Tag Archive | recipes

Pumpkin Cheesecake–grainfree, dairy free, egg free!

Living here in New England, we are surrounded by pumpkin everything as soon as fall hits! I can usually walk by all of the pumpkin cookies, cakes, and donuts without a problem. But one fall favorite that I simply cannot live without is Pumpkin Cheesecake. This is a bit of a problem considering that both dairy and grains have been identified as allergens and have been proven to mess with my fertility.

 

If I were to eat a real pumpkin cheese cake, not only would I get sick, but it would seriously affect my fertility. Since getting the allergens out of my diet, my hormone levels have gone from sub fertile, to fertile, and now to the optimum zone. I’m not going to let gluten or dairy take that away from me.

BUT, I WILL HAVE MY PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE!

pumpkin cheese cake

If I can make pasta without grains, I can make cheesecake that is dairy-free!

I had a few ideas as how this might be done. I knew I’d need to use coconut milk to substitute for the dairy products, and of course a can of pumpkin, and the rest, well I took what I knew from making other grain free recipes and decided to do a little tweaking. The result was success on the first try!

I was sold on the tastiness of the cheesecake immediately; but, I always like to run a dish by my grain loving friends and family before sharing that recipe with my followers. I am lucky enough that they are always willing to act as a focus group; their opinions mean a lot to me.   Now that they have given me their seal approval, I am pleased to share my recipe with you!

pumpkin cheesecake slice

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust:

1 cup nuts of your choice

1 cup dates

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Filling:

1 can coconut milk (I use Native Forest)

1 can organic pumpkin

1TBSP gelatin

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

 

In a food processor, chop nuts until they have a “meal” like texture. Add dates and coconut oil; process until smooth. Add cinnamon and process one minute. Press into spring form pan.

 

Heat coconut milk until boiling in a large saucepan. In a small ramekin, mix gelatin with water and whisk until smooth. Wisk gelatin mixture into coconut milk, set aside. Mix pumpkin and spices in food processor. Slowly add coconut milk until blended thoroughly.   Pour on top of crust. Refrigerate at least three hours, preferably overnight.

 

I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as my family and friends have!

Peanut Brownie Bites- Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, & Delicious!

One of my biggest challenges in my quest for delicious grain free & dairy free food is always dessert! Even when I was only grain free, most of my desserts used dairy; because who needs grain if you can have amazing homemade whipped cream?  But after being diagnosed with an allergy to casein, the protein in dairy, I had no choice but to learn to make grain free, dairy free desserts!

chocolate truffle

Out of desperation came inspiration! I started by checking out recipes that others had created, and I even made a few. Sometimes I find that specialized desserts tend to please a more sophisticated pallet than my own. In my house, a grain free recipe has to taste as delectable as any grain based treat!  It has to be the type of dessert that your average Joe would enjoy.   It must be total comfort food!  Otherwise it’s not something my husband, Frank,  will even dare to try.

The recipe that follows has been tested on numerous grain lovers, skeptics, and “I don’t do  gluten free” snobs! It has been approved by all, and has also been requested to appear at our annual 4th of July party. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and kept fresh in the freezer for when I have that spur of the moment chocolate craving! I hope your family will enjoy it as much as mine already has.

Ingredients:

2cups dates

2 cups peanuts

2 heaping T coconut oil

¼ cup organic cocoa powder

1t vanilla extract

12 oz chocolate chips (dairy free & gluten free)

In a food processor, chop dates and peanuts until mealy.

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Add coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder.

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Blend until a dough like consistency forms. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. While chocolate chips melt, line a tray with parchment paper and roll dough into one inch balls. Flash freeze dough balls for 5 minutes. Remove tray from freezer and dip dough balls in melted chocolate. Return to freezer to let chocolate set. In less than 45 minutes, you’ll have enough peanut brownie bites to satisfy even the largest party crowd! The Peanut Brownie Bites can be stored in the freezer for up to a month when kept in a well-sealed container.  Recipe makes 4-5 dozen bites!

Peanuty Brownie Bites!  Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

Peanuty Brownie Bites! Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Delicious!

Getting Started with a Grain Free Power Hour…

You may be participating in our grain free for a week challenge or you might just want to try a few new recipes.  Either way, a grain free cooking power hour or two, is a great way to get started and save yourself so much time throughout the week.

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I love my grain free cooking power hours.  I feel so accomplished when I’m done, and my week goes along much more smoothly because my menu is planned and half of my prep work for the week is done.  Oh, and the house smells fabulous, too!

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When I do a power hour(s), I work backwards, starting with the things that will take the longest.  In the case of this week’s menu, that’s the sweet potato casserole, so I’ll start by putting a large stockpot of water on the stove to boil. While the water’s boiling, I’ll load up my bread maker with the ingredients for making my grain free bread, I’d preheat the oven for the roast pork, and then start peeling some carrots.  After the carrots are peeled, halved, and then sliced into thirds, I’d set them aside.  If you have a double oven, then you could even pre-heat it and roast your carrots ahead of time.  If not, no worries, it only takes half an hour to roast carrots, they can go in the oven while you’re cooking the roast pork stroganoff on the stovetop later in the week.

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If you’re really looking to get a jump on your week, one of the easiest ways to cut down on meal prep time is to cook your ground beef/turkey ahead of time.  It takes a short while and by frying it all at once and either refrigerating it or freezing it until you need it, you’ve cut the meal prep time for cheeseburger pie, or creamy spinach bake in half!

Speaking of cheese burger pie and creamy spinach bake, many pre-shredded cheeses use corn starch to prevent caking. That’s a huge no no for me.  If I eat cheese with corn starch in it, I am guaranteed a stomach ache.  My cheddar cheese goes through my cheese grater without a problem.  If you’re using fresh mozzarella and it gums up in your cheese grater, you can slice it with an egg slicer.  Besides getting the junk out of your cheese, shredding your own cheese is beneficial.  It’s cheaper, keeps longer and tastes better this way!

The Grain Free Meal Challenge…

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So are you ready?  We’re going grain free for a week.  You can do this!  You’ve already got your grain free staples on hand, it’s time to get started!

 

This week’s meals:

Roast pork with sweet potato casserole and salad

Roast pork stroganoff with roasted carrots

Grain Free Cheeseburger Pie with steamed broccoli

Stuffed Turkey Cutlets Wrapped in Bacon  with salad and sweet potato casserole.

Creamy Spinach Bake with Ground Beef and Mushrooms

Grilled Tuna Melts with steamed veggies and salad

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I’ve chosen six meals, with the idea that you have at least enough leftovers for at least one whole meal.  Depending on your family size, this may vary.  When I cook for the two of us, I usually cook four large grain free meals each week, we have a left over night, with one of our meals being a quick fix like the Grilled Tuna Melts.  We’re realistic in our house!  At least one night each week we can’t really sit down to a full meal, so we make something quick that we can enjoy without guilt!

If you have grain lovers in your home, you might be surprised by how much they like the meals you make this week.  My husband Frank was reluctant to try my recipes at first, but now he’s game for almost anything I cook.  Once in a while, he’ll have a box of mac n’ cheese, but since he doesn’t have a grain allergy where’s the harm in that?

I recommend you start with a grain free cooking power hour or two.  It’s a simple way to get a good start to the week and get a good deal of your prep work done ahead of time.  You spend less time cooking in the long run and it takes much less time to prepare dinner every evening.  The power hour of cooking is especially helpful if you know that Monday or Tuesday will be a busy evening for your family, that way you cook and assemble your meal almost completely and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready.  If you are having a busy evening later in the week, you can always completely prep a meal and freeze it until you’re ready to take it out either the evening before or morning of that day.

I’m going to be cooking along with you all.  I’ve decided that I’ll freeze anything that we won’t eat and that will be added to my stockpile of quick fix meals since there really aren’t many grain free fast food options available.

Grain Free Cheeseburger Pie

IMG_0522[1]My goal as an amateur grain free chef is to create meals that don’t taste like they’re grain free and can be enjoyed without guilt!  I’ve made cheeseburger pie for my husband and friends many times.  Each time it’s served, it’s admired first for its appearance and then for its taste!

This recipe is an adaptation of a dish a friend’s mother used to make for us when we were young girls.  All we needed was cheeseburger pie, movies, the remote, and life was pretty good.

Eating a grain free diet means lots of veggies, and sometimes, not a lot of fun.   But every once in a while, we need comfort food!  The ooey, gooey, bubbly, creamy taste of cheese is something that can’t be beat.  This recipe is a grain free version of the amazing gooey goodness my friend’s mom made years ago, and goes together in less than an hour from start to finish.  If you’re looking to save time, the ground beef can be cooked, frozen, and thawed when needed.

1lb ground beef/turkey
1c shredded cheddar cheese
1c my grain free flour blend A
1/2 onion chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
2Tablespoons relish
1 cup milk
1tsp baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sauté onion and ground beef until no longer pink. Transfer to a deep pie plate or casserole, stir in condiments, and 1/2 cup cheese.  In a small mixing bowl mix flour and baking powder.  Scramble eggs and milk and mix into dry ingredients.  Mix well and pour on top of ground beef.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Well, it happened, I turned 29 again.  This year, I’m celebrating the 15 pounds I’ve lost since my last birthday, the improvements in my general health since last year, and all the knowledge I’ve gained in the past year!  I was blessed to celebrate my birthday with my husband, family, and friends this week.  There was great company, excellent food, and most of all there were cookies that I could actually eat!

cookies

If you’re grain free, then you know how the world seems to brighten when you can enjoy grain free treats that don’t taste like they’re grain free at all!  The first batch of cookies was courtesy of my amazing aunt.   After we enjoyed a birthday dinner, she told me she had a treat for me.  While out shopping, she stumbled upon a cookie mix from XO baking Co, and was delighted to find that these cookies were not only gluten free, but also grain free!  We enjoyed the cookies and decided we should absolutely try and find the mix again.

When I tried to locate the mix on line I immediately had sticker shock!  While I will probably order a few packages of the mix to keep on hand for times when I don’t feel like baking cookies from scratch, it’s certainly not a price I want to pay weekly to keep my sweet tooth happy.  So obviously, I’m not going to do without cookies.  I’ll just have to come up with a recipe that I can make from scratch!

Last night we were having guests over, so it was a perfect time to try out a new recipe.  I’ve been working on a new grain free flour blend, one that’s a bit liter than the first.  I’ve used it in baking my bread and it’s worked very well.  To look at this flour, it’s hard to distinguish it from white four at all.  It does have a different taste when it is uncooked, but once heated to boiling temperatures, the taste disappears and you’d swear you’re eating something made with white flour. I decided it was time to try baking some cookies with this new flour.

chcolate chip cookie bars

The result was happy guests who said the cookie bars were pretty much indistinguishable from grain based baked goods.  If the grain lovers go for seconds, I’m pretty sure the recipe’s a keeper.

Wet Ingredients:

2 eggs (or 2T flax seed plus 6T warm water)

1 cup butter or coconut oil

¾ cup white sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1t vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup my grain free flour blend (Mix A)

1t baking soda

1t xanthum gum

12 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend well.  Mix in my grain free flour blend.  When well blended, stir in in xanthum gum and baking soda.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into an 8x 10 inch baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Bars are done when a knife is inserted to center and comes out clean.  Cool until room temperature then slice into 1 inch bars.

Scoring Grain Free Recipes on Pinterest!

 

pinterest pic I needed help finding recipes.  I wasn’t looking to buy another cookbook, and I wasn’t even sure if they made cookbooks for folks looking to eat a diet free of grains.  I decided to try pinterest.  Oh my!  I scored great recipes!  I was astounded that other people had the same struggle as I.  Most importantly, other people had already done the work to make everyday foods like bread, pudding, and pie grain free!  Oh, I was overjoyed!

Then reality hit!  I guess it was pretty foolish of me to think that it would be that easy.  Recipes called for ingredients that I had never heard of, others included way too much work, or just sounded weird.  My goal was to find recipes that used grain free ingredients to mimic grain based foods.  I set a goal of making one new recipe each week, that way I wouldn’t go broke and wouldn’t have to change my entire life overnight.

If you’ve ever tried to live grain free then you’re aware of the price difference between grain based and grain free foods.  My husband and I agreed to a one-time $50 expense to stock our pantry with staples such as chia seeds, almond flour, coconut flour, grain free bullion, potato starch, arrowroot starch, white bean flour, and almond butter.  To stretch our funds as far as possible I purchased most of these staples from vitacost.com, a website that offers these items at about 50% off their retail price.  I referred a few friends and had $20 in coupons to add to my purchase.  The end result was about $130 in grain free staples for $50.

I’d really like it if you’d join me in this challenge by posting grain free recipes that you find.  My plan is to devote one blog post each week to a new recipe no matter how right or wrong it goes.  I plan to cook my recipes on the weekend and post recipes and pics on Mondays.  Please post your suggestions in the comment section after this post.