Patterned Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Roll (gluten free & vegan)


aka Four Thieves Gone cake

Patterned cake rolls are fun any time of year, but are especially welcome at the holiday table. This one is filled with creamy chocolate peanut butter frosting.  Gluten-free and vegan.  

gluten free vegan cake roll patterned cake roll chocolate peanut butter cake roll avett cake how to patterned cake roll four thieves gone cake

A few weeks ago, I found myself at a rare but happy juncture: all my short-term projects were complete, and I didn’t have to start any new ones just yet. I knew exactly what I wanted to unexpected bounty of time: I wanted to tackle the patterned cake roll. A task that requires focus and precision, careful planning, strict attention.  All qualities that I’m no good at.

My faults are many, but there are some that stand out among others. I’m spacey. My mind wanders and rambles. I get overwhelmed and lost in details of planning. I’d like to say that I’m constantly working to liberate myself of these shortcomings, but that would be a lie. Life is messy for everyone, and sometimes I’m so busy that I forget that I want to be better.

gluten free vegan cake roll patterned cake roll chocolate peanut butter cake roll avett cake how to patterned cake roll four thieves gone cake

The classic method of self-improvement is practice. If you’re a slow runner, you do sprints. If you’re a clumsy dancer, you stretch and repeat steps until you find grace. When you’re unfocused, you practice precision.  And since I love to bake, I chose to practice precision through cake.

To make a pattered roll cake, you must first select your pattern. You can choose anything you like, hearts or Christmas trees or cats. I picked the album cover of one of my most beloved records of all time, Four Thieves Gone, by The Avett Brothers. They’ve been my favorite band for over a decade, and have affected my life in an ineffable way. But I’m getting distracted. Let’s talk about cake some more.

gluten free vegan cake roll patterned cake roll chocolate peanut butter cake roll avett cake how to patterned cake roll four thieves gone cake

Once you’ve picked out & prepared the pattern (details in and below the recipe), it’s time to start piping. You whip up a stiff batter and scoop it into plastic zip-seal bag. Cut an infinitesimal corner off the bag. Don’t use a frosting tip — even that will be too large. Make a few practice doodles and then start piping over the prepared pattern. Take your time, catching as many lines and curves as you can. Take breaks when you get tired, don’t rush. You can even make the pattern one day and then bake the following day. Once the pattern is complete, freeze it to prevent warping. Then whip up the cake batter and carefully pour it over the frozen pattern.

Once the cake is baked and cooled, you can frost it. Even though I’m not a big frosting girl, I feel in love with the gooey middle of this cake. It’s creamy and dark, with none of the grittiness that is present in buttercream. Gently roll up the cake.

To serve, pour a big glass of milk and cut the cake with a serrated knife. Share it with someone who loves you, flaws and all.

gluten free vegan cake roll patterned cake roll chocolate peanut butter cake roll avett cake how to patterned cake roll four thieves gone cake

Pattern printout is below the recipe. You will need to print out three pattern pieces. I’ve also included patterns from other albums, as well as instructions on how to make your own pattern

Patterned Chocolate Peanut Butter Roll Cake

I always use Bob's cup-to-cup GF flour and I love it. (not sponsored) If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I'm a stickler for sifting gluten-free flour. Sift while you measure, not before or after. It always yields better results, so don't skip it. For this recipe, I recommend sifting three times. This will avoid a gummy cake texture.

This recipe calls for bananas. Traditionally, bananas used in baking are the over-ripe, super soft kind. For this recipe, you want to do the opposite. Use bananas that are firm and still have a light green tinge.

You will need a10.5 x 15" jelly roll pan


    batter for the pattern outline (dark)
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba*
  • 1/4 cup of vegan butter, like Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • batter to fill in the pattern outline (white)
  • Copy outline batter, subbing 1/2 cup flour for the 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • for the cake
  • 2 flax eggs**
  • 1 cup of mashed banana, from firm bananas (about 2 of them)
  • 2 tbsp vanilla or spiced rum
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups very well sifted gluten free flour
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • creamy frosting
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milkfat***
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt


    for the pattern
  1. Mix the batters for the pattern outline and pattern filling. Scoop both into little zip-seal bags and cut an infinitesimal bit of the corner off the bag. It's essential that your cut is super tiny so that you can get as much detail out of the pattern as possible..
  2. Place a strip of parchment over your pattern printout and loosely affix with tape.It also helps to place it on a piece of cardboard for stability (like from a cut-up cereal box). Carefully pipe out the pattern outline with the darker batter. Place the parchment strip in the freezer until the batter hardens.
  3. Repeat with the other two pattern strips.
  4. Once the outline is hardened, pipe the fill-in pattern batter over the top, and then allow to freeze again. Leave in freezer until baking time
  5. for the cake
  6. Preheat oven to 350
  7. Combine the flax eggs, the bananas, the vanilla, the cinnamon, the salt, and the sugar, until well blended and smooth.
  8. Add the almond milk and blend again.
  9. Add the flour and the baking powder and blend again till smooth. Do not over blend
  10. Remove the pattern pieces from the freezer and line them, batter side up, in the jelly roll pan. Add plain parchment to line the rest of the pan. Tip: rubbing the pan with coconut oil will help the pieces stick and stay flat
  11. Carefully pour the batter into the pan
  12. Bake at 350 for 20-22 min.
  13. Remove from oven and immediately flip out onto a flat surface. (pattern side is facing up) Peel away the parchment. Once it cools some, move it to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.
  14. For the icing
  15. Combine coconut milkfat, peanut butter, and salt till smooth. Add the almond milk.
  16. Add the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder in a little bit at a time. Combine till smooth.
  17. to assemble
  18. Lay a piece of parchment or wax paper down on your work surface. Carefully turn the cake back over (so that the pattern is face down) onto the paper.
  19. Spread the icing all over. Tip- if the edges are super crusty, slice them off for easier rolling.
  20. Using the paper to help you lift the corners, gently begin to roll the cake up. Make sure that you start rolling at the blank, non-patterned end.
  21. Once it's rolled up, you can either serve it right away or wait for it to chill. If you wait for it to chill, the roll will hold better.
  22. Serve with love.


* aquafaba is the leftover liquid from canned chickpeas. If you are not a vegan, you may use an egg white, should it be more convenient.

**One flax egg = 3 tbsp water+1tbsp flax meal

***coconut milkfat is the creamy solid from a can of coconut milk. Chill the can for a few hours, allowing the fat to separate from the water. Scoop the fat cleanly off the top.

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pattern printouts 

I made the pattern printout in Photoshop. If you don’t want to use the Four Thieves Gone pattern or any of the other albums listed above, you can create your own pattern. Here’s how:

  1. Create a new file in Photoshop. (File – New) It should be 1050 pixels wide and 325 high. This will make it the width to fit in a jelly roll pan
  2. Pick an image that you want to turn into a pattern and open it in Photoshop. If can be square or rectangular. Crop or scale it down to 325 pixels high. You can also desturate it if you wish. clover3
  3. Click control+A followed by control+C to select the photo
  4. Paste your photo into your blank canvas as many times as it will fit. clover4
  5. Then flip the image so that it’s backwards. This ensures that it will be forwards on the cake (image…image rotation…horizontal flip) clover5

And then print it out and you’re ready to go! 🙂


Fangirl’s Blueberry Bliss Bars

These blueberry bliss bars are soft and sweet and nutty. In the classic lazy baker method, they come together in a single bowl. GF, vegan, (paleo, I think) but no one has to know. Shhhh. Don’t think. Just bake.

Blueberry Bliss Bars (vegan blueberry bread)

A few months ago, y’all might recall I post a recipe for Simon Snow’s Sour Cherry Scones. These blueberry bliss bars are the pastry genesis of that recipe.

Allow me to explain.

(or simply scroll past the explanation to the recipe. I don’t blame ya)

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is one of my favorite comfort books. I read it all the time, even if it’s just a bit here and a chapter there. Rowell’s Carry On, Simon came out of Fangirl (sort of).  The fangirl in Fangirl snacked on blueberry bliss bars while writing Simon Snow fanfiction. Fanfiction Simon snacked on sour cherry scones. So blueberry bliss bars churned out the writing that churned out the scones.blueberry bliss bars vegan gluten free paleo

Are you still with me?

Good. That explanation was complicated, but these bars are simple. One bowl kinda simple. Fewer dishes kinda simple. Your nana-made-it-with-a-lot-of-love kinda simple.

The bars are soft and sweet and nutty and melt magically in your mouth. If you adore a good blueberry muffin, you’ll love these.

They are made with almond flour.  Almond flour is an occasional ingredient for me, as opposed to a regular ingredient. I love the taste (my mom says that almond flour makes everything fantastic), but it’s too pricey and rich for everyday use.

Books, however, are always cause for celebration.

little purple wildflowers

Like warmer weather, and rain, and wildflowers and hot sweaty summers and almost being DONE with school. I still I have to take my Boards this summer, but for now, I’m ignoring my overpriced test prep texts in favor of other literature. Clearly.

Speaking of little bits of bliss, I still can’t get over Chewbacca lady.  💗

What small joys do you celebrate?

blueberry bliss bars gluten free vegan paleo


Fangirl’s Blueberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8-10 bars


  • 1/2 cup of very ripe mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • sesame seeds, optional


  1. Combine bananas, maple syrup, flax egg, apple cider vinegar, almond extract, salt, and cinnamon. Blend well.
  2. Stir in the almond flour, followed by the baking powder. Allow the batter to rest for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the batter is resting, preheat oven to 350 and line a 8 x 4 loaf pan with parchment.
  4. Place the batter in the loaf pan and smooth it out.
  5. Swirl just over half of the blueberries into the batter. Smooth it out again.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over top of the batter. Sprinkle on sesame seeds if you wish.
  7. Bake for 55 min - 1 hour, until it's nice and golden. The middle may not turn gold.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
  9. Serve with love. makes 8-10 bars, depending on how you cut them.
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Blueberry Bliss Bars Vegan Gluten Free

Ugly Christmas Sweater Apple Gingerbread

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

This gingerbread almost didn’t happen. I made it so many times and it kept failing on me, and I was about to give up. Aw heck. But this final result made it all worth it — moist and spicy and sweet. Soft, toothsome. It’s a gingerbread dream.

I’d found a little bag of mini cookie cutters at the flea market and I bought them on a whim with no real plans for them. There was a gingerdude somewhere in there too, but I lost him. I’m sure he’ll turn up when I’m looking for something else. Still — Apatosaurus cookie cutter. 🐪

yes, i realize that is a camel emoji, but i’m pretty sure there’s no dino emoji. so squint and pretend the camel is a dinosaur.

This gingerbread is so very easy. It starts with a basic homemade apple sauce, and then you just throw in some molasses and ginger and other sweet things. I realized after I put it in the oven that I hadn’t put any oil in (which the other recipes did have).  So no extra oil, yay! But it does have quite a bit of added sugar. Legal addictive substances, yay!

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

Speaking of substances, this was also supposed to have rum in it, but I went through all of the rum on the trial runs of this. Part of the rum went into the apple gingerbread, and part of the rum went me. Rum can soothe many a kitchen disaster, but it can also cause them.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

While I’m on the topic of booze, I  just realized it’s legal to sell diluted spirits here. Whhhhattt! That’s no fun. If I’m spending the money on it, I want whatever percentage it left the distillery at. I’m already a cheap date (two drinks and I’m done) so I don’t think it’s a lot of ask for, right? Now I have to be a label hawk on my booze too. Who’s idea was this? Probably some tax driven thing or what not.

I guess this cake is like a good spiced rum, even though it ended up not having any rum in it. It’s full flavored, deep and dark and satisfying. It’s just the thing to bring to your ugly sweater party.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

Ugly Christmas Sweater Apple Gingerbread


  • 6 apples
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, plus 3 tsp
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (I used Rodelle)
  • 2 cups of Bob's Red Mill GF flour in the blue bag
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Chop up 4 1/2 of the apples. Place in a pot over medium heat, with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Snap the cinnamon stick in half and put in in there as well. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and puree till smooth.
  2. While the apples are cooking, carefully cut the remaining 1 1/2 apples into thin slices. Use mini cookie cutters to get shapes out of the slices. Place the shapes in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350
  4. You should have ended up with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce, maybe a little more. You won't end up using all of the sauce.
  5. Combine two cups of the apple sauce, the vanilla, the molasses, the brown sugar, and the ginger.
  6. Combine the flour, salt, baking power, and baking soda.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
  8. Pour batter into a lined pan. Pat the apple cutouts dry, and then arrange on top of the batter. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of the apple pieces
  9. Bake for 45-48 minutes. I baked it for 48, and it came out super moist.
  10. Combine 4 tsp of the apple sauce with 3 tsp brown sugar. Brush over top as a glaze. This step is optional.
  11. Enjoy!

Although I mention two brand names in this recipe, this is not sponsored content. I did receive a free box of Rodelle goodies as part of a giveaway.

ugly sweater gluten free vegan gingerbread

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies (v, gf)

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookiesIt’s been so long since I’ve made sugar cookies. I’m not talking about since last Christmas or the Christmas before that.  The last time I made sugar cookies, I was in college and took a historic costume class, and I was giving a presentation on Marie Antoinette’s personal style. I made cookies in the shape of the Dauphine’s  hair to hand out during my talk.  I don’t know why I chose her hair, but then again, I don’t know why I chose to be a history major. I don’t know why it’s been so long since I’ve made sugar cookies!

Luckily, these sugar cookies really make up for that lapse. How good were they? Baked at 2 pm and gone by 6. I brought them to dinner at Jason’s parents’ house, even though the supply was already pretty decimated by the time we got there (not my doing, btw).

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies

Anyways, everyone ate them up. Even my brother in law, who told me that he “wouldn’t have tried them before hand if he’d known they were gluten free and vegan, and that he couldn’t even tell.” That reminded me of this Onion article, so I tried to avoid eye contact when he said that. Please read the article, it’s hilarious.

I think the best part about them was when my little nephew’s face lit up after having a bite. Making people happy with food is a pretty wonderful feeling, don’t you think?

Speaking of making people happy, my mom was peering over my shoulder the whole time I was making these, and may have mentioned one or two or three times that she doesn’t like the new blog name. I thought that I might as well explain it to y’all.

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies

It comes from a case of intentionally misunderstood lyrics. As in “we know they’re singing this, but it sounds like they’re singing this, and it’s funnier this way.” Lonely Starbucks Lovers.

The opening lines to the Avett Brothers song Laundry Room are “don’t push me out.” If you don’t know them, Google the live version, not the studio version, please.  Avett fans know that the boys absolutely adore cats,  which is why don’t push meow is an amusing alternate lyric. Sometimes we all need an amusing alternate version to life,  so I thought this was a pretty good blog name. *shrugs

Of course, you don’t need an alternate version to anything when you have a sugar cookie in your hand. These are nutty and a tiny bit under-sweet. I made them under-sweet on purpose because I don’t like a super sweet cookie and then super sweet frosting on top…and I knew I wanted the frosting to be really sweet. The sticky finger kind of sweet, the sugar coma on a Sunday morning syrup kind of sweet. This frosting tastes exactly like the kind of goo that comes on cinnamon rolls.    Which is kind of making me wish they weren’t all gone. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to make more of them. Darn.

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies


Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies (v, gf)


  • 9-11 roasted chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 2 flax eggs (6 tbsp almond milk + 2 tbsp flax meal)
  • 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill GF flour in the blue bag, not the red bag
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • for the frosting
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • food coloring, if desired


  1. Grind the chestnuts and pecans to a flour. You should end up with 1 cup of nut flour.I find a get a finer meal if I add in a little bit of the GF flour towards the end of the grinding process.
  2. Combine the nut flour, the GF flour, the cinnamon, the salt, and the baking powder.
  3. Combine the flax eggs, the coconut oil, the vanilla, and the sugar.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones.
  5. You don't HAVE to chill the dough, but I always find it helpful. in the rolling and cutting process. I made the dough at night and didn't roll & bake until the next afternoon.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400.
  7. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment, to about 1/6th - 1/8th of an inch thick. Cut out the cookies -- you should end up with out 36-40.
  8. Bake for 6 minutes.
  9. for the frosting
  10. Combine all ingredients and spread or paint over the cookies. Frosting will harden.
  11. Enjoy with family and friends.

adapted from Ethel’s Sugar Cookies in the classic Betty Crocker Cooky Book

this is not sponsored content, I just like Bob’s 1 to 1 mix.


Hidden Rainbow Vegan Chili

hidden rainbow vegan chili Lately Jason has been asking me to “blog him up some chili.” When you ask like that, babe, how can I say no? eye roll.  Making people happy with food is one of my weak spots and he knows it.

What he doesn’t know (what he didn’t know as he gobbled it up and asked for seconds) is how many good things are in this chili.  Little grape tomatoes, and big earthy carrots, acorn squash, corn, tomatillos and avocado and jalapeno; purple potatoes. You practically have the entire spectrum here. Sorry blue.

hidden rainbow vegan chili My mom used to say that the more color you have on your plate, the healthier it is. I’m sure this rule is too simple to be totally true, but it’s also too simple to be false. It just plain common sense. Which means that this chili is full of stuff you want to put in your body.

The base is tomatillos, so you get that amazing green chili/salsa verde flavor. Talk about craveable. I like chili that I can chew, so I cut my carrots in big chunks. It probably makes the cooking time just a little longer, but when it comes to chili, you kind of want a longer cooking time (still under an hour). It gives all the flavors time to melt into one another and get snug. Deep. Rich. Spicy.

I might of had a few corn chips on the side. It’s a chili rule, right? You have chili, you must have chips. And I don’t feel bad about it, one little bit.  I’m not one to justify I-had-something-healthy-so-I-can-have-something-naughty. I had the corn chips because I plain old felt like it. Because, like I said, I like to make people happy with food. And one of those people is me. hidden rainbow vegan chili

Hidden Rainbow Vegan Chili


  • 10 small purple potatoes (about 11 oz worth of potatoes), cubed
  • 2 cups of cubed acorn squash
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped (big chunks, not neat little die)
  • 1 1/4 lbs tomatillos
  • 2 large jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium large onion, diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth (I like Kitchen Basics)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Topping
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • olive oil
  • salt and chili powder
  • 2 avocados
  • small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 pt grape tomatoes
  • for serving
  • scoop corn chips


  1. Blend up the tomatillos and half of the onion.
  2. Pour the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat.
  3. Once the oil is shimmering, stir in the garlic.
  4. Once the garlic becomes fragrant (less than a minute), stir in the rest of the onion, the squash, the carrots, and the tomatillo puree. Cover the pot.
  5. After ten minutes, stir in the potatoes. Cover once again.
  6. After ten more minutes, stir in the black beans, red beans, jalapenos, and vegetable broth. Cover once again and allow to cook for 35-38 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and add salt to taste.
  7. Turn on the broiler
  8. Slather the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and chili powder.
  9. Put the corn under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 minutes, and then turn again and cook for 4 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  10. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels.
  11. Chop up the avocados and grape tomatoes.
  12. Divide the chili among the serving bowls and sprinkle with the corn, grape tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
  13. Serve with love and a big pile of corn chips.

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts gluten free vegan apple donuts

It’s apple time!

I’m sure you’ve been seeing lots of apple donut recipes lately. There’ s a reason for that, you know. Apple donuts are classic. One of the things defines a classic (recipe, song, outfit, story et al) is that you can spin it many different ways and yet it remains timeless.

These are made with oat flour and fresh apple sauce and dates. I’m in love with the apple glaze here — sweet and sticky, a perfect compliment to the gentle walnut crunch.

I’m including the apple sauce recipe, not because I think you’re a moron who doesn’t know how to make apple sauce. I know you can make sauce. But everyone’s ideal apple sauce is different – I normally like mine spicy and chunky, eaten cold with  yogurt – so I’m just sharing what works best for this particular donut

Apple Glazed Apple Donuts


  • apple sauce
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, & sliced
  • donuts
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 dates
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • glaze and topping
  • 2 1/2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • small handful of chopped walnuts


    for the apple sauce
  1. Place the apples in a small saucepan with about an inch of water. Cover and cook over medium heat 16-18 minutes. Stir the sauce and turn off the heat. Allow to sit, covered, for about 18 more minutes. Remove from burner and puree till smooth. Allow to sauce too cool before continuing. The sauce can be made a few days beforehand, if you like.
  2. for the dohnuts
  3. Grind the oats to a smooth and silky flour and set aside
  4. Place the dates in a small bowl, and cover with 1/3 cup water. Microwave 3-4 minutes. Do not drain the remaining water. Puree to a paste. Set aside.
  5. Combine the oat flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Combine the apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla, and date paste.
  7. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  8. Preheat oven to 425.
  9. Divide the batter evenly in a 6-ring donut pan.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. for the glaze
  12. Combine the apple sauce, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Lay the top of the donut down in the glaze to coat it. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Enjoy


Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crusts

Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crusts

I had a pretty wonderful weekend. It was rather busy, but a lot of wedding things that are finished, so I felt rather relaxed.  I worked a lot and ran a lot and didn’t think about the wedding at all. I’m mad for March Madness, so while BGE and I were living it up watching basketball, I made these pies. I have hard time just sitting and watching sports, but I enjoy watching sports while doing other things.

Let me tell you about these little guys. First, they’re vegan and gluten free. Second, they have booze in them – hurray! And best of all, they’re double crusted, which delights me. I’m such a chocolate girl, but I have to say that the real star here is the bottom peanut butter crust.  It’s salty and crunchy and I could eat just this crust and still be happy. In fact, after I made these, a made a few crusts so I could eat them bare.

I’ve always had an issue with banana-based ice cream, because I feel that no matter what you do to it, it still tastes like bananas. That’s not a problem in this dessert, because it’s supposed to taste like bananas. Slightly boozy bananas. And yes, I checked to make sure the rum I used was vegan.

The only hard part was, I made these on Saturday night, and it rained all day Sunday, so I couldn’t eat the pies because I wasn’t able to photograph them until today. I work weekends, so I usually have Mondays off (yes, that’s as good as it sounds). It was so nice and sunny for pictures, I only wish I could have done these pies justice. I’m still working on making food look as good as it tastes.

Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crusts


Life is good.


Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crusts

Yield: 2 4-inch pies


    for the bottom crust:
  • 3 cups of corn Chex, divided
  • 6 tbsp creamy peanut butter, divided
  • salt
  • for the middle ice cream layer:
  • 4 bananas
  • 1/4 cup of rum
  • 10 dates, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup salted peanuts
  • for the top crust
  • 3/4 cup corn chex
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter for drizzle, optional


    for the bottom crust:
  1. Use a blender to crush 1 1/2 cups of the corn Chex.
  2. Melt 3 tbsp of the peanut butter.Combine peanut butter, crushed cereal, and a dash of salt. Mix it will with your hands and then press into a 4-inch biscuit cutter.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for second pie, using the remaining cereal and peanut butter. I guess you can do it all in one fell swoop, but I wanted to ensure that both crusts were the same thickness. As it was, they still came out a little uneven. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use a large can with both ends cut off, or even make this into one larger 8-inch pie.
  4. Put crusts in the freezer to set.
  5. for the ice cream
  6. Put the dates in a microwave-safe dish and add water to cover. Microwave 1 - 2 minutes until soft, then drain the water.
  7. Combine bananas, rum, dates, vanilla, and cinnamon in a blender until smooth.
  8. Place mix in freezer till somewhat hardened, then swirl in the salted peanuts. For a smoother consistency, pour banana mixture into an ice cream maker and process. That's what I did, but I can understand not wanting to get your ice cream maker out or just not having one.
  9. Once ice cream reaches a consistency that is just a little harder than soft serve, spoon it onto the crusts. Place back in freezer.
  10. for the top crust:
  11. Melt the chocolate and dip the Chex in, one by one. Place on a parchment- or freezer covered tray. Let them sit for about 8-10 minutes until they are tacky but not completely hardened.
  12. Using your thumb and forefinger, carefully pile chocolate-covered Chex on top of ice cream and return to freezer.
  13. Once chocolate and ice cream are both set, drizzle with additional melted peanut butter.


For best taste and texture, let these warm up a little bit after you take them out of the freezer. What's five more minutes?

Berry Cream Pie (paleo and vegan)

paleo berry pie paleo pie vegan berry pie mini pie cute pie

If there’s one thing that I’m infamously bad at, it’s time management. I have a huge calendar right by the apartment door and I have to write stuff in big letters or else I’ll forget about it. And don’t get me started on my poor, abused daily planner. 

The wedding is less than three months away and there’s still so much to do. My aunt, who is pretty much a wedding expert, has this huge list for us and we’re trying to make sure everything gets done on time. We have all the big stuff taken care of, but we’re trying to nail down the details. Honey, I really don’t care what your dad wears. No, mom, I still haven’t found comfortable shoes yet.

Aaaaand the lady who sold me my dress assured me that there would be cloth leftover from hemming to make me some sleeves and there isn’t. So I might not have sleeves, which I had my heart set on. Plus, I’m going back to school and classes start two days after the wedding. So I have to get everything all set for that too.

paleo pie berry pie vegan pie gluten free pie crust cream pie

All this wouldn’t be a problem if I weren’t so terrible at planning.  (Why am I still writing, there are other things I should be doing right now.)

Luckily, this pie comes together lickety-split.

Mix, bake, mix, pour, refrigerate. DONE.

Now excuse me while I go find a mini pizza box to put the rings in. We’re having the ring bearer carry that instead of a pillow, as an ode to BGE’s pizza worship. Thanks to Jocelyn over at Inside Bru Crew Life for the idea!

paleo pie berry pie vegan pie mini pie berry pie cream pie gluten free pie crust

Berry Cream Pie


    for the crust
  • 1 banana
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups of fine almond flour (it depends on how ripe your banana is. The greener is is, the less flour you'll need. If it's on the riper side, you'll need more flour)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • for the filling
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 can of chilled coconut milk
  • 16 dates
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • for the optional garnish
  • 1/4 of a banana
  • 1/4 cup fine almond flour


    for the crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash the banana.
  3. Add 1 cup of almond flour to the banana. If it still seems mushy, add the other 1/4 cup.
  4. Add in the salt and baking soda.
  5. Press crust evenly into a small baking dish (mine was a 23 oz stoneware oval dish, 9 x 6 x 1).
  6. Prick bottom of crust with a fork.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  8. Allow crust to cool before continuing.
  9. for the filling
  10. Put the dates in a microwave-safe dish with enough water to cover.
  11. Microwave them 2 minutes and drain away the water.
  12. Puree dates in the blender and set aside.
  13. Microwave the blueberries until just room temp.
  14. Scoop the fat out of the can of coconut milk. Save the water for smoothies or something, you won't be needing it for this recipe.
  15. In a blender combine the blueberries, half of the coconut fat, and half of the pureed dates.
  16. Pour blueberry mix into the cooled pie crust.
  17. Repeat steps 12-14 with raspberries.
  18. Add the cinnamon and vanilla to the raspberries.
  19. You'll notice that there is a lot less raspberry mix than you had blueberry mix, because raspberries hold less water. That's ok -- it's exactly what you want.
  20. Put the raspberry mix into a pastry bag with the tip cut off. Drizzle over the blueberry mix and then run a knife though it to make a swirl pattern.
  21. Put the pie in the fridge to set, about 4 hours.
  22. for the optional garnish
  23. Combine banana and almond flour, shape or cut into little hearts. Bake for 10-12 min at 350.
  24. Allow hearts to cool before putting them on the pie.

Happy Salad

beet grapefruit avocado salad spicy fruit salad

There is so much about this salad that makes me happy.

It has beets. Awesome, awesome beets, which have been proven to improve athletic performance and recovery.

It as a creamy, sliced-just-as-it-was-ripe avocado.

Ok, the grapefruit I threw in because the two blood oranges I brought home from the store were kinda disappointing.

But best of all, it has my favorite salad dressing of all time. You probably can’t even call it a dressing. There’s no prep work. It’s just lemon, chili, and salt. It’s a super classic combination that goes well on just about ever fruit or veggie or root that you could ever pick.


I wanted some jicama for this too, but I’m kind of glad I couldn’t find any because this turned out so good just the way it is. I’m even glad that the blood oranges were bad because this grapefruit was bursting with flavor….you know how sometimes you can get the bland, disappointing ones? Not this. What’s even better is that I usually get bad photo luck on my day off and get stuck with a cloud cover. But the sky was bright and waiting for spring.

It’s probably kind of silly to get this happy about a salad, where would be be without the everyday little things that bring us joy? 

Happy Salad


  • 1 large beet, grated
  • 1 grapefruit, sectioned
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • chili pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • pistachios


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy.

Crispy Kale and Potato Stacks

A few years ago, I was at a diner having brunch with my family. My aunt offered me her leftover hash browns, and I shrugged. Ok. As she passed the plate over, she gave me a sheepish look. “I only ordered them because I like the crispy crust,” she explained.

I looked down at the potatoes. All the crust had definitely been picked off, showing the pasty tubers below. They were pale. There might have been an onion in there somewhere. But they definitely didn’t look or sound good anymore.

And I realized my aunt was right. She was the kind of person who was right about pretty much everything, and hash browns were no exception.

The best part of the hash brown is the crust. So we need a hash brown that is all crust, and these potatoes are nothing but crust. Well, there’s a little kale in there too, but what you won’t find are sad, slimy, undercooked hash brown middles. (Oh, dear please don’t let me have offended the people who like hash brown middles. We’re still pals, right?)

Serve these hot, with a side of sunny side up eggs and a big glass of freshly squeezed juice. We had them as breakfast-for-dinner. There was some leftover sauce and I had it the next morning, mashed up with a hard-boiled egg before work. I’m pretty sure this sauce would be a perfect sandwich spread, or a pasta sauce, or, even a dip. That means you’d be dipping veggies in more veggies, which is a super healthy way to kick off the weekend. And earns you lots of chocolate.

Not that you need an excuse to eat chocolate. ♥


Crispy Kale and Potato Stacks

Yield: 10 stacks

Serving Size: 5 stacks


    for the potatoes
  • 4 medium golden potatoes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • for the kale
  • 1 lb kale, stalks removed
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne


  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and grate them on the fine side of your grater.
  3. Put all the grated potatoes in a flour sack cloth and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can.
  4. Mix the potatoes with the chives and salt.
  5. Put the potatoes on a silicone sheet and spread them out really thin. You should be able to cover most of a 12 & 18 pan. It won't spread all the way to the edges. I used a rolling pin.
  6. Make some score marks on the potatoes so that you have about 10 even rectangles.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Flip the rectangles and bake for about 20-25 more minutes.
  9. When you remove the potatoes from the oven, they should be crispy but still a little pliable.
  10. Cut each rectangle into 3 pieces. It's easiest if you use scissors. Set potatoes aside.
  11. Put the vegetable broth in a sautee pan and bring to a boil.
  12. Add the kale and garlic to the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring.
  13. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 more minutes, or until it looks as though broth is reduced to 1/4 cup.
  14. Remove from heat and puree. I just put in in a huge mug and used my beloved immersion blender (thanks again, Ema!)
  15. To serve, layer three potato crisps with kale sauce in the middle (potato, kale, potato, kale, potato, kale).
  16. Garnish with crema or sour cream if desired.