Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes

Gluten-Free Cheesecake Recipe

Although today is Valentine’s Day, I certainly don’t need an excuse to eat chocolate. There is nothing like triple chocolate gluten-free cheesecake to satisfy an insatiable craving. I love the idea of mini’s because you can throw these puppies in the freezer and take them out for individual cravings or if company just randomly shows up. The stress isn’t there to eat a “whole” cheesecake, before it “goes bad”.

I use quotes here, because I have heard of this happening. Chocolate Cheesecake

Heard.

Swear it’s true.

Tonight I am making dinner for my teenaged daughter and her boyfriend. Lasagna. Garlic Bread. Cesar salad. No one will be making out tonight. NO ONE!

There is a hint of natural orange flavours in this recipe. If you want to amp up this flavouring, add in some of the orange rind to the crust for an extra burst. I also use cacao powder here – simply because I had it on hand…feel free to use cocoa powder if you don’t have cacao.

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Mini-Cheesecakes
Course Chocolate
Prep Time 45 Minutes
Cook Time 24 Minutes
Passive Time 3.5 Hours
Servings
Mini-Cheesecakes
Ingredients
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
Cheesecake Filling
Chocolate Ganache
Course Chocolate
Prep Time 45 Minutes
Cook Time 24 Minutes
Passive Time 3.5 Hours
Servings
Mini-Cheesecakes
Ingredients
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
Cheesecake Filling
Chocolate Ganache
Instructions
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. Line a 12-spot muffin tin with muffin liners.
  3. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients.
  4. Pulse in the butter until mixture is moist and grainy.
    Gluten-Free Chocolate Cheesecake Crust
  5. Scoop the mixture evenly into the muffin liners and compress with the back of a spoon.
    Mini-chocolate cheesecake crust
  6. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove when done.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Add the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and cacao powder to your food processor. Process thoroughly until everything is mixed together (you may have to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times and continue mixing).
  2. Squeeze in the juice from the orange and Grand Marnier.
  3. Pulse a few times until just mixed.
  4. Scoop the filling evenly into the toasted cups.
  5. Bake for 14 minutes - or until the cream cheese portion is set. (Jiggly-firm, not runny).
  6. Turn the oven off, open the door and let cool in the oven for about an hour.
  7. Once it's time to remove from the oven, it's a good time to remove the muffin liners. You can put the cheesecakes in the fridge now for another hour or so. In the meantime, prep the ganache.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Chop up chocolate into small-ish pieces.
    Chopping Chocolate
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, bring cream just to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chocolate and turn off the heat.
  4. Whisk the chocolate in so it melts and becomes smooth and shiny.
  5. Once smooth, add Grand Marnier and salt, and whisk a few times to combine.
  6. Let sit for 10 minutes and spoon on cheesecakes.
  7. Let cheesecakes sit overnight (or for at least 2 hours) in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

**If you would like more orange flavour, consider adding grated fresh orange peel to the crust.

Share this Recipe

Have a happy and loving Valentine’s Day!

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

My 2017 More/Less List – No More New Years Resolutions

More Less New Years Resolutions

Happy 2017 my lovelies. I’m a bit late getting on this blog (I’ve been putting a lot of time in over on my business blog), but I really want to write more here this year. How are your New Years resolutions going so far?

I’m sharing again with you, my More/Less list. It’s something I compile every year, (I share 2015’s here), separate from my specific personal and business goals (which are solid, recorded and measurable), but in lieu of New Year’s “resolutions”. Resolutions never quite sat well with me as they are vague goals…my more/less list are things (and actually more along the lines of habits) that I would like to do more of, or less of. Have more of, have less of. Make more of, make less of. You get the idea.

There is no failure if I want “more abs” but in March I didn’t do one single sit up. I’m simply aiming to be better, do better, have more of that. There is space to try again. There is space for forgiveness – on both lists.

Here is my 2017 More/Less list:

More

  • Blogging
  • Writing
  • Videos
  • Fairness
  • Intuition
  • Adventure
  • Travel
  • Sleep
  • Gym Time
  • Abs
  • Gardening
  • Dogs
  • Horses
  • Unconditional Love
  • Sex
  • Consciousness
  • Compassion
  • Creation
  • Reading
  • Expansion
  • Decorating
  • Mountain Biking
  • Growing food
  • Self-care
  • Mid-week adventures
  • Vacations/Time Off
  • Abundance
  • Giving
  • Serving

Less

  • Alcohol
  • Complaining
  • Gossiping
  • Stress
  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • “Shoulds”
  • Facebook
  • Comparing
  • Accepting less than
  • Excuses – for me and other people

Easy peasy…I’ve put these in my Bullet Journal for constant review. Something that I think is important to keeping on top of what you want to get or achieve.

What do you want to do more or less of this year? Do you create New Years resolutions?

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

Thankful

So, I’m a Canadian, not an American, but yesterday was American Thanksgiving (ours is in early October). But I enjoy having a day to really take stock of what we are thankful for, and why not take 2? I loved watching the photos on my Instagram stream of beautiful table settings, turkey (and allllll the stuffing) and beautiful pictures with family.

Many months ago I implemented thankful journaling every morning as part of my morning routine. I do this more mornings than not, and try and write down 5 things I am thankful for. Some mornings, things just flow onto the page, other mornings it’s tough. But I push until I find things. So far I have 570 lines of things I am thankful for.

The days that are tough almost makes us appreciate our things even more. For example, “I’m so grateful and thankful for clean clothes”. This isn’t something earth shattering, in fact, we really tend to take this for granted. But how many people don’t have the ability to have clean clothes whenever they’d like? It makes you that much more thankful for the little things.

So in honour of my American friends and American Thanksgiving, I decided to randomly share 35 things from my journal over the last several months (representing every year I am thankful to be on this planet). This exercise felt very vulnerable, to be honest, but here it is. Some are simple, some are deep. (I’ve taken out specific names for privacy).

35 Random Thankful Journal Entries

  1. I am so grateful and thankful for bone broth that felt so nourishing and yummy yesterday.
  2. I am so grateful and thankful for positive feedback on my Module 1 – we are going to put out an awesome product!
  3. I am so grateful and thankful for another day to live my purpose.
  4. I am so grateful and thankful for a nice day yesterday – gym, lunch out, cleaning, laundry on the line, dinner with family.
  5. I am so grateful and thankful for going to the gym – I feel great and healthy!
  6. I am so grateful and thankful for the negotiating I did yesterday with XXXXXXXXXX that worked in my favour.
  7. I am so grateful and thankful for a good night’s sleep last night.
  8. I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity today to make things happen!
  9. I am so grateful and thankful for the focus yesterday to get my rock garden complete and my veggie garden planted.
  10. I am so grateful and thankful for Universal connection and private moments.
  11. I am so grateful and thankful for listening to my body and allowing the rest and self-care I need today.
  12. I am so grateful and thankful for a change of scenery, a change of perspective.
  13. I am so grateful and thankful for friends I can talk with for hours!
  14. I am so grateful and thankful for my trusty MacBook that has been dropped and worked hard every day.
  15. I am so grateful and thankful for a beautifully cut lawn this morning.
  16. I am so grateful and thankful for fresh, organic food.
  17. I am so grateful and thankful for a beautiful day.
  18. I am so grateful and thankful for a cozy bed.
  19. I am so grateful and thankful for my new garden lights!
  20. I am so grateful and thankful for a lovely dinner out with XXX on Saturday night.
  21. I am so grateful and thankful for the release of attachment and feeling emancipated!
  22. I am so grateful and thankful for Bryan Adams tickets last night!!
  23. I am so grateful and thankful for amazing friends.
  24. I am so grateful and thankful for realizing sooner than later that XXXXXX is not the right person to be in my life right now.
  25. I am so grateful and thankful for an absolutely beautiful day on Saturday for swimming and relaxing.
  26. I am so grateful and thankful for good friends, laughing SO, SO, SO hard and enjoying our time together.
  27. I am so grateful and thankful for new frying pans!
  28. I am so grateful and thankful for time on my own to reflect.
  29. I am so grateful and thankful for all of the invoicing I will do today.
  30. I am so grateful and thankful for the things I will create today.
  31. I am so grateful and thankful for Tragically Hip tickets from XXX and XXXX.
  32. I am so grateful and thankful for a safe flight yesterday from Toronto.
  33. I am so grateful and thankful for being able to connect with XXXXXX yesterday and had a great lunch!
  34. I am so grateful and thankful for Sunday dinners.
  35. I am so grateful and thankful for having a great book to read.

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

 

 

 

Thankful

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

Hello my darlings. What a lovely time of year. The leaves are starting to turn here in Central Ontario, I’m not sweating to death daily and I’m currently cruising a turkey and wine hangover after a weekend of over-indulgence and Canadian Thanksgiving/birthday celebrations. And the most over-done thing in the Fall is Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Pumpkin Spice

“Squeeeeee-ing” women (and men) everywhere are flocking to the coffee houses to scoop up these syrupy, spicy indulgences.  Even though they are a bit annoyingly over done as far as the Facebook and Instagram posts, I do enjoy a PSL. But, my body doesn’t love sugar and most PSL’s hover around 50 grams of sugar. Each. Gross.

So I decided to whip up my own concoction which is just as good, or better than the stuff at the store that my body hates. And also inexpensive and incredibly versatile. You can customize your PSL to your tastes. I use real, unsweetened pumpkin which has tons of health benefits like vitamin A and beta carotene (eyeballs, skin), fiber (weight loss), vitamin C (immune function, cold fighter), potassium (natural energy) and carotenoids (eyeballs, skin, immunity).

Coffee

So be flexible with this! Sweeten however you want (or not want). Use coffee or espresso. Pick your milk – coffee cream or almond? You’re going to be your own barrista

I would suggest if you are making multiple PSL’s, do them one at a time in a small-batch blender like a Bullet or my personal favourite the Hamilton Beach Single Serve blender so that each cup gets the frothy fun that ends up being poured last.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • Coffee/Espresso
  • Cream/Milk/Almond Milk/Whatever You Choose
  • 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of unsweetened, organic, pumpkin puree (open a can and transfer it into Pumpkin Pie Spicea glass container to use throughout the week).
  • Sweetener of your choice – Amber honey, Stevia, or unsweetened…up to you.
  • Several healthy dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice (make your own, or buy it pre-made). Plus some for garnish.
  • Healthy pinch of sea salt (important)

Brew your coffee or espresso. In a personal or small-batch blender, add the milk, pumpkin, sweetener, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add in the coffee and blend for at least 45 seconds. Sometimes hot beverages do a bit of splashing…just be cautious (ie: white shirt, hotter temps). Pour into latte mugs and sprinkle a bit more spice over the top.

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

 

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

 

 

 

Register

 

Mercury is Out of Retrograde

Mercury is Out of Retrograde

Haha…I saw this picture this morning on my Facebook timeline. Mercury is no longer retrograde. Let the computer Gods rejoice.

The Mercury retrograde phenomenon – for me at least –  is an actual thing. The day Mercury went retrograde (August 30th) my internet went on the fritz and my phone pretty much bit the biscuit. Throughout this retrograde, a tech project I’ve been working on has caused me many bangs of my head against the desk.

In Astrology, Mercury surrounds communication, travel, thought and logic. When it goes retrograde (the illusion of it moving backwards, even though it just slows down a ton), it has been known to snarl otherwise harmonious plans and communications.

And of course, it’s handy to have a planet to yell at when the internet goes down.

Mercury goes retrograde again on December 19th, 2016.

What shifts do you notice in a Mercury retrograde period?

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

 

Summer Heat Hack: Facecloths in the Fridge

Summer Heat Hack-

Howdy, my hot, hot friends. Has it been hot enough for you? Where I am, yes, thank you. I believe I’m fully sauna detoxed at this point. This summer where I am (Ontario) it’s been hot, hot and freakin’ hot. I’ve been religiously throwing cold damp facecloths in the fridge to have handy and it’s proven to be a valuable little hack if I do say so myself.

Facecloths in the Fridge
Cheap, white Dollarama face cloths come in handy for this purpose!

I always have in stock about 30 facecloths – mostly those baby facecloths as I use them to remove make up, etc. and they are pretty gentle and soft. I also get plain white ones from Dollarama and have given up on using my nice ones unless company is staying over…I’m tired of having to chuck the expensive ones in the trash due to my mascara issues.

Every evening before bed, I take a couple of clean cloths, dampen them with cool water, wring them out well (don’t let them sit in a pile of water), and stack them on a side plate in the fridge for a few hours to get cool. The plate conducts the cold better than a ziplock or Tupperware container. Cold showers are always useful, but sometimes you just need a quick, portable cool down.

Ways I use my cold cloths in the summer:

  • Seriously, just to cool the eff down…forehead, back of neck, boobs….whatever…it’s hot.
  • On my eyeballs for 10 minutes in the morning.
  • On my face after my shower and before primer/make up…to close pores and un-swell.
  • On areas where I’ve got too much sun.
  • Great for cooling/wiping off when coming in from yard work/gardening/running/other sweaty activity.
  • On the back of my neck when I’m blowdrying my hair – this activity has the potential to actually spontaneously ignite my body…cold cloths help.
  • For kids when they have had a bit too much heat/sun/excitement or to bring fevers down.

It feels humidI make sure to have a few to start with so I can toss one’s that I’ve used directly in the laundry (which is why I always have a lot). Only put clean cloths in the fridge. I also wouldn’t let them sit for days…although they are in cooler temps so undesirable bacterial growth would be slow but you just don’t even want to play with that…they will also slowly dry up. Throw a few in the fridge before bed or in the morning when you are fixing your coffee/tea/bong hit.

Stay cool, my Loves!

Brooke Simmons Blog 31 Ways to Sunday

 

Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe

Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe

 

Howdy, Loves.

Weekends over here are usually for cleaning, laundry, working in the garden and organizing household stuff (haha, I lie about that last one – mostly). As I whip up my usual batch of cheap and natural cleaners to tackle this place, I thought I would share my favourite DIY cleaner recipe with you.

I’ve been using essential oils and creating my own cleaners since 2001 when I was pregnant with my daughter and wanted to start making my own soap. (I was obviously pregnant and insane…soap is super time consuming and slightly technical to make..somehow at the time it was a fabulous idea). I kept making cleaners over the years though because of how easy and natural they are.

This is an abrasive-like cleaner (I hate that word…it reminds me of … ahem….a few people…), but it’s totally safe and gentle…both in toxicity and on your fixtures. Why I love it:

  • Easy to make
  • Inexpensive
  • Shines up fixtures easily (taps, drains, tubs, sinks, toilets, tile, scummy glass bottles, stovetops, microwaves)
  • Gentle on almost everything, won’t scratch
  • Effective cleaning, anti-microbial power – from powerful essential oils
  • Fabulous on soap scum
  • Fabulous on baked-on stove and microwave disasters
  • Smells lovely – baking soda, IMG_4567 citrus + tea tree oils fight and neutralize odours
  • Non-toxic, environment approves!

The tea tree oil in this recipe is a must due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Citrus not only smells lovely but also offers its own effective cleaning power.

I’m in LOOOOVE with citrus-mint essential oil blends right now. They smell amazingly clean and fresh and yummy. I’ve added a touch of spearmint to this recipe which is a sweeter, milder smelling mint and it’s heavenly.

Trash the Comet or Vim and use this stuff instead. (Breathing in Comet dust, ummm, no thanks…it’s FULL of toxic chemicals).

The recipe below covers a double sink in the kitchen and 1 full bathroom (tub +tile, toilet bowl and sink + surround). Double or triple the recipe as needed. I also get my baking soda in bulk which makes this even more cost effective. The mixture will separate slightly when it sits, just give it a quick stir.

Natural Household Scrubby Cleaner Recipe

In a jar or container, mix up:

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp natural dishwashing liquid
  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of citrus essential oil (I use a blend but straight lemon, orange or grapefruit would work as well)
  • 2 drops of spearmint essential oil (I’m in LOVE with the citrus/mint blend)
  • 1 tbsp of water

Mix with a spoon.

Usage Directions:

  • Splatter the mixture on the area to clean
  • With a clean, damp cloth, clean/scrub areas as usual
  • Rinse well with clean water

Happy Cleaning!

Brooke Simmons

 

 

 

Get Updates Delivered

Christmas on Wednesdays! CSA Haul

I’m pretty excited, you guys.

This summer I’ve signed up for a CSA-type of program with a local farmer. Every Wednesday, I’ve been receiving a box of goodies on my doorstep with fresh, local, organic veggies and a selection of local organic meats. I live in a smaller town where local and organic at the supermarket (believe it or not) are hard to come by.

The fun thing that I am enjoying the most is that although I know what veggies I’m getting in advance, is the meat delivery is always a surprise. He packs in all sorts of cuts that I wouldn’t ever think to purchase myself, which gets my new recipe testing skills out from the cobwebs and gets us trying new things. Last week I made Schnitzel which I don’t even think I’ve ever eaten before. It was fantastic! (Made a gluten free option with gluten free breadcrumbs and flour, and the Schnitzel recipe I used is here).

It’s a surprise – like Christmas on my doorstep every freakin’ Wednesday! It even gets dropped off in a cute tote.

CSA Haul

We received lots of beautiful greens and radishes and potatoes and such as well as a variety of beef and pork in this round.

This weekend, my own veggie garden is going to get planted as well, so abundance of lots of gorgeous, organic food this summer! This stuff makes my heart happy, folks.

What have you had success with in your veggie garden? Do you sign up for a CSA in the warmer months?

Happy Friday.
Brooke Simmons