Gluten free Nanaimo Bars and some New Year Thoughts


The christmas season is over, and as we head into the new year I can't help but think what a wonderful year we just had. The theme of the year may have been travel. I travelled to Atlanta, Nashville, Orlando, Prague, Turkey, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Las Vegas, and Lake Louise. If I add up all the nights that Tyler was a single dad, it is a LOT. I am so thankful for his ability to be a wonderful father, and manage the home with ease while I am out and away. I do miss those little ones, though. Luckily they got to come with me on some trips, like our two-week road trip to the west coast this summer.

Heading into 2016, I think we may be sticking a little closer to home and tackling some house projects. I want to update a few things in our kitchen, and I think I've managed to convince Tyler to help me out with it. He wanted to see a full on proposal, as he sometimes thinks I don't plan things out enough.

While I attempted to do the Whole 30 last may, I ended up hating it, and making it through 27 days. The part I did like, however, was the feeling of being healthier, and losing a few pounds. So I've decided to give it another (modified) chance. Today marks day one, and I aim to follow the general guidelines through till the end of January. I have an end goal to look forward to - we are heading to Palm Springs in february, and I'd love to look and feel a bit better about myself in the desert.

While totally not whole 30 approved, even with all the modifications in the world, I made these gluten-free nanaimo bars for New Years Eve last night and they were amazing.  I looooove nanaimo bars, and was happy to tweak the recipe a little so that my gluten-free friends and family could indulge.

Gluten-free Nanaimo Bars

1 cup gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup butter - softened
2 tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the butter and egg, and mix until combined. Press into an 8 x 8 baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper or tinfoil. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
2. Beat together butter, custard powder, vanilla, icing sugar, and milk. Slowly add more milk if needed - you want a thick icing, but it still needs to be spreadable over the bottom layer of the cake.
3. Refrigerate until firm, about one hour.
4. Melt the chocolate and butter together over simmering water. Pour melted chocolate over the cake, and spread out evenly. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about an hour. Keep in fridge until ready to serve. Use a sharp knife to cut into small pieces - this cake is rich, and small pieces mean that you can go back for seconds!

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