Healthy Lunchbox 2014: Dawn from Cuter than Gluten

Dawn Allen from Cuter than Gluten has joined us on the Healthy Lunchbox series before. Two years ago I was honored to be given the chance to review and giveaway her book, Culinary Creativity: Let Your Restrictions Set You Free, which is filled with 100% gluten and dairy-free easy to follow recipes.  Her insight and cute ideas are always fantastic and I was thrilled to have her join us again for this year’s event. 

Culinary Creativity will be included in a giveaway coming up at the end of this series…a favorite among my children because, #1, every recipe in this book is safe for everyone in our family and #2, the recipes are easy to follow so even my least experienced cook can whip up something delicious from this book. 😉 Be sure to keep your eyes open for more details coming…for now though, I am happy to share today’s Healthy Lunchbox guest post with you.  Thanks Dawn! 

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Healthy lunches… For the kids on school days I pack bento lunches, Japanese style boxes- like the photo below, sometimes made simple– sometimes made cute. (Read more about Bento in my post on Healthy Lunches in 2012.) And even more Bento tips and ideas in my book Culinary Creativity: Let your restrictions set you free (which you could win in a later giveaway!)

bentobox

onionringcute

And I try to keep the following in mind:

  • The kids have almost no time to eat. If I pack them something like blueberries they will eat one at a time, run out of time, and come home with a full lunch box. So, it must be easy to eat in big bites- fast! Sad, I know, but a fact of our public school life. Nothing too crunchy or time consuming.
  • Pushing their comfort zone with a bit of a new vegetable or something healthy that they marginally like is OK. Packing food they don’t like just results in hungry kids. This may seem obvious, but one of my daughters is so particular it is almost impossible to guess what she will like even when I try my best. Asking her is a bad idea as she will only admit to liking fries and chocolate.
  • A little bit of fun makes their whole lunch enjoyable. A note. A carrot cut like a flower. A fun food pick.

For my lunch I use all the vegetables in my refrigerator left from the previous week’s CSA. I make a big bone broth and random vegetable soup and freeze it in individual portions. Then I know I will eat well when I am hungry and busy.

That covers lunch but there is one more important healthy food to plan for school: Birthday parties! Our school serves a lot of treats in the classroom. Often events crop up with very little warning. So, I keep my freezer full of Just In Case Cupcakes. (I think most of us Mom’s with special eaters do the same!) I usually freeze the chocolate cupcakes from my cookbook. Today I am sharing my Colorful Sweet Potato Cake recipe (which just happens to be paleo friendly).

yumumm

Photo: Colorful Sweet Potato cake with coconut whipped “cream” frosting, homemade gummies, and cupcake guys.

colorfulcake

Photo: I made a third layer for this cake with a white sweet potato and apples.

colorful cupcake

Colorful Sweet Potato Cupcakes Recipe

(I will post a recipe for the naturally colored frosting (see photo below) on cuterthangluten.com in the next couple of weeks.)

Yield: I am so sorry I don’t know the exact yield on cupcakes. I have too much fun decorating not enough time spent counting… It makes a 2 layer 8-inch cake.

Substitutions: I certainly can’t test every possible variation on the recipe but you can find my suggestions at the bottom of the page.

ORANGE Color
1 cup mashed orange sweet potato
2 tablespoons cashew butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons egg white protein powder
1 tablespoon coconut flour
tiny pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped mango or peach

PURPLE Color
1 cup mashed purple sweet potato
2 tablespoons cashew butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons egg white protein powder
1 tablespoon coconut flour
tiny pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously oil silicone cupcake holders (don’t use paper, it will stick) or 2 (8-inch) cake pans.

ORANGE
In a mixing bowl combine the mashed sweet potato and cashew butter with the other ingredients listed under “orange” starting with wet, then dry. Mixing well. Add the fruit chunks last.

PURPLE
In a mixing bowl combine the mashed purple sweet potato and cashew butter with the other ingredients listed under “purple” starting with wet, then dry. Mixing well. Add the fruit chunks last.

Pour each batter into a prepared cake pan or distribute the batter into cupcakes (in whatever pattern you like).

Bake for 35 minutes or until spongy in the middle (not wet). Cool completely before removing from pans.

 

Substitutions:

Purple sweet potatoes: if you can’t find them just double the orange recipe and have an all orange cake.

Cashew butter: Sunbutter works fine but may turn your cakes a bit green. Almond butter will be fine too.

Honey: agave or maple syrup will be fine substitutes.

Egg White Protein Powder: A necessary aspect of the recipe for texture. I image substituting for another powder would ruin the cake. I have other recipes on my blog using Egg white powder, so if you purchase some you can find other uses.

Eggs: Necessary. If you want to make the recipe without eggs it would be easier to find a vegan cupcake recipe online.

Fruit: use any fruit you like- just match the colors.

cartoonblog

My kids and I decorated a bunch of cupcakes like monsters and then I photographed them. Afterwards I gave the photos to my kids and asked them to write one page cartoons. Most of them are quite nonsensical and being the mom I think they are the cutest thing ever!

 

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