valentine's day

BLACKOUT BANANA BREAD CAKE ๐Ÿ–ค(GLUTEN-FREE) by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

happy (almost) valentineโ€™s day, friends :) i canโ€™t say that this holiday has had any special meaning to me over the years. iโ€™d much rather celebrate how i did when i was a kid in elementary school - making festive crafts with specific tones of colors, baking valentine cupcakes, wearing clothing outfitted with hearts and cheesy logos, etc.! i feel like those vibes have been resurrected somewhat now that amesy is going school and heโ€™s getting to partake in those kinds of activities. this past weekend i spent a significant amount of time picking out little valentine cards for his classmates. i was kind of overwhelmed and overjoyed at the selection, and i found the most simplistic joy in picking them out (donโ€™t ask me why!).

i also wanted to bake something super chocolatey too, because this time of year, when the winter seems to never want to let up, you tend to need something to counter that. some people medicate with hot soup or stew, others with tea. me? i need a bone-soothing, deep, dark chocolate cake to sink my teeth into. plus, it doesnโ€™t hurt that all amesy asks for is โ€œchaw-colate cakeโ€ . seriously though, i donโ€™t know where he even got the notion from but he asks for it almost every night, and does so with the cutest little new york accent. anywho, who am i to deny my child chocolate cake, especially on valentineโ€™s day?

the first iteration of this cake was delicious, but not dark enough. the second, the chocolate ganache topping wasnโ€™t runny enough. but the third one, was absolutely perfect. the cake had a nice crumb to it, not overly moist or dense, but not crumbly or dry either. but the ganache was where it was at. itโ€™s a two-ingredient recipe, using dark chocolate and coconut milk that still dries glossy and beautiful (iโ€™m partial to this since you can make the cake ahead of time and it still looks like you just made it!). lastly, there are some dried rose petals just for valentine kicks, plus i just think they look pretty.

hope your week is good one! xo!


feel free to use whatever decorations you like here. conversation hearts (do they still make those?), white, pink, and red sprinkles! heart sprinkles, etc. i used dried, food-grade rose petals from a local shop (but you can also get them online).

print the recipe!

| makes 1 round 8-inch bundt cake |

-1 cup fine brown rice flour

-1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

-3/4 cup coconut sugar

-1 teaspoon baking soda

-3/4 teaspoon baking powder

-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 cup banana mashed bananas (approx. 2-3 bananas)

-1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan

-2 large free range eggs, at room temp

-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

-1/2 cup chopped chocolate chunks (optional)

-dried food-grade roses

chocolate ganache

-6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

-2/3 cup coconut milk


-preheat oven to 350ยฐF. oil your pan and flour it with cacao powder (or cocoa powder if thatโ€™s what youโ€™re using).

-in a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and cacao (or cocoa) powder, then whisk in the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

-in another large bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. add half the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together with a rubber spatula until incorporated. add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. if using, fold in the chocolate chunks at this point.

-pour the batter evenly into the pan. use a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon to smooth the top of the cake.

-bake for 35-45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. once fully cooled, run a thin knife around the edges of the pan. invert the cake onto a platter or large plate.

-make the chocolate ganache. place the chocolate chunks into a heat tolerant bowl. heat the coconut milk over medium low until steaming and hot (it shouldnโ€™t be so hot that you canโ€™t quickly stick your finger in). pour the coconut milk over the chocolate and let sit for about 2 minutes. use a rubber spatula to stir the ganache together until itโ€™s completely mixed.

- pour 1/2-3/4 ganache over the top of the cake. use an offset spatula to spread the ganache evenly over the top, letting some fall down the sides of the cake. decorate the top and sides of the cake with crushed rose petals (if using), and store the remaining ganache in a lidded jar in your fridge for up to 1 week.

-slice cake and serve!

Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies from Simply Vibrant by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

happy valentine's day!  if you've been reading this blog for a while then you probably know, i'm not that into this holiday. sorry to be a bummer. consider me one of those people who always thought it was a hallmark holiday.  but(!) i am finding it easier to get into the spirit now that amesy's old enough to find googly-eyed hearts, or mickey mouse valentine cards funny and interesting.  we're not doing any valentine projects (yet, i'm sure they'll come in time), but there is definitely a bit mote of a fuss over all the silly heart-shaped treats and decorations everywhere.  dare i say that i'm excited for next year when we'll be able to make cards, or decorations together!? we'll see what happens ;) but until then, BROWNIES!

these brownies come from anya kassoff (from the ever inspiring blog, Golubka Kitchen) and her daughter masha davydova (she takes all the stunning photographs!), and their cookbook: Simply Vibrant.  this is their second cookbook that focusses on plant-based, vegetarian meals spanning the day.  the contents are broken into very clever categories: morning meals like porridges and pancakes. then there are: wraps and rolls; noodles, pasta, and pizza; and  fritters and veggie burgers.  the last couple of chapters include sweets, and basics and sauces.  anya, like she does on her blog, makes her recipes so inviting not only with the beautiful photos that grace the pages, but the different flavors and textures she incorporates into each dish.  

these brownies for instance are made lusciously fudgy by using sweet potato - something i would never think of incorporating into a brownie batter.   there's also a good amount of chocolate, but anya instructs you to chop it in the food processor which basically makes the chocolate into a meal,  it's then stirred in with the rest of the batter to form these delicious treats.  and i especially love a dessert i don't have to worry about giving amesy nibbles of.  they're sweetened with dates (and aforementioned chocolate), and i assume some sweetness comes from the sweet potato as well ;)  these are the perfect treat to induge in on this day, or any day, really!  whatever you're partaking in, i hope it is serving you well! 

big XOXO's!

sweet potato chocolate brownies | v & gf

my notes: i used 85% cacao bittersweet chocolate.  next time i would use between 60%-70& cacao chocolate,  as most of the sweetness in these brownies comes from the chocolate.  

recipe from Simply Vibrant by Anya Kassoff

print the recipe!

| makes 12 large or 24 small brownies |

  • 1 cup (200 g) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
  • 3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the brownies
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 9 to 10 (140 g) large, soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 medium sweet potato, baked, peeled, and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond butter


  1. preheat the oven to 350ยฐF (180ยฐC). Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, extending the paper up the sides. place the chocolate in the freezer.
  2. spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10 minutes.  remove them from the oven and let them cool, then rub them with a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.  reserve a few whole nuts for garnishing the brownies, and place the rest of the nuts in a food processor; grind into a meal.  make sure you don't overprocess.  transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. place the chilled chocolate in the food processor and grind into the smallest pieces possible.  transfer to the bowl with the ground hazelnuts and add the almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  stir to mix evenly.
  4. combine the dates, sweet potato chunks, and almond butter in the food processor and puree until smooth.  spoon this mixture into the bowl with the ground hazelnuts and chocolate; stir to combine thoroughly.  
  5. spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and even out the top with a spoon.  transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top of the brownie is firm to the touch.
  6. remove the pan from the oven and let it cool to room temperature, then transfer the brownie to a cutting board, using the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan.  dust the brownie with cocoa powder chop the reserved whole hazelnuts and sprinkle them on top, if desired.  slice the brownies into bars. 

similar recipes:

hazelnut butter brownies

hazelnut butter brownies

dark chocolate kabocha muffins

dark chocolate kabocha muffins

raw nutella bars

raw nutella bars

vibrant valentine's day: pink quinoa salad w/ beets, blood orange + chimichurri by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

it's funny, for two people who choose not to really celebrate valentine's day, the occasion is a significant date in me and frank's dating history.  we were friends for a few months before we began dating, and although he and i didn't speak to one another much, we kept in touch through facebook (i would often read and laugh at his rants about film vs digital projection, or how 3D movies aren't the wave of the future).  the following year, frank reached out to me on valentine's day to ask for a date.  while i wasn't sure if we would be more than just friends, we went out to a movie and a walk in central park a few nights later, and we've been together since then.  it was 2 years later when we celebrated our anniversary by going to the same movie theater and taking the same route through central park where frank asked me to marry him.  we're coming up on 5 years together in a few days and i can't help but feel super mushy and overcome with happy feelings about this life that he and i have together.  sometimes it feels like we were little babies then, and sometimes it feels like it was yesterday; we've grown, and changed, found new personal paths, and remain wholeheartedly committed to rooting for one another.  

speaking of rooting...this beet salad!  (<--- see what i did there?!)  these past couple of years i've shared chocolatey valentine's recipes, here and here.  this year i wanted to create something just as festive but in salad form - basically because i've been craving all the savories lately.  while i wasn't always a firm believer in beets, i've come to love them in almost any form (even tacos!), i also knew they would make my quinoa the most vibrant shade of pink/magenta.  because beets are so earthy in flavor i wanted to juice it all up by adding some acid in the form of some lovely blood orange segments, and a parsley chimichurri sauce.  it's all served up with some green sprouts, toasted hazelnuts and a few squeezes of orange juice; a simple meal or side to enjoy in the company of others, or on your own! :)

also, tiffany (from offbeat + inspired) and myself contributed some advice  on how to throw a gluten-free dinner party - it's over on the recently re-launched Epicurious.  i also have an interview of sorts over on Zeit Magazin, it's all in german, so google translate is a good tool to have here!  

have a lovely week! xo

vibrant valentine's day: pink quinoa salad w/ beets, blood orange + chimichurri (v + gf)

i love this salad, not just because it's super heart and tasty, but because most everything can be made ahead of time and assembled the day of.  or, assemble the salad (sans toppings) and refrigerate until ready to serve.  either way this dish is most forgiving.  

| serves 6 |

chimichurri ingredients

  • 1 bunch parsley, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salad ingredients

  • 3 medium red beets, washed 
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented
  • juice from half of an orange, or a few squeezes lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • course sea salt

to finish

  • big handful sprouts/micro green
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped



  • place chopped parsley, garlic, salt, chili flakes, vinegar, and olive oil into a food processor or upright blender and blend, scraping down the sides until thoroughly combined.  taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate until ready to use


  • preheat oven to 400ยฐ 
  • place beets inside a foil packet; prick beets all over with a fork, drizzle with olive oil to coat.  secure foil in a packet and place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 1 hour, or until fork tender.  remove from oven and let cool until ready to handle.  once cool, slip beet skins off, rinse beets and pat to dry.  cut beets in eighths and then slice into small chunks. set aside
  • place rinsed quinoa along with a big pinch of course salt into a saucepan; cook according to directions on package.  once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.   
  • in a large bowl, combine the beets and quinoa, add orange segments, chimichurri sauce, and orange juice (or a few squeezes of lemon juice); toss to combine.  taste and adjust
  • serve warm, topped with sprouts, chopped parsley, and chopped hazelnuts