Pear Spice Bread

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Today I am announcing an exciting opportunity for me and my fellow readers.

I have joined other bloggers in an effort to help Meghann ,at The Inner Workings of a College Graduate ,raise money for the  Rock n Roll San Diego marathon!  The marathon is held on May 31st and benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  You go girl!

Meghann came up with the GRAND idea to have a blogging bake sale.  How cool…bidding over other blogger’s sweet treats. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to support three things that are dear to my heart: exercising, baking, and helping others. 

Soooo….I’m an official baker of the bake sale which will be held on Monday April 6th.  And yep, you guessed it…I have submitted Pear Spice Bread!!  A moist, sweet loaf filled with pears, cinnamon and pecans….drizzled with a cinnamon sugar glaze.

There are almost 40 other bakers and bloggers bid on the goodies. The highest bidder for each item gets the goodie shipped to them and the money goes towards Meghann’s Team in Training.  COOL beans folks!

This is a great way to meet other bloggers, help someone and win a treat!

I encourage all of you to check out Meghann’s blog. She is a true inspiration towards eating healthy and exercising.  I’m a daily reader. Thanks Meghann!

Remember Monday April 6th is THE day and I would love for you to bid on my Pear Spice Bread 🙂   Which by the way, can be made with or without pecans AND gluten free or non-gluten free.  NOTE: The photo above is gluten free and I will post the recipe after the bake sale. 

Happy bidding!
-Erin
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Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry Crumb Cake-Gluten Free

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Sihan of Befuddlement chose this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie. An ooey, gooey(ok not really this but I just like writing those words), blueberry, brown sugar, walnut topped coffee cake.  Can it really get any better than that?

I publicly announce that I have no will power when it comes to fresh, made from scratch desserts.  I can’t get enough of a good thing.  One bite always leads to two, which leads to three…..!  It is a fact that I have dessert weakness; no doubt.  I guess that is why most of my posts contain sweet things 🙂

It still amazes me every time a gluten free dessert is a success.  I truly have no need to feel deprived of non gluten free goodies….the gluten free versions taste JUST AS GOOD! Trust me.

I loved how the topping ingredients caramelized together and created a crunchy, sugary contrast to the soft cake.  AHHHHH! The cake has just the right amount of blueberries;  where you get some blueberries in each bite but where they don’t overpower the texture.  My only complaint, which isn’t really a complaint(smile,) is thatI honestly couldn’t taste any lemon flavor.  I didn’t feel like the lemon zest added anything special. Next time I will try substituting lemon extract for the vanilla extract in order to UP the citrus. Yeah baby.

To make the cake gluten free, I substituted Pamela’s baking mix for the AP flour and eliminated the salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Easy peasy folks.

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and their crumb cake creations  here.

30 Day Shred Challenge Update(that’s a mouth full)

Bye Bye level 1!  Say hello to Level 2! 10 days of shred are history…20 more days to go.  I’m looking forward to a new workout and new comments from Jillian.  I think I’ve memorized the whole Level 1 dialogue, including Jillian’s “buddy and phoning into the gym comments” 🙂  I’ve got to watch my knees though, as they seem to hurt when doing a lot of the higher impact exercises.  I may just have to modify some of the moves.   Bring it on Jillian!

Cheers!

-Erin

Mango Ice Cream

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Have mangoes? Make ice cream!

Two ripe mangoes caught my eye yesterday and inspired my sweet tooth.

Cool and refreshing.  Homemade ice cream.  I can’t complain. A splendid celebratory treat for a Sunday afternoon.

Celebratory you may ask?

Friday I received my 1 year follow-up bloodwork and ALL of my nutrient levels(which used to be very low and triggered the whole Celiac testing) came back well within the NORMAL range! I was beyond excited. It was confirmation and reassurance that eating gluten free for the past year has paid off!  I am thankful that my adherence to a gluten free diet has allowed my body, once again,  to absorb nutrients!

 So….for all of you diagnosed with Celiac Disease…be strong and eat gluten free for your health. Your body will thank you!

Onto the recipe ,which is adapted from The Perfect Scoop.

NOTE: you will need an ice cream maker 🙂

  • 2 mangoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • toasted coconut and mango chunks for garnish

Place mango chunks and water in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Cook about 10min. or until mango pieces are tender.  Take mixture off heat and stir in sugar. Blend until sugar is completely dissolved.  Once the mixture is completely cool(very important or the heavy cream will curdle),  put mangoes in a blender and blend until smooth(I actually left mine with a few chunks b/c I like to see the mango pieces in the finished ice cream).  Pour cream into blender and pulse until combined with mango mixture.  Add to ice cream maker , according to manufacturer’s directions. 

There you have it….naturally gluten free ice cream!

30 Day Shred Challenge Update

I’ve completed 9 days of the shred. 21 more days to go 🙂 Although it is tempting to skip the shred some days, I never regret the 20min. of sweat once it is over.

I WILL  complete the challenge. WILL you?

I notice the biggest difference in my arm strength. On the first couple of days, I dreaded the push ups because I could only do 1 or 2. Now, I can complete both sets of push-ups without stopping. After 1 more day of Level 1, I’m moving onto Level 2. Rock on!

May you find the strength to complete a goal, whatever it may be!

-Erin

Tuesdays with Dorie: French Yogurt Cake – Gluten Free

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie pick was GRRRRREAT!

Liliana of  My Cookbook Addiction chose the French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze. Thank you for a non-chocolate pick 🙂 This cake is right up my alley; light, full of citrus and perfect with a cup of hot tea. Yummo!

This cake called for lemon marmalade which I couldn’t find anywhere.  Suggestions? I think I found every other marmalade flavor but NO lemon; bummer. Instead, I improvised and made a glaze of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. TAAAAASTY!

Yes, I left the cake in the oven a little too long and my cake edges got a bit browner than I would have liked.  Thank goodness it didn’t change the kickin’ lemon flavor.  This cake is even better the day after and the day after….you get the idea.

On a side note:  to all of my family readers…with the glaze, this cake is reminiscent of THE infamous ,Walters lemon cake 🙂

To make the cake gluten free, I substituted:

  • 1/2 brown rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 potato starch for the AP flour
  • I used 1/2 cup ground almonds like the recipe suggested(the brown specks you see in the cake)
  • added 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Thanks Liliana for a terrific pick!

30 Day Shred Challenge Update

I actually skipped the workout yesterday(supposed to be Day 5), as my legs were extremely sore. I figured I better listen to my body in order to prevent injury:)  I’m back on track today and I completed Day 5 this morning. I exercised and showered before the kids got out of bed. A perfect, energizing start to the day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

-Erin

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

 

 

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 HALLELUJAH!!!

Warmth and sunshine have finally made an appearance after 5+ days of cold, wet and dreary weather.

I had to celebrate with freshly squeezed orange juice 🙂

Thanks to my brother-in-law who picked up these juicy gems at the local Houston market, I enjoyed a tall glass of nature’s sweetness.

It’s amazing how nice weather and a nutritious drink can make me so grateful!

P.S. If you’re wondering where we purchased the juicer….we happened upon it during our Mexico travels last year; a simple, little stand on the side of the road. 

30 Day Shred Challenge Update

I have completed 4 days. Wahoo! My arms and quads are still sore from day 1…..those push-ups and lunges are KILLIN’ me 🙂  Despite the pain, I already notice a positive change in my mood and energy level.  I will succeed!  It still isn’t too late to join me. BTW, a couple of people have asked where I purchased the DVD: Amazon.com..only ~$10!  If the DVD isn’t up your alley, I encourage you to do some sort of exercise today. You’ll be thankful!

Cheers!

-Erin

30 Day Shred Challenge

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I’m back with a mission!

As you may recognize, Jillian Michaels is the hard core personal trainer on The Biggest Loser;  a show that reminds  me to find a balance with physical activity and my love for good food. A work in progress 🙂

Over the past few weeks I came across a GREAT blog,  Healthy Tipping Point.  On her blog, Caitlin announced this 30 day challenge where she is aiming to “increase my strength and tone up to make me a better runner”.  How cool! Her blog is such an inspiration …..check it out!

No, this doesn’t mean I’m going on a DIET. It just means that I’m trying to get back in the swing of incorporating exercise into my full-time corporation job, full-time mommy job and my full-time wife job 🙂

I’ve always enjoyed exercise but somehow other things have taken priority. It is now time for me to give a little attention to myself. This video is great because it only takes 20min. each day and it incorporates strength training, cardio and abs. It has 3 levels and I plan to do level 1 for 10days, level 2 for 10days and level 3 for 10days.  Go Erin or should I say Erin Go Bragh(what does that mean anyways?)!

Yesterday was Day 1 of my 30 Day Shred Challenge.  Let me just tell you…it is such an easy and straightforward video to follow.  I finished with a great deal of sweat on my brow and it left me wanting more.  I just need to get some 2-5lb. hand weights to replace my two soup cans. Smile.

Wanna join me?

-Erin

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Armagnac Cake-Gluten Free

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This Tuesday I present Chocolate Armagnac Brandy Cake; chosen by Lyb of, And then I do the dishes.  You can check out her blog and the recipe here.

Unfortunately, most of this cake didn’t get eaten. Although it had a beautiful appearance and the taste was decandently chocolate, I just didn’t care for the addition of prunes. They added a weird texture and a somewhat sour flavor to the cake.  The husband agreed.

Frankly,  I’m just burned out on TWD desserts that involve chocolate cake + ganache.  Enough with recipes that use bittersweet chocolate 🙂  I’m ready to dive into the Lemon Cup Custard and the French Yogurt Cake.

But…to leave on a positive note….I enjoy this baking group because it encourages me to try new techniques and flavor combinations. If it weren’t for Tuesdays with Dorie, I probably wouldn’t think of adding liquor soaked prunes to a cake. Stepping out of my baking comfort zone is a good thing, even if it produces a cake that isn’t one of my favorites.

To make the cake gluten free I substituted:

  • -1/8 cup brown rice flour and 1/8 tapioca flour for the all-purpose flour
  • -added 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • I replaced the Armagnac with Brandy(not b/c it wasn’t GF, I just didn’t have any on hand)

I’m interested to see what the other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers thought about this cake?!??!

Have a great day!

-Erin