White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Blondies

By Miranda

I know it has been way too long since I've updated the blog, and I don't have my own recipe to post today, but I came across what sounds like a delicious IC Friendly dessert today and I wanted to share:

Click here for recipe

Let me know how they taste if you try to make them. I hope to soon!



By Miranda

Jaclyn recently posted a super-fun contest on her own blog, Jaclyn Works it Out. It's called the Make Cupcakes, Not War Bake-Off! The idea for the bake-off was born from a totally true and amazing news story where UK Spies were able to hack into a terrorist website and replace instructions on how to make bombs with instructions on how to make cupcakes! You can read the full story here. Jaclyn's bake-off challenged contestants to bake a batch of cupcakes that could inspire world peace.

Now, if I am an extremist about anything in this world, it's cupcakes. It's safe to say that I eat at least one per week (usually with Jaclyn at our favorite local bakery, Blue Bird Bake Shop). I subscribe to cupcakes blogs. I have two cupcake shirts. I love making cupcake themed greeting cards (which I sell on Etsy; I know, shameless plug). I even have a friend who posts almost-weekly photos of cupcakes on my facebook page because he knows how much I love them. In my opinion, cupcakes really make the world happier.

I enjoy the art of cupcakes almost as much as I love eating them! Maybe that's partly because I can eat so few types of cupcakes at this point in my life. Thanks to IC, cupcakes with chocolate and/or fruit are not options for me. I have to stick with vanilla with buttercream frosting for the most part, which I really don't mind at all. I can't buy store bought or package cupcake mixes because they usually have citric acid, among other random ingredients that are not necessarily IC friendly. Luckily for me, one of Blue Bird Bake Shop's daily flavors is called "Sweet Cakes" and is vanilla cake with white chocolate chips baked in topped with vanilla butttercream frosting and white non-pareils sprinkled on top. Other than that, I'd be mostly on my own when it comes to making IC friendly cupcakes if it wasn't for the fact that I was too afraid to try to make any from scratch until just a couple days ago. This fear was the result of a failed attempt to make cupcakes for my 11th grade food prep class. That was over ten years ago though, and when Jaclyn posted her contest last week, I knew it was time for me to conquer my fear and bake some delicious, IC friendly cupcakes!

As I sat at work and thought about what the theme of my cupcake creation would be (you know, instead of actually working), my eyes wandered over to a birthday card from my friend Melissa that I have had displayed on my desk. I mentioned that I might be an extreme cupcake lover; well, she and I are both also pretty extreme polka dot lovers as well. We have each had to independently ask our sisters to be on polka-dot patrol to let us know if we are wearing too many types of polka dots on our persons at once. We are also always buying each other polka dot notepads and other little nonsensical dotty items. So when she found a greeting card that read, "Polka Dots Just Make The World Happier" she knew it was the perfect card for me. For her birthday a few months later, I went out and bought her the very same card (that was before I started making cards). But I have always been a greeting card junkie and I find this particular card to be truly inspiring; it makes great use of white space, it has the perfect subject and saying, and there are little puffy poms for texture at just the right spots.

Sitting at my desk that day, I realized that one of the best things about the card is that you could very easily substitute the word "cupcakes" for "polka dots" and it would still be just as true! At that moment, I knew that my world-peace inspiring cupcakes would have to involve polka dots. And what better way is there to incorporate polka dots into a cupcake than to make funfetti cupcakes?!?! I dare you to even try to come up with a better idea.


So it turned out that coming up with the idea for the cupcakes was much easier than actually making them. I started out following this recipe from bakingbites.com but I knew that I wanted to add vanilla pudding to the mix because I wanted my cupcakes to be moist (which my 11th grade nightmare cupcakes were not). After doing some research I was under the impression that I could substitute one egg for a box of vanilla pudding mix. That didn't sound right to me, but the internet doesnt lie, right?!?


I mixed everything together, but the batter was less like cake batter and more like cookie dough. Not that I have anything against cookie dough, but it certainly wasn't what I was going for. So I decided to add the third eggwhite that I had left out. That wasn't enough though. I added some vegetable oil and then I finally felt like it was time to bake them up. Here's the final recipe and directions I used for the batter, which is somewhat modified from the original recipe:

1/2 cup organic 2% milk
3 large organic egg whites
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups organic flour
1 cup all natural sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp butter, soft
1 box vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp sprinkles (this kind; I read that most types of sprinkles would cause the color to run too much, but these just helped give a subtle polka dot look inside).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line cupcake pan with with paper liners.

In a measuring cup, whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract.

Set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, pudding mix, salt, and baking powder. Stir.

Cut in butter. Add dairy mixture and vegetable oil and beat at medium for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating for 20-30 seconds.

Stir in sprinkles.

Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake for for 18 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

My recipe made 12 large cupcakes and 12 small ones.

I worked on the frosting while the cupcakes baked and I was pleasantly surprised that they smelled quite good!

I used this buttercream frosting from allrecipes.com and added food coloring to make it purple because purple is one of the best colors there is:

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
6 drops blue food coloring
4 drops red food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.


Next it was time to decorate! Now, I have never tried to use anything besides a knife to frost cupcakes, so this was my first attempt at using a decorating bag and I only had two kinds of frosting tips, so my frosting came out a bit erratic looking, but I liked it overall. Maybe that's because I'm a bit erratic at times!
And of course I added polka dot sprinkles to top it all off!


After all was said and done, my cupcakes didn't come out bad at all; they were actually quite moist and delicious! Most importantly, they were peace-inspiring because, as you now know, polka dots and cupcakes just make the world happier!


Low Acid Berry Smoothie!

By Miranda

It's getting hot again, so it's smoothie time!


3/4 cup of frozen organic blueberries

1/4 cup of frozen organic raspberries and/or blackberries (if tolerated, otherwise just use 1 whole cup of blueberries)

1 cup organic almond milk

1/4 cup of “Just Blueberry” juice (I used R.W. Knudsen brand because it’s natural and unsweetened. It’s in the Greenwise section at Publix and I’ve also seen it at health food stores)

1 scoop of organic vanilla frozen yogurt (I used Stonyfield brand)

1 tbsp organic honey (bought at a local health food store)

First, pour the almond milk and blueberry juice in the blender, then add the frozen berries and yogurt. After it is all well blended, add the honey and mix again. Enjoy!


An eat free! Cookie Exchange

By Miranda

The Eat Free Trio & Friends
Pictured left to right: Miranda, Jaclyn, Cheryl, Sharon, Irene

Yup, that's right; this year the Eat Free Trio had a cookie exchange filled with gluten free, IC friendly, and of course, vegetarian delights! I have to admit, we didn't focus much on weight management, because, hey, it's the holidays! (Read about Jaclyn's approach to holiday eating here.)

My mother-in-law was kind enough to host this gathering at her home. We each brought at least two kinds of cookies, and as you can see, we had plenty of variety!

Pictured above:
Jaclyn's fabulous Coconut Macaroons (Gluten Free),
Perfectly Peanutty Peanut Butter Toffee Chip Cookies (Gluten Free),
and World Peace/Korova Cookies

Pictured above:
Irene's delicious Russian Teacake Cookies
and Gingerbread Cookies (IC Friendly)

Pictured above:
Cheryl's Iced Pumpkin Cookies (IC Friendly)
(she also made unbelievable Shortbread cookies and Pumpkin Bread, not pictured, but both IC friendly)

Pictured above:
Sharon's Pistachio Shortbread Cookies with Raspberry Thumbprints
and Nutella Cookie Sandwiches


As for me, I made two kinds of cookies as well:

Miranda's IC Friendly White Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

3/4 cups organic sugar
3/4 cups packed organic brown sugar
1 cup organic butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure organic Madagascar vanilla extract
1 organic egg
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12 oz) Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, stir sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.
3. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).
4. Stir in white chocolate chips and toffee bits.
5. Drop dough onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Press down lightly with hand so cookies come out round.
6. Bake for 4 minutes, turn pan 180 degrees. Bake for 4 more minutes.

Yields 3 dozen cookies.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Two Ways (Candy Cane Flavored & Frosted)

3 cups sifted organic all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons organic baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup organic sugar
1 cup organic butter (softened at room temperature)
1 organic egg, lightly beaten (egg should be at room temperature)
3 tablespoons organic milk
2 teaspoons pure organic Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup crumbled candy canes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter and blend with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.
4. With a fork, stir in lightly beaten egg, vanilla and milk. Blend well with fork.
5. Add candy cane crumbles and mix with your hands to ensure thorough blending.
6. Chill for 15 minutes in refrigerator.
7. Drop dough onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Press down lightly with hand so cookies come out round.
8. Bake for 3 minutes, turn pan 180 degrees. Bake for 3-4 more minutes.

Combine 4 cups organic powdered sugar, 1/2 cup shortening, 5 tbsp organic milk, 1 tsp pure organic Madagascar vanilla extract in a large bow. Use an electric mixer to beat until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Add food coloring if desired and decorate!

Yields 2 dozen cookies


Overall, the cookie swap was a great success and proof that dietary restrictions don't have to get in the way of fun around the holidays!

Happy New Year to all!


Hot Beverages to Get You Through the Holidays Without Chocolate

By Miranda

A couple nights ago my husband and I were going to help some friends decorate their house for Christmas. I knew everyone else would be drinking hot chocolate, which I something I desperately miss, especially around the holidays. Instead of letting it get me down I decided to create my own festive hot drink to enjoy for the evening. I enjoyed it so much that I am having some again right now!

Peppermint Vanilla Tea

1 teabag Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint Tea (it's caffeine free, of course!)

1 tbsp Flavorganics Vanilla Syrup (purchased from the IC Network)

6-8 oz. hot water

Your favorite holiday mug

Another incredibly delicious holiday drink is White Hot Chocolate! Jaclyn actually posted the perfect recipe for it recently on her own blog. I get a shout out in the post and she mentions IC! Read the post and get the amazing recipe here: White Hot Chocolate



Zippy Egg Tacos

By Jaclyn

As an ovo-lacto vegetarian, I eschew meat, but I do eat eggs and consume dairy. And I'll tell you what. I absolutely LOVE eggs.

Since I do a lot of weight training, I have to be sure to get adequate amounts of protein and beans and tofu are great, but nothing is easy, wholesome, or cheap as eggs. I love eggs because they're insanely versatile; you can just do so many different things with them--fry them, scramble them, boil them, bake them, poach them--really, the list could go on and on. I eat eggs several times a week and I try to switch it up, but this is my absolute favorite way to cook scrambled eggs; the cumin and red pepper give the eggs some real zip, the vegetables give a nice depth of flavor, and the corn tortillas make the dish extra-comforting and satisfying. Best of all, it's filling, nutritious, and delicious in your mouth.

Zippy Egg Tacos

Recipe serves 1

2 eggs
2 corn tortillas, fajita size, warmed (wrap in a paper towel and nuke for 15 seconds)
1/4 cup chopped zucchini and onions (sometimes I add red pepper or mushrooms too)
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 cup shredded jack cheese
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and saute chopped vegetables for 1-2 minutes until slightly soft and the cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add beaten eggs and move the eggs around with a spatula until curds start to form. Add cheese and continue moving eggs around. Once the eggs have set up, put half of the egg and vegetable mixture on each corn tortilla and salt and pepper to taste and eat it like a soft taco!

This can be served with spicy salsa and reduced fat sour cream for extra zip and it's awesome for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!


Be Thankful For All Things Thanksgiving

By Miranda

There are a lot of reasons to love Thanksgiving. For one, I've always considered myself a very grateful person and I love the idea of a day when everyone takes extra time to think about what they are thankful for. Also, I have an amazing family and we always have fun on holidays. Oh, and I am a huge Charlie Brown fan so I'm always excited about watching Peanuts specials.

And then there's the mashed potatoes.


And turkey, and carrots, and corn, and green beans, and yams, and rolls.


Let's take a moment to think about what all of those things have in common:


When I say I get excited about Thanksgiving, I'm really not kidding. I've always been thankful for Thanksgiving, but since I got stuck on the IC diet, I've developed a whole new appreciation for the holiday. Just thinking about sitting at a table surrounded by the people I love is enough; but to top it off with a smorgasbord of food I can actually enjoy is almost too much for me to handle! It's the one big meal of the year that gives me no anxiety. I get to sit at the table and eat the same food as everyone else. I take full advantage of it, too. I'll eat seconds, maybe thirds, and even partake in midnight leftovers with my dad if I'm up for it.

This year I've been lucky enough to have already celebrated Thanksgiving once. Fakesgiving, actually. Fakesgiving is a concept my family invented a couple years ago since some of us can't always make it to town for "real Thanksgiving". This year we celebrated Fakesgiving (the name was coined by my husband) on November 12th. It was just like regular Thanksgiving, but maybe even more fun!

My sister is serious about her Fakesgiving selection, as she should be.

This Thursday I get to celebrate Thanksgiving again at my mother-in-laws house. I'm making mashed potatoes and my somewhat famous honey butter carrots. I use pretty standard recipes for both, and get great feedback from ICers and regular folks alike.

Mashed Potatoes For Everyman

10 peeled organic potaotes

5 tbsp Olivio butter

1/4 cup Organic milk (this is one of the only times I used milk that isn't fat free; I usually go with 2%)

Salt & pepper to taste

Yields 8 servings

I peel and slice the potatoes into chunks and then boil them in a large pot for about 15-20 minutes. I add half a handful of sea salt to the water before adding the potatoes.

Once I can cut through them easily, I drain the potatoes and then put them back into the pot. Then I add some more salt and some pepper, the butter, and the milk. Then I mash them up! I like them to be smooth so I use my OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher.

It's about as basic as mashed potatoes get, but I love them.

Miranda's Somewhat Famous Honey Carrots

2 lbs carrots baby carrots

2 tbsp organic cane sugar

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp Olivio butter

1 tbsp organic honey

Add the sugar and salt to a small amount of water (just enough to cover most of the carrots) and boil. Once boiling, add the carrots and let cook on high for 15-20 minutes.

While the carrots are cooking, mix the honey and the butter and set aside.

Once the carrots are cooked to your liking, drain them and then return to the pot. Add the honey butter and stir until it covers the carrots.

This is a great way to take something very healthy like carrots and make it less healthy so it can be enjoyed by everyone on the best holiday of the year ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!