Upside Down Cake with Fruit

One of my mother’s favorite cakes was pineapple upside down cake. Since I can’t eat pineapple anymore, I used a different fruit for my upside down cake – pears. Turned out quite delicious and moist since pears are full of liquid which drained pineapple doesn’t have. Any fruit can be used for this cake and can be arranged decoratively – I just tossed mine in the bottom of the spring form pan but feel free to make one that’s prettier.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup aquafaba

Let sit while you get the baking pan ready. Using a 10″ spring form pan, or if authenticity is desired, a cast iron Dutch oven, spray the bottom with non-stick spray and add a round to fit of parchment paper. In a small sauce pan melt:

1/4 cup vegan margarine

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with:

1/2 cup fine date sugar (the courser sugar doesn’t work as well here – you could use the date syrup squeeze bottle to squeeze 1/2 cup of syrup over the melted margarine instead)

Peel (if desired) 2 large pears, 2-3 apples. Also could use 1 1/2 cups mixed berries or pineapple rings. I also shaved a fresh piece of ginger and grated about 2 teaspoons on top of the pears. Cinnamon or allspice could also be sprinkled over the fruit in the pan.

Arrange the fruit on top of this mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl mix:

1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum

In the smaller bowl, add to the flax gel:

3/4 cup date sugar

1 cup dairy free milk mixed with 1 teaspoon vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk until well mixed and then add to the flour mixture and either mix with a hand mixer or a spoon until combined. Do not over mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before pouring over the fruit (or pour over the fruit and let sit). Bake for 30-40 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 10-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan at least 15 minutes before removing from pan onto plate. Remove parchment paper.

Pumpkin Donuts

Pumpkin is a favorite flavor of mine anytime of the year, not just over the holidays. And pumpkin is a natural soother of an upset stomach so it has health benefits as well. Here’s a pumpkin donut recipe that has the spices of a pumpkin pie, mixes up quick and easy and bakes in about 10-12 minutes. Topped with a maple glaze, to die for!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl whisk together:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons aquafaba

2 tablespoons maple syrup (use the real stuff here)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla

When well mixed whisk in:

1/2 cup date sugar

To the bowl add:

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have the mixed, you can use the individual spices – 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon allspice)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

TIP: If you want the pumpkin taste stronger than the spices, reduce the spices to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Blend until combined with a spoon. Let sit for a few minutes while you grease the donut pan(s). It will make 6-10 donuts depending on how large you make them. Using a 1 gallon food storage bag, spoon the donut mix into the bag and zip it shut. Cut off one corner and pipe the donut mixture into the donut pan(s). Bake 8-14 minutes depending on how large the donuts are (I made only 6 donuts so baked them the full 14 minutes.) When the tops are set, they are done.

Remove from oven, let cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

While the donuts are baking make the maple glaze:

In a small bowl whisk together:

1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance soy free)

1/2 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener (Lakanto makes one that Whole Foods or Amazon carries)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2-3 shakes of salt (or a dash!)

When the donuts are still warm, dip one side into the glaze. If you want to make them really decadent, top them with crumbled (cooked!) bacon right after dipping. Let sit at least a half hour for the glaze to set. When dry, the glaze is really not that visible, just shiny.

Carob Chip Cookies

I think this is the third recipe I’ve put up on the blog for carob (or chocolate) chip cookies. This one is very easy to make and tastes great. I cooked mine for 15 minutes and they were caky, so stick to 10-12 minutes for a chewy cookie. It should make 18-20 cookies so if you have dough left over, increase the size of each cookie. If smaller cookies are wanted, bake them for only 7-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet (to hold all the cookies at once).

In a small bowl, soak 8-10 medjool dates or 1 cup of diced dates in 1 cup boiling water for 10-15 minutes (this is the longest part of the process!)

Pour the dates and the water into a food processor (I actually used my Vitamix) and process for 1-2 minutes until the dates are pureed. Scrape back into the small bowl. Whisk in to the dates:

1/2 cup avocado or melted coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

In a medium bowl combine:

2 cups brown rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pour the date mixture into the flour mixture along with 1/2 cup unsweetened carob or chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Take 2 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of the dough and shape by hand into a ball, then flatten, and put them on the greased cookie sheet. Don’t worry about putting them close on the cookie sheet because they won’t spread much although they will puff up slightly when baked.

Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

Easy Lentil Pilaf

I can say that I generally don’t eat anything that I don’t make from scratch, mostly because there are very few pre-made or pre-packaged foods that don’t have something in them that I can’t eat (often it’s soy or sunflower lectin). So it’s not going to happen very often but — I have discovered a wonderful side dish (or main dish) that tastes great and has no allergens! As long as you can eat lentils, this is something you should try. High in protein and low in carbohydrates, lentils are a great addition to a meal. I’ve become addicted to Tolerant’s Organic Riced Red Lentil Pilafs. They’re ready in about 20 minutes, taste great and two of them, the Asian Ginger and the Spanish Style Paella, don’t have any soy in them. I know I was surprised too that the Asian Ginger is soy-free!

Being who I am, of course, I can’t just make it per package directions. So here’s what I do with these pouches of goodness. Serves 4-6.

In a 9″ skillet, add:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

When hot, sauté:

6-8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I like shitake)

1/2 cup diced onions

When the mushrooms are browned and onions translucent, stir in:

2 cups mushroom stock (or any other stock you have on hand, chicken would work well)

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Bring to a boil. Add:

1 packet Tolerant Organic Riced Red Lentil Pilaf

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 9-12 minutes until the water is gone. Stir every few minutes, especially when the water is almost gone. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 4-5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and enjoy!

Easy Fudgy Brownies

Oh my goodness! This is one of the richest, most delectable brownies I’ve ever eaten. It’s the third brownie recipe on my blog and I think the third one was the charm! Such a decadent mouthful, there’s just nothing to compare with a really fudgy brownie. This one fits the bill and is so easy to make. In fact, it takes longer to assemble the ingredients and scoop it out of the food processor into the baking dish than it does to make them!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ baking dish with non-stick spray (I use the Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil spray). Add to the bowl of a food processor:

Pulp from 1/2 a small avocado or about 1/3 cup avocado pulp

3/4 cup date sugar

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup avocado oil or other light tasting oil

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

2 teaspoon instant coffee

Blend until combined. Add:

3/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour

1/2 cup oat flour

3/4 cup carob powder

1 tablespoon psyllium husk flakes

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

By hand, mix in:

1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened carob chips, chocolate chips if you can use them, chopped walnuts (again if you can use them), or 2 tablespoons hemp hulls OPTIONAL

Scoop out of the food processor bowl and spread out evenly in the baking dish. I found it easiest to scoop it all out first and then using a large wet spoon to spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. It is very thick!

Bake only 20 minutes turning once at 10 minutes. If using a smaller baking dish, bake for 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE OR YOU’LL HAVE DRY CAKE BROWNIES! Cool for at least an hour before cutting. In fact, it works well to cool for a half hour and then refrigerate them. They need to be cold before cutting into nine (or more) pieces.

Quick and Easy Vegetable Fried Rice

I made some Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken today (see my second blog of the day) and had a little substitute soy sauce left over so thought how about some fried rice. One of my favorite dishes, my mother always made it with bacon and eggs but of course, not able to do that anymore. So this one is fairly easy and quick if you use frozen brown rice (I love the packets from Trader Joe but many markets now carry frozen pre-cooked brown rice, just don’t use the instant – all the good stuff is gone and you’re left with just carbs!). Checked the freezer and the pantry and sure enough had a nice variety of vegetables so decided to give it a try. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have in your pantry or freezer.

In a 10″ skillet heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Add:

1/2 medium onion sliced

3 stalks celery sliced on the bias

1/2 cup grated carrot

1 cup frozen French cut green beans

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 small can, drained bamboo shoots or sliced water chestnuts

Cook over medium heat for several minutes, stir once or twice to make sure vegetables cook evenly. Then turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 1/2-2 cups cooked (or frozen) brown rice, stir to combine and cover to heat the rice another 3-5 minutes. Add:

2-4 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon red chili flakes or hot sauce (optional)

Stir in the sauce and the dish is ready!

Easy Light Italian Dressing

I like a variety of salad dressings, makes salads more interesting if they don’t always taste the same. I generally use a small canning jar but if you have a glass jar that you’ve emptied of whatever that’s at least 1 cup in size, wash it out and keep it for making dressings. I find it easier to shake for a few minutes rather than whisking.

In a small 1 cup jar, add:

1/2 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar (or whatever vinegar your family likes)

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (or 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian herb blend

Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for several minutes.

Want creamy Italian dressing? Simply use a little larger jar or whisk in a bowl the above with:

1/4 cup non-dairy yogurt, sour cream, or vegan mayonnaise

Marinara Sauce

This is a remake of my Aunt Jean’s marinara sauce. I started making this recipe for my family as a teenager and have continued using it ever since. Many times, I made this for my roommate and son, brings back many memories.

Needed:

1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced

Cook for several minutes until onion is translucent before adding:

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 64 ounces of pureed tomatoes
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley (about 2 tablespoons of each)
  • monk fruit powder, stevia, or agave nectar if needed for additional sweetness

In a large skillet, saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes and then add the diced garlic and the grated carrot.  Saute until softened, about 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add the red wine (or mushroom stock) and cook off the alcohol.  Add the pureed and diced tomatoes and simmer over a low heat, covered, for approximately 1 hour.  Uncover and simmer an additional 15 minutes.  Add the fresh herbs along with salt and pepper to taste and the tomato paste.  If needed, depending on your taste, add additional sweetener. 

Green Goddess Dressing

This is a great dressing for any salad you want to put it on. If you want it creamy, add some vegan mayonnaise to the recipe. Yum, yum!

In a food processor put:

  • 1 ripe avocado, skinned and pitted
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley, or 1/2 cup fresh parsley (you can add more if you like parsley; not one of my favorite herbs so I didn’t use much)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons ground pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water to get to dressing consistency, 1/4-1 cup (my dressing came out fairly thick and I used 1/2 cup of water)

Blend until creamy and all ingredients are combined.  Here, again, I used some roasted whole coriander seeds that I pulsed in my spice grinder so they were not fully ground and the pumpkin seeds were also only partially ground.  This added some crunchy texture to the dressing.

Simple Curry Sauce (dairy-free, gluten-free)

This is a very easy sauce to make using a curry powder; I prefer the Madras curry powder. If you’re adventurous and want to make your own curry powder, there are a number of recipes and videos on-line (YouTube especially) which show the process.

In a small sauce pan, heat

2 tablespoons oil

then add

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of curry, depending on your taste and cook for approximately 30 seconds until you can smell the curry. 

Add 2 tablespoons all purpose gluten-free flour.  Whisk and cook for several minutes. 

Whisk in 3/4 to 1 cup (the amount of milk depends on how thick you want your sauce) of your favorite milk (coconut milk works great here but rice, hemp, almond also work fine).