Tag Archives: almond flour

Menu Plan June 27-July 1, plus a Summer Squash Chicken Frittata

Where have the menu plans gone? You might be asking. They haven’t been posted on my blog for a few weeks now. Well, long story short, I was on vacation for 2 weeks. While I had vague ideas of what I planned on cooking, I was in the midst of testing so many recipes for my upcoming book, and our schedule was so lax, that I didn’t have an actual “plan.” (In fact, there were evenings where, after hours of cooking and testing recipes, my husband asked what was for dinner, and my only plan was something like “There are brownies, a cake, crackers, bread, some tomato jam, and I’m working on a meatloaf. Would you like any of that?”  I had tons of food around, but often, there wasn’t a cohesive meal in sight.) Last week, I was still in post-vacation recovery mode, and a lot of the meals were last-minute compilations of what we needed to use up. Finally, this week, we’re back into the swing of things.

One of the recipes I was testing during my time off was a recipe I debuted last year, albeit in a slightly different form, as an appetizer for a crowd of guests (gluten and dairy eaters) that were visiting. Originally it was called an “appetizer square”, and was made with zucchini and crumbled pork sausage, rather than summer squash and chicken. It obviously went over well, as the pieces were gobbled down fairly quickly. When I came across it again, I remembered the abundance of squash in the refrigerator, and decided to make a different version. It turned out to be even better than the first, in my opinion.

What’s lovely about a recipe like this is that it’s versatile. Zucchini or summer squash can be used – and this time of year, most of us have more of both of these veggies than we’d like, so it’s a great way to use it up! Any leftover cooked meat can be used – or even beana (I could imagine black beans tasting scrumptious here!). Spice it how you’d like. Serve it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as an appetizer. The sky is the limit here.

Summer Squash Chicken Frittata (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

½ c olive oil, divided

½ c diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t minced fresh sage

½ lb diced cooked chicken

½ t ground cumin

1 t herbs de Provence

1 t chile powder

4 whole eggs

½ c almond flour

¼ c coconut flour

1 T baking powder

3 c grated summer squash or zucchini

½ c Daiya cheese (or other non-dairy cheese)

1 T nutritional yeast flakes

½ t salt

¼ t ground black pepper

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions to skillet and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and chicken and sauté for another minute. Remove and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Grease a 13X9 baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended, and add the rest of the oil and whisk. Add in the flours, baking powder, onion-garlic-chicken mix, grated squash and remaining ingredients. Spread into prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Makes 16 appetizer servings.

And now, for the menu for this week!

Monday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomato

Lunch: Roasted turkey breast, leftover veggies from Sunday dinner (grilled asparagus, green beans)

Dinner: Chicken with mole sauce, steamed brown rice, steamed broccoli

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie with strawberries, spinach, protein powder, almond milk and chia seeds, scrambled egg whites with Daiya cheese

Lunch: Roasted turkey breast with baby carrots and steamed spinach, unless there are leftovers from dinner

Dinner: Garden salad, Meatballs

Wednesday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: Garden salad with roasted turkey breast or tuna

Dinner: Brined pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed cauliflower and spinach

Thursday

Breakfast: Smoothie with acai berry, protein powder, banana, spinach, and chia seeds, scrambled egg whites

Lunch: Tuna, shredded carrots, and spinach in a brown rice tortilla wrap

Dinner: Grilled salmon, okra and tomatoes, grilled potatoes

Friday

Breakfast: Healthy chocolate zucchini muffin, scrambled egg whites with spinach and tomatoes

Lunch: Creamy tomato tofu soup, gluten-free crackers

Dinner: Fried brown rice with shrimp, green beans

Snacks this week will include fresh peaches, black bean dip on brown rice cakes, and apples with peanut or almond butter. I also have Tanka bars on hand if I need a bit of protein.

Want more great menu ideas? Check out Celiacs In The House and the Gluten-Free Menu Swap!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Filed under Appetizers, breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Meal Plans, Quick and Easy, Vegetables

Squash and Chard Casserole

Do you remember squash casserole? If you’re from the South, it’s likely you’ve had it before (or quite often) – a cheesy, buttery, creamy casserole filled with squash that has been cooked within an inch of its life, topped with buttery crumbs. I didn’t grow up eating such a casserole (my parents aren’t from the South), but I definitely enjoyed it a time or two, typically in local diners that also served other Southern favorites, such as fried okra, chicken-fried steak, collard greens (with lots of ham or bacon), grits, and lots of biscuits and gravy. While tasty, it’s definitely not something that is friendly on the waistline or to those of us with gluten and dairy issues.

I’d forgotten about squash casserole, truth be told, until Sunday evening, when I was staring down some fresh yellow squash I’d picked up at the farmer’s market. I had unimaginative plans for it as a side dish for roasted chicken, figuring I’d saute it just until tender, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and call it good. But then, out of nowhere, squash casserole popped into my head. Also faced with an overabundance of swiss chard from my garden, the wheels started turning. I could make a squash casserole that would be tasty, but not a guilty pleasure. Something that could still be considered a vegetable. It could be possible to make something gluten-free, casein-free, and even low FODMAP-friendly.

And so this dish was born. It was still creamy from the Daiya cheese I used to top it, but not overly so. The vegetables were tender, but not overcooked. There was still a buttery flavor from the “crumb” topping. The chipotle chile powder added a lovely boost of flavor, so you really felt like you had a treat without a bunch of heaviness. I even enjoyed some leftovers for breakfast. As squash season hasn’t even really begun yet, I’m sure this won’t be the last time this dish graces our dinner table.

Squash and Chard Casserole (Gluten-Free, Casein-Free)

1 bunch swiss chard

2 T olive oil

3 c sliced yellow squash

½ t chipotle chile powder

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c Daiya cheddar cheese (or other vegan cheese alternative)

1 T ghee or olive oil (if you can’t tolerate ghee or prefer to make this vegan)

¼ c almond flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish (mine was an oval one about 9″X6″) and set aside.

Cut the swiss chard leaves from the stalks. Thinly slice the stalks and set aside, and chop the leaves.

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat. Saute yellow squash and the swiss chard stalks for about 8-10 minutes, or until softened. Add swiss chard leaves and sauté until wilted, another 2-3 minutes. Season with chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper to taste. Using a paper towel, squeeze the excess juice from the vegetables (otherwise, you’ll end up with a wetter casserole than you desire.) Transfer the vegetables to the casserole dish. Top with Daiya cheese.

Melt the ghee in a small microwaveable bowl for 30-45 seconds. Combine ghee and almond flour along with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Blend together with a spoon until crumbly. Spread over the Daiya evenly.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Ginger Lemon Girl (Vegan Crusty Bread and Almond Flour Pizza Crust)

This month for Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, I adopted a good blogger friend of mine, Carrie from Ginger Lemon Girl. I identify with Carrie quite a bit – we’re both gluten and dairy-free,  love baking, and we both juggle full-time jobs, family life, and a blog. And yet, for all of our similarities, I love that we venture into different areas in the kitchen! This makes this whole “adopting” thing that much more fun. While I have not spent much time worrying about gluten-free pizza crusts or bread in my kitchen (while I miss it a great deal, pizza has become something I only eat once in a great while – same with bread), Carrie has perfected some amazing recipes. I tried two – her vegan crusty bread, and her almond flour pizza crust.

Both were quite lovely. I was concerned that I’d ruined the bread recipe – I am not all that successful in the bread-making department, gluten-free or otherwise. Her dough was wetter than I’m accustomed to, and given my previous bread attempts (which have often turned out gummy in the middle), I was sure I’d messed it up. And while my boules did not raise very high, the texture was amazing. Lots of nice little holes in the bread that just begged for a schmear of vegan buttery spread or jam, and an oh-so-delicious crusty exterior. To date, it was the best bread to come out of my oven.

The pizza was also delicious. The crust is not chewy like a gluten-y crust, but it was very light and flavorful from the addition of herbs. I topped mine with a bit of pizza sauce (homemade – I didn’t really follow a recipe, just added some spices to tomato sauce), a touch of Daiya, and sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and a few sundried tomatoes. Divine. It was also good leftover for lunch the following day, in case you made enough to have leftovers.

Carrie has many more recipes I’m dying to try – vegan chocolate cake, for example. (hmm, maybe I could make that right now…) Or good ol’ chocolate chip cookies, egg-free. Or one of my favorites – Almond Joy impossible pie.

If you’re not yet familiar with Ginger Lemon Girl, I strongly encourage you to check out Carrie’s blog!

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Vegetarian

Daring Bakers: Failed Attempt At An Entremet, And A Pomegranate Gelee

No, what you’re looking at above is not an entremet. Not even close. But sometimes, there is a silver lining to that dark cloud that seems to rain on your kitchen creations. That silver lining in this case was a simple, light, and delicious pomegranate gelee.

But we’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s first start at the beginning.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert. In case you’re not familiar with an entremet, here is how they do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca4eLDok-4Q (video is in French – FYI)

And yes, my hopes were high. I was to make a thin, pretty, decorated cake to wrap around a filling of my choice. Many entremets are filled with bavarian cream, or cheesecake, or any number of other lovely concoctions. I pondered for a while on how to accomplish this gluten and dairy-free, but I devised a plan. I would simply swap out gluten-free flours for the regular flour, and I’d fill mine with my vegan cheesecake recipe. My plan was to make a middle layer of more of the cake and some “cinnamon roll” filling – which was basically a paste of dates, cinnamon, and pecans. Finally, I’d top it with a pomegranate gelee – so the top would look sparkly and like a pretty red glass. In my head, this sounded spectactular.

Only I should have stopped when I was coloring my jaconde (the design filling). I was low on natural food dye. All I really had was blue. So I went with it. (Only blue really isn’t that appetizing for a cake. Or very many foods, actually – except for blueberries.) The cake actually turned out beautifully, except for the blue part. The texture was spongy, and it was pliable. It was relatively easy to wrap around my 9″ cheesecake mold. Despite the less-than-stellar color, I was excited. I filled it with the cheesecake filling, and stuck it in the freezer to firm up.

A while later, I made the pomegranate gelee. This is where things turned for the worse. I thought that somehow, when I poured the liquid juice-and-gelatin mixture over the cake, that it would stay where it was supposed to. It didn’t. Instead it leaked all down the sides of the cake, making pink splotches and causing the cake to look, well…ugly. It actually tasted alright, but I couldn’t get over how it looked. The combination of colors was downright unappetizing. I begrudgingly took my photos, tasted a bit, but it ultimately ended up in the garbage. I was disappointed.

Until I realized that I still had pomegranate gelee left over. You see, I made way more than I needed for the entremet, so I opted to pour the rest into individual serving bowls and sprinkle some pomegranate arils into each of them. I placed them in the refrigerator to set. I took one out, grabbed a spoon and dug in – and somehow, the sting of failure lessened. My mistake caused an unexpected success – almost a yin and yang in the kitchen. The pomegranate gelee was sweet, tart, and fresh. It was light. I loved it.

But wait, you say. You took pictures? Where are they?

Okay, well, yes, I did. I didn’t want to start this post off with a garish photo of a less-than-appetizing entremet, lest I scare you away, never to return. But since you’ve stayed with me this far, here goes:

Here's the unmolded, whole entremet, with the pink "stains" in the cake

A slice of the entremet - I think any color but blue would have improved it!

There you go. I would love to try this challenge again soon, knowing what I know now. I think it could be a lovely, impressive treat for company or a special occasion. I will go ahead and share the revised version of the biscuit jaconde (cake) recipe with you – but trust that you shouldn’t dye it blue, and learn from me – don’t pour liquid on top of it and expect it to stay there! 

As for the pomegranate gelee, this was probably the easiest dessert recipe I’ve ever posted. It’s almost not a recipe. But if you have guests coming over, but want dessert to be easy and something that you literally can just pull out of the refrigerator and serve, this is it.

A big thanks to Astheroshe for this challenge. It was fun, even if mine didn’t turn out as planned. I’m definitely going to try again soon!

Pomegranate Gelee

2 envelopes powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)

24 oz 100% pomegranate juice (I used POM Wonderful)

about 1/2 c pomegranate arils (totally optional, but it adds a nice touch)

Pour powdered gelatin into a small bowl and pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the juice over. Allow to sit. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the juice over medium heat until nearly to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in gelatin mixture until smooth. Allow to cool for a few minutes and pour into desired serving bowls (I used bowls, but wine or champagne glasses could be extravagant too). Place in refrigerator and chill for 3-4 hours. About halfway through the chill time, sprinkle some pomegranate arils over each. When the gelee is set, they are ready to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Biscuit Jaconde Imprime (adapted from Chef John O. at The International Culinary School in Atlanta, GA)

Ingredients:
¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar

¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour (I used 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup brown rice flour, and 1 cup tapioca starch, with 1/2 teaspoon guar gum, sifted together, as cake flour)

3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g

3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g

2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar

2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted (again, I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)

Directions:

  1. In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
  2. Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  3. On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
  4. Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in melted butter.
  6. Reserve batter to be used later.

Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan

Ingredients
14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)

1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar

7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g

1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour (I used 1 cup sorghum, 1 cup brown rice flour, and 1 cup tapioca starch, with 1/2 teaspoon guar gum, whisked together, to make cake flour)

Food coloring gel, paste or liquid

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  2. Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  3. Fold in sifted flour.
  4. Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

  1. Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
  2. Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one. (I used a piping bag to make my blue designs)
  3. Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
  5. Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
  6. Cool. Do not leave too long, or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
  7. Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

- Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.

- A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.

- Cut PVC pipe from your local hardware store. Very cheap! These can be cut into any height you wish to make a mold. 2 to 3 inches is good. My store will cut them for me, ask an employee at your store. You can get several for matching individual desserts. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.

- Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

1. Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.

2. Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.

3. Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)

4. Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.

5. The mold is done, and ready to fill with anything from cheesecake to bavarian cream to fruit or even more cake layers. The possibilities are endless.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Quick and Easy

More Nut Truffles: Pecan Pie and Pistachio Sesame

Okay, okay, I’ll let the cat out of the bag. What’s with all the nut truffles? First chocolate cherry, and now these? You see, I’ve been up to my ears in nut truffles for the past week. I’m making tons of them to serve as samples at the “Share the Harvest” Holiday Gift Market this weekend. I’m also making tons of banana chocolate chip muffins. There are currently more bananas in my house than ever. It’s bordering on insane, I’m starting to think.

So in the interest of finishing up my baking and preparation for the Gift Market in time, I’ll keep this short, and leave you with two more nut truffle recipes. Both are vegetarian, and the pecan pie recipe is vegan and mostly raw (they’re rolled in blanched almond flour, which I believe is not raw). They are both packed with nutrition – fiber, vitamins and minerals, protein and healthy fats. Oh – and they taste delicious. The pecan pie ones taste like, well, pecan pie. And the pistachio sesame remind me of halvah or baklava.

One last thing – the next few posts are going to be savory, not sweet. Promise. It’s starting to look like Tasty Sweets At Home around here. I promise, other things are made in our household besides sweets.

Pecan Pie Nut Truffles

2 c raw pecans

1 c raw almonds

2 c pitted dates

2 t cinnamon

pinch of salt

6 T raw agave nectar

Additional cinnamon and about 1/2 c blanched almond flour for rolling

Place the pecans and almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until the nuts resemble crumbs. Add the dates, cinnamon, salt, and agave and process until everything comes together and is well-blended.

Mix a touch of cinnamon and blanched almond flour together and pour out on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the truffle mixture out and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll into the cinnamon-almond flour mixture. Set aside and repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.

Makes about 50-60 truffles.

 

Pistachio Sesame Nut Truffles

1/2 c raw pistachios

1 c raw cashews

1/2 c sesame tahini

1/3 c honey

1/4 c pitted dates

pinch of salt

Additional 1/2 c raw pistachios, processed into crumbs in the food processor, and 1/2 c sesame seeds, for rolling

Place the pistachios and cashews in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until the nuts resemble crumbs. Add the tahini, honey, dates, and salt and process until everything comes together and is well-blended.

Mix the remaining ground pistachios and sesame seeds together and pour out on a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop some of the truffle mixture out and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll into the pistachio-sesame mixture. Set aside and repeat with remaining truffle mixture. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until ready to serve. Can be made several days ahead.

Makes 35-40 truffles.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Vegan and Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

When I went dairy-free, I thought I’d never enjoy cheesecake again. Oh, sure, there are soy cream cheese substitutes, but I can’t tolerate much soy, and besides, it tastes “off” to me. So when my friend Noelle at An Opera Singer in the Kitchen opened my eyes to the existence of raw vegan cheesecakes, such as the ones offered by Earth Cafe and this recipe, I was amazed. Amazed is such an understatement. I was ecstatic. Soaking raw cashews to make cheesecake? I tested out this theory when completing this Daring Bakers challenge, and was so impressed, I knew I had to go all out and make a cheesecake.

Then life got in the way, and the months passed, and still no cheesecake. I decided that we’d waited long enough, and I went ahead and made plans to make it. I made a crust following a recipe from The Almond Flour Cookbook, as that crust served me well in other pies I’ve made previously. (If you eat gluten-free and don’t already own a copy of this book, I highly encourage you to get one! The recipes are easy to make, require few ingredients, and are delicious.) I did add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the crust, just to enhance the flavor. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe, as there’s no real need to change it.

As for the cheesecake filling, it was a breeze to make. I don’t own a Vitamix (hopefully one day, I will!), but even my inexpensive blender yielded a creamy filling – it just took a bit of time to blend. I would even say that making this cheesecake was easier than a traditional cheesecake, because there was no baking of the actual cheesecake. No worrying that the cake will split. Just blend all of the ingredients, pour into the crust, and into the freezer it goes. And if you don’t constantly go peek at the cheesecake in the freezer, I imagine it’ll set up pretty quickly. Not that I would know anything about that.

I can’t wait to have an excuse to make this again. I might try a date and nut crust and go totally raw, as I’ve seen with other vegan raw cheesecakes, just to see the difference. But this cheesecake definitely was a delicious treat as is. So why wait? Whip this up, and sit back, relax, and close your eyes as you take your first bite. This is a dessert worth savoring.

Vegan, Gluten and Sugar-Free Cheesecake, adapted from The Daily Raw Cafe

Crust: (The Almond Flour Cookbook  Basic Pie crust, plus ¼ t almond extract), baked in a 9-inch springform pan and cooled (Elana also has the recipe posted on her blog here)

Filling:

3 c raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour

¾ c agave nectar

Juice of 3 small lemons (about 1/3 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

½ c coconut cream (cream from top of coconut milk can)

2 t vanilla extract

¼ t almond extract

¼ t sea salt

3 T coconut oil

¼ c water

Drain cashews and place in blender. Add agave nectar, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut cream, vanilla and almond extracts, salt and coconut oil and blend, scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, until a thick, smooth, creamy consistency results.

Once crust has been baked and cooled, fill with cheesecake filling. Freeze for several hours or until firm. Cut into slices while frozen, and thaw in fridge for about an hour before serving.

Blueberry Compote

10 oz frozen or fresh blueberries

1 T agave nectar

1 t lime zest

1 T arrowroot starch whisked into 1 T cool water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, covered, on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring once or twice, until the blueberries have given off their juice and have softened. Add in arrowroot starch slurry and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

(Also makes a tasty topping for ice cream, pancakes, and waffles!)

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and A Spunky Holiday.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Kids in the Kitchen: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Brittany is my partner in baking. She immediately knew she wanted to bake muffins this weekend. What kind? She wasn’t sure yet. After a bit of discussion, we decided on one of my favorites – banana chocolate chip. However, I wanted to make them healthier and allergy-friendly without sacrificing taste. This took a bit of experimenting.

You see, lately, I’ve been toying around with a more primal way of eating for a variety of reasons. It took me a while to jump on board, but after reading Elana’s blog for a long time, and more recently, Mark’s Daily Apple, I took the plunge.  Right now, I’m in a “let’s see what happens” phase, and I’m not avoiding grains 100% of the time. (I will be partaking when I attend the North Texas Gluten-Free Makeover tomorrow, for instance!) I thought if I could make these muffins grain-free, that would be a step in the right direction for primal/grain-free eating, and I could feed my desire to bake creatively. (I always love a baking challenge!) So I opted for coconut flour, a bit of arrowroot starch, and almond flour in these muffins. But rather than going in blind on my “experimental” muffins and risking a failure on Brittany’s time, I opted to have a trial run a few days ago.

I was glad I did, as my first batch, while tasty, wasn’t perfect. I only used 2 bananas, and I baked at too high of a temperature. The muffins weren’t tender enough, and didn’t have enough “banana” taste. I knew what to do, and made notes to make changes for this morning.

While they’re not entirely refined sugar-free (the dark chocolate chips have some sugar to them), they were certainly much lower in refined sweeteners than normal muffins. They’re also higher in protein and fiber. But how do they taste? Lightly sweet, with a warm, full, banana flavor, and a moist and tender crumb –  Brittany and her friend (who helped us make these muffins this morning) gobbled down three a piece, and Matt even enjoyed one. (He’s not much for muffins.) I imagine they’ll be gone by tomorrow morning. If that’s not a good sign, I don’t know what is!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 mashed bananas

4 beaten eggs

½ c honey

4 T liquefied coconut oil

¼ t almond extract

1 T vanilla extract

¼ c arrowroot starch

½ c coconut flour

¼ c almond meal

1 T flaxseed meal

¾ t baking soda

½ t baking powder

½ t sea salt

1 1/2 t cinnamon

½ c chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients (bananas through vanilla extract) together well. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (arrowroot starch through cinnamon) in a separate bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl until well-incorporated, and then stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes, and then carefully remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool on the rack for 10-15 minutes more.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free.

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Filed under Baked goods, breakfast, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian