Pumpkin Spice Muffins (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free, soy-free, vegan)

This is a very moist muffin, almost decadent in flavor with all the spices added.  Yet with the garbanzo beans ground into the wet ingredients, it has some protein along with the carbohydrates.  Its sweetened with dates so there’s no added refined sugar.  Because its gluten-free, it needs to cook a little longer than a regular muffin and it also needs to be made in regular muffin/cupcake pans rather than the jumbo (or the teeny ones would work but you’ll get more than the dozen).  And its versatile, you can make it with pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash (or a mixture of squashes).

Prepare 12 muffin/cupcakes by grease and flouring them.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender or food processor, combine until smooth:

  • 1 cup drained garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups (or 15 ounces if you’re using canned) pumpkin, sweet potato or squash
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (using the ones mixed with flour will help dry the batter)
  • 1/2 cup dried prunes (or you could use dried figs)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Meanwhile in a large bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates

When the wet ingredients are well mixed and all solid bits are broken down, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and hand mix until all the flour is combined.  Divide as evenly as possible between the muffin cups and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your muffins.  If you’re using the teeny muffin pans, baking time will probably be only 10-12 minutes.  These are so tasty that they don’t need cream cheese or butter but can be eaten just as baked.  Be sure to let them sit 10-15 minutes after removing them from the oven so that they dry out a little more in the baking pan.

Gluten-free Pancakes (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

I do love pancakes, one of my favorite breakfasts on Sundays, the only day I allow myself something other than a smoothie.  Its been hard to find a recipe for gluten-free pancakes that doesn’t result in a gummy pancake.  This one fits the bill.

In a small bowl mix:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl combine:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax (I use the golden and it doesn’t change the color of my baked goods)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a small (4-cup) bowl, whip:

  • 2 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Whip on medium until stiff peaks form and then increase speed to maximum and whip another 4-5 minutes.

Add to the flour mixture:

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil OR 1/4 cup fruit puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add the milk mixture and stir until combined.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Drop by 1/4 cups onto greased, heated skillet and cook until bubbling and then turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add some maple syrup and enjoy.

 

Gluten-free Waffles (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, sugar-free)

One of the most difficult recipes to adapt, in my opinion, has been waffles and pancakes.  If they taste great, they’re gummy.  Not these — light and fluffy and at the same time very crispy and oh so good.  And I learned a great tip for cleaning my waffle iron (that doesn’t come apart to wash) — after you’re done cooking your waffles and the iron is still hot, place a flat wet paper towel inside the iron and close the lid and it will steam clean your waffle iron.  In my 4-waffle iron, this batter made 8 waffles.

In a small bowl combine:

  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

In a medium size bowl place:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir dry ingredients to mix.  In another bowl (4-cup capacity), beat on medium:

  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat until stiff peaks form and then increase speed and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until they become marshmallow like.  Increase to highest speed and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit puree
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Add the milk mixture and combine until well mixed.  Gently fold in the aquafaba mixture.  Grease your waffle iron and make sure it is hot.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter (per waffle) into your waffle iron and cook.  You may need a little more than a 1/4 cup — as you can see from the picture, mine could have taken a little more batter to completely fill the waffle iron.  Add syrup and enjoy!

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.

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 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 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.

Rice Milk

Yes, you can make your own rice milk and its actually very easy to do, and much less expensive then buying quarts of it at the store.  You also control the amount of fat and sugar in the rice milk.  Here’s the basic recipe.

Add to a blender

  • 6 cups of cool water
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice (you can use white rice if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar*

Blend until smooth, it takes quite awhile, I usually blend it for approximately 8-10 minutes.  Pour through a small sieve to get out residue of the rice that did not blend.  Store in the refrigerator; this will last approximately 6-7 days.

*Optional; you can also increase or decrease the agave depending on how sweet you want the milk; for savory recipes, use less agave and for dessert recipes, use a little more if you want.

To make vanilla rice milk, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy (dairy-free, gluten-free)

 

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease 8×10 pan.  To make biscuits blend:

  • 1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum

Add and blend using a pastry cutter or fork

  • 1/4 cup softened margarine

Mix in

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup rice milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk), should be thick and a little sticky but not too dry
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Spoon into pan; makes 6 medium sized biscuits.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

 

To make sausage gravy, fry in a non-stick skillet

  • 1 pound lean turkey sausage (if you use pork sausage, drain off fat before proceeding)

When cooked, add

  • 2 cups of your favorite non-dairy milk (DO NOT USE SOY MILK)

Whisk until smooth

  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free all purpose flour (depending on the milk you use, you might need to use more than 1 tablespoon but no more than 2 TBS should work)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, except soy

Add to pan; whisk until smooth and thickened; this should only take about 2-3 minutes over medium heat.

 

 

Orange Chocolate Chip Donuts (gluten, dairy, and egg-free)

I have a great many food allergies which makes it impossible for me to consume pre-made foods, mixes, etc.  Everything I eat, I have to make from scratch. This started about 25 years ago. Since then, I have put together a large library of delicious recipes that are free from many of the most common food allergens such as dairy products, eggs, gluten, sugar, alcohol, nuts, soy or corn. Here is one of my favorites:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baked donut pan (if you don’t have one but you have a pan that makes six small Bundt cakes, that will work as well).*

  • Mix 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free flour with 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Sweet Sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest from one orange (I really like to use the Cara Cara oranges)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I actually use the Chatfield Carob Chips since I also can’t have chocolate) depending on how many chips you want in your donuts.
  • 1/4 cup granulated fructose or 1 tablespoon stevia powder (you can also use 1/4 cup agave or honey**; if you want a slightly sweeter donut, add 1/3 cup of the fructose).
  •  Mix until blended and make a well in the middle.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil), 1 teaspoon vanilla***
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (I use rice vinegar since its one of the mildest in flavors so your baked good doesn’t taste like vinegar)
  • the juice from the orange which should measure between 1/3 and 1/2 cup, and
  • club soda so that you have a total of 1 cup of liquid including the OJ.
  • Mix until well blended.
  • Spoon mixture into a piping bag (I don’t go to the trouble of buying piping bags — I use one gallon storage bags and cut off one bottom corner AFTER I fill it).
  • Pipe mixture into the donut or Bundt cake pan until circles are well filled and bake for 10-12 minutes until donut is springs back when you touch it.

* Another option is to fry: in that case, add only 3/4 cup of liquid to keep the dough from getting sticky so that you can roll it out and cut out the donuts. Or, keep the liquid and drop from a spoon into the fat. Fry them at 375 degrees.

**Add with the wet ingredients.

***I use the alcohol free vanilla found at Trader Joe’s.

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