Easy Spicy Barbeque Beans (dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

Being a New England girl, I’m not accustomed to barbeque beans; we are famous for our Boston Baked Beans where I come from (see recipe under side dishes). Since beans are a great source of protein and generally lower in carbs than many side dishes, I’m trying to use them more often as a side dish. Here’s a recipe that’s quick and easy (takes longer to make the sauce than the beans!).

Feel free to use any bean your family likes. And if you have time and prefer dried beans, soak them overnight or boil them for about an hour before adding the sauce, and the recipe is just as easy.

In a small saute pan mix:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 small jar tomato paste

1/4 cup vinegar (I use rice but any kind will work)

1/4 cup maple, agave, or coconut nectar, or honey

2 tablespoons molasses

Salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon-1 tablespoons hot sauce (or cayenne pepper)

sufficient bean liquid to thin the sauce

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook a minute more, about 5 minutes all together. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, mix thoroughly, and simmer over low heat for about a half hour. For a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender before mixing in:

1-2 cans (or about 1 1/2 cups dried beans that have been soaked or boiled) beans (I used red kidney beans because those are the ones I like but feel free to use any beans you have on hand).

The sauce makes enough for 2 cans of beans but I used only 1 and froze the other half of the sauce.

Serves 4

Easy Oven Fries (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

Who doesn’t like French fries? Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, with or without ketchup, delicious. But all that fat! Here’s an alternative that doesn’t even need any ketchup because they are seasoned with garlic and paprika. Turn half-way through the bake so that they will get crispy on two sides.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. For 2 servings you’ll need:

3 medium russet or sweet potatoes (organic if possible)

1/4 cup olive or avocado oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Herbamare*

ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into wedges remembering that the smaller the slices, the faster the cook. Be sure to remove any bruises or eyes from the potatoes. Place in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle with the seasonings and mix then add the oil and make sure all the wedges or slices are well covered with the oil. Arrange in a single layer on a medium to large cookie sheet (with sides!) and bake until tender and golden brown, 25-40 minutes depending on size of your cuts.

*Herbamare is a seasoned salt where fresh herbs are left to marinate in salt for several months. Quite flavorful.

Easy Pear Ginger Sauce (dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan)

A very easy thing to do with fruit that is getting too ripe and has to be used is to make a sauce with it. I had two pears that were getting over-ripe yesterday and decided to make some pear sauce. I had a small piece of ginger left over from the gingerbread waffles so I grated that into the sauce as well. Great idea, added to the taste as well as giving the sauce a little tang. And tastes great on top of the gingerbread waffles!

I used pears but any fruit would work with this recipe, with or without the ginger. If I hadn’t added the ginger, I would have used some cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, or cardamom. And it easily adjusts to the number of pieces of fruit that are ripe.

To make about 1 cup of sauce, use:

2 medium ripe pears

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or any other spice your family likes)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash, core, peel,* and dice the pears into a small saucepan. Add the spice and salt, cover and simmer over medium low heat until the pears are soft, about 10 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium to boil off excess liquid, cook for about 5 minutes or until there’s no longer any visual excess liquid. Remove from heat and using a potato masher or just a fork, mash into a sauce like consistency. If making a larger batch, use an immersion blender. Serve hot or cold. The sauce also freezes very well.

If the fruit isn’t sweet enough for your taste, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup to sweeten.

*In the case of pears, if they are organic, I don’t bother to peel them because that’s where most of the fiber is in pears. But other fruits such as peaches definitely peel.

Cinnamon Swirl Sticky Buns (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free)

I love cinnamon rolls! In fact, I won the winter carnival for my junior class in high school with my sticky buns. Back then I didn’t worry about gluten or dairy, didn’t have any allergies then. My son recently asked me, after the cinnamon swirl bread, if I could make some rolls instead. Here’s what I came up with. The recipe makes a 12-15 rolls.

This a a very tender, soft dough and doesn’t rise as much as traditional yeasted dough.

In a large bowl mix:

1/2 cup warm water (around 100 degrees; my Nana always told me the key to yeast was to make sure the water didn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just wet, then it’s the perfect temperature, like a baby’s bottle should be)

1 teaspoon date sugar

1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Stir to dissolve the yeast and then let sit for 5-10 minutes until it bubbles. Throw it out and try again if it doesn’t bubble or foam, that means its not working.

Warm over a very low heat in a small sauce pan:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons oil

Be sure not to get this liquid hotter than the water was for the yeast or it will kill the yeast mixture when you pour it into the bowl. When the honey is melted, pour the milk mixture into the yeast and add:

1 cup whipped potatoes (don’t want any lumps in the dough!)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt (be sure the salt goes in last so it doesn’t affect the yeast)

Mix thoroughly. Add more brown rice flour if the mixture is too wet. You want a dough that you can handle and roll out. Grease a bowl and add the dough, put in a warm place, covered with wax paper or a clean small towel and let rise for 1- 1 1/2 hours.

For the filling you need:

1/4 cup avocado oil, coconut oil, or vegan margarine

1/4-1/3 cup date sugar

2-3 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste, I was rather generous with mine and probably used more like 2 tablespoons)

Prepare a 9×12 baking dish by greasing. Remove the dough and place on a floured surface where you can roll it out to approximately a 24×30″ rectangle. You may need to add some flour to the top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Once rolled out, rub the dough with 1/4 cup of avocado or coconut oil (or a vegan margarine), sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 cup date sugar and several teaspoons of cinnamon. Beginning on the longer end, slowly roll the dough (you may need to loosen the dough from the counter with a butter knife if stuck). Tuck the ends into the roll and make sure the last side is securely attached to the rest of the roll. Cut into 1″ slices and place in the prepared baking dish. You don’t have to leave much space between the rolls because they won’t rise much at this stage. Cover with a clean towel or waxed paper and put in a warm place to rise again. (I turned my oven to 170 degrees (the lowest setting it would go) and turned it off after 5 minutes of warming so that it was approximately 100 degrees and used that to let the dough rise. Worked well.) This should only take about 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the Honey-Bee Glaze like we used on the Cinnamon Swirl Bread (1/2 cup date sugar, 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup agave or coconut nectar, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2-1 cup hemp hulls, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds – if too thick to pour, add a little more milk) and pour it over the rolls before baking them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a middle roll comes out clean.

Spicy Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Quick Bread (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free)

I really enjoy baked items that I can make without pulling out my stand mixer or even my hand mixer. This is one of those. Takes two bowls but otherwise a very easy bread to make. It’s a dense loaf but moist and tender. Perfect as a side for a salad or toasted with some non-dairy cream cheese for breakfast with your favorite protein.

Makes 1 loaf

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Generously grease a 9×5 bread pan. Mix in a medium to large bowl:

2 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix until combined. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together:

1 can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil (I used avocado oil but any oil you have will work)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. Before combining you might add one or several of the following:

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup hemp hulls

or 1 cup dried fruit such as currents, raisins, cranberries, etc.

Spoon into the prepared pan, smooth over the top and place in the middle of the oven. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan or on cooling rack.

Quick and Easy Orange Spice Coffee Cake (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, cane sugar-free, nut-free, vegan)

It’s difficult to find recipes for desserts that are delicious along with being allergy free. Here’s a light, delicious cake that’s quick to mix and bake. Takes longer to get all the ingredients together than to make. And nobody will believe you that it is gluten-free or egg-free, never mind that there’s no refined cane sugar in it. I used a “Honey Bee Glaze” topping but it would also work well with the standard coffee cake streusel topping. The honey bee glaze made a gooey sticky cake best served hot while the caramel like goo is still pliant. And would work well with any kind of non-dairy frozen vanilla or orange “cream”.

I’m allergic to nuts so I used hemp hulls in the topping but any nut if you can have them would work, sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds would even work well.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Generously grease an 8×8″ baking dish. Here’s what you’ll need for the cake:

In a 2-cup bowl mix together:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon aquafaba powder and 2 tablespoons water

Let sit several minutes while you,

Mix in a medium mixing bowl:

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

2/3 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice (feel free to substitute the cinnamon and allspice for whatever spices your family likes such as nutmeg, mace, ginger, or cloves)

Mix until combined.

Now back to the smaller bowl add:

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado oil because of its light flavor but any oil would work)

1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (my 5.5 ounce container was exactly a 1/2 cup)

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/3 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons grated rind (rind from one large orange)

1 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, currents, etc. (Optional)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Don’t worry if there are dry spots but you don’t want too many. The batter is like a biscuit or scone batter when combined.

Spread the batter in the greased pan and top with Honey Bee Glaze or coffee cake streusel (the cinnamon mixture used in the Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread would work here, just double the recipe). Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Here’s the recipe for Honey Bee Glaze adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey or date syrup

1/2 cup crushed nuts, seeds, or hemp hulls

Pour over coffee cake batter before baking.

Easy Ratatouille (dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free)

I don’t generally blog recipes that don’t originally contain allergens. But I love vegetables so I thought it was time for me to share more of my basic go-to vegetable dishes like ratatouille. So delicious, one of my grandson’s favorites, and easy to put together. Like Chinese food, the hardest and most time consuming part of this dish is chopping the vegetables.

You’ll need:

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini squash

1 medium eggplant (I prefer to use Japanese ones because they don’t have the bitterness but pick one with a green stem and inward bottom where the blossom was; also try to pick one that’s reasonably thin and firm to the touch)

1 cup diced onion (sweet, yellow, white, red, whichever you have on hand)

1 tablespoon to minced garlic

1 16oz can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon agave nectar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, squash and eggplant. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes turning several times. Reduce heat to low and cook another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just getting tender. Add the canned tomatoes, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes to heat, stir in the agave nectar. Serve. Serves 4-6.

Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread (dairy free, gluten free, refined cane sugar free, egg free, soy free, vegan)

One of my favorite breads has always been cinnamon raisin. I can no longer eat raisins but cinnamon is such a wonderful flavor, especially this time of year. And it naturally lowers blood sugar levels so has health benefits as well.

This bread is very easy to make, don’t even need a mixer, just be careful not to overmix and spread evenly in the pan so there isn’t one part that takes longer to bake. Mixes in about 10 minutes so most of the time is baking, 40-50 minutes to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (gluten free all purpose) a bread pan.

In a medium bowl mix:

2 tablespoons ground flax seed (preferably golden so it doesn’t show in the bread)

1/4 cup warm water

Let sit 5 minutes or until thickened and add:

1/2 cup date sugar

1 cup non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 6 ounce container of plain yogurt (mine was actually 5 1/2 ounces and I just added an extra tablespoon of milk)

1 tablespoon vinegar

In a smaller bowl, mix together:

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

When mixed, slowly add to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Spoon evenly into prepared bread pan.

In a separate small bowl mix together:

1/3 cup date sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine or avocado oil

Spoon over bread mixture and using a fork or knife, swirl through the bread mixture.

Bake 40-50 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the bread is cooking, make the glaze:

1/3 cup sugar free confectioners’ sugar (Lakanto has a monkfruit based powdered sugar)

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

If you don’t care for the taste of monkfruit sweetener, mix together 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar with 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed (white).

Put the bread on a cooling rack that sits on top of a cookie sheet. Be sure its fully cooled before glazing. Pour either glaze over the top of the loaf, coating evenly. If using the nectar based glaze, be sure there are no pools of glaze that might soak into the bread.

You could add some raisins or cranberries to the bread before baking or even some chopped candied fruits if you don’t mind a little sugar in the mix! That would be a lot like my Nana’s Christmas bread!

Oil Pie Crust (dairy free, egg free, gluten free, soy free, egg free)

I do love pies but it’s been difficult to find a good pie crust that’s gluten free, egg free and sugar free. A friend once gave me a recipe for an olive oil pie crust but it didn’t taste very good to me. So I’ve been searching and I think I’ve found the perfect substitute. Hope you’ll agree. However, instead of using a strong tasting olive oil, I’ve combined it with half milder olive oil and half mild avocado oil. It’s easy to make, just need to plan ahead!

You’ll need:

1/4 cup mild olive oil

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/2 cup milk (more or less)

2 3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon salt

One hour before you start making the crust, put the oils (mixed together) in the freezer. If you’ve planned well ahead of time, you can also put the mixture in the refrigerator overnight or longer in a closed container. This is the step that makes the crust flaky.

When the oils are solidified, measure the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and fluff with a fork (or if you own one, with a sifter). Add the oil and using a fork, combine with the flour mixture until you have pea size pellets of flour. Add the milk piecemeal, stirring the mixture after each addition, until the flour mixture is all combined and sticking together (which is why you may need a little less or a little more milk).

This makes 2 crusts so split the dough in half and put each ball into a plastic bag, flatten a little so it doesn’t break apart when cold and difficult to roll, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

About 15 minutes before you take the dough out of the frig, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough (I used plastic wrap to cover my counter and the top of the dough rather than flour) to roughly a quarter inch, remove the top layer of plastic wrap, lift on the plastic wrap and flip the rolled crust into your pie plate or baking container. This crust can be slightly crumbly so don’t worry if you have to patch it a little. Repeat if you’re using a top crust.

Blind bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cool slightly before adding filling and top crust. Then bake as you would a normal pie. If using just as a top crust, place on top of cold filling and bake. For a single crust pie, increase oven temperature to 425 and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Curried Vegetable Pie (dairy free, gluten free, soy free, vegan)

I LOVE curry! It’s one of my very favorite dishes so when I saw a recipe in the Trader Joe Fearless Flyer for Spicy Pumpkin Curry Pot Pie, I had to adapt it. Since I didn’t put any pumpkin in my pie, I’ve renamed the recipe to fit the actual ingredients. Since it contains beans, you could serve it as a side dish or an entree.

Like many of my recipes, this one can be adapted to suit your family’s tastes. For example, I used butternut squash but any winter squash, including pumpkin, could be substituted. Also, I love white kidney beans so I used those but feel free to substitute another bean, such as garbanzo; instead of parsnips, you could use carrots, and instead of the chopped dates, feel free to use dried cranberries, raisins, currents, etc. Whatever your choices, remember that curry loves sweet foods!

You’ll need for the vegetables:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion (I used sweet onions)

2 medium parsnips, cut into medium sized pieces

1 cup butternut squash, cut into medium sized pieces

1 bunch rainbow chard cut into shreds (feel free to use any chard or kale)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

16 oz can of beans, drained

1/3 cup chopped dates (or other dried fruit)

For the sauce, you’ll need:

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup gluten free flour mix

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry paste (depending on your taste)

And for the pie, you’ll need:

1 9″ pie gluten-free pie crust (I use Wholly Gluten Free even though it has a small amount of sugar in it but feel free to use whatever pie crust your family likes, just remember, don’t put a cold pie crust on top of hot mixture)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, add the 3 tablespoons of oil, heat then saute the onion and parsnips (or carrots) for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Add the chard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes or until vegetables are softened but still hold together. Remove from heat.

To prepare the sauce, heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan and add the curry powder (remember not to burn the curry, just toast it so have your heat on medium). Add the flour and whisk in; it should absorb all the oil. Let simmer on low for several minutes to cook the flour. Add the non-dairy milk (any milk except soy which will not thicken); coconut milk would be wonderful if you can eat coconut. Whisk constantly until thickened; if too thick (should be the consistency of watery mash potatoes), add a little more milk. Once completed, pour over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Grease a 9″ round casserole dish and then add the vegetable mixture.

If you are using a frozen pie crust, prebake per directions. Many frozen crusts will not come out of the pan until pre-baked (like the Wholly Gluten Free crust I use). That works well since then we’re putting a hot crust on hot mixture. Once pre-baked, flip it on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake in the oven until crust is done and mixture is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

HINT: If you’d like to add some crunch to this dish, add some seeds, I used pumpkin.