A great friend of mine is getting hitched and having a camping style wedding. In honor of her and her man, I had some fun with the elements of one of summer’s best treats…s’mores!! I know it’s technically fall, but it’s 100 degrees here and fall is good camping weather in these parts! These are some abstract interpretations but, seriously, try rolling your roasted marshmallows in toasted unsweetened coconut when making s’mores. It is F-ing TRANSCENDENT!

Burnt marshmallow still life on black.

Deconstructed s'mores

Yeah, you heard right. I said Piña Colada Grilled Caramelized Pineapple!!! I mean life doesn’t get better or easier than this. This recipe is ridiculous. We’ve been poolside beating the oppressive L.A. heat and this little ditty is the perfect ending to any and every impromptu bbq. I mean, the grill’s already hot so it seems a shame NOT to make it, right?

Although…I do make this in a skillet on the stove sometimes and the caramelization is to die for! Try it both ways and pick your own delicious poison;)

Pineapple skin cut from the pineapple

Grilled pineapple rings caramelized with piña colada glaze

  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 1/4 cup dark rum, like Meyers
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (optional but insanely delicious)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4+ cup dark brown sugar, to taste
  • unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted stirring frequently in a dry pan on low heat until nicely browned
  • coconut oil for brush grill racks

~ Cut the thick skin and eyes from the pineapple. Slice into thick rings then core with either a cookie cutter or paring knife.

~ Whisk together all ingredients except the toasted coconut (and oil for brushing) in a shallow baking dish and marinate pineapple rings for an hour.

~On a preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill racks with coconut oil to prevent sticking. OR preheat an oiled skillet over medium heat.

~ Grill/sear pineapple until you see grill marks and/or caramelization and the pineapple is heated through (about 5 minutes per side).

~ You can reserve the marinade and serve it with the rings if you like. Then sprinkle each ring generously with the toasted coconut.

ENJOY!

Grilled pineapple rings caramelized with piña colada glaze

Grilled pineapple rings caramelized with piña colada glaze

This strawberry pie was a delightful afterthought. I had extra flaky gluten-free from a batch of quiche and I sure as hell didn’t want to waste it! I grabbed a bunch of frozen strawberries from last season and whipped up something tasty to fill mini pots. Perfect!

We loved these topped with straight sour cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar! In the 100+ temps we’ve been having, a cool strawberry pie is a welcome treat!

Gluten-free Mini Strawberry Pies with Flaky Pie Crust

CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour (again I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoon butter, chopped and chilled
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
  • Ice water by small spoonfuls only if necessary

~ Mix flour, baking soda, and sea salt in a large bowl. Add chilled butter and coat chunks with flour. Flatten chunks of butter between your thumb and fingers. Mix in sour cream then knead dough until it starts to come together, adding tiny spoonfuls of ice water if needed until the dough holds together. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

~ Placed chilled dough on a floured sheet of parchment. Place a second sheet of parchment over the dough and roll it out into a thick rectangular. Then fold the dough over onto itself in thirds like a letter. Do this twice more then roll it out into a round large enough to use in your particular pie dish.

~ Some people drape the rolled out crust over a rolling pin and then drape it into the pie dish. I have little luck with that so I use on of the sheets of parchment to support the dough, drape it over the dish, then carefully peel off the parchment and gently work the dough into the corners. Tuck the extra dough at the rim under itself and crimp the entire edge with your thumb and finger.

~ Cover crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least and hour and up to several days.

STRAWBERRY FILLING

  • 2 cups whole frozen strawberries, divided
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ounce/ 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2+ Tablespoons chia seeds
  • Sour cream, to top

~ Combine 1 cup of the frozen strawberries with lemon juice and sugar in a pot over low heat until the strawberries thaw.

~ Smash the strawberries with the back of a wooden spoon to add thickness and texture to the mixture then add remaining 1 cup strawberries.

~ Once the last strawberries thaw, turn up the heat to medium and lightly simmer until liquid reduces and thickens a bit.

~ Add chia seeds. Let cool then refrigerate. If your filling is more liquid than preferred, you can always add more chia seeds to soak up the juices. The water content of frozen strawberries can vary so adjust the chia accordingly.

~ Spoon chilled filling into ramekins of baked pie crusts. This recipe made 4 mini pies for me.

~ Top with a dollop sour cream (and a sprinkle of brown sugar if desired).

ENJOY!!!

These flourless chocolate cupcakes are decadent and satisfying with the rich bitterness of dark or bittersweet chocolate playing against the cool, subtle sweetness of sour cream whipped cream. My two-year-old told me these cupcakes were spicy! Ha!

They keep super well at room temperature in a sealed container and you’ll find that one cupcake is enough to satisfy!

Recipe note: If you like your chocolate confections sweeter or more mild, considering using semi-sweet chocolate in the place of bittersweet or true dark cacao chocolate. You could also use only one bar of dark/bittersweet instead of two if you want a milder flavor. We like the complexity of super dark, bitter chocolate so we go full throttle with the recipe as is!

The sour whipped cream is just out of this world! The sour cream adds more body, tang and richness and stands up against the rich chocolate very well making a perfect balance. Honestly, it’s just love at first bite!

PS: The whipped cream recipe makes much more than needed for the cupcakes. Just make it, you’re welcome;)

 

Gluten-free flourless chocolate cupcakes with creme fraiche whipped cream

CUPCAKES

  • 1 cup butter
  • 7 ounces (2 bars) bittersweet or very dark (like 72% cacao) chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (or instant coffee or espresso grounds)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup real cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, beaten.

SOUR CREAM WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 4-5 Tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint sour cream

CUPCAKES

~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees

~ Spray or line a 12 muffin pan (I like the reusable silicone liners myself)

~ Dissolve espresso powder in 2 Tablespoons hot water

~In a large bowl, combine chocolate and butter and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, whisking vigorously in between, until smooth

~ Stir in all remaining cupcake ingredients until combined. I tend to add the eggs last so the chocolate mixture has had time to cool a bit

~ Pour batter evenly into muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes until just set. Let cool completely.

SOUR CREAM WHIPPED CREAM

~ Combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.

~ Beat with a hand or stand mixer until peaks form. Add sour cream and beat for another 30 seconds or so.

~ Top each cupcake with a crazy amount of the whipped cream. I also sometimes add a sprinkle of cinnamon or candied ginger over the whipped cream for extra flavor.

ENJOY!!!!

MAN, OH, Maaaaaan are these a winner! I had lost my hand-scrawled, barely legible recipe for my flourless banana muffins and tried a few others I’d found online. It was…disappointing to say the least. I dug through every single recipe paper I had until I finally found the damn thing, and it was SO worth it!!! I’ve adapted my original recipe to be even more incredible. I prefer gluten-free recipes that don’t require an alternative flour as they rarely have much, if any, nutritional value (though, I’ll admit, sometimes you just want a damn baked good!). I pretty much keep these in stock at our house and make a double batch (24 mini and 12 regular muffins) whenever we start to run low. We eat these for breakfast more often than not!

Oh and I buried the lead! This recipe is whipped up quicker than quick in a high speed BLENDER!!! You’re welcome;)

Roasting the bananas is totally optional but quite delicious if you have 15 minutes to spare. You can customize this recipe with walnuts or pecans. I usually use my homemade almond butter but have also used the raw store bought variety that is only almonds and it works great too!

Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

*makes ~ 12 regular or 24 mini muffins

  •  1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 medium ripe bananas (if desired, roast bananas in skin on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin tin.

~ Combine all ingredients except chocolate in a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. If the batter is warm, let cool before stirring in the chocolate or it will melt. Stir in chocolate.

~ Pour into muffin tins filling each hole a little over 3/4 of the way full.

~ Bake at 350 degrees. Bake regular muffins for 15-16 minutes and mini muffins for 12-13 minutes. Baking times may vary depending on the amount of natural oil in your particular almond butter so keep an eye and don’t over-bake. They should be fluffy and very moist.

ENJOY!!!

 Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

Flourless chocolate banana bread muffins

Yaaaaaaaay the holidays are here and these are a surprisingly delicious little holiday sparkle! They’re easy to make, packed with flavor and texture and great for garnishing cocktails, desserts or just eating right out of a bowl. My daughter loves the tart sweetness of these little cranberry beauties!

Cranberries and rosemary in a pan of sugar syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (to roll it all in)

~ In a saucepan over low heat, heat the water and 1 cup sugar until warm and sugar dissolves. Cool until you can put your finger in the liquid.

~ Wash and dy cranberries. Once liquid is cool enough not to cause the cranberries to burst but still warm, add cranberries and rosemary.

~ Cover and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and let soak overnight.

~ Strain berries and rosemary and reserve the rosemary infused syrup for holiday cocktails or desserts.

~ Blot cranberries and rosemary with a paper towel so that they sticky but not wet. Then work in batches rolling the berries and rosemary in the remaining sugar to coat. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and let dry until hardened. Eat and smile!!

~ Store at room temperature.

Cranberries and rosemary in sugar

Holiday cocktails with sugared rosemary and cranberries

It’s that time of year again when I have the pleasure of doing my annual pie shoot with my dear friend, Emily-the-Pie-Maven. Ahhhh I love the holidays and this tradition with Emily is truly one of my favorites. Now that she and I both have boisterous toddlers, we rarely have the opportunity to casually cook or chat together. It seems like it’s only once a year, at our pie shoot, that we can speak to each other in complete sentences with full attention without having to stop everything to catch a flying (correction: falling!) daredevil 2-year-old! The calm of the tradition is complimented by the incredible scents wafting through the house and finished by the insane flavor-filled fruits of our labor. Mmmmm.
This year we have a tart and sweet rustic pomegranate pear pie. I’ve included a recipe for a gluten-free press in flourless hazelnut crust which is delicious! The gluten-free crust makes this an open-faced pie. It’s easy to make this pie as pictured with the leaves using your favorite pie crust recipe. Emily hand cut the leaves for this regular flour artistic pie and boy did she nail it! She subbed 1/2 cup of the flour in her usual crust recipe for 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts and it was fantastic! The gluten-free crust cannot make these leaves as it is a press in crust and can’t be rolled;)
The pomegranate molasses in this recipe is a necessary and divine addition as it balances the sweet pear with the tartness of pomegranate. You can buy pomegranate molasses at some grocery stores and Persian markets but it’s easy to make. I’ve included the simple recipe at the end and it’s sooooo good!
Best pomegranate pear pie
GLUTEN- FREE Crust
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons melted butter or liquid coconut oil
~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~ Mix all but oil. Mix in 3 Tb oil up to 4Tb until the mixture is moist but not sticky. Press evenly into pie pan or 2 cocottes.
~ Pre-bake for 10 min at 375 degrees.
*makes 1 regular sized pie bottom crust or 2 cocottes. Double recipe to make 4 cocottes to accomodate the amount of pear mixture or cut the pie filling recipe in half to accomodate 2 cocottes.
Pomegranate Pear Pie Filling
  • 5 cups sliced bosc pears, ripe but a bit firm and unpeeled
  • 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (*recipe below)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Hazelnut Flourless Crust (recipe above) or regular pie crust of your choice.
~ Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
~ Mix sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
~ Arrange sliced pears layer by layer over bottom crust, sprinkling sugar mixture and 1/4 cup of the pomegranate seeds over each layer as you go.
~ After assembling the top layer, drizzle molasses evenly over pie/s, sprinkle the last of the sugar on top and scatter little blobs of the butter on top of pie. If using regular crust, place top crust over the filling, pinch around edges and brush with egg wash.
~ Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce to 350 degrees for 40 minutes or so until golden and bubbling.
~Top with fresh pomegranate seeds.
*Pomegranate Syrup
  • 4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

~ Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced to 1 cup (~ 75 minutes). It should be thick like warm molasses. Allow to cool for a while then transfer to jar to cool completely before refrigerating. Can be stored in refrigerator for 6 months or so.

Rustic Gluten Free Pomegranate Pear Pie

Best pomegranate pear pie

Still life of bosc pears pomegranate and holiday greens on blue napkin

I won’t go on and on about gut health yet again or ramble about the benefit of collagen and gelatin on the guts or skin and hair. There are many, many other blogs that can provide that info. Suffice it to say that collagen, in this case in the form of gelatin, is an incredible source of healing protein for your connective tissues, guts, skin, hair, bones, joints and even your hormones! Give it a try but, as with all things, start slow. Introducing gelatin into your diet can really get the wheels moving in your colon if you eat too much too fast! You get the picture;)

These pasture raised beef gelatin gummies have endless flavor possibilities. Once you get teh hang of the basics you can really let your imagination run wild! We really love the additional of homemade coconut milk to gummies. It add a wonderful silky body and rich flavor to any flavor combo! You can use any juice or milk (nut or animal) you like:)

These are some of my favorite recipes as a jumping off point! Have fun with it! I even give my kiddo her probiotic and elderberry syrup in gummy form. She looooves it!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

Horchata Gummies

1 cup coconut milk, divided (I use homemade)
3 Tablespoon gelatin (I use this brand)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
silicone molds

**other flavor ideas
 Orange Creamsicle:  1/2 cup OJ + 1/2 cup coconut milk
 Coffee: steep coconut milk in coarse ground coffee. Strain.
Cocoa: + 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
Berry: 1/2 cup pureed berries + 1/2 cup coconut milk
Elderberry: 1/2 cup elderberry syrup + 1/2 cup coconut milk
Probiotic: + 3 1/2 Tablespoons probiotic powder added AFTER whisking in hot liquid. A serving is 10 gummies

~ Gently heat 1/2 cup of coconut milk on the stove until it’s hot but not bubbling. Put remaining 1/2 cup room temp coconut milk in a spout bowl. Gradually whisk gelatin completely into unheated milk to temper the gelatin. Whisk hot milk it into gelatin mixture then whisk in honey, vanilla and cinnamon.

~ Quickly pour into silicone molds set on a baking sheet. Refrigerate to set. Pop out of molds and store in airtight container in fridge.

* This same recipe holds for any liquid you use. Temper gelatin in half of the liquid at room temp then blend gelatin with the remaining half of hot liquid. Easy Peasy!

ENJOY!!!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2016

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

There are plenty of versions of this flying around the internet. This is just my favorite. It’s super easy, truly terrible for you, and big enough to make quickly for dessert after a dinner party or shamefully shove in your face until your sick to your stomach all by your lonesome. We don’t judge.

I used crushed maple pecans I already had on hand. Use this maple pecan recipe and omit the pepper and herbs in favor of 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Then I lit that ish on fire because it’s fun and burnt sugar is delicious. What a great life, huh? 😉

  • 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate
  • crushed maple pecans OR toffee bit OR peanut butter chips (whatever your heart desires basically)
  • ~1 1/4 bags large marshmallows (enough to fill pan, depends on pan size)
  • graham crackers for dipping

~ In a large cast iron pan, spread chocolate chips then sprinkle with pecans and top with marshmallows.
~ Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes for golden brown, gooey marshmallow perfection.
~ If you like ’em burnt up, torch or broil but keep a VERY close eye as they flame fast!
~ Serve with graham cracker.

For example….

ps: if anyone knows why a GIF won’t play in wordpress (sizing is original etc.) please let me know! I wasted too many hours troubleshooting and finally resorted to vimeo instead. Technology…

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

 

This is an unusual recipe for this blog, but let me tell you these bite-sized heroes are much tastier than they are pretty.  I wanted to post this recipe in order to share an effective and healthy option with my mama friends. I’ve been emailing this recipe to my mama friends one after another so posting seems like a much easier way to share it! There are oh-so-many reasons a baby mama may need to increase milk production. Dips in supply, a baby’s growth spurt, you name it. I make these cookies without the Brewer’s yeast but many people swear by it as a means for increasing supply so I’ve included it as an option.

These cookies are packed with healthy fats and galactagogues (milk producing foods). They helped keep my going in the first few months and continue to be a source of energy and nutrition 10 months later. When my parents visited, my dad scarfed down these cookies like nobody’s business asking “What’s in these cookies?! Crack?!”. Ha! This is the highest compliment I can imagine for any food since my mama is a major league baker! They’re good for everyone but great for nursing mamas:)

I like to make a double batch, portion out the dough on baking sheets, freeze, then pop the unbaked cookies into freezer bags for quick and easy baking later. A super clutch nutrient (and boobie) boost!

Copyright Crystal Cartier all rights reserved 2015

  • 1/2 c coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons brewer’s yeast (optional for increased milk production)
  • 2 Tablespoons anise seed, ground (NOT star anise but regular anise. Star anise is dangerous for babies)
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 c macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c dates, chopped
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips

~ Whisk together syrup and oil

~ Add eggs one at a time and whisk until creamy

~ Add anise, vanilla, dates and yeast (if using)

~In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, flax and baking soda

~ Fold in nuts, chocolate and oats

~ Spoon batter onto lined/greased baking dish

~ Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the tops just start to brown

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