Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lox of Love with Dairy Free Dill Cream Cheese

 During my weekly grocery shopping I passed some lox and started to dream about cream cheese and bagels.  I don’t spend too much time in this dream world though (because there is always a tasty alternative to be had) and popped those lox into my basket with a grin along with some gluten free English muffins.  Before bed I put  1/2 cup of cashews in some water to soak until morning and breakfast was nothing short of a dream come true.  This recipe is based off THIS vegan/dairy free “sour cream.”  

–These gluten-free English muffins
-1 package of wild caught Lox
-1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (I soak mine for around 6) 
-1 teaspoon dried dill
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste) 
-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more or less to your sour preference)
-3 tablespoons filtered water (or more until desired texture)

How To
1.  To make the cream cheese place soaked cashews in blender with salt, dill and add 3 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Blend.  Continue blending and adding water or lemon juice until your desired consistency is achieved.  I prefer a thicker spread and used more lemon for a sour taste.  
2.  Toast English muffins
3.  Add lox
4.  Make your favorite cup of tea and enjoy an elegant breakfast.

Shared onFresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Friday Food, Show Off Friday, Freaky Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, 
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Labels: breakfast, dips and spreads, snacks.

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.  

Shared on: Just Another Meatless MondayMelt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, Ruth’s Real Food 101 (Mondays), Whole Food Wednesdays, Lunch Box Love Friday, Allergy-Friendly Fridays
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Labels: appetizer, gluten free, snacks, vegan, vegetarian.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I heart Carebags

Our produce bag evolution went something like this:
plastic bags —> biodegradable plastic bags —> paper bags —> CAREBAGS!
I became fed up with the high price of those fabric produce bags at my local Coop and refused to buy them (and I needed like 20+).  I most certainly could have made my own, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to.  So hooray when I found CareBags.  I have like a hundred of these little bags (or it seems like I do) and I use them every week for my produce and other things such as my bulk shopping (perfect for beans, rice, tea, seeds, pasta, oats, etc).  They hold a TON, extremely durable and such a groovy alternative to using plastic bags or paper bags for that matter.  I estimate that since I’ve been using Carebags I have passed up using about 10,000 plastic bags.  And that’s something.

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Labels: green living tips organization.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vegan Banana Teff Pancakes

When it comes to pancakes we are all about the teff in this house.  I happen to adore the flavor of teff and these pancakes are lovely.  We tried for years to find a suitable dairy free and gluten free pancake and so when we came across THIS teff recipe for pancakes by Tori’s gfcfsf blog, we fell in love! Believe it or not this recipe is egg free.  We made a few minor adjustments to the original recipe, but all in all, it’s a great one.  And so easy to make.  Perfect for those lazy weekend mornings, with so much wonderful flavor.  We like them plain or with banana.  Sooo good!  
-1 1/2 cups teff flour (do not pack down flour…unless you want a really thick pancake)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon cream of tarter
-1 1/2 cups filtered water
-3 tablespoons walnut oil
-3 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar
-1 ripe banana – mashed up with a fork

How To
1.  Mix together dry ingredients
2.  Mix together wet ingredients

3.  Add wet to dry, incorporate

4.  Add to griddle, flip, eat, enjoy!
Teff flour is very flavorful, so we usually don’t add much, just jelly or syrup, but once in a while we get fancy.  A fruit compote is a favorite and easy to create by simmering frozen or fresh fruit (such as blueberries or strawberries).  We prefer to add a touch of honey and that’s it for a fresh fruit sauce.
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Labels: breakfast, nut free, vegan.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Garden Summer Pasta (gluten free, diary free, vegan)

This dish was inspired by our summer garden harvest.  It’s a simple meal that takes very little time to prepare and little time to cook.  No fuss with minimal ingredients.  You’ll be back outside in no time running through the sprinklers with your kids!  Follow this meal with some refreshing strawberry coconut ice cream or fruit-full popsicles and it’s a summer meal to remember! 

-Brown rice pasta (I boil up to 1 1/2 pounds at a timeI love leftovers)
-5 yellow crookneck yellow squash*, chopped 
-2 green zucchini* chopped 
-1 yellow onion* chopped
-3 cloves garlic*
-2 cups cherry tomatoes* cut in half 
-1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil  
-2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar (or to taste) 
-Salt & pepper to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon) 
-Dash of red pepper flakes (I omit for my children)

How To
1.  Bring a gallon of filtered water to a rapid boil and add pasta with a bit of oil and a dash of salt.  Stir for a bit to prevent sticking 
While the pasta is cooking
2.  Saute onion with the olive oil for 2 minutes, then add garlic and saute for another minute  
3.  Add the squash and zucchini with a touch more oil and saute for a few more minutes
4.  Add tomatoes and stir to incorporate 
5.  Add apple cider vinegar, stir
6.  Add salt and pepper 
7.  Stir and covercook on low until veggies are soft and there is a nice liquidy sauce (taste and adjust seasonings as needed)
Back to the pasta
8.  When pasta is soft, drain and rinse with clean, cool water  
9.  Add pasta to large bowl and incorporate your sauce
10.  Add dried or fresh parsley, red pepper flakesand always adjust seasoning as needed

*All these foods are super easy to grow in any garden!  
 Shared on: Just Another Meatless Monday, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, My Meatless Mondays, Mealtime Monday, Friday Food Fix, Potluck Party Friday 
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Labels: main dish, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cilantro Hummus

Over the years I have made many variations of hummus.  This delicious dip is a family favorite so we always have some in the fridge.  I’ve never thought about cilantro in hummus and I’m sorry I didn’t figure this out sooner! It’s delicious.  

-2 1/2 cups prepared garbanzo beans* (or two cans garbanzo beans) 
-1/4 cup tahini 
-3 tablespoons lemon juice (or more to taste)
-3/4 teaspoon garlic granules (or 1 clove) 
-1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 
-1/2 cup of olive oil 
-3/4 cup fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
-1/4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
-Filtered water (to bring the hummus to a preferred consistency)

How To
1. Add beans, tahini, garlic granules, salt, cilantro and optional chili powder to a food processor and blend.  
2.  With the food processor running, drizzle in oil.  
3.  Check for texture.  Too thick?  Add in 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you reach your desired texture. 

*Soak beans in filtered water for at least 8 hours, I soak mine for 24 hours and change the water 2x.  Boil in filtered water until tender and store in fresh water until ready to use. I soak & boil around 6 cups of beans at a time and freeze the leftovers for another day (they do great in the freezer!).
*A word about the beans:  I go back and forth between garbanzo beans and chana dal beans.  Chana dal yields a nice smooth hummus but with a much milder flavor so you really need to increase your ingredients.  Garbanzos are rich and flavorful with a thicker consistency.  I love them both but lately I’ve been using garbanzo beans for that full hummus flavor.  

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Labels: dips and spreads, snacks, vegan, vegetarian.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Raw Dairy Free Cashew Sour Cream (SCD/Paleo/GAPS)

When I came across a recipe for cashew sour cream in one of my favorite cookbooks from Cafe Gratitude I thought, “Yeah, we’ll see.” There’s like 3 ingredientshow is this going to turn out.  I haven’t had real sour cream in years and I so miss this addition to our taqueria night.  I am opposed to soy sour cream and so what’s a dairy-free girl to do?  Can I tell you I nearly fell off my chair when I bit into my burrito.  DELICIOUS.  I couldn’t believe it.  My kids loved it too, and of course my husband was very impressed.  Please try this and be dazzled by delicious simplicity.

-1 1/2 cups soaked cashews (4-8 hours)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2+ tablespoons lemon juice 
-Approximately 3/4 cup filtered water 

How To
1.  Place soaked cashews into blender, preferably a high-speed
2.  Add salt, lemon juice and half the water
3.  Blend slowly and add more water until a desired consistency in achieved 
4.  Add more lemon or saltthis is how to turn this creation into a sour cream.  

*You can change the flavor or color of this cheese very easily by adding one or more of the following: cumin powder, turmeric powder, parsley, cilantro or bell pepper   
*Be creative and have fun with your food

Shared on: Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend 

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Labels: dips and spreads, GAPS, Paleo, raw, SCD, vegan, vegetarian.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For the love of jars

I find that as an alternative cook I have an enormous amount of ingredients.  What’s a girl to do? Dig out the ole’ label maker of course!  I have a love affair with my label maker.  I go on label making tangents in my house and label everything I can from the kid’s toys to items in my closet.  Regretfully, it’s not the most environmentally friendly system, but oh how I love those neat pretty little labels!

To organize my kitchen, and more specificity, flours and baking ingredients, I find glass jars anywhere I can.  Our local Coop has a fantastic bulk section…I’m talking bulk gf pasta, gf cereal, gf flours, teas, binders, thickeners, honey, almond butter…you name it and they probably have it – so great!  So I don’t use plastic for many reasons and feel really good about storing food in glass.  I have had great success at finding glass jars and storage at discount stores such as Ross and Marshall’s, and Ikea has by far my favorite glass containers.  For smaller food quantities like those few little left over hemp seeds, I reuse jelly and applesauce jars.  

An organized kitchen is indeed a happy place to create tasty eats!

Flours and and like in cupboard
Jelly and applesauce jars for powders, seeds, beans, etc.
Glass jars for everyday staples like gluten free oats, cereal and rice
Don’t throw away those plastic bins!
Use them to store your baking and cooking essentials  
Glass jars and containers are perfect for storing nuts in the fridge!
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Labels: green living tips organization.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Raw Vegan Walnut Pesto (SCD/Paleo/GAPS)

 I have to sayI’m very pleased with vegan pesto.  I don’t miss the the cheese at all.  And I use walnuts instead of pine nuts.  I guess there is a global pine nut shortage which prompted my local coop to put the pine nuts they did have in these ittty-bitty tiny plastic bags.  I laughed so hard and thought, I can’t make pesto with 5 pine nuts!!  Thus, the walnuts made their debut and the outcomesooo tasty!

-2 ounces of fresh basil (sort of hard to measure in cups, probably 4 cups)
-1 cup raw organic walnuts (you could also toast the walnuts, but do not if making raw)
-3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon (to taste)
-1/2 cup olive oil (or preferred oil)
-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules (or one clove of fresh garlic – or to taste)
-1/2 teaspoon salt

How To
1.  Place toasted walnuts in food processor and pulse a few times.   
2. Add basil, garlic granules, salt and pulse.
3. Turn on food processor, add in lemon juice and drizzle in oil.  Scrape down sides now and then.
4.  Test for seasoning.  

Daddy and Ethan gathering basil from the garden. 

Shared on: Just Another Meatless Monday  Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, My Meatless Mondays, Mealtime MondayMade From Scratch Monday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Allergy-Friendly St. Pattie’s Day,  Fat Tuesday,Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Traditional Tuesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Potluck Party Friday, Wellness Weekend, 

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Labels: dips and spreads, GAPS, Paleo, raw, SCD, snacks, vegan, vegetarian.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Raw Vegan Banana Fudgesicles


Hello and welcome to The Tasty Alternative!  My name is Amber and this blog is a combination of alternative cuisine, green living and holistic healing.  You can read more about me and this blog from the links above.  I’m just thrilled to create my first post today.  I thought it would be fun to kick things off on a sweet note and make one of my daughter’s (and son’s) favorite desserts, and of course my daughter is helping me out in the kitchen today.  Please let me know how you like this delicious and healthy spin on one of my favorite childhood treats.

Raw Vegan Banana Fudgesicles
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk (or any non dairy milk)
  • 3 tablespoons of grade B maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons raw carob power or raw cacao power
  1. Blend ingredients in any blender
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze 4-5 hours
  3. Enjoy!
*I like to make these with carob because chocolate aggravates eczema (my son suffers from this skin condition) and overall, chocolate is far too stimulating for my little ones.

*Vegans can also use coconut nectar. Honey is a great sweetener for non vegans.

*I like THESE popsicle molds. And HERE are some in stainless steel.


 Affiliate links in recipe.  Thank you.

Shared on: Just Another Meatless Monday Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, My Meatless Mondays, Mealtime Monday, Made From Scratch Monday, Wellness Weekend, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays,, Raw Foods Thursdays 

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Labels: allergy-friendly, chocolate free, dessert, raw, summer treats.