Archives for September 2016

Chocolate Spice ‘Naked’ Layer Cake

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Have you ever eaten a slice of cake that was so good you purposefully hid the rest of it from your family? Well that’s how good this cake is. Spice is easily one of the best cake flavors around, next to chocolate! So why not marry the two favors together in one luscious bite. This gluten free chocolate spice cake is the perfect solution to all of your fall sweet tooth cravings! Each layer of cake is married to the other with scratch made vanilla bean whipped cream, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips. Every bite is as decadent as it is addictive! The rich chocolate and warm spice flavors are absolutely divine.

I made this gluten free chocolate spice cake for my birthday [ look who’s twenty-five! ] and everyone loved it. I had to hide the leftover cake from my family for my own selfish late night cravings. Who ever said ‘sharing is caring’ never tried this cake! You’ll know in your heart that you should share it, but, you won’t want to!

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This recipe is as simple as they come! I used two of the best gluten free cake mixes, with a few tweaks, to create the layers. The scratch made vanilla bean whipped cream takes only a few minutes to put together, but, ties the flavors together with subtle sweetness. This cake is monstrous in size and flavor!

CHOCOLATE SPICE NAKED LAYER CAKE
 WITH VANILLA BEAN WHIPPED CREAM
Prep Time: 15 min  |  Bake Time: 50 min [ includes cool time ]  | Serves: 8-10
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gluten-free-paleo-chocolate-spice-naked-cake
Ingredients:
2 tsp coconut oil – room temperate [ for greasing pans ]

1 1/4 cups of dark chocolate morsels chopped [ between layers & on top of cake ]
1 1/4 cup walnuts – chopped  [ between layers & on top of cake ]

 
Spice cake layer 
1 box of Nameste Foods gluten free spice cake mix
1tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2/3 cup of olive oil
 
Chocolate cake layer
1 box of Pillsbury gluten free chocolate devil’s food cake mix
1 tblsp of unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder [ for richer flavor ]
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup of water
2/3 cup of olive oil
Vanilla bean whipped cream

1 pint of heavy whipping cream
vanilla bean seeds of 1 bean.
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup of powdered sugar

 

Kitchen Tools:
2 medium size bowls – for cake batters
1 medium size bowl – chilled [ for whipped cream ]
1 small bowl for toppings
1 spatula
4 round cake pans [ 8″ rounds ]
knife – for chopping
hand mixer & whisk attachment
measuring cup/spoons
1 flat frosting spatula
Instructions.
Preheat oven to 375˚ and grease all four cake pans with coconut oil. Make sure the bottom and sides of pans are coated well.
1. First, combine the heavy whipping cream, paste of one vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in bowl and beat on high with hand mixer until soft peaks form. About 3-4 minutes. Set aside in refrigerator.2. Combine dark chocolate morsels and walnuts – roughly chop. Set aside.

3. Combine all ingredients for the spice cake, mix well, and pour evenly into baking pans.  Combine all ingredients for the chocolate cake, mix well, and pour evenly into baking pans. Place cakes in 375˚ oven and bake according to directions. About 20-25 minutes.


4. Remove cakes from oven and set aside to cool. Remove cake tops so cakes are flat on top.

5. Place first layer of cake [ I started with chocolate ] on cake stand, cake plate, or other platter of your choosing – Spread whipped cream evenly and generously and top with dark chocolate/walnut mixture. Be generous with the toppings! Place second layer of cake [ spice cake ] on top and repeat the process.*Repeat for each layer.

6. Now it’s time to frost the cake.. or not. A proper naked cake is partially clothed [ haha! ]. Spread vanilla bean whipped cream from the middle of the top layer to the edge and over the sides. Push whipped cream into the gaps between the layers, then spread the whipped cream very thinly, almost like you’re scraping it off, on the cake edges. The easiest way to achieve an even look is to hold the flat frosting spatula against the cake and rotate the cake stand or cake plate.

Top generously with whipped cream and more dark chocolate morsels/walnuts and enjoy!!

* Because of the whipped cream this cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. Which is next level delicious as the days go by!

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This spice cake is dense, moist, and the spices dance across your tastebuds! Pairing it with a dark chocolate cake is so appropriate for this beloved fall baking season. The combination of flavors playing with each other in these four layers are down right addictive. It’s crazy good y’all!
To all of my cup o’ joe lovers – The rich warmth of this cake pairs beautifully will a hot cup of coffee or a smooth cold brew. Enjoy!

What are you excited to bake this fall season? Have you tried a naked cake yet? Share your tips, cravings, and kitchen adventures in the comments!

With love,

Lemon Parmesan Tuna and Black Bean Pasta

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Hello hello! I promised this gluten free black bean pasta recipe last week, but, had a terrible time editing the images. I hadn’t planned on shooting this recipe originally, and I have not had time to reshoot it [ yet ]. I grabbed my camera and snapped some quick images in my kitchen.. at night. There wasn’t a single ray of natural light anywhere.

Mistakes. Mistakes everywhere!

Every single vertical image was unusable. Somewhere between panic and resolution, I thought: “This blog is about being real. So just be real about this.” I messed up.. And I’m telling y’all about it. I have been practicing shooting in manual and I missed the mark on more than one image. Mistakes make us better right! So here are a tiny handful of horizontal images to stir your hunger!

Lemon-Parmesan-Tuna-Black-Bean-Pasta-recipe
Lemon-Parmesan-Tuna-Black-Bean-Pasta-recipe

Pasta dishes are right up there with pizza in my book. Pizza ultimately reigns supreme, but, every now and then a hearty plate of spaghetti really knocks those carb cravings out. Being a pasta lover with a gluten intolerance is.. intolerable [ Ha! I couldn’t help myself! ]. Bad humor aside, it really is tough to find gluten free pasta recipes that taste good and haven’t had all of the nutrients stripped from them.

One of the best alternatives to grain pastas is bean pasta. I started cooking with black bean pasta when even quinoa super grain pastas was making me sick. Tolerant and Explore Cuisine are the two best brands of bean and lentil pastas. They taste fresh and have a great texture! You can substitute either brand in any pasta dish without the fear of eating heavy, cardboard-esque spaghetti.

Lemon Pepper Parmesan Tuna and Black Bean Pasta
Prep Time: 5 min  |  Cook Time: 10 min  | Serves: 2– PIN THIS RECIPE –

Lemon-Parmesan-Tuna-Black-Bean-Pasta-recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 box of black bean pasta [ I used Explore Cuisine brand for this recipe ]
1 can of tuna. Packed in water only
juice of half of a fresh lemon
2 tblsp of grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup of frozen peas
olive oil

Instructions:


1. In a small pot, on low medium heat, mix together the tuna, frozen peas, lemon juice, cheese, and spices. Heat through till peas have completely thawed, and everything has blended together. About 5 minutes.

2. Cook black bean pasta according to directions, drain, and toss with a drizzle of olive oil.

3. Serve pasta and top with a heart spoonful of the lemon parmesan tuna and peas! Sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes and cheese to taste!

Though this recipe will serve two you might have trouble not eating the entire pot yourself. That is exactly what I did the last time that I made this dish! The flavor is hearty and has a kick to it. It’s so delicious! The very best part about this dish is that you do not have to feel even an ounce of guilt while eating it. This quick and easy dinner for two is nutrient rich and flavor packed! I hope you love it as much my honey and I do.

Have you tried bean pasta? 

Happy eating and have a beautiful day!

When God Says Yes: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

I waited. Waited in loneliness, in tears, and sometimes fear. I waited on God, whether His will was yes or whether it was no. I waited and trusted. I poured out my heart. I even pleaded. For four silent and sometimes downright painful years I wrestled with God. It was my will battling His timing. It was active trust battling the fear of life lived alone. My heart ached for companionship, but, God told me to wait. Through the fog of long felt emotion and tears I found contentment. Contentment in Christ. Contentment in being alone. And I found peace in His will. Then God granted me joy.

And then God said yes..

The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

 This post has been a long time coming. I wrote it, almost published it, and then rewrote it with a more open hand to what I felt. I want to share my heart. Being open and transparent has always
been something that I struggle with. Maybe it’s out of self-preservation; protecting myself from the judgement of others or perhaps it’s simply out of the fear of being truly seen. In the last year I have learned that being transparent with people is freeing, and builds the sweetest and most real
connections. So, here is my heart, friends. I am excited [ and a little nervous ] to share my journey, but, I hope that through this I can encourage you, relate to you, and build a stronger connection.

Finding “The One”

When I was a young girl I imagined what my life would look like in the future, as I’m sure we all do. I knew I would be married and have a couple of children. I would be the best mother that I could possibly be, and grow to be old and grey with my love. Those things may yet be a reality in my life, but, perhaps not in the timing that I thought. I always thought, or assumed, that I would be married and have two children by the time I was twenty-three.

I am now on the cusp of twenty-five, unmarried, and.. childless. I say that with a thread of humor because I see now how unprepared I was for those things in my baby-twenties.God kept closing that door and telling me to wait, but, I was too naive to understand it. I wanted my life to begin. What I didn’t understand was that life does not begin at marriage; life is in full swing and marriage is another branch, another path, and it is one that we may or may not take.


I grew up in the church during the time of kissed Dating Goodbye; a book that birthed the idea that your one and only was somewhere out there. That idea, the notion of the one, settle into my heart and birthed an insecure search and longing for “the one“. I longed for companionship. So many people that I knew were pairing up and I couldn’t help but wonder: where was my one and only? I remember feeling so confused and anxious. How am I supposed to know which one is “the one”. I felt alone, and, at times, forgotten by God.

Romantic love for the one your heart will find kinship with on this earth is merely an inkling of the love that Christ has for you.

The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

Over the course of six years [ age 18 – 23 ]  I was approached by five young men. Five young men that claimed to love the Lord  [ I do not question that in their lives ], and some that claimed to love me. I did not have five relationships [ one of the five was a real courtship relationship ] but the process of getting to know one another took place. Due diligence was done, lots of conversation was had, dates were enjoyed.. but always something was missing; a seriousness about their walk with Christ, no real connection, dishonesty – It felt like a myriad of things had halted my future. With each disappointment came more loneliness and the agonizing question: What if God does not have someone for me? Four of those six years were my crawling years – years spent crawling toward God with my heart in my hand, bruised and broken. Prior to my “crawling years” I had my first truly serious relationship – when I was twenty. It ended poorly, and honestly, it tore my heart to pieces. It was everything that our tender hearts long for; guy meets girl [ in sunday school no less], sparks fly, the proper permissions are given, courtship begins, and I love you starts to creep in. Emotion guided my naive heart. Everything seemed right. He was on fire for the Lord, he said the right things about our future and our family, he made the most beautiful professions of love. Surely this guy was “the one”.

But he wasn’t. He was far from it. His words and actions in the beginning backed up his proclamations of love, but, ultimately he was not truthful, he was distant and unfaithful, he was verbally demeaning, and physically hurtful. I walked away from that young man and I never looked back. That period of time and the painful experiences that I went through confused my heart even more, and left me with a tiny emotional scar to mark my journey. It was not only a scar that marked hurt, but it was a scar of
maturity. Pain grows us. Loneliness that is only remedied by Christ grows us.

As hard as it is to admit, I descended into a pit of despair fueled by the deepest longing and loneliness. I hesitate to say that because I know how that sounds to those who may be struggling through their own despair – being heartbroken over a lonely heart can seem trivial. In my life, it was the greatest pain. I have lived my life with the expectation of being a wife and a mother. Staring into the void of an unknown future shook me, shattered me, and settled a shadow over my outlook.

The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

 
There have been so many times over the past four years that I have sat alone in my prayer corner pouring my heart out to the Lord through tears. I reached the point where I could be surrounded by some of my closest friends and feel lonely. We are made to pair up. God instituted marriage! He is for
marriage, and I believe He has knit into our being a desire for that companionship. It is that God given desire that makes our hearts ache when it is not fulfilled. I truly believe that there is a unique loneliness that can settle over your heart when you are walking through singleness. That loneliness gripped me and brought me to my knees.
The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you are okay

 

As time passed, and a few years ticked by, my sadness grew. I kept my heart-pangs to myself, putting on a brave face over my fear of a life lived alone. I never told a soul about the fear and doubt that I was wrestling with. Carrying an emotional burden alone is taxing. It wore me down. I regret never sharing my heart with anyone close to me. If I could rewind time, I would open up and seek counsel and comfort. In it all though, God used every aspect of my wrestling to teach me and mold me into a wiser woman, and a woman who understands His comfort, grace, and sovereignty more fully.

 

I was so hung up on my future that I could not enjoy my present. There was so much that I could have enjoyed and experienced, but, I let a heart of discontentment hinder those things.It took time for the Lord to peel away the layers of fear, discontentment, and hopelessness. He peeled back each layer, exposing the deepest parts of my heart, and then He washed each layer away. God doesn’t just solve our problems or give us immediate answers. He works on us – refining and renewing.And that is exactly what He did. He renewed my mind and my heart, and He renewed my attitude.

The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

Lessons Learned
What I learned, what my fear, my loneliness, and my hurt taught me, was that I am made whole in Christ. We are made whole in Christ. Contentment does not come from another person. Happiness and true joy do not come from our significant other. Those things are found in the freedom and security of our relationship with Christ. When I realized that, and took hold of it, I found contentment. Contentment does not wash away loneliness or longing, it simply puts those things in their proper place.. behind Christ.

 

God is sovereign, friends. His ways are not always known to us [ that’s more often then not ] but we can trust Him completely! He knows our hurt and He knows our heart. Wait on Him. You will never regret it.When I came to the place of finding contentment in my relationship with Christ, and living in the present, rather than a potential future – a future that only God knew – I found hope again. Hope for new adventures, friendships, and hope for God’s plan – whether marriage was a part of it or not.
We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps -Rest and be faithful
Blessing Bestowed
Two years ago, God was leading, He was constructing, and He was guiding me toward yes. I had no clue, not even an inkling at the time. God truly knows best – today I get to enjoy the sweetest relationship with my Austin.I met Austin two years ago at our gym – He was there as a personal trainer. We started working out together with mutual friends and developed a friendship ourselves. He liked me, it was clear, but, I did not think much of it at the time. I was walking my road with God. Austin, never pressured me for anything beyond friendship. He was truly willing to be nothing more than friends – That impressed and intrigued me. He expressed his desire to build a friendship with me and I agreed, but, still thought very little of it.
Over the course of two years I got to see his character, his integrity, his humor, and his love for the Lord. Austin treated me with real care and real patience, he prayed with me, he purposed to now my heart, and he treated me with real love – But he expected nothing in return. As I got to know him I grew to admire and respect him as a man, and wouldn’t you know it.. I grew to love him fiercely.

The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

Deep into our friendship [ one year and five months to be exact ], Austin, shared his heart with me and expressed his love fully over a birthday dinner – still he expected nothing – he simply wanted me to know how he felt. It took more time for me to be brave enough to express the feelings that I had grown into for him, but, I eventually did find the words to tell him how I felt. We have been inseparable ever since. Our relationship abounds in purity, patience, seeking Christ, a lot of laughter, and yes, love. This love, though, is like no other I have experienced. This love is intentional, it is selfless, and it is raw. There are no secrets or unsettled scuffles. Do we always get along blissfully? No. We are sinful. But we seek Christ, we make amends when necessary, we act silly when no one else is around, and we share from the deepest wells in our hearts. We are like puzzle pieces crafted by God for one another. It’s a good match, friends.. it is a God match.
My journey through singleness has been a long road, but, one I would walk again in a heartbeat to enjoy what God has constructed with this precious man! The best part? Austin’s heart is ALL the Lord’s. That, my sweet friends, is worth every lonely hour and every fallen tear.
The Nosh Life: My Heartfelt Journey Through Singleness

If you made it to the end of this post – Thank you. Thank you for reading, thank your for allowing me to bare my heart.. thank you for giving me the opportunity to step out in vulnerability. Life has its bumps, its twists, and its turns, but, in it all God is sovereign – If you are wrestling, seek Him and He will direct your steps. Rest and be faithful. God has not forgotten you.

 

Where are you in your journey? Tell me about it in the comments. xo

 

All my heart,

 

Jenna

 

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