Eight Gluten-Free Sweet Treats for Father’s Day

It’s time to celebrate our Dads and I have eight perfect, gluten free recipes that are the perfect way to say thank you to your Dad! Come Sunday morning I will be sitting down in a sunny spot sharing some cake with my Dad to say thank you for all the love he shows me every day in so many little ways. I’m grateful to be your daughter and grateful for all the ways you have shown me to live my life so that I can be proud of myself at the end of every day. I love you Dada. P.S. Yes, there will be cake on Sunday!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Don’t be fooled by the name, these fluffy, sprinkle-speckled, gluten free cupcakes are perfect for any occasion! Make a batch for your Dad and watch him smile!Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Every peanut butter loving dad’s dream! These bars are over-the-top peanut butter flavour made even more special with the addition of chocolate chips. And your dad will love that he can freeze and defrost the leftovers – if there are any!Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies

Want to wow your dad and any other guests? Try my gluten free Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies! This one is for when you need to make a statement and you want to give your dad the best of both worlds: fluffy spiced cake and cookies!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Cake Batter Puppy Chow

Making sweet treats or snacks for a crowd this Father’s Day? Make this super sweet and festive Cake Batter Puppy Chow and you’ll be the crowd favourite for sure!Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Orange Layer Cake

This is a simple but substantial gluten free layer cake and the orange flavour is perfect for a morning celebration. Make sure you garnish it with your dad’s favourite coloured sprinkles!Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Chocolate Chip  Zucchini Cookies

All dads love chocolate: it’s scientific fact. Your dad won’t be able to resist eating these chewy, chocolaty, gluten free double chocolate chip cookies! For bonus points: serve them in a quirky cookie jar that you can refill for him!Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Passionfruit Curd Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

My Dad has planted a new passionfruit vine and I can’t wait until it fruits so that I can make these with homegrown passionfruit! These gluten free cupcakes are a hit with my family every time I make them, and they are the perfect sweet thank you for my Dad this weekend!Passionfruit Curd Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Vanilla Celebration Cake

And now, the cake that you make when you want to pull out all the stops for your dad: Vanilla Celebration Cake. This classic gluten free cake is two perfectly fluffy white cake layers sandwiched with sprinkled vanilla buttercream. It’s classic, and perfect for celebrating your awesome dad!Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A very Thoroughly Nourished Life happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Thank you for all that you do for us!

8 Gluten Free Treats for Father's Day

Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies | Gluten Free

Can’t decide between cake and cookies? No need to choose, my Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is decorated with Snickerdoodle Cookies! You get the best of both worlds in this tall, fluffy, gluten free, spiced cake!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI shared this cake in the latest issue of Yum. Gluten Free Magazine and I couldn’t keep it to myself! You all deserve some more snickerdoodle-y goodness in your lives! The cake layers are spiced with snickerdoodle-like quantities of cinnamon and brown sugar and studded with chocolate pieces (because obviously the only thing that makes a snickerdoodle better is some chocolate…). These layers are stacked and coated with sharp and cool cream cheese frosting and then decorated with actual snickerdoodle cookies!

As with my other gluten free cakes, this fluffy, moist-crumbed creation doesn’t rely on strange gums or additives for its bounce, just the right combination of flours, and Greek yoghurt. I seriously suggest looking for the flours I have listed in the ingredients. I found mine in my local grocery store and they are even cheaper at some health food stores. Delicious science!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com(side note: if anyone wants to start a drinking game with the amount of times I use the word snickerdoodle in this post, I feel okay about that.)Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis cake is pure, brown sugar and cinnamon celebration. You start by making a very simple cake with a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon in the batter (pro-tip: lick the spatula after you’ve finished). Then make a batch of super simple snickerdoodles that start from a base of butter and cream cheese, which adds some extra softness to these cookies (for more snickerdoodle science see Lynn’s informative post). Once the cake and cookies are both cooled you whip up a batch of my easy, by oh so moreish cream cheese frosting and unite the divide. Cookies lovers and cake lovers, no longer do you have to war – there’s something here for everyone!

When you are looking for your next over-the-top celebration cake look no further!
Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies

Makes one two-layer 8-inch round cake | Serves 10-12 | Gluten Free

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes (not including time for cakes to cool)

Note: If you don’t need this gluten free you can swap out the flours for 280 grams of plain flour.

I would recommend making the cookie dough first as it needs to chill for an hour. While the dough is chilling you can make and bake the cake layers.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams sorghum flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 egg white (from large egg) at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 100 grams chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Frosting

  • 250 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons pouring cream (or milk)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease two 8-inch round cake tins with extra butter. Line the bottoms with circles of baking paper. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl) cream butter and sugars on a medium-high speed until it reaches a light and creamy consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and egg white one at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
  5. Beat in almond extract.
  6. Turn mixer speed to low and beat in a flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the yoghurt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. After the last addition, beat until smooth.
  7. Divide mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Level tops and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Switch the position of the pans every ten minutes. Cakes are done when the tops are slightly golden and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Check the cakes at 30 minutes, and then decide if they need the extra ten minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  9. To make frosting. Beat cream cheese briefly to loosen it up, about two minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  10. To assemble cake. Place one layer on a plate or serving dish and frost with 1/3 of the frosting.
  11. Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting. Use a large flat-bladed knife or a frosting palette knife to make this easy.
  12. Decorate with cookies (recipe below). Store in fridge, covered for up to three days. Sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes before serving.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients

  • 45 grams butter, softened
  • 30 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 100 grams caster sugar and 2 tablespoons extra
  • 1 large egg
  • 35 grams sorghum flour
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together butter, cream cheese and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and beat well until incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  5. With mixer on a low speed add flour mix and beat until combined.
  6. Combine remaining two tablespoons caster sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
  7. Chill dough for an hour.
  8. Take rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into small bowls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Leave about 5cm between dough balls for spreading.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just firm. Remove and allow to cool completely before using them to decorate the cake.

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Top Ten Gluten Free Treats For Your Sweet This Valentine’s Day

Florists are hurriedly filling their shelves, rose petals dripping to the floor; chocolatiers present rows of gleaming handmade creations for lovers to gift to each other; and restaurant staff starch tablecloths, polish cutlery until it gleams, and cook plates of perfect aphrodisiacs. These are all beautiful ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always been more of the homemade type. Something made with hand and heart for the one you love. The time is the gift, and love is a verb.

Here are my Top Ten Gluten Free Treats for Your Sweet this Valentine’s Day from Thoroughly Nourished Life:

Two forks and a plate with a massive slice of my Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting would be a sweet end to Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOr how about two spoons and a tub of my Irish Coffee Ice Cream? Chris and I bonded over our love of whisky, so this would be a perfect Valentine’s Day treat.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a vegan salty sweet treat for your beloved? Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies would be welcomed by anyone – bonus points if you wrap them up in a cute little box with tissue paper!

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a little spice in your life this Valentine’s Day? (Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into that kind of blog!) Try my Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChocolate and Peanut Butter, not since Romeo and Juliet have there been two more meant for each other. Here in my Peanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze, rather more successfully than those teenage lovers, chocolate and peanut butter are united in heavenly doughnut form.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOh so you aren’t going away to a tropical island with your lover for Valentine’s Day? Neither am I, but I’m tempted to bring the tropical home with a batch of Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream. These gluten free cupcakes are also perfect for a Gal-entine’s Day celebration too! Perfect for that Sex and the City / Friends marathon!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHow about some pure, lustful, lush chocolate indulgence? My Frosted Peppermint Brownies are an aphrodisiac for sure….(leave out the mint and candy canes for pure chocolate sin…)

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIs your sweetheart a cookie monster? I’m lucky that I have found a fellow cookie monster to love, and my Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of our favourite indulgences. Best when paired with binge watching Parks and Recreation.

Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comBreakfast in bed, or maybe brunch in bed in your plans for this weekend? My Zucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes (with plenty of maple syrup) are a sweet and wholesome start to the day.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd now, for the pull-out all stops, don’t bother going out for dinner, just grab a fork and your stretchy pants and let’s eat in bed, piece de resistance – Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake. It’s over the top, it’s more than over the top. It’s magnums of champagne, 25 carat diamond, a thousand red roses strewn on white silk sheets over the top, but sometimes, that’s exactly what love needs to be.

Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake 3

And a few more love-ly links from around our internet world:

  • Just in time for our Lady and the Tramp Valentine’s Day re-enactments, Not Quite Nigella gives us perfect Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs. The call it bella notte….
  • Red Velvet is Chris’s current love language, and doughnuts, well of course, doughnuts are the ultimate symbol of love – they look like a hug after all. Lynn from Fresh April Flours combines the two in her delightful Baked Red Velvet Doughnuts.
  • If a jar of Nutella is one of your ultimate couple foods (just add two spoons for happiness) – this Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake from Urban Bakes is the perfect up-your-game treat for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And even if Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing, I hope you have an extra sweet weekend too!

Lamingtons for Australia Day | Gluten Free

Lamingtons are an iconic Australian treat, and you are going to love my gluten free lamingtons. They are just like the treat you remember: a soft, vanilla sponge with a sweet and simple dark chocolate glaze and a coating of powdery coconut. It’s time to celebrate Australia Day with the sweetest of treats!

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comLamingtons are an essential part of any Australia Day celebration. These little squares of vanilla cake coated in chocolate glaze and dunked in coconut might appear strange to visitors to our shores, but since 1896 they have been beloved by Australians, and as iconic on our dessert tables as Pavlova, custard slice and Peach Melba. Now, I present my gluten free lamingtons to you so that all your Australia Day guests can enjoy a true blue Australian treat.

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comAustralia Day is a time for us to celebrate our history as a nation, our heroes, and our villains. As is true of any country, there are parts of our history that we aren’t proud of and events that haunt us still, but to me Australia Day is a time to celebrate how far we have come in building our nation and the hope that lies in our better tomorrows. It’s also a day to gather round the barbecue with our families and friends, to play odd Australian bush games (two-up anyone?), make fun of our accents and strange words, call each other ridiculous Aussie nicknames, and just enjoy a public holiday in the beautiful summer weather.

The barbecue (that’s barbie in Australian) is the most common way to celebrate Australia Day along with sausages (Aussie: snags); steaks; salads (usually based on iceberg lettuce); and backyard cricket. When dessert time comes around the Pavlova (Aussie: Pav) is usually the centrepiece of the table; crowned with a thick draping of whipped cream and slices of kiwi fruit and strawberries it is a looker, but if you look off to the side there is always, always a packet of lamingtons – and they go fast!

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comMy homemade lamingtons take a basic gluten free vanilla cake recipe, dunk it in a thick chocolate glaze, and sprinkle it with desiccated coconut. These are the perfect treat to make with kids. Just prepare yourself for a messy kitchen, messy kids – and a delicious homemade treat! The most important thing about these lamingtons is to keep the cake in the fridge until you are ready to slice, glaze, and dunk them. This gluten free cake recipe is not crumbly, but it helps to make the cake a little hardier before it gets handled in this way (I would do this with non-gluten free lamingtons too).

They look a little strange when you first make them, but once you bite into the soft spongy, vanilla scented cake and get a lick of deep chocolate glaze with the tiniest hint of coconut you will understand the lamington’s allure. They are just the treat for long, hot summer nights; workplace morning teas; or for sneaking out of the fridge for a midnight snack. It is an Aussie truth that only the sneakiest gets the last lamington of the night – so be quick!

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Gluten Free Lamingtons

Makes 16 lamingtons | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

Note: if you want to dress these up you can try serving them with whipped cream and berries.

Ingredients

For the lamingtons

  • 80 grams butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 55 grams white rice flour
  • 55 grams brown rice flour
  • 55 grams buckwheat flour
  • 55 grams almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds

For the frosting

  • 4 cups gluten free icing sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and grease a 9-inch square pan with butter. Line the bottom with baking paper and set aside until needed.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. In a small jug mix together milk, vanilla extract, and chia seeds.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy. This will take about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and beat well to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and bottom between additions.
  5. Switch mixing speed to low and add flour mixture to the bowl. Beat until just combined.
  6. Add milk mixture and beat on low until well incorporated.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove cake from the pan and cool completely before decorating with frosting.
  8. Once lamingtons are cooled trim the sides of the cake so that they are even and then cut the cake into 16 equal squares. Transfer the cake squares to the freezer for two hours.
  9. Once the lamingtons are chilled you can decorate them. Combine icing sugar, cocoa powder, and water and beat until thoroughly mixed. Measure coconut into a large bowl.
  10. Using two forks dip one piece of cake into the frosting so all sides are covered. Shake off the excess. Place in coconut and toss until sides are covered completely.
  11. Place on a lined baking tray. Repeat until all cake squares are covered.
  12. Stand for an hour or until set. Store in fridge. Stand at room temperature for half an hour before serving.

Australia Day Lamingtons | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Happy Australia Day dear readers! What are your plans for the holiday long weekend? We are hosting a board games night and eating lamingtons and ice cream!

Merry Christmas To All

Chris and Amy Christmas

The best gifts we receive today do not come wrapped in shiny bows and bright paper. The best gifts we can receive are those of love everlasting, kindness to carry in our hearts all year through, and the purest of joy to light even our darkest days.

I am grateful for my family and friends, for the love, hope and faith they gift me with everyday, even when I am at my most undeserving. I am grateful for the strength of their hearts and their loving presence in my life.

I am grateful to the universe for giving me the opportunity to live this life of adventure, safe harbours to weather storms, beauty when I remember to open my eyes to see it, and everyday grace.

I am grateful to each and every one of you who visit my little Nourished Life table. I am grateful that you are here to share my yummy treats, my attempt at living a grateful life, and inspiring me to keep writing.

I am grateful for the man who loves me, who cradles me in his arms when I am weak, who stand beside me when I fight, and who taught my heart that there is an inexhaustible amount of love in the universe when you open you heart to receive it.

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope this year brings nourishment for mind, body and soul, tidings of joy, kindness in all that you do, gratitude for the beauty of our every day lives, and love for every corner of your heart.

x Amy.

Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free

These cookies are a holiday necessity in our house. Perfectly spiced with a hint of caramel sweetness, they are the best cookies for cutting into festive shapes and decorating with frosting, and edible decorations.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I remember the first day I made these cookies like it was yesterday. Mum had taken Jess and I to a YMCA Christmas function and the activity of the day was making these cookies together and decorating them with raisins. It was a really special moment making these cookies with my Mum and sister and taking them home for Dad. Every time I bite into one of these cookies, I remember that first day, and all the Christmases since.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My Mum has made improvements to the original recipe over time, because in her house raisins are only found in breakfast foods, never in desserts (I’m still a raisin oatmeal lover to her chagrin), and the original heavy dose of ginger was replaced with the more subtle flavour of mixed spice (pumpkin spice for my Northern Hemisphere friends). This cookie recipe has been made in our house for the last twenty years. Every Christmas, come the first week of December, someone in the household will pull down Mum’s big yellow binder full of recipes and get started on the first batch of the season. Much dough tasting later (scrap nibbling is highly encouraged) the cookies are cut into shapes and the house fills with the delicate scent of cinnamon and allspice.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies puff slightly in the oven, and when they are cooled they are soft and warmly sweet, and pair perfectly with a drape of sweet frosting. You can be as wild or restrained as your tastes allow. This year I have made this cookie recipe my own by mixing up gluten free flours for treats that taste exactly like the cookies Mum makes, but safe for tender tummies. If you don’t need the cookies to be gluten free, just replace the gluten free flours and almond meal with 2 cups of plain flour.

These cookies are tender, so treat them gently when transferring the cut-out cookies to the baking trays, and allow them to cool completely on the trays before you decorate them. They do store very well though, and if wrapped up in an airtight container they will last for up to a week. If you wrap them in cellophane or in brown paper, they make an excellent gifting cookie and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t fall for their subtly spiced, tender crumbed charm.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mum’s cookies are perfect for making with little bakers who can help with rolling, cutting and decorating. Don’t worry about the messy kitchen, the sticky fingers, and the lopsidedly decorated Christmas tree cookies. What matters is the love, the joy of creating, and the value of your time spent together. Those are the Christmas memories that last a lifetime.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies

Gluten Free | Makes about 24 5cm cookies | Leftovers will keep up to a week in an airtight container

Ingredients

  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 70 grams sorghum flour
  • 70 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice (or ginger)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line three baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, mixed spice, and baking powder.
  3. In a large mixing bowl using hand beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream softened butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, and golden syrup and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add flour, and use a wooden spoon to mix together dough. It may be tough to get it to come together in a ball, but you can use your hands if you need to.
  6. Scoop the dough together into a large ball. Divide this in half.
  7. Lightly dust your bench with some rice flour and gently roll out the dough to about .8cm thick. This dough is a little more delicate than a wheat dough but it will roll.
  8. Use your choice of cookie cutter to cut out shapes and place on prepared baking sheets. You can use a thin, flat, spatula to help remove the cut out shapes from the bench if required. Leave a little room for spreading.
  9. Once you have cut out all the shapes, gather together dough scraps and re-roll, continue until all the dough it used up.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden and the cookies have puffed up slightly.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before decorating as desired.

Mum's Mixed Spice Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Have a Healthy Holiday

You can have a healthy holiday season! I love to indulge over Christmas – there is just so much good stuff to try! But I also love knowing that my New Year’s Day isn’t going to be filled with regret and too-tight skinny jeans. This holiday season I am striving for balance. Balancing cookies with smoothies; nights on the couch with hot yoga or massive walking sessions with my sister; and long ‘to do’ lists with periods of stillness.

Let’s all have a happy, healthy holiday this Christmas 2014 and get 2015 off to a nourished start!

smoothie ingredients

Keep it healthy when you can: FOOD! Glorious FOOD! It is everywhere at this time of year, and you just know that I love me cookies of all kinds, candy canes, whipped cream on pretty much everything, and big scoops of ice cream to help beat the heat. From the office to the shopping centre to parties and everywhere in between this time of year is all about the food. I am okay with that. When I can though I keep it super healthy: yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinners when we are at home, and minimal snacking. That way when I do indulge I can enjoy it and know that I am going to be back on track at the next meal.

Make it about something other than food: I know what I just said above, but sometimes all the FOOD gets to me and I need to remember that there are so many other things to enjoy about this season: time with family, visiting people’s Christmas displays, more time for reading, seeing friends – there are so many other things to focus on other than the food. Put in some quality time with the ones you love and leave the cookies alone for a while if you need to.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Let yourself indulge: When you do indulge, absolve yourself of guilt. Don’t even let it in the door. The best way to ruin a Christmas get together with friends and family is to worry about how many calories you are going to eat, and how you are going to burn them off. Trust me – I’ve been there, and worrying about food is the best way to trigger a binge and suck all the fun out of the indulgence of the season. Take a deep breath. Let yourself enjoy the yummy things your friends and family have created to enjoy with you. Eat your favourites, try something new and delicious, and rest assured that you can indulge without getting off the rails.

run christmas

Get a Quick Fix: I love long walks on the beach while I’m away, but I also need to work up a bigger sweat sometimes in between cookie, wine, or cheese consumption. HIIT is the perfect answer for holiday workouts that really deliver results. For an at-home workout I write down a list of 10 exercises – a  mix of weighted exercises (like squats with shoulder press) and cardio (skipping or step-ups onto a sturdy chair) and then run through it for 15 minutes without stopping. Rest for a minute and repeat. 30 minutes later I am sweaty and happy!

Try something new! I love trying out new types of exercise with my sister. We are both totally uncoordinated and willing to laugh at ourselves (and each other) so working up a sweat becomes a laughing session as well – it must burn some extra calories! We just finished up a free trial of some gym classes and this summer we are going to work on our balance with some hot yoga classes. Hilarity shall ensue. Find a friend, find a class that you haven’t tried and work up a seasonal sweat! You’ll be ahead of the game when the new year comes around – and you might have just found an exercise buddy to keep you motivated well after January 31st.

walks with storm and Jess

Check yourself before you wreck yourself: I am the queen of stress, the empress of loading myself down with way too many things to accomplish. I have learned (with a lot of help from Chris) that I need to check in with myself and ask myself whether all the things on my ‘to do’ list are necessary. Will people be disappointed because I only baked cupcakes and didn’t get time to do the cookies? Or am I better off making the cupcakes and enjoying myself, and leaving time to watch ‘West Wing’ with Chris? I’m learning that I cannot do it all, and that’s okay. So take a red pen to that ‘To Do’ list and cross out the overload.

Take some time to breathe: Further to my point above – take some time out of the shopping, baking, wrapping, visiting – and just spend some time on yourself! Find the quiet corner of a cafe, order a seasonal beverage and let yourself get lost in a book; schedule a massage and let the therapist work out the seasonal tension from your body; line up your favourite snacks along the side of the couch, make yourself a cup of tea, pop in a Christmas movie, and settle in for the slow down; pop in your headphones, turn up the Mariah Christmas album (you have it, everyone does) and walk until you have zoned out. Just find an activity that makes you feel nourished inside, away from the hustle and bustle and unnecessary pressure.

Pool day

Take time to enjoy the moment: The most important part of the season is family and friends. Stop, look around, and realise how many hearts touch yours and how many people you have to be grateful for in your life. Be in the moment with those loved ones, and carry that gratitude in your heart all year long.

Okay folks, these are my tips for a healthy Thoroughly Nourished Life holiday season! What are your tips for staying healthy and happy over the festive season?

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free

These brownies are what I imagine it would taste like to be caught inside your house during a snowstorm with a mug of hot chocolate and a candy cane in hand beside a crackling fireplace. Candy cane and white chocolate pieces sprinkled throughout the batter, a thick coating of fluffy chocolate frosting, and a shower of candy cane pieces make these brownies into a festive treat sure to please the sweetest of teeth.

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe idea for these brownies came to me last week while I was completely uninterested in actually eating food, but still of course dreaming about food! Mint and chocolate is a classic Christmas combination, and what better way to combine the two than in a brownie – with frosting and candy cane sprinkles!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese brownies are based on my Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies, but this time they are gluten free and all gussied up for Christmas. You will love these brownies for the following reasons:

  • they are full of chocolate (white and dark) goodness,
  • you can taste the peppermint in each bite,
  • they are a contrast of chewy, under-cooked brownie and fluffy sweet frosting, and
  • you can put them together quickly (only one bowl required) so that you have more time for all your other Christmas tasks – Santa’s not the only one who has a list!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I made these brownies for the people who run the farmers market coffee shop. Every week rain, hail or shine they are there making us perfect cups of coffee and bringing warmth and caffeinated cheer. There were eye rolls of pleasure as they bit into the chewy brownies and licked my best fluffy chocolate peppermint buttercream off their fingers. Some of my colleagues saw the photo on Facebook and were most disappointed that there weren’t any left to share! Never fear guys and girls, there are plenty of treats coming your way this week!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies 6

You are going to love how easy these are to make. One bowl, one spoon, one pan to bake it all in! Wash your bowl and spoon and use them to make the frosting once your brownies have cooled down. The less extra mess in the kitchen this December, the better.

You are also going to love the chewiness here. The small amount of gluten free flours in ratio to the chocolate, butter, and eggs makes for chewy, dense brownies – the kind that are so rich that one should do, but never does. Add crushed candy canes, white chocolate bits, and a cap of peppermint frosting and the Christmas flavouring is complete!

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Frosted Peppermint Brownies

Gluten Free | Makes 16-20 (depending on how big you cut them) | Store for up to three days in the fridge

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 8 medium candy canes
  • 125 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 40 grams hazelnut meal
  • 40 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

To frost and decorate

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Place candy canes into a plastic freezer bag. Place bag inside a doubled over tea towel. Use a rolling pin (or meat tenderiser) to crush candy canes into small shards. Divide into two even piles and place aside until required.
  3. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients. Reserve half the crushed candy canes for decorating the top of the brownies.
  5. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
  7. Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.
  8. To make the frosting: place butter in a large bowl and use a handmixer or wooden spoon (earn those brownies!) to beat until smooth and light. Add icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla essence, peppermint extract and 2 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth. You may have to add the extra tablespoon of milk if your frosting is too stiff.
  9. Spread frosting over cooled brownies and sprinkle with remaining crushed candy canes.
  10. Slice into pieces as desired and serve.

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

For more peppermingoodness try these:

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

Linzer torte is a simple and elegant jam-filled almond pastry tart that takes the simple and makes it special. This gluten free version is a treat that everyone can enjoy. Perfect for family gatherings, or as a contribution to a festive meal with friends. 

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

I have a memory caught in my mind of my mother standing at the kitchen counter rolling out the dough to make linzer torte; long elegant fingers delicately handling the dough into the tart pan and trimming the excess and handing the scraps of dough to me to greedily devour, the almond taste new, strange and welcome to my learning taste buds.This is the way memories come back to me: the taste of something unwinds a memory that focuses on snapshots, still frames of sun-stained moments. A childhood memory of watching Mum spoon apricot and raspberry jam between perfectly cut lines of pastry atop a torte, the snapshot of her handing out the scraps for me and Jess to devour from our perches on chairs backed up the kitchen bench.

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free

The next time I look in the mirror I see a little more of my Mum there, a little something in the way my eyes tilt down and then crinkle up again when I smile, something in the planes of my face that wasn’t there when I was younger. I am still learning to handle the dough with care, to have a light touch with a rolling pin, to cut those perfect lines of pastry, and it might take me a few more trips to Mum’s kitchen to get it perfect – and there is the most valuable lesson I learned at that kitchen bench, from both my parents, perfection isn’t the goal of life, the goal is to create memories, precious sunlit snapshots of time with the ones you love. That is the best taste, the taste of love.

Linzer Torte | Gluten FreeLinzer Torte is a combination of short, crumbly sweet pastry that tastes like a shortbread cookie, but the best almond-lemon shortbread cookie you’ve ever eaten, and a generous, no, more than generous spread of the best jam you can find, thick and sweet. I recommend using a good jam for this. The kind that you bring out when you have company for breakfast. When the centre of your tart relies on sweet, delicious preserves, you need to use your favourite, good quality type.

Linzer Torte | Gluten FreeIf you are new to pastry, this gluten free, short crust pastry is very forgiving, and while the dough is quite delicate (mine tore while being transferred into the pastry tin) you can patch is without fear. The dough is based on almond meal, and the almond flavour is enhanced with almond essence and lightened with lemon zest and pairs so well with the generous amount of raspberry jam dolloped inside the tart. I topped mine with cut-out stars – it is Christmas after all! Serve slices of this on their own, or take it to the next festive level with some good quality vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLinzer Torte

Gluten Free | Serves 6-8 | Leftovers will keep, covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Note: I place my stick of butter in the freezer about 40 minutes before I need it. Chilled butter makes it easier to rub it into the flour without melting and helps to make the dough crumbly and rich like shortbread.
I used raspberry jam in my Linzer Torte, but you can use your preferred jam/conserve instead. Just ensure that it is real fruit made into jam/conserve, and not ‘fruit spread’.

Ingredients

  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 90 grams white rice flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 125 grams butter, frozen
  • 120 grams almond meal
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond essence (depending on your taste)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup good quality fruit jam (my recommendation is raspberry)

 Method

  1. Grease an 20 cm (8-inch) removable base tart pan well and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Sift together brown rice flour and white rice flour. 
  3. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into sifted flours. Stir gently with a fork and then rub butter into flours until large pea-sized chunks of butter remain.
  4. Add almond meal, caster sugar, and lemon rind to butter and flour mixture. Gently stir with a fork to combine.
  5. Beat together almond essence and eggs and add to bowl. Mix until the dough starts to come together into a large ball.
  6. Sprinkle a large piece of baking paper with rice flour. Place 3/4 of dough onto baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out to a circle about 30 cm (12-inch) diameter and 0.5-.0.7 mm (~ 1/4 inch) thick.
  7. Transfer dough to tart pan and gently lift and press into tart pan. If you experience any tears, just patch them with the dough that overhangs the sides. Trim the sides to the be level with the top of the tart pan. Place tart and extra dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
  8. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). 
  9. Remove tart from refrigerator and spread jam evenly across the base. Roll out extra dough and cut out desired shapes. Arrange on the top of the tart.
  10. Bake tart for 25-30 minutes. The edges and shapes on top should start to golden and the jam should be bubbling slightly around the edges.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. 

Linzer Torte | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Gingerbread Cupcakes | Gluten Free

Christmas in a cupcake. A fluffy, moist spiced cupcake topped with spicy-sweet cream cheese frosting combines the best flavours of the season all in each festive bite! I think I’ve found my favourite gluten free cupcake for the holiday season!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This year I am ready for Christmas. I am ready for the time off to spend with my family, ready for the carols that I can’t help but sing along to, ready for the long hot summer days at the beach, and ready for all the tasty treats this season brings. For me, Christmas means bringing out all the spiced baked goods – I’m talking cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, all spice, nutmeg – bring on the dusky coloured jewels of the earth and tree and sprinkle them with abandon. Christmas time is here. So let’s get your baking season started with a heavenly pairing of fluffy cupcake and creamy frosting!

We didn’t make gingerbread in my house growing up, but my Mum makes beautiful spice cut-out cookies instead (coming soon!). As an adult though, I have grown to love gingerbread, and it’s all the better in cupcake form.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Gingerbread Cupcakes are the perfect combination of tongue-tingling spices and deep sweetness contributed by honey, golden syrup, and brown sugar. These sweeteners, with the addition of thick Greek yoghurt and eggs, make the crumb of the cupcakes extra moist with an almost caramelised sweetness. The fluffy cream cheese frosting echoes the spices in the cupcakes – this is my favourite frosting, and I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that while making these cupcakes I danced around the kitchen to ‘All I Want For Christmas is You‘  (by the one and only Mariah, of course) with a frosting-spoon microphone and a sticky grin. Do try it at least once this season.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The cupcake representation here on the blog has expanded over the past few months and I can attribute that to finding the secret to a moist, non-crumbly gluten free cupcake: ground chia seeds. These little gems, once ground up in a coffee or spice grinder and mixed with the liquid being used in your cupcake mixture give the crumb wonderful structure. Chia seeds provide the elasticity that is missing when you take gluten away from your baking. This simple addition means your gluten free baked goods feel more like ‘gluten-full’ baked goods! Goodbye crumbly cupcakes; hello fluffy, frosted gems!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLuckily, I sent these cupcakes to work with Chris after treating myself to one that was greedily gobbled down in a post-baking, pre-dinner frenzy. I think they will be making another appearance at our family Christmas celebrations though – these would be a perfect contribution to a Christmas Day feast! I also have a feeling that these would be popular with workmates, or as a neighbourly Christmas offering!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten free | Makes 20-22 large cupcakes | Leftovers will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days

Note: If you do not require these cupcakes to be gluten free you can replace the buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and white rice flour with a total of 280 grams (~ 2 cups) plain flour.

Ingredients

  • 125 grams butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 90 grams brown rice flour
  • 90 grams white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon finally ground chia seeds (use a coffee or spice grinder)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 12-hole muffin tins with baking cups.
  2. Place butter, honey, and golden syrup in a medium saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, bicarbonate soda, baking powder, and spices.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together finely ground chia seeds, milk, sour cream, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Add melted butter mixture to flour mix and whisk until smooth. Then add milk mix to the batter and stir gently with a wooden spoon. It may look like it won’t combine but just be a little patient and keep stirring.
  6. Divide mixture evenly between baking cups and slide into the oven.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops bounce back when lightly pressed. Swap trays over halfway through baking time.
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.

 For the frosting

  • 250 grams cream cheese (full fat is best), softened
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Method

  1. To make frosting: beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add 4 cups of icing sugar, spices, vanilla and milk. Beat until combined. You want a slightly stiff mixture. If frosting is too loose add extra cup of icing sugar.
  2. Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip. Decorate cupcakes as desired and then sprinkle with decorations (if using). You could alternately use a knife to frost the cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These ones are Rudy Approved!

Tell me dear reader, what are your favourite seasonal cupcake flavours? What are your baking plans, or sweet-eating plans for that matter? Anyone else love some seasonal Mariah guilty pleasures?