We have a favorite salad... at a local place called Zupas. I found a recipe online that a lady had tweaked a little, and I've tweaked it a little more! The original salad uses strawberries where I used blackberries, but I used what I had: blueberries and blackberries were $.99/cup at NPS
Sometimes DollarTree has frozen mango chunks, 12 ounces for a dollar. The trick is to visit the store within a week of when they get their monthly frozen shipment.Mango Berry SaladSalad
8-10 cups greens (I used green leaf lettuce)
1-2 cups chopped fresh strawberries (or other slightly sour berry)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 fresh mango, cubed, or 1 cup frozen mango, diced and mostly thawed
1/3 cup cinnamon honey nuts
Combine in a large bowl in the order given.Creamy Mango Dressing:
1/2 c.Greek yogurt* (plain or something mild like vanilla)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 fresh mango, pitted and peeled, or 1 cup frozen mango, mostly thawed
1/4 tsp. salt
Combine in a blender until smooth. If too tart, sweeten with a little honey. Makes about 1-1/4 cups. Drizzle about 1/2 cup over salad; toss to coat. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side, or save the rest for another day .
*for a dairy-free option, use coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut, which is sweetened)
I have the HARDEST time finding bouillon that doesn't contain MSG. Here's a solution: no MSG, no fillers, no preservatives. Only what you choose to put in it.
This recipe was adapted from Traci's Transformational Health Principles
by Traci J. Sellers Vegetable Broth Powder
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Nutritional Yeast (to make your own, see here
1/4 cup RealSalt (or Himalayan salt; something with those trace minerals)
1 Tbsp. onion powder (see how to make your own, here
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. marjoram or oregano, optional
1 tsp. dried lemon peel, optional
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
Put everything except parsley in a blender or food processor, in the order given. Blend until
powdered. Add parsley, pulse just enough to chop it a little bit (you're aiming for small bits). Store in an airtight container indefinitely.
To use, add a heaping 1/2 tsp. per cup of water, or 1 Tbsp. of powder for every quart of water.
photo: Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever run across a recipe calling for nutritional yeast and you didn't have any? Maybe didn't even have access to some? Or maybe you attempted to make a batch of bread and the yeast wasn't working anymore?
Too bad I didn't know, a month ago, what I'm about to tell you. I threw away an entire pound package of baking yeast (Saccharoymyces cerevisiae
) because it wasn't raising my dough. Sad.
First of all, what IS nutritional yeast? It's deactivated yeast, frequently the strain used is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Totally dead yeast. Usually it is cultured in something sweet for a few days, then heated to deactivate it. It adds a nutty, savory, almost meat-y depth of flavor to recipes. (The term is 'umami'). It also contains B vitamins and is a complete protein.
I've been studying a new (to me) breadmaking book (more on that later!), and in it, the author, Peter Reinhart, gives instructions for making your own nutritional yeast: Put 1/4 c. active dry yeast in a hot skillet. Toast over med-hi heat until it turns a medium shade of brown.
Now, was my dysfunctional pound of yeast ready to be used as nutritional yeast without toasting? No. It was only partly dead. Or maybe 'mostly dead', to quote a favorite movie. But it needs to be totally dead before you consume it. Besides that, toasting brings out flavor.
Ways to use nutritional yeast:
- as a topping on popcorn
- sprinkle on top of things in place of cheese
- mix into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs in place of cheese
- add to soups or white sauces to improve flavor (the flavor acts similar to adding bouillon or broth)
- use in this recipe for dairy-free buttery spread
- sprinkle on top of homemade crackers or breadsticks before baking
- make your own vegetable broth recipe, on this post. Tastes like chicken. :)
See the bottom of this post for photos on making the heart-swirl pattern.
A friend of mine has to avoid dairy, wheat, and oats- and we were going to be together at a potluck lunch on Thursday. The pumpkin cheesecake last week
(for a different group) was such a hit I decided to adapt it so she could enjoy it too. But with a bit of chocolate. Like pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.
I wanted it to be relatively inexpensive- no quart of coconut yogurt! -that stuff's pricey. Coconut milk and coconut cream, sure. I have that on hand.
No recipes using those appeared to be online anywhere, though I found the chocolate-version crust here
. There were some cashew-puree based ones- but not only did I not have time to soak nuts, but wanted this to be a recipe even the nut-allergic could use. So I started with my tried-and-true 'normal' recipe, and adapted. And I was willing to buy one 6-oz cup of coconut yogurt to put in the (optional) topping.
You won't taste the apple cider vinegar, but it adds both the tartness and savoriness you'd get from cream cheese. If you have 2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk and a 19-oz can of coconut cream, that will be exactly enough for the filling, the topping, and the ganache.
If you want to use honey in the filling instead of sugar, use just 1 cup honey plus 1 Tbsp. Since this also adds about 1/4 cup of water, add about a tablespoon additional pumpkin powder OR a tablespoon oat or coconut flour so the cheesecake won't be too soft.Gluten free, dairy free Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 c. fine-shred coconut, toasted
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder
Stir together and press firmly onto the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Set aside.
For a fall-spice crust instead of chocolate, omit cocoa powder, and instead use ½ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. cloves + ½ tsp. ginger Filling:
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. (slightly heaped 1/3 c.) pumpkin powder
2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. coconut cream
Mix all together, in order. Don’t overmix or whip air into it, or it may crack while baking. Bake at 350 F for 75-90 minutes in a water bath, until center jiggles like Jello and internal temperature is 145-150 F. Cool in oven or on counter, then chill, covered, in fridge 4 hours or more. Rum-flavor Topping:
1 cup coconut cream, well chilled
½ cup coconut yogurt
½ cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. rum extract
Whip cream until just beginning to thicken; add all else and whip. Spread over chilled cheesecake. Chocolate Ganache drizzle
¼ c. (1 ½ oz) dairy-free chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coconut cream or coconut milk
Heat gently to melt chocolate chips; whisk until smooth. Drizzle on cheesecake.
This is 'strained yogurt', the same thing as authentic Greek yogurt; use it like cream cheese in recipes, or eat it with a little jam or fruit. Add a bit of salt if subbing this for cream cheese.
Since the whey- which contains the lactose, or milk sugar- is drained off, you end up with a product that has twice as much protein and quite a bit less milk sugar.
All you do is pour plain yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander, set it over a bowl overnight, and check on it in the morning. You can either leave it on the counter or do this in the fridge. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets. It works best with homemade, unthickened yogurt, since added thickeners make it hard for the whey to separate away from the solids. If you don't have cheesecloth, use something else that liquid can drain through but the solids won't, like the superstrong paper towels, or a clean flat-woven dish towel.
16 ounces of plain yogurt will yield about 8 ounces each of yogurt cheese and whey. You can substitute whey in place of buttermilk in recipes. I use it for part of the liquid when making bread
Sweetened Condensed Milk-
use it to make my favorite, Two-Minute Fudge
For the closest version to a 14-oz can, use1/2 c. (non-instant) powdered milk1/2 c. water1 c. sugar2 Tbsp. butter, optional
To read more about making it or how to use it, see here
If you happen to need it, here's a recipe for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk
Do you love whipped cream but wished it would stay fluffy like whipped topping does?
Cool-Whip, move over; your superior is here! Airy, melt-in-your-mouth, delicately sweet, no hard-to-pronounce ingredients- what could be better?
Use this for topping pies, gelatin, cakes or cupcakes, or anything else you like! Stir in a little caramel sauce and it's either an amazing dip for apples or an incredible cake filling. Fold in some melted and cooled chocolate for a mousse-like topping. White chocolate is delicious mixed in.
The version below that uses gelatin gives the most firmness. I've kept it in the fridge for two weeks before, without the faintest hint
Yes, you can use this to decorate cakes! (Just don't let it get too warm, it will melt if it gets above about 90 degrees F, just like butter does.) This picture is my niece's wedding cake.
If you can't have dairy, use 8 ounces of chilled coconut cream to replace the dairy cream. Not cream of coconut, that's different. Coconut cream is the thick layer you find on top of canned coconut milk; Asian markets sell cans of straight coconut cream.
Stabilized whipped cream
½ pint whipping cream (8 oz)
½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. sugar or ¼ c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. Ultra Gel OR 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin*
If using Ultra Gel, stir it with the sugar, then add cream and vanilla and whip until stiff.
If using gelatin, put it with a tablespoon of water, let it sit a minute to soften, then microwave for 12 seconds to dissolve it. You could heat gently on a stove, if needed. Don't let it boil. Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until they start to thicken a little, then slowly pour gelatin in while still beating. Whip until stiff. Chill it if you need it a little thicker.
Store any extra in the refrigerator.
*Other ways to stabilize whipped cream:
(you can skip the Ultra Gel and gelatin if you use these)
-fold in 4-8 ounces melted and cooled chocolate (the more you use, the more truffle-like the frosting/mousse will be. Also, the darker the chocolate, the less you need.)
-Beat in 2-4 ounces of cream cheese.
-Before whipping, sprinkle in half a package of instant pudding powder. (This is really adding Ultra Gel, which is part of the pudding mix.)
-Substitute 1 1/2 -2 Tbsp honey or corn syrup in place of the sugar, or 3 Tbsp. any flavor jam or jelly. This will only lightly stabilize it, but works for things you'll eat in the next couple hours.
Somehow I've ended up with more dried fruit than planned, and it's getting a little old and turning dark. Here's a new way to use it: a sugar-free caramel sauce! Well, "sugar free" doesn't actually mean really all-sugar-free, BUT... all the sugar in this is naturally occurring in the fruit. So it's no-sugar-added caramel sauce. Unless you're a sugar addict, in which case you could add as much more sugar as you like! This is a sauce to spoon, not to pour. If you'd like it pourable, add more milk or some liquid honey or maple syrup until it's the consistency you want.
Next post will be for a rich, creamy, healthy no-bake New York style cheesecake, using this caramel sauce in the filling as the sweetener.
Fruit-sweetened Caramel Sauce
15 pitted dates (about 110g or 4 oz.)
1 to 1½ c. milk, any kind (I used coconut milk)
¼ c. melted browned butter or ghee, optional but helps give a caramel-y flavor
1/16 tsp. salt
Blend until smooth, starting with the lower amount of milk; add more only if needed. Makes about 1 1/2 - 2 cups. If you don’t have a powerful blender, soak the dates overnight in the milk or simmer them together for 10 minutes, then puree. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little honey, brown sugar, or stevia.
Try other dried fruits. Peach is good. Pear has naturally caramel undertones and would be delicious with a dash of cinnamon or coriander.
These have fiber, protein, and much lower in sugar than almost any baked treat! And they really are good. My family snarfed down this batch.
Besides all that, they're also wheat-free and dairy-free.
Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Bars
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (one can, drained and rinsed)
2 ripe medium bananas
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. brown sugar or honey (1/2 c sugar. if you like things on the sweeter side)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 c. chocolate chips (the darker the better)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the beans, eggs, bananas, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Run until very smooth. Stir in the baking powder, salt and oats. Spread in a greased 8x8 pan then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or til test done with a toothpick. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. These are even better the next day.
For a variation on this, substitute pumpkin puree for the banana, increase sugar/honey to 1/2 c., replace almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter, then add 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.
Apparently these have been popular in the food world for about a year... but I first saw them last week. My oldest son, the pickiest eater in the house, had noticed the printed recipe sitting on the counter for several days, grimacing everytime he walked past it. So when a batch of brownies appeared out of the oven, he cocked an eyebrow at me, asking "Are these what I think they are?", then declared he would NOT eat them.
After everyone else begged for seconds, though, he decided he'd try just one bite. Then a whole brownie. Then he had seconds too.
(YEAH!)Black Bean Brownies
1 1/4 c. cooked black beans, rinsed (about a 15-oz can or 1/2 c. dry beans- cook first)
1/4 c. melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2- 2/3 cup honey OR 3/4-1 cup sugar (brownies with the higher amounts are sweeter and more moist)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat flour, OR 1/2 c.gluten-free flour plus 1 tsp. xanthan gum
½ teaspoon almond extract or orange extract, optional
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9x13 pan. Combine beans, eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and almond/orange extract (if using) in a food processor or blender. Puree until very smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the puree over top, then mix both together. Stir in walnuts if using. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake about 25 minutes or until center tests done with a toothpick.
To make these into Chocolate Truffle Brownies, omit the chocolate chips and frost with my favorite-ever chocolate frosting: creamy, soft, oh-so-smooth Chocolate Blender Frosting
Surely many of you are in the same boat.
Out of the eight of us in the house, we've learned that one child can't have wheat. She's so sensitive that eating one 1/4" piece of bread caused her arms to turn hot pink and start to weep. But the rest of us are fine. We're still in the process of determining if she reacts to gluten, or to just the wheat itself, so for now everything must be wheat-free AND gluten-free. And dairy-free, while we're figuring out if that's an issue too. For some strange
reason, I prefer to cook only one meal, per meal. And special 'gluten-free' foods are pricey. Really pricey. So I'll let you know how I've adapted. Hopefully it'll help you or someone else having to adapt to whatever allergy or special needs diet strikes just one or two in your family. Eight Tips for feeling (more) normal when someone has special dietary needs1- Plan on preparing most of your family's foods
Unless you have nothing against quadrupling your family's food budget. Not kidding. If you didn't cook much before, brush up on the basics
. They'll do for now. And for a while.2- Eat naturally wheat-free foods
Keep a list around so you can focus on what CAN be eaten rather than all the CAN'Ts. It's empowering and encouraging. While you're still getting used to what's okay and not, go through your kitchen and pantry, and write down everything that is GF already, including all plain spices and herbs (blends might not be; check), canned/fresh/frozen fruits and vegetables, rice, plain beans, flax, buckwheat, meat in its natural state, eggs, peanut butter, olives, potato chips, popcorn, jam, ketchup...
See a bigger list here
, halfway down the page. There's a GF year-supply list here
. You know, I've been telling myself for years that we oughta eat more rice and beans. They're cheap, store well, and are filling. Those have suddenly become more popular at my house.3- Make a list of 10-15 meals your family likes
that are gluten/wheat-free and can be made using what you typically have on hand. Include both super-quick meals and more involved ones. Be willing to spend about an hour doing this; it'll save you much more time than that in the long run. Get input from your kids. Tape the list someplace handy like the inside of your cooking supplies cupboard. No more panic or feeling helpless at a change of dinner plans!4-
When you cook some specialty gluten-free food, go ahead and make a big batch. Then freeze
the rest in individual serving sizes. For my 10-year-old, the ziptop "snack size" baggies are the perfect size. There's a gallon-sized ziptop bag labeled for her in the freezer. What's in it changes often. Right now it has GF waffles and breadsticks, spaghetti (made with specialty GF pasta) and sauce, seasoned rice, dairy-free homemade ice cream (made in my blender), and GF chocolate chip cookies. Remember treats. They've saved my daughter from feeling deprived with all these new "don't"s. Whenever my husband pulls out the ice cream, she pulls out her freezer bag and gets something sweet too. I also keep one loaf of GF bread in the freezer, for sandwiches and toast. She pulls out a couple slices whenever needed.5- Keep a small plastic bin full of GF baking supplies
, like the photo above. It's handy for all kinds of things. My 'essentials' include a bag of GF flour mix
or storebought), xantham gum
, some white flour
like rice, tapioca, or potato starch, and a whole-grain GF flour
like brown rice, lentil, oat, or sorghum. Mine also has a bag of dairy-free chocolate chips in it, good for a lot more than just cookies. I've found flours like tapioca, potato starch, and rice flour at the Asian market for a fraction of the price.6- Try a new GF recipe at least once a week.
And maybe only once a week, depending on how overwhelming it is to you. Have that other family member cook with you, so she'll learn to cook for herself later. If you love bread, stick with the quickbreads for a while. They're much simpler. I think the easiest way to learn, other than just trying a new GF mix each week, is to buy a copy of of Living Without magazine
. Or sign up for their free weekly newsletter, which includes a recipe. I love the magazine format because you can learn in 5-minute increments.7- Remember to watch out for cross-contamination
I think this is actually the hardest one. You might want to have TWO jars of mayonnaise and jam open, one of each labeled as GF. Otherwise it's really easy for bread crumbs from one person to end up in the jar, where they'll cause the allergic person grief. Remember that toasters carry crumbs. Wipe the counters really well. Consider having a second set of measuring cups, possibly mixing bowls and cooling racks too, depending on severity of reaction. If you have a regular wheat grinder you can grind your own GF flours, using things like rice, beans, oats, lentils, quinoa, etc, BUT only use a mill that has not been used for wheat. Unless you want to invite problems. Some things can be ground in a blender, like oats, if those are OK for your family member.
And,8- Read labels. Always. Always.
Learn which ingredients have hidden gluten. You'll be surprised at what you find. Sometimes good surprises. Sometimes lame ones. Realize too that sometimes companies change their ingredients, and something that didn't have gluten/wheat in it before, might
the next time you buy it. Knowing exactly what you're eating is a good idea anyway.
You can do this! :D