A New Year, A New City!

 My Life  Comments Off
Jan 102014
 

IMG_2718Hello from Boulder, CO. I can hardly believe I’m here. Never in a million years would I imagine that I would be living in a new city at this stage of my life just a year after having my first child. You really never can tell where life is going to lead you. So, here I am.

So many changes have occurred in my life in the last year. I can’t wait to share and explore with you all here in my new home city. My posts may shift a bit from time to time at this point. You can expect to continue to see gluten free recipe posts. I also hope to have more music to share with you as my creativity is sparked from the beauty of the mountains and sunshine surrounding me. I also plan to share with you pearls relative to what I am learning as a new mommy. I feel like everyday is filled with new wonders that I learn from my little man, Christopher. Lastly, I’m going to share my new city with all of you, my friends and readers. Stay tuned!!!

Now, before I sign off……I meet so many people here in Boulder that refer to this life change I have made as living “the dream.” I have to be honest, I never dreamed of relocating here, but now that I have arrived I feel in my heart that I am in the right place for me at this point in time. Who knows were the right place will be for me a year from now, but what I do know is for now, I’m very happy to be living “the dream.”

Nov 182013
 

So I am personally a huge fan of pumpkin. This fall season I set out to design what I was hoping would be a “perfect” pumpkin muffin. Whenever gluten free is involved, that is somewhat of a challenge and a challenge that I welcome. After several tries I did it. What follows is a recipe that is sure to make any pumpkin lover smile.

“Perfect” Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (melted)
  • 4 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 3/4 of a 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • coconut oil non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the melted butter, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin and sea salt making sure the mixture becomes smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking soda, cinnamon, and flours, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Fold in the golden raisins and mix until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins

Oct 222013
 

You may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. My duties as a new mommy have led me to take a short break from posting regularly. I don’t often find a hands free moment to get on the computer. However, today it seems like an opportunity has emerged and my little man (Christopher) is sleeping soundly in his ergo carrier on my chest as I type.

I have been wanting to share an amazing brownie recipe that I perfected over the past few months. I am certain you are all going to love them. They are truly scrumptious. There is a mild coconut flavor to them due to the use of coconut oil and coconut flour in the recipe, this is the secret twist. The secret twist adds a fun, unexpected decadent flavor to what would otherwise be a typical brownie.

Dark Chocolate Brownies Recipe (gluten free)

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces high quality dark chocolate (70 – 80%)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine ground sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, unsalted pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • non-stick coconut oil spray

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • On the stove top, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil till smooth. After removing from the stove, stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a medium size bowl combine and hand mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, sorghum flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the two eggs.
  • Pour the eggs and the melted chocolate mixture into the center of your dry ingredients and mix well. Do not worry if the mixture seems a bit thin. Make sure to mix well with a spoon by hand until the consistency is somewhat sticky.
  • Fold in the unsalted pecans and mix.
  • Coat an 8 inch round pan with non-stick coconut oil spray or an individual mini loaf pan (8 servings).
  • Pour your batter into the pan you have selected. Then take the mini dark chocolate chips and sprinkle them across the top.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 F. You will want to watch the brownies very closely when you reach the 25 minute mark as you don’t want to over cook them. Use a toothpick to test that the brownies are done and watch that the edges don’t begin to brown too much or separate from the edge.
  • When the brownies are complete, leave to cool at least an hour before cutting them. If you are an ice cream lover, these taste absolutely wonderful with vanilla or chocolate ice cream on top.

Serves 8

Aug 132013
 

Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLabI can hardly put into words the emotions that I feel at the release of my 1st Album. It has been such an incredible journey that I never imagined would happen. The crazier part is if it were not for social media, I don’t know that it ever would have. A little over a year ago now, I met Paul Mahabir from Wirral, UK on twitter. Having never met, but noticing we had complimentary talents, we teamed up and started  writing music together. We call ourselves Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab. Our first album is called Moments. You can purchase it on iTunes as well as CD Baby and will find it in a host of other places such as Spotify where you can stream it for free.

Moments on iTunes

Moments on CD Baby

Just in case your curious what people are saying about the album, here are a few reviews:

Moments of Pleasure
“Reading the bio of Violet and TransAtlantic SoundLab for the first time, I was very intrigued to find out if it’s possible for the musicians who never even met in person to create something good together. To my amazement, what I heard turned out to be better than good. Soft yet powerful, eerie at times melodies (Paul “Mabzi” Mahabir) enriched by alluringly haunting vocals (Laura Violet Alexandre) create a moody dreamlike atmosphere. From the first notes the listeners may be tempted to close their eyes and let the sound take them far away. Each stop on this journey is a lovely experience – whether it’s watching a roaring, untamed sea (Goddess Of The sea), running barefoot in the sun (Summer Embrace), searching for the true love (This Eternal Moment), witnessing the hardships of creating process (Connotations) or going back in time (Where We Used To Meet) Every track is a wonderful stand alone piece, evoking variety of emotions from pure joy, through anxiety to nostalgia and tranquility. Yet, together they make a strong consistent whole.
Dwelling on the EP for a little longer you can discover great depth to it. The title itself “Moments” is an interesting choice. It seems as if each song was to capture these fleeting little moments our lives are made of and keep them from evaporating into the past.
A truly wonderful debut EP that may satisfy the senses of any music lover. Just take a few “Moments” to listen.” ~Magdalena Rutowska

Ethereal, Powerful, Memorable

“In this busy, hectic world we live in ~ finding moments that soothe the soul, refresh the spirit, and renew our hope, can be hard to come by. Until now, that is. Moments, by Violet and the Transatlantic SoundLab, is nothing short of pure magic. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me. Original, spiritual, inspirational, beautiful! This CD is my go-to music!!” ~Michelle Madrid-Branch

Stunningly Beautiful

“I loved listening to every beautiful song. When you both put your talents together its Magic. The music is amazing and Violets Voice is mesmerizing. I get goose bumps when I hear it. It is music you can also feel, not just hear.” ~Michelle Baker

Jun 202013
 

EP COVER ARTWORK - VIOLET AND THE TRANSATLANTIC SOUNDLABWhen I started my blog, I didn’t think I ever would become so remiss in writing regularly. I am typically a person that is very disciplined and when I set my mind to something and plan to do it consistently, lapsing in that commitment is not an option in my mind. Well…….having my son Christopher has changed all that. My priorities have shifted so much and really in so many amazingly positive ways. Christopher has really put in perspective for me what is important in my life.

So in addition to focusing on my baby and my husband, the other reason I haven’t written much lately is I have been placing a lot of focus on my music. Those of you that follow my cyber band, Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab, will be excited to hear that we are coming out with our first EP. We actually just completed the last song that will be on the EP, Where We Used to Meet. Even more exciting, there is a never heard before club mix of Goddess of the Sea. To hear the original version of Goddess of the Sea you can listen here.

Once the EP is out, I will be sure to let you all know. We are shooting for early July 2013. The title will be Moments. While you can interpret that as you like, there is a common theme in all the music on the EP. That theme is that each song captures an emotional moment in life. These moments may be felt differently by different people in our music, but Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir and I have tried to capture moments that truly touch the listener.

Here’s hoping you are as excited as I am about Moments. So stay tuned!!!

Apr 282013
 

photo 3I want to share with you all a new recipe. The first of my mini loaves recipes. You see, I decided to go out and purchase some mini loaves pans. These pans have 8 servings in each. For those of you who would rather not go out and purchase a pan for mini loaves, I suggest using a muffin pan. A 6 serving muffin pan should equal the 8 serving mini loaves recipe I am including below.

I hope you enjoy the first recipe in what will become a series of my mini loaves. If you are interested in getting the pan I am using, here is the link. Wishing you happy baking today and always!

Almond Mini Loaves (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of trader joe’s fat free vanilla coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. aluminum free double acting baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup almond slivers (salted)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat 8 serving mini loaves pan (or 6 serving muffin pan) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the melted butter, coconut milk, sugars, almond extract and sea salt making sure the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking powder, and flours (reserve the almond meal and almond slivers for mixing in later), then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the almond meal to the large mixing bowl and mix. Last, mix in the almond slivers, mixing till they are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the mini loaves to 2/3 full (if using muffin pan instead, fill muffin cups 3/4 full).
  • Bake mini loaves in 380 F oven for 20-25 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool mini loaves for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 8 mini loaves or 6 medium sized muffins

 Posted by at 1:15 pm
Apr 042013
 

Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLabIt’s live! The 8th song in my transatlantic collaboration with Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir. Our newest song, Connotations can be listened to on you tube now! Just click here to listen.

For a free download of the song please like us on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/VioletAndTheTransAtlanticSoundLab

I am amazed at what technology affords us musically today. Paul ‘Mabzi’ is a guitarist/musician from Wirral, UK and I’m from Philadelphia, PA. We met on twitter and from there has come a beautiful musical collaborations done completely electronically. Yes, we wrote this song and all the others together having never met face to face. We call our cyberband, Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab.

It is a true pleasure sharing music with you. It would be great to hear from you with any of your thoughts and input on our new song. You can reach out to me on twitter @lvdreamer and Paul @paulmahabir.

Here’s to pursuing the passions that make your heart sing, I know that’s what I’m doing and will strive to continue to do.

Apr 032013
 

ConnotationsIt is amazing how things happen. Sometimes the universe gives you exactly what you need when you just let it. That is a great explanation of my connecting with Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir from Wirral, UK and my partner in song in Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab.

Two creative spirits from different countries found ourselves writing a first song together, A Summer Embrace. A little less than a year later, we have written 7 songs together all remotely and the process is a dynamic and incredible one that without technological advances never would have happened. Did I mention we met on twitter? Writing music with someone remotely is an interesting process, one which gives each person individual space while still affording for creative synergy. Honestly, there are times when I wish greatly we could just get in a room and jam live, but who knows what our music would sound like then. What I do know is that our music in our remote collaboration is dynamic in an amazing way.

Over the time that we have known each other, I had a beautiful baby boy. My life as I knew it is so different in so many amazingly wonderful and zany ways. At times, I wondered if it would ever be possible again to write and record a song. You mean find a moment without the need to change a diaper or pick up a crying newborn? Well, believe it or not, it happened, we did it! And this Thursday, 4/4/2013 Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab will release another original song, Connotations (8th song in our collaboration).

So Connotations……. What exactly is it about? I am a person that believes strongly in the interpretation of the listener being the most important. But, what I can say is that the lyrics and tone of the piece is that of longing for understanding. It is a bit cliché that we often hear men and women claim not understanding each other. I would take this a step further and say honestly, do any of us truly understand anyone else? We all must work to understand the connotations of others as we all live unique lives with unique experiences and interpretations. With that said, I can’t wait for you to reflect on what Connotations means to you.

Mar 272013
 

muffinI’ve been on a quest to perfect my blueberry muffins. I have made so many different versions now of gluten free blueberry muffins, but this one is the winner in my book. I like a muffin to be moist, light and full of flavor. This one hits the mark exactly. Hope you enjoy!!!

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure you choose one which is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup of tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup of King Arthur Multipurpose Gluten Free flour
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the oil, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla extract and sea salt making sure all the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking powder, and flours, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the blueberries to the large mixing bowl last, mixing till ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins

Mar 202013
 

Oatmeal Raisin MuffinMy absolute favorite cookie has always been an oatmeal raisin cookie. Somehow, it has always felt like a more nutritious but still scrumptious treat to me. When I became aware of my gluten sensitivity, one of the things I missed most was getting an oatmeal raisin cookie out at a coffee shop. I got to thinking recently that it would be fun to try and create a muffin that tastes like an oatmeal raisin cookie. From this thought came the recipe below. It took me a few iterations to find the right mixture of ingredients to truly recreate a taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie, but I am excited to report that I finally did it!!! The exciting news is that this recipe has a nice amount of healthy fiber due to the old fashioned oats, coconut flour, millet flour and raisins.

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure you choose one which is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of King Arthur Multipurpose Gluten Free flour
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the oil, buttermilk, yogurt, sugar, vanilla extract and salt making sure all the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the guar gum, baking powder, flours, cinnamon and nutmeg, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the old fashioned oats and golden raisins to the large mixing bowl last, mixing till ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins