Tag Archives: dairy free

Creativity in the Kitchen

Living a life with food restrictions has been on of my greatest challenges, but it has also been great fun.  It has required not only stepping outside the box, but sometimes ripping that box to pieces.   I have learned to try things that just seem impossible, because they usually work — like flax seed “eggs” and chickpea brownies.

Major life changes, especially for health reasons can be overwhelming.  It’s not unusual to get stuck, afraid to move, feeling like food has suddenly become the enemy.  Bob and I spent the first 6 months of gluten free life eating a lot of stir fry.  We still love stir fry but I have become more adventurous in experimenting with new recipes.

Maybe your kitchen challenge isn’t related to allergies or other medical conditions.  Maybe you would just like to get your kids to eat more veggies.  This is a great reason to get creative in the kitchen.  Play with your food and have fun!

So, do I have a recipe?  This recipe is dairy free and naturally gluten free.  Adjusting to gluten free was easier for me than dairy free.  I do love my cheese and ice cream.  We are still working on cheese, but I gone way beyond plain “vanilla”  in creating my own dairy free, fruit based ice cream.  Bob calls it fruit cream.  This is one of my favorites

Carrot Cake Fruit Cream
 Carrot Cake Fruit Cream Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Carrot Cake Fruit Cream
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen mashed bananas
  • ½ cup coconut milk beverage (in the carton)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup finely grated carrots (about 1 small)
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple (drained)
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Add bananas and coconut milk to blender container of a high-speed blender such as a Ninja or a Vita Mix. Pulse a few times then process on high until ingredients are well blended and look like ice cream. If your bananas are frozen very hard, you may have to stop a few times and scrape them down.
  2. Remove blade and stir in remaining ingredients. You may pour the ice cream into a bowl to do this if desired.
  3. The ice cream is now the consistency of soft serve. I suggest putting it in the freezer for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Want more recipes like this one?  Frozen Fun:  25 Dairy and Dairy Free Ice Cream Recipes is available at the Espirational Bookshelf.

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Egg Salad Without Eggs?

Copyright 2018 R.A. Robbins

I developed this recipe while looking for tasty, healthy snacks with protein . I use chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, but there are also recipes using tofu if you prefer. You may be familiar with hummus which is made from chickpeas and often used as a dip with raw veggies. Because I do not care for the flavor of tahini, an ingredient in hummus, I decided to go a different direction.

My first version of this recipe used mayonnaise or salad dressing, which contain eggs. I went on to use a dressing of olive oil, vinegar, prepared mustard and just a touch of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor a bit.  You could use Greek yogurt if you tolerate dairy.  The addition of chopped sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish also adds to the flavor.

The finished salad may be served over salad greens for a light lunch or as a sandwich. Adding a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice will add both color and flavor to your sandwich.

So how do you make that Eggless Egg Salad?

Ingredients:
2 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans) canned or cooked from dry
2 Tablespoons diced onion
2 Tablespoons pickle relish or diced sweet pickles if you have them
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt substitute and pepper to taste

Directions:
Drain and rinse chickpeas.

Mash with a potato masher or fork leaving a few chunks of chickpea.

Add onion and pickle relish.

Combine mustard, vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl or blender container. Mix together.

Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. If you are making this by hand blend with a wire whisk while adding the olive oil. If using the blender, blend on low adding the oil through the smaller hole in the lid, do not remove the lid while blending.

Add the dressing to the chickpea mixture and stir together.

Season with salt substitute and pepper.

You may serve as is or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Serves 4 to 6

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The Secret to Cooking Good Healthy Food

Last year a culinary instructor named Todd Mohr gave a free webinar on how to cook like a chef.  It was not what I expected.  Instead of talking about all the “secrets” and difficult recipes we think professional chefs know he talked about how home cooks make things too difficult.  The focus of his webinar was learning basic techniques, cooking methods and spices then using your own fresh ingredients to create original dishes.

My Rocky Beginnings

When Bob and I first started living gluten free I was scared to death.  There were already a number of foods we didn’t eat for health reasons and I was sure there would be nothing left to eat…  So I started with stir fry and kept working on figuring out all those difficult gluten free recipes and exotic ingredients.   I eventually began to convert my own recipes and realized it really wasn’t that difficult, but I kept collecting recipes trying to find new, different and perfect recipes that met our needs.

Already Heading in the Right Direction

When I heard what Chef Todd had to say I realized I was already heading in that direction.  I was already putting together my own ingredients to create new soups and salads. I rotisserie whole chickens and use the meat for various dishes and boil the bones to make stock. Then I realized I had my “magic mixture” which was usually black beans, onion, corn, salsa or canned tomatoes and chili spices and sometimes chicken.  This ends up on baked potatoes, gluten free pasta, spaghetti squash, salad greens and most recently with rice rolled into a gluten free wrap for burritos. Sometimes I add rice for the closest thing to a casserole I do now.  I like to make a big batch to have on hand.

The Gluten Free Wraps and a Discovery

The gluten free wraps were part of a prize package from Toufayan Bakeries which I won through a drawing at the Gluten Away Online Expo.  The first couple of days after the package arrived we enjoyed some wonderful deli style sandwich wraps.  I even made a special trip into town for good deli meat, goat cheese and condiments.

Then I started looking for different ideas and went to the Toufayan website where I found the recipe for Chicken and Black Bean Freezer Burritos. When I realized I already had the basics down all I needed to do was think a little outside the box and wrap the stuff up in a tortilla or other flat bread, I felt a little embarrassed. But this was an excellent illustration of Chef Todd’s point just a few days after listening to him.

When I made these I cut eat one in half and wrapped them in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag.  I ended up with two bags of these. Quite a bit of work, but good to have on hand for a snack or meal emergency.

Burrito wrap w/ filling.
Copyright 2017

 

Burritos ready for freezer.
Copyright 2017

Do you Make Things too Difficult?

Home cooks do make things way too difficult. We try to impress people with our skills or some sort of secret recipe or knowledge that only we have. Add food restrictions such as wheat or dairy to the mix and things can really get crazy. It is easy to panic and wonder what on earth you are going to eat.

My suggestion.  

  • Focus on techniques. Review or learn basic cooking methods such as baking, roasting, steaming, sauteing, braising, grilling, stir frying, etc.  These I have mentioned can all be done gluten free and dairy free.
  •  Then bring in your own fresh ingredients and seasonings and mix and match to your hearts content.  You might also want to play around with sauces and toppings.

The benefit of cooking this way is that you get to choose your own ingredients.  I think this is the easiest way to cook for special diets.

All you have to do is get started. It is a different way of thinking about food and cooking than many of us are used to. Take that first step and get started. Don’t be afraid to play a little and get creative.  Things will get easier as you go along and you will eventually find yourself thinking, I really made this?  This is so good!

What is your secret to cooking good, healthy food?

National Ice Cream Day

Cherry Fruit Cream
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

It’s National Ice Cream Day.  But what do you do if you cannot eat the sugar, dairy or eggs in regular ice cream for health reasons?

No More Ice Cream?  Oh No!!!!

What does an ice cream lover do when forced to give up sugar, dairy and eggs for health reasons?

Well, in my case the first thing I did was cry — a lot.

Then I tried moderation. I really love my ice cream, so cutting back was having it once a week instead of every day. That didn’t work.

So I gave it up. I stopped eating ice cream and I even gave up making the wonderful family recipes developed by my mother.

It took awhile to try the ice cream made with frozen bananas because I was sure there was no way that stuff tasted like ice cream. When I finally decided to try I burned out two blenders before I found a Ninja to help me learn how to do it right. Together we discovered wonderful frozen desserts that are gluten-free, low in fat and sugar and if you use almond milk or another dairy free alternative, vegan.  I call them fruit creams with flavors such as not only the luscious cherry included here, but also chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, cherry chocolate, egg nog,  pumpkin and peanut butter chip.

Cherry Fruit Cream

Delicious fruit cream full of cherry flavor. Of course you may pit and freeze your own cherries, but buying already frozen is easier.  If you want chunks of cherries in your cream you may cut one half cup of the cherries in half and add after you turn off the blender.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen mashed banana

1 cup frozen sweet cherries

½ cup almond milk or other milk of your choice

1 teaspoon almond extract Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to blender container.

2. Blend on high speed (# 3 if using a Ninja) until thick and creamy. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times during processing.

3. Serve now as soft serve or put in a carton and freeze until firm.

Want to have some Frozen Fun?

The best thing about ice cream is that is fun to make and of course fun to eat. I put my love of ice cream and summertime fun into a Kindle book called Frozen Fun.  For more dairy free recipes as well as my mother’s old fashioned recipes with milk, eggs and heavy cream visit the Kindle Store to buy your copy today.

This post is part of the following Link Parties:

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It’s National Ice Cream Month!

Carrot Cake Fruit Cream Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins
Carrot Cake Fruit Cream
Copyright 2015 by R.A. Robbins

July is National Ice Cream Month by Presidential Proclamation 5219, signed by then President Reagan on July 9, 1984.  But did you know that today, July 17 is also National Ice Cream Day?  Ice cream is certainly one way I enjoy my journey through life.

Let’s think about ways we can celebrate ice cream.

  1. Try a new flavor.
  2. Give homemade a try.  There are many different ways and recipes to make homemade ice cream.  It is fun.  Homemade tastes better than store-bought.  Try it.
  3. Create a new recipe either for ice cream or using ice cream as an ingredient.
  4. Do you know the history of ice cream?
  5. Make kick the can ice cream with the kids.
  6. Love chocolate sauce?  Try my Dark Chocolate Sauce.
  7. Can’s eat dairy?  No problem!  There are non-dairy options made with alternative milks (such as alm0nd, rice or coconut).  Some are even made with frozen fruit such as bananas.  Try my Carrot Cake Fruit Cream.
  8. Set up a sundae bar.  Let the kids help.  Don’t forget to include healthy toppings such as fresh fruit and berries.
  9. Get social with your ice cream.  I’m not talking about social media here, invite people over for homemade ice cream or a sundae party.  Get the neighbors involved and have a block party.  It often seems that food divides us, but I believe it can still bring us together.
  10. Finally, be sure to check out the new recipes in my e-book Frozen Fun. We have added a section on smoothies.  Of course we still have the regular ice cream  and fruit cream recipes.   Frozen Fun is available from the Amazon Kindle Store or Espirational Books.

We’re celebrating with a little peach fruit cream I whipped up in the Ninja.  How are you celebrating?

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