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
NOTE: If wheat is not a problem for you (and it's not for me, that I know of...) this recipe can be made using regular all-purpose flour.
I've been playing around with gluten-free foods for a while now, and sometimes the food is a little disappointing. Not so with these. They were soft and chewy in the center, crispy on the edges, with good texture and flavor. The recipe was adapted from two nearly-identical recipes from "Life Tastes Good Again
" and from the box
of SunFlour Mills gluten-free Pastry Flour. The only thing was, the recipe called for butter and a box of vanilla pudding mix, both of which contain dairy. Here's the gluten-free AND dairy-free version:Soft and Chewy GF CF Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup dairy-free 'butter', like this recipe
(or use real butter if you're OK with it)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. Ultra Gel (a no-cook food starch)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. gluten-free flour blend, like Sunflour Mills GF Pastry Flour
or whatever you prefer
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (omit if using regular all-purpose flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. chocolate chips (dairy free, gluten free) OR 1 c. each nuts and chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter, both sugars, and Ultra Gel (or pudding mix). Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add 1 cup of the GF flour, the xantham gums, salt, and baking soda. Beat until smooth, then mix in the remaining 2 1/4 c. GF flour. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if using them.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 7-9 minutes, or until just browned on the edges and centers still look wet. Let cookies sit on cookie sheet for 4-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. (They'll fall apart if you move them too soon.) Makes about 30 cookies. Store any extras in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer.
If you like cookies crispy, cook them until the centers look done. If you want them chewy, it's critical to essentially underbake them a bit, hence the wet centers. Baked goods continue to cook even after they come out of the oven.
*If dairy is not a problem for you either, then you can use a box of instant vanilla pudding in place of 3/4 cup of the sugar, 1/8 tsp of the salt, 1 tsp. of the vanilla, and 1/4 c. Ultra Gel.
My no-butter spread still tastes like butter plus is made with healthy fats. The spread is in the container; dairy butter is on the left for comparison.
I am so excited!
But first- if you've noticed a shift towards gluten-free and dairy-free recipes lately, good noticing! I. Love. Dairy. I even milked a cow every day as a teenager so I had the fresh great stuff. But sometimes people have health problems with certain foods. So far we've discovered that two of my children get stomach aches when they drink milk. One of my daughters has excema on her arms that just has not cleared up. It usually comes and goes, especially in the winter, but she's had it for two months straight. So I've taken all dairy and wheat items out of her diet to see if those common allergens could be a reason for it. I'm still cooking normally for everyone else, but have necessarily been experimenting with this other way of cooking. And here's the latest and greatest:Butter.
Sort of. It tastes like it, anyway. And spreads beautifully. It even cooks like butter. I've creamed it with sugar and made a cake, made brownies, melted it on muffins, spread on toast, made honeybutter, and made dairy-free cream of broccoli soup with it. Yum.
The idea was sparked by reading a label on a small tub of honey butter. Turns out there was no butter in it at all, but tasted as though it did. Reading through the list- hydrogenated soybean oil, honey, citric acid, soy lecithin, artificial colors and flavors- it occurred to me that if THEY could make something taste and spread like butter, then maybe I could, too. So I started researching what the flavor components were in butter and what other foods contain them too. It was fun to read about- ketones, diacetyl, acetoin, reactions between aldehyde and niacin. (But, dang it, how come if I was setting a good example of work, study, and loving to learn, I had to remind my daughter every 20 minutes to get back to her schoolwork?!)
Anyway, I found some foods that naturally have some of the same flavor components as butter, and used one that covered the bases. It's the ingredient that makes ALL the difference in flavor here. Liquid aminos
. Or just use soy sauce, which is about the same thing. If you prefer to avoid soy completely, nutritional yeast flakes will give a similar flavor. The cornstarch, coconut flour, or xantham gum thicken the water so it will better stay mixed with the oils.
This is spreadable when used straight from the fridge. It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, and waffles. It has about the same fat-to-water ratio as dairy butter (80:20). You can cook with it just like real butter, too. It can be creamed with sugar for cakes and cookies. Use it cold from the fridge to do this, and don’t beat it longer than about 45 seconds or it begins to melt a little. This spread can be mixed with an equal amount of honey to make honey butter.
If you’d like a firmer consistency, like sticks of butter,
increase coconut oil to ¾ cup and reduce liquid oil to ¼ cup.
Turmeric and paprika give it a nice color without
affecting the flavor. Turmeric adds bright yellow so a little goes a long way, and paprika lends a warm pinkish orange. Both will deepen after a day. Combine a pinch of each (just under 1/16 tsp) for the best color. If you make this using olive oil, the buttery spread has a greenish hint to it which paprika helps eliminate.Dairy-free Buttery Spread2 Tbsp. water1 tsp. cornstarch OR coconut flour OR 1/4 tsp. xantham gum1/8 tsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce OR scant ½ tsp. nutritional yeast½ tsp. saltA pinch each turmeric and paprika, optional (for color)½ c. coconut oil, softened just til creamy and stirrable½ c. olive oil or other liquid oil like canola
In a glass 1-cup measuring cup, stir together water and coconut flour. Microwave until it boils, stir until smooth. (You’ll need 3 T water if boiling this in a pan on the stove.) Mix in the liquid aminos, salt, turmeric and paprika. Set aside to cool.
After it’s cooled to nearly room temperature, mix in the coconut oil, then whisk in olive oil until smooth. Put mixture in the fridge to chill. Stir after it starts to thicken, about 15-30 minutes.
Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes just over 1 cup.
(9 ½ oz, or 3 T. more than 2 sticks of butter)
If you want a firmer consistency to form “sticks” of butter, after it’s just started thickening in the fridge and you’ve stirred it, pack it into whatever molds you have. I use mini loaf pans, filling them on a scale so each stick weighs 4 ounces. Put in the freezer to solidify. After they’re hard, pop them out of the molds and store in ziptop bags or wrapped in plastic. Label and keep in the freezer for longer storage, or keep in the fridge for shorter-term use.
One of my children is needing to avoid dairy for a while, but I found strawberries on sale and wanted a creamy salad using them. Add some pudding? Not an option. Yogurt? Nope. Whipped cream? No, but... I had coconut cream. The thick, creamy, good stuff you find at the top when you open a can of coconut milk. So I used that. It worked beautifully. Everyone was happy.
It's super fast, too. If you feel like making it fancier, you can whip chilled coconut cream (yes, it whips, just like dairy cream, but goes flat faster if it warms up).
Creamy (Dairy-free) Fruit Salad
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 apple, cored and chopped (I leave the peel on)
3 Tablespoons coconut cream
3 drops lime or orange essential oil, optional
2 Tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut
Combine fruit in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut cream and essential oil, until smooth. Pour over fruit and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle with coconut.
(If you like things sweet or if your strawberries are sour, add 1 Tbsp. honey to the coconut cream mixture
This is a dairy-free version of sweetened condensed milk,
as the sweetener. For some other ways to make a substitute for sweetened condensed milk, including some with dairy, see here
It doesn't need cooked, which not only makes it super fast to make, but is great if you want to use raw honey and keep the enzymes.
Due to the fiber in this recipe, it won't be as smooth as the store product, but it is still thick, creamy, and sweet
This has one rather obscure ingredient: coconut butter
. That, however, is super easy to make, and will store at room temperature for a long time. Months, at least.
Coconut butter is plain, unsweetened
coconut ('macaroon coconut') that has been pureed in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it becomes liquid and creamy. It, like coconut oil, will solidify at temperatures under about 75 F, but can be gently heated to liquefy again. If you make your own, use at least 2 cups of coconut to begin with so there's enough in the blender or bowl to puree. This much will give you about 1 cup of coconut butter. If you want other ideas on using this coconut butter, see here
or the Tropical Traditions recipe blog
, where they call it Coconut Cream Concentrate.No-cook Honey-Sweetened Condensed (coconut) Milk
Makes about 14 ounces
2/3 c. honey (7 oz. by weight)
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. water, warm but not hot
1/2 c. coconut butter (also known as coconut cream concentrate), warmedAdd the warm water and coconut cream to the liquid measuring cup you have the honey in. Whisk together.
Mixture will thicken as it cools to room temperature, but can be used right away.
To thicken faster, cover and put it in the fridge.
This can be used any way that you'd use regular sweetened condensed milk, EXCEPT in the no-bake cheesecakes that call for lemon juice. It won't thicken up properly there, because the condensed (dairy) milk thickens by the lemon juice curdling it. Coconut milk doesn't.
Try it with the Two-Minute Fudge
One tablespoon of this sweetened condensed milk contains 1g of fiber, 1g of protein, 7g fat, and 19g sugars. The regular canned stuff has no fiber, 3g protein, 3g fat, and 22g sugar.
So this recipe is higher in fat, but it's a healthy fat
. It's lower in sugar, plus contains coconut fiber, which has shown an ability
to reduce the glycemic load of foods by slowing glucose release.