Apple Blueberry Muffins (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan)

Blueberry muffins are a summer family tradition in my family that I’ve had to forgo for many years now.   I can remember in my youth, the whole family going to the Meader farm to pick blueberries after supper and then we’d go to the lake for a swim to cool off.  The next day, along with freezing most of the berries, my mother would make blueberry muffins to go with a cold salad (like the salmon salad on this blog) for supper that night.  It would probably also be accompanied by some sliced tomatoes.  This is a simple, quick recipe that makes light and moist muffins.  The tapioca flour gives the outside a nice crunch.

Preheat oven to 375 degree and grease  6 large or 12 small muffin tins.

In a large bowl combine:

  • 1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon stevia
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice, unflavored
  • 1 cup of chunky applesauce, unsweetened (or pear sauce to make pear & blueberry muffins)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries dredged in 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Mix until all the ingredients are well combined; gluten-free baked goods often need a little more mixing than their gluten counterparts.  The mixture should bubble up while you’re mixing it when the vinegar hits the baking soda.  If its too thick (should be the consistency of mashed potatoes), add a little more milk by tablespoons.

Spoon into the greased muffin tins making sure all the muffins have equal amounts of batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Best enjoyed warm.

Decadent Carob Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, vegan)

This cake is so moist and fudgy that it doesn’t need any frosting.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t put some strawberry cream cheese frosting on it if you want, or even serve it with some non-dairy whipped cream or “ice cream”.  I simply serve mine with some of my strawberry jam or some fresh raspberries.  So satisfying for those with a sweet tooth.

Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.  In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup carob powder (if you want, you can use cocoa)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a second bowl mix:

  • 1 cup pureed stewed prunes
  • 1/2 cup apple or pear sauce
  • 1 tablespoon stevia, 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar, or 1/2 cup maple syrup (if you add the liquids, be sure to reduce the club soda by an equivalent amount)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups club soda

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Be sure to mix thoroughly and then keep mixing for several more minutes (gluten-free flour needs more mixing than regular wheat flour).  Pour into the prepared pan and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your pan and your oven.  Its done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and then onto a serving plate.

You could also add some chopped dates, hemp hulls, coconut, or if you can eat them, even some chopped walnuts.

Smoothies

I am a creature of habit and one habit I’ve had for a number of years now is my breakfast smoothie.  Rarely do I eat anything other than my smoothie for breakfast.  I like to make them thick and creamy — almost like a soft-serve ice cream.  I never imagined that this would be a satisfying breakfast but it sure fills me up and gets my day going.  Here are some of my favorites.

TIP: To really mix it up, double the recipe and put it in an ice cream freezer.  Eats more like “ice cream”, very satisfying.  I make 4 cups at a time, freeze in 1 cup containers and eat these as a dessert after lunch or supper.

TIP:  When making the fruit purees, they don’t have to be perfectly smooth because you’ll be adding them into a blender to make your smoothie and that will complete the puree process.  Also, if making the purees with the skin included, be sure you use only organic fruit since you won’t be peeling them and the pesticides are usually found in the skin.

Another TIP:  Be sure to mark your containers so you don’t get one out expecting a certain fruit and then find you’ve made an entirely different flavor!  Been there done that.

TIP:  Change up the flavor of your smoothies by alternating cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, etc., depending on your taste.  Use one or several spices.  You can also alternate the flavor of your protein powders for entirely different tasting smoothies.  I usually use the vanilla flavors but chocolate goes very well with the strawberry and wonderful with prune.

TIP:  I usually find these are sweet enough for my taste but add a little stevia, agave or coconut nectar, date syrup or honey if you want them sweeter.

TIP:  I also add a scoop of marine collagen for my skin and nails.  It doesn’t change the taste however it does affect the texture making it slightly smoother or creamier.

Put in a blender:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1-2 scoops of protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (the golden work best since you don’t get the discoloration)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of frozen fruit (see suggestions below)
  1. Strawberry
  • Add 6 ounces of frozen strawberries

Start blending on the lowest setting and as the smoothie starts to come together, increase speed.  If you find you’ve added too many strawberries (often happens to me!), add milk until you get the correct consistency.

I sometimes like to add some frozen acai, 1/2 a frozen banana or 3-5 pieces of frozen mango.  Be sure to adjust the strawberries to account for the other fruit so that you still have 6 ounces of fruit.

2.  Fig or Prune

This is one of the creamiest smoothies I’ve found and is also my favorite.  It involves some planning since you have to prepare the figs ahead of time but its well worth the trouble.

First, in a saucepan:

  • 10-12 fresh ripe figs (1 pound), washed and stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons of water

OR

  • 24 ounces of dried figs or prunes
  • 1/2 cup of water

Cover the saucepan and cook over a low heat until the figs or prunes are soft. Be sure to stir if you’re using the dried figs to be sure all of them become rehydrated.  Cool and then using a potato masher, mash the figs (or you can put them in your food processor and pulse for a few seconds).  Place in 1 cup containers (don’t fill completely but leave a little room for expansion), freeze and use as above.  Will make 2-3 cups of puree depending on the size of your figs.

3.  Pear and Blackberry

Depending on how much you hate seeds, you can either use whole frozen blackberries or cook 2 cups of blackberries in a saucepan with a little water and then put the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the seeds (TIP: I freeze this, when cooled, in an ice cube tray and after it freezes, I put the cubes into a freezer bag).

The pears are much easier.  Just quarter and core your pears (my favorites are the Asian or Korean pears but any pear will work), and then pulse in your food processor.  Place in 1 cup containers and freeze.  Usually, I’ve found that 1 pear will make roughly 1 cup of puree, depending on the size of the pear.  Also, I don’t worry about peeling them since the processing will take care of the peel.

This is case, I like to add the 1 cup of pureed pear and then 4-6 whole blackberries or 2-4 of the frozen blackberry ice cubes.

4. Plum, Peach or Apricot

One of the easiest to prepare, just wash and make sure you remove any stems from the fruit, half to remove the pit and pulse in your food processor.  Put into 1 cup containers and freeze.  Depending on the size, 2 plums will make roughly 1 cup of plum puree, same for apricots, but 1 1/2 peach will make you roughly 1 cup of peach puree.  I like to add some raspberry coulis to the peach smoothie.

If you prefer, you can cook the diced plums, peaches or apricots in a little water; this will make the skins more palatable while keeping the fiber contained in the skins.  It only takes 5-10 minutes to cook them and you can spice them up at the same time.

5.  Pumpkin or Sweet Potato

  • 1 cup of canned or prepared pumpkin or sweet potato
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of stevia, 1 tablespoon of agave or coconut nectar, or honey

6.  Carob and Cherry

Use a 1/2-3/4 cup of frozen pitted cherries.  I add 1 tablespoon of carob powder (you could use cocoa) along with 1 tablespoon of date syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Yummy!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (dairy-free, sugar-free)

This is a very easy recipe.  In a medium bowl, place:

  • one container non-dairy cream cheese (Daiya, Kite Hill, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (more or less depending on how sweet your family likes their frosting)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

With your hand mixer on low, mix; as it comes together, you can speed up your mixer to add more air to the frosting.  If the mixture is too thick, add more strawberry puree; if it is too loose, add more non-dairy cream cheese.

Strawberry Cream Pie (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

 

 

My husband doesn’t often enjoy my “special” recipes but this is one he flips over.  Its one of his favorite things about strawberry season.  Over the years, I’ve tried a number of different pie crust recipes trying to develop a really tasty, flaky, gluten-free pie crust.  I haven’t been very successful.  I’ve found the tastiest gluten-free pie crust, but not sugar-free, in my local supermarket’s frozen-food section, Wholly gluten-free by Wholly Wholesome.  Although not sugar-free, it has a very low amount of sugar, just 2 grams per serving.

Pre-bake pie shell in 375 degree oven following directions on the reverse of the label.  Let cool.  While that’s cooling make the cream:

Put in a 2 quart pot:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice milk, or your favorite non-dairy milk [DO NOT use soymilk]
  • 3/4 cup granulated fructose or 1/2 cup agave nectar, or 1 Tablespoon stevia

Bring to a boil.  While its heating, blend:

  • 1/2 cup of your non-dairy milk with
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch

When the milk is boiling, whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue whisking until the mixture thickens.  Take off the heat and add:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite margarine

Blend until well mixed and margarine has melted.  Cool.  When the cream is almost cold, pour into the baked pie shell and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

You can either use one cup of strawberry jam as a topping for this cream, or use the following:

In a small pot mix

  • 1 cup mashed strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.  If you remove this from the heat when it starts to thicken instead of waiting for a boil, you’ll have a looser topping like mine above.  If you let it boil, you’ll have more like a the strawberry jam consistency.

Top with your favorite non-dairy whipped topping or you can decorate with strawberry cream cheese frosting.

 

Strawberry Jam (sugar free)

This is one of my favorite times of the year — strawberry season.  What a wonderful treat fresh picked strawberries are; they make so many great things, so much more than just strawberry shortcake.  Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for sugar-free strawberry jam.

Wash and hull:

  • 9 cups fresh strawberries

You can either mash them with a potato masher or puree them in your food processor; it all depends on how smooth you want your jam.  If you like pieces of strawberry in your jam, use the masher.

Follow the instructions on Pomona’s Universal Pectin to make calcium water.

Put in a 3 quart or larger pot:

  • 8 cups strawberries, pureed or mashed
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water

Bring to a boil.

While you’re waiting for the strawberries to heat, combine:

  • 3/4 cup agave nectar with
  • 4 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin

I find the pectin mixes best into the nectar if you add the pectin to the agave rather than adding the agave to the pectin.  Use a small whisk to blend.

When the strawberries are bubbling, stir in the pectin-nectar mixture.  Continue heating for several minutes (2-3) to dissolve the pectin.  Remove from heat.  Pour into water bathed jars.  This should make 4 pint jars and a 1/2 pint jar.

You can either put these filled jars into a water bath for 10 minutes or, I prefer the easier method of just letting them cool completely and then placing them in the freezer.