Monday, July 7, 2014

Chocolate Vanilla Cream Iced Coffee - Dairy & Sugar Free

Quite some time ago, I replaced traditional cane sugar with things like date sugar, coconut sugar, honey & maple.  I now rarely use the coconut sugar unless I need it for texture purposes and so honey & maple are my usual go-to's.  However, I have been gradually trying to cut back on my usage of those and replace it with stevia when I can because sugar is still sugar.  I was not having a ton of luck with stevia until just recently when I purchased Sweet Drops Vanilla Cream liquid stevia.  I LOVE this flavor!  I actually got the flavor so that I could make a batch of marshmallows sweetened with it and Miss M has no idea they are sugar free.  She loves them.  Win, win, win!  So as I was making myself a glass of iced coffee today I was about to grab the maple when my sweet little bottle of stevia was looking right at me.  Well, if it had eyes then it would have been looking right at me.  Really!  So, I took a chance and decided to try it.   So glad I did because I came up with my new favorite iced coffee drink.  4 simple ingredients, Ice & a few good shakes is all you need to be left with a creamy, slightly frothy & delicious iced coffee.

Chocolate Vanilla Cream Iced Coffee


1/2 C full fat canned coconut milk
apx. 1.5 C cold coffee*
1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
6 drops of Sweet Drops Vanilla Cream liquid stevia
Lot's of ice


1.) Use a glass mason jar with a lid... the wide mouth pint and a half is what I used here.  Add coconut milk and cocoa powder & stevia drops to the glass jar, and use a mini wire whisk to mix it well.  (this prevents the cocoa powder from clumping or sticking to the lid).

2.)  Fill the jar with ice and then cold coffee.  *I usually keep a pitcher of cold coffee in my fridge.  Sometimes I make it cold brew and sometimes I make it extra strong in my french press and then add lots of ice to cool it fast and make it just right*

3.) screw a lid on your jar & shake, shake, shake Senora, shake it all the time!  (Couldn't help it.  Now the song will be stuck in my head all day.)

Enjoy your icy cold, creamy deliciousness! 

 *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ultra Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese - Gluten, Dairy & Soy Free

This is basically a re-posting of my Dairy Free Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with a minor tweak that really sets it apart.  This truly tastes (and feels) like the real deal.  And while there is still pumpkin in this recipe, you won't taste it at all.  It serves to make the sauce rich and creamy.  The small addition of the onion and garlic powder truly enhances the "cheese" flavor in this dish.  This has become a family favorite and I can change it up so many ways.  Adding mix-ins will also make the meal stretch farther and either feed more mouths or provide another meal as leftovers.  It also reheats really well, it, does not get that dry, waxy texture that traditional re-heated mac & cheese tends to get.

Here are just a few of the ways I mix it up...

Tuna Casserole:  Mix in 1-2 cans of tuna (I prefer white albacore), and 1 small bag of frozen peas (cooked) to the prepared mac & cheese.
Mac & Cheese Burger:  Brown 1 package of ground turkey, add about 1 C of pasta sauce, fold into the prepared mack & cheese
Frank & Cheese:  Dice up grass fed beef or Applegate turkey hotdogs and cook in a pan.  Add to the prepared mac & cheese

Ultra Creamy Vegan Mac & Cheese

Gluten, Dairy & Soy Free


1 package of gluten free pasta of your choice (I love Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows, Shells or Spirals)

2 Tbl. Sp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I use the soy free version).

1/2 C Daiya Mozzarella style shreds

1 C Daiya Cheddar style shreds

1/2 C unsweetened almond milk

1/2 C canned or freshly roasted pumpkin

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder or roasted garlic powder. (I like the roasted best)

Salt and Pepper to taste.


1.) Prepare the pasta according to the directions. *The best method for Al Dente texture:  Follow the energy saving directions on the package but, check texture after 8-10 min rather than 15.

2.) Drain and rinse the pasta and set aside.

3.) Use the same pot to make your cheese sauce.  Over Medium/High heat, add the Earth Balance, both Daiya shreds, the almond milk, pumpkin and spices all at once.

4.)  Stir briskly and continuously until the shreds have completely melted  It will look lumpy/curdled at first.  Don't fret, just keep stirring.  It WILL come together into a beautiful sauce.  This is what I get after about 3 min...

5.)  Remove from the heat and gently fold in the pasta until well coated.  (Fold in any other prepared mix-in's at this time too)

6.)  Add salt & pepper to taste and enjoy!

 *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Ingredient Cookies & Cream Ice Cream - Vegan, Gluten Free & Soy Free

Miss M really wanted me to make cookies and cream ice cream for her.  Making it dairy and gluten free would be no problem for me but, making it soy free was proving to be a challenge.  I have seen 3 or 4 different gluten free brands of chocolate cream cookies (ya know, the ones that look like Oreo's).  But, every single one of them has soy.  Why do they feel this is such an important ingredient?  Ugh!  Well, just like with the last recipe I made (my vegan, SF, GF Banana Pudding), I was munching on some HappyTot Best Friends Chocolate Pumpkin cookies and realized, they really so taste like the chocolate sandwich cookies without the cream.  So, I set to work on my recipe and came up with an easy to make, 5 ingredient solution.  There is no cooking involved and no waiting for it to chill.  If you keep cans of coconut milk stocked in the fridge, then you would likely be able to make this on a whim.  If you keep them in the pantry, then it's best for you to at least wait for a can of coconut milk to completely chill before making this.  It will be a soft serve when it's done.  It gets pretty hard when fully frozen but, letting it sit at room temp for just a few min, makes it soft enough to scoop.  Honestly, it would probably be softer if you use 2 cans of the full fat stuff, but, I'm trying to keep the calories down here.  ;)

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

5 Ingredients, Vegan, Gluten Free & Soy Free


1 can of full fat coconut milk
1 can-full of unsweetend coconut milk (such as Silk or SoDelicious) *pour it into your emptied can to measure)
2/3 C of honey or maple Syrup
1 vanilla bean scraped, or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 package of HappyTot Best Friends Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies, crushed


  1. Add everything except the cookies to a blender and whip for 30 seconds
  2. Pour into your ice cream maker (follow manufacture instructions)
  3. When the ice cream has gotten pretty thick (about 12-15 min in mine), add the crushed cookies. *Do NOT over-mix*
  4. Serve as is or place in freezer to harden.  It may be helpful to give it a quick stir every 30 min but not necessary.
  *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

EASY Banana Pudding - Dairy, Gluten, Soy & Refined Sugar Free

There are many dairy & gluten free of banana pudding recipes out there already so, why make another one?  Well, after looking at said recipes, I came to find that some just didn't fit that authentic, nostalgic bill.  No cookies?  No layers? Really???  Some were far too complicated for my liking.  I mean, I love the idea of making my own vanilla wafers but, I'm a busy, homeschooling mama... ain't nobody got time for dat!  (Okay, I know, that line is probably overused but, I had to do it).  I may eventually get around to trying my own but, for now, I wanted simple & easy.  Some recipes involved soy which makes me crazy.  (No, really, it does!).  Anywho... As I was browsing recipes for that one that would hit the nail on the head (with no success), I was snacking on a few of my toddlers cookies HappyTot Best Friends Honey Buckwheat cookies and that's when I got a brilliant idea.

Basically banana pudding is vanilla pudding layered with fresh banana slices and vanilla wafers.  I already knew how to make dairy free vanilla pudding (it's so easy) so I set to work to make my own creation.  I pondered using tapioca starch since I know so many of you are grain free out there but, It's just a little trickier to work with in a pudding (too much can make it gummy) and since the cookies are not grain free, I figured it didn't make a difference if I used corn starch.  I recommend Organic, Non-GMO Cornstarch of course.  The end result was...Oh! My! Wow!  It's Banana Pudding perfection folks.  Creamy, banana goodness in a bowl.  YUM!  I enjoy it as is but, it's also great with a dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream (found at the bottom of that link).  And, the next time I make it, I plan to try the HappyTot Best Friends Chocolate Pumpkin cookies.  (They are SO yummy).  Then it will be a Chocolate Banana Pudding.  Mmmm. I hope you try the recipe (despite my awful photography skills) and I hope you love it as much as we do.

Easy Banana Pudding  

(free of dairy, soy, gluten & refined sugars)


1 Can (14 oz.) of Organic, Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 Eggs
1/4 C Maple Syrup
1/4 C Honey
2 TblSp of Organic Non-Gmo Corn Starch
3 Tblsp of water
2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Bananas (6 Small or 5 Med. or 4 Large), sliced thin and divided in half
1 Package of HappyTot Best Friends Honey Buckwheat cookies


  1. Slice bananas, separate and set aside 
  2. Mix cornstarch and water and set aside
  3. In a pot, whisk coconut milk, maple & honey together over Medium heat, whisk constantly
  4. When mixture just starts to bubble, pour in cornstarch mixture (you may need to give it a quick stir first)
  5. Continue to whisk until mixture is thickened
  6. Remove from heat and add vanilla and half of the banana slices.  Whisk well until bananas are broken down.
  7. In your dish of choice and layer 1/3 of the pudding, banana slices and cookies and repeat, ending with pudding on top and cookies for decoration.  (Could add Coconut Whipped Cream for decoration too AFTER it cools).
  8. Let chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. 

 *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Maple Orange BBQ Sauce - Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free

 Maple Orange BBQ Sauce

Free of Gluten and Refined Sugars


6 oz. Tomato Paste
1.5 C Orange Juice
1/4 C Balsamic or White Wine Vinegar (I have used both but, I really love the depth the balsamic gives it)
2 tsp Molasses
1 Tbsp Low Sodium, GF Soy Sauce
1/4 Red Onion
1 Tbsp Mustard prepared (I like Organicville Stone Ground Mustard)
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chili Powder (I like the spicy kick in Frontier's Fiesta Chili Powder but, any is fine)
1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1/2 tsp Xanthun Gum
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 c Coconut Sugar OR Honey (It will be slightly thicker with the coconut sugar but, either way tastes great)
1 tsp of smoked salt (or sea salt if you don't have smoked)  I just like a slightly smoky flavor to my BBQ sauce.


  1. Put everything into your blender and blend on high for 15-20 seconds.
  2. Transfer to a pot
  3. Bring to a boil while whisking and then reduce to a very low simmer.
  4. Let cook for at least 30 min, stirring periodically
  5. Alternatively, you could cook on low for 3-4 hours in the crockpot.
*Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.*

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chia Berry Vinaigrette (Vegan, Oil Free, Gluten Free)

I have commitment issues...with salad dressings that is.  I buy a bottle, use it 2-3 times and then I'm board with it and ready to try another.  But, since bottled dressings last for what seems to be forever, I keep it around for when I might want to have a rendezvous with it again.  And before I know it, I have bottles of dressings taking over my fridge.

This is just one reason that I stopped buying bottled salad dressings a while ago. I also discovered how easy it is to make your own (in MOST cases) and how much fresher they taste.  Not to mention, you know exactly what's in it, which is great when you have diet restrictions/allergies like gluten, soy & dairy. 

Sometimes I find recipes online & sometimes I create my own on a whim.  Which is exactly what I did today.   I planned to toss in some soon-to-be-not-fresh berries into my salad but, I was racking my brain for a good dressing recipe to compliment it.  That's when it hit me to use the berries IN the dressing.  It's super quick & easy to make.  It goes great with dark leafy greens & pecans. 

 Chia Berry Vinaigrette (Vegan, Oil Free, Gluten Free)


1.5 C Mixed fresh berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries & raspberries)

1/3 C Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 C unsweetened coconut milk (or unsweetened vanilla coconut)

Juice from 1/4 of a large lemon

2 generous pinches of salt

1 TbSp Raw Honey

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds


Blend on high for 10 seconds & enjoy for up to 7 days. (Keep refrigerated) 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake (Vegan & Gluten Free)

I am really excited about this post you guys!  We spent Christmas morning with my Mother-in-law, who loves to spoil us with tasty homemade confections.  However, since I'm, no longer eating gluten or dairy I knew I would feel completely left out if I didn't make some treats for myself.  Anyways, I knew I really wanted some sort of blueberry coffee cake but, since we were staying with my MIL from out of state, I really didn't want to get into buying a bunch of specialty products that she would never use.  After modifying my favorite Banana Oat Muffin recipe into Dark Chocolate Cherry Cupcake Muffins the light bulb went off.  I created my Banana Oat muffin batter as usual and decided to layer it with a blueberry filling and a streusel topping inside of a bundt pan.  

I nervously paced the kitchen waiting for it to bake.  I REALLY wanted it to turn out perfect because it was Christmas morning and I wouldn't have time to try again and just the thought of how potentially good it might be was making my mouth water.  Well, that and the amazing aroma wafting from the oven.  But, I have been baking long enough to know that just because it smells amazing does not mean the end result will be.  Well, needless to say, it turned out AMAZING!  There wasn't one crumb left at the end of the day (and I only had 2 slices myself).  It's not your average dry coffee cake, it's incredibly moist.  

So that you won't have to flip back and forth between 2 recipes, I am just pasting the Banana Oat recipe here as well.

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake

Preheat your oven to 400

Blueberry Filling Ingredients:

1 package frozen blueberries (20 oz.) thawed & drained
1 TbSp coconut sugar
2 tsp molasses
2 TbSp corn or tapioca starch

Streusel Topping Ingredients:

1/4 Earth Balance (soy free), cold, NOT softened
1/3 C GF oat flour (process GF oats in processor for 1 min)
1/2 C coconut sugar
1 TbSp molasses
2 TbSp corn or tapioca starch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Banana Oat Batter Ingredients:

2.5 cups Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1 cup full fat coconut milk (mixed well).  The canned version or homemade.

1/2 cup honey
(or maple syrup to keep it truly vegan
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

4 TbSp ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. mix the blueberry filling and set aside at room temperature
  3. using a hand mixer, mix streusel topping ingredients until it resembles course crumbs (if earth balance is soft it may be more paste-like...that's okay too).
  4. grease a bundt pan (or 8x8 square pan) (I use Spectrum Organic's's soy free!)
  5. With your chopping blade in place, process the oats in a food processor for 30-60 seconds
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients (in no particular order) to the food processor.
  7. Process for about  30-45 seconds to ensure everything is well mixed.
  8. Remove blade, scraping batter off into work bowl.
  9. pour 1/2 of the batter into the pan
  10. spoon the blueberry filling (juices & all) along the center of the batter, keep from edges as much as will ooze out on it's own (it's okay of some touches the need form perfection here)
  11. pour the remaining batter on top and gently spread out
  12. drop the streusel topping all along the top as evenly as possible 
  13. Bake for 30-35 min or until the top is golden & a toothpick comes out clean.

 Just look at that moist deliciousness... 

  *Affiliate Disclosure: Some (or all) of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”