Dessert “Spaghetti and Meatballs” (Vegan)

spag 2

I have been looking at recipes with spiralized vegetable noodles for years, but never took the initiative to buy a spiralizer. Then I started following a relatively new (but very prolific) blog “Inspiralized“. First of all, the name is so cute, and the photos are beautiful. I finally went out and bought one. The first recipe I came up with was this dessert; spaghetti and meatballs.

spag meat

You can make individual servings or a family style serving. If you spiralize the apples in advance I suggest soaking them in lemon water so they don’t brown.

On another note: I spiralized a butternut squash and one piece was about 20 feet long. My kids ate the way toward each other- this is a photo of the last 10 feet when they got full and quit.

spag 4

Dessert “Spaghetti and Meatballs” Recipe

(Make more or less depending on how many servings you need. I do 3-4 per person.)

1 cup sunbutter (unsweetened)
2-4 tablespoons creamed honey (liquid honey will be too runny), sweeten to taste
1 cup (estimated amount) macadamia nuts

1 pound frozen strawberries (other red fruits can be substituted)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup water

1-3 apples (1/2 an apple per person)


Prepare a tray with parchment paper (and make room in the refrigerator for the tray.)
Combine sunbutter and creamed honey then form a small ball with the mixture. Stuff a macadamia nut inside and roll in your hands until smooth. Repeat and set out on the tray, not touching each other, and chill until serving.

Combine the strawberries, honey, and water in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the strawberries are broken down. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add honey if needed. If the sauce is the thickness of marinara sauce then it is done. If it is too loose, return it to the pan and reduce it. Chill the sauce until serving.

Spiralize the apples. (I do thin noodles).

spag 3

Assembling the dessert is fairly obvious, and eating it is fairly delicious.


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Lemon Cake (Grain-Free)

Well, it’s my Birthday today! For my Birthday this year I am giving you all 40% off of my cookbook, Culinary Creativity: Let your restrictions set you free. Head over to Amazon and purchase the book for $14.95 (off from $24.95). November 18-20, 2013. This is a super great deal and I know you are going to love the hard cover and photos of every item in the book.

Plus what’s a Birthday without cake, so here is a yummy lemon cake for you.

But first, one more thing, if you are inclined to give me something for my Birthday, here is my wish: more reviews of my book on Amazon. Now read on and enjoy some cute cakes.lemoncake

Usually I am opposed to any recipe requiring too much effort. I consider separating eggs to be too much effort usually. However, it is difficult to make coconut flour cakes feel light and fluffy, and separating the eggs really makes a difference in this situation.

This cake is barely sweet. It only has a 1/4 cup of honey in the whole cake. I am enjoying minimally sweetened desserts lately, but if you are used to full sugar this might seem a bit “light”. Each time I make it, I have also made a sauce to go with it. I highly recommend that you do the same.

The first cake I made was lemon with blackberry sauce (from my cookbook) and whipped coconut cream (also from my cookbook).


Next I made it cute. It is really cute isn’t it?

Then I made the cake with orange zest. And I made an orange caramel sauce to go with it. I didn’t measure the ingredients for that caramel so I don’t have a recipe to give you. Here is the gist of what I did: cooked down about 1 cup of orange juice, 1/4 cup of honey, orange zest, and 1/4 cup of coconut milk until it thickened into a caramel. (Sauce pan, medium-low heat). NOT sure on the specific quantities… but I make sauces like this by eye frequently and they always turn out fine.

Lemon Cake Recipe

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple sauce
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons of honey
1/3 cup coconut water (apple juice would most likely work too)
zest of 1 lemon

2/3 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

6 egg whites
1 tablespoon honey


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare a 6-8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper and oil the sides.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.

In a small mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir.

Beat the egg whites and honey together until it forms a stiff peak (I suggest using a stand mixer for this). Add half of the egg whites to the other ingredients and stir together. Add the second half of the egg whites and gently fold them in.

Spread the batter evenly into the cake pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes until it is cooked through and slightly spongy. It will be darker gold on the edges and just turning color in the center.

Set out on a cooling rack and cool completely before removing from the pan and frosting.


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Spicy Popcorn


This is a fun way to enjoy popcorn… it is both sweet and spicy without being overwhelming.


Spicy Popcorn Recipe

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
2 tablespoons buttery spread or butter
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt


Pop the popcorn.

Melt the buttery spread then pour over the background.

Combine all of the spices then sprinkle them over the popcorn.


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Grain-Free Chocolate Cake

spunkycakeKelly, from The Spunky Coconut, has a great white chocolate pie recipe. I have made it too many times (you know- as in eating too many treats). I came up with some fun modifications and ways to make it cute that I want to share with you. Plus I created a new cake base and I now call Kelly’s recipe “white chocolate frosting” instead of “pie”.

Above I cooked my cake base as a three tiered cake. Then I took Kelly’s recipe and split it into three parts: white chocolate (standard), pink chocolate (standard plus beet juice- can’t taste a difference), and dark chocolate.

spunkycake2Another time I split Kelly’s recipe and added peanut butter to part, and chocolate to another part and made a swirl by pouring all the white in first, then drizzling the dark over the top.


And another time… I made mini cakes in tart pans and let three lucky girls decorate three cakes with homemade gummies, chocolates, homemade pink frosting, and cereal.


So here is what my cake looks like up close.

Frosting Recipes

Notes on Kelly’s recipe:
1) It works perfectly as written.
2) I prefer the white without vanilla extract.
3) I find it works a bit better to “bloom” the gelatin before adding it to the mixture. Just soak the gelatin in a couple of tablespoons of cold water. (I learned this watching Master Chef).
4) I don’t bother melting the cacao butter separately- I just toss it in after the heat is off, then blend it all together.

Peanut Butter White Chocolate: The Spunky Coconut Recipe plus… 1/4 cup of peanut butter or more to taste (I like it with salted peanut butter).

Dark Chocolate: The Spunky Coconut Recipe minus 2-3 ounces cacao butter… plus… 2 ounces baker’s chocolate (I use Ghirardelli) This can be a bit “un-sweet” so you may want to add a bit of honey (but I don’t).

Pink: The Spunky Coconut Recipe plus… a few tablespoons of beet juice. (I put beet peels in a pot with about a 1/4+ cup of water, boil it, then strain it.)

Grain-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

1 1/2 cups mashed Hannah Yams (sweet potatoes are not the same but they can work)
1/4 cup sunbutter
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup egg white (protein powder)
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cacao nibs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a cake pan or pans with parchment paper and oil the sides. You can use an 8 or 9-inch cake pan. Use smaller or bigger pans depending on the design plan. Remember to leave room for the frosting (a pan with tall sides).

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Smooth the batter in the pan.

Bake for 20-35 minutes. The time will depend on the size of the pan. The cake is done when it is spongy to the touch in the center of the cake and the sides are looking done.

Allow the cake to cool. Loosen it from the pan, then put it back into the pan. Pour the frosting on top and allow the frosting to fully set in the refrigerator. Run a knife around the edges and carefully tip the cake out of the pan.


I am sharing this recipe on Allergy Free Wednesdays,

Celebrating a Birthday

This year for Sierra’s Birthday we had 3 “cakes”.

1) I sent cupcakes to kindergarten to share with her friends. I used the basic vanilla cupcake recipe from Gluten-Free Cupcakes but added lemon zest and Chocolate Frosting from my cookbook. The “Happy Birthday Sign” was part of Sierra’s bento that day. The other half of the bento was filled with Chicken Salad- her favorite food.

2) For a little get together with the grandparents, I made the Acorn Squash Cake from my cookbook and frosted some of it with left-over chocolate frosting and some with cashew cream and mangoes (6’s because she is 6).

3) For a party with a few of her friends I made the Chocolate cake from my cookbook and frosted it with pink cashew/coconut frosting (which started to look odd but still tasted good) and toasted coconut.

The rest of the party spread included humus with cookie cutter veggies, some chips, and apple slices.

I can’t keep up the pace of making three Birthday cakes for every Birthday… but at least I have something to blog about!

Speaking of blogging… please share my blog- let your friends know about me.

Bean-Free Hummus and Olympic Bento

bean-free hummus

I love hummus. It is one of my favorite party foods. The problem is, some people can’t digest chickpeas and I like to make food that everyone can enjoy. I also follow a few Paleo diet bloggers, and I started to think, “I wonder if they miss hummus?” (Paleo diet excludes eating beans). So, I created a bean-free hummus. It tastes quite a bit like hummus and it is very flexible- allowing you to flavor it to your preference.

Olympic Bento

Olympic Bento: There is an open face sandwich on one side with the Olympic rings (simply cut from fruits and vegetables with cookie cutters). Then I used the hummus as “water” and green beans for the swim lanes. I cut the swimmers out with a paring knife after sketching the swimmer first on paper.

Note: I don’t eat nightshades and you won’t see them in my recipes, but my daughter does eat them, so occasionally they will appear in bento photos.

Bean-Free Hummus Recipe

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours)
1/4 cup raw tahini (be sure it is raw- toasted tahini will taste too strong)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (1/2-1 lemon to taste)
1/4-1 clove garlic (to taste)
Salt to taste (1/8 teaspoon)
1/4-1/2 cup water


This recipe is all about personal preference. Basically just puree everything until very smooth in a food processor. Add water to achieve a nice dipping texture. Add lemon, salt, and garlic to your tastes. Garnish with chives or scallions (I used lemon zest too- my husband said, “too much”, while I loved it lemony.

Serve at room temperature. If refrigerated it will thicken, so just let it come back to room temperature before serving.


I am sharing this recipe on Allergy Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Bento Blog Network, and Wellness Weekend

Gluten-Free Waffle Cones

ice cream cones

I always make homemade ice cream and waffle cones for my parties. I think at this point my friends would be disappointed if I didn’t. We just had Strawberry Festival here at my house and the cones were very popular. This is one recipe I must outright brag about. These cones are really great– better than the sugar/gluten version. Really.

I make them small, for the kids, and if the grown-ups want more they can always have seconds. If I have time, it is nice to pour a small bit of melted chocolate into the bottom of a chilled cone. This prevents any leaks out of the bottom and makes the last bite an extra special treat.

Grain-free friends I am working on a recipe for you…

Waffle Cone Recipe

1 egg (yolk and white)
1 egg white
2 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil)
1/2 cup agave syrup
2/3 cup white rice flour
1.5 tablespoons Namaste Perfect Blend Flour (Other all-purpose gluten-free flours would most likely be the same. Or use 2 tablespoons of rice flour- the cones will be slightly more fragile but not significantly. Alternatively you could add a pinch of arrowroot too.)


These instructions are specific to the Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express. Not because it is the best (although it might be), but because it is the only one I have ever used. Will a Panzanella maker work too? Probably. Will other waffle irons work? No, you need a special flat iron for waffle cones.

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes (very important). Stir.

Preheat the waffle cone iron. Set the heat/browning level to 2.5-3 on the Chef’s Choice (other brands you will need to experiment). Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter onto the center of the iron and gently close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes or until cooked through and golden (waffle irons may vary).

Take the waffle out, shape it with the cone shaper. Press the edge and end tightly to seal the cone. Set it out on a cooling rack.

Repeat 20 times. Yes, this takes almost an hour. I think it is worth the trouble.

Problem solving:

If your cones are too delicate you may need to: rest the batter longer, or add a touch of flour (a teaspoon at a time of all-purpose will usually do the the trick).

Having trouble getting the edges to seal: work faster while they are very hot and use a bit more pressure (be sure to use the shaper or they will collapse).

Shared on Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Blueberry Pound Cupcake and Cookie Monster

I’m new to the (blogger) neighborhood– sort of. I’ve been around, eating gluten-free for about 6 years, reading gluten-free blogs for about four years, and writing recipes for several years too. But, I never had my own blog … until now. So I’m new. I am introducing myself to my neighbors; joining in the blog hops and online events.

For this post I am participating in Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger. I chose to adopt Shirley from Gluten-Free Easily (her blog is older than mine, but youngsters can adopt in blog-land). I have long admired her blog banner (the alphabet backwards highlighting the gfe- clever right?)  I was also recently inspired by her Coconut Blueberry Pound Cupcakes. So I made them, and followed the recipe exactly …

Pound Cupcake

… then I made it cute. If you type “Cookie Monster Cupcakes” into a search engine you will get about 500 images of similar cupcakes. This is not an originally idea, but it sure is fun! I put my healthy spin on it and used blueberries to color the frosting, apples for the eyes, and raisins for the pupils. I used the batter from the cupcakes to make tiny cookies with cacao nibs (they are a bit fragile). If you have a child with food restrictions, it is really nice to have a recipe like this to turn to.

Cookie Monster

As for Shirley’s recipe:

1) She says the flavor gets better as the cupcakes sit. She is right. Please don’t even bother tasting these for 2 hours. I took a nibble after 20 minutes and was disappointed, then I tried one after a few hours and ended up eating 3. So delicious!

2) They don’t taste like coconut to me. It tastes like pound cake with blueberries, and it is quite sweet.

3) When I make these again I will be adding orange zest and I could see lemon zest being nice another day.

The frosting: sorry no recipe for that; I just pureed coconut butter, coconut shreds, honey, and blueberries (wild frozen berries give the most color) in a food processor. The quantities? I just kept adding stuff until it tasted good. Then I chilled it in the refrigerator to thicken a bit.

Chocolate Leaves

Chocolate Leaves

I wanted to make chocolate feathers but didn’t have a mold for that. Then, somehow, I got off topic and started daydreaming about making chocolate leaves. It occurred to me that I could use a real leaf as a mold. I got started on the project that afternoon. That’s the kind of person I am- off and running at the first inclining of an art project.

Leaf Close Up

For the plate you see here, I roasted chopped almonds and spread them over the bottom of the plate. Then I poured white chocolate over the nuts. After that set, I poured semi-sweet chocolate over the top. I used chocolate molds from the store for the flowers. I used my recipes for chocolate and white chocolate ( in my cookbook), but you can melt semi-sweet chocolate and use that.

Leaf Close Up

How to Make Chocolate Leaves


High Water Content Edible Leaves (I used spinach for this project. I tried strawberry leaves for another project but they did not work so well due to not freezing well)
Melted Chocolate


Prepare a platter with parchment paper and place the leaves on top. Put the whole thing in the freezer. Give it at least half an hour to freeze.

Dip the frozen leaves carefully in melted (but not hot) chocolate. Only get chocolate on the backside of the leaf. It takes practice. The leaves wilt very quickly so you may want to leave most of them in the freezer and work with one at a time. Place the dipped leaf on the frozen parchment paper (chocolate side up). (I also tried pouring chocolate onto the backside of the leaves, and it worked but was more difficult to control.)

Place the leaves back in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Take them out, let them warm-up for a few minute and the leaves will easily peel off the chocolate.

Some thoughts:

Maybe leaves out of the refrigerator instead of the freezer would work better. I will try that next time.

This is a just for fun activity. If you want a perfect, works every time project, you might not want to play this chocolate leaf game. That being said, these photos are from my first attempt- so it clearly works!

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Sweet Tooth Friday

Vegan Cream Cheese

Cream cheese on bagel

What could be more perfect than bagels with cream cheese? I have two bagel recipes in my cookbook, but I am also posting a new bagel recipe next week here on Cuter Than Gluten.

This cream cheese is creamy and delicious and I made a strawberry version! I can’t explain why the strawberry version is sort of lavender instead of pink (hard to tell in the photo). Hmm… cooking chemistry is not my point of expertise. Anyway, I like purple.

I am sure this could lead to some tasty frosting too. I would add the sweetener during the cooking faze if you decide to try it. Later I will experiment and write a recipe for that if it works out.

Strawberry Mice

I saw these cute strawberry mice made with candy features on a preschool handout and I decided to improvise with what I had on hand. I gave them pumpkin seed ears, a sunflower nose, nori paper eyes, and radish root tails. The tails bother me a bit. They border on creepy. Maybe next time a parsley stem or something less “bare” looking.

Strawberry Cream Cheese

Vegan Cream Cheese Recipe

3/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 1/4 teaspoons agar agar powder (if you have flakes grind them down before measuring)
3/4 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup strawberry “jam” * (optional)
1/2 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)

*Strawberry “Jam”: cook down fresh strawberries until they are the texture of jam. It is hard to say how many to start with as the water content varies but try about 2 cups. You might try store-bought strawberry jam, but it will make the cream cheese sweeter (which could be nice!)


Blend the cashews in a good blender or food processor until finely ground/powdery.  Add the salt.

In a large sauce pan bring the water to a boil and add the agar agar. Whisk until dissolved (2 minutes or so). Slowly stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil (whisking all the while). Pour the mixture into the blender, add the vinegar, jam (if using), and honey.

Blend until very smooth (use caution blending hot liquids). Pour the contents into a glass storage container and chill in the refrigerator for several hours until firm.

The cream cheese can be used in this solid form, but I like it best when whipped. So, I drop it into the food processor and process until very smooth.


I am sharing this recipe on … and love it too! for strawberry month. Yum! Also on Allergy Free Wednesdays.