Tag Archives: summer

Kids in the Kitchen: Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream

This was a bit of a different path for Brandan. At first, when we discussed what he wanted to make, he immediately jumped on the usual track – new, never-been-tried-before seafood of some variety. After all, we’ve made sea cucumberswordfish, and a seafood gumbo featuring squid. So when he first mentioned shark, I followed him in stride, working to create ideas for shark steaks and side dishes. We nailed down our plan.

Or so I thought.

The next day, in a random discussion, the topic of rocky road ice cream came up. I admitted that I loved rocky road ice cream to him, and he agreed that it was a pretty great flavor. That’s when he surprised me – he wanted to make rocky road ice cream instead of shark steak! My boy, who is into all things challenging, strange, and heavy on the protein, wanted to make a rather “normal” dessert. Of course, I was happy to oblige, and changed our plans accordingly.

After making several dairy-free ice creams in my recent past, I hardly follow a recipe anymore. They’re so quick and easy, especially if I’ve pre-chilled the coconut milk and the ice cream maker bowl (which lives in our chest freezer). Ice cream is basically a dump-and-stir process, and then with a quick churn in the ice cream maker, it’s ready to go in the freezer. Easy peasy.

I did make this recipe a bit more difficult, however. I did not want to use store-bought marshmallows. I have trouble digesting corn, and every marshmallow I’ve found in the stores uses corn syrup. So I opted to make my own.

I tried two different recipes – one sugar-free, and one not. The sugar-free one I tried was from Z’s Cup of Tea. That recipe used honey. Unfortunately, I forgot to add the vanilla extract, and they tasted too much of honey. However, I really want to try them with agave nectar instead, because the marshmallows were lovely and springy. (Also, if you check out her blog, you’ll find that she whips her marshmallows by hand! That impressed me immensely.) I decided on my second try to make marshmallows with sugar, just so I could understand what they were supposed to be like. I followed Deb’s instructions at Smitten Kitchen, only I substituted agave nectar for the corn syrup. They turned out beautifully. (So much so, that I could hardly stop eating them) Next time, I’ll know just what to expect when I tackle those agave-only marshmallows, and there won’t be a mountain of sugar used in the process.

Those marshmallows were ready to go when Brandan and I set out to make our ice cream. I cut them extra small so there wouldn’t be huge bites of marshmallow, but they were still somewhat larger than commercially made. No matter – we like marshmallows at our house! 

The verdict? This ice cream definitely had more flavor, and in spite of the full-sugar marshmallows, was a tad less sweet than commercial ice creams. I think we declared it a winner. Brandan did for sure – he took the rest of the ice cream and remaining marshmallows home to his Mom’s house at the end of the weekend (much to my relief – I find that I can easily become addicted to sugar!). 

Will this mean that in the future, Brandan won’t cook challenging foods? I hardly think that’s the case. His sense of adventure is still strong. I anticipate having to hunt down a bizarre food soon.

Dairy-Free Rocky Road Ice Cream

3 cans of coconut milk

1 c of almond milk

1 t xanthan gum

2/3 c cocoa powder (not Dutch)

pinch of salt

3/4 c agave nectar

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t almond extract

1 c marshmallows

1 c nuts, coarsely chopped (we used half peanuts and half pecans)

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

In a blender, add the coconut milk, almond milk, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, and salt. Blend until there are no longer lumps of cocoa powder. Add the agave nectar and the extracts and blend. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pour into a freezable container and stir in marshmallows, nuts, and chocolate chips. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

Makes over a quart. If your ice cream maker can’t handle this volume, consider cutting the recipe in half or processing in batches.


Filed under Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free

Moist and Herb-y Turkey Burgers

Lately, we have been focusing on lighter, healthier fare. Why? Well, why not? For one, the weather (The forecasted high temperature today is 106 degrees!) begs us to leave the oven off and keep the kitchen cool. The sooner I can turn off the stove (if I turn it on at all) and get dinner on the table, the less the air conditioning has to work. In addition, we would like to not have to work so hard at keeping our waistlines from expanding. Salads are great, but we can not live by salad alone. This is where burgers come in.

But in keeping with the lighter, healthier fare, (and because ground turkey was on sale) I opted for turkey burgers. Now, I have made many a burger in my lifetime. Turkey burgers, however? I’m not as experienced. I was worried that my burger would end up dry and bland. I knew I wanted to throw in a lot of herbs to boost the flavor without added fat (and because the garden is overflowing right now with herbs!). As for the remedy to a dry patty, I turned to Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Amy participated in a burger contest last year (she was a finalist!), so I knew she was a great source of information. I found a turkey burger recipe on her site, and found the secret – mushrooms. I had mushrooms in the fridge, and so I took a cue from her and threw them in the food processor. In addition, I remembered that I’ve used almond flour as a bread crumb replacement in meatballs and meatloaf in the past, and it always boosted the moisture when compared to other “breadcrumbs”. I played with the flavors a bit, and hoped my herb-y turkey burgers would come out well.

The result? These burgers are on the regular meal rotation! The husband raved about them – and when you can get my husband to enjoy turkey burgers, and not simply rate them as “okay, for turkey burgers” (and secretly wish they were beef), then it’s a recipe worth repeating. They were moist, with just the right amount of fresh herbs, and plenty of flavor from the cumin and dijon mustard. I even splurged and enjoyed mine on a Kinnikinnick bun. (Yes, Tasty Eats At Home sometimes buys pre-made buns. See reasons to keep kitchen cool above.) It was mighty tasty.

Herbed Turkey Burgers

About 6 oz mushrooms, processed until finely chopped in food processor (about 1/4 c)

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 c almond meal/flour

1 egg

1 T flaxseed meal

1 T chopped fresh parsley

2 sage leaves, chopped

1/2 t chopped fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)

1/2 t chopped fresh rosemary

1 t dijon mustard

1/2 t ground cumin

2-3 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, gently mix the mushrooms, ground turkey, and the rest of the ingredients together. (I do this with my hands.) Heat a skillet to medium heat and add a bit of the olive oil. Pinch a small, marble-sized ball of the burger mixture and place it in the skillet. Brown on each side until cooked through, and taste. Adjust seasonings to the rest of the mixture as needed. (This is a great way to ensure you don’t make a bunch of bland patties – I do this for meatballs and meatloaf as well.) Form into 4 patties.

Add additional oil to the skillet. (Alternatively, you can use a grill pan or even your grill outdoors. If grilling outdoors, you might opt for a grilling basket for burgers, as these burgers are more fragile than beef burgers and more apt to fall apart. You might also try freezing them for 30 minutes before grilling to keep them together.) Place the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned. Check the internal temperature of the burgers, and cook until the center reaches 165 degrees F. (You might choose to put a lid over the skillet and turn the temperature down to allow the burgers to cook through.) Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Place on a gluten-free hamburger bun (or go bunless!) and top with desired condiments and toppings. I opted for dijon mustard, soy-free mayonnaise, lettuce, onion, and tomato. If you opted to go bunless, then this patty would taste delicious on top of field greens and tomatoes, with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette or honey mustard dressing.


Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

A Gluten-Free Food Blogger Brunch (and Basil Chicken Pesto Salad Puffs)


Yesterday, a group of Dallas-area food bloggers and friends got together for our first-ever gluten-free brunch, hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. It was an intimate party (there were five of us), and boy, was it a lovely meal, and an excellent opportunity to meet other gluten-free bloggers. Also attending the brunch was Amy of I Am A Celiac, Kerri of Food Sparks, and Katie, a gluten-free friend that does not blog (yet – we might convince her otherwise).

For those of us with dietary restrictions, sometimes pot lucks and meals at others’ houses can cause anxiety, (will I get sick?) or cause many of us to not eat at all. Not so at this brunch! What a delight to visit and everything is gluten-free! There was certainly an abundance of food.

Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten Free made cucumber basil water (posted on her blog), which is the most amazing, refreshing drink I think I’ve had to date. Definitely seeing this served in the near future in my house. She also baked up a storm, making two varieties of scones, blueberry crumb bars, (which I loved – even took a few home!) and strawberry muffins.

Amy of I Am A Celiac brought deliciously savory gluten-free jalapeno sausage, black beans and roasted potatoes, and a baked good from the nearby gluten-free bakery (for the life of me, I can’t think of or find the name of the place!).

Katie brought a lovely fruit salad and deviled eggs (complete with homemade mayonnaise!), and Kerri brought fresh juices and some homemade jams – strawberry and raspberry chipotle.

And I brought these.

Basil chicken pesto salad puffs. I used my gluten-free, dairy-free pate a choux recipe, and filled the puffs with chicken salad. I wanted a fresh, unique chicken salad, and since my garden is currently overflowing with basil, I opted for pesto as a main component. I found that Alisa at Go Dairy Free had a dairy-free pesto recipe that was very easy to make. I followed this recipe, and boosted the flavors and complexity with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, apples, walnuts, lemon, and a bit of dijon. I added mayonnaise, but not much – just enough to keep the salad moist and blend the flavors together. Stuffed into the puffs, this salad was bright, slightly sweet, and fresh.

It was most refreshing to enjoy time with fellow bloggers (and fellow gluten-free friends). Spending time with like minds who share the same passions rejuvenates the soul. I returned home with renewed energy and new ideas. We’ll have to get together again soon!

Basil Chicken Pesto Salad Puffs

2 T olive oil

2 lbs chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

1 recipe gluten-free, dairy-free cream puffs

1 recipe dairy-free basil pesto

1/2 c mayonnaise

1 1/2 t dijon mustard

1/3 c sundried tomatoes, chopped

1/4 c toasted walnuts, chopped

2 apples (I used Fuji, but I imagine Granny Smith would be even better), peeled and diced

1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, heavy skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and allow to heat until shimmering. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and saute, 5-6 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. (Work in batches if you need to) Remove and set aside. When all chicken is cooked, place in airtight container and chill in refrigerator overnight.

Prepare cream puffs as directed in recipe and allow to cool to room temperature.

Prepare pesto as directed in recipe.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and dice into 1/2 inch dice. Stir together pesto, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard. Toss apples in juice from the lemon. Combine diced chicken, pesto mixture, apples, sundried tomatoes, and walnuts in a large bowl and stir gently until evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut a small hole in the top of each cream puff. Gently spoon chicken salad into each cream puff, filling the entire inside cavity. Chill until ready to serve. (These can be refrigerated for a few hours, but the cream puff will become soft over time.)

Makes 15-18.


Filed under Appetizers, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes