A Little Indulgence – Dairy Free Sugar Free Chocolate Icing

dairy free sugar free chocolate icingI have a secret to share with you. It’s one of those don’t tell my kids or I’ll never live it down kind of secrets. I have a bit of an addiction. You know that chocolate icing that I made to ice the cupcakes? Yeah there was some leftover…there’s not anymore…

When I found this recipe for dairy free sugar free chocolate icing I was in heaven. It’s super simple to make and totally delicious! One would never know that it was anything near the sugar free area, let alone no dairy. It is creamy, smooth and definitely chocolatey! It is so good I sometimes eat it with a spoon. Hence, why there are no longer any leftovers in my fridge. Once in a while, when I have that craving for sweet I just dip in and take a spoonful or two…ok sometimes three. I often think to myself I will just freeze the rest and then when I need icing I can just pull it out and use it without having to make a whole new batch (the recipe is quite big – even when I half it I have generous leftovers). But unless I pop it into the freezer right away, yeah, I eat it, in big heaping spoonfuls and hope that my kids don’t find out (because I don’t want them to do it to! I know hypocritical).dairy free sugar free chocolate icing

This simple recipe requires only 4 ingredients and your food processor or blender. I use cacao powder for that extra superfood boost – as cacao is high in magnesium, B vitamins, protein and fiber – but you may also cocao, though not as beneficial nutritionally. And I use this icing recipe for all kinds of things, not just cakes and cupcakes. We put it on ice cream, fruit and last summer we discovered that it is a great substitute for some of those good old camping recipes, like s’mores, or the new one we discovered at Scout camp – a combination of banana, nutella (we use the chocolate icing instead), butter and toasted on a bun – yum!

So regardless what you are going to use it for, whether it be a little indulgence eating it with a spoon, cake or a camping treat, enjoy this quick easy dairy free sugar free chocolate icing guilt free.

Dairy Free Sugar Free Chocolate Icing

dairy free sugar free chocolate icing1 cup cacao powder

3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan spread

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup pure maple syrup (high in minerals such as maganese, zinc, potassium and no artificial ingredients compared to imitation syrups containing high fructose corn syrup, added and artificial ingredients, contain no minerals)

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

Use immediately or may be stored in fridge for up to one week or frozen (unless you eat it all first).dairy free sugar free chocolate icing

The Art of Appreciation

IMG_2699Well Valentine’s Day is around the corner and even though it is one of my favorite holidays, it often tends to sneak up on me! Each year I find that February starts and then all of a sudden we are in the week before Valentine’s Day and I have not done much at all.

All of a sudden we have Valentine’s to buy for the kids classes, treats to make and some kind of plan to celebrate this fun loving day. See though I love the romance and having someone treat me royally on this special day, I also love to make it special for my kids. I believe that Valentine’s is not just for lovers but is a day to celebrate love in general and there are all kinds of love.

So I usually make a nicer dinner that night, I make heart shaped chocolates for treats that day. This year I made heart shaped cupcakes! as I found a heart shaped cupcake pan at Superstore. I also saw heart shaped ramekins but didn’t buy them when I saw them and missed out 🙁 They actually sold out within the week!

8095938392_66f01dc36d_bI also like to have the kids do a craft of some kind, yes it’s usually heart shaped, so today we did something really simple. We made heart shaped pockets. We cut out two hearts the same size decorated one and then glued the two together leaving the top open so we could put things in it. Then each day from now until Valentine’s we are going to put a nice note in everyone else’s heart. Something we like about them, enjoy doing with them, etc. I am also a believer in extending these holidays, why do they have to only be one day? Especially when there is such a nice message attached with Valentine’s in particular.

5973578-heart-shaped-chocolates-isolated-on-white-backgroundBesides we could all use a little pick up during the day. A reminder of the good in us and in the world. My intention is not only to do this this week but see if we can’t start something like this on a more regular basis, Valentine’s day or not. I think we often forget to tell people in our lives how much we appreciate them and mean to us. We shouldn’t just save it for birthdays, Valentine’s or other holidays. You never know how a kind comment or an act of love can make a difference in someone’s day.

So maybe after Valentine’s is over we’ll make new ‘pockets’ out of paper bags and continue the warm fuzzies, encouraging comments and notes of appreciation to each other. And I have a feeling it will not only make a big difference in our home but in our lives and the lives of others that we touch on a daily basis.

Valentine’s Pockets

Materials:

Red, pink, white and purple construction paperIMG_2696

pom poms (variety of colors)

Valentine stickers

sequence

markers

glitter glue

white glue

scissors

Method:

Select color of construction paper that you desire. Fold paper in half. Trace a heart on one half of construction paper. Cut out heart through both halves  – you will end up with 2 hearts the same size. Young children may need help tracing and cutting the hearts, while older children can do this on their own.

Decorate one of the hearts with stickers, markers, pom poms, glitter glue, etc. Allow the child to create whatever decor they would like. Once they are finished decorating glue the two hearts together leaving the top open so that it creates an opening to put things in.

Allow glue to dry. Once dry hang hearts in a prominent spot where everyone can access them to put in their notes to each other.

Sugar Free White Cake Recipe

One of the first things I created when we went sugar free was a sugar free birthday cake, as I figured that this was one of the most important things in a child’s life that should not be without. Cake on your birthday is important! So I sought out various recipes and experimented a little.

My first attempt in creating a sugar free white cake was using agave nectar as the substitute for sugar. Though there are many other options for natural sweeteners this was the first one that I tried. I later learned though that agave nectar is considered to be just as bad as the refined stuff because of the way it’s processed. So my next step was to try honey, which is our preferred natural sweetener these days.

This vanilla cake recipe, using honey as the sweetener is very moist and I have used it many times. The kids love it and no one knows the difference when they eat it unless I tell them it’s sugar free. You can easily use this recipe for white cupcakes as well.

I used it this year for Chloe’s kitty cat birthday cake (for the twins birthdays I make a cake for each of them and I usually do one chocolate and one vanilla). With chocolate icing it was delicious as usual.

White (Vanilla) Cake Recipe

1/2c. honey

1/2 c. Earth Balance

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 c. almond or rice milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 9×9 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, cream agave nectar and Earth Balance. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan or into muffin tin for cupcakes.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Yield: 12 cupcakes or 9×9 inch pan