No Bake Cookies! Perfect for the Busy Mommy.

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I love, love, love, LOVE no bake cookies of almost any kind!

When I’m in a rush, they are my go-to dessert.

The best part? You can make them entirely allergy free.

For your kitchen tools, all you will need is a sauce pot, a spoon for stirring, parchment paper, plastic wrap and a cookie sheet.

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First, add 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup coconut oil and 8 Tb unsweetened cocoa to your sauce pot.

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On the stove, turn the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. Continue to stir as it simmers and thickens for about three minutes.

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Next, remove the mixture from the heat and add 1 cup peanut or other nut butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 to 2 cups gluten free old fashioned oats (gf quick oats will work too) and 1 cup shredded unsweetened raw coconut. I ran out of coconut, so we’ll just have to make believe we have some here. Stir well until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.

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On a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop mixture by spoon fulls. Go ahead and make them whatever size you want. No bake versions break all the rules.

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Cover with plastic wrap if you’re a complete, nerdy clean freak like me. If not, still cover the cookies. It’s gross if you don’t.

Place the entire sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for at least an hour.

The rest of the instructions are listed below.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some no bake cookies and a cup of green tea calling my name!

No Bake Cookies. Free of most major allergens.

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or another unrefined oil, extra light is best)
  • 8 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (preferably raw)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups GF old fashioned oats (You’ll know you have too many oats if mixture becomes hard to stir. For this reason, add oats gradually to desired consistency.)

Bring honey, coconut oil, and cocoa to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for three minutes or until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla, coconut, and oatmeal. Drop by small to medium spoon fulls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set. If you really want those cookies ‘NOW’, put them in the freezer for fifteen minutes. If you have any left (HIGHLY DOUBTFUL), Store in a ziploc bag or airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Happy No Baking!!!!

Strawberry Milk – Healthy Style

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I don’t know about you (well, I probably don’t even KNOW most of you!), but I am trying to avoid sugar at all costs.

I was entirely sweetener free for a year (including honey, agave, stevia, you name it) and it’s amazing what we DON’T need sugar for! For that year, everything was sweetened entirely with fruit, and I learned to like it. A lot!

Since that time, whenever I bake, the sugar is always reduced, and even then, some things are too sweet.

However, over the cold, bitter winter, I let myself slip and began consuming sugar again little by little.

And I don’t like how it makes me feel.

Neither does my family.

But that’s a little personal, so we’ll just keep moving on.

Getting used to ‘no sweeteners’ takes time; but with perseverance, it becomes the preferred way to go.

That being said, I love fruity smoothies, sweetened with only fruit. And I love strawberry milk, sweetened only with ripe, red strawberries!

This is how I do it:

In a blender, place 6 ripe strawberries, MOSTLY hulled (the leaves are actually good for you). Then take a picture.

In a blender, place 6 very ripe CHILLED strawberries, MOSTLY hulled (the leaves are actually good for you). Then take a picture. No, I’m just kidding. You don’t really have to take a picture.

Next, add your choice of milk. (I used Original Unsweetened Silk Almond.)

Next, add your choice of  COLD milk. (I used Original Unsweetened Silk Almond.)

2 Cups is just the right amount for one serving.

2 Cups is just the right amount for one serving.

At this point, if you like a little more sweet, add a Tablespoon of honey or agave. But not too much: you don’t want to mask the strawberries.

Blend well on medium high speed or a smoothie setting.

Blend well on medium high speed or on the ‘smoothie’ setting.

Pour into your glass and enjoy!

Pour into your glass and enjoy!

You really don’t need sugar, honey or agave to make things taste good! We Westerners were just raised to *think* that we do.

Strawberry Milk

  • 6 very ripe, chilled strawberries – mostly hulled
  • 2 cups your choice milk
  • If desired, 1 Tb honey or agave

Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend well on medium high or on the blender’s ‘smoothie’ setting until combined.

Serve chilled.

Happy Being Sugar Free!

Good Bacteria in a Cup

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Forgive me, my two faithful readers, for my long absence.

I’ve been busy with strep throat, basketball games for the kiddos (four thousand and fifty four games, I’m sure of it), and a fun weekend away helping at our church’s College and Career camp.

Suffice it to say, I’ve been a leeeetle busy.

But not so busy that I didn’t discover a new yummy almond milk yogurt (hence the gross title to this post):

almond dream

 

I have tried other brands of almond milk yogurt, but so far, this one is my favorite.

Made by Almond Dream, it hosts a variety of good bacteria and also leaves out some ingredients that never agree with me, such as chicory root.

For breakfast, I love to combine the yogurt in a bowl with this:

Lifestyle Granola

 

Lifestyle Granolas are the perfect compliment to yogurt. While not all of the varieties are gluten free, several of them are. And they are sweetened with only honey (with the exception of some of the added ingredients, such as cranberries, which are sweetened with sugar), making it just right.

This yogurt/granola combination has become my new favorite breakfast.

Along with bacon and coffee, of course.

Fine. My second favorite breakfast.

But yogurt and granola are easier to prepare. And healthier.

 

Happy Getting Friendly Bacteria!

Allergy Free Peach Crisp? Bring It On.

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Can’t have oats? No problem.

Can’t have flour? Again… no problem.

Can’t have almonds? Uhhhh….this could be a problem. But you could just switch out one ingredient. Problem solved.

Peaches which are crisped.

Peaches which are crisped.

Peach Crisp: No Gluten, Oats, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Etcetera

  • 8 cups fresh peaches, sliced (I strongly recommend fresh, home frozen or home canned peaches.)
  • 1 Tb cornstarch or other thickener, such as tapioca starch
  • 2 Tb agave /or/ 3 Tb your choice of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar or 1 Tb. raw agave
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 (scant) tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons Earth Balance

In a large bowl combine the peaches, cornstarch and 2 Tb agave.

Grease a 9×13 glass casserole dish.

Transfer peach mixture to dish.

Rinse out the bowl and once it is dried, combine the almond meal, vanilla, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and Earth Balance. Mix well with a mixer to combine. Don’t be afraid to plunge your hands into the mixture to get it thoroughly blended if the mixer doesn’t do the trick. 

Spread topping evenly over peach mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until topping is golden and the peach mixture is bubbling.

Cool for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

And don't forget the Rich Whip! Or you could use chilled canned coconut milk.

And don’t forget the Rich Whip! Or you could use chilled canned coconut milk. Just refrigerate the can, drain off the liquid and whip the solid milk.

 

See? Rich Whip is just like the real deal! Healthy? No! Delicious? YES!

See? Rich Whip is just like the real deal! Healthy? No! Delicious? YES!

Serve your peach crisp warm with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream replacer. Or just eat it all by itself. It's that good!

Serve your peach crisp warm with a dollop of your favorite whipped cream replacer. Or just eat the crisp all by itself. It’s that good!

Happy Warm and Yummy Deliciousness!

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. It Makes Winter Bearable. But Your Jeans Unwearable.

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Sorry about that title.

But it is the truth. Why not just tell it like it is?

But it’s so good, so decadent, you won’t be able to resist. So just hit the gym a little more often and you’ll still be able to fit into those Levi’s. Or Lawmans. Or Hash Jeans. Wait. I’m dating myself.

Shall we begin?

My oldest daughter requested this delightful treat the weekend after her heart stopping accident (see previous post). Not being able to find one that fit our allergy specifications, I found a recipe in my old Pillsbury cookbook and revamped it to be allergy free and also to contain less sugar.

Excuse me while I take a moment to get down with my bad self. *clap clap clap*

And this is what we came up with:

Allergy Free/Vegan/Low Sugar Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I used evaporated cane crystals. You can use coconut sugar, date sugar or even 1/2 cup agave.)
  • 2 Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup almond or other milk (I used unsweetened – highly recommended here)
  • 2 Tb melted Earth Balance spread
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar (This recipe will work best if you use some form of crystallized sugar rather than agave for this step.)
  • 2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Dash salt
  • 1 1/3 cups very hot water (120-130 degrees F)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 Tb cocoa, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend in almond milk, Earth Balance and vanilla. Mix well. 

Spread batter in an ungreased 8″ square baking dish. Your batter will not resemble traditional cake batter at all. It will be more like a dough.

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tb cocoa and dash salt. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter. Pour hot water evenly over sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch.

And for the love of Green Acres, serve it warm! With coffee! 

This is extra good with dairy free whipped cream (such as Rich’s or refrigerated canned coconut milk) or vanilla ice cream (such as Coconut Bliss).

Be aware that even though the sugar is reduced in the recipe, it is still quite sweet. So take a small serving to begin with. And then you can, of course, take another small serving after that. I think that’s reasonable.

What your cake should look like when it is done. (Yes, I doubled mine. I have two seventeen year old man children).

What your cake should look like when it is done. (Yes, I doubled mine. I have two seventeen year old man children).

Happy Warm and Cozy Dessert Days!

Last Minute Christmas Dinner Preparations

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It can happen just like *that*!

“I need one more dish! Aunt Gertie asked me to bring one more covered dish! Aaaaauuuggghhh!!!”

*wrings hands furiously*

Never fear. Here are a few ideas:

Green Bean Casserole: No gluten, dairy, egg or yeast (recipe created by my daughter, Courtney)

  • 1 box Imagine Foods Creamy Portobello Mushroom (the ingredients on the internet sometimes say this is made with soy milk. However, the boxes I purchase at my local grocer never have any soy. So if you are allergic to soy, go check it out at the store. I think Imagine may be a little behind the times on their ingredients update)
  • 1/4 cup corn or tapioca starch plus enough water to thin starch
  • 1 – 16 oz bag of frozen, french cut green beans, thawed
  • 1/4 cup shredded Daiya mozerella
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 2 Tbs sunflower (or your favorite) oil
  • Dash salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Grease a medium casserole dish. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, blend with whisk the soup and starch until smooth. Add Daiya and green beans.

Transfer soup and green bean mixture to casserole dish. Place in oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat oil. Add garlic, salt and chopped onion. Saute until onion begins to caramelize. 

Top casserole with green onions after the 15 minutes are up. Then bake for an additional 10 minutes or until casserole is bubbly.

veganaise

  • And if you simply want to bring a dip along with some veggies, never fear!

Simply click on this link to see my recipe for a quick, easy ranch dressing and dip.

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  • And if you are dying for a cheese and cracker tray, EASY!

Get on down to the natural grocer and buy a package of allergy free lunch meat, such as Hormel Naturals, this Daiya cheese and a box of allergy free crackers, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers. Arrange on a cute little plate and hoard it all to yourself at the family gathering. Unless there are other food challenged people there. Then share, and you’ll be the star of the night.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Snowballs! Minus the Snow.

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Snowballs have long been one of my favorite Christmas cookies.

So I made them allergy free.

And now I will share the recipe with you!

Snowball Cookies

First, cream together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups (yes, I said 2 cups) Earth Balance and 3 tsp vanilla.

First, cream together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups (yes, I said 2 cups) Earth Balance and 3 tsp vanilla.

Next, add 2 cups GF flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend well, then add another 2 cups GF flour. Blend.

Next, add 2 cups GF flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend well, then add another 2 cups GF flour. Blend.

Your mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. That's exactly how you want it to look.

Your mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. That’s exactly how you want it to look.

Next, add 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice milk) and blend. Your dough will still resemble coarse crumbs, but you should be able to grab a small handful and press it together, like so.

Next, add 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice milk) and blend. Your dough will still resemble coarse crumbs, but you should be able to grab a small handful and press it together, like so.

The next step is to form the snowballs. You won't be able to roll them like you would a snickerdoodle: they'll fall apart that way. Instead, simply take a bit of dough and form them much like you would a, well, snowball! Then place them on a cookie sheet.

The next step is to form the snowballs. You won’t be able to roll them between your palms like you would a snickerdoodle: they’ll fall apart that way. Instead, simply take a bit of dough and form them much like you would a, well, snowball! Then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put them in a 325 degree oven for 17 minutes. Do not over bake.

When the time is up, remove the cookies from the oven and let the sheet sit on a cooling rack for about two minutes. Using a small spatula, place one or two cookies at a time into a bowl of powdered sugar. Roll with the spoon until sugar coats the cookie, then transfer to a cooling rack.

When the time is up, remove the cookies from the oven and let the sheet sit on a cooling rack for about two minutes. Using a small spatula, place one or two cookies at a time into a bowl of powdered sugar. Roll with the spoon until sugar coats the cookie, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Once cooled, enjoy these little spheres of joy with a cup of coffee or tea!

Once cooled, enjoy these little spheres of joy with a cup of coffee or tea!

Snowball Cookies: No gluten, dairy, eggs, soy

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Earth Balance
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups GF flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup almond or other milk
  • Additional powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 325.

First, cream together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups (yes, I said 2 cups) Earth Balance and 3 tsp vanilla.

Next, add 2 cups GF flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend well, then add another 2 cups GF flour. Blend. Your mixture will resemble coarse crumbs. That’s exactly how you want it to look. Next, add 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice milk) and blend. Your dough will still resemble coarse crumbs, but you should be able to grab a small handful and press it together.

The next step is to form the snowballs. You won’t be able to roll them between your palms like you would a snickerdoodle: they’ll fall apart that way. Instead, simply take a bit of dough and form them much like you would a, well, snowball! Then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put them in a 325 degree oven for 17 minutes. Do not over bake.

When the time is up, remove the cookies from the oven and let the sheet sit on a cooling rack for about two minutes. Using a small spatula, place one or two cookies at a time into a bowl of powdered sugar. Roll with the spoon until sugar coats the cookie, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Then go indulge and impress others with your allergy free baking skills!

Happy Playing in the Snow!

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