Super Mario Chocolate Zucchini-Carrot Cake

Cake 1

The original recipe for cupcakes, by Carole Fraser in North York, ON Canada, was published in the 2013 Taste of Home Special Edition ‘Cupcakes’. Works well as a cake batter ~ with a moist, rich brownie-like texture due to the addition of grated carrots as well as zucchini. Choc Zuch Cake We followed the cupcake recipe, using organic zucchini & carrot quickly grated with a food processor, unbleached all purpose flour and organic Spelt flour, premium dark cocoa, and real vanilla. We then put the batter into a 9-inch springform pan, rather than a muffin tin, and increased the baking time to 5o -55 minutes.


1 1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar (we used Florida Organic sugar)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon real mexican vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unbleached All Purpose flour + 1 cup Organic Spelt Flour (whole or light)

3/4 cup Royal Dutch dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plain yogurt (we used Liberte Greek yogurt)

1 cup grated organic zucchini (use a food processor for grating to save time)

1 cup grated organic carrots (use a food processor for grating to save time)

FROSTING: We used a basic Butter Cream Frosting recipe for our birthday cake, and Royal icing for the Super Mario face decoration. We found a template on the internet for Mario’s face, placed it on cardboard, covered with plastic wrap, and painted the royal icing onto the surface. We used fruit leather and various candy and marshmallows to decorate. Super Mario’s nose is a pared down jumbo marshmallow. What two-year-old wouldn’t want to pull that off and eat it?! Mario Face CAKE METHOD:

Prepare grated zucchini and carrot and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a stand mixer or hand held blender, cream butter and sugar together in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Combine the Flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Measure out the yogurt.

Add dry ingredients (flour mixture) and yogurt alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Fold in zucchini and carrots.

Pour batter evenly into 9-inch springform cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 to 55 minutes – until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out fairly clean. Cool. Remove from springform pan.

May be wrapped and stored in fridge for up to 48 hours before decorating. Cake remains moist.

A nice firm cake for decorating. Cut into smaller, dense slices, this cake serves 12 to 16 people.


With joy over chocolate cake and second birthdays, Diana E. Natalie

Note: All ingredients may be found at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St., Peterborough, ON. K9J 2V7

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Fruit-Filled Cornmeal Muffins Gluten Free

done muffin 1

Muffins that taste like donuts? These aren’t far off for something made without any refined sugar or unfriendly oils! Make them ahead, store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to one week. Unlike other gluten free muffins which can sometimes dry out fairly quickly, these become more moist and taste even better after a day or two!

stored muffins



1/2 cup organic non-GMO cornmeal

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup all-purpose Gluten-free flour blend

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ginger


1/4 cup brown rice syrup + 1/4 cup maple syrup (OR use 1/2 cup of maple syrup)

1 egg + 1 eggwhite

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup almond milk or milk substitute


1/2 cup organic juice-sweetened fruit spread such as Crofter’s

muffin centre


Prepare muffin tin (grease or line with muffin papers). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Blend dry ingredients together in a bowl using a wire whisk and set aside.

Beat wet ingredients together using a handheld or stand mixer.

Stir in dry ingredients until moistened – do not over mix.

Half-fill muffin cups. (Divide half of the batter between each of 12 muffin cups). Then carefully place one-half to one teaspoon of “just fruit spread” in centre of each muffin cup. (Is that me licking my finger in the picture below? Oops!)

muffin middles

Cover with approx. 1 Tablespoon of batter in each muffin cup, until all batter is used up.

muffin tops

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into centre of muffin comes out clean.

As mentioned above you can make these muffins ahead, store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to one week. They moisten up and taste even better after a day or two.

Recipe makes 1 dozen.

muffin centre

with joy over gluten-free low glycemic muffins that taste like donuts,

Diana E. Natalie

P.S. All ingredients listed above are available at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St. Peterborough, ON.

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Five Star Blueberry Ricotta Cake

Blueberry Rocotta Cake 2

Spring cleaning the freezer, we found a frozen container of Ricotta cheese, thawed it out, and used it and some frozen blueberries to make this amazing cake. One of those recipes that turns out so well and tastes so good we found ourselves dreaming all day about eating “just one more piece!” Eating this ‘cake’ for breakfast actually provides a decent level of protein from eggs, cheese, and milk, as well as fruit, and fibre if you use a whole grain flour in the batter. Super easy to make, you can likely experiment with some substitutions (i.e. alternate flours, sweeteners, oil, and dairy substitutes) with good success, as there’s plenty of egg and baking powder to make it rise up regardless. The cake should store well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, although ours didn’t last long enough to prove it, as we ate it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

INGREDIENTS Part One ~ “Batter”:

1 cup flour (we used 1/2 cup Spelt flour + 1/2 cup unbleached All Purpose flour)

3/4 cup sugar (we used 1/2 cup Florida Organic sugar + 1/4 cup Sucanat)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup milk (or milk substitute)

1/4 cup coconut oil melted & cooled. (Also use a bit of coconut oil to grease a 9 inch square glass baking dish).

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

INGREDIENTS Part Two ~ “Filling”:

1 1/2 cups frozen (wild) blueberries

INGREDIENTS Part Three ~ “Topping”:

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese

1/3 cup Florida Organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blueberry Ricotta Cake 1


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9″X9″ glass baking dish with a bit of coconut oil.

Stir together the flour, sugars, and baking powder from Ingredients Part One.

Add the milk, oil, egg, and lemon extract. Using stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat on low for one minute, then on medium speed for 1 minute (use spatula to incorporate any ingredients coming up the side of the bowl) until well blended.

Pour this batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

Ingredients Part Two: Sprinkle frozen blueberries evenly over the batter.

In separate bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs from Ingredients Part Three, ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla extract.

Spoon this mixture evenly over the blueberries.

Bake (uncovered) 50 to 60 minutes – keep your eye on it near the end to ensure the top is done but not too brown.

Cool completely. Cut into squares, and ENJOY!!!

Blueberry Ricotta Cake 3

with joy over blueberries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

<3 Diana E. Natalie

P.S. All of the ingredients except the blueberries can be found at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St., Peterborough, Ontario.

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The Craving Kale Winter Salad

Kale Salad

Here we are at the end of the shortest but longest month of the year … February. (No exclamation mark, no smiley face, no hurrah.) If you live in Canada or anywhere in the Northern hemisphere for that matter (yes, it was even chilly in L.A. at the Oscar’s this year) you are ready for the windy month of March to usher in Spring and with it dreams of fresh salad greens, grown in your own garden perhaps?!

Meanwhile, if you are craving dark leafy greens as I am, try making this easy nutritious Kale salad to satisfy your cravings. The Kale in the grocery stores is beautiful right now!


1 Bunch leafy green Kale – washed, de-stemmed, chopped, and spun dry (or wrapped in a tea towel).

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup “real” aged parmesan cheese (grated or shaved)

1 seedless orange peeled and cubed


2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar (or 3 Tbsp lemon juice).

2 Tablespoons liquid honey

1/4 cup oil (we use either Grape Seed Oil, OR Extra Virgin Olive Oil, OR Avocado Oil).

2 Tablespoons finely diced fresh sweet onion

1 Tablespoon real mayonnaise (we use the kind made with olive oil).

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or himalayan pink salt)

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground blended pepper

Place the Kale (washed, stemmed, dried, and chopped) into a good sized salad bowl. Gently “KNEED” the Kale with your clean hands (squeezing and releasing in handfuls back into the bowl) to soften it as store-bought winter Kale tends to be ‘tougher’ than what you would grow in your own garden.

Place the rest of the salad ingredients into the bowl with the Kale.

Mix dressing ingredients together well with a fork or a small whisk, and pour around the inside edge of the salad bowl (around the salad).

Toss and serve.

Leftovers keep well for lunch the next day!





with joy over anything GREEN in February!

Diana E. Natalie

(Note: Organic apple juice-sweetened cranberries are available at The Main Ingredient, 326 Charlotte St. Peterborough, ON, along with the various salad oils, salts, and peppers mentioned above, and the raw sunflower seeds and lovely grated aged parmesan cheese).


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Double Chocolate Cream Pie


The back-story to making this pie, is that thirty years ago (our first year of marriage) I attempted to make a chocolate cream pie for my hubby Bryan, and it was a major fail (ran all over the plate and tasted awful). This is my first re-attempt at a chocolate cream pie – or any cream pie for that matter!

So many thanks to Jill over at The Prairie Homestead for this perfect February chocolate treat! Bryan loved it! And so did the ‘dairy-free, grain-free’ friends we shared it with on Valentine’s Day.

We followed the recipe as exactly as we could and pictured here is our result even after a little trouble with the crust during baking ~ don’t worry, we’ve altered the original recipe ever-so-slightly to remedy any glitches, and explained things in detail to ensure a satisfying pie-making experience if you try it yourself!

Grain-free, Dairy free, and ‘almost refined sugar free’, the hit of chocolate and silky smooth texture of this pie is unforgettable. One question we were asked was, “Does it taste ‘coconuty’ with all the coconut milk, coconut oil, and addition of coconut flour in the crust?” The answer is, “not really! ~ all we could taste was CHOCOLATE. Yumm!”

This is a THINK AHEAD recipe! If you want to serve it one day, you need to make it the day before, or at least the morning of, if you’re serving it that evening! It needs all day or overnight to ‘set’ in the refrigerator.


Chocolate Piecrust:

1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour

3 Tablespoons unsweetened dark Dutch Process cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 Tablespoons organic coconut oil ‘shortening’. (Note: coconut oil will liquify just above room temperature – for this recipe it works better if it’s firm not liquid).

3 Tablespoons liquid unpasteurized honey (we used clover honey).

Chocolate Cream Filling:

2 3/4 cups canned coconut milk (= 1 1/2 14 oz. cans) We used 1 can regular and 1/2 can ‘Lite’.

2 1/4 teaspoons unflavoured gelatin

4 large egg yolks (TIP: when you separate the eggs, save the whites – they will keep in the fridge for a few days and you can use them in other baking).

1/3 cup liquid unpasteurized honey (we used clover honey).

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (we used a pure bourbon vanilla)

2/3 cup semi-sweet (dairy free) mini chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons unsweetened dark Dutch Process cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

OPTIONAL: Whipping Cream, or Whipped (dairy free) Coconut Cream made from full fat coconut milk, for topping when serving pie.

IMG_4550 IMG_4555


Prepare the piecrust first. In a food processor, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, coconut flour, gelatine, and sea salt. Pulse in the coconut oil and add the honey, pulsing until a dough ball forms.

Remove the dough from the processor bowl and shape into a disk, on plastic wrap, wrap it up and place in fridge to chill for a half hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate. (We used a Le Creuset clay dish).

Once dough is chilled press it evenly from the centre of pie plate moving it outward and up the sides to the rim (laying plastic wrap over top of the dough while you press it in seems to make the process easier and keeps your fingers clean).






Poke the bottom of crust a few times with a fork, and bake 12 to 14 minutes until crust is looking done. We have a convection oven, so extended baking time to 2o minutes, during which time we removed it from the oven once to ‘coax’ the crust back up the sides of the pie plate with the rounded bottom of a measuring cup, as it had slid down a bit during baking. We returned it to the oven and it held its shape for the rest of the baking process.






Carefully remove piecrust from oven and allow it to cool completely.

Prepare Chocolate Cream Filling. Place coconut milk into a medium saucepan (pot), and sprinkle gelatin over top of the milk. Allow the gelatin to “bloom” about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.

Once gelatin has softened, place saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the milk and gelatin are well combined and the milk is warmed. Once the milk is very warm (not boiling) slowly whisk 1/2 cup of the very warm milk into the yolk mixture – whisking constantly to combine. (This is known as ‘tempering the egg’). Slowly and in a small stream, whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and keep whisking thoroughly.

Add the chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and sea salt, whisking well to combine. Bring the filling mixture to a gentle simmer and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until it thickens. Pour this ‘custard’ filling through a fine mesh strainer into a shallow bowl or dish to cool. (Ours wasn’t too shallow so it took longer to cool – see photo above).

Once cooled, pour the filling into the cooled piecrust. Place in refrigerator to set (for at least 6 to 8 hours, or overnight).

When ready to serve, slice carefully, lift out and serve topped with fresh whipped cream or if you’re dairy free make coconut cream. Add chocolate shavings if desired.

Pie can be refrigerated up to 24 hours.

IMG_4571 IMG_4577

with double chocolate joy,

Diana E. Natalie

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Gluten Free Chocolate Teff Valentine’s Loaf

teff loaf w jam

The technical name for this loaf would read something like ‘Gluten-Free Chocolate-Banana-Loaf with Teff and Almond Flour’. But it’s actually quite simple to put together once you have all of your ingredients ready to go. The secret to Gluten Free Valentine success could just be serving up slices of this delectable loaf with cherry jam or spread slathered on top!

No matter what you call it, I am lovestruck, enamoured with the chocolatey scent wafting through my kitchen, and no longer fear baking with Teff flour. I purchased some Teff flour a while back at my local bulk whole foods store and it ended up lost in my cupboard until today, when I pulled it out and decided it needed to be baked into something chocolatey, perhaps because of it’s natural cocoa-like appearance.

photo 1

An Aside About Teff:
Teff (also spelled Tef) is the staple grain of Ethiopia. Packed with protein, calcium, and iron, tef is also one of the gluten-free grains, along with amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa. Teff is nutrient rich because most of the grain is made up of the bran and germ. A cup of cooked Teff provides the recommended daily iron intake for adults. The whole grain, smaller than a poppy seed, and redish-brown in colour, is made into a fine, light flour. It takes 150 Teff grains to equal the weight of a single grain of wheat. The name “Teff”, in Amharic, means “”lost”, perhaps because each individual grain of tef is so tiny that if dropped on the floor you would hardly be able to find it.
Teff was exclusively grown in Ethiopia for thousands of years, but after the death of Haile Selassie, in 1974, the socialist military government insisted that the farmers grow less labor-intensive crops, such as wheat, to export to other countries and make more money for the state. Teff farming was beginning to die out, but an American from Idaho, Wayne Carlson, who was working as an aid worker in Ethiopia in the 1970s, took some of the teff seeds home to Caldwell, Idaho, and began growing and selling it to the Ethiopian communities in US cities. Today, The Teff Company, continues to supply Ethiopian communities with American-grown Maskal Teff.


(all ingredients except bananas are available at The Main Ingredient, Peterborough, Ontario – Facebook page).

1 cup Teff flour

1/2 cup purchased Gluten free Flour Blend of your choice, OR make up this one.

1/2 cup almond flour (blanched almond meal)

1/2 cup Sucanat

1/4 cup florida organic sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 heaping Tablespoons dark ‘Dutch process’ Cocoa powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup Liberte Greek Yogurt (vanilla or plain)

2 eggs + 1 eggwhite

2 ripe bananas, mashed

6 Tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

unbaked loaf


Grease a 5″X9″ or larger loaf pan with butter or coconut oil, and line with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and move rack to the lower half of the oven (just below the centre) so the top of the loaf doesn’t get too dark during baking.

Place all dry ingredients (flours, sugar, soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon) into a bowl, blending together as you add each one. Set aside.

‘Puree’ bananas using hand mixer or wire whisk in stand mixer bowl. OR, mash bananas on a plate with a fork and place into a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and eggwhite, and beat in lightly.

Add yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts, and melted butter, mixing until completely blended together.

Add dry ingredients to bowl and fold in just until mixed (Do not over mix).

Scrape the batter evenly into your pan. It is rather thick and ‘doughy’ so pat it down a little on the top to even out the surface. If desired, place a row of walnut halves and/or chocolate chips down the middle of the loaf top and press in slightly. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes (40 for regular oven, 45 or 50 for convection). Insert wooden skewer into centre of loaf to check for doneness (if it comes out fairly clean you’re all done!) Take it out and using the back of a spoon, squish and spread the melty chocolate chips on top around a little bit…then let it cool…

spread chips

…Let the bread sit in the pan for ten or fifteen minutes, then lift it out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm, or cool. Spread with cream cheese or cherry jam…or both! Mmmm…

Makes one larger loaf…serving 10 to 15. (Wrap in wax paper and plastic wrap, or seal in freezer bag and freeze for later if you’re not serving it within a couple of days, so it doesn’t dry out).

Happy Valentines Day,

with love from Diana E. Natalie

photo 1

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Sunday Brunch SconeNuts

Those who have followed us here at ‘Stand In My Kitchen’ for a while, know that we love to play with traditional ingredients and tweak them just a bit (and sometimes a lot) to amp up the nutritional potential of our recipes.

If you love cake donuts but avoid them because they’re high fat and sugar, lacking fibre and nutrients, here is a ‘healthy revamp’ to suit your taste buds and your waist line. Hello SCONE-NUTS! Perfect for Sunday Brunch, or any time you would normally pump yourself full of OATS like I do most mornings before heading to work.

The addition of walnuts and pumpkin puree provides additional beneficial essential fatty acids and antioxidants.



2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (we use a blend of 1/2 large flake & 1/2 quick cook rolled oats)

2 cups flour:

We used 1/2 cup unbleached All-Purpose wheat flour + 1 cup Spelt flour (whole or light) + 1/2 cup Buckwheat flour.

1/2 cup brown sugar OR Sucanat

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (try grating whole nutmeg! once you’ve tried it you may never use pre-ground nutmeg again…it’s that good.)

1/2 cup creamery butter, chilled

1/2 cup Buttermilk (OR to ‘fake’ buttermilk whisk together a scant 1/2 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt).

1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree (Tip: when you don’t use a full can, freeze the rest in an ice cube tray for later use).

1 large egg + 1 egg white separated

1/3 cup raw walnut halves

1/8 cup cinnamon sugar (blend 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar – we use ‘Florida Organic Sugar‘)

NOTE: To make dairy free, replace buttermilk with Almond, Soy, or Coconut milk, and use a vegan butter substitute, or coconut oil.



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In food processor, combine oats, flour, sugar or Sucanat, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and walnuts. Pulse to blend.

Grate 1/2 cup cold butter into processor bowl (or cut butter into small cubes and drop into bowl). Pulse until coarse crumbs are forming.

Whisk ‘buttermilk’, eggs, and pumpkin puree together in a separate bowl.

With food processor running, add milk/egg/pumpkin mixture, pulsing until dough forms.

Scoop ‘SconeNut’ dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto parchment paper lined large cookie sheet (or ungreased cookie sheet).

Sprinkle each ‘blob’ with cinnamon sugar, flatten slightly to form a 2 1/2 – 3 inch round.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden (check after 12 minutes, especially if you are using a convection oven).

Serve warm with your favourite jams or jelly.


with joy over Sundays ~ days of rest ~ and attentiveness to the nutritional value of what we consume in 2015,

Diana E. Natalie.

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