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Maple Pecan Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes with So Delicious : gluten-free and vegan



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Fall is such a wonderful time for getting warm and cozy at home with your close ones and celebrating togetherness…

It’s a good time to slow down and enjoy the little things, a hot cup of tea, a slurpy hot soup, warm blankets and wool socks… and family… my dear sweet family. Good thing there’s a great Holiday to help us do just that.

The meaning of Thanksgiving is to appreciate what you have and to notice and acknowledge these good things. To focus on the positive and most meaningful things in your life.

This Thanksgiving (which is coming up on Monday, October 13th in Canada), I am especially so thankful for all these good things in my life right now…

Just a few years ago, my life was falling apart completely due to health problems, depression, and constant struggling in every department of my life. Honestly, for years it was hard to find a single thing I could be thankful for. Life was hard and unfair to me. I felt so alone and it seemed like no one understood me…

But I kept going, one day at a time, holding onto hope and a little magic of kale! :)
It’s amazing to see how your life can change if you just stay hopeful and positive and believe in yourself.

Today, I am seeing how my perseverance and hard work is paying of…. I am thankful for so much in my life.

This year, I became a mother of two darling girls.
What a gift this has been… Not only to grow my family and bring another beautiful little person to this world, but it also is a gift of my health continuing to do well, that I could have another baby.
For years, I struggled accepting that I most likely won’t have any more babies. It was hard.

I am also thankful for my family who have always been there for me.
I have the best sisters who are my best friends. I don’t know how life would be without them in my life.

My husband, who has stuck by my for the last crazy 18 years!!!

And me, myself and I, for pushing through with a dream, passion and renewed strength…
I feel so lucky to have readers and friends through this blog. If I inspire just one person to live healthier and happier today, my mission feels complete.

 

Of course the best part of being thankful and appreciative of the people around you is the moment you can sit back and enjoy some good conversation and warmth of your close ones…

Our favourite way to enjoy eachother is over a great dessert in front of us… these Maple Pecan Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes are SO cute and delicious! These mini cakes are made entirely with gluten-free flours, vegan ingredients and lots of love!



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Maple Pecan Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes | gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free/ vegan and refined sugar free

Ingredients for mini cakes :
  • 2 tablespoons chia (mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water)
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo/ chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin Spice So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce

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Ingredients for carmelized pecans :
  • 3/4 cups pecans, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

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Directions :

First, make the chia ‘egg’* by mixing ground chia with water, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and set aside. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and stir to combine well. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour a mini-cake pan, or cupcake pan**. 

Pour mixture into wells and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, remove from pan and set out on a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

Before serving, scoop the Maple Syrup Carmelized Pecans on top and enjoy!

 

 * a chia egg isn’t only an egg replacer. It also helps gluten-free flour mixes to bind better in baked goods. Plus chia seeds add an amazing health boost, making desserts healthier.

** if you’re baking these in a cupcake baking pan, your time will probably be a little longer, 25-30 minutes. Look for an even rising of the cupcakes and a nice dark golden colour at the sides.

 

 



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At our Thanksgiving, we love a big feast and great desserts to follow.

We take turns hosting the dinner and it’s been quite nice the last few years as my family merges with my husband’s family on a regular basis. These dinners can get quite large in size and it can be quite a task to cook and prepare everything.

So our tradition for a while has been to get all the ladies in the family to bring a homemade dessert.

It’s quite nice to tap into these old traditions of baking and sharing your deliciousness with others. Not everyone is a skilled baker in our family, but all the ladies still participate with something, even simple cookies make a delicious addition to our dessert table.

What’s great about home made desserts is that you know your ingredients list, can choose healthier recipes and options, can cater to allergies or dietary preferences, and are always best when made with love.

When a few desserts show up at the table, it is fun to chat over something special. It’s appreciated more when it’s homemade. The host, this year my father-in-law, is always also thankful as it’s one less thing for him to worry about. In the end everyone is happy and it’s a great way to enjoy eachother more over ;)

Isn’t this what Thanksgiving is all about? Family, appreciation and enjoying the good things in life ~ like these mini cakes ;)



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I wish you all our Canadian friends a very happy Thanksgiving!

Do share, what is your Thanksgiving tradition in your family?

Get in the Fall spirit with So Delicious over on their facebook page for more fun recipes, tips and contests.



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Pure happiness is…



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Hello my friends…

I’m sorry for my slower pace with blogging lately. I promise to get back to regular posting soon. 

Lately though, my baby girl has 3 wake up times at night, one of them getting wide awake wanting to play (then cry)… at 3:30 am, I am just not up for it! Getting her to fall asleep after is an exercise in patience, love and not loosing my sanity.

Seriously though, with my baby girl being born June 1st, I feel like I just blinked and my summer went by. 
I do love fall… but somehow I wish I could play summer on repeat and dance in my sandals and summer dresses a few months longer…

However, things have been great (even though on little sleep) and I have so much to be thankful for and happy about… below you’ll find my happiness list. Now that my vent is over, I can focus on the positive things in my life ;)

ps. if you follow me on Instagram, you already know about most of these things in my life ;)
If you don’t already follow me, you’re missing out! I’m at @pure_ella See you there!



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 Pure happiness is…

September, our beautiful september… 
It really is my favourite month of the year. 
As you know, I had my birthday (thank you very much for all your wishes)
so it’s just really been great to get spoiled and feel special.

We made a few trips out to the country and it was amazing to get out of the house
and drive on country roads until we reached our favourite local farm.
A blanket, fresh local corn, my girls and husband was all I needed to make this a really sweet and simple but very memorable getaway.

At home, I am so excited to use the oven again…
the upside of temperatures dropping is that they go up in my kitchen.

We’ve been enjoying some soup days, lentil shepherd pie days, and even a little baking.
Deliciousness is happening and I love getting into my zone (when the baby cooperates)
to get busy chopping, sizzling, sauteeing, steaming, boiling, roasting. 
It is all so good and brings happiness to all my senses… and comfort to our bellies ;)

When we all sit around our round kitchen table and munch on a comforting meal, 
life just slows down for that moment… it’s really something I always look forward to the most.
Enjoying my family and sharing stories…
Of course, both my husband and daughter are such goofballs so there’s always bursts of laughter and giggling going around ;)
It’s all good times unless someone spits out food!! lol

There’s also been some amazing stuff happening.
I am published in the September issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine UK!
Pretty awesome and I’m so excited and thankful for this opportunity.
If you can still grab a copy, please do! I am enjoying flipping through mine and drooling on all the pages ;) 

Then there’s these other crazy pinch-me moments.
Like reaching over 7,000 fans on Facebook. Thank you!
Getting sweet emails from readers that make my day.
Feeling like you have made great friends with people you’ve never met…

Blogging is so much more about writing posts and sharing recipes, 
it’s about connecting with people, being inspired by others,
belonging to a wonderful community and making great friends along the way.  
It’s just crazy how this world is really so small… now with all this technology ;)

There’s more good things, but you’ll have to stay patient until I reveal more exciting things happening in my life and Pure Ella soon…

I’ll sign off with a Big Thank YOU to everyone reading this right now.
I promise to get back to sharing more. Keep checking for new posts ;)

Hope you’re all having a great week.
Do tell, what’s making you happy right now?



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Dark Chocolate Rose Cake for my birthday!



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Today is a special day because I have a birthday and I have cake!

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier to turn one year older + one year wiser. It’s a good age too, as I’m 33 3/3 today! 

I am just feeling so lucky to be here with so much good things going on.

If you know my story, then you know that I got very sick with a rare illness, just 4 months after my first daughter was born. That was almost 7 years ago. Those were some rough years full of ugly moments… what was supposed to be the most amazing time of my life as a new mom, was the most terrifying. I couldn’t walk on my own strength, pick myself off the bed, and even carry my baby girl. 

I never imagined I could live a normal life. But I started to believed in the healing power of food. I learned so much about nutrition and about foods that can nourish or damage our bodies. It all made sense, but it would take patience… but I kept at it. I made small changes for the better and introduced more plant-based meals, removed sugar and eliminated a few other foods that made me feel sick. It was not an overnight success but my health improved. I started to have more good days then bad. I committed even more to my wellbeing with a true lifestyle change; learned to enjoy the little things, tuned to my breathing, learned to let go, to talk less and listen more…

I started to live a normal life again. I became more confident in sharing my healthy recipes. After all, I thought that if these foods I eat helped me feel great and heal from a devastating illness, there must be others who are looking for inspirations to eat better.

This space right here, Pure Ella, became so important to my healing. It was and still is my outlet for everything creative and nourishing that I can offer to others. I am so grateful you’re reading this right now. I’m grateful for every single person reading my words, cooking my recipes and just being here even just popping in for a minute. Your presence is my present today as it is always!

Right here I can be myself and share everything… all my talents and skills are really right here wrapped in one package. Seven years ago, I had to decline jobs for clients because I couldn’t even hold my DSLR, my hands were so weak. But I still kept at it, doing what I loved – but just on my own time, on my good days. I had to keep being creative, it was in my blood and it was all I had. Food photography was born naturally from my need to cook healthier and to keep shooting. This is why this blog is so important to me. I did not decide one day to take photos of my food and start a blog. Everything right here, chose me.

It’s ridiculous to even think (especially for me as it’s something I would never say) that everything happens for a reason. But I actually feel like my illness was a blessing (in disguise). It opened up my eyes to the crappy foods we were eating and the food that was out there. It opened up my whole world to better things; to better food, to a better being and to this amazing community of like-minded individuals – people who also want to live healthier and happier!

So right now, I am just feeling so incredibly lucky to have all these good things in my life. Health, happiness, my two little ladies and my husband who’s been through the good and bad and stuck by “in sickness and in health”…

I don’t know what could be better at this very moment in my life… but I know that even more good things are coming. Because once you surrender to the good things in life ~ you don’t even notice the bad. You manifest your own destiny! You create your own happiness…

Thank you all again for being here. Now let’s have some cake!



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Gluten-free Vegan Dark Chocolate Rose Cake

Ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum OR 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup organic raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup hot rose petal tea* (steeped for 5 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • gluten free icing sugar for topping
  • extra rose petals** for decorating
  • 1/4 cup dark 72% chocolate chips or squares, melted (optional)

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Directions :
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and line an 8-10″ cake pan.
  2. Steep 1 heaping tablespoon of rose petals with 1/2 cup of hot water. Cover the cup and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift all the flours plus cacao powder, baking powder and soda and xanthan gum and salt together, mix them well and set aside.  
  4. In a separate bowl, mix sugar with all the other wet ingredients (add 1/4 cup of the hot rose petal tea).
  5. Combine slowly by mixing with a wooden spoon. 
  6. Leave the batter to sit for about 15 minutes to allow all the ingredients to activate.
  7. Pour into a lined cake pan.
  8. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350F. 
  9. Insert a toothpick into the centre to check for doneness.
  10. Melt the chocolate chips or squares and drizzle on top.
  11. Sprinkle with extra rose petals* and icing sugar.
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    *You can get a bag of rose petals in most Asian stores in the tea section.
    **The rose petals are edible, but the green parts of the rose buds are not – I liked the visual presentation of keeping the rose buds intact. You can pick off the petals off the roses and sprinkle just the petals for a fully edible cake. 



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This Dark Chocolate Rose Cake is so deliciously divine! It’s not only gluten-free and vegan ~ which means it’s lighter, gentler on your tummy with no cholesterol and allergen friendly. But it’s also rich and moist and has a deep luscious chocolaty flavour with a hint of delectable rose-infusion. Kind of amazing really.

And this cake isn’t just a delicious birthday cake that I want to share with you… it’s also kind of my personality manifested as cake.
It’s simple, down to earth, but intense, bold, dark and a bit mysterious… yet also delicate, romantic and a even fragile… beautiful and makes an impression with a pure sense of style and expression. At first bite, it’s addictive and leaves a lingering sweetness! ;)

There you go, if I were cake, I would be this cake! ;) 



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 I’m off to go on with my simple day with spit-up, house cleaning and baby snuggling. It will be just another day, but I look for beauty in the mundane… It’s the simple things that make me happy anyway. Today may not look special but it’s special in my heart as I am filled with gratitude for everything in my life right now…

My day already started with a gorgeous bouquet of these sunflowers from my husband and I’m looking forward to a little hand drawn birthday card from my daughter when she comes from school and a few giggles from my baby girl throughout the day and it’s just the best birthday ever! ;) Tonight we have plans for a sushi night most likely with a rerun of Frozen ~ best night ever with my favourite people ;)

I wish you all a great day filled with sweet happy things that make you smile… thank you for being here! Big hugs!! xo

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Spiced Apple Pie Super Smoothie

 

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Ahhh apple season, oh how much I love you…. There’s something amazing about every growing season, from strawberries, to blueberries, to cherries, to peaches to apples. Of course I get giddy about each local harvest, but apples have always been my favourite. Maybe because it’s the taste of childhood for me… from the morning porridge with stewed apples, to mom’s apple pierogies, to her amazing spiced apple pie with hints of cinnamon and cloves…. ahh so good!

Apples in every shape or form hit the spot every time. And this recipes proves my love for the season’s favourite combinations. This Spiced Apple Pie is a delicious treat for breakfast as it is a decadent sweet dessert… Try it, you’ll love it ;)

               

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Spiced Apple Pie Super Smoothie

vegan, dairy free, vegan smoothie recipe

Ingredients :

2 cups almond or coconut milk
2 organic apples, peeled and chopped (or 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce)
1/4 cup almond butter
4 medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons pre-soaked raw buckwheat groats or oats (optional)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions :

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high. Adjust sweetness level. Serve immediately ;)

This Spiced Apple Pie Super Smoothie just hits the spot! So much better and better-for-you than those expensive lattes out there and this really brings in the best of the season. 



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I hope you’re ready to embrace the autumn season in full excitement and full bellies! It’s the last of our growing season in Canada so I definitely enjoy every little last delicious crop I can get my hands on ;) (although, we’re still not ready for pumpkin pie just yet!)

Spices such as cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg are so important for your health ~ yes, even year round. But right now is a good time to include these spices everywhere from this smoothie, to coffee, chai tea, morning porridge or of course, baking. These spices lower cholesterol, they are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Great for treating candida and killing sugar cravings, among lots of good stuff. Enjoy!!

Do tell… what’s your favourite recipe to bring in the fall season?

 

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Horse Ranch Birthday Party



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OMG! My girl is 7 you guys! How does that happen that kids get older, yet we (the parents + our friends we’ve known since high school) don’t age? lol

One thing I love to do each year is a big fun birthday party for this girl! It just so happens it’s falls one week before summer’s over, so it’s just really nice to get together with our family and friends and have some fun! Not that we need an excuse to have cake and fun… This girl always gets the best birthdays, she’s been the only one so far, so it’s been easy to pull off one big party per year, now it will get more fun planning birthdays for both my girls. What can I say, I’m one proud happy mama!! ;)

Gabriella’s birthday was at a lovely horse ranch just a short drive away. This girl loves horses since forever and I’m so happy she had this perfectly ‘her’ birthday party. She kind of wanted to keep the horse and take him home ;) 

It was the perfect summery day, the kind you really cross your fingers for when you plan an outdoor birthday adventure. It sure was perfect. The kids had a blast, the grown-ups mingled, there was cake and cupcakes (gluten-free and vegan cake and cupcakes recipes will come at a later time) What else can I say…. I think I’ll let the pics to the talking ;) 



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This was the first big party that little Amelia attended and she was such a good sport! 
She’s a party girl just like her sister and kind of her mama ;)

I wished this day wouldn’t have ended… it was so great to see our friends and just enjoy the beautiful outdoors. 
The plan now is that we’re looking for a house with horse stables – I am totally up for that as long as it has a big vegetable garden and an apple, plum and peach tree ;)

Happy birthday my most amazing daughter. Sometimes I really do pinch myself that I have all this… #luckygirl



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