Plum Cake–Gluten and Dairy Free

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This week I’ve been preparing for an epic road trip through the western U.S., involving a grand total of almost thirty hours of driving (split up over the course of about a week) with my seven year old son. Daddy will join us for the last leg and by then, I’m sure I’ll be more than ready for his help. Heck, I’m always ready for his help!

I haven’t been on a journey like this since my free-spirited early twenties, when I thought nothing of driving from Vermont, all the way down the east coast, over to Texas, through Arizona and California and on up to Seattle where I semi-settled down for three years. Armed with a AAA map, my ornery cat and her four nursing kittens nestled in a box and everything I owned crammed into my tiny Jetta, I fearlessly zipped down the highway jamming out to my favorite tunes on the cassette player (yep, I’m dating myself here). I was exhilaratingly free and life was so full of possibilities.

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Zucchini Spice Cupcakes (Gluten and Dairy Free) with Goat Cheese, Lemon and Honey Frosting

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Today was my first official “lazy day” of summer.  For me, that means no client on the schedule and no school or camp for the little one. No long list of errands to run, either!  I suppose there’s people out there that are truly maximizing their “lazy days of summer” and sleeping until noon, lounging by the pool with a good book and/or escaping to a long movie in an over-air-conditioned cinema.  I’ve been there once upon a time and wish I had appreciated and savored those days more!

So, what sort of fun did I manage to whip up for my dear boy today? After feeling guilty for parking him in front of PBS kids while I caught up on laundry, I decided that we would bake together.  I’ve been wanting to refine this recipe for zucchini cupcakes I threw together for a friend’s birthday many months ago.  Those cupcakes were topped with avocado frosting and were delicious. The birthday girl swooned and insisted we call them “spa” cupcakes.  The sugar content in the frosting prohibited any “spa” designation, though. And while I could have done avocado frosting today, I was fresh out of avocados and really didn’t feel like running to the store.

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Orange Rhubarb Cake, Gluten and Dairy Free

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Nothing puts me in a better mood and energizes me more than springtime in Dallas.  Its’ brevity requires that I enjoy every morsel it has to offer.  The brisk mornings that morph into breezy just-warm-enough days, jewel-toned petunias thriving on my patio, and new produce appearing in the markets all make for one happy lady!  April’s display of perk asparagus, plump artichokes, and the arrestingly sleek and beautiful rhubarb make me giddy–a fresh palette from which to concoct healthy deliciousness!!

Oddly enough, I never cooked with rhubarb until a few years ago.  None of my clients had ever requested it and so it wasn’t really on my radar.   Recently, a dear client mentioned that she loves rhubarb, so I’ve been experimenting with it lately.   Continue reading

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake–Gluten and Dairy-Free


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Have you seen that new Target commercial with the supermodel “Mom” strutting her stuff, whisk in hand?  She catwalks through a maze of exploding boxed baking mixes in her white designer frock and 5″ heels towards the camera.  She outstretches her arm revealing a delicate egg.  The voiceover declares, “Dominate that PTA bake sale” as she crushes it in her hand, egg exploding slo-mo style.  It’s brilliant!  The first time I saw it I stood there in my sweats, entranced, and thought:  A.  I want to look like that!, and B. Oh c’mon, boxed mixes, really?!

Now, for those of you who really do want to “dominate that PTA bake sale”, I have a suggestion.  So many people have food allergies these days, so why not bake something gluten and dairy-free?  It’s becoming pretty easy to find alternative baking ingredients like rice flour blends, rice and nut milks, and coconut oil…and even Target carries them now!  Here’s a bake-sale worthy recipe for you.  A sweet/tart lemony pound cake flecked with delicate bits of lavender flowers, infused with lemon syrup and topped with a sweet coconut butter glaze.   This cake is out-of-this-world delicious and no one would ever guess that it’s gluten and dairy-free!  Plus, it contains the added health benefits of coconut oil.

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