Baked Oatmeal to go

I often hear people tell me that they eat oatmeal some mornings for breakfast but when they are in a rush, they often choose something less healthy and sustaining.  "Why not try baked oatmeal?" I say - so today's recipe is an easy grab and go baked oatmeal.  Make it at the beginning of the week and you have nearly a week's worth!



This recipe was also good timing for me as we leave today to go back to England for a couple of weeks.  I always take my own food on the plane so I have been thinking what to take for my in-the-air breakfast. I figured if  I baked my oatmeal in muffin cases, they would work perfectly!


And voila!  I also used up some of my quince puree too before we leave - but if you don't have quince, you can use unsweetened applesauce instead.  This quince oatmeal to go is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and with no added sugar or fat.

Here's the recipe:

1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 banana broken/chopped into little pieces
1/8 cup flaxseeds (whole or ground)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tbs cardamom powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1/4 cup quince puree or apple sauce/puree

Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Spoon into 7 muffin cases in a muffin pan.  Bake at 375F for 35 minutes.

To serve - just grab and enjoy if you are on the go or if you do happen to be at home, you can break one up in a bowl and pour over some extra warm non-dairy milk. Store in the fridge.


(Bet you end up having them not just at breakfast time!!! I've got to make sure I don't eat them all before I fly off.)
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Rosehip truffles revisited

I made a second batch of rosehip truffles as we have friends coming around today.  Thursday I posted the recipe - and it was one of the few recipes written by someone else that I didn't tweak and change anything on - as it seemed perfect.



However, today I did do something different and I prefer it - so you may want to give it a try - or not.  I still think both versions are great.

It was just in the dusting part. Instead of mixing the rosehip powder with cocoa powder and dusting the truffles, I just used the rose hip powder.


2 reasons:

  1. I like the color of the rosehip powder showing on the outside. Its a different color - yellowy, orangey, peachy - and will attract people to them, wondering what it is.  It sets you up for it being  a more fruity taste of truffle rather than a rich chocolate truffle
  2. We don't need chocolate or cocoa to be in all our truffles. I like the idea of these being chocolate free and more fruity and spicy instead.
Here's the recipe again in case you missed it:
Makes 20 truffles:

3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup unsulphured dried apricots
4 tbsp ground rose hip powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For Dusting - 2 tbsp rose hip powder

Process the nuts in the food processor to finely chop them.  Then add the rest of the ingredients, (except for the dusting rose hip powder).  Process for approx 1 minute until it forms into a ball and starts to stick together.

Place the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and divide into 1/2 tablespoon balls.  Roll the balls in your hands, compacting the mixture as you roll.

Roll the balls in the dusting mixture and then refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.


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Rose Hip Truffles

I made a fabulous truffle recipe today from Green Kitchen Stories. It was for Rose Hip Chrismas Truffles.  Well, its definitely not Christmas yet but they still seem perfect today!


I ordered some Rose Hip powder from Amazon and was away!

They are delightfully spicy - a real kick to them from the cayenne.  They are sweetened only by the  dried apricots. The rose hip powder has high levels of Vitamin C - they are in fact one the richest sources of Vitamin C available.  They also contain lycopene, flavonoids and are anti-inflammatory. All that in a yummy truffle with a kick!

I only wish I had some rosehips to photograph them with - but alas - only roses as we are too efficient in dead-heading our roses!

Here is the recipe:

Makes about 20 truffles:

3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup unsulphured dried apricots
4 tbsp ground rose hip powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Rolling/Dusting mixture:
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp rose hip powder

Process the nuts in the food processor to finely chop them.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Process for approx 1 minute until it forms into a ball and starts to stick together.

Place the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and divide into 1/2 tablespoon balls.  Roll the balls in your hands, compacting the mixture as you roll.

Roll the balls in the dusting mixture and then refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.


Get ready to wake up your taste buds!

I think I'll be using this recipe in my classes next week, and make some when I go back to England in a couple of weeks and.......
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The Best Homemade Soy Yogurt


My life has been transformed since I successfully started making organic soy, unsweetened yoghurt!  It makes me so happy. I want to get out of bed in the mornings, just so I can eat some yogurt!  It is so creamy and delicious and only has four ingredients:
  • organic soybeans
  • water
  • organic raw cashews
  • probiotics
The "active" part of making the recipe also takes only about 5 minutes.  Then it sits and ferments for 8 hours, then goes in the fridge - and is then ready to be gobbled up!

So here is the recipe for you to give it a try.  Let me know if it changes your life too!!

Ingredients
3/4 cup raw organic cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, then drained
32 oz carton of WestSoy organic, unsweetened plain soy milk
3 probiotic capsules or 1 scoop probiotic powder. I use Custom probiotics CP1 or their 6 strain powder


1. Put approx. 1 cup of soy milk and the soaked cashews into a blender and process until smooth and creamy.


2. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the remaining 3 cups of milk.  Whisk to combine.

3. Warm over a low heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture reaches a temperature of 110 degrees F (43 degrees C) or if you don't have a thermometer, until a few drops on your wrist feels slightly warm.  Remove from the heat. Don't let it go above this temperature.



4. Open the probiotic capsules and add the contents into the milk - or add the powder and whisk to thoroughly combine.

5. Pour into a yogurt maker and switch on, for 8 hours. If you don't have a yogurt maker,  leave the mixture to rest in covered jar/pot in a warm place in the kitchen, for 8 hours.  Taste to check the desired degree of tartness in flavor.  If it isn't as tart as you like it, leave it another hour or two.  Then refrigerate - it will thicken more as it cools.

6. Store covered in the refrigerator for upto 2 weeks.

Notes on the recipe:
a) Most non dairy recipes are typically not very thick. Adding the cashews thickens this one nicely, without having to add any other thickeners.

b) I use an infrared thermometer (~$15) to measure the temperature of the milk.  I bought mine a few months ago and love it.  Basically nothing has to touch the food - it just shoots an infrared beam and measures the temperature from that.  No washing up!  It's also fun to play with around the house and check room temperatures, each other, draughts, etc etc!  You can of course use a regular thermometer or do the wrist heat test - but its not as much fun!


c) I haven't tried this with other milks or changed the cashew nuts for another nut.  That's because I love it as it is and if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  If you give it a try with something else, do report back and let me know how it goes.

d) The yogurt machine holds the yogurt at a constant 108F.  If you don't have one, try leaving it in a switched off electric oven with only the inside light switched on. This should give it enough warmth to ferment.  Or just put it in a warm place in the kitchen.  I've tried it both ways and even when I did it side by side, there was no difference.  If the temperature where you leave it is not that warm, you may need to give it 10 - 12 hours to ferment instead of just 8 hours.

e) The probiotic capsules work perfectly.  The company, customprobiotics sells a yogurt starter, but I've never tried it, as I had the probiotics and they work just fine. If your yogurt doesn't ferment, its probably because you have used a different probiotic that isn't "live"!

f) I have only used WestSoy milk for this recipe as it is made from only whole organic, non-GMO soybeans and water. No other ingredients.  It has a high protein level and reasonable fat content.  Don't try fat free as you need the fat to make the yoghurt thicken.


g) Once you've made your first batch, instead of re-inoculating subsequent batches with fresh probiotic every time, you can just keep approx. 1/4 cup of the previous batch of yogurt and add that to the milk and cashews. The bugs will still be alive.  I tend to do this for a few batches, but then start afresh with fresh probiotics every 6 or so times.

h) Sometimes some liquid separates slightly from the yoghurt. You can pour this off or just stir it in.  Your choice, depending on how thick you want the yoghurt.  You can also strain the yogurt and make soft cheese from it too.

i) If it doesn't set or get sour, its probably because your probiotics are no longer active. This should be a spoonable yogurt.


I start my day with my yogurt with added fruit grown in our garden - like pears and figs right now -- and then also use it at other times through the day - add it with some turmeric to steamed cauliflower, make a salad dressing with it. How will you use yours?

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Quick and easy bran muffins


These healthy bran muffins probably took 30 minutes from start to eating!  Not bad, I'd say.


They were inspired by a box of rice bran I had in the cupboard and that had been in the cupboard quite a while - unopened.    I was sitting fancying a sweet-ish snack and the idea of a bran muffin came into my head.

Each muffin has more than 6g of fiber in it, is gluten free, dairy free - and there's no added oil.



Here's the recipe if you want to make something quick, easy and healthy.

Makes 6 regular size muffins
3/4 cup bran (I used rice bran)
1/2 cup whole grain flour (I used GF sorghum)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
7 tbs non dairy milk (I used flax milk)
1 small pot of unsweetened organic applesauce (4oz)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

Use a silicone muffin tray or muffin baking papers.

In a mixing bowl, mix the bran with flour and baking powder and soda.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

Spoon into the muffin cups and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick insert inside one, comes our clean, or when pressing the top of the muffin, it returns its shape.

Cool on a rack - if you aren't tempted to eat them while fresh and warm!


The raisins can be omitted or substituted with nuts or other dried fruit.
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Vegan gluten free scone recipe



In my book club this month, the chosen book was Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I'd never read any Daphne Du Maurier books before but really got into Rebecca and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The person hosting our discussion decided, true to the book, that she would put on an English tea with scones - as Mr and Mrs de Winter had every day at Manderley, in the book.


As I need gluten free food and don't eat animal foods or sugar, I offered to make my own scone - rather than have her make something special for me. I've actually never made gluten free scones before, never mind vegan gluten free scones, so it seemed like a good challenge.

And I've had some success.  I did actually use a little fat in the recipe. Normally I bake without oil but I was changing so many things in a recipe that I left in the fat.

The scones have a wonderful texture to them and taste just like a good scone should.



They didn't rise in the oven however and didn't brown on top as you would expect from a traditional scone but I rolled them thick so they didn't look flat - and the taste more than made up for lack of browning.

I had them with homemade sugar free plum chia jam.  Delicious.

Here's the recipe: Makes 6
150 ml non dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
270g gluten free flour mix
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp vegan margarine (I used earth balance)
25g raisins
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425F or 220C.  Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
2. Add the vinegar to the milk and let sit.
3. Sieve the flour into a bowl and stir in the baking powder.
4. Rub in the margarine with your fingers until fully incorporated.
5. Stir in the sugar and raisins.
6. Add nearly all the milk solution and bring the mixture together with your hands to form a soft dough. Don't over work.
7. If necessary add the remaining milk to bind it all together.
8. Roll out gently on a floured board to a thickness of about 1 inch.
9. Cut out the dough with a pastry cutter and place the scones on the baking tray.
10. Reroll the dough scraps as needed to use it all up.
11. Bake the scones for around 20 minutes.
12. Leave to cool and enjoy with sugar free jam and coconut cream, if desired.



They are best eaten the same day that you make them. I will be trying the recipe again, without the fat and will let you know how I get on. I think I'll do savory scones next too.....with some nutritional yeast in them to give a cheesy flavor.

I hope Mrs de Winters would be satisfied and wouldn't return them to the kitchen!  I think she'd enjoy them, like I have!
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Healthy fudge recipe

If you are fancying a tasty treat, or want to make a healthy gift for a friend's birthday, try this healthy walnut fudge recipe.



Don't be put off by the ingredients - yes, it has black beans in it.  You don't taste them at all - and they provide a nice texture and great fiber in a treat.

Here is the recipe:
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 banana, cut in slices
1/2 cup raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup pitted dates
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup ground rolled oats/oat flour (grind rolled oats in coffee grinder or food processor)
2 tbs ground flax seeds
2 tbs chia seeds

Decorations:
Ground walnuts (ground in a coffee grinder or food processor)

Combine all the ingredients, except the ground walnuts, in a food processor and blend well until thoroughly mixed and a dough is formed.

Divide the mixture into 2 and from two long logs of dough on a board.

Roll each log in the ground walnuts to cover completely and as rolling, shape nicely.

Use a sharp knife to cut the logs into discs/rounds.  Store in the fridge and enjoy!

The recipe was inspired by Including Cake. It's a wonderful vegan fudge recipe with fruit, beans, no added sugar or oil, no dairy, and a good source of omega 3 plants based fats from flax and chia seeds.  They also add to the fiber content too.  In the photos, one fudge log was rolled in dessicated coconut and the other log in ground walnuts. I liked the walnut ones better than the coconut ones.  The coconut seemed to be a little overpowering and took away from the fudge, in my opinion.  You could try other ground/finely chopped ingredients too.
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Fig and Broccoli Tartine

One of the dishes we made in our Food as Medicine classes this week was Fig and Broccoli tartine. Tartine is the French word for open faced sandwich. It sounds so much nicer than just "sandwich".



These are lovely - and you can really be creative with your toppings, depending what is in season. I just happened to see some green figs for sale and our fig tree doesn't ripen until the fall, so thought it would be nice to use those - but you could put anything on top of the broccoli.


I don't generally eat a lot of broccoli - no specific reason, just that I don't seem to use it much - but this is a great way to serve raw broccoli and get all the benefits of some good cruciferous vegetables.

Here's the recipe:

Broccoli spread
1 head of broccoli
2 stems of basil
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
2 garlic cloves
Approx 1/2 cup water
Pepper to taste

Tartine
Artisan 100% whole grain bread, thinly sliced
Fresh figs, sliced

Decorate/garnish: pea shoots, pomegranate seeds
Drizzle:  fig or pomegranate balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses

Combine all the ingredients for the broccoli spread in a blender or food processor with half of the water and puree. Add more water as needed until smooth, stopping and scraping down as necessary.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more water if it seems dry.
Toast the bread.
Spread the broccoli spread generously on the toast.
Top with figs, pea shoots, pomegranate seeds and drizzle sparingly with balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses.

Instead of the pea shoots, you could try leafy sprouts or thinly sliced radish or anything that makes it look pretty!

As the bread we used was whole wheat, I made my own gluten free tartine using a square quinoa/rice cake - and it looked just as pretty - maybe even prettier, as you can see in the above 2 photos!



Another variation for those with nut allergies is using chickpeas instead of hazelnuts in the broccoli spread. I've made it using one drained can of chickpeas and no nuts.  The spread can also be used as a pesto for pasta or vegetables, by adding a little more water to it.

So get your creative hat on and think about some pretty tartines for summer lunches, or even dinners on hot evenings.
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Thursday's Food as Medicine group - final class

Yesterday was the final class for my Thursday group.  10 months together.  I'll miss them.


We had  a lovely few hours - covered a lot of things and made some yummy healthy food together.  We ate a rainbow - with no added sugar, salt, or oil - and no dairy or gluten either. I'll share some of the recipes soon.

The photos are after we'd eaten most of the lunch together with only the sugar free chocolate mousse remaining.


Two new classes start in September.....so I only have one group continuing through the summer now.

Time to get planning some new things, I think.

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Food as medicine

It was our final Food as Medicine class today. The class has been going 10 months now.  Its been such fun.


Today, we discussed how to read food labels and what to look for, and then I offered them a system of assessing the food they eat each day, with a goal of getting 100 points a day.

Then we cooked together and on the menu was a pecan pate, bell pepper and tomato soup, dill and horseradish potato salad and chocolate mousse.  It all went down well, and a lovely and colorful, as well as tasty.



It was a lovely few hours - and I'll really miss the Tuesday class.  My Thursday class ends this week too, so the summer will be a little quieter.
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Bell Pepper and tomato soup


This is my new favorite soup!  I love it.  It's smooth and warming with a little kick. Today has been rainy, which is sooooooo unusual for Northern California at this time of year, so I decided to make some soup and feel all warm and cozy.



Here is the recipe:

40g or 1/4 cup red lentils
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped/crushed
5 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped or a can of tomatoes (eg Pomi chopped tomatoes)
2 peppers - one red and one yellow
400g or 1 3/4 cups water or stock
shake or two of cayenne pepper
To serve - hemp and pumpkin seeds

1. Begin by grinding the lentils into a powder/flour, using a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Put to one side.
2. Dry-fry the onion, garlic and peppers in a medium saucepan, until soft (approx 5 - 10 minutes)
3. Add the stock/water, tomatoes, ground lentils and cayenne and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes
4. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
5. Serve sprinkled with hemp and pumpkin seeds.

You can use just red peppers, but I like to use one red and one yellow - just coz they look pretty! They are a good source of Vitamin C and also carotenoids.




The lentils are used like flour, to thicken the soup.  I'd never tried using ground lentils in a recipe - but grinding them first helps you achieve a smooth texture to the soup and they cook quickly.  I can see myself using them to thicken lots of other dishes too.



It's quick and easy to make.  As the soup will be pureed, you don't have to spend a long time on chopping things finely, as the blender will do that.  And the kick of cayenne (to your taste) gets your taste buds dancing!


If you feel like you need to cozy up, give it a try.  A healthy, warming, tasty soup.
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I've been tango'd!


Remember the TV advertisements in the UK with the orange man saying "you've been tango'd"?  That's how I've been feeling this week.  You see we leave for England today and I hate to see any of our homegrown fruit go to waste, so I've been busy dehydrating more oranges!


Using a mandoline to slice all the fruit, leaves me smelling strongly of oranges, but also, as they dehydrate, the whole house smells of them! I tried leaving the door closed in the room where the dehydrator was, but when I went in to check on them, it was quite heady and over powering!!!  Made you definitely feel like you had been tango'd!



Even by the time I went to bed, all I could smell was oranges!


But I have to say, I have been loving the orange slices.  I've dipped some of them in sugar free homemade raw chocolate (78%) and they taste just like Terry's chocolate oranges!  And I love that they are crispy.




I will take a few slices back with me to the UK - for my own snacking - and also so others can have a taste.


And just in case you have no idea was being "tango'd" is all about:

 Here is one of the early adverts with the orange man:



And here is a compilation of some modern versions:




Think you may have the idea now?

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Brussels Slaw with hazelnuts and dates

I made a lovely coleslaw recipe last week - using brussels sprouts instead of cabbage.  It doesn't taste of brussels sprouts however - and my husband who doesn't like sprouts enjoyed it and then a couple of people in my food as medicine class who don't like sprouts also enjoyed it!


Yeah - a way to enjoy the healthy cruciferous vegetable Brussels Sprouts!

I used a mandoline to slice the sprouts - only slicing until you get to the more solid stalk part, then discarded the real white piece.



Here's the recipe, which I adapted from one at Feasting at home:

2 cups brussels sprouts (approx 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped (approx 5 dates)
1/8 cup finely diced red onion
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut nectar or liquid sweetener
1/2 tablespoon walnut butter
Zest of one orange




  1. Finely slice the brussels, beginning at the top of each one and working down to the end, discarding the hard ends.  You can do this by hand or carefully with a mandolin! Place in a bowl.
  2. Slice the pitted dates and add to the brussels
  3. If not roasted, roast the hazelnuts in a dry pan for a few minutes.  Rub off the skins by placing the nuts in a tea towel and rubbing them together.  Place the roasted nuts in a ziploc bag and crush lightly with a rolling pin or back of a spoon.  Add to the brussels, along with the chopped onion and half the zest.
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk the vinegar, coconut nectar and walnut butter and pour over the slaw. Mix well.  
  5. Serve in a bowl/plate, garnished with the remaining zest.
The zest of the orange seems to bring all the flavors together in harmony. I first tried it without, but it is far better with it.


It lasts a couple of days in the fridge - if you can stop eating it!

Let me know if you give it a try.  And yes, the correct term is Brussels Sprout - the S goes on the Brussels. They may have originated in Brussels, Belgium, but it is not certain.
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Chia Rhubarb Ginger Muffin Tops

Rhubarb is one of my favorite fruits  vegetables. Yes, it is officially a vegetable, but  I still think of it as a fruit.  I've been looking for it for the past month, but it seems later than I remember this year. Anyhow - I found some this week and so had to make something with it!


I made some chia rhubarb and ginger muffin tops.  Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free.  The chia seeds add some great omega-3 fats to the muffin too.  You'll be seeing more chia, flax and hemp recipes and posts here, as my Food as Medicine classes next week are all about essential fatty acids.



I made these gluten free, using a GF oat flour, but you could easily substitute for a whole grain flour with gluten, such as spelt or wheat or.....  They will probably rise a little more with a flour with gluten too, so if you try them, send me a photo.

Here is the recipe: Chia Rhubarb Ginger Muffin Tops

Ingredients:
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups GF oat flour (or whole grain flour)
1/2 cup GF rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut nectar
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup finely chopped rhubarb (approx 2 - 3 stalks)
1/3 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
Optional - seeds or nuts or oats to sprinkle for topping



  1. Mix the chia seeds with the water in a jug and set aside while you prepare all the other ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with coconut oil spray
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and spices and mix.
  4. In a smaller separate bowl, combine the oil, coconut nectar, orange juice and vanilla extract.  Add the thickened chia seed mix and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the rhubarb and raisins and stir thoroughly.
  6. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups. If using, sprinkle the topping on each muffin. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until springy to the touch.  Cool.



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Two Ingredient Nutella Ice Cream

The recipe we used my homemade nutella for in our recent dairy-alternative class was to make Nutella ice cream.  There are only two ingredients - nutella and a banana.


It is a version of frozen banana vegan ice cream - that is creamy and delicious and with the nutella, you wouldn't even think of having dairy ice cream again.


Here's how to make it:

Ingredients - for 1 serving.
1 banana
1 tablespoon Nutella - preferably homemade

Slice the banana and freeze overnight.  Put the banana in a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the machine a few times, but keep going. It will take a couple of minutes and suddenly, the "ice cream" will come together. Add the nutella and blend again.

Serve immediately and enjoy.


If you haven't had frozen banana "ice cream" before you'll be amazed at the creaminess of it.  It is very satisfying and so quick to make. The consistency of soft serve ice cream. Obviously you can add whatever you like to the banana if for some reason, nutella isn't you thing.... from other frozen fruit to spices to nut butters to ......

Give it a try and you'll be converted to the ultimate healthy ice cream - with no cream, nor refined sugar.



Instead you get fiber from the banana, plus phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins.  I'm going to make this for my ice-cream loving dad when I go back to England next month!  Yes, he's a vanilla ice cream man, but we'll see!
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Homemade Nutella - Hazelnut cocoa spread

Hot on the heels of the latest news this week about 5 tons of Nutella being stolen in Germany - a heist worth $20,710, I made my own last week...but now I think it may not be safe in the kitchen cupboard....Maybe I need to open a safety deposit box to protect it.....

If you give this a go - which you should, as it is so delicious - be sure to keep it in a safe place!!!!!!!

And I hope blogging about a healthy hazelnut cocoa spread recipe isn't considered stealing from Nutella either...but while their recipe has sugar as the first ingredient, plus milk, and palm oil, I think this version is a lot easier on the body.


A few weeks ago you may recall that I made some hazelnut butter...just because I had a few hazelnuts left over. And it got me thinking.......I haven't had Nutella in years.... My biggest Nutella memories come from a trip to Paris many years ago when all I wanted to eat was the Nutella and banana crepes they sold at street vendors.  My husband says he won't ever take me back to Paris again as I won't want to enjoy the fancy restaurants, I'll just want the crepes!

But maybe making my own nutella - a much healthier version - will get me past that and I will get to go to Paris again one day (never mind that the crepes have gluten in so I couldn't eat them now anyhow!).



The recipe was based on one from Chocolate covered Katie. CCK is amazing.  She has just incredible recipes. Here's what I did:

1 cup roasted hazelnuts
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup raw cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut nectar
1/4 cup homemade cashew milk or non diary milk of your choice

If your hazelnuts aren't already roasted, roast them for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Rub them in a tea towel to get most of the skins off.


Blend the nuts in a Vitamix or food processor until they turn into hazelnut butter.  You may need to scrape down the sides as you do this.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.

Enjoy!  We used it in our dairy alternative class for a recipe and it was a hit with everyone! I'll share that recipe later in the week.
Comments (2)

Hot chocolate chai

I made some more tea-free chai this week and have been enjoying it with warm homemade cashew milk, but today I wanted a little change. And so I made hot chocolate chai.



Basically, raw cacao powder plus the infused chai spices. No sweetener, no milk neither dairy nor non-dairy.  I'm drinking it as I type and its like music, with such a harmony of spices.


I've never been one for hot chocolate drinks - mainly because I don't like hot milky, creamy things - so this suits me fine.  You could always add some non-dairy milk to this however to suit your taste.

But the spices come together so nicely.  There isn't any that is trying to push its way to the front. It really is perfect harmony.

It's not that cloying sweet chocolatey taste either.  I'm finding it very satisfying!

Chai spices infusing
Here is the chai recipe from a previous blog post.  I added 1 tablespoon of cacao powder to 8 ounces of chai spice mix.

Have you tried chocolate chai before?  I remember my first ever experience of chai was a chai chocolate fudge I made!  It's taken me all this time to get back to combining chocolate with chai!.
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Homemade almond yogurt

After my success with making oat yogurt, I thought I'd try my hand at almond yoghurt. I've tried it before on a few occasions, but it wasn't successful.  The previous methods were using a yogurt starter, specifically for non-dairy products, and a yogurt maker.  But this time I thought I'd just adapt the oat method and use almonds instead.


It produced a delicious creamy yogurt - that just looks like cream.  I fermented it for 12 hours on the back of my range - so a reasonably warm spot and the sourness was as I like it after that time.  After refrigerating, the yogurt thickened up and is a perfect accompaniment to my homemade muesli.

Yoghurt-in-progress - on the back of my range, keeping warm.

The only ingredients in the yogurt are almonds, water and probiotics.  If you look at the labels of bought almond yogurts, they frequently have many chemicals included plus lots of sugar. I don't think this needs any sugar.  At my class yesterday, I let my students taste both the almond and oat yogurt. They preferred the almond - and considered it tastier than any bought non-dairy yogurt.


My previous attempts all resulted in gritty yogurt, which separated a lot and gave more water than yogurt.  This has none of those issues and doesn't even need stirring before use in the morning.
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Spring Pesto

I made a no-added-oil pesto this week to garnish a parsnip and cauliflower soup.  I felt the pesto acknowledged that it was now spring and lifted the more wintery flavors of the soup into this early April time.


But then I finished the soup and still had some parsley and spinach left, so made some more pesto and found different ways to use it!...... as a dip, on a sandwich, as a dressing, ...

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup baby organic spinach
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 cup (packed) flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. If necessary, add more water to achieve the consistency you desire. You may have to stop the processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides so that everything is combined.



Enjoy it on a variety of different dishes! The photo above shows it on a sunflower cracker with sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber and black cumin! A tasty lunch.

You won't miss the oil at all!  The taste of the parsley and lemon just excite the taste buds too much to want oil!

Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in antioxidant flavonoids and is a good source of folic acid.  Chives are a member of the allium family and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral.  They also contain quercetin which helps reduce histamine and so helps with hay fever and seasonal allergies.

Whip yourself up a dose of healthy green pesto and put a spring in your step this spring time! Your body will love you for it.
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Vibrant Quinoa Salad

I made this lovely green quinoa salad for some friends last week, when they visited for lunch.


It is very easy to make and seems so perfect for springtime with the lovely green colors.  It tastes nice and fresh with the lemon juice and mint.

Give it a try and let me know what you think:

Ingredients:
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water
4 scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup frozen green garbanzos
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1/4 cucumber, diced

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve to remove the bitter coating.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the quinoa.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. When its cooked, the quinoa should still have a little crunch.  Rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.  Place in a large bowl.
  3. Put the green garbanzo beans and peas in boiling water and cook briefly for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.  Add to the quinoa.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Serve.
  5. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Can be made in advance.
You can obviously add whatever vegetables you like to this dish. I like the green garbanzo beans - as they are new in the stores here, so its good to find a nice dish for them...but you could use sugar snaps or edamame or another vegetables instead.  You could also try celery, or green pumpkin seeds or green pistachios.


The dish provides a good protein source and calcium from the quinoa, and plenty of different phytonutrients from the vegetables and lemon.  The cumin is rich in phytoestrogens and may help with osteoporosis and diabetes.
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All-day Long Oatmeal Bites

I have been making these oatmeal bites so frequently over the last couple of weeks...but they are always eaten before I take their photograph, so I haven't blogged about them before today!



Anyhow - they are my current favorite bite. You can eat them any time of the day  - from breakfast through to a snack to a dessert after dinner. I love them. They were inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe. They are sooooo tasty.  I made them for our choir retreat and got lots of comments, and everytime someone tastes them, they want the recipe. They are perfect for a breakfast on the go - or even a dinner on the go, as I've taken a couple to the city with me in the evening, to keep me going!


Anyhow, here is the recipe:

Scant 1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 cup cashew nut butter (I use Artisana brand)
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit


Preheat the oven to 350F

1. Mash the applesauce with the cashew butter in a bowl until combined.
2. Add all the other ingredients and stir well.
3. Use a small cookie scoop to shape approx 15 cookies on a lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for 14 minutes, until the base is brown.



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Lentil Cottage Pie

One of the dishes I made for the choir retreat this weekend was a lentil pie with potato topping.  It is similar to a cottage or shepherds pie that are popular in England - but is vegan.  I hadn't made it before, but was really pleased with how it came out.  So I thought I'd share the recipe.



The recipe makes enough for 10 people and it can all be prepared the day ahead.  Then you just need to heat it in the oven for 30 minutes, and its ready to serve. Or you can make it in advance and freeze it. The perfect dish for entertaining when you want to not be in the kitchen on the day!

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
1 head of celery, chopped
300g/10 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 cans cooked green lentils or 500g/1lb dried green lentils
100 ml red wine
500 ml water
3 tbsp tomato puree

Topping - Barries Mash
5 large sweet potatoes
Non dairy milk
Bunch Fresh thyme

Clean the potatoes and bake them in the oven until soft (approx 45 - 60 minutes).

While the potatoes are baking, dry fry the onions, carrots, celery together in a large pan, until soft and golden.  No oil is necessary. If the vegetables start sticking to the pan, add a little water - 1 tablespoon at a time.  Use a lid to keep the moisture in.

Add the mushrooms and cook with the lid on for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and add either drained and rinsed canned lentils or the dried lentils.   Pour over the wine and stock.  If using canned lentils, cook for 10 minutes.  If using dried lentils, cook for longer, according to package instructions (normally about 30 minutes).

When the lentils are cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the tomato puree, and season to taste.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove and let cool for a while, until you can handle them.  Scrape out the potato flesh from its skin, keeping the skin for the topping.  Mash the potato flesh well, adding non dairy milk until it is the consistency you like for mash.

Chop up the skins of the potato with the leaves from fresh thyme.

The front two smaller versions didn't have potato skins on top
To assemble the pie, put the lentil mixture in a dish. If there is a lot of liquid, don't add it all. You can always have some as a sauce/gravy to serve.  (The amount of liquid will depend on whether you use cooked or dried lentils and how much they absorbed. There should be some liquid but not excessive liquid.) Top with the mashed potato.  Sprinkle the chopped potato skins over the mash.

The dish can be frozen at this time (when cooled). Defrost before baking. To serve, heat the oven to 190C or 375F and bake for 30 minutes. The potato skins will crispen up as it bakes.


The idea of using the potato skins on top of the mash came from an old recipe I used to make from my aga cookbook. It was called Barries mash.  It's a lovely way to add crunch to mash - and in this recipe, is a great alternative to the usual grated cheese put on top to crispen things up. Instead, the skins get crispy and it add a lovely texture.  I'd never done it with sweet potatoes before, but it works well.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, no added oil.

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Good things come in lemon packages

So here is the dessert I have made for this evening's dinner with friends.  I've called it "Good things come in lemon packages".


It is individual lemon sparkle cheesecakes - dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free along with a couple of pieces of homemade raw lemon chocolate - also dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free.

Both are small in size, but that's all desserts need to be - a little taste.



The raw lemon chocolate is the one I showed in my blog post yesterday - with dehydrated lemon rind.  It is like a bark but I added a little bird motif to the other side - especially suitable this time of year as the birds are all getting busy and thinking about nest building.



Making the cheesecake was an interesting lesson in portion size. I have made it before as a large cheesecake but this time, as I was making it in little pots I made only a 1/3 of the recipe.  One third of the recipe yielded 10 little pots!  That means the full cheesecake would make 30 servings.  At most, we tend to cut a full cheesecake into 12 pieces - not 30.

I tied on little spoons for the pots of lemon sparkle as I am taking these to a friend's house for dinner and didn't want to be stuck with only large spoons that won't fit inside!  And yes, the 'sparkle' in the lemon sparkle cheesecake? There's a little surprise in the cheesecake that gives it a "sparkle"!  Can't tell you what it is as it will ruin the surprise for this evening!



Next time you make a dessert, think about how much we really need. It's great to have a little something sweet at the end of the meal with friends, but we only need a taste.
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Happy Valentine's Day

I made some raw sugar free and dairy free chocolates for my sweetheart today.  I hadn't made dairy free white chocolate before...in fact, I've never made any white chocolate before!

Here they are:

Strawberry and White chocolate just poured in the molds

Above shows his box of goodies including the strawberry hearts, strawberry and coconut white chocolate bark, and then the following dark chocolate barks: pomegranate and pink peppercorn; goldenberry; and heart sprinkles.

We are off to see the movie "Amour" for Valentine's day.  Heard such good reviews about it and thought it apropos to see it on Valentine's day.

Hope you have a lovely day ie a day filled with with love.xxx
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Gluten Free Oat yogurt

I tried making yoghurt with oats - and it worked! I really like it.

Oat yoghurt in the process

I used whole kernel GF oat groats also known as oat berries,  with some GF rolled oats.   You can find oat kernels in Whole Foods or health food stores, or if you want gluten free ones, Chateau Cream Hill Estates does a gluten free whole kernel oats, which are available for order online from several GF suppliers. Whole kernel oats look a little like brown rice.



I soaked the oats for 8 hours then fermented them on the back of my aga (stove) for 16 hours.  I'm loving it on my oat muesli every morning.  Oats on Oats.  A healthy yogurt! No sugar. No preservatives. Just oats, water and probiotics!

Warming/fermenting on the back of the aga
Want to come round for breakfast and try some?
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Food as Medicine Group - Beans

My two "Food as Medicine" classes this week are focusing on the health benefits of beans/legumes/lentils.

Here are a couple of photos of two of the dessert items we will be making together.


I'll share some of the recipes later.  Both of these are gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free.

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Spice Cake

For Christmas Day, I made myself a spice cake instead of having a rich Christmas pudding or cake.  I've made it since too - as I really like the recipe.  It's only small so you don't end up eating it every day for a week as desserts are meant to be treats!

It's gluten free (using GF oat flour), has no refined sugar (using low glycemic load coconut nectar instead), fat free (using applesauce instead), dairy free (using homemade almond milk instead) and full of lovely anti-oxidant spices.

I made it in a small half dome cake tin - so it looked a little like an English Christmas pudding.  You can, of course, add frosting/icing - but I like the spices so don't add anything.

If you don't have a half dome tin, bake it in muffin tins or a small square tin.

It was adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe for Egg Nog Spice cake.


Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup GF oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon coconut nectar
2 tablespoons almond milk or other nut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup organic raisins

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then pour the dry into the wet.
Stir until just combined, then pour in your selected baking tin.
Cook at 350 F for 20 - 25 minutes, depending on the tin.
Remove, let cool if you can - and enjoy.

You'll also enjoy the lovely smell it gives to your home.
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Melted Snowman Dessert

I made some little melted snowmen in honor of it not snowing here!

I really like surprises...so this recipe appeals to me in that you serve up a little jar.....


....... and then open it up to find the melted snowman inside




Get it? The two raisins are his eyes, his carrot nose and currants as his buttons....!

Of course you can be elegant and serve this in a shot glass instead



The dessert is a hazelnut cream.  It's rich and full of flavor - which is why you only need a small amount.

Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
1 cup non dairy milk ( I used homemade hazelnut milk)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
(Optional for snowman - 2 raisins, 3 currants, orange sprinkle or carrot triangle)

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in a 350F oven for approx 5 minutes until golden and fragrance.  Transfer them onto to a kitchen towel and rub them in the towel to remove most of their skin.  Let them cool.  (If serving in  a glass, finely chop 1/2 tablespoon for garnish).
  2. Place the remaining skinned hazelnuts, sugar, and lemon zest in a food processor until finely ground into a paste.
  3. Combine the hazelnut mixture with the milk, vanilla seeds, cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil the reduce the temperature and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken.  Remove the cinnamon stick.
  4. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour into small jars and decorate or into shot glasses and sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts.  
  6. Can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.
Don't feel bad eating the snowman...he had melted anyhow ;-D
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Bookclub Xmas luncheon

It was our book club Xmas luncheon today.

Always a lovely day :-D

We choose our books for next year and what month we want to host, we have a Yankee swap where we each give a book, and then we have a yummy potluck lunch together with champagne and wine.


I took dessert and made a sugar free, dairy free and gluten free lemon cheesecake.  I was wondering this morning how to decorate it, so I decided on making some raw sugar free chocolate to go on top.  I had a lovely Christmas tree and reindeer chocolate transfer sheet so I put half of the raw chocolate on the sheet, then broke it into large piece and placed on the cheesecake.


This time I used "sweet freedom" as the sweetener for the chocolate.  It is a brand I bought in England. It is a natural sweetener made from apples and grapes. It worked wonderfully with the chocolate and was much easier to combine than the sticky coconut nectar. I'll be using it again!  If you live in England - give it a try.  It's great.


The rest of the chocolate I made my favorite strawberry and pink peppercorn flavor in little triangles.


It was a lovely day and I'm looking forward to all our book choices for next year.

Do you have any books you plan on reading next year?
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Food as Medicine Group

In my "food as medicine" groups this week - Tuesday and Thursday - we discussed the effects of sugar in our diet, sugar substitutions, insulin resistance, diabetes, glycemic index, glycemic load etc.

(Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, grain free) walnut roulade with pomegranates
For the cooking part of the class we learned how to bake desserts with low glycemic load foods, for those special occasions when we have treats.  Even when desserts are made healthier, they are still foods you shouldn't eat every day...but when an occasion arises, it's nice to eat something that is made from nutritious food.

The groups made some delicious food including a walnut and pomegranate roulade, a cranberry and pear tart, choux puffs and individual citrus and chocolate cakes.  They looked so beautiful too.

(Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free) Cranberry and Pear Tart

They were good sessions and people seemed to enjoyed the end result!  I wonder what they'll make again at home for Christmas and friends and family.

(Fat free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free) Individual Citrus Cake

All the dishes were gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.  In addition,
  • the walnut roulade had no flour in it - only walnuts 
  • the cranberry tart also had no flour, and used almonds and walnuts instead, it used flaxseeds as an alternative to eggs, and used dates as its sweetener
  • the citrus cake used oat flour and replaced fat with applesauce
  • the choux buns used sorghum flour and coconut milk for their cream

Which one would you chose?
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Strawberry and pink peppercorn raw chocolate

I've been making raw chocolate today.  Yes, chocolate that has health benefits and is refined sugar free, dairy free and gluten free!

The recipe needs a little tweaking still, but the taste is wonderful.  I don't think reworking the recipe will be too much of a hardship!



You may recall at the gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free dessert class I taught a couple of months ago, I did dried strawberry and pink peppercorn cookies. I just love the combination so tried that as one of my raw chocolate flavors.

It is yummy. I used coconut nectar as the sweetener and it didn't combine completely with the chocolate so I'll try reducing it a little next time....maybe tomorrow!


I love this new mold I bought in England. It make a perfect sized bite...4cm x 2.5 cm. And the chocolate tempered well, with a lovely glossy sheen.

I'm hoping the recipe will be good for my Food as Medicine classes next week.....

Watch out - strawberry and pink peppercorn will be a flavor combination popping up everywhere soon. Remember you heard it here first! :-D

What's your favorite flavor?
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Starry, starry delights....

Santa has been busy preparing a few healthy edible gifts for the holiday season.


But I hope you'll be nice Santa, and won't make us wait to see what is inside.  Go on Santa, open up the tin.....

Look at his delight!  Inside are starry, starry delights!


They are healthy squares, decorated with edible gold stars ******


Here's the simple recipe - Oat, walnut, and raisin starry delights:

1/3 cup GF oat flour (or use GF rolled oats and process in a food processor until a flour consistency)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles - eg edible gold stars

If using rolled oats, make them into flour first in the food processor.

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and process thoroughly. To begin with, it won't look like it will ever come together, but keep processing and eventually it'll form a ball in the processor.  Timing will very depending on the power of your processor will be at least 2 minutes.
Remove from the processor and flatten on parchment paper. Use a rolling pin and roll into a square or rectangle.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.  This will yield approximately 16 x 1 inch squares.  Decorate or leave plain. Store in the refrigerator.

Arrange in a small tin or box for gifting or enjoy for yourself.


They can last 2 weeks in the fridge or can be frozen.

Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free.  You can cut them into bars for larger snacks/cookies or roll them into balls if you prefer.
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Anniversary cake for two - chocolate and ginger

It's our wedding anniversary today so I made a cake for two (it could even be for one, but not today!). Seventeen wonderful years together.

It's only 2 inches diameter by 2 inches high.  A perfect little celebratory cake.



So often one of the issues with eating desserts is that they feed a few and then you still have left overs.  Thus you don't just eat dessert one night as a treat, but you keep eating it to finish it off.  I'm quite taken with the idea of creating desserts for 1 or 2 people so you eat it in one sitting, for an occasion, and then that's your treat done.  Making desserts without eggs means its much easier to make smaller versions as you don't have to try to halve eggs etc.

This cake is chocolate and ginger.  I was inspired by the small cake idea from this German Chocolate Cake for One.   I used Katie's recipe, using a gluten free flour blend, coconut palm sugar instead of sugar and ginger extract instead of vanilla extract.  I baked it in the microwave but I think next time I'll use the oven. I'm not a keen microwave user.  I made a different icing/frosting using coconut cream and walnut butter.


The whole cake is gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. The sweetener I used throughout was coconut palm sugar, including grinding up the sugar to make a powdered version for the frosting.

It's yummy and cute!  And the icing/frosting is something I will definitely be using frequently.  It's delicious and thick and creamy and fluffy and just wonderful.  I'll be trying some different flavorings in it too - thinking it would go well in my cream puffs.....  I'll definitely be using it in my "food as medicine" classes next week.  It lasts a while in the fridge too and doesn't deflate.  A great dairy free whipped topping.

So this cake is for you, hubby dear. Happy anniversary xxxxxx.  Nearly as cute as you :-D
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Tastiest food of the week - Chai fudge

I've never had anything "chai" before.....mainly because Chai normally has something to do with  tea and dairy milk - neither of which I like!!! But when I read a recipe for chai fudge it sounded so good with all those spices in it, that I had to give it a try.  It was a friend's birthday so it seemed like a good reason to make a treat for her.


The fudge is gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free - and raw, so keeps those wonderful nutrients of the raw cacao bean.  There is homemade almond milk in it, plus cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  It really is the spices that make it, oh, and the chocolate!!!

It was a little bit squishier than you would normally think of for fudge and in fact it turned out to be a lovely thick dipping fudge for some dried apples I had...but for my friend's birthday, I rolled it in crushed pecans so you could eat it without getting your fingers dirty!


The texture is divine!  So smooth and creamy yet light and kind of fluffy in a way.... I wish you could try some!

Then when I had a friend over for dinner this week, I used the same fudge inside some gluten free profiteroles I made!

I will have to experiment more with this combination of chocolate and spices.  Definitely my tastiest food of the week!...maybe month.....maybe.....
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Quince breakfast parfait

So have you been out buying up quince this week?  If you live in Northern California - just give me a call and you can have some of mine.


As I mentioned earlier in the week, I made a quince granola by baking gluten free rolled oats, quinoa flakes and puffed brown rice with quince sauce (puree). I also added some cinnamon and allspice to it. It created a nice crispy, no added oil nor refined sugar, gluten free cereal.  So I decided to use it to make a breakfast parfait this morning, layering the granola with spoonfuls of quince puree.


It looked pretty and instead of my usual throw together breakfast, it felt like I had paid attention and seemed like a treat.  If tasted yummy too with a nice contrast of the smooth puree with the crunchy granola.  I like the color of the quince too.  I know most recipes will say quince turns pink, but that seems to only occur if you add sugar.  Personally, I like it's unsweetened custardy yellow color.

So did your breakfast look this good?
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Ceres gluten free, sugar free, dairy free dessert class

Saturday's "blissful celebrations" class was great! We made 4 different desserts plus a caramel sauce all of which were gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free.



 We made:
  •  a lemon cheescake - the base was just almonds and dates and the filling was based on cashew nuts
  • profiterole puffs made from choux pastry and filled with a coffee creme patisserie
  • strawberry and pink peppercorn quinoa cookies
  • chestnut roulade filled with coconut milk "cream" and pomegranate.



There was a lot to cook (and eat!), in a limited time span with lots of new techniques, but everyone did a great job.


Hope you enjoy the photos of the class :-D  Thanks to all who came and especially to Kendra and Alysha who volunteered to help me.
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Tastiest food of the week - strawberry and pink peppercorn

My tastiest food of the week this week was a cookie I made combining freeze dried strawberries with pink peppercorns.  I made two version and my favorite was the shortbread one.  Both versions were gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free.

Strawberry and pink peppercorn shortbreads (GF, DF, SF)
My sister had sent me some freeze dried strawberries as she thought I might like them. The plan was, actually, that she'd bring them to Florida with her this summer when we met up on vacation (she lives in the UK) and give them to me there.  Dutifully, we brought the strawberries all the way from the UK to the US, then forgot to give them to me, so took them all the way home again, and then mailed them!

So while the carbon footprint of these dried strawberries wasn't particularly good - their taste was. Unlike most freeze dried fruit, these were still a little chewy and not just dry.   But combining them with pink peppercorns was amazing.

Strawberry and pink peppercorn quinoa cookies (GF, SF, DF)

I used the combination in a recipe for my cooking class this weekend and people were reluctant! Those making the cookies didn't want to add them....others were talking about making them without, but when they tasted them, everyone agreed, it was a great combo!

So give it a try.  They work well with other pink fruits too, like dried cranberries, or raspberries.... Pink peppercorns aren't strong, and the combo just works well.
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Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free dessert cooking class

Tomorrow is my GF, SF, DF "blissful celebrations" dessert cooking class at Ceres in Sebastopol.


We will be making and tasting:

Lemon (un-)cheesecake



Coffee choux puffs



Pear cake and 
Chestnut roulade.


There is still time to sign up. It's a hands on class with lots to learn.  Come join us!

And as a bonus, if we have enough time, I'll teach you have to make a "march of the penguins", perfect to adorn any winter dessert - but no one will ever eat them!!



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Healing Trees recipe

The Cancer Journey conference at Ceres on Sunday seemed to go very well. They sold out and I had some great interactions with people in the resource room.




I demo'd making my "healing tree" morsels, and share the recipe with you here:

Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon Matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1//2 tablespoons date paste *
Zest of 1 lemon
Grated fresh ginger (approx 1 inch)
15 whole raw organic almonds

Directions
[*Make the date paste first - you will only use a small portion of this.  Process 10 pitted dates with 2 tablespoons of water. This makes a thick paste that is a great substitute for refined sugar.]

  1. Place all the ingredients except the whole almonds in a food processor and process until smooth.  This matcha mixture should hold together when squeezed but not be too sticky. If it won't hold, process longer, or add 1/2 tablespoon more of date paste.  If too sticky, add a little more almond flour.
  2. Cut the whole almonds in half, width ways.
  3. Take approx 1 teaspoon of match mixture and shape it into your hands to form a cone shape
  4. Stand up half an almond on it's cut side and gently push the matcha cone onto the almond, so that it looks like a tree.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the matcha mixture and almond halves to create your own forest of healing trees.
  6. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or else the matcha mixture can frozen before shaping.

The healing qualities of these trees come from:
the green tea has excellent anti-cancer properties and is high in anti-oxidants;
the ginger and dates settle the stomach and help with digestion;
the lemon is a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals;
the almonds are a good source of easily digestible fiber, vitamins and minerals;
and finally the cute shape of the trees lifts your spirits!

These are lovely to make for yourself, but make a great gift for someone who needs some healing.
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The trouble with dairy

In US - average calcium intake 1,143mg.   Primary source dairy. Incidence of osteoporosis - Epidemic

In China - average calcium intake  544mg. Primary source veg.   Incidence of osteoporosis - Rare
* data from Study on Diet, Nutrition and Disease in the People's Republic of China.

More reasons to go dairy free:

  Got Milk?

 As you can see, for many people, dairy is not easy to digest. So especially if you are ill, giving up dairy can reduce  a big stress on your body. There are so many good alternatives. Give them a try.
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Hazlenut truffles

I've been making truffles, as I mentioned in my triple bean truffle post.   By the way, the answer to what three beans were used in the triple bean truffle is coffee bean, cocao bean and black beans!......(but I don't tell anyone about the black beans as it puts them off)!  This time, I was thinking about Ferrero Rocher chocolates and decided to make a hazelnut truffle without dairy, refined sugar or gluten/wheat.


The truffles were (yes, they are no longer!) basically a whole hazelnut surrounded by a creamy delight (ground hazelnuts, coconut milk, raw cocao powder) and the rolled in more ground hazelnuts.


I found them to be very satisfying  - which is why they weren't around for long. I omitted the crispy crunchy outer layer that a Ferrero Rocher has but otherwise, they were pretty similar.

A good occasional treat that hit the spot!
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(Mini) Grape Harvest

Linda and Stephen
Last week we harvested our Godello grapes.  We grafted this varietal on 300 vines a couple of years ago and so this is really our first harvest of any quantity of them.

Meta and Jane

Godello is a Spanish varietal of green grapes and not typically grown in the US - except here at Birdland!  We were asked to try growing it by a couple of local wine makers and it was pleasing to see a good crop for them to make our first US Birdland Godello wine.

Don - who later had a bad back!
Instead of using our usual vineyard management group to harvest these, we invited some friends to experience the fun as we were expecting only a ton or so.  However, the Godello were a little more difficult to harvest than we had imagined.

John
As bunches of grapes, they grow as a mass and are quite solid as a bunch - not individual grapes.  Most of the time you can't see where the top stalk is, where you want to cut the bunch off, and they get wound up in the wires and leaves....It therefore took us much longer than we expected to harvest the 1.5 tons.
Ken
We wore out our friends - and ourselves!  Even the harvest breakfast I made (which was all gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free) didn't quite leave us kicking up our heels! I think what would have been better would be to have had a massage therapist waiting for us all!


Tomorrow is the Big Grape Harvest, as opposed to the mini grape harvest. It is of our merlot grapes and we are expecting something like 20 tons!  It is earlier in October than usual for us - the grapes have ripened well.  
Fig Clafoutis
This time, our vineyard management crew will come in  - starting at 4am in the dark!  A few friends will help out by pulling out the leaves in the bins, but we won't be picking as we'd slow the crew down!

Kale puffs
Wish us luck for tomorrow!
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Making Walnut Milk


I make almond milk every week for my husband and I....but this week has been busy and I keep forgetting to soak my almonds....and so it seemed the right time to try making Walnut Milk instead, because you don't need to soak walnuts first.


It is so simple and quick to make - and a wonderful source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Put 1 cup of organic walnuts and 3 cups of water in a high powered blender.

Blend on high for a couple of minutes.

Strain through a nut milk bag.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

It's nice and creamy. Enjoy on cereal and as an alternative in recipes to dairy milks.


I like it as much as the almond one....maybe this will now become my new go-to non-dairy milk.  Have you tried it yet?  I've never seen it for sale.....
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Triple bean truffle

I've been working on a recipe for a truffle that is healthy.  This one is gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free.

It's called "triple bean truffle" and your job is to guess the three beans that I use in the recipe!




I will be demonstrating a bite size morsel, probably not this one but something else at an event this month at Ceres Community Project in Sebastopol.

The event is the Second Annual Cancer Journey: Nuturing ourselves, Loving ourselves.  The keynote speaker is Michael Lerner, the President and Cofounder of Commonweal, who will present on "Intentional Healing with Cancer".


I heard Michael a couple of weeks ago at the Annie Appleseed conference and cannot recommend him highly enough.  His talk there was wonderful, so whether you have cancer or not, I urge you to come and hear him talk at this event.  There is lots more going on at the event too so check out the info page and sign up.  Hope to see you there.
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Harvest and Food as medicine

It's been a busy week this week.  As well as many of my usual things, I started two new "Food as Medicine" groups this week, AND we harvested our Godello grapes in the vineyard! More on the harvest soon.


The two new "Food as Medicine" groups were on Tuesday and Thursday. Each group consists of 9 women, and we will meet once a month.  This month we looked at some of the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet, with a focus on the benefits of avoiding dairy in our diets.

After some time in discussion, we donned our aprons in the kitchen and went about making and tasting the following:

  • almond milk
  • brown rice milk
  • oat milk
  • cashew cream
  • whipped coconut cream
  • soft cashew cheese
  • cheese sprinkles
  • cheese cake
all without any dairy or animal products in sight!


Sadly we were so involved, I forgot to take any photos!  

The recipes for the milks are already on this blog, as is the recipe for the cashew nut cheese.

The cheese sprinkles were a great hit.  They are a non-dairy alternative to parmesan cheese or other types of cheese that you may sprinkle on caesar salad, vegetables, or pasta or....  The recipe came from the book "Let them eat vegan" and here is a link to the vegan parmesan cheese recipe by Dreena Burton.


The cheesecake went down very well, so I'll have to make that again and take some photos to share with you.

I really enjoyed our time together, and hope they all did too.  Looking forward to next month already.
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The language of flowers - Part II

Following from yesterday's blog post about my book club gathering to discuss "The language of flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, you may have guessed it, but the other flower themed dessert I made was  a  roulade. Yes, it's been nearly two weeks since I've made a roulade!!! Had to get one in sometime!  This one was a rose and strawberry roulade.



As usual the dessert is refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free. The rose flavoring comes from rose water added to the cream (whipped coconut cream).  Also in the cream are some strawberries and some chewy freeze dried strawberries from my sister.  They add a lovely texture to it.

Of course, it had to be decorated with edible rose petals.


The meaning of roses in the language of flowers varies depending on the color of the rose.

Burgundy rose - unconscious beauty
Moss rose - confession of love
Orange rose - fascination
Pale peach rose - modesty
Pink rose - grace
Purple rose - enchantment
Red rose - love
White rose - a heart unaquainted with love
Yellow rose - infidelity.

I chose a pink rose - for grace.



We had a great discussion about the book and flowers and foster care and many other things.  I made each of them a tied little bunch of flowers to take home with them.  The flowers I chose from the garden were:
sedum - for tranquility
sage - for good health and long life
marjoram - for blushes - with the hope that they feel young enough to still blush!

Click here for a printer friendly recipe for Rose Roulade
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The language of flowers - Part I

It was book club at my house this morning.  I had selected the book "The language of flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  I loved the book - and so did the rest of the group.


The book is about Victoria who spent her childhood in the foster-care system, moving from one place to another, never spending more than a year in any one home.  At the age of 18 she has to leave the system, even though she has no where to go.  But she gradually finds that she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them.  She learned the Victorian language of flowers from Elizabeth, one of her foster parents - and finds it to be a way she can communicate to others.  It follows her difficult life of learning to love when she has never been loved, going back and forth between her childhood and present day, as so many books seem to do nowadays!  It's a lovely and at times difficult read.


For my group, I decided to use the flower theme for our gathering today.  I served hibiscus tea and hibiscus sparkling water. The meaning of hibiscus is "delicate beauty" - and it's also really high in antioxidants.

I then made two desserts.  The first one was little flower pots for each person, as you see in the photos.



In tiny terra-cotta pots I made "soil" cake from quinoa, walnuts etc from a recipe I found on Golubka's blog, for ant-hill cake. I'd never heard of ant hill cake but this version is gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free.  To be honest, it was a little too solid for my liking, a bit stodgy, but the taste was OK. Then I put a sprig of mint in the pot (thanks to my neighbor Janet who supplied the mint!) and topped it with a little pink, yellow or white edible daisy.

They looked very cute!  Oh, and the Victorian meaning for daisy is "innocence".


I'll show you the other delight tomorrow!  But in the meantime, I recommend the book. 
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Making Flax Seed Milk

Continuing in my non-dairy vegan milk posts (oat, almond, banana, brown rice recipes), today I made milk using flax seeds.


You can get brown or golden flax seeds - both are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.  The flavor is somewhat stronger with the brown seeds so for milk, I recommend golden flax seeds.

Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup organic golden flaxseeds
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup or other sweetener (optional)

Place the flaxseeds and water in a high powered blender and blend for 3 minutes.


Strain the liquid through nut bag or double thickness cheesecloth, squeezing out the milk.

As seed milk tends to be a little bitter, taste the milk first, but you may want to add a little maple syrup or stevia to the milk to suit your own taste.

Store in the refrigerator and use within a week.
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Sister Mary Cake - version 2

No, although this could be considered a minimalist cake with only two ingredients, it isn't for a nun or created by a nun, rather it is a recipe for my sister, Mary!  It is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free cake recipe.


I posted a photo of a three ingredient cake on my blog a couple of weeks ago and my sister asked for the recipe as she liked the look of it.  I hadn't been totally happy with the result of that one, so thought I'd try it again with some modification - so here is version 2 - for my sister, Mary.  It's still not quite there but hopefully version 3 will bring it all together.

Version 1 was made with eggs, lemon juice and almonds.

Version 2 is made with just eggs and walnuts.  It is then decorated with raspberries - so I guess they are the third ingredient.   I won't show the recipe yet as it's not good enough.

Folding the walnuts into the eggs
This time I made the mistake of putting the mixture in too small a diameter pan and so it was too tall for the frothy eggs to support it and thus it sank in the middle (see photo below).  In version 3, I think I'll try using two pans, one for each layer or one slightly wider pan.


Also, the flavor needed a little something to lift it.  When I halved the sponge, I put "mushed" raspberries inside and then put more whole raspberries on top. They went someway to "lifting" the flavor ( and also filling the dip in the top!) but I think what it needs is some citrus, so I'll try some lemon zest in version 3, both in the cake and with the mushed raspberries!

Before photographing the current cake, I felt it needed a sprinkle of something on top. Many cakes utilize powdered/icing sugar for this, but as this is a sugar free cake, I sifted some raspberry flour on top.  Which do you prefer the look of - no sprinkle, or sprinkle?



The recipe is developing.... but not quite there yet.  I'll keep you posted.  Patience, Sister Mary!!!!
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Walnut Roulade

Yes, I'm definitely in a roulade phase! This is the third type of roulade I've made in the last few weeks. This was for an event we held on Sunday.  It is refined-sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.


I was really pleased with how it came out.  It is made with just eggs, lemon juice, xylitol* and walnuts.  Of course, I then decorated it with fresh raspberries and then drizzled a little fruit-sweetened, sugar free raw chocolate and grated lemon zest on top.

It was eaten up very quickly, but I did manage a little slice, only to check how it tasted, of course!


*Xylitol is a natural sweetener, a sugar alcohol used as a substitute for sugar.  I like it and it seems to work well.  It is a cup for cup replacement for table sugar, so it's easy to substitute in recipes.  It is also granulated like sugar but you can grind it up finer, as necessary.

Xylitol is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables and can be extracted from various berries, oats, mushrooms, as well as fibrous materials such as corn husks and birch.  Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health, reducing caries to a third in regular use and it has also been shown to reduce the incidence of ear infections.


It has a much lower glycemic index than sugar - GI 7 for xylitol vs GI 80 for sugar, so it a great low calorie sugar substitute for diabetics  that doesn't cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

I don't notice any difference in taste at all between it and sugar, but I find it takes a little long to dissolve when I am cooking with it, for example if beating it with eggs, it stays granular longer so I just whisk it a little longer.

Have you ever used it? What are your thoughts?  If not, give it a go. I think you'll like it.
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Making brown rice milk

Today's non-dairy milk recipe is for brown rice milk.  Like the others I've shown, (oat milk, almond milk, and banana milk), it's quick and easy and has no odd ingredients like store bought non-dairy milks.  It's just brown rice and water.

Start with 1 cup of cooked brown rice. I used organic brown basmati.


Put it in a blender with 2 cups of water.



Blend on high for a couple of minutes.


Strain through a nut bag or cheesecloth (see almond milk recipe for more info on nut bags).


Store refrigerated for up to 10 days.  Use for cereal and as a replacement for dairy milk in recipes.


For my personal taste, I add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence to this rice as it tastes a bit too much like rice for my liking.  See what you think.  I much prefer it with the vanilla, yet other non dairy milks I like plain.

What's your favorite?
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Light as a feather cake

I made this cake with just three ingredients - and one of them was 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice!



It is lovely: so light as a feather.

It uses just eggs, lemon juice and almonds! How simple is that.

The frosting is pomegranate seeds in a cashew and almond cream.

I think this could be one of the recipes I use for my gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free dessert class coming up in October. I'll tell you more about that as the time gets closer and I've decided what we'll make.

Have a great weekend.  Hope your mood is as light as a feather!
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"Emergency" non-dairy milk - Banana milk

Following on from the previous couple of weeks Oat Milk and Almond Milk recipes , this week I'm going to show you how to make banana milk.  I consider it an "emergency" non-dairy milk.  It's for those occasions like when you have gone away to a friend's house for the weekend and it comes to breakfast and they only have dairy milk for your cereal which you don't want or can't tolerate due to health reasons.  Instead, you can quickly whip up some banana milk and use that instead.

It is, naturally, banana-y so isn't useful for other things like putting in coffee! - but it is perfect for cereal.

All you need is a banana, some water and an immersion blender.


Cut up the banana and place in a jug/bowl.


Blend the banana with the immersion blender until it is liquid.


Add 1 cup of water and blend again.



Voila - yummy banana milk for oatmeal or cereal.


Use it soon after making or else it'll go brown.

More non dairy milk recipes next week.
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Making Almond Milk

Following on from last week's recipe and instructions on how to make Oat Milk, this week I'll show you how to make Almond Milk.


Yes, you can buy almond milk in the supermarket, but it tends to contain lots of ingredients. My recipe uses only organic almonds and water.  In what I consider the best, unsweetened commercial almond milk you still get extras of:

  • rice starch
  • sea salt (190mg sodium)
  • vanilla
  • natural flavor
  • carrageenan
I prefer the almonds and water approach!  Here's how to do it.

  • Soak 1 cup of organic almonds in water for 24 hours or overnight if you are short of time.  Use enough water to cover the nuts. Make sure it's good quality water!
  • Drain and rinse the almonds after their soak. Remove the skins of the almonds.  This is optional but gives you a much whiter milk and is easy to do. I timed myself and it took only 3 minutes to take the skins off! Once the almonds have soaked, just use an action like you are squeezing the almond and the skin comes off whole.
  • Place the almonds in a blender (I used my Vitamix) and add 3 cups of water.  You can actually add more (up to a total of 4 cups of water) or less, depending on how creamy or liquid you want your milk.  
  • Blend until smooth. Don't over blend or the milk will start to heat up.
  • Pour into a nut bag*, suspended over a jug and squeeze the milk out using your hand. Squeeze well to get all the milk and until the pulp is crumbly.
  • There isn't a lot of pulp that remains in the nut bag so you can either discard it or use it in your oatmeal or cereal or baked goods.  
  • Now pour yourself a glass of delicious, healthy, unsweetened, organic almond milk and enjoy, or else use it in baking, or cooking as a dairy substitute or on your cereal for breakfast!
The photo below shows the lovely white color of homemade almond milk - on the right - compared to bought almond milk on the right.


The milk will last at least a week, kept in the refrigerator.


*Re: nut bags.  Nut bags are available at cook shops and are a mesh fabric that holds small particles inside and lets the liquid run through.  They are sometimes called jelly bags too - for when you leave homemade jelly to run through. Here is a source at Lakeland in the UK, or on amazon.co.uk.  In the US, there are plenty of options like this one on Amazon, or check out your local cookware store.  Alternatively, you can just pour the milk through a double layer of cheesecloth to remove the pulp.

I'll show you another dairy free milk next week.  They are much better for you than drinking dairy.  And taste yummy too!  What is your favorite?
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Apple Kisses

I spent a day developing recipes to make apple kisses.  Doesn't that sound a good way to spend a day!

The idea behind creating an "apple kiss" recipe was to make something like a cookie or little cake or tasty light sweet yummy, but use:

  • no dairy
  • no gluten
  • no refined sugar
  • no fat
  • AND find a way to incorporate my new found friends, fruit flours!  
and have something that tastes good!

The creation came first, then the name!  I decided that they needed to be filled and then they just looked like apple kisses!

I made two different types.  The first ones used a combination of brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch and apple flour.  I used coconut palm sugar for the sweetener, applesauce, baking powder and some cinnamon.

They were really quick to make and turned out yummy!  I cut each one in half and added some apple non-dairy whipped cream to make little kisses!


For the second variation I tried gluten free oat flour plus the apple flour. I thought it might be a bit crumbly so added some xanthum gum, but they actually ended up a little moist, so maybe this wasn't necessary. Otherwise, the same ingredients were used, but before I cooked them, I flattened them a little.  I initially filled a few with apple butter that I had made and preserved a few years ago (doesn't contain butter!), but I preferred them with the apple cream!



I ended up liking the first variation the best. The second ones were just a bit to moist and gooey for my taste.  But the recipe still needs some work with slight variations so when I've got it better, I'll let you know the recipe.

The sweetener I used has become my recent favorite - Palm sugar or coconut palm sugar.  It comes from the nectar of the coconut palm. I buy the Sweet Tree version which is organic and is not refined i.e. minimally processed.  It contains no preservatives.  It is brown (as it's not been bleached like regular sugar) so using it in an apple product seemed good.  I'm thinking for other flavors the color maybe a bit strong? But that is to try on another day.  

Palm sugar also has a low Glycemic index - of 35 (cane sugar is 68, Honey is 55) - and you can switch it for the same quantity as sugar in recipes.

It's high in potassium, magnesium, zinc and is a natural source of Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.

And it tastes good!  Brown sugar like taste with a touch of caramel!  Have you given it a try?

Fancy an apple kiss?
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Everything is tickety-boo

Another week, and another bunch of things that made me feel that life is tickety-boo:


(Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free) Apple Kisses


  • experimenting in the kitchen and having some successes!
  • trying out fruit flours along with my other alternative gluten free flours
  • having a friend come up and stay
  • lunch out and laughing with a friend
  • getting a new camera
  • moving furniture around and it feels so different
  • teaching a family (mum and 2 daughters) how to make jewelry :-D
  • having so many people sign-up straight away for my "food as medicine" groups
  • hearing my nephew did well in his exams - a different nephew from the one I mentioned last week!
  • having 2 bright nephews!
  • picking loads of apples and dehydrating some
  • picking pears
  • eating all this home grown food - cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, pears......
UTO (Unidentified tomato object) 
Hope you've had a tickety-boo week, with lots of yummy healthy food.
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Making Oat Milk

If you are giving up dairy, here's an easy way to make your own non-dairy milk using oats. In this case, I used gluten free oats.

Soak one cup of oats in water overnight. Pour enough water to cover the oats.

Image 1

The oats will swell up to at least 1 1/2 cups. After soaking, drain and rinse the oats.

Place them in a blender with 3 cups of water and blend for a minute or so. I used my vitamix so it was very quick. For less powerful models, you may need to blend for a couple of minutes.

Image 3

Pour the milk into a nut bag and collect the yummy healthy milk.

Image 4

You will get about 4 cups of oat milk. Keep this in the fridge and use it within a week, on your morning cereal and in cooking. It is versatile as the oats don't give a strong overpowering flavor.

Image 5

Here is a photo of this morning's breakfast - my puffed brown rice cereal, with raspberries, bananas and home made gluten free oat milk.

Image 6

If you prefer a thicker, creamier consistency, just reduce the amount of water your add to the blender.

I'll be back with other non dairy milk recipes soon. Hope you give it a try.
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Allergy Free Song

For all those gluten free and food allergy people who are feeling miserable today, you may enjoy this little rendition from Les Miserables "One Grain More"!  Just ignore the last bit.


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Cauliflower crust pizza

I came across a recipe for a cauliflower pizza crust the other day, so thought I'd give it a go.  To be honest, I have never been a great fan of pizza and then after stopping eating gluten all those years ago, I just rarely bother or even think about it.


But for some reason, the idea of using cauliflower instead of a dough base, was intriguing to me.

I adapted the recipe slightly and used just three ingredients - cauliflower, egg replacement (Orgran) and non-dairy cheese.  You use one cup of riced cauliflower, the equivalent of one egg and 1 cup of cheese.  The full description using dairy cheese and egg is given in the link above.

Cooked riced cauliflower
Cauliflower with egg replacement and non-dairy cheese
I loved it! And it stood up to being a finger food too.  I topped it first with a layer of a parsley and pistachio pesto I'd made the previous week. We have lots of parsley in the garden right now, so I was looking for a way to use it up, and came up with this recipe for parsley pistachio pesto! Basically its just parsley and pesto whizzed up with a little bit of lemon juice!
Parsley and pistachio pesto

Then I cooked some peppers and mushrooms and added them on top, with some avocado and a little more cheese!

Toppings!
Even with all these toppings, the crust was firm enough to be handled.  I really did enjoy it and decided to try making it again with the remaining riced cauliflower but this time substituting the cheese out to make it even healthier. I tried instead to add another egg replacement, but that didn't work, and then I tried adding some psyllium husk powder to bind it, which was better, but just didn't quite make it!  The cheese not only adds great flavor, but also holds it all so that it can be a finger food.  

So the dish ends up being mainly vegetables and some cheese.  Let me know if you give it a try.  Hope you like it. 
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Making Nut Cheese

I don't eat dairy, so this week I thought I'd tried my hand at making some cheese using nuts instead of dairy.  It was a soft cheese and I am really pleased with how it turned out.


The cheese was made from cashew nuts - and I did two types - one which I dehydrated to form a rind, and the other which I didn't dehydrate (the dehydrated one is at the back of the photo below).



The recipe I used was one I found on the blog Golubka.  I hadn't seen her blog before until I started searching for nut cheese recipes.  But now I've found it - I really like it.  Hope you'll take a look.

The cheese really is simple to make and includes Bio-K probiotics, so you can feel good about eating cheese  as it is providing lots of healthy bugs for digestion.  Here is the recipe with slight modifications to my tastes:

Ingredients
3/4 cup of cashews
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons of Bio-K probiotics - non-dairy
1 teaspoon raw honey
Dash of Spike or No-salt (salt alternative)

1. Soak the cashews in water overnight.  Drain. They will swell to be 1 cup full.


2. Blend all the ingredients together in a Vitamix/Blendtec or powerful blender until smooth.


3. Put into a stainless steel ring former* on parchment paper and either refrigerate overnight or dehydrate overnight.



4. After a couple of hours dehydrating, I removed the ring former so that the sides of the cheese would also form a rind.


*A ring former can be a cookie cutter or muffin ring or something like this ring former.  Basically it just shapes the cheese but you can alternatively just have it free form.


I actually prefer the taste and texture of the un-dehydrated cheese.  It reminds me of boursin cheese in it's texture.  I love cheese with raw honey and fruit.  You can see I added chopped chives to one of the cheeses...you could also mix in or use as a garnish any of the following: garlic, dill, edible flowers, ginger, dried cranberries, figs, or.....So many options. I'll definitely be making it again.  Hmmm, I think I might try dried lemon peel next time......


Let me know if you give it a go.  Thanks Golubka.
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