Easy No Bake Tiramisu Cookies

I remember as a child my mother would give us mocha in place of cocoa or coffee. Of course, back then, decaffeinated coffee didn’t exist and parents were told caffeine was bad for growing children. Thankfully, it didn’t occur to her that chocolate has as much caffeine as coffee! So she would put a little instant coffee into our cocoa. I must admit to this day, I much prefer mocha to plain cocoa. Now that chocolate is no longer on my menu, I’ve substituted carob in it’s place and I think it works just fine. These are more like a flat fudgy truffle than a cookie. Very quick and easy to make using a food processor. These are the perfect “cookies” to make during the summer when no one wants to turn on their oven.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine:

1 generous cup gluten-free rolled oats

1 tablespoon carob powder (of course you could also use cocoa powder)

1 tablespoon instant coffee or expresso

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup protein powder

2 tablespoons date sugar

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds*

1/4 cup seed or nut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder

Blend until the mixture is slightly crumbly and most of the oats are ground along with the whole pumpkin seeds. Slowly pour in the non-dairy milk, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture forms a dough. It should be a little sticky but mostly dry. Scoop out about 1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on how large you’d like the “cookies”, roll into a ball and then flatten in your palm. Place on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper after coating each cookie with a mixture of:

1 tablespoon carob powder

1 tablespoon crushed instant coffee or expresso powder

1 tablespoon date sugar

I mixed the above in a small bowl and then coated each side with the carob mixture by putting the cookie flat into the bowl and then turning it over. The mixture stuck just fine without any pressure. Makes 10-12 depending on size. Remove to a large plate or small baking dish and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Store in zip-lock bags in the refrigerator.

*I used pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed butter but any type of seed or nut will work – sunflower seed butter and sunflower seeds would be just as good.

Easy Summer Pickles

My husband loved these pickles. It was the only way I could get him to eat cucumbers so I made them often. It’s a quick and easy thing to do. The longest part of the process is peeling the cucumbers so feel free if the peels don’t bother you to leave them on. And it’s so variable – by simply changing the type of vinegar and herbs/spices used, the taste changes completely. I’ll give you some variations at the end of the basic recipe.

In a 3-cup bowl combine:

1/2 to 1 cup water, depending on how strong you want the pickle

1 cup vinegar (I use a blend of white and rice – a strong and a mild vinegar)

2 teaspoons date sugar

1/4 teaspoon alum (keeps the cucumbers crunchy)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Add:

6 mini cucumbers, sliced

That’s the basic recipe and they are very good just this way. I like to change it up though so think about adding the following, remembering that spices are always better once they’re a little roasted.

Variations:

1/2 teaspoon of: mustard seed, cumin seed, celery seed, coriander seed or just one of these

2 bay leaves

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced or several scallions, sliced

1 tablespoon of: fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon of dried dill weed

1 tablespoon of: fresh tarragon or fresh rosemary or fresh thyme or fresh basil or parsley

Using all white vinegar makes for a very pungent pickle where you may want to increase the date sugar or even use a couple of tablespoons of honey or agave nectar

Using all rice vinegar will make a very mild pickle where the date sugar can be totally eliminated

As I said at the top, changing the vinegar, and there are plenty of them out there these days, will totally change the taste of these pickles so use the vinegars your family likes best

Sweet and Sour Cole Slaw

Quick and easy, especially with pre-mixed cole slaw mix, this is a delicious, fat-free side dish that won’t spoil if left out because it has no mayonnaise.

I find it hard to believe that this is my 300th blog! How time flies and how the recipes just keep adding up. Hope you’re enjoying this adventure in cooking as much as I.

In a medium size bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 cup white vinegar

Whisk until the date sugar dissolves. Stir into the dressing:

1 1/2 cups pre-mixed cole slaw mix (green and red cabbage and carrot)

1/4 cup sliced scallion greens

Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 2-3.

Plum Salsa

Here’s a quick and easy way to kick up your grilled pork chop or chicken breast. Takes a couple of minutes to put together and will liven up your grilled meat.

In a medium, 3 cup bowl, combine:

1 large plum (or 2 smaller ones), diced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or 1 teaspoon dried)*

juice from 1 lime

dash of hot sauce (to taste)

dash of sea salt

Makes 2 servings. Feel free to substitute other fruits such as nectarines, peaches, or pears.

*I hate cilantro. When I hear chefs on TV say, “Who doesn’t like cilantro?” I always want to scream, “Me, Me, I hate cilantro.” So I used dried parsley instead.

Honey Mustard Asparagus

Here’s a very quick and easy side dish if you like mustard and asparagus. Use either green or white, makes no difference. If your asparagus is more than pencil size, peel it to get rid of the tough skin. I used spicy brown mustard which is my favorite but feel free to use any mustard that your family enjoys. The same with the herbs – I used thyme because it’s my favorite but most herbs would work well in this recipe, either fresh or dried.

First, prepare by peeling and/or removing the woody portion at the bottom:

1 pound asparagus

Place in a steamer and cook until fork tender but still a little crunchy, about 4-7 minutes depending on the size of the asparagus spears.

While the asparagus steams, make the sauce in a medium bowl by whisking together:

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon honey (agave nectar or date syrup would also work)

1 tablespoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh herbs or 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs (I used thyme)

Once asparagus is cooked, remove from heat and add to the bowl of sauce, toss to combine. Serve hot or cold. Serves 2.

Chickpea Frozen Dessert

I love chickpea brownies and carob chip cookies but it never occurred to me to use them in a frozen “ice cream” until I saw a recipe on Pinterest. I’ve had to adapt it slightly to omit the nut butter and chocolate but it is very delicious, lusciously smooth and creamy. I added some carob powder but flavor it any way you like – some strong coffee in place of half the non-dairy milk, carob chips, or using various seed or nut butters will add various flavors. Also, using various extracts or oils could add different flavors, instead of vanilla extract, use some mint, orange, lemon, or even butterscotch flavored extracts.

In the bowl of a blender place:

1 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1/2 cup dates (I used chopped but if using whole dates, be sure to soak them if they’re dried so that they will break down in the blender)

1/4 cup seed butter – tahini, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, etc.

1/3 cup protein powder (any kind or flavor)

1/4 cup carob powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend until the dates are broken down and the mixture is smooth. If one is available, put mixture into an ice cream freezer for 30-40 minutes and then transfer to individual serving dishes to freeze or eat immediately. If an ice cream freezer isn’t available, transfer to individual serving dishes and freeze for 1-2 hours or until you want to eat it!

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

It’s that time of year again! Time to pull out the gingerbread recipes along with all the pumpkin and spices. Here’s a very easy ginger cookie recipe that takes very little time to throw together and only 10 minutes to bake so in a mere 20 minutes you’ve got cookies – just as quickly as any tube of cookie dough you buy in the grocery store. And oh so delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons warm water

Stir to combine and let sit for a minute or two until a gel forms. Add:

1/2 cup pepita butter (or sunflower butter, tahini, etc.)

1/3 cup date sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand mixer, mix until fully combined. Add:

3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Using a spoon, mix in the dry ingredients. This is too thick for the hand mixer. When combined, using a small cookie scoop, place scoops on the prepared baking sheet and flatten. Makes about 15 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Blondies

I’ve never had a blondie since I’ve always preferred bars made with chocolate. Now that I no longer can have chocolate, it seems like a good time to check out blondies. I understand from watching people make them on TV that they should be very dense and moist, almost fudgy, rather than cake-like. This recipe, adapted from thebigmansworld.com, doesn’t have any flour and can be made without any sweetener as well. I opted for some date sugar which I think pumpkin really needs and added some vanilla to the mixture as well but if you want to intensify the pumpkin or sweet potato flavor, a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spices would go well. Be sure to chill them thoroughly before slicing and removing from the pan. And, the smaller the pan, the thicker the blondies will be (I used an 8″ square pan for the pumpkin and an 8″ round for the sweet potato.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with non-stick cooking spray, a small baking pan (8″ or less). Put into a medium sized, microwave safe mixing bowl:

1/2 cup pumpkin seed butter (or any other butter your family likes)

Heat for about 1 minute which should thin it out a little. If you’re using roasted (brown) pumpkin seed butter or a thicker butter such as sunflower, this may take longer to melt. Add to the butter:

1 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree

2 tablespoons carob powder

1/4 cup fine date sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes depending on the size of your baking dish – the 8″ pans took the full 20 minutes in my oven. They will puff up slightly when they are cooked. Cool on the counter for 15-20 minutes and then refrigerate and chill completely before slicing and serving. Number of pieces will also depend on the size of the pan you used – I got 9 pieces from the square pan.

Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal raisin. These are very easy to make (if you have a food processor) and very tasty. And they don’t have very many ingredients, also a pretty good thing. If you have dried dates which most of us do since fresh dates are not always available, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften them before using them in this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a medium size cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, add:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats, preferably organic

1/2 cup seed butter like sunflower or pumpkin butter or tahini

10-12 softened dates, medium sized

1/4 cup date syrup (or if you don’t have date syrup, use some of the water from soaking the dates just increase the number of dates if you want a sweeter cookie)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Blend until combined and the oatmeal is partly ground and a dough forms. This should take only about a minute. Remove from the food processor to a bowl and stir in:

1/2 cup carob chips (optional)

1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Scoop out several tablespoons (to a 1/4 cup depending on how large you’d like the cookies) of the dough and form into a flat, round disc. Repeat with the remaining dough. The recipe should make approximately 12 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

I do love gingerbread but I also love pumpkin. This cake doesn’t have a pronounced pumpkin taste – the ginger overwhelms it so if you want more pumpkin taste, reduce the amount of ginger you add. It’s wonderfully moist and delicious served with a vanilla frozen dessert or a non-dairy whipped cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 square or round pan (to take the entire cake out of the pan to serve, cover the baking pan with parchment paper and then grease). In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons aquafaba*

*Add 1 teaspoon aquafaba powder to 3 tablespoons hot water. Don’t have aquafaba powder or a can of chickpeas handy? Substitute 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until a flax gel forms. In a medium sized bowl (at least 3 cups) combine:

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup hot (the hotter the better) water

Mix until the molasses and honey are fairly thin. In another medium size bowl (at least 6 cups) sift together:

1 cup sorghum flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour or arrowroot

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (or nutmeg)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.