Friday, January 17, 2014

Thai Salad Rolls - gluten free and vegan!

I've been making salad rolls for years. I used to get them when I was a teenager after school and think how impressive they looked, how much time they must have taken to make, etc. But boy was I wrong! Don't be fooled, although there are lots of steps, these little packages of loveliness are very simple to make. 
I usually prepare a bunch at a time and put them in the fridge for the week to snack on. They usually don't last more than a day! You may use any of the blow listed ingredients. The only necessary ingredients are the rice noodles. And the best way to assemble these is by using the assembly line method. Prep all your ingredients beforehand and then roll away! A great food to make wit the kids as well. 

Salad Rolls:

  • rice paper wrappers (buy in the Asian foods section of the grocery store)
  • thin rice noodles (bean thread noodles can be used as well, same section; grocery store)
  • carrots
  • green onions
  • cucumber
  • mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro
  • shrimp, tofu, or chicken
  • sesame seeds
  • cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, skin removed
  • 1/4 cup honey or other sweetener (adjust depending on your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water

The Rolls:
For some reason I always get the shrimp, tofu, or chicken done first. So bring a small to medium pot of water to a boil and drop shrimp in.
Cook for 2-3 minutes. Don't overcook!
While protein is cooking, I place noodles in a medium Pyrex (heat resistant) bowl.
I place noodle bowl in the sink with a strainer on top. Then, drain the broiling shrimp water into the strainer. The boiling water is now used for cooking the noodles in the bowl below.
Leave noodles for 2-3 minutes. Noodles should not be too soggy when you drain the water. If they are, start over. No one likes a soggy  noodle.
Toss very lightly with olive oil so they do not stick together.
Rinse shrimp in cold water to stop cooking process. Peel and cut shrimp lengthwise.
If using tofu or chicken, saute with a bit of say sauce on medium/high heat until fully cooked. Raw tofu is fine too. Cut into strips worthy of being rolled.

Next, prep your veggies for your rolls. 
I like to chop all the veggies into strips. I remove the cucumber seeds to prevent sogginess. 

To assemble, first run the rice paper through running water in your sin, both sides quickly. Place on counter on parchment paper. 
Assembly line time! Start at bottom edge of your rice paper. 
Lay out noodles and then layer as desired. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tuck in sides of paper around filling. Now roll tightly! 
Note: wrappers should be very soft, if not, pat warm water on them to soften. 

Prepare the sauce in a small or medium sauce pan. 
Saute grated ginger and chopped garlic for 1 minute. 
Add all the ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently.
Turn off heat, let cool a bit and either use an immersion blender or a regular blender to obtain a smooth consistency. Place in a small ramekin for serving. Extra sauce will last for a few weeks in fridge. 
Note: I like the sauce cold! 
The rolls can now be eaten. Or wrapped in plastic wrap individually or placed in a zip lock bag. 
Put in fridge and enjoy as ye' will. 

A less than glorious picture of these little bundles of yumminess. I happen to cook mostly late at night, very late! When all the children are sleeping and my mind is racing with good things to cook and more importantly, good things to eat. Down side of course is that pictures don't come out as stunning as they should. My apologies! But once you taste these, I don't think you'll have any complaints.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pumpkin Custard- gluten free and vegan

I loved chocolate pudding as a child but I realized after the 100 or so cup of pudding that I needed to branch out and try new things. I  had a few cans of pumpkin puree on hand and nothing to do with them. They just stared at me every time I reached for something on my shelves. Until I found these wonderful little pumpkin dishes just asking for something sweet yet savory to pretty them up. Here's what I came up with. 

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup canned organic pumpkin 
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (you can sub 1/2 cup coconut sugar and 6 drops liquid stevia) 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Now just throw all the ingredients in a blender, mix for about 1 minute until very smooth. You can also use a hand mixer if you like. 
Line a 9 X 13 baking dish with a dish towel and fill with about 1 inch of very warm water. This will help ramekins from slipping.
Pour custard into dished about 2/3 full.
Optional: lightly drizzle maple syrup over tops. 
Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Every year I do a new pumpkin pie recipe. This year, I was aiming high. A gluten-free crust has always  been a challenge, yet so intriguing. So here's a pie with a tasty nut based and ever-so-slight crust. The crust almost melts into the pie and gives it a richer taste. This pie's packed with fiber and healthy fats. Top with vegan coconut whipped cream and you can have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 


  • 1 cup almond meal (I processed half raw almonds and half walnuts together)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter (coconut oil is vegan) 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice 
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until they form a nice ball. 
Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes so it is easier to roll out. 
Using 2 pieces of parchment paper, or plastic wrap, roll out dough. Use one piece on the bottom, one on top. Peel off bottom layer, and plop into pie plate. Now slowly and ever so gently remove top sheet, peeling it back. Fit crust in to your liking. 

  • 1 box pumpkin puree (Tropical Traditions has a new tetra pac box, awesome!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 can coconut milk

Preheat your oven at 425 degrees. 
In a small bowl, mix coconut milk with stevia drops. Mix well. 
Now using an electric mixer or your processor, mix all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy-looking.

Pour pie mix into your lovely nut pie shell and bake for about 55 minutes. Check regularly, these suckers can be finicky. Center should just wiggle a bit when done. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy warm or cold, but remember to add your whipped cream. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Vegan Whipped Cream

As I went around my sons classroom to serve up his birthday dessert to all his buddies, I noticed a sad look on one of the boys faces as he said, "I can't have dairy". I then asked him if he'd like some coconut whipped cream and his face lit up. He ate it all and wanted more. 
This stuff's good, real good. And easy too. 

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbs maple syrup or honey
  • 6 drops liquid stevia
Empty most of coconut milk into a small bowl, leaving some of the liquid in the can. The more liquid you choose to use, the more watery the whipped cream will be. And keep in mind that after chilling, the whipped cream will be thicker because the fat will solidify. So don't worry if it looks thin. 

Next, using a hand held mixer, combine the cream and sweeteners for 2-5 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. Remember, it will be more watery that your end product, but fear not! 

Lastly, pour into a jar or tupperwear with a lid and put in fridge for at least half an hour. But it should keep for weeks, but most likely won't last very long. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles

Yes, this was just a whim. But what a good thing a whim can be! I wasn't quite satisfied this week when I made our weekend waffles. I kept thinking, there must be more. But what? And then, the left over can of pumpkin puree from the pumpkin custard I had made earlier in the week spoke to me. And I obeyed. 
Of course, this shape was totally due to my lack as an experienced waffle maker, but I decided to go with it and my boys loved them. 

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot (you can also sub potato starch or cornstarch)
  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
    • 2 cups milk (or milk sub)
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
    • 1 tbs ground flax and chia seed combo (sub 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 eggs (separated)
    • 1 Tbsp butter, softened or melted (sub coconut oil or veggie oil for vegan)
    • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar (sub 1 drop liquid stevia)
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned) 
Now get to work!
Preheat waffle iron. Now get a bunch of bowls out and begin.
Sift all the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix milk, vinegar, and add in flax and chia seeds.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes to curdle and activate the jelliness of the seeds. (This is your binder)

In a very small bowl, separate your eggs and reserve the yolks. 
Beat your whites until they form stiff peaks. (Don't over beat, or they'll fall)
And in the biggest bowl, mix butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Now add in the egg yolks, mix.
Add in the flour, mix.
Add pumpkin puree, mix.
Add in the fluffed yolks and fold in carefully to not deflate too much. 

Batter will be pretty watery, so test first on waffle press. Add flours if needed.
Cook on waffle iron until a medium golden color. It will take longer than you expect.

Now fill up your waffle iron about half as much as you usually would and cook. 
Eat immediately with maple syrup and savor the goodness!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Homemade Ketchup: a healthier version

I am never going back to buying ketchup. My family loves lots of ketchup and it often gets kind of pricey. Especially since my youngest decided he likes his carrots dipped in it too. After realizing how much sugar was in each tablespoonful of this lovely condiment, I decided it was time to make my own. And I feel much better about feeding this sauce to my family. And the taste is amazing! I swear you'll never go back. I made a double batch and wish I'd made more to freeze. 

  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 7 lbs whole tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 6 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • optional: 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and/or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (for a smokier and spicy version)
  • Directions:
    Saute onions and garlic for about 10 minutes making sure not to burn. 
    Now core your tomatoes and chop into large or medium sized chucks. 
    When onions are translucent, add tomatoes and bring to a boil. 
    Cool and then blend (food processor or blender works).
    Now pour back into pot, add all other ingredients, and bring to a boil again.
    Simmer for half an hour or until desired thickness.
    You can can it at this point or put in fridge and freeze the extra.
    I put mine in glass jars and used the plastic Ball jar tops to freeze them. 
    Keeps in fridge about a month and freezes very well up to a year.

    Note: If freezing glass Ball jars, I first place them in the fridge for a day, then place them in the freezer and they do just fine. A plastic Zip Lock freezer bag works well too. 

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Gluten-Free Strawberry Muffins

    I've been working a day here and there at the local farmers market for fun. Last week there were tons of strawberries left over at the end of the day. And I realized that I had never made strawberry muffins....why should all the blueberries get all the love? 

    These were by far my best gluten-free muffin attempt. And oh, they rose like no gluten-free muffin I've ever tried to make. The recipe was adapted from on the Gluten-Free Goddess 's muffin recipes and I can barely take credit. 

    • 1 cup almond flour  
    • 3 tablespoons mixed flax and chia seed mix (you can also just use ground flax seeds)   
    • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed   
    • 1/2 cup sorghum flour 
    • 1/2 cup potato starch  
    • 1 cup coconut sugar 
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
    • 1/2 cup apple sauce (I was out and used Plum Organics Strawberry Mash!) 
    • 3 eggs 
    • 1/2 cup milk (rice, oat, soy, or almond all work well) 
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
    • 2 cups strawberries, cut into chunks

    Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. You can do without the liners, but it works better with them.
    For almond meal I just processed almonds, added in the chia/flax seed mixture, and the rest of the flax seeds until all were well blended using a food processor.
    Next I mixed all the dry ingredients in a very large bowl and added in the almond and seed mixture.
    Mix well.
    In a medium sized bowl, I combined all the wet ingredients with my favorite electric mixer.
    Lastly, I added in the precious strawberries by folding them in gently.
    I considered chocolate chips here but held back. You might be braver!
    Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.