Granola Bars

I’m back! I had no idea wedding planning could become so crazy within the first month of being engaged my Shoppping. We have set a date, picked the colors, found a wedding location, and I’m looking at dresses this weekend. I’m actually pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that much! I’ve never been the type to fantasize about what my wedding would be like someday. It’s fun to just now figure out what I’d love for my ceremony and reception to be like. The next step is a gluten free, casein free, soy free wedding cake. If you know of any amazing cake recipes that I’d be able to eat, PLEASE email them to me at!

For now, I have a recipe! I want to share an extremely easy recipe with you that I think you’ll love. This one is a good staple to have around. I eat granola bars for breakfast (when I don’t have time for pancakes!), as a snack, or even as a healthy dessert.

Adapted from Ina Garten & Smitten Kitchen

2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
Enough coconut oil to line baking dish (liquefied & cooled)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 12-inch baking dish with coconut oil and line it with parchment paper.

Granola Bar Recipe: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flaxseed meal. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Granola Bar Recipe: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

Add honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to the mixture while it is still warm. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries to the coated mixture and stir.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and press the mixture evenly into the pan. I used a huge spatula to help press and literally put my weight into it. I kept thinking about how tightly packed Nature Valley granola bars are when they're baked. Everything is packed in so tightly!
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Granola Bar Recipe: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

Granola Bar Recipe: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free

A little tip that I learned - LET THEM COOL! If you don't let them cool long enough, they're harder to cut. Also, when you cut them, be sure to use a serrated knife. It helps so much!

He Asked. I Said Yes!

I realized this morning that it had been an entire week since my last blog post. I'm so sorry for being a bit of a slacker! This is going to be a quick post just to let you know that I'M ENGAGED. If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw the news about a week ago but I'm just now getting a chance to really post about it!

I'll give you the quick version of the engagement story. When I tell every little detail, I realize just how thoughtfully planned out this whole event really was - Josh is definitely an amazing man!

Josh and I had plans to fly to Canada to hang out with some new friends on Thursday and stay until Tuesday. When we checked in at the airport, I knew something was up. We didn't receive layover information or additional boarding passes. I was only handed one boarding pass and it was to Chicago (my favorite city). Josh insisted that we were just connecting there on our way up to Buffalo, NY.

After we landed in Chicago, I casually followed Josh to baggage claim. Obviously, at this point I knew we weren't going to Canada that day. We grabbed our bags, hopped on the L, and headed to our friends place to drop everything off before heading downtown. Once we were downtown, I probably repeated the phrases "you're up to something" and "do you have a plan" about 90 times. I'm really not exaggerating. I'm pretty sure I was slightly annoying at that point.  After a few hours of being EXTREMELY curious, Josh and I walked up to Lincoln Hall where one of my favorite bands was playing. Not only did I get to see Sleeping At Last performing with a string quartet, the man I love so much asked me to be his wife. He proposed to me right before they played “Umbrellas”. This is my favorite Sleeping At Last song. If you haven’t heard of this band before, go check them out at!

There are a few better quality videos, but they aren’t embeddable on my blog. I found this one posted on YouTube. I actually hate being in front of crowds more than anything so if I look awkward on stage in this video, that's why. I'm unbelievably exited! Time to start planning a wedding!

S’mores Cake

One of my all time favorite desserts is simple, satisfying, and great any time of the year. If you don’t know how much I really do like s’mores, I’ll give you a little glimpse of the lengths I’ve gone to just to have one. I’ve made them inside on a s’more maker (no lie, it exists), over a stove top, in the microwave, over a candle (bad idea), and the correct way – over a campfire.

Namaste mailed me a chocolate cake mix not too long ago, and I was a little excited about it. As I sat and really thought about it though, I wasn’t too thrilled about making just a plain chocolate cake. What could I do with the mix to make it REALLY awesome? I even asked people on twitter what a good filling would be. Within a couple hours I figured it out – it would be a s’mores cake!

There was one tiny problem with this idea. I had no idea how to go about creating graham cracker that I could eat that would actually taste great. Well, after a little bit of searching, I found Lauren’s recipe for GF Graham Wafers! I did have to modify it to make it casein free too. These graham crackers came out great!

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
Slightly modified from
1 cup Sweet rice flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup Sorghum Flour
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons GHEE (clarified butter) or Earth Balance (Cut/spooned into 1-inch cubes/balls and frozen)
1/3 cup Clover Honey
5 tablespoons Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit

Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.

Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.

Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take much less time, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. *Mine only took about 15 minutes to bake.

When cooled completely, store half the batch in an airtight container and enjoy anytime of the day. Place the other half the batch in a food processor to make crumbs for the cake! Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs. I used a magic bullet and it worked fine.

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

After the graham cracker crumbs were ready, I set them aside while I prepared the Namaste chocolate cake mix. The mix was easy! I only had to add eggs oil and water. The mix made enough for two 9" cakes. Obviously, you can use any chocolate cake recipe and this would turn out great. I just used the mix because I had it.

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

Once the cake is done, let it cool. That part is particularly tough for me. I just want to eat everything right after it comes out of the oven! While it's cooling, make the marshmallow cream.

There are two choices for the marshmallow creme. I used the first option, a marshmallow recipe that uses gelatin. I know, I know, I'm still pretty paranoid about getting sick from raw eggs. I use THIS RECIPE from Alton Brown. I used it about 5 times this Christmas to make marshmallows for gifts, so I definitely trust it. The other option has fewer steps. Basically, you don't have to boil the sugar & syrup, it's a tad easier to spread, and it includes egg whites. I might try this eventually. For now, I'll stick to what I'm used to. 

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake

Now that everything has been made separately, all that's left to do is assemble! Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate. I don't have a cake stand (yet!), so I just used a large plate. Next, spread the graham cracker crumbs on top (enough to completely cover). Pour the marshmallow creme over the crumbs, and then top it with another layer of crumbs. You could also save a step in layer by mixing the graham cracker crumbs into the marshmallow cream. Top with the other layer of chocolate cake and you're basically finished! The lovely people at Namaste sent me an icing mix, so I covered mine with fudge icing and drizzles marshmallow over the top. This would also be good just sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs or with melted chocolate poured over it. I hope this serves as an inspiration for more s'more like creations!

Gluten Free Casein Free Soy Free Smores Cake