questions, thoughts or personal insights on the topic!