Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creamy Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding

     Pudding is something every kid and kid at heart loves. What's not to love....creamy, delicious and satisfying. And though it can have sugar, pudding has some nutritional value with egg and milk or milk substitute in it. So, I began trying pudding recipes to see if I could come up with something dairy-free that we would enjoy. I found that we particularly liked chocolate homemade pudding with coconut milk best. This one is very creamy and a favorite at our house.

Creamy Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. sifted cocoa
2 T. cornstarch
dash of salt
1 beaten egg
2 c. coconut milk beverage (from carton)
1/4 c. dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 T. dairy-free margarine

In a microwave safe dish mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt together with whisk. Add beaten egg and 1/2 c. of the milk to dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk. Microwave on full power for 2 min. initially and then 30 - 60 minute intervals stirring between each time. Pudding should be at a full boil and thickened when finished. Add chocolate chips and margarine. Stir until melted and combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl and place plastic wrap over surface of pudding. Chill and serve.

Increase sugar by 1-2 T. for a sweeter pudding.

We enjoy making parfaits with pudding, fruit and dairy-free whipped topping. We added a gluten-free cut-out cookie in this picture.

Enjoy this creamy, chocolaty pudding!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Zucchini Spice Cake

Zucchini works so well in cakes, breads and muffins because it makes the product nice and moist. I do like making chocolate zucchini bread and muffins, but I wanted to make a version with some spices that reminded me of fall. This recipe is really a sweet bread, but has a really nice texture and reminds me of cake. I also like to make muffins because it works well in lunches for us. I made this recipe into 12 muffins and an 7 x 7 inch cake.

Zucchini Spice Cake

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini, unpeeled
1 3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1 t. zanthan gum
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
2 t. brown sugar

Whisk eggs until foamy. Add sugar, oil, vanilla and zucchini. Whisk dry ingredients together, except for walnuts and brown sugar, and stir into egg mixture until combined. Line  20 - 24 muffin cups with paper or grease two 7 or 8-inch pans. Fill muffins cups about 2/3 full or pour into pans. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 - 22 minutes for cupcakes and about 20-28 minutes for cakes (time depends upon pan used) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on rack. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate (up to one day) or freeze leftovers.

Moist and delicious...Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Black Bean Salsa

Although I like salsa in general, I especially enjoy the time of year where red, ripe tomatoes are plentiful and I can make fresh salsa. There's just something about fresh tomato, pepper and onion with the appropriate seasonings. Salad on a chip.

In the winter, it's harder to find decent tomatoes and to be quite honest, I was getting a little tired of so many tomatoes at the end of the season this year. I wanted to try something different with my husband's salsa recipe. I had tried black bean salsa a couple of times and really enjoyed it, but didn't prefer the corn in the recipe. I decided to add just black beans to our fresh salsa recipe and cut down on the tomatoes. My husband and I were really pleased with how it turned out...less acidic with protein added.

Black Bean Salsa

1 1/2 c. chopped roma tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can of black beans
1/4 c. chopped onions
1 - 2  garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 small red pepper, choppped
finely chopped hot pepper of choice, as desired
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 2 limes
2 t. cumin
3/4 t. salt

Combine vegetables and beans. Sprinkle with cilantro and seasonings. Toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for several hours before serving to combine flavors.

We love this combination of flavors and the salsa is more satisfying with the beans in it. Enjoy!

10/6/12  Note:  "Pepper to taste" was not part of our original recipe and was put in by mistake. I removed it from the recipe above. Add it if you wish.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Muffins

One of my favorite things I look forward to in late spring is the start of rhubarb season. I love the tangy flavor in my baked goods. This recipe is an easy cake-like muffin with rhubarb that my family enjoys. I added brown sugar and nuts for a little crunch on top. Yum!

Rhubarb Muffins

1 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca or potato starch
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. zanthan gum
3/4 c. brown sugar

1 egg
1/2 c. applesauce
1/3 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 c. canola oil

1 1/3 c. diced rhubarb
2 t. brown sugar
3 T. chopped pecans

Whisk the first seven (dry) ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk egg in a large bowl. Whisk in applesauce and milk, one at a time. Whisk in vanilla, lemon juice and oil. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in rhubarb.

Grease 14 - 16 muffin cups or use papers. Fill cups about 2/3 full with dough. Sprinkle dough with brown sugar and pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 17 min. or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on rack.

If you won't be eating the muffins that day, refrigerate for 1-2 days or freeze in a sealed container. Frozen muffins work great for school or work. Put it in a bag or container and it's thawed out by the time you need it - although my kids love frozen muffins.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Saving Money Gluten-Free

Guten-free products can be quite expensive. That's why I like to make as many items homemade as I can. But, GF flours ares still costly compared to regular flour.

I wanted to start making my own flour to save money - particularly brown rice flour (a staple of mine) and quinoa flour (I like the fact that quinoa is a complete protein). Investing in a grain mill was one option, but since I decided to buy a Vitamix (a high powered blender) to increase my families intake of fruits and vegetables, I decided to try their dry blade container instead for grinding grain. I have had success with my brown rice and quinoa flour. If you bake a lot, making your own flour definitely helps reduce costs. Research your options to make the best choice for you.

You may also find gluten-free flours cheaper at Asian markets in your area. A friend of mine found tapioca starch, potato starch and white rice flour considerable cheaper at a local Asian market.

Making your own mixes saves money, too. It's easy to do and makes baking more convenient when your time is limited. Simply mix your dry ingredients together well in a bowl and store in a sealed bag. You can put it in the refrigerator or freezer if you are not going to use it right away. I like to look at product labels to find out ingredients in my favorite purchased foods, guess their quantities and try to make the item from scratch. Challenging yet fun!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Perfect Time For Ice Cream

School is out and we have settled into summer. One thing my kids love is ice cream - a bit of a challenge without milk. Since we like the flavor of coconut milk, it works as a great alternative for cream for us. It's easy to make a simple chocolate or vanilla ice cream with coconut milk.

This recipe is a lighter version of ice cream with lots of strawberries in it. The coconut milk makes it creamy.

Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

1 1/2 lb. strawberries, frozen
1 - 14 oz. can of coconut milk
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

If you own a high powered blender, blend all ingredients per instructions on your machine, adding a little more liquid if needed. Mixture should hold its shape and be thick. Serve or freeze right away.

If your blender is not able to make soft serve consistency from frozen fruit, use fresh, or partially or fully thawed strawberries. You can then use an ice cream maker to freeze it or pour it into a container and put in the freezer, stirring every 1/2 to 1 hour until frozen. When using the pan method, blending the ice cream again when it's frozen but still a little soft will give it a smoother texture by breaking up the ice crystals. If the ice cream becomes too firm to blend, let it melt a little rather than add more liquid before blending it.

Notes:  If your ice cream is not as smooth as you would like, you can blend the fresh, or partially or fully thawed strawberries first and strain them to remove the seeds before adding the rest of the ingredients. This should not be necessary with a high powered blender.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a lemon cupcake recipe. This week I want to share a recipe for cupcakes (should work for cake also) that works as a yellow/white cake mix would. And this recipe is very easy to make into a mix to have ready ahead of time. Just put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Store in a sealed bag or container. This recipe is an adaptation of two recipes from the same site I used a couple of weeks ago: I used a combination of the vanilla cupcakes and orange creme cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes

3/4 c. plus 2 T. brown rice flour
3/4 c. plus 2 T. tapioca flour
3/4 c. plus 2 T. sugar
1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. xanthan gum

1/4 c. egg whites
     (room temperature)
1 c. coconut milk
     (or other non-dairy
     milk beverage)
2 T. canola oil
1/2 T. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon juice

Whisk dry ingredients in small bowl. Set aside.

Beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Mix the rest of the wet ingredients in slowly just until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix on low just until blended. Don't over mix.

Fill 14 - 16 greased muffin cups or muffin papers. Smooth tops with fingers. Bake at 350 degree F for 18 - 21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool on rack. Frost if desired. Store in refrigerator for 1 - 2 days or freeze.

I use a coconut milk beverage and since it's fairly thick, I have good luck with using 3/4 c. of the milk with 1/4 c. water. Don't add water to a thin milk.

The original recipes made 12 cupcakes. I like to make my cupcakes smaller. You may prefer to make them larger.

If you like chocolate, the following frosting pairs well with this recipe.

Fudge Frosting

1 c. dairy-free chocolate chips
2 T. shortening or dairy-free margarine
5 T. dairy-free milk
1 c.. powdered sugar

Put chips, shortening and milk in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir. If needed, continue to microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between until chips are melted. Whisk in powdered sugar and cool. Refrigerate to decrease cooling time if desired, but remember frosting will be stiffer when cold. When mixture is cooled and thickened, beat until fluffy, adding more milk to reach desired consistency. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes with decorator bag.