Category Archives: gluten free

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vegan Persimmon Cranberry Coconut Pudding (no bake)

Is it just me, or are persimmons the most AMAZING fruit ever.  They taste like candy no?  My kids go crazy for them and it’s refreshing to have a different fruit there in the fruit basket.  

I know I’m not breaking the mold here with the idea of a no-bake pudding.  But I so wanted to find a way in incorporate persimmons into a dessert, and a no-bake pudding was the front runner.  No fuss, few ingredients, nutritionally denseall big winners in my book.  I was craving something cold, creamy, and sweet (but not too sweet, you know I like the tart stuff).  The coconut, persimmon, cranberry combo did the trick.  This pudding turned out really well and I wanted to share its wonderful, flavorful simplicity with you.  

1 can full fat coconut milk, I used this brand (it’s a BPA free can)
4 ripe fuyu persimmons (a non-astringent vareity; they are squat and look like a tomato) 
1/4 cup cranberries 
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds

How To
1.  Soak cranberries in filtered water until soft, 1-2 hours.
2.  Peel and chop persimmons 
3.  In blender (high speed or otherwise) blend coconut milk, strained cranberries, persimmons, and ground chia.  
4.  Store in refrigerator until cool.  Treat like pudding and enjoy with granola, dried fruit, or any other choice topping.  

*This pudding tastes better with time, as the flavors combine and the coconut flavor decreases quite a bit.  My husband had trouble identifying the coconutand this was shocking because he has impeccable taste buds.  
*Add more cranberries, if desired, it will certainly increase the tart factor. 
*You can add a sweetener of choice, but I prefer the sweet to tart ratio in this recipe.  I don’t care for too sweet.
*Coming soonpersimmon cranberry ice cream (stay tuned)
About Persimmons

Health benefits of persimmon fruit

  • The fruit is low in calories (provides 70 cal/100g) and fats but is rich source of dietary fiber.
  • Persimmons contain many health benefiting phyto-nutrients flavonoid poly-phenolic anti-oxidants like catechins and gallocatechins as well as important anti-tumor compound betulinic acid. Catechins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic (prevents bleeding from small blood vessels) properties.
  • Fresh permissions contain anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin-A, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. Together, these compounds functions as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that plays a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus, helps prevent “Age related macular disease”(ARMD) in the elderly.
  • The fruits are also very good source of vitamin-C, another powerful antioxidant (especially native Chinese and American persimmons; provide 80% of DRI). Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • The fruit is good in many valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin…etc. These vitamins act as co-factors for numerous metabolic enzymatic functions in the body.
  • Fresh Persimmon fruits also contain healthy amounts of minerals like potassium, manganese (15% of DRI), copper (12% of DRI), and phosphorus. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Copper is a co-factor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells. 
    (above facts complied from this site)
Posted by Amber at

Labels: ACD, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, nut free, pudding, vegan, xanthan gum free.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flavorful Grain Free Quinoa Stuffing

I’ve been struggling with how to make a quinoa stuffing that doesn’t taste like a quinoa summer salad.  Then I came across a secret ingredient that saved the day: poultry seasoning.  This created a dish that has a real authentic taste to it, without all the traditional gluten/grain type hassle.  

And a quick word about quinoa.  I’ve been cooking it for years, and just the other day I found this website that rocked my world.  I’ve been wasting valuable time and energy trying to get a fluffy quinoa (I do the presoak but alas wasn’t using the correct water to quinoa ratio).  Finally, mystery solved! Just FYI: it’s 1 1/4 cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa.  So simple! 
4 cups cooked quinoa (to your texture preference, see above notes).  
1 medium onion, small chop
1 cup walnuts, chopped 
1 medium apple, peeled and small chop
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries (unsweetened or sweetened with fruit juice and always sulfur dioxide free)
2 cups mushrooms, small chop (optional, not shown in recipe above)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning 
Few turns of the pepper grinder 
Oil of choice 

How To
1.  Coat bottom of pot with oil.  Add onions & salt.  Saute on med/low for 5 minutes.
2.  Add celery & walnuts, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
3.  Add apple, thyme, pepper, & poultry seasoning.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Turn off heat and add in the 4 cups of quinoa along with the cranberries.  Mix together quinoa, saute mixture, and cranberries. 

*This was excellent the next morning with eggs as a breakfast scramble!
Posted by Amber at

Labels: ACD, dairy free, gluten free, grain free, sides, vegan.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Ice Cream (dairy free, cane-sugar free, vegan)

I haven’t had “real” ice cream in ohabout 8 years.  I can’t even remember what the stuff tastes like, although when eating ice cream I do remember feeling thirsty and wanting french fries.  What’s that about?  I’m a salty-girl at heart really, not a dedicated sweet tooth like my husband.  I enjoy frozen treats, as does Scott, so we were very intrigued when we started seeing coconut ice cream on the shelves a few years back.  It was love at first bite for me and for the first time in years I was eating ice cream again – and delicious ice cream, ice cream that didn’t make me phlegmy, thirsty, or crave deep fried salty food (and hooray finally for a dairy free, soy free ice cream)!  It wasn’t long after that I started making my own here at home.  It’s ridiculously easy.  My final recipe in my chocolate + pumpkin series is a delicious, creamy chocolate pumpkin ice cream.  Enjoy.
-1 can full fat coconut milk (Native Forest is BPA free)
-1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree (I used the Cinderella variety)
-3 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or to tasteI liked it at 2 tablespoons, Scott, of course, needed one more tablespoon in there)
-1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (or sweetener of choice and to taste)
-5 drops liquid stevia
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1 teaspoon vanilla 

How To
1. Blend all ingredients until creamy and well incorporated 
2. Immediately add to ice cream maker
3.  When the mixture is very thick (the consistency of frozen yogurt) transfer to freezer
4.  Freeze for a few hours before serving
5.  If serving the next day, don’t fret when you take the ice cream out of the freezer and it resembles a block of ice.  You’re okay. Allow ice cream to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, it will thicken up as it warms and will be super creamy and delicious
6.  Garnish with shredded coconut and cinnamon, or your favorite topping

Below are other chocolate + pumpkin recipes you may enjoy 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, chocolate + pumpkin, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, ice cream, soy free, vegan.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pumpkin-Spiced Chocolate Covered Pear with Toasted Pecans

Here we have #3 idea for combining pumpkin and chocolate.  So there isn’t any actual pumpkin in this one, but we do have pumpkin spice!  This is a super fun twist on your basic dark chocolate.  Husband loved it.  The spiced chocolate works well with the sweet, juicy pear and the toasted pecans provide a nutty crunch.  Really fun and easy dessert.  Also a great idea for a party.
Stayed tuned for the final pumpkin + chocolate recipe next week (just in time for Thanksgiving): 
chocolate pumpkin coconut ice cream!!

2-3 ripe organic pears (soft to touch but not mushy)
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (or to taste)
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted 

How To
*Wash and dry your beautiful pears 
*Heat chocolate bar on low over double boiler (if you don’t have one, it’s pretty easy to fashion a makeshift version with your everyday pots and saute pans)
*Add pumpkin spice mix to melted chocolate, stir and remove from heat
*Drizzle chocolate over half of pear
*Sprinkle on toasted pecans
*Set on cookie cooling rack 

*You can certainly add some sweetener to the chocolate.  We happen to like the dark chocolate flavor.  Adding a tablespoon of honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc., will give it a little sweet kick
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, chocolate + pumpkin, dairy free, dessert, gluten free.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Super Easy and Super Tasty Side Dish Ideas For Your Thanksgiving Feast (dairy free, gluten free, white potato free, cane-sugar free, vegan)

Turkey is great, but a side dish can be the star of the Thanksgiving show!  I love to see what people have lined up at their Thanksgiving mealyou know the turkey is going to be there, no big surprise, but let me loose on the buffet table so I can check out how the sweet potatoes are dressed, what’s going to shine in the cranberry sauce, what’s that awesome looking bread?  Creating alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving cuisine is super easy.  Check out my 5 very easy side dishes.  There are endless possibilities for your meal, but my motto is to keep it easy, keep it fun and keep it super tasty!
Roots and Fruits
(Roasted Parsnips, Apples, Pears and Walnuts)

5 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
2 pears, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups of  walnuts
Oil (of choice)
Garlic granules 

How To
*Add parsnips, onion, pears, & apple to favorite baking dish
*Drizzle with oil
*Add 2 tablespoons garlic granules
*Roast at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes (check at 35)
*Lightly toast walnuts in saute pan
*Add to roasted roots and fruits 
*Mix together
*Add salt if desired, I omit.  
*Serves 4-5
Socca Bread 
Gluten free, Grain free, Sugar free, Vegan, ACD, Xanthan gum free, Yeast free, Egg free….absolutely AMAZING flatbread!!!
(recipe from December/January issue of Living Without Magazine, pg.41)
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (garbonzo bean flour)
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 1/2 tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (you must use fresh!
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced dried onion (I used onion powder)

How To
*Whisk together chickpea flour, water, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, onion (minced or powder).  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  This gives the batter a chance to thicken up a bit
*Coat a large round nonstick skillet with oil and heat over med until hot (add oil to pan after removing the socca and get it nice and hot for the next one)
*Pour 1/2 cup batter into pan and swirl around a bit (sort of like a crepe).  use heat-safe spatula to loosen sides
*Cook socca until crispy on one side, flip and brown on the other side
*Serves 4-5
Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower 
(this is really nice substitute for those of you who don’t want white potatoes at your meal; the cauliflower adds a nice texture and balances out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes – and best part, no boiling required!)

3 large sweet potatoes, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, separated 
Oil of choice
Garlic granules (or 4 cloves fresh garlic)

How To
*Add sweet potatoes and cauliflower to your favorite roasting dish
*Drizzle with oil 
*Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic granules (or smash the fresh garlic cloves and add in)
*Toss ingredients with oil and garlic 
*Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes
*Keep ingredients in roasting pan and use a potato masher to smash ingredients together.  Add another drizzle of oil for some additional moisture
*Add 1/4 teaspoon salt 
*Smash everything together well 
*Top with a little cinnamon (optional)
*Serves 4-5
20-Minute Cane-Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce
(my kids ate this up like candy!)

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup filtered water
1 sweet red apple, small chop
3 dates, seeded and small chopped 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1 large orange

How To
*In medium sauce pan bring cranberries and water to a boil, stir and turn down to a simmer
*Add apple, honey, dates and briskly stir
*Turn down to low and gently simmer for about 15 minutes 
*Turn off heat and add juice of 1 orange and cinnamon 
*When cool, transfer to fridge until ready to serve
*Top with orange zest
Fig and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash 

2 acorn squash
2 cups fresh chopped figs
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 ripe pear, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Oil of choice
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger 

How To
*Cut squash in half and remove seeds, run oil around inside of squash
*Place face down in baking dish, coated with a little oil 
*Bake at 400 for 30 – 40 minutes (check at 30)
*In sauce pan, add oil, apple, pear, & walnuts, saute or a few minutes
*Add figs and salt, saute for a few minutes
*Add in honey and spices, saute together and cook on low until all ingredients are soft and have combined juices and most of the honey and oil has cooked off.  Turn off and allow to cool a bit before adding to baked squash
*Remove squash from oven when finished and turn over.  Allow to cool face up
*Add mixture to squash
*Serves 4 very hungry folks or up to 8 if each squash half is divided 

Wishing You a Health-full and Happy Thanksgiving
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, sides, soy free, thanksgiving side dishes, vegan.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Coconut Almond Smoothie

What to do with all that pumpkin puree in my fridge?  Ah ha!  Give it to the kids in a super healthy drink.  Did it work?  I’m tipping my imaginary hat as we speak!  Hubby loved this drink too.  Seriously though, drink your pumpkin – it’s super yummy.

-1 cup plain homemade pumpkin puree
-1 cup full fat coconut milk (BPA free)
-1 cup filtered water 
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-2 tablespoons almond butter
-2 tablespoons honey (vegans, use maple syrup) add more if needed 
-2 tablespoons carob powder 
-1 teaspoon cinnamon (or just top smoothie with a pinch)

How To
1.  Add all ingredients to blender (high speed or otherwise)
2.  Blend until smooth

*My kiddos drank this straight from the blender (okay not literally – but I did when no one was looking) so it wasn’t chilled and still a hit
*Place smoothie in the fridge for a few hours if desired (no separation will occur)  
*I used carob in this recipe.  I gave this drink to my kiddos today as a late afternoon pick-me updidn’t want to give my daughter stimulating cacao this late and my son can’t eat cacao due to his eczema.  I would just omit this completely if you don’t like carob or thinking about substituting with cacao, as if you add cacao it essentially becomes this drink – which is all good toobut this coconut pumpkin smoothie is so awesome without the very overpowering taste of chocolate.
Posted by Amber at

Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, drinks, gluten free, soy free, vegan.


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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Raw Carrot Hummus (SCD, Paleo GAPS).

I try to make a few raw dishes every week.  So this week instead of making my usual cooked hummus I did a little raw twist and wow!  Yum to the tum.  First off, my son LOVES it.  He couldn’t get enough and my daughter gobbled it up too.  When you make something your children eat and love and it’s super healthy you can’t help but feel like the day has been a wild success.  I used the carrot hummus at snack time and dressed with some veggies.  How fun was snack time today.  And remember, this version is to my taste (and my kid’s), you may like less of this and more of that, and that’s great – have fun make and it your own.    

4 medium organic carrots 
2 – 4 tablespoons organic raw tahini (use the 2 tbsp if you want more carrot taste, I used 4 because I love the taste of tahini and I used the 1 & 1/2 lemons)
Juice from 1 & 1/2 lemons (if using less tahini, use less lemon)
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
Oil (of choice) I use grapeseed

How To
1.  Peel and rough chop carrots
2.  Add carrots to food processor and give a quick run 
3.  Add tahini and mix until incorporated
4.  Add lemon, salt and garlic
5.  Blend
6.  Continue blending and drizzle in oil until desired creaminess
Some other presentation ideasthe color is brilliant! 
My daughter’s creation: 
a one-eyed carrot monster, she called it.   
Posted by Amber at

Labels: dairy free, dips, gluten free, raw, SCD, snacks, vegan.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Baked Veggie Spring Rolls (gluten free, dairy free, sugar free with soy free option)

What’s better than stir fry?  Stir fry wrapped up in a cute little package!  What’s a good word to describe more than craving something?  I don’t know, but this is how I feel about egg rolls/spring rolls, but alas my weak digestion doesn’t love the trifecta factor, the deep-fried/sodium/gluten factor.  So for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free challenge hosted by the beautiful and talented chef, Iris of The Daily Dietribe, I figured why not make a healtheir and gluten-free version of my favorite Asian cuisine: spring rolls.  I nearly cried over these.  First, because they were hopelessly delicious, and two because I tripped and smashed my toe sprinting to the oven when the timer went off.  I also burned my mouth.  Yes, I’m that impatient when it comes to taste testing…no control.  The true test came at dinner.  The verdict:  Husband loved them.  Daughter loved them.  Son loved them.  Happy bellies.  Happy mommy.

I served these spring rolls with vegetarian fried rice and cold cabbage salad. 

-1 small red pepper, julienned
-2 carrots, julienned
-2 celery stalks, julienned
-1 cup shredded cabbage
Rice noodles, about 2 cups cooked 
-2 1/2 tablespoons coconut aminos 
-1 tablespoon garlic granules
-2 teaspoons onion powder  
-Red Pepper flakes, to taste 
-Oil of your choice (GS, sesame, olive, coconut, etc)
-Rice wrappers 

How To
1.  Saute veggies (carrots, celery, pepper & cabbage) with some oil. Add the coconut aminos, garlic granules and onion powder. 
2.  Cook the rice noodles.  In a large pot, bring water to a boiland add noodles.  Drain and rinse noddles. 
3.  Add cooked rice noodles to veggies.  Cook on medium until the flavors meld (you can add red pepper flakes to taste, but I left this out for my kids)
4.  Let this mixture cool completely…nice to make this earlier in the day and have it ready to assemble the rolls, but it only takes about 20 minutes to cool

After mixture cools:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
2.  Add some filtered water to a flat wide pan or dish and soak the rice paper until pliable.  Add the filling and roll – while you are filling one, have another in the water waiting
3.  Fill rice wrappers and place on baking sheet.  I use my favorite silicone baking mat 
4.  At this point you can spray the rolls with oil if you so desire, it makes them very shinny.  Be forewarned, however, oil sprayed or not, the tips and ends of the rolls get very poky when cooked
5.  Bake for 15 minutes.  (I didn’t test these any longer than 15 minutes, so I’m guessing they will become crispier if left in longer.  I happen to prefer the chewy texture at the 15 minute mark). 
6.  Walk with caution to the oven, minding chair & table legs, toys and furniture 
7.  Do not eat these right out of the oven like a wild animal (like moi)

*You can add just about anything you like to these rolls.  Other suggestions include: mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, chicken/pork, onions, cilantro, basil or fennel.  Have fun with your food! 
*Traditional spring rolls call for oyster sauce, but I couldn’t find any gluten-free brands.  The rolls taste absolutely delicious with the coconut aminos. 
*I didn’t bother making a dipping sauce for the rolls, they were tasty all on their own.  But see comments for suggestions. 
*These take a while to cool.  Have these out and cooling a good 15 minutes before you eat, 30 minutes if serving to children.  

Posted by Amber at

Labels: appetizer, gluten free, snacks, vegan, vegetarian.


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