Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkin Avocado Bread

Yeah yeah, I know.  More pumpkin.  But this recipe is really good, and it is the season for pumpkin and spice.  So hold tight; I'm just about out of pumpkin and will move on to other treats soon.

This is similar to my first pumpkin bread posting, though I believe it is even a touch tastier.  My mother mused out loud how delicious it was, and was shocked when I told her it is based off her original recipe, one that is also quite good but also quite "bad" due to copious amounts of sugar and oil.

Pumpkin Avocado Bread
yields 1 loaf


1/4 cup nondairy butter or nondairy yogurt
1/4 cup ripe pureed avocado
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup raw cane sugar or coconut palm sugar (i erred on the lighter scant 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chia seeds or ground flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 heaping cup pureed pumpkin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-3/4 cup gluten-free flour
dash sea salt


1. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or nonstick spray.
2.  Mix nondairy butter, avocado and sugar until creamy.  Add in chia seed or flax meal mix once it is thickened and gel-like, continuing to mix well.  Add in heaping cup of pumpkin and vanilla.
3.  Add dry ingredients to wet, mixing just until combined.
4.  Fold batter into prepared pan and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
5.  Invert pan and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing into.

This version keeps its moisture well, and is a creamy delicious version of an old favorite but without dairy, eggs or gluten.
Store leftover bread in an airtight container; will keep several days.

Friday, November 22, 2013

...and Pumpkin Apple Muffins!

My "little" brother in the background reads the newspaper next to a pile of these breakfast muffins

I'll switch it up soon, I swear!  My fresh pumpkin supply is dwindling...
I wanted a lazy, easy breakfast muffin for my family, and since we all know I have an obscene amount of pureed pumpkin to use, I decided to create a muffin that I could pack in as much pumpkin as possible while still keeping it airy and not too moist.  I also had a soft golden apple to use up, so if you're like me and prefer less sugar in general, omit or reduce the sugar.

Another healthy option: substitute part of the pumpkin for unsweetened applesauce.  This will also sweeten the batter.  Pumpkin itself as well as the spices lend sweetness, so make this recipe to your taste!

Alternately, fold in some cacao nibs or nondairy chocolate chunks for a really yummy dessert option.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
Yields 1-1/2 dozen medium muffins

2-1/4 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1 egg or egg substitution such as chia seeds or flax
1/4 cup nondairy butter or coconut oil, melted
3 cups gluten-free flour (suggested combination is 1 cup coconut flour, 1 cup almond flour or brown rice flour, 1/2 cup quinoa or sorghum flour and 1/4 cup tapioca flour)
1/2 to scant 3/4 cup raw cane sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
sprinkle of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 ripe peeled and diced apple


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin tins.
2.  Pour all wet (first 4 ingredients) into a large mixing bowl, and fold in dry ingredients just until combined.
3.  Fold in peeled and diced granny smith or golden apple.
4.  Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling up all the way.  Bake about 20-24 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Healthy and Light Crustless Pumpkin Pie

I wasn't kidding when I said I had a ton of pumpkin to use up.  I also must admit I got the inspiration for this recipe from this blog, though I changed it more to my taste and found a version that is even healthier and suitable for those of us sensitive to gluten, flax and sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol.

This is a light, clean crustless pumpkin pie that you can have seconds, or even thirds of and not feel too guilty.  Bonus points if you cook down the pumpkin yourself.  (Note: my fresh pureed pumpkin is really light, so if you use canned pumpkin, you may find a darker hue).

Crustless Pumpkin Pie


2 cups pureed or canned pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (or nondairy milk of choice)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
dash sea salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or sucanat
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


1.  Grease a pie pan with coconut oil; set aside.
2.  Mix wet ingredients together; add chia seeds, mix well and set aside to thicken.
3.  Combine *coconut flour or any gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sweetener of choice, adding dry ingredients to wet and mixing well.
4.  Pour mixture into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.
5.  Let cool covered in fridge for 7 hours or overnight to set fully.

Slice and serve!  Thanksgiving tip: whip up nondairy whipping cream (some health food stores have expensive but yummy rice whipping cream), and serve with a generous dollop of the cream and sprinkle additional cinnamon or cinnamon and sugar on top.

Pre-oven mixture:


Then, let cool down and chill overnight in the fridge!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kale Applesauce Brownies...and Ice Cream Sandwich version!


If you are craving chocolate yet want to sneak in a bit of leafy greens, this is the recipe for you.  It's a very filling and rich recipe, which is great since you won't overindulge.  Plus you're packing in a bunch of baby kale, which is always a good thing.  This recipe is and tastes a bit on the healthier side, so I would approach it with caution; the kale does not change the flavor much but you may detect a slight leafy vegetable texture unless you prefer to finely process the kale to fully blend it in.

My mother, whom I would say is a chocolate snob, surprisingly really liked it.  It's not the most appealing looking brownie recipe, but it is flavorful and very chocolate-y, and a good healthy dessert to swap in for those fattening holiday brownies and cookies that beckon to you from holiday parties and festive bakeries.

Best of all, like many of my original recipes, it's vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free and all that jazz.

Kale Applesauce Brownies


4 cups baby kale, food processed/pulsed along with the next six ingredients
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup water
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 overripe banana, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 cup gluten-free oats, finely ground
scant 3/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
scant 3/4 cup sucanat
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup mini nondairy chocolate chips


1.  Food process all wet ingredients pulsing several times (no need to fully puree); set aside in a bowl.

looks delicious, right?

2.  Add dry ingredients to wet, folding in nondairy chocolate chips last.

not gonna's not the prettiest batter.  Or completed brownie, for that matter
3.  Line a 9x13" baking pan with wax paper.  bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes to set better.  Serve warm.

I couldn't wait to try some.  Delicious fresh out of the oven, but let it cool to set more

Ice Cream Sandwich option:

Use an upside down glass as a cookie cutter to make two medium circles.
Layer nondairy ice-cream (like vanilla coconut milk ice cream!) between the two circles.
Wrap and freeze!

Now, you have the world's only vegan gluten-free Kale Applesauce Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich.

step 1
step 2

step 3

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sun Butter Pumpkin Cookies

what to do with tons of fresh pumpkin puree....hmm

I didn't want to simply toss the giant pumpkin leftover from Halloween, though half an hour later I was wondering if it would have simple been a better idea to purchase organic canned pumpkin.

But here we are, an hour or two later with about 8 cups of fresh pureed pumpkin to use up.  One of my first of many new pumpkin recipes is a protein packed sunflower seed butter pumpkin cookie that taste pretty amazing, particularly fresh from the oven on an overcast November day.

Sun Butter Pumpkin Cookies


1-1/3 cup gluten-free oats, ground finely
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup


1.  Finely grind gluten-free oats in a processor or use oat flour.  Add to other dry ingredients in a bowl.
2.  Add all wet ingredients to dry, stirring until combined.
3.  Place on a nonstick baking pan liner or greased pan and bake 8 to 9 minutes at 350 degrees.
optional: place 3 rice chocolate chunks on each cookie for a chocolate version.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Amazing Crepes!

So I used to love crepes.  My father had an old-fashioned crepe pan (the kind you don't see anymore, that look like an inverted frying pan with holes alone the side).  Every Sunday morning, he would make crepes for his two sets of twins and our lovely mother. (Yes, two sets of twins...we had a loud house growing up!).  He would lightly butter the pan and pour on a thin layer of the most amazing crepe made of butter, eggs and flour, and fill it with whatever homemade filling he decided to whip up.  The "safe" filling was applesauce mixed with cinnamon, but often it was an interesting concoction of warm banana, apple, and fresh ginger or other unique combination of berries, guava jam and spices.  All four children would fight over the leftover plain crepes, and I still have photos of us wearing crepe masks (we would eat out eye holes and a mouth hole and run around the house like the crazy little kids we were).

A childhood friend's mother also made crepes whenever my sister and I would spend the night, and hers were an even fluffier, powdered sugar and cinnamon-sugar infused version of my dads'.  We would slather the fluffy German pancake-esque crepes with additional butter and sprinkle on mounds of cinnamon and crunchy sugar, and I can still taste that almost sickeningly sweet and gritty yet delicately soft breakfast treat.

Weekends still feel like they should involve crepes and the Sunday comics, and I am pleased to announce I have developed a pretty delicious imitation of the more decadent crepes of my childhood.

Amazing Crepes


3/4 of a banana, mashed
3 egg whites or 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
optional: 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds or psyllium husks for additional texture


1.  Whisk ingredients together well, making sure the banana is fully mashed.
2.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes spread out thinly on a silpat or other nonstick mat, or alternately grease a pan with coconut oil and cook in a pan on a stove, carefully flipping with a spatula to cook both sides through.
3.  Roll up and serve plain, or with unsweetened applesauce or berries of your choice.

Other yum variation:  whip in a little plain sunflower seed butter for additional protein boost.
Holiday edition: add additional sprinkling of nutmeg and ginger and 2 to 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gluten-Free Maple Cake: And Happy Birthday, Marines!

Gluten-Free Maple Cake
Yields 2 layer 9” round cake

This is a rather decadent recipe outside my normal realm of fruit-sweetened soy-free healthy treats.  It was created to celebrate the United States Marine Corps’ 238th birthday on Sunday, and I had the pleasure of spending it with my husband’s great aunt and great uncle (a retired 2 star Major General).  This is a delicious lightly maple-flavored cake that can be made with either regular or gluten-free flour.  My recommended gluten-free flour mixture for this cake is two parts brown rice flour to one part tapioca flour and one part almond flour.


2-3/4 cup gluten-free flour mixture
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup nondairy butter such as soy butter or coconut butter
¾ cup raw cane sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup nondairy yogurt*
2 tablespoons flax meal mixed with 6 tablespoons water*
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup nondairy milk mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and set aside to curdle

*3 eggs may be used instead of nondairy yogurt and flax meal mixture


1.     Grease and flour two 9” round pans.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2.     Beat together nondairy butter and sugar.  Add in yogurt and flax meal mixture slowly or eggs, one at a time.
3.     Mix in maple syrup and extract.
4.     Add dry ingredients alternately with nondairy buttermilk, ending with the dry ingrendients.
5.     Divide into cake pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool a few minutes, invert, and cool fully before frosting.

Easy buttercream: nondairy butter, organic powdered sugar, vanilla extract, nondairy milk and cocoa powder to taste/desired texture.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Almond Rice Flour Cookies


waiting for guests to arrive...and hoping for a cookie

 This is a pretty sweet, almondy cookie that guests enjoyed at my home the other night after a healthy and fresh meal of salads, quinoa, lentils and veggies.  My husband was the first to point out they don’t look as appealing as some of my other cookies, and despite loving the taste, he urged me to add a chocolate drizzle. So your choice: they are delicious on their own or sweeter and potentially more elegant in appearance with a chocolate glaze or drizzle.

These are fast, easy cookies to make and store and freeze quite nicely. 

Almond Rice Flour Cookies


1 cup brown rice flour
½ tapioca flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
½ cup raw cane sugar
¾ cup almond butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup coconut or almond yogurt
½ cup chopped almonds (raw or sprouted)
melted nondairy chocolate for garnish


1.   Mix dry ingredients; form a well and add wet to dry.

2.   Stir in chopped almonds, roll into little balls onto greased cookie sheets and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, roating the pan halfway through.
Yields 2 dozen or so cookies.

3.  garnish with drizzled melted nondairy chocolate and an additional almond on top if desired.