Simply Divine Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

 

Strawberries are in season which usually inspires me to make strawberry rhubarb crisp or strawberry shortcake, but I had a request for cupcakes for a special occasion so I decided to try something different-  vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting.  After doing a little research, I discovered that using freeze dried strawberries would produce a really intensely flavored strawberry frosting and while I could have made a buttercream, I decided to make strawberry cream cheese frosting. The results were amazing! And the strawberry flavor really came through!

 

Simply Vanilla Cupcakes

 I had some coconut milk leftover and wanted to try it in vanilla cupcakes so I found this recipe and adapted it to be gluten free.  It called for cake flour which was a bit of a challenge, plus sour cream and milk…but I sifted my gluten free flour mix, added a tad more tapioca flour and substituted coconut milk for the sour cream and milk…the results?  Simply yummy!  The first time I just glazed them with a little honey lemon mix; the second time I made an easy chocolate frosting- both were delicious! And now, they’re paired with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting!

Adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Please use organic ingredients; most of these came from Debra’s in West Concord!

  • 1 ¾ c gluten free flour with 2 T. cornstarch, or tapioca flour, sifted
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c butter, room temp
  • ¾ c. Sweet Justice evaporated cane juice
  • 3 large egg whites, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from ½ of a vanilla bean
  • 1 c. coconut milk (Aroya)

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners, and another 4 in a second pan. (I have a 6 cup tin so this worked well).

Sift the flour, and add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter for 1 minute, then add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg whites, vanilla, and vanilla bean.

Beat on medium speed until combined; then add the coconut milk and beat til smooth.

Scrape the sides and add dry ingredients just until incorporated with the mixer on low.

Do not overmix.  Batter will be slightly thick.

Scoop batter into muffin cups- fill 2/3 of the way.

Bake 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or it bounces back when you press lightly with your finger. 

Cool before frosting. 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

 You can get all these organic ingredients at Whole Foods!    cupcake2

  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 8 ou. cream cheese, full fat
  • ¼ c butter
  • 2 ½ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Process the freeze dried strawberries in a food processor until powdery.  You’ll have about ½ cup or slightly less.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter in the large bowl until creamy on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.

Add the cream cheese and beat 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Add vanilla and mix in.

Add confectioners’ sugar and strawberry powder.

Beat on low speed 30 seconds until mixed in, and then beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

Refrigerate to firm up before frosting cooled cupcakes.

If you want, put frosting in a pastry bag with piping tip and pipe on top.

Serve, or refrigerate frosted cupcakes.

Makes more than enough for 14 cupcakes; store leftover frosting up to 5 days in refrigerator or freeze and use later.

You could also use freeze dried raspberries, or even blueberries or mango for this frosting- experiment with them all!

 

Cauliflower Puree

I’m not a cauliflower fan, but this recipe from Once Upon a Chef charmed me into trying it by saying that it tastes remarkably like mashed potatoes…and so it does! Creamy, comfort food- for the holidays or not, it’s delicious anytime!

I used water instead of chicken broth, and Carrington organic ghee and coconut oil instead of butter (easier to digest). I’m sure the broth and butter are yummy too…your choice. I also added a couple of potatoes because I wanted the mix and had potatoes to use. Organic ingredients of course…

1 head cauliflower cut into 2 inch pieces (no need to keep florets intact)

3 fist size potatoes (golden are good)

1 cup chicken broth or water

1 tsp salt

3T butter (Carrington ghee and coconut oil spread)

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground lemon pepper and additional salt to taste

In a large pot, bring the water/broth and salt to a boil. Add the potatoes and cauliflower; bring to a boil again. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander but save 3 T of the water/broth and transfer to a food processor. Add 3 T of water/broth and butter/ghee. Process until smooth. Add thyme. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.

Muqueca- A Soup to Transition from Winter to Spring

Try this satisfying Brazilian soup/stew and you’ll be making it again and again…

Muqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

This is one of my favorite dishes!  I first tasted it at Nashoba Brook Café in West Concord, and decided I had to make it at home! My version is adapted from Saveur magazine and I think it’s the best!  You can make it with scallops, swordfish, and mix it up with shrimp, but it’s traditionally made with firm white fish like cod, catfish, or halibut.  You can spice it up with more cayenne, and you can use light or regular coconut milk. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, use canned. You can also use fresh, raw shrimp but I always have large frozen shrimp, wild caught, on hand which speeds things up. And organic veggies of course!

  • 1 ½ lb. cod or any firm white fish, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 8 oz large shrimp, cooked, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper (orange or yellow)
  • 1 T. sweet paprika (not smoked)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (or small tomatoes), chopped
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 can coconut milk, 14 oz
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped Thai basil (if you can’t find Thai basil, use regular basil)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Toss the cod, shrimp, lime juice and 4 cloves of garlic in a bowl; set aside.

Heat olive oil in large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add onion, pepper, and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes.  Add paprika and tomatoes, and stock; cook until broken down, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and cayenne pepper.  Add fish and shrimp and cook through about 7 minutes. Add cilantro and Thai basil; season with salt and pepper.

Serve over rice. (I use brown rice, but traditionally, white rice is used.)

A New Year, A New Offering

curry

Happy 2019!

Time to try something new!  I have felt rumblings of change or flux for some time now but haven’t had a clear sign as to how that might manifest.  One of my visions has been to write a cookbook, but I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen cooking than typing recipes!  And while many suggested I blog my recipes, I resisted, thinking that it would take too long, be too difficult, and not be fun.  Well that was my story, but now, I’m ready to dive in and try it. I’m not a fan of typing or sitting at the computer… (friends ask me for my recipes and I never have them typed)… but it’s time for me to start sharing so that you too can enjoy my favorite foods!

The rough plan? Rather than create a new website..I’m going to add a tab on my existing site for recipes. If you’re a foodie like me and love trying different recipes, I hope you’ll stay tuned and check mine out!

Conscious Cooking with Clare

A little background on what kind of recipes I’m sharing and why…I have had IBS for almost my entire life, but in 2011, I got Salmonella and things went haywire.  I had antibiotics and my gut has never been the same.  Foods that I loved, I could no longer eat.  What to do?

After many, many tests and elimination diets, working with various health practitioners, as well as reading, researching, and learning about dysbiosis and the microbiome, and after very disciplined eating regimes, I can finally mostly manage my IBS.  So the recipes here will be healthy, clean (organic and non-GMO) and yummy!  They will also be gluten free, lactose free and limited in sugar but with many variations and substitutions so anyone can enjoy them!  I’m calling it Conscious Cooking with Clare…I hope you’ll join me as I embark on this new adventure!

Cooking Class at Emerson

If you’d like to sample some recipes and learn more about what I mean by Conscious Cooking, I’ll be teaching a class at Emerson on Feb 7th called Conscious Cooking for Your IBS – Take Control!  Details are on my website and at EmersonWellness.org.  Click here

If you’re not interested in the recipes, no worries…I will still be posting articles that pertain to your career and life…things that affect your job search, well being, and outlook and are important from my perspective…like mindfulness, compassion, gratitude, personality types, fears, energy levels, meditation, communication styles, perfectionism, believing in yourself, and more.  So stay tuned… in the meantime, here’s the first recipe:

kale_soup_blog

Immune Boosting Soup

Serves 6-8

This Tuscan style soup, with sweet potatoes, kale and garlic, contains lots of antioxidants that help boost your immune system. Don’t cut back on the garlic; it mellows with cooking.  Try different spices; I love cumin and turmeric, maybe a little chili powder…or sometimes a little salsa. You can also puree half of it if you like. This soup freezes well and is nice to have on hand when cold season hits.  You can get all these ingredients at Debra’s, Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe’s.

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian herbs, dried
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or bone broth)
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (omit if you can’t eat beans)*
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes or 14-20 oz. canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 4-8 oz. Kale, chopped coarsely
  • 9-12 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (I use about ¼-1/2 tsp)

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and herbs; sauté until onion is soft and golden, about 5-6 minutes.

Stir in broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and kale.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.

Add garlic and tomatoes.  Simmer until potatoes and greens are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

*If you can’t eat beans, you can substitute chicken or chicken sausage!

Enjoy!