We moved my sister’s birthday celebration to the weekend in order to make sure we all could make it.  The monkey cake turned out so cute!  I got the pattern from Martha Stewart.  It was profiled in the Kid’s magazine and on her day show.  There is even a short video showing how to put together the cake.  Sweet!  I used my banana bread recipe for the cake and added chocolate chips, because my sister likes that, and used the buttercream frosting from Martha Stewart’s website from the Monkey Cake recipe to frost it.  The only altering I had to do to the frosting was to use Earth Balance Buttery Spread instead of butter.  Also, I used chocolate frosting to draw the face instead of using black licorice.

For dinner we had slow cooker ribs, a big salad with a bunch of toppings, roasted rosemary potato and sweet potato oven fries, and banana chocolate chip monkey cake.   Only the finest monkey for my sister!  The highlight of the day was when my oldest daughter kept telling everyone,  “there’s a monkey head in our fridge!”

Slow Cooker Ribs

• 2 1/2 to 3 lb. country style pork ribs, boneless

• 1 Tablespoon oil

• 1 large onion, quartered & sliced 1/4” thick

• Sauce:

• 1/3 cup GFCF soy sauce

• 1/2 cup tomato ketchup (be sure GFCF)

• 1 Tablespoon prepared mustard (be sure GFCF)

• 1/4 cup brown sugar

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 1 teaspoon celery seed

Trim excess fat from ribs. In a large skillet, brown ribs in  oil; transfer to the slow cooker, layering onions, ribs, and sauce, ending with remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

The cake was made from Gluten Free Dairy Free (GFCF) Banana Bread.

Fluffy Chocolate and Yellow “Buttercream” Frosting

From Martha Stewart’s Monkey Cake segment:

Makes 3 3/4 cups chocolate frosting and 1 1/4 cups yellow frosting

1 Pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (use GFCF margarine to make GFCF)

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract (be sure GFCF)

5 1/4 Cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Yellow food coloring (I skipped this and left the light frosting cream colored.)

.3/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 stick butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups sugar; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in food coloring to make pale yellow. Transfer to a small bowl; cover.

Put remaining 3 sticks butter in mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add cocoa. Mix until smooth. With mixer running, add remaining 3 3/4 cups sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on high speed until incorporated, 10 to 20 seconds more.

Hannah-Banana Bread or Mini Muffins

For those of you who can’t use eggs.  This is the recipe I made for my youngest when she was a baby.  None of the top eight allergens and no refined sugar.

2 1/4 c. bean flour blend

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. xanthan gum

1/4 t. salt

1/4 cup oil

3/4 c. sucanat

2 to 2 1/2 T Egg Replacer

4 T water

3 large ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix first 5 ingredients together.  In a blender blend oil, sucanat, egg replacer, water and bananas.  Blend into very smooth.  Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until very well mixed.  Put heaping T of batter in miniature muffin tins lined with paper.  Or pour batter into a well greased loaf pan.  Cool slightly in pan before removing to rack to cool completely.

Alternate Pumpkin Bread for Hannah-Banana Bread

Replace the banana in the above recipe with cooked purred pumpkin.