Category Archives: dairy free

Monday, September 7, 2015

Homemade Non-Dairy Milks: 101

Non Dairy Milks

If you’re a vegan, or allergic to dairy, or just downright dislike cow milk…this post is for you.  It’s all about homemade nondairy milks.  I’ve been making homemade nut milks for close to 10 years! I started making them in my Magic Bullet and then graduated to a high speed blender.  I’ve tried many different nut and seed milks.  My ALL TIME favorite is walnut milk and I have created a video (end of post) sharing how I make walnut milk and also demonstrate the use of both and high speed blender and standard blender in the quality of the walnut milk.  In this post I share with you some of the basics to making your own non dairy milk, with several recipes to get you started.  And I hope you find it inspiring…as well as delicious.  

Okay, let’s get started… Continue reading

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Labels: dairy free, drinks, how to, non-dairy milk, seed milk.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Favorite Chicken Salad ~ With Apples and Fresh Tarragon

I flippen LOVE chicken salad.  Especially with lots of add-ins.  Oh the flavor and texture combination can be magnificent.  And I am one who loves to mash food together. There are no boundaries between food on my plate.  It’s a friendly place.  I will mix everything together on my plate so each bite equally represents each food.  That must be why I love things like chicken salad.  Everything is nicely mixed together and I just love it.  I can eat chicken salad for any meal (yes, even breakfast).  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s super easy and a fantastic way to use up that leftover chicken (see the notes section for additional add-ins).    
Chicken Apple Salad with Fresh Tarragon 

Ingredients:
-2 cups shredded chicken*
-1/2 cup dill pickle, small chop
-1/2 cup celery, chopped 
-1/2 cup peeled apple, small chop 
-1/3 cup diced red onion
-1/3 cup mayo ~ here or here vegan or homemade vegan
-1 teaspoon Dijon or stone ground mustard (optional) 
-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules 
-1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
-1 teaspoon fresh chopped tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried

How To:
1.  To a bowl add in the above ingredients and mix.
2.  Best if made 4 – 6 hours before serving.  

Notes:
*The best way to “shred”  chicken is in a food processor.  Simply add in the two cups of chicken and give it a whirl.  Personally, I like to cook chicken in the crock-pot, this makes it shred naturally.  So I use leftover crock-pot chicken for my chicken salad.  You could also used cubed chicken, it’s really up to you.  
*There are endless possibilities with chicken salad.  Here are some of my other favorite add-ins: sliced grapes, sweet yellow or red peppers, cucumber, hard boiled egg, radish, green onions, fresh dill, cashews, mango, slivered almonds, walnuts, kalamata olives, bacon, curry spice, or dried cranberries.  Go crazy folks.  

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, gluten free, lunch, snacks, summer cuisine.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Homemade Coconut-Cashew SCD Yogurt (dairy free, paleo, cane-sugar free, gum free w/ vegan option)

I have had a long somewhat frustrating run at homemade yogurt. The last batch I attempted was a runny mess and grew red mold inside (somehow) and I threw my hands up.  Last month I was really craving some yogurt, and felt motivated to try it again.  This time I turned to Kelly’s blog, The Spunky Coconut, for assistance.  She uses gelatin to thicken her yogurt and I was like, YES! This is it!  I took some time to experiment with the gelatin.  I was looking for a creamy texture, one much like store bought.  The two teaspoons of gelatin is PERFECT!  The texture is spot on!  I know you will love this recipe.  I am pleased with the outcome and happy to say I have been enjoying creamy, tangy (dairy-free) yogurt and loving it!  I also experimented with a vegan version for my vegan peeps out there.
Homemade Coconut-Cashew SCD Yogurt 
Recipe Modified and Inspired by Kelly @ The Spunky Coconut 
paleo, dairy free, gum free, cane-sugar free  

Ingredients:
-2 cups cashew milk
-2 cups coconut milk this or this
-2 tablespoons honey
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-2 teaspoons pure gelatin (plus 1/4 cup room temp water)
-5 capsules of probiotics

How to Make Cashew Milk:
-Soak 1 cup of raw cashews over night (8 hours is great).  Strain and rinse.  Blend with 4 cups of filtered water for 45 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes.  Scoop off any excess foam.  Stir and use 2 cups for the yogurt.  Save the other 2 cups for a thousand different uses.  Cashew milk/cream rocks!

Directions:

1.  Add the milks, honey, and vanilla to a large, heavy pot and heat until 185 degrees.  Stirring often, taking care that the milk does NOT burn on the bottom.  A very gentle, slight simmer is fine.  I like to use (and thus recommend) a dutch oven to heat the milk.

2. In another large pot, add your jars and lids, water to cover, and bring to a boil.  Simmer jars and lids for 10 – 15 minutes.  Set a clean towel on the counter somewhere and carefully remove the jars to cool when they have been properly sterilized.

3.  After the milk comes up to 185 degrees, remove from the heat and allow to cool.  To speed up the process, I pour the milk into a 4-cup glass Pyrex and line my crock pot with ice packs and put the Pyrex with the ice.

4.  In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup ROOM TEMP water and mix in the 2 teaspoons of gelatin.  Then add it to your milk, use immersion blender to incorporate the gelatin.  I usually add the gelatin between 110 – 120 degrees.

5.  When the temp drops to 100 degrees, give the milk another good spin with the immersion blender.  Break open the 5 probiotics and add them to the milk.  Use the immersion blender again to fully incorporate the probiotics.

6.  Transfer the milk into a sterilized 4-cup glass container (or 2 smaller containers), or bunch of little yogurt containers. Place in your yogurt maker for at least 12 hours.  Do not shake, move, or disturb in any way while the milk cultures.  Please see below for how I use my yogurt maker for this process.

7.  After culturing for 12 hours, remove the jars from yogurt maker and give the jars a good shake.  My jars always have a liquid in the bottom, so give it a good shake. Let them cool for about an hour before you place in the fridge.  Refrigerate at least 8 – 10 hours to allow the gelatin to set up and thicken the yogurt.

Notes:

*Gelatin contains many health benefits.  See HERE

*I cannot offer any milk subs here.  Cashews are great in that they thicken naturally, so I’m not sure how this would work with, say, just almond milk.  You would need to increase the gelatin, but not sure by how much.

*Vegans use maple syrup instead of honey and 1/2 teaspoon agar agar.  After the milk hits 185 degrees, remove a 1/4 cup of the milk and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon agar agar.  Then add it back in the milk and whisk until well incorporated.  When the temp drops to 100 degrees, add in the 5 capsules of probiotics.  Proceed as suggested above.  The agar agar yogurt will be thick after culturing. Place in fridge until cool.  Vegans might also want to experiment with pectin or sunflower lecithin as thickeners.  I personally stay away from seaweed based thickeners (such as agar agar), as it can exacerbate IBD symptoms and cause inflammation in the intestines.  I stopped ingesting carageenan long ago for this reason (it’s actually why I started making homemade nut milk 5 years ago).

*
It’s extremely important to sterilize your jars.  I also sterilize anything that will touch the milk.  I even clean out my blender with a little hydrogen peroxide before I make the cashew milk.
Here is the milk coming to temperature (185 degrees) in my dutch oven.
After it reaches 185 degrees, I transfer into a sterilized 4-cup Pyrex.
Okay, the most annoying thing about making yogurt is waiting for it to reach temp, then waiting for it to cool down.  So I make yogurt in the evening after the kids are in bed, and I watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother or Arrested Development on Netlifx to pass the time.  Win-win!
Here is the gelatin mixed with water
I like to use these large 4-cup glass jars
To culture the yogurt I use an ice chest.
I simply put the bottom part of my yogurt maker in there, fill with jars, put a makeshift lid on it, and close the large lid.
(I use the bottom part of my salad spinner as a lid).
The ice chest heats up inside just fine and keeps temp.
Here it is before I close it up
*
Here is the yogurt.  So creamy and perfect.  Not ONE gelatin lump found in this recipe!
Posted by Amber at

Labels: breakfast, dairy free, Paleo, SCD.

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Bread (dairy free, cane-sugar free)

 Okay, there is nothing earth shattering about banana bread, I mean, banana bread is a very popular recipe. I get it.  But I’ve never made gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free banana bread that wasn’t a dry, crumbly, “I need a glass of milk now or I am going to choke to death,” mess of a bread.  So I’m glad it turned out so well.  Because I LOVE banana bread! And I love saying things like, “Oh, yes, of course I will bring some banana bread to the brunch girl, no problemoI have just the recipe.”
  
And you know I’m trying to bulk up the ‘baked goods‘ section of my recipe page, so of course I had to get this one in.  As you might suspect, this is my near exact chocolate chip banana muffin recipe, tested as a “bread.”  Yes, you can slice it, but it’s not for sandwiches, so I guess you can also call this banana cake.  This is fabulous in the morning with a cup of tea. I like the muffin version for my kids as a snack at school, but something about the sliced version says breakfast.  This is also quite tasty as a dessert topped with coconut vanilla bean ice cream.     
Gluten Free Banana Bread 
dairy free, cane-sugar free 

Ingredients:

Wet
-10 ounces of peeled banana (about 3 largish bananas)
-1/2 cup coconut sugar (3.0 ounces)
-2 room temp eggs (weighing 4.5 ounces with shell)
-3 tablespoons full fat canned room temp. coconut milk
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia

Dry
-80 grams sorogum flour (3/4 cup)
-100 grams brown rice flour (3/4 cup)
-60 grams tapioca starch (1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon baking power 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if you can’t use xanthan gum, try 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk instead). 
-1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more if you like)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup chopped walnuts (small pieces)

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
1.  In a bowl add in the banana and mash it around for a bit with a fork until it’s a wet mixture.  Then add in all the other wet ingredients and mix everything with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) for 45 seconds on medium speed.
2.  In another bowl, add in the dry ingredients (except the walnuts) and whisk everything together until everything is well incorporated.  
3.  In small batches, add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue mixing with the hand mixer.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.     
4.  Add in the walnuts and stir by hand.  
5.  Fill the bread pan  with batter and top with chopped walnuts and coconut sugar 
6.  Bake for 50 – 55 minutes on the middle rack (use the knife test to check the middle). I baked mine for 55 minutes.    
7.  Allow the bread to cool for about 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out and allow it to continue to cool on a rack.  
-Store in airtight container at room temp for 3 days. 

Notes:
*When baking, I suggest following the weight of the ingredients exactly (even the banana).  This might mean investing in a small kitchen scale.  I cannot guarantee results if the recipe is not followed as specified and measurements are not accuratejust sayin’.
*For wet ingredients use only a 1 cup glass Pyrex for measuring.  *For dry, use metal measuring cups.  And when measuring flours, spoon the flours into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife.  Never pack in the flour.
*I use a 5 x 9 inch glass bread pan.  I also line the bottom with some parchment paper.

My son LOVES to help momma in the kitchen.  
This is one of his favorite treats.  
Posted by Amber at

Labels: breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Raw Apple Cinnamon Cereal (nut free, grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, vegan) For Go Ahead Honey

Alrighty-then.  Here is it finally.  I shared my attempts at a nut-free raw cereal with you on Facebook a while back and it has taken me many tries to get this puppy share-worthy.  And I’m so excited to share!

First off let me say that making homemade cereal is driven by two forces.  First off, it’s part of my dedicated attempts to keep a low-waste green kitchen (see more about that here and here).  You see, cereal produces a lot of waste.  There’s that nasty plastic bag, then the cardboard boxand you don’t even get THAT much cereal.  What’s up with that!?  Secondly, and perhaps most obvious to us all, making homemade ANYTHING is preferred as there is total control over the ingredients (and it’s usually waaaay cheaper).  So ditching store-bought cereal is actually one of my latest omissions from my kitchen cupboard   And I have to say, I don’t miss the store bought stuff at all.  In reality, I don’t eat cereal very much (mainly because it all has stuff I can’t eat) but I love my homemade recipe.  The verdict, thumbs up all around from the family on mommy’s homemade cereal.  We enjoy it on yogurt too, which always makes a nice breakfast or snack.  Let me know if you give it a try.  And perhaps with some homemade dairy-free milk: almondhempwalnut, or macadamia (my fave is walnut).  
My lovely and supportive friend Shirley from Gluten Free Easily and All Gluten Free Desserts, All The TIme is hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey.  And the theme: “When You’re Grain Free and Feeling Like A Nut, But Can’t Eat Tree Nuts or Peanuts!”
I’m SUPER pumped about this month’s theme, as I don’t personally eat a lot of tree nuts (can’t digest almonds worth a darn these days) and I’m DEATHLY allergic to peanuts.  So I knew this recipe would be perfect to bring to the party.  I can’t wait to check out all the other entries.  Make sure you follow my sweet friend Shirley on Facebook and subscribe to her blogs.  She is one lady you want to stay connected with!  Thanks for hosting, Shirley.
Raw Apple Cinnamon Cereal 
nut free, grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, vegan
Ingredients:
-2 cups organic raw sunflower seeds
-1 cup organic raw pumpkin seeds
-1 cup shredded coconut 
-1/4 cup raw hemp seeds
-3/4 cup coconut sugar
-2 cups peeled and small diced apples 
-3 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
-1 teaspoon liquid stevia 
-2 to 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon (I used 2 T in this recipe)
-1 teaspoon ground chia 
-1 teaspoon psyllium husk
-1/4 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  In a large bowl add the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and cover with filtered water (about 2 inches over) and soak for at least 8 hours.  I like to soak mine as long as I can, so I gave mine about 15 hours. 
2.  After they have soaked, drain and rinse (do not pat dry or try to dry the seeds, you need the moisture).
3.  To the drained seeds add all the ingredients except the applesauce and stevia.
4.  In a separate bowl (I used a 1-cup Pyrex) mix together the applesauce and stevia.  This will evenly distribute the stevia.
5.  Mix the applesauce with the seed mixture (your hands work best) and then evenly spread onto your dehydrator I spread the mixture onto these screens that come with the dehydrator. I do not use these fruit roll sheets
6.  I set my dehydrator on about 110 degrees, put in the laundry room and let it rock.  After about 18 hours I check for the crisp level.  I dehydrate longer until that perfectly crisp texture is achieved.  
7.  The final mixture will be very stiff and pop out in a sheet, very stiff and crisp.  Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.  This will keep for weeks.  But it never lasts that long.  
*
Here are the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in the early sprouting stage after soaking for about 15 hours
(soak the seeds at least 8 hours)
Here are all the ingredients piled on the seeds
I like to mix the stevia with the applesauce so it’s evenly distributed 
Mixing everything together 
Here is a link to the dehydrator I use.  
It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. 
Press the mixture evenly around… 
and make sure it’s not too thick.
You can see it makes A LOT.  
I dehydrate on 115 degrees for 18- 24 hours 
But the ultimate test for doneness is when it’s super-duper crispy! 
*
I’ve also made Lauren’s 5-Ingredient Healthy Cocoa Crispies (another great homemade cereal), and and if you like the CRUNCH factor in your cereal, this recipe is for you!!  Lauren’s recipe does NOT go soggy in milk (reminds me of grape-nuts).  It’s super delicious and I love how chocolaty it makes the milk.  This is a must try.  Here is my picture of her cereal.  
Posted by Amber at

Labels: breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, grain free, raw, snacks.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Right Coconut Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free, nut free, cane-sugar free)

You might remember last month I shared my kitchen epiphany regarding baking.  Well, I’ve been having a grand ole’ time here in the kitchen BAKING and loving it, yes, Amber the “I am soooo not a baker” loves to bake.  Why the change of heart?  Well, things are working out.  Things are happening.  Things are not tasting like dirt and cardboard.  Things are delicious.  

YEAH! 

I’m starting off here with basic gluten-free baking (using eggs)vegan gluten-free baking will be my next conquest.  Last month I shared my banana chocolate chip muffins (that I’ve also made into a banana walnut breadsharing soon).  I have to tell you, a couple of my friends have made my banana chocolate chips muffins and like them very much.  My friend Jen tells me she makes a double batch every week. How great is that!  I love it when my recipes are enjoyed by others.  So nice.  

Okay, so these muffins (that really taste like cupcakes) were my latest baking adventure.  I played around with the recipe about four times before I found the PERFECT moist factor.  Last night’s batch was the winning batch.  Yeah.  When I took that first bite, I thought, “ahhh, just right.”  These muffins are so moist, I just can’t get enough.  They are moist, yet light and fluffy.  The sweetness is right-on for me.  BUT, you know I’m not a huge sweet tooth, so make them once yourself and adjust the sweetness as needed the next time.  I think they’re fantastic.  I’m super proud of this recipe.  I hope you try it soon, and perhaps enjoy with a glass of non-dairy milk, such as: almond, hemp, walnut, or macadamia.  
Cheers.  
Just Right Coconut Blueberry Muffins 
(gluten free, dairy free, nut free, cane-sugar free)

Ingredients:
Wet
-2 eggs room temperature (weighing 4.5 ounces in the shell)
-1/2 cup coconut sugar
-1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk (room temperature)
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla or plain stevia
-3/4 cup fresh blueberries 

Dry
-100 grams sorghum flour (3/4 cup + 2 level tablespoons)
-100 grams brown rice flour (3/4 cup)
-60 grams tapioca starch/flour (1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon baking powder 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 
-1/2 teaspoon salt 

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
1. In a medium bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients.  
2. Next, in a large bowl, add in the eggs, coconut sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and stevia (please make sure everything is room temperature).  Beat on medium with a hand mixer for 30 seconds.  Drizzle in your coconut oil with the beaters running on low.  Beat on medium for 15 seconds.  
3.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix gently until incorporated   Then beat with mixers on medium for 15 seconds.  
4.  Fold in the blueberries.  
5.  Fill batter to the top of the muffin cups.  
6.  Bake for 18 minutes.  
7.  Remove muffin from tin and cool on rack.  
Makes 12 muffins

Notes:
*Due to the high coconut content in these muffins, they will stay moist at room temperature, but if they get cold, they will become stiff.  It’s warm here in my neck of the woods (high 80s to mid-90s).
*When baking, I suggest following the weight of the ingredients exactly. This might mean investing in a small kitchen scale.  I cannot guarantee results if the recipe is not followed as specified and measurements are not accuratejust sayin’.
*For wet ingredients use only a 1 cup glass Pyrex for measuring.  *For dry, use metal measuring cups.  And when measuring flours, spoon the flours into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife.  Never pack in the flour. 
*The muffins will stay moist for 3 or 4 full days at room temp in a container.  
*Oh, and I only use these large baking muffin cups.

Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, nut free, snacks.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mini Strawberry "Cheesecakes" ~ Inspired by Chef Amber Shea

Last week on Facebook I shared a recipe by Chef Amber Shea: Cinnamon Swirl Caramel Cheesecake Bars.  These totally blew my mind.  I kid you not, these babies taste like REAL cheesecakeand the texture is spot on.  Needless to say, I have been obsessed with the recipe. So for a family gathering over the weekend, I turned the bars into little mini strawberry “cheesecakes.” I kept most all ingredients the same with the addition of strawberries to the topping (instead of maple syrup and cinnamon).  Amber’s recipe is so very versatile.  You can have fun with it and add in your favorite flavors.  The possibilities are endless.  I urge you to try Amber’s version first, as it’s just delicious!  Thank you Amber for such an amazing, healthy recipe.  
Mini Strawberry “Cheesecakes”
Inspired by and based on: 
(By Chef Amber Shea)

Ingredients:

For the crust
-1 1/2 cups almond flour or sunflower seed flour* 
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

For the filling:
-1 cup raw cashews soaked for 2 – 3 hours, drained & rinsed
-1/4 cup honey (vegans, use coconut nectar or maple syrup)
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-4 large ripe strawberries 
-1 tablespoon honey (vegans, use maple syrup, coconut sugar, or coconut nectar) 

Instructions:
1.  Fill a regular sized muffin tin with muffin cups.  
2.  To make the crust, combine the almond flour and salt in a large bowl.  Add in the maple syrup and coconut oil. Using a pastry cutter or large fork, cut/stir the mixture together until it is crumble but just starting to clump together. 
3.  Press down the mixture in the muffin cups, make the crust as thick as you want.  Just make sure there is an equal amount in each cup.  
4.  To make the filling, in a high speed blender (I used a Vitamix, or you can use a food processor as Amber suggests), combine the soaked and drained cashews, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and salt.  Blend to combine.  With the blender running on low speed, pour in the coconut oil in a thin stream, then blend on high until the mixture is completely smooth.  
5. Pour the mixture into the muffin cups all in equal amounts, leaving about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the blender.
6.  To the blender add in 4 large ripe strawberries and blend together with the mixture until smooth.  Top off the muffin cups with this strawberry mixture.  
7.  Place the muffin tin in the dehydrator or 4 hours at 105 degrees.  OR as Amber suggests (and what I do) is leave out on the countertop for 5 to 8 hours.  Then transfer to fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.  I like to leave out at room temp for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Notes:
*To make sunflower seed flour, simply add about 2 cups raw sunflower seeds to a food processor and blend until well ground and BEFORE it turns into sunflower seed butter.  I used sunflower seed flour as the base, as almond flour is difficult for me to digest.  But I’ve made this recipe with almond flour too, and I actually prefer the taste of the almond flour.  So I would go with the almond flour if you can digest it.  

 
This is how I served the little cheesecakes!  I blended up about 8 strawberries with 1 tablespoon of honey and drizzled over the top.  I finished with fresh blueberries.  EVERYONE was raving about these puppies.  I hope you try them soon.  
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, cane sugar free, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, raw.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Medley (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian)

Well hello fabulous you!  How is your weekend?  I am up in gorgeous Northern California – we are up visiting family this weekend (which is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive north of us from here in the Sacramento Valley).  My awesome-possum sister is visiting from New York!  I’m close with my brother toowe all enjoy spending time together and laugh uncontrollably quite often.  My brother lives close by here in California and my little 8-month old nephew is the cutest thing EVER (see for yourself below)I just want to eat him up with two scoops of ice cream.  He’s just precious and he loves playing with his cousins.  Okay, so back to the food.  I’ve had some time this weekend to finish up this post with an Indian inspired recipe I’ve been making for a few months and very excited to share with you.  It’s a sweet dish that’s full of wonderful spice and flavors.  Great on its own, as a side, with rice (I serve it with boiled millet) or with with a meat (such as lamb or chicken), also GREAT for potlucks or such gatherings.  Enjoy.  
Ingredients:
-1 cup chopped yellow onion
-2 cups peeled chopped carrots 
-2 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes 
-3 cups soaked and boiled garbanzo beans (or 2 cans garbanzos)
-2 cans salt-free chopped tomatoes*
-1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots (small chop)
-3/4 cup canned coconut milk 
-2 tablespoons honey (vegans use maple syrup or coconut sugar)
-3 tablespoons of oil
-1/2 teaspoons salt
Spices
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
-1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 
-1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon 
-A few turns of the pepper grinder 
-Optional 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

How To:
1.  In a large pot add 3 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the onions.  Saute for 3 minutes.  Next add in the carrots and sweet potatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
2.  Next add in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, apricots, coconut milk, and all the listed spices.
3.  Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  Turn down to low, gentle simmer and cover for 30 minutes (stir once in a while).  After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue simmering on low for another 30 minutes allowing some of the liquid to thicken.  Before serving, you want to make sure all the veggies are soft and cooked through and the garbanzo beans are soft.  Keep on low heat until ready to serve, or reheat thoroughly before serving.  
Serves 4 to 6 (depending on the serving size – this can be served as meal or as a side dish).

Notes:
*like this brand for canned tomatoes for off season cooking.   If making this dish in tomato season, use 3 cups fresh chopped heirlooms or small slicers – these have lots of juice.
And here is my sweet, adorable, practically edible nephew
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, gluten free, main dish, sides.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce (gluten and dairy free)

Do you have a favorite food?  Mine is, hands down,  Mexican.  It’s been a favorite for years, and it was an easy transition food when I went dairy and gluten free.  And living here in California we are spoiled with amazing Mexican restaurants.  The Mexican culture is also a big part of our lives, as our children are in Spanish Immersion school (learning this great language that is so prominent here in California).  While I would not consider myself a creator of traditional Mexican dishes, the basic spices and staples of the cultural food inspired me greatly.  I reserve two nights a week for something Mexican inspired and with the help of so many amazing gluten and dairy subs these days, it’s easy to create something satisfying and delicious.  I hope you enjoy this fun spin on enchiladas.  
Enchilada Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce 
Ingredients:

-16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa.  We like this one
-Daiya non-dairy shredded cheddar cheese*

For Chicken Mixture 
-2 large cooked chicken breast shredded or well chopped up (great use for leftovers)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups chopped yellow pepper (small chop)
-1 1/2 cups squash – I used a mix of leftover butternut and sweet potato.  (You can use any leftover veggie you have in the fridge.  Or just skip if you don’t have anything).
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon garlic granules
-Oil for the saute 

For the Enchilada Sauce
-8 ounces Anaheim peppers, seeded and veins removed (this is where the heat it)
-1 cup chopped yellow onion
-1/4 teaspoons salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt 
-1 1/2 cups filtered water
-1/2 teaspoon cumin 
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules 
-2 tablespoons oil 
-Salt and pepper to taste
___________________________________________

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees 

1.  Anytime that day, preferably before you start making the enchiladas, roast the Anaheim peppers for the enchilada sauce. In a 8×8 glass Pyrex (or favorite roasting dish).  Combine the seeded and de-veined Anaheim peppers, onions, oil, and 1/4 teaspoons salt and toss the ingredients together.  Roast, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (or until you start to see some browning and roasting action).  After the peppers are roasted, remove and set aside until you are ready to make the sauce.

2. Start now by sauteing the 1 1/2 cups of onions and 1 1/2 cups yellow peppers in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of oil and a dash of salt.  While this is sauteing, work on the chicken mixture.

3.  In a large bowl, add in the chopped (or shredded chicken), vegenaise, salt, and garlic granules.  Mix.  

4.  Return to the onion/pepper saute and add in your cooked squash to warm through.  Then add in this entire sauteed mixture to the chicken mixture and mix thoroughly. 

5.  Now build your enchiladas in a 13×9 glass Pyrex (see instructions and pictures below)

6.  Finally, make your enchilada sauce.  To a blender, add in all the roasted Anaeim peppers and onions.  Add in the 1 1/2 cups filtered water, 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.  Blend on high until mixture is smooth.  Now it’s important to check for spice and add in more salt, cumin, garlic granules, or pepper if needed.  Then pour a generous amount of the enchilada sauce on the enchiladas, making sure to get it all around the sides.  

7.  Baked covered for 45 minutes.  Since I don’t use foil in my kitchen, I simply cover with a stainless steel baking sheet.  Allow enchiladas to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.  Serves 6.

Notes:
*Top with dairy free sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, or cilantro.
*I understand that Daiya cheese is not for everyone, so just use real cheese if you can have it, or just omit.  It’s not necessary for this dish to turn out.  It simple adds a cheese-like flavor that my kids love.
*
Chicken mixture 
Saute mixture
Chicken and saute mixture becomes friends 

How to Assemble

1.  Spread 1/4 cup salsa with some oil on the bottom of the dish
2.  Add in tortillas 
3.  Spread around 1/3 of the chicken mixture
4.  Add some cheese 
5.  Add some Salsa 
6.  Place two more tortillas in the dish
7.  1/3 of the Chicken
8.  Cheese
\
9.  Salsa 
Then tortillas, chicken, cheese
Etc… 
I layered 3 times for a total of 8 tortillas used
Top everything with the two remaining tortillas and pour on enchilada sauce (I don’t use all of it, but I do drench the dish with it so the top and all sides are covered.  This sauce thickens and firms up when cooking, so you won’t have a sloppy mess – it’s okay to add in lot of sauce.  

Here is the top.  
At this point, pour on your enchilada sauce
Here we are fresh out of the oven
Here is what it looks like cut
Enjoy!
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, dairy free, gluten free, main dish.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (gluten free, dairy free, cane-sugar free)

It seems I’ve had it all wrong.  You see, I tried to perfect gluten free vegan baking before I was successful in simply gluten free baking!  I have plenty of experience with traditional baking from years of helping my baking-extraordinaire Gramie bake everything from apple pie to German chocolate cake (from scratch).  But for me, attempting to perfect gluten free vegan baking first was not the best order of things.  Especially for someone who never really loved to bake as an adult.  Case in point – it took me nearly 4 months to feel comfortable sharing my gluten free vegan chocolate cake recipe after making it like 15 times, and I am STILL tweaking it here and there.  Blasted baking.  If you follow my blog you know I’m not a huge baker and don’t really enjoy it.  And now please allow me to reframe that thought.  I did not really enjoy baking until I made these muffins.  For the first time I think I felt what avid bakers feel: exhilaration.  I created a baked good that was fantastic and it workedit actually worked, and tasted awesome!! What a rush.  Anyway, I do believe I have fallen in love (in a big way) with baking.  I plan on experimenting much more with gluten free baking and bulking up that sorry excuse of a baking section on my recipe page.  I hope you try this recipe.  Especially if you’re new to gluten free baking, this will be a great starter recipe for you.  Listen, if I can do it, you can FOR SURE do it.  I promise.  Be sure to read over my notes below before you get going.  Salud.
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins 


Ingredients:

Wet
-10 ounces of peeled banana (about 3 largish bananas)
-1/2 cup coconut sugar (3.0 ounces)
-2 room temp eggs (weighing 4.5 ounces with shell)
-3 tablespoons full fat canned coconut milk
-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia

Dry
-80 grams sorogum flour (3/4 cup)
-100 grams brown rice flour (3/4 cup)
-60 grams tapioca starch (1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon baking power 
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if you can’t use xanthan gum, try 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk instead). 
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional, these contain cane-sugar).  I like mine with chopped walnuts. 

How To:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
1.  In a bowl add in the banana and mash it around for a bit with a fork until it’s a wet mixture.  Then add in all the other wet ingredients and mix everything with a hand mixer (or stand mixer) for 45 seconds on medium speed.
2.  In another bowl, add in the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and whisk everything together until everything is well incorporated.  
3.  In small batches, add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue mixing with the hand mixer.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.  The batter will be somewhat think.    
4.  Add in the chocolate chips and stir by hand.  
5.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.  The muffins will rise quite a bit here, so don’t over fill them.  This recipe makes 12- 14 muffins (depending on how full you make the cups).
6.  Top muffins with chopped walnuts and coconut sugar 
7.  Bake for 18 minutes on the middle rack.  
8.  Remove the muffins from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack.  

Notes:
*When baking, I suggest following the weight of the ingredients exactly (even the banana).  This might mean investing in a small kitchen scale.  I cannot guarantee results if the recipe is not followed as specified and measurements are not accuratejust sayin’.
*For wet ingredients use only a 1 cup glass Pyrex for measuring.  *For dry, use metal measuring cups.  And when measuring flours, spoon the flours into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife.  Never pack in the flour. 
*The muffins will stay moist for 3 or 4 full days at room temp in a container.  
*Oh, and I only use these large baking muffin cups.

  These muffins are incredibly light, yet moist.  They have been taste tested many times (and by traditional eaters) with rave reviews.  I’m very proud of this recipe and I hope your family enjoys it too! 
Coconut butter tastes fabulous on top of these puppies 
Posted by Amber at

Labels: allergy-friendly, breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, snacks.

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