Tuesday, March 30

Celebrating with friends...

Birthday celebrations are wonderful.  They are the perfect excuse to gather loved ones around you, for no one can say no to you on your birthday.  It's been exactly a week since my birthday and I am still recovering. A whirlwind of activity, my weekend of celebrating was one to remember.  Full of lovely moments and people, I had the pleasure of enjoying time with dear friends and family.

Celebrating my second birthday as an {everything-free} woman, I decided to use my birthday as an excuse to experiment with cakes, cookies  and restaurants.  I did all the above and loved every bit.

My first round of celebrating included entrees at Via Italia Trattoria in quaint, downtown Encinitas, followed by delicate dessert back at my home.  I had read raving reviews on the restaurant and was excited to give it a try.  It turned out to be a very authentic Italian dining experience.  I enjoyed the atmosphere, but I soon found myself disappointed with the service.  Despite their claim to offer  three different types of brown rice pasta, my server could only offer one.  The pasta was flavorful and gluten-free, but it did not take long for me to wonder if the sauce was gluten and dairy free.  I was left to assume a miscommunication occurred between the server and chef.  I, unfortunately, walked away feeling a bit sick and rather dissatisfied with the experience. 

The dessert back at my house turned out lovely.  
I believe my girlfriends enjoyed my newly created batch of chewy molasses cookies, Trader Joe's flourless, chocolate cake and ice cream with berries and chocolate chips.

The chocolate cake is a go-to for me. It is a easy quick buy at TJ's and always guarantees deliciousness.    I just warm it up, drizzle it with chocolate sauce and top it off with a few fresh berries for decor.

The cookies were a hit, and in answer to multiple requests for the recipe....here it is:

 The Chewy Molasses Cookies

1 cup of sorghum flour
1 cup of brown rice flour
3/4 cup of potatoe starch
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¾ cup of coconut oil
¼ cup of agave
¾ cup of maple syrup
½ cup blackstrap molasses
¼ cup heaping unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 heaping cup of almond meal
1 1/2tsp egg replacer with  2tbsp hot water 
*organic cane sugar for later 

1. Mix the first eight ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix the remaining together in a large bowl.  
2. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet until well blended.  I would recommend refrigeration the dough for an hour at least if not more.  
3. Afterward pull the dough out and let it return to room temperature.
4. Scoop the dough using a tablespoon and roll each into balls with your hands.  
5. Dip the balls, rolling gently, in a small bowl of cane sugar.  
6. Place these on a greased cookie sheet and press with a fork, peanut butter cookie or tic-tac-toe style.  
7. As the final touch sprinkle all them all with a light shower of the remaining cane sugar.  
8. Bake for 15 or so minutes at 350 degrees and then let them cool for at least 10 minutes before devouring.


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