Walnut Crunch Cake

Sometimes we just need a piece of cake.

With a slice of life.

Or is it the other way around?


I truly believe that God puts people and experiences in our lives for a reason.

If he didn’t, I’m not sure I would have ever learned anything about life.

This past weekend I really got to enjoy some quality time with my dad.

We are super close, but my mom was out of town so we found some daddy-daughter things to do.

We basically did stuff I used to do with him as a child, but added some more grown up things in there, like making fresh peach margaritas and stuffing our faces with homemade guacamole and chips.

We also went to the HSPCA to look at cute puppies and ate at my favorite barbecue place where I watched my dad happily down his favorite Chicken Fried Steak of all time.

It’s simple things in life that truly make me happy and as I grow older, I feel as though I am truly becoming wiser.

Time is short.

Spend them with the ones you love.

Also, eat lots of cake.


This is basically a cake I dreamt up in my sleep.


It’s a tasty little date-sweetened cake with a crunchy cinnamon walnut topping.


It’s a total dream cake.

Truuuuuust me!

Walnut Crunch Cake
Recipe type: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
A melt in your mouth cake sweetened with pureed dates and topped with a combo of cinnamon and crunchy walnuts. Gluten-free, paleo, refined-sugar free.
  • For the cake:
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in warm water over night, drained
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ c. full-fat coconut milk (chilled over night)
  • 2 T. walnut butter
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¼ t. salt
  • For the topping:
  • ½ c. finely chopped raw walnuts
  • 1 T. walnut butter (if you don't have walnut butter, just use coconut butter)
  • 1 T. coconut butter, slightly melted
  • 2 T. Truvia sweetener
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the dates in a large food processor and process on high until smooth.
  3. Place the dates in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the eggs, coconut milk, walnut butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Stir in the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. For the topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl until a crumbly topping forms.
  8. Spread the topping evenly over the batter.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  10. Let cool slightly, cut into squares and serve topped with extra coconut butter if desired.




My thighs are killing me.

Let’s just say I did a 45 minute advanced routine w/ my Nike Training App yesterday morning and…it won.

I had no idea I could sweat that much.

Listening to my body has been extremely difficult for me in the past.

I used to push myself past my limits and would feel the repercussions physically.

My knees would ache from running every single day of the week, I would feel lethargic, as if I couldn’t get through the day, and my feet would constantly fall asleep.

I’m past all of that now.

So, when I woke up on Sunday runday yesterday and I wasn’t feeling it…I tried something new.

It was challenging.

But totally worth it!

While I love to try new things, I also like to stick with what I know.

Simplicity is best in my opinion.

Especially when it comes to fuel for the body.

Did I mention that I gave up peanut butter for Lent?

So now, I’m addicted to any sort of nut or seed butter ya wanna throw at me.

No, it’s not the same thing as peanut butter…so don’t even try and tell me that.

I’ve been working up my own concoctions because we all know how expaaaaaaanseeeeve a jar of almond butter costs at the store.

Walnuts, pecans, and a food processor is all you need.


Because that’s all you need to achieve baller status.


It’s doesn’t get simpler than that.


Okay, and maybe I add a smidgen of salt in there too!


Wait…did I just make something not involving sweets?


Take me to the penitentiary!



Pecan Walnut Butter
Recipe type: Snack, Nut Butter
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Creamy, slightly salted nut butter made w/ pecans & walnuts. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar-free!
  • 1 c. of raw walnuts
  • 1 c. of raw pecans
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the walnuts and pecans in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping the nuts half way through the baking process, until lightly toasted.
  5. Let cool slightly.
  6. Transfer to a food processor and process until a smooth, creamy, butter has formed. Fold in the salt.
  7. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Use a spatula to clean down the sides of the food processor as you go.
  8. Pour into your favorite mason jar and go!
  9. I spread mine on apples for a quick snack.


26 and Counting.

 Yesterday was totally my 26th birthday.

For the first time in 26 years I just chilled out for my birthday.

No fancy parties, no pinata hitting, not even a birthday cake.

BUUUUUT…there was totally mexican food, family, and birthday fro-yo involved.

I did just what I wanted…took it easy.

My dad looked at me the other day and said, “You’ve matured beyond your years in only the past week, Chels.”

That felt great.

I love compliments.

Feel free to compliment me anytime, k?

I just love the extra love you get on your birthday.

My best friend almost made me cry in a birthday text yesterday.

I say almost because I refuse to cry on my bday.

But seriously…it’s those type of messages that know you have a GREAT friend.

Outstanding even.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about 26.

I can tell you something, though.

I feel older, wiser, and as though I am in my prime.

For sure.

I want to do everything and anything…go crazy, just get it all out 🙂


Birthdays are a free pass to eat anything and everything you want.

I had a huge fajita/tres leche food baby on Saturday night.

So, my lunch was a little on the lighter side for my birthday.

26 is also my year to eat more muffins.

26 muffins, even.


I found a quinoa flour blend at my local health foods store that is AMAZING!


It’s all chocolate-fied w/ some walnuts up in it.


Yea, that.


These are like the muffins you find at those little neighborhood cafe that are what you have been wanting for years, but could never find.


Now you are probably looking at me like…Chels, you are the only person who thinks that.


I’m probably just a little crazy when it comes to food.




a teensy, tiny, bit.




Cocoa Quinoa Muffins
Recipe type: Muffins, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7-8
Fluffy cocoa quinoa muffins studded w/ crunchy walnuts and made w/ banana for the perfect sweetness. Gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free.
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ⅓ c. unsweetened, coconut milk
  • 3 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ c. coconut sugar
  • ¾ c. quinoa flour blend (you could also use gf all-purpose flour or almond flour)
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • ½ c. chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin w/ baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder,baking soda, and baking powder until combined.
  4. Fold in the walnuts.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into each muffin cup, about ¾ of the way full for each cup.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean.


Secret Recipe Club

It’s Monday.

The only special Monday of the month though.

Secret Recipe Club Monday!

Let’s dive in head first, shall we?

This month I was delighted to found out that my secret blogger was international!

Yep, my secret blogger this month was the lovely Louise, the awesome wife, mom, and food-aholic behind the blog, Lick The Spoon.

Louise lives in Australia…so naturally, I am super jealous.

Now, I must say that Louise has an extensive, kick-ass recipe list, so of course I wanted to cook and bake everything I could get my hands on.

However, I had my eye on her Pear Crumble Breakfast Muffins.

Only, I didn’t have any pears…so I used apples.

Oh my word.

Soooooooo good!

I decided I was going to put some apple butter jam up in these.


Oh, and you know I put some apple chunks up in these too!


But the crumb topping…


y’all…this is serious business.


It’s like a super buttery, crumbly, crunchy heavenly mixture all toasted


up on this fluffy, muffin masterpiece.


This muffin is the shiz-nit.


These muffins are major!


Plus, I totally paleo-fied them.


So, ya know…you can have one…or five.


Oh, a warning to the wise: they cause induced hypnotization in dogs.


This is the only time we are b.f.f.’s…ever 😉

4.7 from 3 reviews
Apple Butter Crumble Muffins
Recipe type: Muffins, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
Muffins made w/ apple butter jam, chock full of sweet apple chunks, and topped w/ a crunchy walnut crumble topping. Gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free.
  • For the muffins:
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • ½ c. granulated stevia
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. ground cloves
  • ¼ t. ground ginger
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ¾ c. liquid egg whites, or 4 large eggs
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
  • ½ c. apple butter jam
  • 1 small, honey crisp apple, roughly chopped
  • For the topping:
  • ½ c. ground walnuts or walnut flour
  • ½ c. coconut sugar
  • ¼ c. chopped walnuts
  • 2 T. coconut oil, softened
  1. For the muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 muffins cups w/ cooking spray or line w/ paper liners and grease the liners w/ cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, stevia, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and baking soda.
  3. Stir in the eggs, evoo, almond milk, and apple butter.
  4. Fold in the chopped apple.
  5. Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared muffin cups.
  6. For the topping, in a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until combined and a crumbly topping begins to form.
  7. Sprinkle the topping over each one of the muffins.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean.
  9. Let cool slightly then devour!



Crisp Time.


T-minus 3 days until Thanksgiving.

Crunch time.

Are you hosting?

Have you ordered your turkey’s like me?

I sure hope so.

My dad I went down to our local meat market on Saturday and purchased 3 birds for the big day.

What do you expect?

We’ve got a ton of Italian mouths to feed.

That’s like 3 mouths per person.

If you know my family…you know what I’m talking about.

Remember this during your Thanksgiving prep…it’s the most important rule: when things get tough, pour a bottle of wine and fuh-gett-aboud-it!

Well, don’t forget about it completely, but ya know what I mean…remain calm…the turkey’s will get finished and you will be feasting in no time.

If you are in the mood for a pre-Thanksgiving dessert, or having a two person Thanksgiving…consider this little gem.

I love cranberry sauce.


This is a five minute cranberry sauce…like seriously the simplest thing I’ve made this week.


We are going to smash-bang it with this crispy walnut topping.


Ummmmmmm yes, please.


This thing is bursting w/ fresh, juicy cranberries.


And then there’s that crumbly, crispy, walnut topping that is too die for!


Plus, the smell of this through the house as it’s baking is enough to knock me into a coma.








Those are my favorite kind of desserts.


I spy a sleepy Annabelle.


She’s a professional moocher.



Cranberry Skillet Crisp
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Fresh, juicy, sweet cranberry sauce topped w/ a crispy, walnut topping. Gluten-free, paleo, refined sugar-free, vegan.
  • For the maple cranberry sauce:
  • 6 oz. fresh cranberries
  • ¾ c. organic, no-sugar added, apple juice
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • For the crisp:
  • 1 c. of the maple cranberry sauce
  • ½ c. raw, unsalted, finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 T. softened coconut oil
  • 2 T. coconut sugar
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  1. For the maple cranberry sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a large sauce pot over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have "popped."
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  4. For the crisp, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Grease a mini cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.
  6. Pour the cranberry sauce into the skillet.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, combine the walnuts, coconut oil, sugar, cinnamon, and salt using your hands to combine. The mixture should be crumbly.
  8. Sprinkle the mixture over the cranberries evenly.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the topping is lightly golden.
  10. Serve warm w/ ice cream.