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First Birthday Cake: Dairy-Free Sponge

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Come Together | 0 comments


My baby boy turned one last week. I can’t believe it. He’s still showing signs of dairy intolerance, so I had to find a good dairy-free recipe that also didn’t have too much this or that (insert arbitrary baby feeding rules here to your liking). This cake is “good.” I say that because I think it’s edible, and it’s a good starter sweet for a baby (as in it’s not very sweet). It’s very coconutty.  After that description, I’m sure you’re ready to dive right in…it did it’s job well for us, and that’s all that counts. Here’s what I did, if you’re curious.

In a small bowl:

2 egg whites (reserve yolks), beat until soft peaks form

In another bowl, combine:

¼ cup sugar

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup coconut oil

Mix with mixer until well combined.


Add 2 egg yolks

Add 1 cup AP flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and ⅛ tsp cinnamon

Mix with mixer until well combined.

Add egg whites to batter and softly combine with a spatula.

Pour batter into greased/floured baking pan. I used two 6″ pans.

350* until set



The icing is really where it gets tricky when it comes to dairy-free. Whipped cream is an excellent first birthday icing, and buttercream is beyond delicious. Both of those were out for me. I loosely followed these instructions. I put 2 cans of coconut milk in the fridge. Opened them, scooped out the solids, and put in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and a LOT of blue food coloring. Then I beat it with the mixer until it was light and fluffy.

To decorate, I made a cake topper to match our theme, threw on a 1 candle, and some festive dots (a la Little Cremes). It was a hit!


P.S. Everyone else had butter cake cupcakes with buttercream icing (and sprinkles).

October Unprocessed Starts Tomorrow

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Store-bought Remix | 1 comment


Or so my calendar says. I’m trying to stop laughing now. I put a note on my calendar last year when I realized on November 1st that I’d missed it for 2012…probably while holding my 1-month-old baby. Now, that baby is one, and in the last month, we’ve moved, traveled for a week, and hosted two major social events. I’m ready for a break. But not all hope is lost. I have a brand new kitchen to break in, and I’ve always been committed to store-bought remix (which is a similar premise to OU13).

Check this out for more info on the challenge. The “Kitchen Test” definition was really interesting to me, and it seems like there is a little leeway to keep from having to make EVERYTHING yourself from scratch. Some products “made in store” or purchased from the farmers’ market might help me commit. I could also do a week-day only rule, too…anything to ease into it. It’s not like I’ve been putting up jam all summer so I could dive right in. This is going to take baby steps. I also noticed that you can get some coupons from Bob’s Red Mill this year. Anybody out there interested?

My Strange Addiction

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Our Favorites | 1 comment


I’m obsessed with these. I know they’re disgusting, but just like hot dogs, I can’t stop myself. I tried some real ones at a gourmet Mexican restaurant in town, and while I loved those too, it’s just not the same. I’ll just sit over here with my 6 cans and await the intervention…

Thanks to Nana D for inspiring all of this. My mom grew up eating tamales with slaw, which I think it strange, but it’s actually a really good combo!


Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Around Chez Ary | 0 comments

1. Will someone please tell my son to please stop growing? He’s 8 months old and movin’ and shakin’. He’s crawling everywhere, and starting to do the pull up/cruising thing. Stop. Just stop. 🙂

2. I’ve given in to the dark side, and I think I like it. I bought some organic pouches at Target to make his food easier on vacation last week, and they were very handy. I still believe in the baby led weaning approach, and it’s a little hard to get past the cost/waste ratio. But these are great as a supplement to the things I’m making him.

3. As mentioned above, we went on family vacation last week. It was so nice to get away and relax, shop, beach, and EAT! Mr. J and I ate a ton of seafood, and it was quite delicious!

4. My bro just headed off to South Carolina to further his training with the Marines. I’m gearing up to write him tons of letters. Good luck, T!

5. Mr. J and I celebrated 5 years last week. It was really nice! We got massages and dined on the beach. The meal was absolutely delicious!

What I’m Eating: Ultimate Cabbage Mix

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Our Favorites | 2 comments

This recipe is one of my favorites this summer. It’s so easy and versatile. It’s a quick chopped salad with the protein, dressing, and crunch recommendations below. Or it goes well as a side or topping for Asian or Mexican dishes. You can even throw a little mayo in there for a quick slaw.

My favorite part is that it lasts so long. I think I got two weeks out of the last batch I made. It stays much fresher than lettuce, and it makes quite a large quantity. I’m the only one in my house that eats it so I need it to last. I’m on this kick lately with eating veggies in bulk to keep me full. I take a TON with me (probably almost 3 cups) every day for my salad at work. If you don’t have time (or don’t LOVE chopping like me), just get a bag or two more of the pre-cut slaw mix, and you’re good to go.
1 bag of slaw mix (gets you started with red and green cabbage and some carrots, bonus…it’s already chopped)
1 head of savoy or napa cabbage, chopped small (get it at the farmers’ market!)
1 cup matchstick/julienned carrots (about 1/2 of a small bag)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
Cucumbers are good with this mix, too, but I like to buy the small ones and chop it fresh for each serving. Cucumber isn’t as hardy as the other ingredients.
Mix all ingredients together in a large covered container. Store in the fridge.
You’re looking for a sesame/ginger dressing. I’ve found a couple of different options for pre-made dressings at my grocery. There’s one in the refrigerated section, but it doesn’t have sesame oil so I just add some in. Publix has one in their premium store brand line that I like that can be found on the bottled dressing aisle. I’ve also eyeballed this recipe, but I’ve gone with the ease of pre-made dressing so far.
Fried slices of tofu
Dina Chicken (I throw about 6 frozen chicken breasts in a crockpot with a full recipe of marinade and crank it up to high for about 3 hours)
Add a little crunch: Sliced almonds, salted peanuts, chow mein noodles, broken up pieces of ramen noodles