Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dessert: Festive Pumpkin Pie [Gluten Free/Egg Free/Dairy Free]

Festive Pumpkin Pie [Gluten Free/Egg Free/Dairy Free]
I know what your thinking....what IS in it then?....check it out and see
1 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose baking flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (Organic)
2 tablespoons vanilla soy creamer (or other milk substitute)
Pie Filling:
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup french vanilla soy creamer
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Stir together all purpose gluten-free flour and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and soy creamer/whipped milk until creamy. Pour oil mixture into flour mixture, stir with fork until blended. Pat the crust into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven. Remove and set aside.

Decrease oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place pumpkin, soy creamer, brown sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves in a blender. Blend until combined. Pour into prebaked piecrust. Place foil around the edges of the piecrust and bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.

Cool pie on counter for 2 hours then refrigerate overnight before serving.

Alternate: You can also make these guys in little ramekins, easy for kids, lunches, or personal size desserts 

Entree or Side: Three Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto

 Three Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced

What you will need:
6 cups Vegetable broth stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
12-18 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 whole or sliced chanterelle mushrooms
2 shallots, diced (or white onion cut however you want)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I like chardonnay or German Riesling)
Kosher/rock salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 TBS butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or other sharp cheese you like)

In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the portobello and white mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

Spread whole or sliced chanterelle mushrooms on a baking sheet and lightly salt, bake at 350 for the entire time it takes you to make the risotto. The desired effect is a crispy dried mushroom to add as garnish.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale translucent, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed.

Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 30 minutes.

Take crispy chanterelles out of the oven and set aside.
Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with crispy chanterelles

Supposted to serve 6 but I divide into 4 portions

Topping or sauce: Blueberry Maple Syrup

Blueberry Maple Syrup 

What you will need:

2 cups Maple Syrup
2 cups Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 TBS Vanilla extract (I stock organic- tastes more natural)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg or all spice 


Heat a sauce pot over low-medium heat.
Add blueberries and vanilla extract, keep the berries moving for 5 minutes and gradually reduce to low heat. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, let the spices hang out with the blueberries mixture for a few minutes and then add the maple syrup. The longer you can simmer this the more sticky and concentrated it will become, I like to leave it on low for 15-30 minutes but if you don't have time or are very hungry it will still taste great after just another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and ladle over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cakes, or pies. (served over my homemade whole wheat waffles with large mug of tea) YUM! 

Tip: If you want to keep your syrup, transfer into container with screw top lid. Lasts 2-3 weeks in the fridge.  If you like more blueberries and less syrup cut one full cup of syrup from the recipe. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cupcakes: Easy white or confetti cupcakes

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
What you will need:
            1/2 cup butter, softened
            1 cup white sugar
            2 eggs (or egg substitute if your vego)
            1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract (organic is important-taste is better)
            1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
            2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
            1/4 teaspoon salt
            2/3 cup milk substitute (vanilla almond breeze)
            24 flat bottomed ice cream cones

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Cream butter and sugar together well in mixing bowl. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in vanilla. Measure flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Stir. Add milk to butter mixture in 2 parts alternately with flour mixture in 3 parts, beginning and ending with flour

Fill cones about 3/4 full leaving the batter 1/2 inch from top. Place filled cones on a baking tray.

Bake in oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Wait for the cupcakes to cool completely. You can use regular or cream cheese icing, if you pipe it on, add sprinkles or confetti before the icing hardens, and then let air dry for over 2 hrs for firm peaks.  

Appetizers, Crackers: Zesty Cheese crackers


What you will need:
1 cup butter
8 oz. pkg. Imperial Cheese (sharp cold pack cheddar cheese)
Dash of salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp. worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 ½ cups flour
4 cups Rice Krispies


Preheat oven at 350

In a large mixing bowl Cream butter and cheese together. Add seasonings.  Beat in flour (Or mix/crush by hand). Stir in Rice Krispies cereal.  Mix well. 

Shape mixture into pin pong ball sized balls. 

Press down with a fork or your finger, which has been dipped in cold water.  Bake at 350o F (180oC) for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Makes about 2 dozen.


Leftovers re-imagined: Vegetable Curry with White rice towers

What you will need:
Leftovers in this case vegetable curry (or stir fry, tofu, or anything you want to add rice and curry sauce to)

White, or brown or basmati rice (prepare rice by package instructions. My rice cooker took two measures of rice to four measures of water)
1 Cup Apple sauce
1 quarter or segment of white onion with root attached
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS pure Ginger (from tube or jar)
1 TBS cilantro (dried, from tube or frozen shaker box)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
2-3 bay leaves (remember to take these bad boys out before you are done)
4-6 fresh thyme sprigs
2-3 cups vegetable stock
½ cup white wine (optional)

Handy tool:
Cuisipro Scoop and Stack Ice Cream Scoop work on ice cream, shapes, cookies, tea biscuits, and YES EVEN RICE into compact towers. See 3rd photo Credit:

Quick tip:
If you are just starting to stock your pantry or spice cabinet and want a quick and dirty trick for Indian cooking pick up ‘Garam Masala’ – a mix of cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg – a North Indian all spice of sorts. You won’t regret it! This singular spice mix could have substituted in here for most of the spices listed as one step. YAY for simplicity.


Add oil to a sauce or soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add quarter of white onion (TIP: remove peel but keep part of root attached so it doesn’t separate, you want the onion flavor but not the actual onion, you will be taking this guy out when you remove the bay leaves)

After the onion has simmered in the oil for 2-ish minutes reduce heat add apple sauce, spices and mix together with white wine. Add vegetable stock gradually, sprigs of thyme and bay leaves.

Let sauce simmer 10 minutes.

Pre-heat plates or pasta bowls in microwave and unplug rice cooker or remove inner bowl. Heat up leftovers in microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Use ice cream scoop or scoop and stack tool and arrange two balls or towers of rice per plate. Spoon leftover around or on top of rice.

Remove bay leaves, thyme springs and onion segment from sauce. Ladle or pour sauce over each plate of leftovers and rice. Garnish with basil or sprigs of thyme as seen in picture. Serve immediately. 

Soup: Italian Minestrone

Soup: Italian Minestrone

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Skill Level: Beginner 

What you will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can green beans
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell pasta (Try Jumbo shells if you like more stuff than broth)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3
minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1
to 2 minutes.

Add broth, water and tomato sauce, bring to boil, stirring frequently. If desired add
red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach leaves, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes, the longer the better.

Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook el
            dente. Drain water and set aside. (If you want faster preparation cook pasta while you are making soup)
            Once soup is heated through add cooked pasta to soup. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Drizzle with olive oil, top with chopped basil and serve HOT!

Dip: White bean, parmesan, and oven roasted garlic

What you will need:

Whole head of garlic
16 oz Can of navy white beans
6 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs sweetener (or sugar)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tps Cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut top and bottom off garlic head; peel off skins and place cloves in tinfoil pouch drizzle with 2 Tbs olive oil season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and cloves fall apart with fork.

Rinse navy beans with cold water, drain and place in food processor. Add in roasted garlic, drizzle in remaining 4 Tbs olive oil. Add 2 tps cayenne pepper, sweetener and Parmesan cheese. Pulse on high for 3-5 minutes until mostly smooth.

Transfer mixture into casserole dish and mix in most of the cheddar cheese and sprinkle small amount on top. Bake for 10 minutes until top is bubbly
Serve with chips, crackers and cut vegetables. 

Naan Flatbread Pizza Tomato Mozza Basil

Naan Flatbread Pizza Tomato Mozza Basil

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Skill level: Beginner 

What you will need:

2 pieces of Naan bread purchased or you can make your own (see blog for Naan recipe)
1 tsp olive oil
2 TBS tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup sliced Cherry Tomatoes
Chopped or shredded basil
Salt and pepper to taste
handful of pine nuts to garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees C
Place Naan breads on cooking sheet or pan. Spread with olive oil or tomato sauce. Arrange cherry tomatoes on flatbreads and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with basil, salt and pepper to taste. Bake pizzas for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

Sprinkle with pine nuts cut into strips and serve.

Bread: Flatbread Naan

What you will need:

Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 20 Minutes
Ready in: 2 Hrs 25 minutes (this accounts for rising time)
Skill Level: Intermediate (baking take a little more skill than cooking- don't be scared)
2/3 cup warm water 
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup  melted unsalted butter or ghee
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 teaspoons kalonji (onion seed)

Whisk the warm water with the yeast and sugar until the yeast is dissolved. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Sift flour and salt three times into a large bowl add the yeast mixture, half of the butter and all the yogurt. Mix into a soft dough then knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough is doubled in size .

Punch down dough then knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out into 8 inch round naans.

Cover an oven tray with foil and grease the foil. Brush the naan with a little of the remaining ghee and sprinkle with some of the kalonji. Cook naan one at a time under a very hot grill for about 2 minutes on each side or until puffed and just browned.

Entree or Side: Pumpkin Risotto

 Pumpkin Risotto

Prep Time: 5-10
Cook Time: 35 mins
Skill Level: Intermediate- Advanced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (chardonnay or German Riesling)
About 6 cups of vegetable stock
butternut squash, one half baked in the oven and then pureed; the other half, peeled, cut into small dice, and Sauteed in a little oil and butter until tender
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Shaved parmesan to garnish (you can use a vegetable peeler or microplane)
In a medium-size heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the rice with the oil.
Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Pour in enough vegetable stock to cover the rice completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1 more cup. Add the remaining cup and cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente, tender but still very chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the pumpkin puree and the diced pumpkin and reduce the heat to very low so that the risotto doesn't simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Spoon it immediately into heated (you can microwave plates for 4 minutes on 50% power) shallow serving bowls/pasta plates garnish with shaved Parmesan. Enjoy!

Higher protein Alternative:

Cube tofu and microwave in orange juice bath for 5 minutes before risotto is done
top with tofu chopped apricots and finish with shaved Parmesan garnish.

Breakfast: Vegan Pancakes

Quick Vegan Pancakes

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Skill level: Beginner

What you will need:
1 cup whole wheat flour (or flour of your choice Rice flour works too)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp creme of tartar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp vegetable oil or Canola oil
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup soy or almond milk (I usually use Almond Breeze unsweetened original but you can also use vanilla)
1 tsp chocolate, vanilla, rock sugar (Optional-PC brand pepper mill style container)


In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and chocolate spice mix if used. Next, add oil, milk, and agave nectar. In a preheated pan over low/medium heat, pour a CD-size amount (or one soup ladle) Cook each side  until light brown or until you see bubbling

Photos shown served with Hash browns and Scrambled eggs (for Brian, I don't eat eggs)

Appetizer, Side or Snack: Edamame

This is by far the easiest recipe ever two ingredients, 5 minutes and a microwave. YAY!

Prep time: 30 seconds
Cook time: 3 minutes
Skill level: Beginner (A supervised child could make this)

What you will need:

2 cups Edamame beans (In the pod)
1 Tbs Rock/Kosher salt (or to taste)

pour frozen whole beans into microwave safe bowl
sprinkle kosher salt on top
place in microwave with wax paper covering it or a plate

microwave on high for 3 minutes or until beans are hot

Remove wax paper, or plate and serve in cocking bowl or transfer to serving dish and serve HOT!

High in soy protein and low in fat- kids love these too!

Appetizer or Side: Vegan cream cheese stuffed tomatoes

This recipe come from Canadian Living Magazine (Photo Credit: Canadian Living magazine)

Appetizer or Side
Vegan Cream Cheese stuffed tomatoes

Prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 20-25
Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate 

What you will need
2 boxes cheery tomatoes
Vegan Cream Cheese full container
Spinach 2 cups frozen chopped
Roasted garlic 2-3 cloves whole (or sautéed in pan for 15 minutes)
1/2 tbs nutmeg 
Salt & pep to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
Basil leaves to garnish
6 Tbs olive oil (2 in pan, 4 in blender/processor)


Heat thick-bottomed pan or soup pot over medium heat.
Add with olive oil right away (it will spit at you if you add it to a hot pan)
Add garlic into pan sauté for 15 minutes or until soft.
Add in spinach, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
Fry for 6 minutes keeping things moving in the pan.

Prep food processor or blender
By drizzling 4 TBS olive oil along inside
Add whole container vegan cream cheese

Prep cherry tomatoes
Cut off ¼ of top off cheery tomato and scoop out insides
Tip: You can stand up in mini muffin tin to stuff or slice thin tip off bottom without piercing into hallowed out inside so the bottom is flat and they can stand up on a baking sheet

Take pan/pot off heat and add hot contents directly on top of cream cheese in food processor.

Blend or mix for 3 minutes pulsing button until garlic cloves are chopped and blended into mixture.

Spoon mixture into tomatoes or use pastry or sandwich bag to pipe mixture in.

Garnish with single basil leave and serve right away.

Note: this recipe can be prepared in advance and chilled in fridge for up to 2 days before dinner party or kept in the fridge for easy snack. 

Drink: Sun Brewed Ice Tea

This is one of my favourite drink recipes -the concept was lovingly stolen from a friends mother who is from TEXAS and makes this in her yellow and glass pitcher similar to the plastic green one seen in my picture. I never got her recipe but it was tweaked two summers ago after several failed attempts. Enjoy

Sun Brewed Ice Tea

Prep time: 5 minutes
Brew time: 4 hours
Skill level: Beginner 

What you will need:
16-18 cups water
8 tea bags (4 black tea bags of your choice 4 lemon zinger tea bags/ or 4 peach tea bags if you prefer peach to lemon)
1/4-cup sweetener (I like splenda, or stevia, or agave nectar, you can use honey, although its harder to dissolve or good ol' fashion sugar)

Let steep in a warm sunny spot for 4 hours
Serve over ice with lemon wedge or warm from the rays the way it is!!
For 'HARD' alcoholic version add
10 oz. vanilla vodka
2-4 oz. tequila (I like Hornitos brand but you can also add flavoured tequilas or not to suit your taste)