Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gluten Free & Vegan - Pumpkin Pie!


Happy Thanksgiving!  I ended up making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas!  It's only taken me oh... two years of egg-free baking to get up to this, as I had very strong opinions about what My Mom's Pumpkin Pie should taste like.  There could be no tofu, as we are soy-free.  I didn't want to use flours like buckwheat or millet or even flax to thicken it - I wanted to to be as silky smooth and as close to the original as possible.  I considered gelatin or agar powder, but then I ran across two recipes using arrowroot powder (check out Oh She Glows for vegan pumpkin pie and Good Good Things for vegan pumpkin pudding).  And I thought arrowroot might work well.  So I reworked my mom's recipe (again).  And it came out really good - not gritty, not runny, and without a floury mouthfeel.  It tastes just like my mom's pie.  Happy day!  Happy Thanksgiving!

(My pumpkin pies are always dark because I use molasses.  It just does not taste like pumpkin pie to me without the molasses in it.  If you don't like a dark pie, substitute maple syrup instead.)

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (one 15oz. can solid packed pumpkin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 cup coconut cream (taken from 1 can full-fat coconut milk)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. molasses
3 tbsp. arrowroot starch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 Gluten Free, Vegan Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   While the oven is heating, make your pie crust.  Line a pie plate with the pie pastry and flute edges as desired.  Set aside.

To a food processor or blender add the pumpkin, brown sugar, coconut cream, maple syrup, molasses, arrowroot, cinnamon, ginger, salt and allspice.  Process until smooth and completely blended.

Pour the pie filling into the prepared pie plate and smooth out the top.  Place the pie in the oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the edges of the pie appear set.  The center of the pie will not be set, it will jiggle a little bit.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator.  Refrigerate until the pie is firm, several hours to overnight.  Bring back to room temperature before serving (or serve cold if you like).

*Make sure you only get the coconut cream from the can, the thick stuff.  You can refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight if needed.  Save the leftover liquid in the can for baking.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gluten Free & Vegan - Pecan Pie!

Here it is - my second pecan pie ever, and my first gluten free and vegan one!  I have got to run out the door to get to work, but I wanted to post this quickly before Thanksgiving.  I have never before liked pecan pie, it was always much too cloyingly sweet for me.  This pecan pie is sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet.  It is really, really good.  This pie was a team effort - the girls picked pecans from our yard, DH cracked them open, and I made the pie.  The original recipe can be found here at Go Dairy Free, I only made a few small adjustments.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or agave nectar
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp. Earth Balance dairy-free, soy-free margarine or coconut oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Gluten Free, Vegan Pie Crust 
pinch salt
2 cups broken pecans
about 100 whole pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar, rice syrup and maple syrup to a simmer.  Simmer a few minutes, until the brown sugar has dissolved.  Turn off the heat and add the margarine, stir to melt.  Then add the applesauce and vanilla and stir to combine.  Set aside to cool.

While the applesauce mixture is cooling, make your pie crust.  Line a pie plate with pastry crust and flute edges as desired.  Fill the pie shell with the broken pecans.  Pour the applesauce mixture over the pecans.  Place the whole pecans in a circular pattern on top of the pecan filling.

Place the pie in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown (the mixture will be hot and bubbly).  Let sit overnight.  Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

White Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving in our house.  By gearing up I mean, I'm working longer hours at the store because 'tis the season, I have not gone grocery shopping or thought too terribly much about Thanksgiving dinner, and I keep fantasizing about making a gluten free and vegan pumpkin pie that does not rely on a lot of flour of any type to thicken it.  I doubt the pumpkin pie will happen until Christmas, but I am hopeful that gluten free and vegan pecan pie will happen for Thanksgiving (wish me luck, I hope to post my success before the holiday).  I have the next two days off, which will give me a chance to play!

So gearing up for Thanksiving in our house means eating light several days preceding...not that our Thanksgiving dinner will be rich, on the contrary we plan to keep it simple, but it just seems like the thing to, I'm too busy working to make a fuss about meals at home right now.  This soup is nice and simple, and very satisfying too.  The original recipe can be found in Claire's Corner Copia cookbook. It's garlicky and very slightly sweet. Serve with a salad and Tomato Rosemary Muffins to make a quick, light meal.

3 cups cooked white beans (cannellini or great northern)
1 bay leaf
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock or vegetable broth over medium heat.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the white beans and mash them.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of white beans, the bay leave, and the sweet potato.  Bring just to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer.

While the beans are simmering, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and the garlic.  Cook until the onion is soft and the mixture is fragrant.  Scrape the onion mixture into the white bean mixture.  Add the parsley through the pepper.  Continue simmering until the sweet potato is soft and fully cooked, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Remove the bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  Serves 4.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kitchen Sink Bean Soup

This year finds me talking to high schoolers about the importance of living within a budget, and making meals in a snap from everyday items found in the pantry.  This weekend found me in a time crunch (okay, every day finds me in a time crunch, but that is besides the point), without the wherewithall or desire to run to the store to get some supplies for dinner.  In my bare kitchen were frozen chicken bones, frozen onion skins, a bag of dried black beans, a big onion, some leftover mashed potatoes and some salsa.  So I made some soup.  I'm sure my high schoolers will not be impressed by this at all, but I thought this soup was nifty, thrifty and tasty.  Sometimes you need to make do with what you have, and sometimes you realize that what you have is actually quite a lot (such as odds and ends turning into a big pot of soup)! 

1 pound dried black beans or other beans of your choice (pinto, Great Northern, etc.)
6 cups chicken broth* or vegetable stock
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup salsa
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 - 2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 cups or so leftover mashed potatoes

Cook the dried beans according to the package directions (or cook them in a crock pot), set aside. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add the broth, salsa, cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder and lime juice. Add roughly half of the cooked beans to the pot. Mash the remaining beans, then add them to the pot along with the mashed potatoes. Stir, then bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer about 30 minutes or until the soup is thick. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot. 

*I freeze chicken bones and onion skins, along with carrot and celery tops, so that I can pull them out later and make stock as needed (overnight in the crock pot is the easiest way to do it!).

Homemade Vegetable Stock

Here is a good recipe to use up vegetables that are just past their prime. If you don't have as much as you need at one time to make vegetable stock, throw them into the freezer until you have all the ingredients you need. This is a great way to cut down on waste and make something healthy at the same time. You don't have to have all the vegetables listed below- use whatever you have on hand and make substitutions as needed.

8 cups water
2 large chopped onions or 2 large cleaned leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced
1 cup chopped carrot
3 chopped celery stalks, leaves included
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup potato peels
1 cup tomato skins, if desired
1 cup fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot or dutch oven heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onions or leeks and the carrots. Cook until onions begin to brown. Add the water and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Strain stock and discard solids, squeezing as much liquid out of them as possible. Season broth to taste with salt and pepper. Makes about 6 cups.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Double Chocolate Cranberry Pancakes


I am not working this weekend, the first weekend off I've had in many months.  It is lovely to wake up slowly and not have to run out the door in a panic to punch in and work on my feet all day.  I made a leisurely pancake breakfast for the girls, lighting a candle on the table and glowing warm inside with their smiles.  Now they are outside raking the leaves for fun.  It has been a perfect morning.  Oh, and the pancakes are good too!

3/4 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 very ripe banana
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup dairy-free, soy-free milk of your choice
3 tbsp. dairy-free, soy-free chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life)
3 tbsp. dried cranberries

Heat a skillet over low heat, I like using a cast iron griddle (low heat so the chocolate won't burn).  While the skillet is heating, whisk together the flour through the salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a separate bowl, mash the banana very well.  Add the maple syrup through the milk and stir to combine.  Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Add the chocolate chips and cranberries and stir.

Drizzle oil into your skillet or griddle.  Pour 1/4 cupfuls of the batter onto the hot surface and cook until the tops look dry and  the edges are firm.  Flip and cook another few minutes on the other side.  Remove to a plate and serve hot with your choice of condiments (we like fresh fruit and maple syrup).