GLUTEN FREE VANILLA BEAN CAKE WITH BLUEBERRY CREAM FROSTING || BY NICOLE LEE


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The First time I made a cake it was a disaster. Barely working ovens, lead to a burnt cake, that somehow resulted into a frosting with a side of CAKE.  Instead of CAKE with some frosting. At the time, I didn’t have a domestic bone in my body, so of course I used a pre-made Boxed mix and pre-made frosting because why not? After the cake didn’t come out as expected,  I even avoided making all birthday cakes for a LONG time because I was so embarrassed from my first offensive. I was certain I couldn’t bake. Fast forward 10 years later, and my kids are finally begging for cakes on their birthdays, so I accepted their challenge, faced my fear of cake baking and got to it!

It was Asher’s 8th birthday, he requested a vanilla cake, with blue frosting, and berries on top! So we made cake, with blue frosting and berries on top. And it was heavenly.

Happy Cooking Friends,

x Nicole


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Gluten free Vanilla bean Cake, with Blueberry Cream frosting

Ingredients:

2 ½ cup bob’s red mill gf flour (1 to 1 blue bag mix)
¾ cups organic sugar
1 cup vegan organic earth balance butter blend
½ cup organic coconut milk
4 large organic eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 organic vanilla beans
2 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:

Note: You’ll want all your ingredients room temp.

  1. Measure out all the ingredients and set them in front of you. You’ll need 1 medium to large bowl for the dry ingredients, and your mixing bowl that attaches to your free standing mixer. Sift all the dry ingredients into the medium bowl, set aside.

  2. Cream your vegan butter and sugar on low speed in your freestanding mixer for about 1-4 min, or until it resembles a slight mayo texture. While that is going, crack your eggs into a small bowl. Then stop your mix press down all the sides of your cream and the bottom of the bowl ensuring everything is mixed well. Start the mixer on low and while it's going add in one egg, at a time. Stop mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

  3. Slice your vanilla bean pods lengthwise,and scrape out the beans with your knife add them to the mixer. Then start the mix again, add in vanilla, coconut milk. Keep the speed low to ensure you don’t over mix.

  4. While the mixture is going, add your dry ingredients in 3 sections. If need be, stop in between and scrape down the sides again. This just gets everything mixed together without the dough lumping.

  5. Once batter is made, divide it into your prepared cake pans. TIP: spray with nonstick spray, and cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-35 min until a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer.
  7. To cool, place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  8. Ice and decorate your cake.

Blueberry Icing:

Ingredients:

8 oz Vegan Almond Cream Cheese (kite hill is the brand I used)
4 oz organic Coconut milk (cream only, you’ll need to refrigerate for 12 hours beforehand)
1 cup confectioners sugar (sifted)
1-2 tablespoons organic blue food coloring
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Directions: NOTE: All ingredients must be cold before starting. You will need free standing mixer with whisk attachment. Also, you can freeze your metal bowl beforehand, this really helps the process.

To make, pop all your wet ingredients(except food dye) in your free standing mixer with whisk attachment, on medium speed whisk until light and fluffy about 1 min. Add in your sifted sugar and 1tbsp of food coloring,(if want darker add 1 more tbsp). Whisk again until smooth and creamy. If its not coming together, add more sifted sugar one tbsp at a time, with an addition of 1 tbsp coconut milk.

Frost the cooled cake and enjoy!


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THE EASIEST APPLE PIE RECIPE || CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA || BY NICOLE LEE


These past five weeks I immersed myself into a Baking Class, the idea being I wanted to learn more. But ultimately, face my fear of cooking school. Shamelessly, I have to admit I had this whole Julia Child Movie moment in my head, classrooms that are light and Airy with inspiration everywhere. This was far from the case.

The Culinary program at scottsdale community college, isn’t a “sparkly”setting. More lackluster, the room is small, filled with 6 working stations to host pairs of two, the equipment is scarce, and the kitchenaid mixers are run down. There is even a cockroach scurrying across the floor that has decided to flee the building because it would rather be somewhere else.

Enter my first day, I walk in I’m right on time 5pm sharp. It seems everyone has already arrived and set up, I baffled. I take note and realize on time actually means 15 min early. The teacher or CHEF, starts talking, telling us “we are diving right in First Mise en Place and then please DON’T start baking”. Everyone scurries to the shelves and I’m left standing there, dumbfounded. Already feeling behind, I tell myself to Focus! What is the girl next to me doing? DO the same, I tell myself to do the same. So, I go follow. With containers and digital scales in our hands we come back to the station, I turn to the girl next to me and ask “what the F is Mise en Place” ? “Everything in Place, she says”. Using her hands she waves them at her already weighed ingredients for the cream scones we were making. I hadn’t even started. I turn my scale on, it doesnt work. I go to get another one, they are all gone. Fuck. I take another breath, but somehow manage to calm myself. Savanah my teammate kindly offers hers when she is finished and we actually SCALE the rest of the items together. THANK GOD.

The rest of the class is smooth, but I realize It's been years since working in a bakery setting, or coffee shop and I can’t quite remember how to set up the 3 part sink but try hard to ignite the thought stored deep in my brain. Class consists of 4.5 hours of hands on baking, as well as rolling up your sleeves and doing mundane things like cleaning dishes, floors and equipment. Chef, makes the small unglamours room feel Big, Bright and full of life. Half way through class I’ve forgotten about the coacroah and found myself well on my way to scaling baking and having the time of my life! Once I realize that the fears of this class have subsided, I take a big deep breath and press on.

Below I have included the CIA ( Culinary institute of America’s Pie dough and apple pie we made in class!) Happy Baking friends,

x Nicole


APPLE PIE RECIPE

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APPLE PIE RECIPE FROM CIA :

3-2 -1 PIE DOUGH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs All purpose flour
  • 1 oz Salt
  • 2 lbs Butter, cut into pieces, chilled
  • 1 lb Cold Water

DIRECTIONS:

NOTE: BUTTER MUST BE COLD

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a electric mixer (like a kitchenaid). Add the butter and blend with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pea size nuggets form, about 3 min. For flaky dough, you are looking for ½ to ¾ inch pieces of butter. For mealy dough you are looking for almost a coarse cornmeal consistency. Add the water all at once and continue to mix until the dough just comes together.

  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. ( the dough can be held under refrigeration for three days or frozen.

FILLING :

INGREDIENTS:

Apple Pie Makes one 9inch pie

6 to 8 apples, peeled and cut into 1/4inch slices
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt Egg wash (1 egg to 1 tablespoon milk, beaten)
Coarse sugar, as needed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare crust using the All Butter Double-Crust, bottom crust fitted in pie pan and chilled, top crust rolled out into a 11-inch round.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and set the rack in the lowest position. Using a pastry wheel, cut twelve 1-inch-wide strips of dough from the top crust. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Toss to combine. Immediately layer the apples in the prepared bottom crust, arranging and pressing them to eliminate gaps and air pockets.

  4. For the decorative top crust, watch THIS LINK https://www.kingarthurflour.com/videos/how-to-weave-lattice-pie-crust step-by-step techniques to prepare.

  5. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pie and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking until bubbly, 60 to 70 minutes more. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Let cool for 2 to 3 hours. The filling will continue to thicken and set as the pie cools.


APPLE PIE RECIPE

AN ODE TO THE SUMMER SMOOTHIE || VEGAN SMOOTHIE RECIPE || EASY BERRY SMOOTHIE || NICOLE LEE


HEY YOU GUYS,

Summer is coming to a close. We are soaking up every last bit, and eating all the berries we can get our hands on! Asher came up with the SIMPLEST SMOOTHIE RECIPE so I thought I'd share it here as a final ode to the SUMMER SEASON. 

HAPPY LABOR DAY FRIENDS x 

Nicole 



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vegan berry recipe
vegan smoothie recipe

ASHER'S SMOOTHIE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup ice
2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries
1-2 cups organic light coconut milk (from can or carton)
1 tsp vanilla extract,
2 bananas

DIRECTIONS:

In your blender place all the ingredients - blend until smooth- if not getting smooth add a bit more milk - blend more and enjoy! TIP: I put the leftover in popsicle maker to make popsicles.


vegan berry smoothie recipe

vegan berry smoothie recipe

SMOOTHIE

vegan berry smoothie recipe

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DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLE RECIPE|| GLUTEN + DAIRY FREE RECIPES || BY NICOLE LEE


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

HI friends! It’s been a while. My apologies for that, I hope you feel I  haven’t abandon you. We’re at the start of a fresh new season over here in our little “Team Lee” world. Which I’ve been talking a lot about on Instagram. I have also taken the plunge on going FULL TIME on, developing recipes, photographing, blogging, running this little business and diving into Culinary School. Whoosh that sounds like a lot but it's the best kind of BUSY I’ve had in a LONG TIME. The kind where you are tired but have SO MUCH energy. Which I really believe is from following your heart and not your head, being align to your universal path. Anyone with me?

One of the recipes I have been working on is Double Chocolate GF Vegan Waffles. (my sister advises I work on the name) Until, that happens we'll stick with it. When I made these waffles the first time, it was a Sunday morning, I was half asleep still sipping on coffee to wake me up. I nailed the recipe. Which was a miracle. But then when I went to make them later in the week I BOTCHED them because I didn’t trust the recipe I wrote down. So silly really. I'm remembering that going with your GUT is always a good idea! Recipe testing takes time, and I appreciate you waiting ever so patiently while I figured it all out!

NOW, LETS GO COOK!

-Cheers,

Nicole x


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS ( plus tips) :

1 cup gluten free flour ( bob’s red mill 1 to 1 mix )
1 ¼ cup white rice flour ( sweet or reg works)
¼ cup organic cocoa powder
1 bob’s red mill vegan egg
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
⅓ cup swerve alternative sugar or organic raw turbinado sugar
⅓ cup of earth balance vegan butter ( or mix half light evoo + coconut oil together )
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ - 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup unsweetened dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS :

1.Measure out your dry + wet ingredients.

2.In a small bowl make your vegan egg, mixing 2 tablespoons of vegan egg dry mix with 1 tablespoon water and set aside. (If you are new to making vegan egg look at the package for directions).

3.On low heat melt your oil, add in the the sugar, vanilla and chocolate powder. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk until combine.

4. Mix in the almond milk so the milk slightly warms.

5. With a wooden spoon combine wet + dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If the mix looks dry add 1 tablespoon of almond milk, or if looks wet add a 1 tablespoon of gf rice flour. Then add in the chocolate chips. Mix.

6. Preheat your waffle maker. Cook the waffles according to your makers directions.

TIP: Put the oven on warm and place the waffles that have finished cooking in the oven to stay warm while I cook the rest! Finally, serve with whipped cream and berries! Enjoy.

THIS POST WAS NOT SPONSORED BY BOB’S RED MILL, I SIMPLY LOVE THEIR PRODUCTS!!



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE GF VEGAN WAFFLES RECIPE

DIY GHEE RECIPE || BY NICOLE LEE



So what is GHEE you ask? Essentially, Ghee is clarified butter. During the cooking process the milk proteins separate from the butter leaving you with ghee. This stuff is liquid gold, it’s used for cooking veggies, baking, and of course adding to your bulletproof coffee. Packed with Vitamins, Ghee is really a superfood! It’s also the simplest thing to make at home.


DIY GHEE RECIPE

DIY GHEE RECIPE

NOTE: It’s really important to use high quality grass fed butter, this is key to getting the recipe just right. Also, if you are allergic to dairy stay away from GHEE. There are trace amounts of milk solids in it and may cause a reaction. If you are reintroducing dairy into your diet, this is a great food to start with. My only advice would be to go slow and small tiny amounts, over weeks or even months. But we can get into that another time!

Ingredients:

1 pound grass-fed butter (at room temp)

Tools:

Wide mouthed sauce pot
Metal strainer
Cheese Cloth
Metal spoon
Wooden Spoon
Jars with lids for storing

Directions:

Heat your pot on low heat. Add the butter. Let the milk solids bubble to the surface. Skim the bubbles until there is just a layer of protein at the bottom of the pot. It will brown slightly, watch it carefully so you do not burn it. When the solids are fully separated turn off the heat. Put the cheesecloth over the metal strainer, then strain your melted butter through the strainer into your jars. If it looks cloudy strain again. Then put the lid on and store in the fridge. It will become solid and creamy. If you don’t wish to have it creamy keep it on the counter and in about 24 hours it should turn from oil into a thicker consistency.

Happy Cooking friends x Nicole


DIY GHEE RECIPE

This recipe was adapted from the BULLETPROOF DIET COOKBOOK


GRAPEFRUIT TEQUILA COCKTAIL WITH MINT || EASY COCKTAIL RECIPE || BY NICOLE LEE


Hi Friends,

Can you believe we are almost to the 4th of July? It’s one of our favorite holidays, usually we spend the day in the pool or by the beach, have lots of yummy food, drinks and of course enjoy fireworks! What are your plans friends?

For drinks we usually have some fancy lemonade for the kids and “skinny” cocktails for adults. I’ve come up with this Blanco Tequila recipe that you can easily add to, or swap out things like the Cointreau and it still tastes great! Enjoy...


skinny grapefruit margaritas recipe

RECIPE: GRAPEFRUIT BLANCO “SKINNY” MARGARITAS | MAKES 1-2 Servings

INGREDIENTS: 2 oz High quality blanco tequila.
(I love @casamigos #NOTSPONSORED JUST A FAV)
3 -oz fresh squeezed GRAPEFRUIT juice,
ROCKS ICE ( as many fit in your shaker) or LOTS OF CUBED
Fresh mint leaves
Cocktail Shaker
2 oz San Palegrino
1/2 oz Cointreau liqueur

NOTE: Because of the vanilla notes in this tequila, it’s smooth and unlike other tequila's there isn’t that tequila STING in this drink.

DIRECTIONS: In your shaker place MINT, then MUDDLE the mint with tamper, add your ROCKS ICE, tequila, grapefruit juice, + cointreau. Place lid on. SHAKE FOR 1-2 min until it’s soooooooooo cold!!. Poor into GLASS over rocks ice and enjoy!!


easy tequila cocktail recipe

fourth of July diy cocktails

SAY HELLO! Fill out the form below, we'd love to hear from you!

-Nicole


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BAKED SUMMER SALMON RECIPE || WITH BLOOD ORANGE, FENNEL AND GARLIC BULBS


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Spring and Summer are my favorite times to eat fish. But I really could eat seafood everyday all year round. Lately, I've been into fresh, easy and fast. This wild alaskan salmon dish checks all the boxes and it’s so easy you can cook it with your eyes closed. Well maybe you might want them open? Either way let’s get cooking!


easy baked fish recipe

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients: **

4-6 WILD ALASKAN SALMON Fillets (please no farmed fish)
1 bulb of fresh fennel
2 blood oranges
2 full garlic bulbs
Pink Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper
MCT OIL

COOKING TOOLS: oven, Non-toxic metal sheet pan, paper towels and prep plate, chef knife and cutting board.

Directions:

1.PREHEAT the Oven to 325 degrees.
2.Grab your prep plate, take 2 sheets of paper towels and place on the plate. Gently, clean your salmon fillets, pat dry and place on top of the paper towels.
3.While they hang out slice your blood oranges, and cut the end of your bulb of fennel off. Set Aside. (TIP:The bulb can be cut up and eaten or saved for later.) Once dried place your salmon fillets on top of the sheet pan, drizzle with MCT OIL. Sprinkle Pink salt + Fresh ground pepper on top. Place one slice of Blood orange on each fillet. Then gently pick apart the fennel and place on top of the orange. Take the remainder of the Fennel and place next to the Salmon. Last, take your bulb of garlic and place on the pan. (You can break it apart a little too. )

4.Bake for 15-20 min. It's done when SALMONS flakes to touch of fork in the thickest part of the fillet.

TIPS: If you can’t afford wild alaskan salmon, you can replace it with mahi mahi, wild cod or anything for that matter. To Serve the salmon with a summer salad, white rice, or even boiled potatoes topped with butter. Our favorite way to have it is paired with seaweed and white rice! Enjoy!

-Cheers Nicole x


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VANILLA DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM RECIPE || TOPPED WITH FIGS AND RAW HONEY || NICOLE LEE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER


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Confession,I have a deep love affair with making Ice Cream. Anybody with me?? There is something romantic in the cooking process, therapeutic even. Melting the sugar and vanilla into the coconut milk, watching it do a beautiful dance together, going from two forms into one. When I’m cooking I find myself grounded, in the most natural way. This thing takes over, becoming present in the moment, I’d like to call it Being.

There are times I’d find myself rushing the cooking process. Whatever dish I’d be attempting to cook, didn’t turn out good at ALL. The flavors were off, something was BURNED! What I noticed is BEING is the KEY to becoming a great COOK. If you’re busy doing other things, or your mind is wrapped in endless thoughts during the cooking process, Or you RUSH through it. You bet it will translate into the food. You can taste your anger, and wandering mind, and definitely the burn toast.  I started noticing there was more to cooking than only doing the motions, you have to FEEL it.

Think of cooking like an intimate dance, or making love. Take it slow, feel each ingredient, smell it, and move with the process, MOVE WITH THE FOOD. Turn off all distractions. Focus on cooking ONE thing and nothing else.You don’t want to rush the process, EMBRACE it. Embrace the mess ups to, because we don’t always get it right the first time. When that comes up brush it off, and KEEP GOING.  

Let’s go make some creamy Vanilla Ice cream!

-Nicole xox


DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM RECIPE, Topped with honey and fresh figs.

INGREDIENTS:**

4 cans full Fat organic coconut milk
2 whole pasture eggs PLUS **5 egg yolks **
4 tablespoons MCT Oil 1/2 cup raw sugar or SWERVE ( alternative sugar)
1-tablespoon vanilla paste or Vanilla extract works great
1-2 whole Vanilla Beans

TOOLS: 1 pot (dutch oven), whisk and an ice cream maker)

NOTE: PREP your cans of coconut in the refrigerator upside down overnight! Before you make the next day!

DIRECTIONS:

1.SEE ABOVE NOTE

2.Slice your vanilla beans in half, and with your knife blade scrape out the paste, put in small dish. Set aside. Next, open the cans of coconut milk and separate the fat and liquid. (You can save the liquid for another project, such as coconut water.) Put your pot on the stovetop and set on low heat. Add in the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla paste and beans to the pot. Whisk together until you see chunks of coconut dissolve. Cool liquid to room temperature, and set aside.

TIP: It’s key you keep your liquid warm and DO NOT boil. ( If it boils, take off heat and pop in the freezer for 20 min)

3.In another bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and yolks until light and fluffy. Add into the coconut mixture. Gently whisk again. Then place the bowl in the freezer for about an hour.

4.Once the mixture is cooled put it into the ice cream maker and follow your machines directions. About mid way through of churning add in your chocolate chips, or fresh chopped chocolate pieces berries or whatever you desire. If you keep this vanilla, serve with figs, and raw honey on top. Store in ice cream containers, or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. The ice cream should make about 2 quarts.


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