Mango, Apple and Pear Crumble

I think its safe to say that winter is officially upon us.  Would anyone disagree?  The temperature seems to have finally dropped to subzero levels of chilliness.  A fact of which I am a bit disheartened since I love nothing more then being toasty warm as often as possible.  Being within the heart of winter makes this a difficult task to accomplish.  So for recipe #18, I decided to go with a cozy, warm, winter themed dish.

One of my favorite cafes here in Frankfurt is Cafe Crumble.  Another favorite is aptly named Sugar Mama.  Both of these inviting little eateries have delicious fruit crumbles on offering.  I have sampled both dishes more then once and each one gets major props.  Delicious.  Homey.  Comfort food that totally hits the spot on a brisk afternoon. So, I decided to make my own version, except this one is refined sugar-free, gluten-free and lactose-free.

The great news?  This version is just as tasty as my two favorite cafes takes on the fruit crumble, though thankfully, this is far better for your health.


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Earl Gray Lavender Cheesecake

Recipe #17 is not only delicious but lovely to look at, as you can see.  I decided to play with my passion for cheesecake this weekend and whip one up.  However, I didn’t just want to make any old cheesecake.  I wanted to come up with a slightly more unique flavor combination than the usual offerings one finds with cheesecake flavorings.

I have been using lavender a lot lately, especially in my pancakes.  One of my most raved about recent pancake varieties is my blueberry lavender recipe.  So naturally, all this lavender I have been working with as of late sparked a bulb when considering cheesecake possibilities.  I have also heard of all things earl gray flavored being a trendy as well as simultaneously rather timeless flavor, especially in combination with recipes involving creams or sweets.  So I put two and two together and that set the course of my experiment.


I am excited to report rave reviews from the handful of people who sampled it.  This recipe is refined sugar-free as well as gluten free.  Its not lactose-free.  Personally, I don’t think a cheesecake is cheesecake unless its made of cream cheese.  While I have sampled some excellent raw cheesecakes which are dairy-free (and I plan to attempt one for this very website at some point in the near future ;-)), I had to go with a legit cheesecake (aka, with dairy) for this particular recipe (just minus the sugar and gluten).

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Pumpkin Pie with Pistachio Crust

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Obviously Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here in Germany, so I am imagining all the people I love in the US crowding around full tables (probably at this very moment actually) with their families and loved ones, the surfaces heaped with DELECTABLE food in all manner of dishes, conversation, stories and laughter filling the room, candles aglow along the length of the spread.  I love all of this.  After the meal, a game of cards might break out, or everyone may cozy down in front of a movie.  And of course, watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade here and there throughout the day as fun background filler is a must.  And finally, once dusk gives way to night and people start to get the late night munchies, they head back into the kitchen to assemble a small plate of…drum roll…one of the best parts about Thanksgiving…LEFTOVERS!!!!

Therefore I thought with recipe #16, I would stick to the traditional-thanksgiving-foods theme, so here is an awesome Pumpkin Pie for you to sample and fall in love with.  Alongside of stuffing (though not literally eaten together.  That would be gross :-p), pumpkin pie is the most sought after item on the Thanksgiving spread for me.  I could easily kill half a pie if you twisted my arm (or, even if you didn’t).

Yes, the crust on this recipe is a tad complicated but its WELL WORTH IT.

What is the must have item on your Thanksgiving menu? 

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Bombastic Buckwheat Pancakes


Recipe #15 is another top contender for me.  I make these far too often.  You can customize this one flavor-wise to your hearts content.  The sky is the limit.  So for a playful and creative cook, this is an especially sweet recipe to add to your repertoire.  The other awesome news?  These are gluten-free, sugar-free AND lactose-free!

Pancakes.  As those of you who have read my previous entries know, pancakes hold a special place in my heart.  I adore them.  I would eat them every day if I could.  For me, pancakes evoke images of cozy, leisurely breakfasts crowded around a cramped table full of friends, lots of laughter and stories filling the air between all of us.  Or, of a lazy brunch having rolled out of bed in the golden hours of late morning with a lover, getting ready together and strolling down the street hand in hand, leaves wrestling in the grates as as we huddle against one another and push inside the cafe.  We sink down into the comfortable booth, scanning the worn menu but already know what we want (or at least I do).  A plate of towering pancakes, warm, syrup dripping down the sides.

Fun fact: these guys are made with buckwheat flour, which is actually a fruit seed.  Its not a grain at all.  It comes from the same family as rhubarb.  And, did you know that buckwheat is awesome for you!?!  Its good for your cardiovascular system, helps control blood sugar and may lower ones risk of diabetes, helps prevent gallstones, and has health promoting potential that is equal to or even higher than that of some fruits and vegetables.  How cool is that?

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Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars


Do not let the name of recipe #14 fool you!  These babies are lactose-free, sugar-free, and 90% gluten-free!!  (And they can be made totally gluten-free if you like).  How is that for a super sweet treat?  And you would never guess it based on the taste.  They are AWESOME!  I got rave reviews on these. They disappeared in a flash, both to friends, colleagues, and as a result of my not being able to stop eating them.

Those who know me personally know that I adore autumn.  Everything about this season is awesome to me.  The feeling of new beginnings and anticipation that dances in the air.  The boots and scarves making a re-emergence.  All things plaid.  Roaring fireplaces becoming commonplace in homes once more.  Warm drinks a permanent fixture in peoples hands again.  Leaves the color of flames dancing on street curbs.  The air dipping into brisk and chilly territory, inviting everyone to spend more time cozying up.  Movie marathons and thick books are especially enticing.  AND, the explosion of all things pumpkin flavored!!

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Brookes Beauty Bowl

Recipe #13 is the first one to fall into the “raw” category.  I named this one a “beauty bowl” because it is chalk full of good-for-you foods that are AMAZING for both the functioning of your body, as well as the way you look.  Allow me to explain.

In this particular dish, you will find:

Mango– chalk full of antioxidants that can help aid against cancer, unclog skins pores, a lot of vitamins and nutrients to help the body feel fuller, helps strengthen your immune system, and is a great source of iron.

Sweet Potato– keeps skin smooth and cell division running smoothly, regenerates collagen, great for healthy hair and beauty sleep.  Helps keep you feeling full without the glycemic spike that can contribute to blemishes.

Spinach– highly nourishing to the eyes and the liver, and it contains compounds that protect the lining of the digestive tract from inflammation.  Bone strengthening vitamin K is also found in spinach.

Pomegranate– awesome anti-aging powers are found in these tiny ruby seeds.  Prevents aging inflammation in the body, helps keep our circulatory systems young by boosting blood flow to organs and cells.  A powerful cleaner of lymph and blood for clear, radiant skin.

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Superb Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake



Alright, people.  Recipe #12 is a major gift.  This is, hands down, my personal favorite recipe to make and eat on a regular basis.  It is DELICIOUS.  One would never guess that this cake is chalk full of good-for-you ingredients.  It tastes like a fudgy, decadent, dense, rich chocolate cake.  However unlike a typical chocolate cake which is loaded with sugar, calories, bad-for-you fat and all sorts of things that are terrible for your body, this one is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and lactose free!!  It hits all three health points.

For about a month, I was whipping up this bad boy every weekend.  Its that good.  On second thought, you might not want to try out this recipe.  It will change the way you eat chocolate cake forever.  The recipe may sound and look slightly complicated to initial onlookers.  Dont worry, its not.  After making it twice, I have the process memorized.  Its super easy to throw together.  And then you have the awesomeness of a healthy chocolate cake in your house for enjoying alongside of your tea and coffee for the next week.  You’re welcome 😉

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Light Shrimp & Rice Dinner


Recipe #11.  This one is an oldie but a goodie.  This photo was taken in my rookie period, during which I had ZERO experience with photographing food and was just beginning to get my toes wet.  So please excuse that this food photo isn’t quite up to par with my other ones.  That aside, this dish is simple but really manages to hit the spot.

Its gluten-free and sugar-free. It can be made lactose-free by omitting the cheese (though that would really change the nature of the dish).  You could substitute in goat cheese which would probably taste pretty good.

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Healthy Carrot Cake


Here it is folks.  Breaking into the double digits with recipe #10.  This one is a fitting followup to the previous pumpkin recipe.  Carrot being another quintessential fall flavor.  Though its funny, I didnt always think that.  When I was younger, I thought carrot cake was repulsive.  Carrots in a cake?  Who would consider such a thing.  Vegetables were the vile things our parents forced us to eat in order to “be healthy.”  Not interesting, fun, nor tasty to a child.

Another one of the many great changes that come with age.  Embracing desserts made with vegetables, like this delectable carrot cake.  This version is a signifigantly lighter and healthier version as opposed to traditional carrot cake.  As you can see from the barrage of photos, I am particularly pleased with how this one came out!

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Pumpkin Cheesecake


Recipe #9 (get excited, its a good one).  It doesn’t get much more “New England” than this.  And being a born and bred New Englander myself, this is one of the many things I have longed for since having moved to Europe.

When a beautiful thing called autumn comes along which results in an fiery explosion throughout the trees (Google: New Hampshire during autumn.  You will see what I am talking about), the temperatures dropping steadily, consumption of hot drinks growing ever so enticing, boots, plaid and wool jackets coming out in abundance, scarves wrapping enthusiastically around necks and roaring fires beginning to occupy ones home hearth more and more often as the weeks continue to pass, one more stellar thing happens.

A massive onslaught of all things pumpkin flavored begins.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pastas, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins and cookies, pumpkin pancakes (wink, wink) and yes, pumpkin cheesecake.

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