At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Cake (Soy and Fish-Free, Can Be Milk, Wheat, Nut and Egg-Free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Cake without glaze
This recipe is one of my own design, loosely based off of my Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake.  It is extremely rich and decadent, so it's not for the faint of heart and perfect for Valentine's Day as a dessert or breakfast treat.  It's like a cross between coffee cake and a chocolate peanut butter cup, and can be eaten with the glaze or without it - depending how much chocolate flavor you want.  This recipe is also soy-free (if you use all soy-free ingredients) and fish-free, and can be nut, milk, egg and wheat-free (see variations).  I hope you enjoy it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Cake with glaze

Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Cake 
Cake portion:
3 Cups soy-free flour (unbleached white or white whole wheat work great)

1/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

1 Cup white sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 Cups milk

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 Cup soy-free peanut butter, melted (creamy preferred, but you can use crunchy if you wish)
Topping/Filling portion: 
1 Cup soy-free peanut butter (creamy preferred, but you can use crunchy if you wish)

1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 Cup white sugar

2 Tablespoons soy-free flour (unbleached white or white whole wheat work great)

pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon) (optional)

1/2 to 1 Cup soy-free chocolate chips (I recommend Enjoy Life Mini Chips)

Glaze portion (Optional): 
1/4 Cup soy-free chocolate chips (I recommend Enjoy Life Mini Chips)

5 Tablespoons milk

pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon) (optional)

2 Cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

  1.  Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Grease a 9x13 glass baking pan with butter and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients from the cake portion except the melted peanut butter until well combined, then mix in the melted peanut butter until well combined and pour cake portion into the prepared 9x13 glass baking pan. (Note: Melting the peanut butter makes mixing it in easier, but you don't have to melt it if you don't want to.  Just know that it will take longer to mix it in if you don't melt it.  Also, the amount of salt depends on the amount of salt in your peanut butter and how much salt you want to add.  If your peanut butter has no salt, you'll want to add closer to the 1 teaspoon, but the amount you use is up to you.)
  4. In another large bowl, combine all ingredients for the topping/filling portion except the chocolate chips until well combined and creamy, and then stir in chocolate chips until well blended.  (Note: The salt in this portion is optional.  I like adding it to make the sweetness pop, but some think it's overkill, so follow your personal preference here.)
  5. Drop the topping/filling portion evenly over the cake portion by tablespoonfuls, and then use a knife to swirl the topping/filling portion through the cake portion.  It should look marbled when you are finished.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out nearly clean. (Note: The toothpick/cake tester will never come out completely clean due to the nature of this particular cake, and you wouldn't want it to as your cake would be completely overcooked at that point.  It will look a bit like a cake made with streusel topping - see the unglazed picture to see what I mean.  If it looks like that and the toothpick/cake tester are coming out nearly clean, you're good to go!)

    If you have chosen to eat this coffee cake without the glaze, you're done!  You can eat the cake warm or at room temperature.  If you wish to glaze your coffee cake, move on to step 7.

  7. While the cake is baking, mix the milk, chocolate chips and salt in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until all the chocolate chips are melted. (Note: The salt in this portion is also optional.  I like adding it to make the sweetness pop, but some think it's overkill, so follow your personal preference here.)
  8. In a medium bowl, add the melted chocolate mixture to the powdered sugar and vanilla; mix with a whisk until well combined and smooth.
  9. When the cake it done, immediately drizzle the glaze over top of the cake. (Note: Pouring the glaze over top of the hot cake causes the glaze to melt into the cake and gives it a more gooey texture.  If you don't wish it to be quite that gooey, wait to add the glaze until the cake has cooled to just warm instead - about 10 minutes.)
Enjoy this cake warm or at room temperature for best results.  One recipe makes 12 generous portions or up to 24 small servings.

A generous serving size of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Coffee Cake with glaze

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using variations):

  • Milk-Free: Use non-dairy milk of your choice in place of the milk in this recipe.  Also, you'll need to make sure your chocolate chips are dairy-free, which is why I recommend Enjoy Life Mini Chips because they are already dairy-free and very allergy friendly.
  • Egg-Free: Use an egg replacer in place of the eggs.  For ideas on what to use in place of the eggs, check out my ingredient substitutions page, though I wouldn't suggest using the applesauce, banana or pumpkin substitution unless you want that flavor in your cake.
  • Wheat-Free: Use a gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour.  I recommend using either King Arthur Flour's Gluten Free Baking Mix or Krusteaz Gluten Free Flour.  Both can replace the flour at a 1:1 ratio (i.e. 1 Cup mix = 1 Cup flour), and taste great!  You can also use another gluten-free flour of your choice, but note that you may have to add up to 3 teaspoons of xanthan gum or ground flax seed to the recipe for textural purposes.
  •  Peanut or Tree Nut-Free: If you can have tree nuts but not peanuts, use a tree nut butter in place of the peanut butter in this recipe.  If you can have neither, you can use a seed nut butter in place of the peanut butter in this recipe.

This dessert/breakfast is not for the faint of heart!  You'll definitely want to enjoy it with a large glass of milk or cup of coffee.

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Monthly Milestones 2016 {2}

Today is the second Monthly Milestones of 2016.  If you want to share a milestone post, just leave a comment below with a link to your milestone post, and I'll pop over and visit it and leave a comment, and hopefully some of my other readers will, too. :)  Normally, Monthly Milestones, where I will be giving you updates on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc., will go live on the first Saturday of every month, though sometimes I may be a day early or late depending on circumstances.

Here is how I am doing as of today:

Me as of today, February 6, 2016, at 226.5 lbs.  (The reason my smile is so big is because I'm laughing at my cat who is not in the pictures.  She was trying to photobomb me. ;) LOL :D )

  1. My weight went down!  Hurrah!  I'm down a pound and a half from last month.  I'm not to the lightest I've been on this 3 year journey (that was 225.5 lbs. in November of last year), but I hope to be down that extra pound and then some next month.  We'll see how it goes. :)
  2. January went by very quickly!   I can't believe it is February already!  Where did the time go?  My plan to get posting more on here and on Natural and Free seems to be working, so that's good.  Hopefully that will continue.  As long as I can post at least once a month, I consider that a win. :)
  3. We're still plugging away with our new lifestyle choices.  The weather hasn't been too cooperative to make walking as much as I'd like possible, but I am able to get out from time to time for longer walks other than walking my daughter to and from school.  I also am trying to keep conscious of what I am eating and of when I am full.  I can be a stress eater, and I am working diligently to correct that.  Wish me luck!
  4. Updates on my health situation may be slow in coming.  I am still dealing with some crazy neurological symptoms (you can see the main list here), including some vision issues that recently started (vision going out, lack of clarity or blurriness, dull color, tunnel vision, and a few other things) that are painless and only severe for a short spurt before ebbing down.  I am set to see a neurologist for more tests the end of April, though I am on a cancellation list so there is a chance I could see her sooner.  Until then, we symptom manage as best we can.

    My doctor recommended that I try doing what I do for migraines (take a Meloxicam and drink some coffee) when I start having weakness and such to see if that helps.  If it does, then we may indeed be dealing with silent migraines or some other rare form of migraine.  That would be a better thing that some things, but still a rough diagnosis as migraines can be tricky to find the right treatment for.  We'll see how things go, and I'll keep you updated.

    Also, I found out just this last week that I tested positive for one copy of the Factor V Leiden mutation.  Basically, I have a 7% greater risk of developing blood clots, and my children will have to be tested for this mutation some time soon to see if they have it as it is genetic.  We're not sure if this condition is at all playing into what is going on with me, but we will definitely be asking the neurologist about it when I see her in April.

    All I know for sure is that I am not at the same level of health since this all began last year.  I am definitely overall weaker, more tired, my hearing is less and my vision is fuzzy.  Thankfully my pain is generally less, so there's that.  Answers would be lovely, but I know those could be a long time in coming.  For now, we trust God to get us through one day at a time.

    We appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we try to figure out my health issues.  It means the world to us!

  5. Blog updates have stalled, though posting has increased!  As I mentioned before, I have a system in the works to add posts to this blog and Natural and Free at least once a month that is going swimmingly so far.  I'd like to do more than that, but my current health status is making that difficult.  We'll see how it goes!  I may surprise you with crazy awesome updates sooner than later. ;)  Stay tuned! :D

That's about it for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will leave a comment sharing your thoughts and/or milestones (with a link to your post, if you wish).  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)