Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies

So many flourless baking creations use almond flour, so I set out to try to use a seed as the base instead. These cookies are so simple and delicious and make a nutritious, but still indulgent, snack. I have baked these a few times recently on days when nap time is almost over and I need a snack pronto before I have hangry kids roaring out of bed.  Chocolate cookies just have such a nice way of getting eaten without complaint.


1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (I have also used sunflower seeds with yummy results.)
1/4 cup coconut milk (I've used both light and regular.)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup allergy-friendly chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spread the seeds out in an even layer on the prepared pan. Roast for 8 minutes, then stir them around and bake for 7-9 minutes more. Watch them closely so that they brown without burning.
2. While the seeds roast, in small saucepan heat the coconut milk, coconut sugar, salt, and chocolate chips until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
3. Let the coconut-chocolate mixture and the seeds cool for a few minutes just to avoid danger of totally burning yourself. Then add all of the ingredients to your food processor and blend until you have a thick, uniform paste. There will be a few little bits of seeds--no problem.
4. Form the dough into about 10 cookie dough balls. Dampen the tines of a fork and make a cross-hatch pattern on each cookie. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and then remove them from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

This recipe is linked to Allergy-Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods WednesdayGluten-Free Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Happy Lil' Loves Are Baking, Fit and Fabulous Friday and Wellness Weekend.   

Hummus Shepherd's Pie with No-Roll GF Crust

Last week my husband officially accepted a new job opportunity in Oregon, so we will be enjoying sunny California for one more week before we are off on our new adventure.  I am in the process of trying to use up as much of the food in the freezer and fridge as possible, which makes for some creative cooking. What to do when you have a huge bag of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer and only a week to eat them? My husband suggested pot pie, but the bag of potatoes on the counter told me shepherd's pie, and the hummus in the fridge that I whipped up at the behest of a 10pm craving just had to be included as well. I actually think this would have been even better with broccoli in the filling, but if you, like me, have to use up those frozen mixed vegetables, here is a nice, simple dish that will do the trick. 

I have to put in a good word for the crust as well.  I first used this crust a number of weeks ago when I was experimenting with the gluten-free flours in my freezer and have used it a bunch of times already for various savory pies and tarts I have made.  This is a flaky, tender crust, which has my husband asking, "Are you sure this is good for me?"  I just love an easy, no-roll crust. Add a bit more coconut sugar, decrease the salt a bit, and sub coconut oil for the olive oil, and this crust is great for use in dessert recipes as well.

For the no-roll, flaky gluten-free crust:
3/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. xantham gum (optional. I have made it without the xantham gum, and it is just a bit crumblier.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coconut sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

For the filling:
1 cup prepared hummus (There is no exact recipe for hummus around here. When I make hummus, I just add lemon juice, tahini, and x-virgin olive oil a tablespoon at a time to 1.5 cups of chickpeas  until it suits my taste and then add about 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper and enough water to thin it out.)
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted, or steamed broccoli florets (or a combination of both!)

For the cauliflower mashed potato crust:
4 small-medium golden potatoes, diced
1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup of white beans
1 Tbsp x-virgin olive oil
1-3 Tbsp. plain non-dairy milk
1 1/2 Tbsp. goddess dressing (If you have a severe soy allergy, then just sub a Tbsp. more olive oil.)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Oil a 9 inch pie plate and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and steam your potatoes and cauliflower until very tender (20-30 mins., in my experience). 
2. Meanwhile, make the crust.  In a large bowl, mix together the flours, starch, salt, xantham gum, baking powder, and coconut sugar.  Using a fork, gradually mix in the olive oil to form petite pea-sized crumbles. In a small cup, combine 2 Tbsp. of cold water with the vinegar, and mix it slowly into the crumbles. If the dough is still dry in spots and does not hold together when you try to form it into a ball, add more cold water 1/2 Tbsp. at a time until the dough is evenly moistened and sticks together without being too wet and sticky.
3. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of your pie plate. If you added a bit too much water, and the dough is pretty sticky, just keep wetting your hands to prevent too much sticking and persevere--a bit of dough on your hands won't hurt anything.
4. Clean out your mixing bowl and use it to combine the vegetables with the hummus. Scrape the mixture evenly into the crust.
5. Once your potatoes and cauliflower are fully cooked, either mash them with a potato masher or whip them with your mixer along with the beans, olive oil, dressing, and non-dairy milk. Start with one tablespoon milk and add more as necessary to get a smooth consistency. I don't peel my potatoes, but you may if you prefer a completely smooth texture. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then scoop the potatoes onto the pie and spread them out evenly over the filling.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for  30-35 minutes, until golden on top. Whip up a side salad and enjoy!

This recipe is linked to My Meatless Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods WednesdayGluten-Free Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Fit and Fabulous Friday, and Wellness Weekend.   
 I don't think that wearing Daddy's enormous shoes will ever lose its thrill.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Brownie Batter Breakfast Pudding

I have not posted any new recipes for a while because we have been out of town visiting my parents in Washington.  (It is not as easy to experiment in someone else's kitchen, especially when their pantry looks quite a bit different from yours.)  My parents are unapologetically dairy, meat, and refined flour eaters, but they are accepting of our diet. My mom was great about going to Trader Joe's and stocking up on whatever staples she could find for us. As we were winding up our visit, I wanted to eat up all the food she had purchased especially for us, as I knew my parents wouldn't eat it themselves.  There was about half of a can of leftover black beans in the fridge that I needed to make use of on our last day, and thus this breakfast pudding was born. If you love brownie batter but never dare to eat more than a spoonful or two because you don't want to make yourself sick, then this healthified version is a dream come true.  I made this pudding again today for my breakfast and topped it with some Grape-Nuts I had coated in tahini and brown rice syrup; it is also great with some extra sunflower seed butter swirled in.  For my kids' lunch today, I mixed the pudding with some yogurt and extra banana.  There were no complaints.

2/3 cup cooked black beans (rinsed and drained, if from a can)
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. raisins
1/2 small, ripe banana
1 scoop stevia powder (1/32 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or coconut extract
1/2 scoop vegan protein powder (optional)

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Top with granola and/or bananas, or swirl in some yogurt or sunflower seed butter. I love that it is filling, delicious, and has no refined sugars.

This post is linked to Breakfast Ideas Monday, Allergy-Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Your Green Resource, Wellness Weekend and Fit and Fabulous Fridays.   

 We forgot our camera on our trip, but, right before we left, Anthony took a picture of our Joy School graduate. Meanwhile, Abiline is studying bubble-blowing.

Friday, June 8, 2012

No Bake Easy, Cheesey-Cake: Soy, Nut, and Dairy Free

Of course after I made my first successful batch of homemade coconut-cannellini cream cheese, I was immediately thinking "Cheesecake!"  Best of all, I didn't even have to bake it.  I can't call this recipe raw, though, because the cream cheese has beans in it, which are most definitely cooked.  However, healthful and delicious it is, with no refined sugars.  This is a small recipe, enough for 4 or 5 individual tarts, since I have kids and am always trying to make things miniature for little hands.  Double the recipe if you want to put this in a cheesecake or pie pan.

For the crust:
3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for a few hours to soften (or microwaved for 2 minutes) and then drained
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
pinch of sea salt

For the filling:
1 recipe homemade coconut-cannellini cream cheese
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional Topping:
3 Tbsp. dairy-free chocolate chips (preferable grain-sweetened)
1 tsp. coconut oil

1. Oil your chosen pan(s). Place the buckwheat groats in your food processor and grind to a coarse flour. Add the softened dates, coconut oil, and pinch of salt. Process until a smooth dough forms that you can easily form into a ball.
2. Press the crust dough evenly into your prepared pan(s), working it up the sides for even coverage.
3. Clean out your food processor and add the "cream cheese," maple syrup, and vanilla. Process until smooth and then scoop evenly into your prepared crust(s).
4. If you love all things chocolate like we do in our family, then melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave and drizzle on top of your cheesey-cake with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate for about an hour before enjoying to firm it up.

We love pretending in our family. Pretending that coconut and white beans are cream cheese. Pretending that we are all Mr. Toad on a wild ride (see the crazy bunch below).  It's a great life.

This post is linked to Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Allergy-Friendly Friday, My Meatless MondaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Allergy-Free Wednesday, and Wellness Weekend.

Amazing Coconut-Cannellini "Cream Cheese": Soy, Nut, and Dairy-Free

Making my own non-dairy cream cheese has been a bit of a holy grail quest for me.  When I found out that my son Sawyer was allergic to dairy products, I just started using the Tofutti cream cheese substitute, which tastes pretty good, but is not exactly full of healthful--or even identifiable--ingredients.  Plus my daughter Abiline would not tolerate the soy protein in it.  I did not have a clue how to go about making my own allergy-friendly "cream cheese," as the only homemade recipes I have been able to find are ones that contain cashews.  Then inspiration struck after I made my chickpea cheese: coconut and white beans, in the right fat to protein ratio, fermented to brilliant, spot-on cream cheese impersonation. I admit that I started crying when I tasted it.  And then I proceeded to make bagels to slather it on. And then no-bake cheesecake.  Maybe it sounds weird, but trust me folks: I think this is my best kitchen creation ever. 

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup (heaping) cooked cannellini beans (Or navy beans work fine, too.)
2 Tbsp. plain coconut milk yogurt (I used homemade.)
1/2 Tbsp. chickpea miso
6-8 Tbsp. water
2-4 Tbsp. coconut milk (The kind in the carton or full-fat both work, but use full-fat if you are going to use this for cheesecake.)

1. In a food processor (or Vitamix/Blentec, if you are lucky enough to have one of those!) blend the coconut, white beans, yogurt, miso and 1/3 cup water until smooth. Add additional water a tablespoon at a time if necessary to get a really smooth, creamy consistency.

2. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and cover completely with cheesecloth. It will look like this:

Set the bowl in warm place and let the "cheese" ferment for about 12-16 hours. Start tasting it after 12, and then if it is not tangy enough yet, keep checking back every hour. You will know when it's done because you will think to yourself, "Ohmygosh, this tastes like cream cheese!"

3.  During the fermenting process, the "cheese" loses moisture and becomes crumbly, so once it is done fermenting, you need to put it back in your blender or food processor and blend in the coconut milk, starting with two tablespoons, and then adding more--a tablespoon at a time--if necessary to get a spreadable consistency.

4. Store it in the refrigerator. It is best when eaten within the first 3-5 days.

No, I didn't try to ship the kids off. They were pretending to be robots. Very happy robots.

This post is linked to Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Breakfast Ideas Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, and Allergy-Free Wednesday and Wellness Weekend.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sugar-Free Coconut Banana Lime Cookies

I use pure stevia powder for sweetening lemonade and to add a bit of extra sweetness to homemade yogurt, but I have not used it in baked goods very much.  Overall, stevia seems a bit too good to be true, so I have been wary of overusing it.  I have seen it used in a lot of recipes lately, though, which made me wonder, "Can just a small amount of stevia really take the place of the sugar in a cookie recipe?" I decided to experiment with developing a recipe that would also get natural sweetness from banana and coconut. (The banana-coconut-lime combo is one that my best friend from college and I fell in love with in a sugar-laden banana bread recipe we discovered back then.)  I was impressed by how well these turned out.  While getting something sweet without sugar still seems suspiciously like getting something for nothing, I guess I will just enjoy my freebie and indulge in sugar-free treats like this every once in a while.

3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 medium very ripe banana
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
generous 1/4 tsp. pure stevia powder (I use Trader Joe's organic one.)

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a food processor, pulse the rolled oats until you have a fine flour.  Empty the oats into a medium bowl and mix in the baking powder, salt, and stevia powder.  Add the  coconut, oil, lime juice, and banana to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until evenly moistened.  Drop the dough by spoonfuls (I got about a dozen cookies out of this recipe) onto the prepared cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool on wire racks before eating.

During quiet play time yesterday (aka Abiline's nap time), Sawyer decided to take up spelling:

This recipe is linked to Fit and Fabulous FridayAllergy-Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, and Wellness Weekend.                  

Veggie-ful Chickpea-Black Bean "Omelette"

This recipe was inspired by Ricki Heller's soy-free breakfast scramble and by the need to have a lunch on the table pronto when we get home from church on Sunday. You see, in my family we get what my sister calls "hangry"; we just don't deal well with life on an empty stomach.  Unfortunately, my children have inherited this emotional loss of control in the face of hunger.  So when we get home from church a little after noon, and I find that there is nothing resembling a meal in the fridge, making some protein-packed chocolate chocolate chip pancakes and this "chomelette," as my husband calls it, has saved me for the past few weeks from the my kids' fearsome hanger tantrums. Plus, my husband says it is "awesome." Quick, easy, AND delicious, as well as egg, dairy, soy, and nut free: this is a great go-to recipe for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

1 Tbsp. olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup black bean flour (I prefer it with the black bean flour, but I also like it with all chickpea flour, as pictured above.)
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
Scant teaspoon of salt (a bit more than 3/4 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chile powder
1 cup plain non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
1/4 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed (optional, if no corn allergy--I just left this out of Sawyer's portion.)
1/2 cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
To top: extra barbecue sauce, salsa--or leftover miracle rice sauce is great as well!

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, oregano, and chili powder. Add the non-dairy milk, tahini, and barbecue sauce and mix to form a wet batter.  Twirl your pan about to make sure that the oil is evenly distributed, and then pour the batter evenly into the preheated pan. You can use the back of a spoon to spread it around the entire area of the pan.  Evenly distribute the pumpkin seeds, corn, spinach, tomato, and avocado over the "omelette" and let it cook for 5-7 minutes until browned on the bottom. With a spatula, quickly flip it over to the other side and cook the other side for about the same amount of time. Cut it into wedges and serve with your favorite sauce.

As you can see, the kids are much cuter with food in their tummies; no hangry faces here!

This recipe is linked to Fit and Fabulous Friday, Breakfast Ideas Monday, My Meatless MondaysJust Another Meatless MondaySlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, and Wellness Weekend.