Monday, December 5, 2016

Chocolate Cream Pie

A chocolate cream pie for a Monday morning. All seems right to post this recipe and pictures on such a day. Christmas is less than 3 weeks away and the season is in full swing with parties, tree lightings, and gift wrapping. I forget how fast this season comes every year, and then when it is here I want it to slow down so we can actually enjoy it. I always have the goal to be done with the busy shopping work by the first week in December, but then I always seem to keep going and stay busy. BLAH! This year I hope to get the busy-ness done by this week, and then spend more time baking cookies with my kids, and enjoying the company of loved ones. It may be just a dream though...kinda like this pie....

This pie was a part of the lineup for Thanksgiving this year. And I remember thinking this pie was maybe more liked by myself than all the other desserts. It was just a floating thought until I tried the pumpkin pie again :) But still, this pie impressed me with how creamy and fluffy it was. And of course I sunk my favorite ingredient in it....dates. Yes, dates again to the rescue. Maybe I should be thinking of a name change for this recipe blog...."Dates are the Hope for Healing ;)???" Well, it may just be a phase, but I cannot deny my love for dates in baked goods in who they offer so much wonderfulness with sweetness and texture. Yet another irresistible date-infused dessert recipe for you...

Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed, egg- free and vegan}

Crust Recipe:
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 ts. sea salt
2 TB of palm oil shortening
2 TB of room temperature coconut oil
2 TB maple syrup
2 ts. apple cider vinegar
1 ts. of water

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the oil and shortening and make it a sandy mix, and then add in the syrup, water and vinegar and mix it well together. It may be a sticky dough but it will start to form a dough ball and you can knead it and let it sit for it to all meld together well. Then toss into a pie pan and press it into all the sides of the pan, or you can roll it out to size of a 9 inch pan, and put it into the pan and cut accordingly. Its a pretty easy recipe to do either way. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden and slightly firm. Let it completely cool before putting the chocolate filling in and refrigerating.


Chocolate Cream Filling:
1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
1 can of full-fat coconut milk, just the cream, save/discard the water
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I use So Delicious)
1/2 cup of date puree (1/2 cup of boiling water poured over 1/2 cup pitted dates and blended)
1/3 cup of softened organic coconut oil
1/3 cup of cacao powder
1/4 cup of maple syrup/or pure honey
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of sea salt
2 TB of tapioca flour
juice from 1/2 of lime

In a medium saucepan, pour in the above ingredients and use a whisk to soften and melt all the ingredients together well. Do not let it boil or get too hot, just let it get warm and whisk together. Pull off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes and then pour it into the cooled pie crust and let it sit for a few minutes and then you can transfer the pie into a safe and flat spot in the fridge and let it sit overnight or for 6-8 hours for it to stiffen well. 
Then, after refrigerating for 6-8 hours it will be ready for serving. I like cutting into it and removing one slice so that the rest of the slices are easier to fork out. It is so good by itself, but if you are looking for a great dairy-free alternative to pure dairy fresh whipped cream-this Coconut Whip from So Delicious is fabulous and made from better ingredients and brings back all cool-whip-feelings from younger years. You can spread out the coconut whip on top of the whole pie and then sprinkle some chocolate chips or grated chocolate from a chocolate bar. It will look just as good as any restaurant pie and your guests will be surprised it is allergy-free. 

I hope you try this simple but wonderful pie out and add it to the holiday menu!

Much love to you! And much hope and peace to you as you enter and sit in this advent season.

xoxo

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins

Friends- It's another Tuesday muffin recipe, a day late ;) Better late than never. This flavor and scent of orange has been uplifting my spirits that past week or so. I like imagining the groves they come from in sunny California. Grateful for their vibrant color and love they share with us Michigander's this time of year!
What a gorgeous November we've had though... so much sunshine, and beautiful fall days. This morning I sat in my kitchen with these gorgeous muffins coming from the oven, sunshine shining super bright through the door and a dear friend to join me in sharing it all. I don't think I could ask for a better Wednesday morning. I may sound overly positive- but the truth is, it has been a hard month of change and sadness. But as this season of advent has come, I am reminded of hope. Hope is what keeps us going and carrying us onward. In life, in our country, in our churches and communities, in our kitchens. 
So this recipe is very similar to my Cranberry Orange Cake, but wanted to make it in muffin form to and adjust the measurements if needed. It turned out fabulous and *almost* like them more since they are so easy to plate, pack and share if need be. The texture is just right and the scents just make you want to cozy up and snuggle next to the Christmas tree.
The cranberries are local Michigan berries though. I guess you could use dried in this recipe, but with local cranberries in season it sure is a delight to soften them up and add them to baked treats. They add so much color, fresh tart flavor and beauty to baked goods. You know me, my obsessive love for local berries and fruit ;) I'll try to keep my love under wraps and get to the ingredients... Happy baking, friends!

Cranberry Orange Oat Muffins
{gluten, dairy, egg, nut and seed-free}{vegan}

1 cup of rolled certified GF oats
1 1/4 cup of ground certified GF oat flour
2/3 cup of rice flour
1/3 cup of coconut flour
1/3 tapioca flour
1/3 cup of potato starch
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. sea salt
2 ts. baking powder (I use Hain brand for no-corn)
2 ts. of pumpkin pie spice blend (ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)
2/3 cup of coconut suagr
2/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of applesauce
1/3 cup of date puree
1/2 cup of coconut milk beverage
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
I organic orange: for 1/3-1/2 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice and the fresh zest (2 TB's worth)

optional extras: food grade orange essential oil 4-6 drops or 1/2 ts. orange oil flavoring

2 cups (1 pint) of fresh cranberries cooked down to 1 1/2 cups. Put 2 cups of fresh cranberries in a saucepan with 1/4 or so of water. Let the cranberries start to heat and pop open, do not let them get too hot or turn into sauce, just heat them long enough to get soft and reduce to 1 1/2 cups worth.

First grind your GF flours and mix well with all the other dry ingredients. Then mix in the wet ingredients, and lastly the warmed oil. Mix well and you will start to see the orange juice and baking powder do it's work and make the batter poof up a bit. Fold down and then mix in the fresh cranberries, but making sure to not over mix and break open the berries.

Pour in a coconut-oil-lined muffin baking pan or with parchment liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and firm. Let cool before serving. This recipe will make 12 large muffins or 24 small mini muffins. 
Happy baking and much love (and hope) to you...xoxo

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie. It seems like we should be allowed to make such delicacies more than once a year... or for a certain holiday... Yes, Thanksgiving is special because of such treats, but must we leave it to only one day a year? I say not. I say it will still be a special occurrence no matter when!
 
Perhaps you stocked up on extra canned pumpkin, or maybe you still have a chance to hit the grocery sale shelf before it's December. Or maybe you baked off a handful of fresh pie pumpkins and stuck that liquid gold in the freezer for all winter long. Then we can be long lost friends and talk about how much we love pumpkin and what a gift it is sent from heaven above.
It's true, I'm crazy about pumpkin and have made many varieties of pumpkin pie or pudding bars over the years (and more and more pumpkin). It's hard for me to make a version more than once, maybe twice, so this new recipe is my latest invention over the past holiday. So naturally I'm most in love with this one :) And this one contains some DATES for sweetness and texture. So amazing creamy caramel-like taste and texture. Delicious on so many levels.
I'm sharing it because I ate my last piece today and I'm missing already. Maybe I could convince my loved ones that we may need to celebrate some of our Christmas festivities with another one. Because. Just one pie a year?!?  No, way baby! This one is too good!
Maybe it's the taste, or maybe it's just the feelings of being around a table with family and friends that share their hearts about what they are thankful for and how this year has brought pain and love. Every soul shares in this journey of moving through life with the pain, sorrow, but also the joys and abundance too. This pie has a part in that story too. It is almost as if it has a seat at the table of such thanksgiving and gratitude.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, soy, nut, seed and refined sugars-free} contains eggs

Crust Recipe:
3/4 cup finely ground certified GF oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 ts. sea salt
2 TB of palm oil shortening
2 TB of room temperature coconut oil
2 TB maple syrup
2 ts. apple cider vinegar
1 ts. of water

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add in the oil and shortening and make it a sandy mix, and then add in the syrup, water and vinegar and mix it well together. It may be a sticky dough but it will start to form a dough ball and you can knead it and let it sit for it to all meld together well. Then toss into a pie pan and press it into all the sides of the pan, or you can roll it out to size of a 9 inch pan, and put it into the pan and cut accordingly. Its a pretty easy recipe to do either way. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and slightly firm. Let it completely cool before putting the pumpkin filling in and baking again.

Pumpkin Filling:
1 15 ounce can of organic pumpkin puree-I used Green Valley (or 1 3/4 cup of fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup of coconut milk beverage (I use So Delicious unsweetened)
1/2 cup of date puree (1/2 cup of boiling water poured over 1/2 cup of pitted dates, soak for 5 minutes and then blend in high powdered blender to make a pudding substance)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar
2-3 TB of maple syrup
2 beaten eggs *you can omit these if you are allergic or vegan, the texture is just different
2 TB of melted coconut oil
2 TB of tapioca flour
1 1/2 ts. of baking powder (I use the Hain brand- to be corn free)
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1 TB of pumpkin pie spice blend
1 ts. of ground ginger 
1-2 ts. of pure vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, add in all of the wet ingredients and the beaten eggs. Then add in the spices, and few dry ingredients and whisk together well. Then pour into cooled pie crust. You then can place on a baking sheet or just put in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tightened up. This may be confusing because it will still appear to be gooey or giggling, but the baked cracks usually show that it is baked through, but needs to set up while cooling on the counter and in the fridge. So do not be alarmed if it seems too soft after 50-60 minutes of baking. You do not want it to get too browned or burned. Then let it cool on the counter after baking for 1-2 hours. Then lightly cover with some kind of wrap and put in the fridge for overnight or for 6-8 hours. 

Then, after refrigerating for 8-10 hours it will be ready for eating. I like cutting into it and removing one slice so that the rest of the slices are easier to fork out. It is so good by itself, but if you are looking for a great dairy-free alternative to pure dairy fresh whipped cream-this Coconut Whip from So Delicious is fabulous and made from better ingredients and brings back all cool-whip-feelings from younger years.

Each bite is fabulous and you don't want it to end. I also have no problem and recommend such wonderfulness for breakfast the day after :) I mean it has a good full servings of veggies and much lower on the sweetness scale. So with a coffee or chai latte- you just can't beat it.
I confess the above picture was my breakfast for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It really is something I look forward to after all the work of preparing food for a few days. Those lazy mornings after with jammies on till noon and eating pumpkin pie for breakfast- such is the life my friends.

Hope you had a blessed holiday and looking onward to this advent season of longing, and hope. 

Much love as always,
xoxo

Monday, November 28, 2016

Creamy Ramen and Veggie Soup

I love soup. Especially this time of year- have you noticed with my recent postings?!? I could eat soup every night if it was up to me. My husband has been coming around with eating more and more soups, and my kids, well, it takes a little bribing. Mostly with my bread. Which they affectionately call "soup bread" because well, that's what they care about when it comes to another meal of soup and bread. Until this one. They actually ate a good amount before asking for another slice of bread ;) So while I am trying to contain my excitement, and still shovel in some bites, I was doing the happy dance inside. Because this soup is simple, delicious, and full of great nutrients too. I have made it 3-4 times now, mostly on Mondays the past few weeks, and plan on making again tonight...it has become a new family favorite. I hope you give this simple soup a try and maybe even bring up some college life nostalgia in the process ;)

sidenote:
I found these ramen noodles at Costco-which started this whole recipe anyway. They are the Lotus brand, and are made from millet and brown rice.  It says you can buy at Target, or maybe even your grocery store. But you can also buy online at Vitacost (here's a $10 off coupon for first-time shoppers) and Thrive Market, if you cannot find the bulk package at your local Costco. So each noodle cake has 8 grams of protein. So it is an easy way to get good protein and nutrients in a meal without meat protein. Yes, you can add in some chicken if you want, but the simplicity and bare bones of this soup is also just great by itself. Even without the bread ;)

sidenote #2:
I would most definitely suggest having an immersion blender for this recipe to get the best consistency and the most kid friendly version possible.

sidenote #3: (last one I promise ;)
Do you eat this soup with a fork or spoon? The debate happens every time at our dinner table :)

Creamy Ramen and Veggie Soup Recipe
{gluten and dairy-free, vegan without added chicken}

2 TB of avocado oil for sautéing
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves of minced or finely chopped garlic cloves
1 TB of grated fresh ginger
1 TB of grated fresh tumeric
1 pound or 2 cups of carrot slices
1 1/2 cups of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
1/2 cup of finely chopped lacinato kale
1-2 TB of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 heaping cup of fresh finely chopped parsley
4 cups of vegetable broth (or bone or chicken broth)
4 cups of pure water
1 TB of pure raw honey
1 ts. of apple cider vinegar
1-2 ts. of sea salt (add a sprinkle over the sautéing veggies and then again in the end by taste)
sprinkle of cracker black pepper

4-6 ramen noodle cakes (I used GF brown rice and millet noodles by LOTUS)

1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk beverage ( I use So Delicious unsweetened)
additional 1-2 TB of fresh finely chopped herbs if wanted to add some fresh green

optional:
add 1 pound of cooked chicken chunks. I bake 1 pound of organic chicken tenders in the oven at 375 for 25 minutes drizzled with oil/broth/garlic and onion and then chop in chunks and add to the soup if I want to add some extra protein

In a large 8 quart pot, saute the chopped onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger and celery and carrots too. Add in the kale and green onions and herbs and cook for a minute, then add in the water and broth and bring back up to a boil. Then spoon in the honey and vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook for 30 minutes on medium heat or so until carrots are soft. Then get out the immersion blender and blend in about half the soup so you get a creamy veggie consistency, but also half the soup still has chunks of carrots and celery.  You can do this or you cannot, or you can do it more or less depending on your preferences. After doing this step you can add the 4-6 cakes of the ramen noodles (and this is where you can add the chicken if you prefer). Then, you can add in a touch of coconut milk and fresh chopped herbs, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes until the noodles are soft and separated  Then serve up and ENJOY! Serves 4-6 or 1-2 and leftovers for a day or two.