Tag Archives: sugar-free

The Ultimate Gluten-Dairy-Grain-Nut-Soy-Sugar-Free Carob Cake

I have a best friend. On here I call her Muffin.

Muffin has a history with illness; a much more storied, dangerous, and exacting one than mine. Our friendship began when our bodies were strong and our spirits unstoppable. We’re so thankful now that we were reckless, and lived dangerously and fully back then. Now we’re so careful, so precise, and so used to premeditating physical complications and energy black holes. This recipe is from her, and for her.

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Pomegranate Lime Ice Cream – Dairy free!

Pomegranate Lime Ice Cream with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

This morning I had to face a personal demon and reason some things out: what do I do if the project I’m currently working on fails?  Since I lost my creative partner on the project a few months ago I’ve had to fully invest in moving it along myself.  And many times I’ve cursed the former partner’s name because it all would have just been so much easier if we were still working on it together.  I’ve equally been thankful that we’re not – the project is coming along well and I don’t know if the same fire would have been lit under me if he had taken the reins.

Without saying too much, just know that it involves food.  And it could lead to me eventually not having to leave the city to perform so much or spending so much time in audition rooms.  I love performing.  I love love love playwrights, directors, producers, other actors, the live audience, the thrill of a really good piece of work.  And I love work in general, so much so that I completely overdid it and had a relapse of Lyme several years ago.  And since that last bout I’ve realized I need something with a bit more of a direct path that doesn’t require such dramatic energy.  Yes, food work is obviously exhausting.  Which is why I could never spend as much time in a kitchen as is needed to be a chef.  But I have food to thank for making me well enough that I can work again at all.

Which brings me back to the whole failure thing.  I came to one awesome conclusion that has cleared a lot: I want to push this project forward so badly because I simply love performing and food and want to share with a community of people.  For 18 years I’ve gone back and forth between sickness and relative health.  I’ve had to watch what I put in my body meticulously.  When I go over the edge, it gets messy: a tiny bit of dairy can make me ill for days, alcohol can be temperamental depending on my sugar levels and if I don’t eat in proper rotation my body freaks out.

I love food for those very reasons.  It is a powerful thing.  It is my medicine, my magic.  It is a form of art that I highly respect when I see it in others and want to nourish in myself.

So if this project “fails”, I’ll still have learned how to make an exponentially yummy list of treats anyway. 

Like this one.  Two years ago I had no clue how to make coconut milk taste so good.  Let me share it with you.

Creamy, frosty, tangy goodness

A few years ago, one of my dearest friends (hi Ruark!) gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday.  Actually, he was more than a dearest friend – we had been dating for about 7 years at that point.  It was the perfect present – given to me in the dead heat of summer, while I was pulling out of that nasty Lyme flare and just able to eat food again.  That summer I made a lot of sorbet, and he made full-fatted, full-dairied ice cream for our friends and loved ones.

I was psyched to welcome the machine back into my life this summer.

With it I made a Coffee Ice Cream Pie for a Burwell Recipe Swap and Honeybun Ice Cream for my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Supper Party. All dairy-free, of course.

Unfortunately Ruark wasn’t around to taste either of these creations.  We broke up a bit after that birthday but miraculously have remained good friends, supporting each other in work and new relationships with a familial kind of love.  So when we decided on a little dinner reunion tomorrow night, ice cream went right on the menu.   Along with another dear friend of ours, we shall feast in my tiny Washington Heights kitchen.  And, as per usual, I always plan my desserts first.

This ice cream is completely dairy free and uses honey as sweetener – the half cup of honey made it a bit too sweet for me, but I have a feeling others may find it just right.  If you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic, a warning: about five bites and I was shaking like a leave in the cooling autumn wind (it’s coming, NYC, sooner or later).

I upped the egg yolk content a bit to add some extra creaminess – I found this made an incredibly decadent texture, spot on to the original that I remember those many moons ago.

I knew I wanted to add something to the mixture in order to compliment the pomegranates, and found lime to work perfectly.  Using the zest of two limes and the juice of one gave it an awesome current of citrus that wasn’t overpowering, nor overpowered by the sweetness of the ice cream.  The fresh pomegranate seeds at just a touch of tang and crunch.

I’m a huge fan of this recipe  Huge.

A note on pomegranates: Yes, you can buy containers of pomegranate seeds from the store, and that was my plan.  But they were out.  And so I grabbed two ripe pomegranates to seed myself, and am so glad I did! In doing so I was reminded at how beautiful a fruit they are, and how intricately constructed.  They sort of remind me of lapas, one of my favorite seafoods when I visit the island my family’s from in Portugal.  You use a tiny fork to get at the luscious meat hidden within the barnacle.  I have a feeling Salvador Dali would have like them.  And pomegranates.  And if you’re curious at the connection email me.  I’m a nerd for the surrealists.

Pomegranate!

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz egg yolks (that was about 8 large eggs for me)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 cups coconut milk (full fat, please)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder / starch
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • zest from 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • seeds of one pomegranate (more or less if saving some for decoration)

Directions:

  • In a heatproof bowl whisk yolks and honey together until smooth and thick, about 1 minute.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, whisk vanilla into about 2 3/4 cup coconut milk, reserving the rest.
  • Set either in a double boiler or over low heat and bring the milk up to steaming.
  • Slowly warm the egg mixture by adding the warm coconut milk to it 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly, until about a half of the milk is whisked smoothly into the eggs.
  • Remove the heated milk mixture from heat.
  • Slowly whisk egg mixture into milk mixture, whisking continually while you work and whistling as well.  (It’s much more fun if you whistle.)
  • Dissolve the arrowroot in the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk.  Slowly add to milk mixture and whisk in.
  • Add salt.
  • Return bowl to heat and whisk thoroughly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Now I don’t work with dairy a lot and it’s been forever since I’ve made a cow-milk-custard. But I have a feeling it thickens moreso than the coconut milk.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.  But I whisked (and whistled, literally) to the point where it just coasted the back of a spoon.  Because of the high content of egg yolks, it worked well.
  • Remove bowl from heat and stir in the lime zest.
  • Let cool a bit, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge, either until cold or overnight.
  • When ready to churn (we don’t get to say “churn” enough nowadays), stir the juice of one lime into the mixture and pour into your ice cream maker.
  • Churn (he he) according to its instructions.
  • Meanwhile, remove pomegranate seeds from fruit.  When the ice cream is just starting to look icy and thick, pour in pomegranate seeds.
  • Remove to a sealed container and freeze until hard.

To make coconut milk whipped cream: Place two cans of coconut milk in the fridge and your whipping bowl / whisk in the freezer overnight.  When ready, pour both cans in and whip at medium speed for a few minutes, then at high speed until frothy and light.  Add honey, maple syrup or powdered sugar to your desired level of sweetness, and 1 tsp vanilla extract if desired.  It won’t get quite as light as regular whipped cream, but tastes great and is a nice touch to any dairy-free dessert!

Thanks to the humidity, melty and ready for eating.

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding – Gluten, Dairy and White-Sugar Free!

 

Easy Cobbler Bread Pudding

Life is delicious.  As a gluten-freer, I sometimes miss bread-heavy meals and spongy caked desserts.  I equally miss Belgian waffle breakfasts and stuffed French toast.

So last night when I got home from listening to some stellar bluegrass (high-fives to the Six Deadly Venoms) I decided to make myself the best of both for breakfast: bread pudding.  Gluten-free.  Dairy-free.  Easy to throw together.  With no white sugar (I rarely consume it). And celebrating end-of-the-summer fruits.  A toss between cobbler, baked pancakes (I’m obsessed) and bread pudding.

Success, people, success.

This recipe is an insane journey of color, texture and flavor.  I used ripe blueberries and summer peaches along with dried apricots to give the fruit some va-va-voom.  The gluten-free bread base was soaked overnight in eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon extract, hazelnut extract and just enough honey and maple syrup to sweeten the load slightly. And topped with slivered almonds, the texture was smooth with a tiny crunch.

The next day I quickly boiled some fruit, threw it together and baked it for 45 minutes.

You  can alter the recipe by doing what I did – playing with what you have in your pantry and adjusting to your allergy needs.  Omit the nuts completely if you want!  Add some fresh lemon zest (though I highly recommend having lemon oil on hand for recipes like this – it’s the Italian and Portuguese baker in me).  Play with extracts and spices to your heart’s content.  As long as you have the same basic proportions, you’ve got this delectable fruity, bready piece of heaven in the bag.

If you’ve got problems with sugar, though, I will confess that I’m a bit shaky as I’m typing this, having eaten my serving.  But I also just drank an entire pot of green tea.  So it’s anyone’s guess.

As a hearty breakfast this recipe will serve four.  But top it with your choice of ice cream after a long meal and it’ll satiate six.

If you’re going to put it into wine glasses like I did, make sure it’s cool, people.  Live and learn, right?

Chock full o fruity, bready, nutty goodness.

Ingredients:

  • Six slices of gluten-free bread at room temperature.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk.
  • Honey, maple syrup or both to make 1/4 cup.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract.
  • 1/4 tsp hazelnut extract (or almond).
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds).
  • 3 small peaches or plums.
  • 1 pint blueberries.
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used apricots).
  • 1 tsp fresh, chopped mint.

Directions:

  • Place bread in a square Pyrex pan, 8″ or 9″, overlapping bread as best as possible.
  • In a small bowl, beat all the ingredients from the eggs to the extracts, in that order, whisking continually.
  • Pour over the bread and flip bread so that all is soaked in egg mixture.
  • Leave overnight to absorb.
  • When ready to assemble and bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Rinse, peel, pit and dice the fruit.  Place in a small pot over medium heat and heat until the blueberries burst and the fruits soften.
  • Stir in the dried fruit and mint, and pour over bread mixture.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until the bread rises and the fruit starts to bubble.

Warm and bubbly and gorgeous.

Hurrican Irene Erosion – a Decadent Dairy-Free Dessert

Honeybun Ice Cream with Fruit Compote and Macarons

This dessert is incredibly happy-making.  Honeybun ice cream made with coconut milk, topped with stewed fruit and a French macaron – divine. It was the perfect conclusion to my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party.  Laced with lavender honey and infused with spearmint, it’s both sweet and refreshing at the same time.

Oh, and why is it named Hurricane Irene Erosion?  Because my lavish summer supper party poolside in Connecticut became a rainy dinner for seven in my apartment in NYC because of the impending doom of Irene that – gasp! – dropped a twig on my car.  Check out the post on the party.

The ice cream itself is incredibly creamy, silky smooth and just-sweet enough without being overbearing.  It’s made with a base of egg yolks and coconut milk tempered together to make a rich custard.  Sweetened only with honey and vanilla, it’s a healthy version of the classic for those of us with milk allergies.

The photos don’t quite do it justice – let’s just say if you make it you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and the entire recipe is gluten and dairy free. 

I’m not going to put a macaron recipe up here – they’re not easy to make.  This was my first successful attempt after 5 failed tries.  It took my interviewing Jill Colonna of Mad About Macarons and a pastry class at Dessert Truck Works to get it right.  So I’ll let you explore those options if you want to tackle macarons, or suggest my Rosewater Lavender Shortbread.

Hurricane Irene Erosion

Ingredients: Ice Cream

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 5 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup honey – split
  • 1 tsp gelatin

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a large metal bowl on top in old-school double-boiler style.
  • Place coconut milk and vanilla in the bowl and heat until hot but not boiling.  When warm, add 1/2 cup of honey and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks.
  • Temper the eggs by whisking about 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk into the egg yolks.  Make sure you whisk continually so that the eggs don’t clump.  Repeat two or three more times until the egg yolks come up to temperature, and then add the yolk mixture to the bowl of milk.  Whisk together over just-simmering water until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it dissolve slightly, then continue to whisk until incorporated.
  • Remove mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  • Make according to the directions of your ice cream maker, or pour into a wide pan and stir every half hour for about four hours. When the mixture is just coming together, swirl in the remaining honey so that it remains in streams in the ice cream. I used honey infused with lavender, which was quite delightful.

For the Fruit:

I used a pint of black plums and two ripe peaches.  I simply stewed them with a teaspoon of gelatin over medium heat until they boiled down a bit, then cooled them to gel.  When completely cool, I stirred in two tablespoons of fresh spearmint.

Dairy-free Molasses Cookie Coffee Ice Cream Pie! A Recipe Swap!

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream in a Molasses Cookie Crust

Did I stay in nights this weekend to make cookies and coffee ice cream?  Yes, yes I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Nor am I ashamed to admit that I ate the piece of ice cream pie in the photo above as I started typing this entry – at 11am on a Sunday morning.  And another one later at night while watching True Blood.

I have no shame because this dessert – coconut milk coffee ice cream in a molasses cookie crust – is one of the most insanely delicious things I’ve ever made.  And it happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free  and sweetened only with date sugar, molasses, maple syrup and honey.

Other than watching movies and walking miles on end, this weekend was devoted to a BURWELL GENERAL STORE VINTAGE RECIPE SWAP!  Yep, it’s that time again, when a group of twenty or so bloggers get sent an old recipe that we each have to adapt, changing at least 3 things about the ingredients or process.  This month is an already gluten-free molasses cookie!

Please check out the other swappers!!  It’s always incredible to see how a talented group of inspiring chefs take one idea and run with it.  Details and links are below the recipe.

So, I actually didn’t really want to alter much of the recipe, as it looked simple and delicious.  I just changed the combination of flour and used date sugar instead of white sugar and a little maple syrup, bourbon vanilla and cocoa powder to add even more depth. 

The result?  These cookies taste incredible!  Soft, almost cake-like, and you can taste everything in them: the molasses, cocoa, vanilla, maple syrup and coffee.

But my version looked horrible.  Puffy, no spreading, rough.  I told my roommate they too closely resembled deer turds.  So I needed to take them a step further.  What to do with delicious but ugly cookies?

PIE CRUST!! And what better to put into the pie crust than coffee ice cream?!?!

So I followed the recipe in Simply Gluten and Sugar Free, using honey as a sweetener and maple syrup instead of Stevia.  An overnight chill and 20 minutes in my ice cream maker, and voila! One of the best desserts I’ve ever made and a new favorite.

I’ve been chomping down too many of these cookies this weekend.  And ate that pie with a huge pot of tea made with leaves my friend Jonathan gave to me from a monastery in China.  It think it’s time to get my Physique 57 on and then walk the 8 miles to my yoga studio.  So while I go do that, I leave you…

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream Pie!

Coconut Milk Coffee Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sticky / sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup palm or date sugar
  • 2 eggs, thoroughly beaten
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup coffee, cold
  • 1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter or grease thick baking sheets.
  • Sift together all dry ingredients in medium bowl.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, cream the shortening and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and molasses and beat to combine.
  • Add the vanilla to the coffee, then add dry ingredients alternatively with the coffee, starting and ending with dry.
  • Drop in tablespoons onto sheets, flatten, and bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly soft.

To make into an ice-cream pie, simply crush about 16 of the cookies in a food processor and press into a shallow pie plate.  Place in the freezer to harden while you either process your ice cream or melt some store-bought ice cream to pour in.  I made and LOVED the recipe posted on Simply Gluten and Sugar Free.

Recipe Swappers
Lindsay is a gem with honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
Chef Dennis. A veteran chef in his own right, we are lucky to have his Italian Lemon Pear Cae contribution to the swap.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  I fell in love with her use of Pinot Gris in the glaze for her (gluten-free!) Lemon Cake swap, which was her inaugural recipe with us. Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.
Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!
Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn’t let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, I think it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her “ubiquitous about page” and the balcony gardening category.
Monique has been food blogging since 2007, her Fat and Happy blog is about food, recipes, cooking, baking, drinking, eating and friends! As the former owner of the Monkey Bean Cafe and Bistro, she still loves to create recipes from scratch. If you send her an unusual ingredient, she’ll create a recipe for you!
Shari Good Food Week is almost like my diary as I search for a house, plan the perfect veggie patch, stumble through farmer’s markets with my eye half open (because you need to be there at 6am to get the fresh eggs), gather family and friends around a shared table, laugh out loud and enjoy life to the fullest! Blogging from Canberra, Australia, I hope to bring a different perspective to the Recipe Swap.
Priya is also joining us from Australia. She’s a vegan who loves baking, cooking and eating, having chosen the lifestyle after being a vegetarian most of her life. She caters hand-crafted vegan and vegetarian food, and also delivers hand-crafted  vegan and vegetarian cookies and cupcakes.
Jennifer‘s tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it. Jennifer joined in at Grandma’s Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits.
The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring. What other adjectives can I throw at her?  Her innaugural recipe was Grandma’s Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits, a rare savory recipe for her to develop.
Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food.
Mary is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Peninsula and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007. Her search for a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that didn’t taste, look or feel gluten-free inspired her blog and she’s been happily baking ever since.
Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.  Originally from Long Island, Jamie now resides in Boston with her amazing fiance.
Crissy and Lauren are two So Cal natives and recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in their Little Yellow Kitchen. They blog at From The Little Yellow Kitchen about maintaining a balanced diet of equal parts healthy, savory, and sweet.  From a zesty Chocolate Mojito Key Lime Pie to a nutritional Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chip snack, this kitchen has it all.
Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed. We are excited to have her!
Sabrina Modelle  is the girl behind The Tomato Tart, a blog about the unadulterated love of food and cooking. Farmers markets, ethnic groceries, high-end restaurants and tiny taquerias all provide inspiration for the Northern California native who was raised in a French family with food at the center of life. From rich chocolate cakes to vegan curries, the Tomato Tart is full of flavor both figuratively and literally and like food, best enjoyed with a nice glass of wine.
Nicolle writes the joyful Rhythm of the Seasons from Boulder, Colorado and is looking forward to offering more recipes and menus as the spring, summer and harvest seasons heat up.
Linda is an award-winning journalist, food writer and nutritionist and Founder/Editor/Publisher of EENews, for sustainable food and sustainable life. She has written 20 cookbooks that have garnered prizes including the James Beard for one she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child Award.

Jaclyn is a writer, baker, perpetual daydreamer and the author of the cooking and baking blog Food+Words. She has a degree in Creative Writing and is currently studying Baking and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Jaclyn loves poring through old cookbooks she inherited from her grandmother and reinterpreting those recipes with modern, updated twists. Jaclyn has a panchant for baking, laughter, a nice glass of Riesling and anything lemony.
Alli is a research nutritionist by day, transforming into a creative cook by night. She lives in Seattle and scours through her piles of cookbooks, magazines and restaurant experiences for easy ways to transform recipes into healthy and flavorful dishes.
Rachel Saunders is the owner of Blue Chair Fruit and author of The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. She produces all of her jams and teaches classes from her space in Oakland, California.
Lana is a native of Serbia, who has finally found her home in Southern California, after living for ten years in Michigan and ten years in Ohio. She is mother of three girls and wife to a token household male. her blog is a place where the love for words meets the love for food, a place where family and friends, old and new, gather around the virtual kitchen to reminisce, laugh and cry.
Emily thinks that no matter what it is, all foods taste better when made with love. From growing up in North Carolina with a Palestinian father with a passion for food and an American mother who really did not, to being the holiday sous chef to her real-chef brother, to moving to Brooklyn, the love of a good meal pumps through her veins. From her CSA to nostalgic junk food cravings, from the food truck to the fine dining scene, kitchen inspiration is around every corner.
Alex: I live in Seattle and while I have a typical desk job, my heart is in my home, baking, cooking and eating! I love reading about what other people are creating, so I decided to share my own creations. My blog is about food, but also things that I generally love in life. Since I love eating, I also have a huge love of fitness…so I can eat more!
Shumaila:  After I got married in March, 2010, and shifter to a town where take-aways and restaurants are next to none, I started cooking for the first time in my life. I have always loved baking, but cooking to me was completely new. I started experimenting with recipes for my husband and myself and found blogging the perfect way to keep track of things in the kitchen and also a way to document my first year of marriage. Being Indian, I also started a weekly blog posting “Garam Masala Tuesdays” to try, to the best of my knowledge, to explain the Indian recipes I try at home. I blog from Arizona, USA.

Mango Mint Creamsicles

Mango, mint at a bit of strawberry

“Say hello to my little friend”

That little quote barely beat out “how town, summer in the city” for how I wanted to start off the introduction of these little frozen treats to you.  New York City is sweltering in the summer, and as I work primarily from home I’m usually confined to the corner of my bedroom next to the air-conditioner, where I am right at this moment, staring out the window at the pigeons lining the sill  20 feet opposite me, occasionally staring over my shoulder out the other window for a view of the beautiful trees that line my street and a glimpse of the clear blue sky.

I live in Washington Heights, where the sound of kids playing in the streets and the twinkling song of the ice cream man melds with the smell of families barbequing along the river.  It’s nifty.  But I can’t indulge in the ice cream sandwiches and red, white and blue popsicles that everyone seems to enjoy as they watch the sun go down on the Hudson.

But it doesn’t make any difference, because now I have MANGO MINT CREAMSICLES!

The mint is from my little window box, where in some miraculous way some herbs that I had planted there last season toughed it out through the months of ice and snow and came back even healthier in the Spring.  Spearmint and Chocolate Mint grow like mad, and they added a refreshing jolt to this simple combination.  The mango was juicy and ripe, from Fairway Market on 132nd street, my ultimate favorite large-scale grocer in the city.  The honey is local, and the yogurt is goat, from upstate. 

Sugar-free, gluten-free, cow-dairy-free.  Full of flavor and oh so easy to make.

Simple ingredients, awesome result.

Hot town… hot dang these are good!  So say hello to my  naturally sweet, ultra refreshing little friend.

Flecks of fresh mint make this an incredibly refreshing treat!

Ingredients:

  • One mango, peeled and roughly chopped, with about 2 Tbsp chopped into tiny pieces.
  • 1 cup of yogurt, plain (I used goat)
  • 1 cup of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp honey, optional
  • about 5 strawberries, optional
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring, optional
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped mint (I used a combo of spearmint and chocolate mint)

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients but mint and 2 Tbsp reserved mango in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.
  • Divide reserved mango and mint into fourths.  Add half of each to the blender and stir.  Use 1/4 of the reserves to put a few pieces of each in the bottom of each popsicle mold.  Fill with puree, then top with the last bits of mango and mint.
  • Freeze until good and hard.

Makes 6.

Carob Cupcakes with Almond Butter Filling

This is what I made last week.

Carob Cupcakes with Almond Butter Filling

This is where I was this weekend.

On Lake Moore in Warwick, MA

This is who I made them for.

My gorgeous friend.

Life is good.

Happy Belated Birthday!

My dear friend suffers from food sensitivities far worse than I am currently dealing with, and I wanted to make her something special in celebration of a reunion with good friends and a birthday of hers that passed too long ago when I wasn’t nearby to celebrate with her.

This is an only slightly adapted version of her Chunky Cake that I made with her a few weeks ago.  I simply upped the ghee content a bit, fussed around with a few measurements and put some creamy almond butter in the middle.

They are FREE OF: sugar, flour, soy, chocolate, caffeine, nuts

Here’s how you can make them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flax meal
  • 1 cup carob powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp bourbon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1 1/2  cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup smooth almond butter, optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line 24 muffin cups or heavily grease an 8″ cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix ingredients in the order above, adding water gradually at the end, whisking throughout.
  • For filled cupcakes, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2 inch, then dot 1 tsp of almond butter in the center.  Cover with more batter until about 2/3 full.
  • Bake cupcakes for 16 minutes and full cake for 40 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Almond butter filling

Chunky Carob Cake – Ridiculously Allergy Friendly!

Chunky Carob Cake

There are few names I’d put on my “soul-mate” list.  Nina Simone.  William Shakespeare.  James McAvoy (did you SEE X-Men First Class?  Totally redeemed the franchise from Wolverine and washed the bad taste of Bridesmaids out of my mouth).

In all seriousness, while I am surrounded by so many loving, special people, I am particularly grateful for my dear friend Lyndsey – a soul-mate if there ever was one.  We met through my college boyfriend over a dozen years ago, and aside from the many things we naturally had in common, we shared a history of chronic illness.  There’s no way I could summarize our friendship – but let’s just say we’ve been an ear, a shoulder, a hug, the voice on the other end of the phone that won’t hang up… I don’t know where I’d be without this woman.

So on my quick days off I scooted my little blue car down to DC to visit her and her husband, two of my favorite people in the whole world!  

Lyndsey is still suffering greatly from her illness and deep digestive problems, and her diet completely eliminates grains, sugar, chocolate, fruit, any sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, certain meats and fishes, fried foods, certain vegetables and is pretty much devoid of any sweet indulgences. I lived like that for several years but never as long as she, and don’t know how she hasn’t gone ballistic on a grocery store or restaurant by now.

But carob! Oh, yes, Lyndsey can have carob!

So the other morning she showed me how to make her “Chunky Cake”.

This cake is chocolate-free, sugar-free, grain-free / flourless, oiless, nut-free, low-carb, high-fiber, low-glycemic.  Really.  It does have ghee (clarified butter) so it’s not dairy free completely, but you can easily substitute with coconut oil or a fat of your choice.

And it’s incredibly easy – all ingredients mixed in a bowl and poured in a pan!

I was amazed at how light and airy the carob cake came out, while still packing a delicious aroma.  I’m going to have some fun experimenting with the recipe at home, using coconut products, tucking the batter around almond butter, soaking vanilla beans in almond milk.  But for now, here’s the original recipe.  Enjoy!

Moist and light Chunky Carob cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup carob powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup melted ghee
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°.  Heavily grease a pie plate or single cake pan.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (in no particular order) with a whisk until thoroughly combined.  The resulting batter should sort of glop a bit off the whisk and not run completely smooth.  Because of the goopy result of using flax, Lyndsey describes it as “falling like boogers”.  One of the thousands of reasons why I love her so much.
  • Pour into prepared plate and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork inserted comes out relatively smooth.

Insanely Healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Insanely yummy, healthy Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Yesterday morning I awoke to Autumn, not Spring, dripping its way down my New York City windows.  It was chilly, much more so than I’d want for a May morning. And though I had very little time to get a bunch of stuff done before yet another commute east for rehearsal, I found myself craving something grainy and warm.

And luckily there’s always time for… muffins!I love making muffins because of how easy and versatile they are.  I obviously wasn’t going to go out to get any ingredients, and I didn’t have an apples or rotting bananas on hand.  So I scoured my pantry and found an old can of sweet potato puree left over from my waffle experimentation.

Voila!  Naturally gluten-free, these muffins are chock full of fiber with flax seed meal, have a little boost of protein with quinoa flour and contain no processed white sugar.  You can also easily make them dairy free (directions below).  They’re moist and dense, but not very sweet.  Because of this you can toast one up for breakfast or serve as a dinner “roll”.  If you need them sweeter, I suggest slathering with some jam or dunking in maple syrup or honey.  Butter is also delightful… mmmmmmm…

Yields 12 insanely delicious muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (not flax seeds)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot or potato starch
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 4 Tbsp butter or Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy or cow’s milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Line 12 muffin tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  • In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, maple syrup, butter and milk thoroughly until smooth.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated and a bit lumpy.
  • Fill evenly into tins and smooth with a spoon.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top.

Yields 12 muffins.

For nutritional info please go to this recipe on CookEatShare.

Yummy, moist and slightly sweet Sweet Potato Flax Muffins

Recipe is loosely based on one by Michelle at TasteAsYouGo.  Please support her blog!

Caramel Apple Cake Pops (gluten-free!)

Caramel Apple Cake Pops

This is my first recipe post joining Christianna and a delightful crew of bloggers for the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap!  The premise is that bakers/bloggers take a recipe that Christianna passes along and, changing at least three things about the recipe, adapts to their whim and fancy.  Fun, right?!?!  I’ve enjoyed many happy moments paging between the incredible foodies and they’re takes on an old, homey recipe.  It’s just inspiring to see how imaginative people who truly love food can be.  Please check them out at Burwell General Store!

This month’s recipe: Ozarkian Taffy Apples

The caramel apples I remember from my youth were sticky and delightfully, sickeningly sweet; a rare treat reserved for fairs and trips up north to quiet New England towns during the hot summer.

But now I’m an adult.  Living with gluten and dairy allergies, hypoglycemia and a waistline that has started getting smushy since this Dusty Baker thing entered my life!  For the sake of my digestive health, the way my body feels and how I feel in it, I needed to develop a recipe I can feel confident in.  And I did!

Caramel Apple Cake pops!! I’ve seen these floating around the internet food world and, of course, at Starbucks.  They look like a nap to me (as in, if I ever ate one I’d probably clean every apartment in my building, write a novel and then crash for two weeks in exhaustion).  But they’re adorable.  So, I made a healthier cousin to the caramel apple that retains the yummy-tastiness and the visual appeal.  Gluten-free, dairy-free, white-sugar-free, and delicious.

I used my gluten-free cake flour blend because (a) it’s blended already! and (b) it has a lot of starch so will hold together well and support a good amount of moisture.  If you don’t have the time or know-how to blend your own flours, use an already mixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur and simply add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour you use.

To cut down on the fat of basic apple bread/cake recipes, I used apple sauce instead of oil which provided moisture and upped the apple taste.  And to get rid of the white sugar completely, I used pure maple syrup in the cake and sucanat in the caramel.

Speaking of which: next big problem –  candy coating!!  I’m not good with candy.  I mess up “easy” peanut brittle.  My carob coffee and carob coriander candies definitely are yummy, but they don’t involve thermometers or “soft ball” stages.  And I had vowed against white sugar.   So slowly-caramelized sucanat was the best this Dusty Baker could come up with (made while I clicked my cowboy boots on my crumbling linoleum floors and danced to Michael Franti, Dusty style).

Apple Cake Bread

Honest results? My roommate and I loved the cake.  So much so that, while we enjoyed the pop of the caramel candy crunch, it was the cake that took such precedence that we agreed we just wanted to eat MORE CAKE!  It is incredibly moist, and the sweetness seems rich yet light and not overpowering.  If you choose to make the cake on it’s own, I recommend adding a drizzle of maple syrup on top of the cake while uncooked in the pan, and then swirling it with a fork.  This will give the top a great color and caramelization.

But if you want to continue on in making an adorable, caramel-apple miniature with a sweet crunch, continue with rolling this incredibly mushy bread into a ball and drizzling with sucanat caramel coating.

Oh, and according to the nifty nutrition converter at CookEatShare, these only have 57 calories a pop!! Take that, Starbucks, with your 300 calorie woppers!  Thank DOG I didn’t know that when they were sitting in my kitchen!

Caramel Apple Cake Pops

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped apples (I used one Granny Smith and one Braeburn, which came out to a little more than two cups once they had been peeled, cored and chopped)
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 4 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts (optional)
  • 18 candy sticks
  • A foam block or other way to keep the pops upright while cooling

Directions: Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, flax, almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly until creamy.  Add the apple sauce and maple syrup and whisk to blend thoroughly.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork or spatula to combine.
  • Fold in the apples.
  • Bake in a lightly greased loaf pan for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn onto wire rack and cool until just slightly warm.

Directions: Assemblage*

  • In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine water and sucanat.  Slowly let this melt and combine until it forms a dark syrup.  It should trickle when you pull it from a fork, but in small clumps rather than a stream. This took me about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the cake into chunks in a large bowl and smush with your hands until broken.  Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a plate.
  • When the caramel is smooth, poke a candy stick into the center of a ball to make an indentation.  Then remove the stick and dip in the caramel, and reinsert.
  • Drizzle the cake pop with caramel and press into nuts, if desired.
  • Repeat until all the pops are assembled, or until you’ve eaten all the mushed up cake in the bowl and then blamed its absence on your roommate’s cat.  Wait, what?

*I’m glad assemblage is a real word

Apple Cake Pops

Check Out the Other Creations From The Recipe Swappers!

  • Lindsay puts amazing honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland’s lifestyle, and it shows.
  • Chef Dennis is veteran chef in his own right.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.
  • Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.
  • Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!
  • Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn’t let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her “ubiquitous about page” and the balcony gardening category.
  • Monique has been food blogging since 2007, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie!
  • Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.
  • Jennifer‘s tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it.
  • The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora’s recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring.
  • Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food.
  • Mary is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Peninsula and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007. Her search for a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie that didn’t taste, look or feel gluten-free inspired her blog and she’s been happily baking ever since.
  • Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.
  • Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!
  • Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed.
  • Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Cindy, food lover, all-around awesome person and her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic. Check out her quirky and fun blog.
  • Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.
  • Nicolle writes the joyful Rhythm of the Seasons from Boulder, Colorado and is looking forward to offering more recipes and menus as the spring, summer and harvest seasons heat up.
  • Linda is a saucy Texan with an encyclopedic knowledge of food. She’s published many cookbooks, won many awards, and has been the source of many belly laughs. When she’s not writing books, her latest creations can be found at Everybody Eats News.
  • Tricia is the founder of Pietopia, an annual pie contest that asks “What does your life taste like, in a pie?” and her beautiful work as an eating designer and blogger can be found at Eating Is Art.
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