Quick and Easy Low Carb English Muffin

I posted quite a while ago a recipe for English muffins made with yeast that are truly great and taste just like the original. But they take several hours of prep and quite a bit of work to make. Here, however, is one that is cooked in the microwave and takes about five minutes to put together (only because it takes a few minutes for the flax gel to thicken, if you can use an egg, it won’t take more than 2 minutes to put together. And I was quite surprised at how tasty they were. The recipe makes 2. Do what I say and not what I did – be sure they are cool before toasting them.

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

Whisk together and set aside. Grease (I used 1 teaspoon olive oil in each ramekin) 2, 3″ ramekins and set aside. In a small bowl (about 2 cups) combine:

1 tablespoon oil, vegan butter or margarine

2 tablespoons seed or nut butter

Microwave for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the kind of butter you use; my homemade pumpkin seed butter took a little over 1 minute). Whisk to combine and add:

2 tablespoons all purpose, gluten-free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon non-dairy milk

the flax gel (or 1 egg)

Whisk to combine before dividing equally between the two ramekins. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, remove and flip the muffins over in the ramekin (use an offset spatula). The bottom that is now the top looks wet. Microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute (smaller ramekins will take longer than larger ones). A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean and the top should look dry. COOL COMPLETELY! before toasting. And enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Here’s another take on those Sweet Potato pie squares I blogged a couple years ago. This one is lower in sugar and is fat-free as well. But, just as tasty! Makes 9 servings and will keep in the frig for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

5 tablespoons warm water

Set aside for a few minutes to form a flax gel. In a food processor bowl, combine:

1 cup pumpkin seeds (or any seed your family likes, even walnuts or pecans if you can have them)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., whichever you prefer

1 teaspoon date sugar

Process until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the flax gel and blend until the mixture forms a dough, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared baking dish and using your fingers, a spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, press firmly into the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree)

1/3 cup date sugar (or maple syrup, honey or agave)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least one hour before cutting. I like mine really cold so I cool on the counter for an hour and then in the refrigerator for several hours before I cut into squares. But as you see in the photo, I couldn’t wait that long this time and cut it before it was fully cooled. Once cooled it does stand up like it should! Can be topped with any non-dairy topping or frozen “nice” cream.

Easy Oatmeal Granola

I don’t usually post anything about the recipes that I try that don’t turn out well but here’s one I made last night which failed in what it was supposed to be but became an inspiration for something else. I’ve always loved granola but there’s always something, often times raisins or nuts in it, that I can’t have (never mind all the sugar!). The oatcakes recipe I tried to make last night failed miserably – all it wanted to do was crumble. I thought and thought today, what can I do with this? Don’t want to throw it out, it tastes good, maybe use it as a topping for a pear brown betty. Then it hit me – it’ll make really tasty granola. So I added some pumpkin seeds, freeze dried raspberries and some small pieces of chopped dates and guess what – I was right! Oh so delicious! Here’s the basic recipe for the “oatcakes” which you can then add any number of dried fruits and nuts/seeds to for a delicious granola. Just watch out cuz it’s addictive!

Line a medium sized sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl combine:

2 cups uncooked gluten-free oatmeal

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup fine date sugar

In a small bowl (I used a 1 cup glass measure), combine:

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

Stir to dissolve the baking soda before adding:

1/2 cup avocado oil

Optional at this point maybe add one or two spices:

1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, mace, coriander, ginger

Stir into the dry ingredients, the mixture will be crumbly but try to bring it together as much as possible. Spread out on the sheet pan and cool in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees about 5 minutes before the mixture is ready to bake. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before breaking up and putting in a storage container (I used a gallon food storage bag). Add any number of ingredients such as:

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hulls

1/4 cup of any type of nuts (if you can eat nuts) like chopped cashews, almonds, walnuts or pecans (roasted of course)

1/4 cup small pieces of chopped dates

1/4 cup freeze-dried fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, etc.

1/4 cup dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. – even raisins for those who can eat them!

I must be quite slow on the uptake – it occurred to me while I was typing this that the original recipe writer probably wanted us to use cooked oatmeal rather than uncooked! I’ll have to try it that way.

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.

Vegan Carrot Spice Cake

I’m updating this recipe. Just spoke with my son and daughter-in-law who said it was good but it wasn’t sweet enough! I admit, I don’t like my desserts as sweet as most people so I’ll adjust the recipe so that those of you who want a sweeter cake can still use this recipe.

I love carrot cake but I love my carrot cake to be more like a spice cake with some carrots in it. So unlike most carrot cakes, I add more spices. If you don’t, feel free to stop with the cinnamon. I was easily able to divide this cake into two bowls and mix some ground walnuts into one bowl (for my son and his family) and some chopped dates and pumpkin seeds into the other for me. This cake only takes one bowl and is fairly easy to mix even for me with 2 rotator cuff tears.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 8″ baking pans (I used one square and one round so that I knew which was which!). In a medium-large bowl, combine:

3 tablespoons ground flax

7 tablespoons warm water (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon)

Whisk to combine and then let sit for 5 minutes or so to form flax gel. When ready add to it:

1/3 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk or stir to combine and then add:

1 scant cup unsweetened fruit sauce (apple, pear, peach, oh pineapple would be good) [I actually only had 7/8 of a cup and it worked fine]

1/2 to 1 cup date sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Stir or whisk to combine. Add:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Stir or whisk to combine (by now the whisk will be having a difficult time so use a hand mixer if necessary). Add:

1 cup grated carrots

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 cup oat flour

Stir to combine adding another 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk if necessary. Stir in:

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, feel free to mix it up using chopped pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or dates, chopped raisins, cranberries, or dried pineapple also work (Optional)

Spoon the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I would actually bake it about 5 minutes more after the toothpick comes out clean). Don’t worry if it’s slightly overbaked since gluten-free baked goods take longer to cook than regular ones, it still comes out fine.

Remove from oven and let cool, on a cooling rack, for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before frosting or serving. For faster cooling, place in the refrigerator for about a half hour. Serves 8-12.

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

1 large or 2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Vegan “Cream Cheese” Frosting

One just has to have cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! I’ve tried several nut-free, tofu-free recipes for vegan cream cheese and none of them worked very well until I found this one, delicious! Of course, if you don’t care for sweet potatoes, it may not be your cup of tea. It uses white flesh sweet potatoes which are starchier and not as sweet as the ones we’re used to here in the U.S. They can be called Japanese, Hannah, or Batata.

Wash, peel and dice:

2 medium-sized white flesh sweet potatoes

Since we don’t want to add any liquid to the sweet potatoes, it’s very important that they are steamed rather than boiled. Steam until fork tender. Place in a small to medium bowl. Using a potato masher, mash and then measure out 2 cups.

Transfer the 2 cups to another medium bowl (or the same one if it used all the mashed potatoes). Add:

1/3 cup avocado oil (coconut would also work)

Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

There’s the basic recipe for vegan “cream cheese”. To make it into frosting, whip in using a hand mixer:

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc. (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Will frost two layers of a naked cake (no frosting on the sides).

Pumpkin Seed Butter

Lots of us are allergic to nuts so use butters made from seeds instead. I know sunflower butter is very popular along with tahini but I prefer pumpkin seed butter. I find, however, the cost to be almost prohibitive – over $20 for 8 ounces or less. Ridiculous price to pay. So I purchased two pounds of raw pepitas at the store, brought them home and roasted them (place on a large cookie sheet and stick in the oven, set it to 425 degrees and when it comes to temperature, turn off the oven and let the seeds sit in there for about 10 minutes) and then proceeded to make my own pumpkin seed butter which came out quite delicious and creamy, with a little bit of crunch. It’s very simple but it does take awhile because the food processor gets too hot so one has to wait about 10 minutes for it to cool down between each 3-5 minute of processing.

Place in a food processor bowl:

3 cups roasted (or raw if you prefer) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Feel free to add a little sea salt if preferred. Process seeds for about 3-5 minutes or until food processor gets hot. Stop and repeat until nuts are creamy, about 6-7 times, scrapping down the sides of the food processor during every rest period. Place in sealed jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

FYI, the seeds will start off quite grainy, then become crumbly and clump up in one spot before they get creamy. The longer they’re processed, the creamer and smoother the butter becomes.

Honey Ginger Sesame Noodles

This umami filled dish of noodles takes some preparation in slicing the vegetables but otherwise is very easy to put together. The seeds or nuts add a little protein so if additional protein is desired, some fried tofu, chicken, beef, or pork can be added. And the vegetables can be changed to fit your family’s likes and what you have on-hand. Mushrooms, bell pepper, bean sprouts all would work well.

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking pan with parchment and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup raw seeds such as pepitas or sunflower, or nuts if you can have them (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)

Bake for 5 minutes and then toss with:

2 teaspoons sriracha

1 tablespoon soy sauce substitute

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Following package directions, cook:

6-8 ounces rice noodles

When cooked, drain, rinse and set aside. In a 12″ skillet with high sides, over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

When the oils are hot, add:

1/2 large (or medium) onion, thinly sliced

3-4 stalks celery, sliced on an angle

3/4 cup chopped or shredded carrots

2-3 baby bok choy, sliced, including greens

Stir to combine and cook approximately 5 minutes until tender but not mushy. Add:

1-2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small can diced or sliced water chestnuts

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

Cook an additional minute or two. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon tahini (or seed butter like sunflower or pumpkin)

1 tablespoon molasses

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk to incorporate ingredients and then add to pan of vegetables. Let the vegetables simmer with the sauce for several minutes, 2-3 before tossing in the noodles and, if more heat is desired, add:

1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Separate into four serving dishes and top with the seed mixture and:

2 scallions, greens only, sliced

Top with sliced, sauteed meat if desired and enjoy!

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.