That one time I made half a gallon of barbecue sauce…

Why? Because my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary recently and naturally, we needed to have a party. We looked at a few options and ultimately decided that making food would be the most cost effective. And the easiest way to cater to special diets. So off I went to Sam’s Club and filled my fridge with enough food to feed a small army. Which means enough to feed my immediate family for 3 days 🙂

The menu:

Appetizers –
Corn chips and Salsa
Veggie Tray and Hummus

Main –
Shredded BBQ pork and shredded BBQ chicken (Easiest way to shred chicken ever)
Homemade BBQ sauce (I used a modified version of this recipe)

My version:

2 cans tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable stock for vegetarian/vegan)
1/8 cup molasses
1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 TBSP liquid aminos (or coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce/ tamari)
1/2 TBSP onion powder
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 TBSP smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all up and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes on the stove. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Or just mix and put it on your meat as it cooks.

Also, I quadrupled this recipe and stored it in a huge container. This was enough barbecue sauce to cover 30 pounds of meat. This recipe should make about 2 cups of sauce. As you can see, I made a lot!

BBQ sauce













Grilled Veggie and Wild Rice Salad – stay tuned for the recipe!
Rainbow Kale Slaw (got rave reviews, even from the kale haters in the crowd. I have made this a couple times and it always goes over well)
Fruit salad – watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes (I just used what was in season/ on sale)

rice saladkale slaw



Sheet Cake from our Sam’s Club…. complete with a poor lettering job
Banana Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon “Buttercream” (gluten free, dairy free)












It took a ton of prep work – I don’t think I’ve ever produced that much food in my life. It was like Thanksgiving on steroids. Fortunately, I had a bunch of help, which made it all easy!


Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon Buttercream

I subscribe to the Cake Blog because I love looking at all the fun cakes and when this little gem showed up in my inbox, I knew I needed it in my life. Banana Choco Hazelnut Cake? Um, yes please! And with my parents anniversary party coming up, I had a great excuse to make it. With a few modifications, of course, as all-purpose flour and dairy products are not going to fly.

I try not to make recipes for the first time before an event/ gathering unless the recipe got lots of great reviews and I follow it almost to the letter. I also try to test out substitutions before I make food for people other than my immediate family. I just want to know that what I’m going to be serving people is delicious. People have this idea that gluten-free and dairy-free = disgusting, so I try to ensure that I’m not perpetuating the stereotype. At any rate, I broke both of my rules here and made a cake I had never tried before and experimented with substitutions.

I was ecstatic (and relieved) when this cake turned out wonderfully! I got great feedback from everyone and my uncle even ate it for breakfast. It turned out rather rich with the chocolate and buttercream, but definitely delicious and I would say that it is worthy of a special occasion.

So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a dairy-free, gluten-free Banana Chocolate Cake.


Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Cinnamon “Buttercream”


3/4 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup teff flour

1/4 cup arrowroot starch

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread (or butter, if that’s your thing)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Yogurt (Greek style)



1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare a 9″ baking pan. I used a springform pan lined with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, mash up the bananas. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl, mix all your dry ingredients together.

4. In a large bowl, mix the butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

5. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.

6. Mix in vanilla and eggs.

7. Add in half of the dry ingredient mixture and combine.

8. Add yogurt, mix well, then add in the rest of the dry ingredients

9. Fold in mashed bananas. Mine were still pretty chunky, so I just used my hand mixer to combine everything together.

10. Bake for ~35-40 minutes, until cake is golden brown


I made this a layer cake –  I cut it in half, added a chocolate ganache layer, and topped with chocolate ganache and cinnamon buttercream.

Alternatively, you could just top it with ganache or buttercream or both.



The finished product!







Chocolate Ganache

8-10 oz dark chocolate chips (I like Guittard brand – they are dairy free!)

1/3 cup coconut oil

Melt in a double boiler over low heat until completely melted and combined. Allow to cool and slather on your cake!



1 cup Earth Balance soy-free spread (or butter)

Cream from one (14.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (or heavy whipping cream – 1/2 to 3/4 cup)

1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)

Mix your butter/ butter substitute until smooth. Add in coconut milk and vanilla and whip on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add in cinnamon and mix to combine. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.


Recipe Notes:

If you don’t have the specified flours, you can try 1 1/2 cups of your favorite all-purpose gluten free flour. Check to see if your blend contains xanthan/ guar gum.

You can use regular Greek Yogurt in place of the coconut milk Greek yogurt if you can do dairy. Likewise, you can use butter in all the places that I used Earth Balance. I don’t think coconut oil would work because of its low melting point.



This post was featured on Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Banana Cake

I wanted to cut out a nice piece of these bars and take a good picture. I even left a note by the pan. My mother promptly disregarded the note and dug in. I started to go on a rant about how I wanted to take a picture and it needed to be nice looking and so on.

She then declared the bars “the best dessert that I have ever made”. I then forgave her for not waiting for pictures.

I have been trying to create my own recipes. I am comfortable making some tweaks to other recipes but have not gotten very adventurous in the creation! I am always curious as to how all of the amazing bloggers I follow come up with such delicousness.

My method for this cake was “throw everything in a food processor and hope for the best”. Most of the time, the second or third or fourteenth try comes out delicious. Rarely do you get a hole in one. This cake came together magically. I am so glad I wrote down what I used and actually measured it as I went. I definitely want to make this one again!

My mother made tons of banana bars when we were growing up… It was our “go-to” dessert and I have been trying to recreate it. Completely by accident, these are the closest that I have come to reproducing those.



Banana Cake

Makes: 9 Bars

1/2 cup dates (I used medjool)
3 ripe bananas
1-1/2 cups almond meal
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil (softened/melted)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
10 drops vanilla liquid stevia (or to taste)

Soak dates in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften. Discard soaking liquid.

In a food processor, blend dates and bananas and puree until smooth.

Add in almond flour and pulse until well mixed. Add in eggs and mix well.

Throw everything else into the food processor and puree until it’s all combined nicely.

Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


This cake is soft and dense and delicious. I topped it with a cashew cream frosting, but it would be equally delicious with a bit of powdered sugar and cinnamon or a chocolate ganache. For more chocolaty goodness, you could add some miniature chocolate chips to the batter.