Mini Strawberry Meringue Tortes

Making bite size desserts is one way to keep the calories in check. And there is nothing better than strawberry preserves and meringue atop an almond crust.

I used my almond flour base for the crust, simple and easy to make. Then I made a delicious strawberry preserves using maple syrup rather than refined sugar. The meringue is also sweetened with maple syrup.

What I’m learning using almond flour as a base for many of my bakes (Lemon Bars) and others…  Continue reading “Mini Strawberry Meringue Tortes”

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars



Lemon Bars are one of my favorites. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with alternative ingredients again this past week and came up with a recipe that is super delicious. Lemon Bars, a very refreshing and sweet dessert, without refined sugars and gluten-free.

I used a base of blanched almond flour and maple syrup. Coconut oil doesn’t work so well, so I stuck with grass-fed butter. The results were fantastic.

Taking from the traditional lemon bar recipe I have from my grandmother, I not only substituted the sugar with maple syrup, I also added a tropical twist with unsweetened coconut flakes as part of the top crumble. So refreshing.

The biggest differences that I have noticed is the consistency of the cake/cookie base being softer than it’s flour counterpart and the lemon curd isn’t as yellow because of the maple syrup. It does firm up overnight or once completely cooled. I would also put in the refrigerator for longer storage. These two differences didn’t impact the taste!

I hope you like this version of lemon bars as much as my family has!

Enjoy the bake!



Lemon Bars Recipe

Lemon Curd

3/4 cup maple syrup

6 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs of lemon zest

2 tbs cornstarch

6 egg yolks beaten

1/2 cup grass-fed butter cut up

Combine the maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch in a sauce pan. Over medium heat bring to a boil, this will happen quickly so keep a good watch. Stir for about 1 – 2 minutes until thick, then in a separate bowl, add a little at a time of the hot liquid to the beaten egg yolks to temper the eggs and not turn to scrambled eggs. Once half of the hot liquid is incorporated, then add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining liquid in the sauce pan. Over low heat stir until completely combined and thick. Remove from the heat and add the butter and stir until melted. Let cool and then set aside.

I cooled my curd overnight, but you could use after about an 30-60 minutes of cooling.

Cake/Cookie Base

1 cup softened grass-fed butter

3/4 cup maple syrup

3 cups blanched almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and the maple syrup until combined. Then add the almond flour/baking powder to slowly to the butter mixture until fully mixed.

In a prepared 13 x 9 x 2 greased pan or a torte pan, spread the dough evenly and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degree oven. Or until edges and top are slightly brown.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before spreading your lemon curd overtop, being careful to not “tear” the dough from spreading too hard. Spread curd until you leave just a little edge all around.

For the crumble, mix 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 slivered almonds, 1 tbs of softened butter. Using your fingers, completely combine the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined and not large portions of butter remain.

Sprinkle the crumb on top of the curd. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the crumb becomes a bit browned. Remove and cool the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.


Sunflower Butter Cookies

Sunflower Butter Cookies

Sunflower Butter Cookies

Sunflower Butter Cookies

Last week my son started Summer Day Camp. He was so excited to see his friends from last summer, especially Alex! Both of them were inseparable at camp, we did get together occasionally during the school year, but not enough for Donavan.

Once camp started, Donavan asked if I wouldn’t pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for his daily lunch. I asked him why. He told me, he wanted to eat lunch with Alex! “Alex is allergic to peanuts. Can you buy sun butter for me so I can eat lunch with Alex?” he exclaimed. How adorable and caring is that?? Such a sweet kid. I told him yes, I would look into it. I’d never heard of sun butter, so I investigated.

Sun butter is sunflower seed butter, who knew! They have two varieties, natural and crunchy. I accidentally bought the crunchy, not realizing they had two types, I was just excited to find it!

If you read and follow my blog, you’ll also know that I’ve stumbled across this new cook book from Sweet Laurel, a bakery out of California, that uses alternative ingredients for baking. Low and behold as I was researching a new bake I came across Sunflower Butter Cookies! I reviewed the ingredients and realized, I have everything I need to make these! So here are the results and the recipe.

These cookies are great for individuals with nut allergies and dairy aversions. So I thought I would make them for this post. And, Donavan would have a treat that he could take to his friend Alex, yummy Sunflower Butter Cookies.

One thing to note, sunflower butter isn’t low in calories, in fact it has more fat and calories than peanut butter, but it’s a great alternative when your little ones need to take an alternative cookie to summer camp for their friends with peanut allergies!

Enjoy the bake!

Sunflower Butter Cookies

1 cup sunflower seed butter

1 large egg

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat a 350 degree oven. Stir all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until a dough forms. I used a cookie scoop and place the dough on a Silpat or you could use parchment paper.

Place the tray of cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to give them a chance to firm. Remove and use a fork to push down onto the cookie dough, just like a peanut butter cookie.

Bake the cookies for about 11-12 minutes. My oven runs on the cooler side of 350, check the bake after 10 minutes. Since it’s a dark dough, be sure to thoroughly bake. My first small tray (trial) came out doughy/raw in the center. My second bake I left in for 12 minutes and they were perfect!

Cool and serve!

Enjoy the bake and be sure to share your results!



Nutrition Facts – Sunflower Butter Cookies
Servings: 18
Amount per serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7.1g 9%
Saturated Fat 0.8g 4%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 103mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 10.2g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 5.3g
Protein 3.1g
Vitamin D 1mcg 4%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 32mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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Best Paleo Carrot Cake

The Best Paleo Carrot Cake

Best Paleo Carrot Cake Ever
Best Carrot Cake


The Best Paleo Carrot Cake

I don’t say this often, this is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had! It’s amazing and it’s made with alternative ingredients. These alternative ingredients include almond flour and coconut oil. Making this carrot cake suitable for a Paleo Diet or anyone looking to avoid dairy or gluten.

In my journey to uncover alternative ingredient bakes this month, I found a show stopper! You won’t regret trying this recipe, no matter what type of diet you may be on. Don’t be afraid to give it a try! Best of all, super easy to make!

One way I know I have a recipe I’ll keep as a family favorite; my husband and kids love it! All too often their noses turn up when they know it’s a Paleo Bake or something not ordinary. But this, they came back for seconds and thirds!

Here is The Best Paleo Carrot Cake recipe compliments of my new most favorite cookbook, Sweet Laurel.

I used two 6-inch pans and prepared them with coconut oil (bottom and sides) and parchment paper on the bottom.

1/4 cup coconut oil melted

2 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 large eggs – room temperature

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I prefer over walnuts, but you can use either)

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup. Adding a little at at time, whisk in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until you reach a batter. Then add your carrots, raisins and nut of choice.

Divide the batter between the two baking pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and cool on cooling racks.

Once completely cooled, make your icing.

Probiotic Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:

2 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked for 1 hour, drained and rinsed.

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 probiotic capsule*

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

*Probiotic Capsules: You can find probiotics in the refrigerator section of health food stores. Sweet Laurel recommends gluten-free brand called Flora. Don’t use prebiotics.

In a blender, combine everything and blent until creamy. If too thing, blend remaining soaked cashews until smooth Refrigerate until ready for use.

If you don’t have a dairy aversion, you could make a delicious cream cheese icing using maple syrup and vanilla along with the smaller amount of cashews. However this would then negate the Paleo aspect of the cake. Feel free to experiment.

The best way to eat, slightly warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds at 50% power! Yummy!!!

Enjoy the bake & share your results!


Best Paleo Carrot Cake Ever!
Best Carrot Cake

Paleo Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Paleo Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe


Now that summer break for the kids is in session, the kids are asking for some dessert treats to fill in the gaps between camp activities, piano lessons and great outdoor fun! For me, I always enjoyed Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. It was one of my mom’s favorite treats to bake for the kids.

Looking for opportunities to reduce refined sugars and use whole grain-free ingredients. I came across this fantastic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe in my new favorite cookbook, Sweet Laurel! I made a few alterations to fit my family’s tastes.

The base sweetener for most of the recipes is Maple Syrup. It’s a great sweetener that makes the bakes ultra moist and is filled with nutrients – potassium, magnesium, iron and other great minerals for growing boys! It’s also made with Coconut Oil, providing a dairy-free alternative to butter and is rich in fiber, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. The fat content in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain saturated fatty acids which are rapidly metabolized into energy in the liver and less likely to be stored as fat in the body! Perfect for my family sedentary habits with technology.

The results of this bake were outstanding and my husband made a wonderful suggestion after taking a few bites. Add toasted, unsweetened organic coconut flakes onto to compliment the coconut oil flavorings that come through in the delicious dessert.

Another all-natural ingredient that isn’t process is Himalayan Pink Salt. This ingredient is loaded with minerals and according to Sweet Laurel, eight-four minerals in total! In addition, it has a great Ph-balancing quality. All in all this, desserts is guilt free for everyone to enjoy!

Paleo Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

1/4 cup of coconut oil melted

1 cup maple syrup

1 can organic crushed pineapple drained

2 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 cups fresh cherries – pitted and cut in half

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 juice from an organic lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cherries ahead of time by boiling them in a small saucepan with the 1/2 cup maple syrup an lemon juice. Boil down for about 15 minutes until cherries are softened and liquid is thickened. Set aside.

For cake, boil for In small saucepan, reduce down 1/2 cup of the maple syrup for 10 minutes until it is reduced to a thick consistency to pour atop the cake after baking. Set aside and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the cake by using some coconut oil to grease the 9-inch cake pan, bottom and sides. Take your single cherries and place in a design at the bottom of the pan and fill in with the drained pineapple.

For the batter, whisk the eggs, coconut oil, remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup and vanilla in a medium size bowl. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda and then add to liquid mixture a little at at time until a batter forms.

Pour batter into the pan, completely covering the fruit. Tap down to remove air bubbles and bake for 25 minutes or so, until center is firm. Remove and quickly turn over onto a cake plate. After a few minutes of cooling, or just before serving, glaze top of cake with reduced maple syrup. Serve and enjoy the bake!