Friday, November 19, 2010

Let them eat Cake!

This is the cake I made with the Healthy Top product I shared with everyone for my son's 3rd birthday. I got lucky enough to find an amazing website for all of us dealing with gluten allergies: Art of Gluten Free Baking

I modified Jeanne's recipe for her Chocolate Dump (It) Cake . Here's what I came up with:

Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cake)

For the Cake:
2 C (280g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp pink Himalayan salt
2 C (400g) evaporated cane juice
1/2 C (1 stick; 4 oz; 115g ) organic unsalted butter
4 oz (115g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C (235ml) coconut milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 large or extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
extra melted butter and tapioca flour for the pan

For the Frosting
Healthy Top
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour your tube pan with the extra butter and tapioca flour.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk and the apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the eggs for several minutes–until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
While your eggs are beating, melt together the butter, chocolate, organic evaporated cane juice, and 1 C of water in a saucepan set over very low heat. Whisk to combine. Once melted, remove from heat to cool for a few minutes.
Once the mixture is cool and your eggs are light and fluffy, turn on your mixer to low, and slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Beat until just combined. In alternating batches, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.
Pour into your prepared tube pan. Thump once on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn out onto wire wrack to cool completely.
Whip the Healthy top on high to mimic whipped cream's fluffy and slightly stiff texture. Spread on cake and sprinkle with the semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

What we found with our modified version of this recipe, was a delicious moist cake that was a hit with everyone. To be honest, it didn't even need the "frosting". The trickiest part to me came down to the pans. I used a bundt pan for one version and a pyrex sheet pan for another. With each, I sprinkled the extra tapioca flour on the buttered surfaces and it clumped thickly. Excess flour didn't shake off easily at all. Removing the cakes from the pans was a bit of a delicate operation as well. I had to use a butter knife along the edges of the bundt pan to loosen the cake and coax it out. The surface of the cake is a little delicate so frosting it requires a light hand with plenty of your choice of topping. I think it would still be a success with an alternative topping of just powdered sugar and raspberries. Mangia and enjoy!

Whipped into a frenzy

I have been racking my brain for gluten and dairy free solutions for special occasions and upcoming holidays. Family traditions are important to us and recipes we've used to celebrate these moments have become endangered with these food allergies. And then the heavens opened above, and heavenly light rained down from above. Healthy top has come to our rescue. It's lactose free, gluten free, cholesterol free, soy free, non-gmo, vegan, and kosher. We couldn't ask for much more except, please Lord, let it taste good! I was thrilled at how simple this stuff is to use. It needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before you use it, throw it in a mixing bowl, whisk it for a few minutes and waa laa! Done. It whipped up just as promised and it was very tasty. It doesn't taste exactly like whipped cream but it is pretty close. Here's how I used the final product:

I don't live near a retailer of this product so I found it on

Happy holidays everyone! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let there be Light!

Pumpkin carving has been a Halloween holiday favorite all my life and thankfully, it's been passed on to our kids. Do you have any traditions that you absolutely must do for Halloween?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Scales of Gluten Free living

My family is faced with an interesting set of challenges when it comes to food. We have food allergies that often disqualify the more traditional "fun" foods in life. Among those allergies are gluten and lactose intolerance. (Can you hear the fun with food, circling the drain, before being sucked out of life?) Therefore, desserts are often the most difficult things to work with. I stumbled across this great little recipe and I thought I'd share it.

Chocolate Heart Cookie Gluten Free and No Bake

They have photo's showing their handy work. I made a small adjustment and used orange extract and pure vanilla instead of peppermint extract.

I used Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.
I stuck with Karo for the light corn syrup after making sure it was gluten free. If you're feeling adventurous though and want to give making your own a go, I found another gluten free mom who provided her experience here: Corn-Free Light “Corn” Syrup. She seems to be on her own adventure with food allergies and I think it's great we can all share and benefit from each others experiences. 

I also used a chocolate rice cereal instead of a plain one. Envirokidz Organic Koala Crisp Cereal is one of our favorite brands. 

I used Mother's Choice Organic Butter. The whole recipe was super quick, simple, and tasty. For added fun, I used cookie cutters with my kids in different shapes and sizes. The kids loved them. I had a hard time keeping any on the pan to take photo's of. 

Do you have any quick and simple desserts for gluten and lactose free people? If so, please share!
"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand!"

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Voodoo Love

Buona sera!

I've had some free time today and grabbed some pictures of a piece I've been working on. I created these pieces because I've met so many people looking for someone special. The pieces include red coral, pink swarovski crystals, a small bone skull to protect the wearers heart from those with bad intentions, a bone heart to attract the one the wearer is looking for, brass, bronze, and flower clasps for each piece. Love it or hate it - let me know!


Monday, September 13, 2010

To Our Health!

On each of our personal journey's through life, looking for that magic balance of this and that so that we feel and look great, we can come across some interesting things. I wanted to share this in case it might help someone else on their journey.

Meet Marie Pence of Innergy! Is she not the cutest little thing?! There's this very taboo stigma attached to colonics. I admit, when it was first recommended to me by another health practitioner I had serious reservations. There's so much controversy about everything anymore that I didn't know if it was a good idea for me or not. It took me a little while to actually build up the courage to make that first appointment. And when I did? Holy cow! Marie is a firecracker personality. She talks you through the whole process so nothing is shocking or scary. She's friendly and informative and just a really lovely warm hearted person. Here's a look around her place.

The waiting room full of books with information about our health. Wonderful aromatherapy scents float through the air while you wait to be taken in. 

This is Marie's wonderful infrared sauna on the right and her beautiful little doggie Ceasar in the bottom left.

Ceasar is just too precious for words. So very lovely and sweet.

I could go on about the services Marie provides for a year but there's nothing I could say that would be equal to checking it out for yourself. It's shocking what our bodies hold on to, that sits rotting in our insides and leaching right into our blood stream. It's no wonder we end up feeling so sick and toxic. Removing that yucky build up and helping my body get rid of all that putrid stuff makes me feel SO much better. For instance, with my last one I left with my stomach feeling better and my headache went away.  I know not everything is a good fit for everyone but I can't imagine my life without colonics.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slip Knot of Love

I'm sorry for the absence. I hate posting without any pictures to share and I've been doing badly lately. It's left me confined to the bed for most of my free time. It drives me crazy to the point I've even tried to learn how to knit. I've messed up and am hoping I can get some guidance from a friendly local shop on how to fix it. Those who are experienced might be able to see what I've done in the close up. I was happy with how far I'd come and my hand slipped which took off several of the loops instead of just one. I ended up pulling too hard on the yarn and part of the previous row came undone. I'm too inexperienced to figure out how to fix it. I've been wanting to learn how to do this for awhile now so although I've not been doing well, I'm glad it's given me the opportunity to finally get around to this. I'm hoping to incorporate the knitted textile into some jewelry pieces. I think it could make for some really interesting pieces. Besides, it's that time of year. The weather here is cooling off and I love nothing more than bundling up in soft knits made of comfy yarns. Don't you? Knitting can always add such amazing detail and texture to an outfit for me.

"Knit your hearts 
with an unslipping knot."
-- Antony and Cleopatra 

by William Shakespeare


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

To Monger

To those who haven't managed to visit Pike Place Market and watch the flying fish shows, you're missing out. These guys have this down to an art form. If you're ever around it's something you must go see. They have all kinds of smoked salmon to try and each was delicious. And if you absolutely CAN'T make it? You're in luck! They ship! 

There were so many amazing things to see at the market, including some amazing jewelry. I wish I had gotten more photo's of the other things for everyone but I would have had to be a kung fu master to fight the crowds and still get a good shot. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

VoilĂ !!

Lake Crescent, Olympic Peninsula 6:37 A.M. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Harris State Park

This was the first place we stopped once we were over the border from Oregon to California. I've seen many beaches around the world and I have to rate some of California's as among the best.

The sand was deep and warm, the temperature was perfect, the water was cold without being was one of those moments in life of sheer "Aaaaahhhh". 

An unexpected bonus on this road trip was all of the fantastic little bead and jewelry shops along the 101 Hwy throughout Oregon and California. I wish I'd had more time to explore them. If anyone has a favorite shop along that route, share the info with me. I'd love to hear about it!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tripping the PNW Coast Fantastic

Ah! It's good to be back. Last week we traveled down Hwy 101 through Washington state, Oregon and California. I could just about KICK myself for not stopping and getting more pictures. There were some unbelievable parts to see but I just couldn't bear pulling off the highway into a view spot. Navigating the death defying twists and turns with a wall of rock on one side of the highway and a  sheer drop off into the ocean next to the car, left me white knuckled at best. I've never seen anything like it. We took a stop to stretch our legs at Bruceport State Park in Oregon. We went on a wild adventure down a mysterious path and found lots of great hidden treasures.

And finally, late evening, we reached a spot at a true beach. Can anyone else relate to being slightly freaked out by birds after having seen Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"? If so, then imagine visiting this beach, with that fear, sitting next to a person who got 4 special treats landing on them from above. It was like machine gun fire.
It was a great trip and there are more photo's to come. But, there's no place like home! I can't wait to get back to work and finish my chain maille piece. Ciao! xoxo

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey, Hey, Hey!!!

Time to check in and catch you up to date. I got in and sorted out the chain maille (woo hoo!!) and I got some more fabulous shots of the store to share with you.

The store has much more than just beads and I'm going to see if I can share some photo's of some of the fantastic tie dyed materials in the store they have from some of the local artists soon.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Live Long and Prosper

I have spent much time and many resources in my life trying to sort out the mysteries of good health and my relationship with food. It's not just about looking good. It's about feeling good. I wanted to share two books with you that have really changed my life so far. 

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden is chock full of well researched information. It's written in a clear and concise way and really breaks things down simplistically. I don't know about anyone else, but the simpler it is for me to understand, the better. This was the first source of information that really gave me any solid footing on food and nutrition. Well worth investigating if you're like me at all and struggle with these issues. 

The Enzyme factor by Hiromi Shinya is my latest greatest discovery. This book has a completely different approach. Dr. Shinya's inspiration for researching these types of issues all began from his medical practice. He's one of the most renowned colonoscopists in the United States and he's compiled decades worth of research about life choices impacting our physical health. It's a very good, easy, and short read. It provides a lot of insight into processes in the body and gives good suggestions to alter your lifestyle.

I hope that you get as much or more benefit out of these two books as I do. It's been a long day, an even longer week, and am super happy that it's the weekend! Have a great night everyone!

Rachel of Symbiotic Life

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A New Dawn

Photo courtesy of Nicole Bond

It looks like the gray rainy days of our unusually long spring are fading and the sun.....the beautiful long awaited sun is finally here. With the tide out, it felt like we could walk to and from Seattle across Puget Sound.

The weather was so beautiful I took my work outside and made a good bit of progress on one of my latest pieces. I'm still stuck with my chain maille. Hopefully, I'll take it to Amy Margaret Kapphan who has more experience and she can give me some guidance. She does some amazing work and has a shop on etsy. Definitely a must see to all of us who are into anything handmade. Amy happens to be one of the most killer talented artists in the area. I met her while visiting my local go to spot for supplies, Beads of Bainbridge.

I'll be getting some more photo's of the place to give you guys a peek of the store inside. What I really love about the store, is the quality of their merchandise. It's easy enough to order supplies online or go to a large nationwide chain store and feel like you're getting a "good price" on your supplies, but it's often hard to get a feel for the quality of the items. I've never been disappointed with the quality of any of the supplies I've gotten from here. The store doesn't mark up the prices enough to warrant large scale discount sales. The work areas are another appealing quality to the store. The staff and owners are knowledgeable, talented, creative and helpful. If you're in the area definitely take advantage and visit them at 162 Bjune Dr SE Bainbridge Island, WA.  They carry a lot of work done by the local artists so if you see something you like, you can always take home a piece of the Island with you. I'm hoping I can convince Miss Amy into letting me feature her on the blog. She's amazing! 

Alright everybody, time to run! Enjoy the sun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tip of the iceberg

This weekend was all about exploration and our journey brought us to quaint and wonderful downtown Poulsbo, WA. Our exploration was nowhere near comprehensive so there will definitely be more to come.

We started our day with a fabulous breakfast of frittes buried under sauteed kale and onions, a baked salmon, topped with a poached egg. It was loved all around, even the 2 year old cleaned his plate. 

Downtown Poulsbo and the Poulsbo Marina

Such a neat day and I got to take some pictures for some necklaces I've been working on. 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your feedback! Have a beautiful night everyone.
Rachel of SymbioticLife

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I eat chain maille for breakfast

Alright, so maybe I don't eat it for breakfast.....yet. I've been doing my best to learn the jewelry making form of chain maille. I've taken vintage bronze wire, researched methods, and successfully made my own jump rings. I've been studying the European 4-in-1 technique for making chain maille and to be honest, my first two serious attempts aren't going so well.

 Attempt 1
 Attempt 2

Below is the toggle that inspired this whole necklace to begin with. 

Thank goodness I'm stubborn. I will not only figure out how to do this technique, but I will master it, to the point of a fine art form and angels will sing! :D Ok, maybe that's reaching, but a gal can dream.

Cheers everyone!
Rachel of Symbiotic Life