Buckwheat Banana Pancakes (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Growing up, my mom always made buckwheat pancakes. It’s a positive memory from my childhood. While my mom wasn’t the best cook, she could make a good pancake! Years later, pancakes are still a part of our family weekend ritual. It’s difficult to make pancakes that are vegan and gluten-free because often they are mushy. However, after I experimented with Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes, my daughter that prefers vanilla, wanted regular pancakes.

Buckwheat flour makes a nutty, fluffy, and lighter pancake that can easily be made vegan with banana instead of egg. Voilà! They are the perfect vegan pancake. Personally, I like the nutty flavor of the buckwheat, so I added some almond flour and almond milk to magnify the nuttiness. These pancakes topped with bananas and drizzled with warm-fresh maple-syrup will make your morning.

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Buckwheat Banana Pancakes

  • Servings: ~10 - 12 pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Buckwheat flour makes a gluten-free, nutty, fluffy, and lighter pancake that can easily be made vegan with banana instead of egg. This recipe includes almond flour and almond milk to magnify the nuttiness.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 1¼ cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill or Blue Diamond)
  • 1 ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • optional: vegan chocolate chips


Directions

  1. Combine mashed banana, coconut oil, coconut sugar, gluten-free vanilla extract, and almond milk.
  2. Mix wet ingredients with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Combine dry ingredients: flours, cinnamon, tapioca flour, and baking powder in a separate mixing bowl.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet and combine with mixer on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  5. Lightly grease griddle and heat on medium-high.
  6. Scoop the pancake batter onto the griddle (I prefer to scoop 1/3 cup of the mix onto the griddle).
  7. Sprinkle mini-chocolate chips on top of each pancake (if desired).
  8. Once pancakes firm, flip. The second side only cooks for a minute and a half.
  9. Top with warm maple syrup, bananas, and chocolate chips (if desired).

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Sweet Potato Carrot Soup (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

When my mother bought me five pounds of baby carrots, I asked my Facebook friends for their favorite carrot recipes. One friend mentioned a sweet potato carrot soup! I thought that was a fabulous idea, but I decided to make the recipe vegan and not so spicy. The result is this creamy soup with sweetness from carrots, Japanese sweet potatoes, coconut, and apples, and a slight heat from curry and ginger. It’s a very tasty simple fall soup.

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Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

  • Servings: ~4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This creamy Sweet Potato Carrot Soup balances the sweetness of carrots, Japanese sweet potatoes, coconut, and apples, with a slight heat of curry and ginger. It's naturally gluten-free and vegan.

Tips: (1) You can use any carrots, they don’t have to be baby carrots (2) The flesh of Japanese sweet potatoes is a lighter color and they have a purple skin. You can use regular sweet potatoes if you can’t find Japanese sweet potatoes, but the soup will be slightly sweeter and a darker orange color.
Credit: Modified from Rubies & Radishes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 green apple (~2 cups chopped and peeled)
  • 1 leek (the white and light green part only)
  • 4 cups baby carrots (32 oz)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry
  • 2 teaspoons dried ginger
  • 3 cups gluten-free vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics Organic Vegetable Stock)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen that is 13.66 oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (I used Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 2 Japanese sweet potatoes (chopped and peeled)
  • optional: a dash of cinnamon when serving


Directions

  1. Peel and chop the apple and Japanese sweet potatoes.
  2. Mince garlic.
  3. Slice the white and light green part of the leek, discard the dark green top.
  4. Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté the leek and baby carrots until the leek is soft.
  5. Add the curry, salt, minced garlic and ginger and sauté for about ~1 to activate the garlic.
  6. Transfer the leek and carrot mixture to a slow-cooker.
  7. Add chopped Japanese sweet potatoes, apples, vegetable stock, and coconut milk.
  8. Cook on low for 4 – 5 hours.
  9. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. Or, transfer soup to a Vitamix or blender to puree.
  10. I served the soup with a dash of cinnamon.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

My husband frequents Panera Bread and enjoys their cinnamon rolls. One early Saturday morning, my allergic kids were feeling jealous of his treat, so I attempted to appease their jealousy by promising to make them cinnamon rolls.

This is the problem, I’m lazy. I don’t have a lot of time and I didn’t want to deal with yeast. Plus, often gluten-free vegan cinnamon rolls are hard. I wanted soft gooey cinnamon rolls. Also, I didn’t want glaze, I wanted thick buttercream frosting. I was in a decadent mood.

I googled and I came across a glazed Cinnamon Roll Cake by the Chef-In-Training. It wasn’t vegan or gluten-free; it just gave me an easy idea. However, one way to substitute eggs in a dish is with pumpkin: 1/4 cup pumpkin per egg.

I played around with substitutions and ingredients to make a Vegan Gluten-free Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake that is gooey delicious with a perfect vegan buttercream frosting. It was gorgeous!!!

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The cake is so quick and easy. Just prepare the cake, make the cinnamon roll topping, swirl it inside the cake with a knife, and bake. The cake alone is delicious! It has a crunchy cinnamon topping with a soft center.

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Prepare the buttercream and spread it across the cake.

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Sprinkle the top lightly with cinnamon (if desired), and serve!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

  • Servings: ~12 searchings
  • Difficulty: easy
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This gluten-free vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake is topped with a buttercream frosting. It's a perfect fall breakfast or dessert. Refined sugar-free option available.

Tips: (1) Since I was splurging, I made this buttercream frosting with real powdered sugar. You can substitute my Powdered Xylitol Sugar if you want a refined sugar-free dessert. (2) The cake is best served warm. In terms of leftovers, I stored the cake in the refrigerator and heated it in the microwave before eating.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Namaste Mix)
  • 1 cup almond flour (I used Blue Diamond)
  • ¼ teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ cups almond milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • ½ cup vegan butter, melted (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)

Cinnamon Topping:

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free cream cheese (I used Toffuti)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. With an electric or stand-up mixer add the gluten-free flours, salt, sugar, baking powder, almond milk, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Once combined well, slowly stir in the melted vegan butter.
  4. The cake batter will be very thick and sticky. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan.
  5. Prepare the cinnamon roll topping. In a large bowl, cream vegan butter, maple sugar, almond flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy.
  6. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  8. Prepare the vegan buttercream frosting. Combine the powdered sugar, vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, and gluten-free pure vanilla together and beat with a mixer until fluffy.
  9. Spread frosting evenly over the cake.
  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon (if desired).
  11. Serve cake warm.
  12. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat?

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Liebster Award

Exciting news! Recently I got nominated for the Liebster Award. I would have never expected to be recognized! I’ve enjoyed cooking, sharing, traveling, and blogging this year, and it has inspired me to continue on this blogging journey.

Thank you to Crafty For Home for the nomination! Check out her blog with recipes, crafts and travel inspiration! I love reading about places that I’ve never been and she gives great travel trips! Follow her on Facebook here.

What is the Liebster Award:

This is a popular award on the Internet that is designed to recognize new and upcoming bloggers. It is a way for newer bloggers, like me, to get discovered, since it attracts interest to your site.

How to be eligible:

In order to be eligible, you must have 200 or fewer followers. For more information about the rules, here is the link:

The Official Rules for Liebster Award 2017

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10 Random Facts about Me:

  1. I’ve traveled through 17 countries (all Spanish-speaking except 3).
  2. I danced ballet, tap, and jazz growing up. I danced 20 hours a week in the studio in high school, danced on the dance team in college, and I even danced ballet during my pregnancy with my daughter.
  3. Fall is my favorite season because of the cool temperature and the trees.
  4. My undergraduate degrees are in International Business and Spanish with an emphasis in economics and management. I used to work at an investment firm before getting my Masters in Education and becoming a Spanish teacher.
  5. My favorite foods are chocolate and avocados.
  6. I’m not comfortable riding a bike.
  7. I hate horror movies, but my husband loves them. I refuse to watch them.
  8. I’m a sucker for sitcoms (like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy) and HGTV home renovation programs.
  9. I wear glasses. Since 2004, I almost always have worn cat-eye glasses.
  10. I love to paint and color. I do it with my kids a lot.

Questions for me:

  1. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?  After college, I left Argentina, where I was studying abroad, and moved to cold and snowy upstate New York for an ex-boyfriend. I didn’t have a job there and I didn’t know anyone. 
  2. What did you want to be when you grow up as a kid? Why? I went through phases of wanting to be a hairdresser or a dancer. 
  3. How did traveling change your life? Traveling inspired me to become a Spanish teacher and share what I learned about Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. I also learned Spanish while traveling, and have a strong knowledge of different dialects from various cities and countries. It made me a better teacher because I can share all of that with my students now. 
  4. Do you like breakfast or dinner? Breakfast! Pancakes, hashes, tofu scrambles, and smoothies are some of my favorites.
  5. What is your favorite music? Bachata and cumbia. I love latin music.
  6. Name the top 3 beautiful beaches you have visited: Aruba, Hawaii, and Barney’s Joy MA.
  7. Who are your favorite actor and actress? Javier Bardem and Meryl Strep
  8. Would you plant roses or tomatoes? I currently have roses in front of my house.
  9. Chocolate bar, yogurt or ice cream? Chocolate bar – give me all the chocolate!
  10. Formal dress or casual? Casual. I could live in yoga pants and tank tops.
  11. What genre of movie do you like? Foreign and action

My Nominees:

I love art and blogs that inspire my creativity so I had to include some of my favorite DIY blogs. Eclectic Kristal and A Little Mad Smith make me wish that I had all the time in the world for crafts and making pretty decorations for my home! I also enjoy their travel posts.

I often follow blogs that are vegan, My Conscious Kitchen has great recipes that are vegan AND gluten-free! Her story speaks to me because I also have thyroid issues and have been hoping to improve my health through food as well. Plus, did I mention her dishes are yummy?!

I am health conscious and Rise and Discover has great blurbs about health and some yummy food recipes. I love learning and having people teach me new things! Be Forever Healthier not only has food recipes but also has weekly challenges. They aren’t always about food, often they make me think about how to live a more well-rounded healthier life. One week she had a great stretching challenge where we were to stretch every day. My muscles had been sore and needed some TLC. Her challenge got me into the habit of stretching every morning and night again like I used to before having kids. I feel so much better. It’s little things that make a difference that you wouldn’t think about, but she reminds you to try. Sometimes good habits can stick after a week of plugging along. Congratulations to all of my nominees!

Questions for my nominees:

  1. Do you have a favorite quote or words to live by?
  2. Where is one place you haven’t been, but you would like to visit?
  3. If you could give someone $1,000,000 who would you give it to?
  4. What is your favorite movie or tv series?
  5. If you were going to be a character in someone’s book, who would you like to write it?
  6. If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?
  7. What is your favorite food?
  8. Who has been an inspiration in your life? Why?
  9. Salty or Sweet?
  10. How did you pick your blog’s name?

Again, congratulations, keep being awesome, and I wish you success. XOXO.

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You can read read more about me and my blog here.

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Crustless Apple Skillet Pie (V, GF)

Zyliss sent me this iron skillet to review and share an honest opinion of it.

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The first thing that I noticed is that it’s textured; it is ball blasted, which creates indentations that allow for excess oils and fats to collect away from your food for healthier cooking. I fried a green tomato, and it was crisp in 2 minutes without being greasy. I’ve been dreaming of all the veggies I can fry with it!

I was intrigued that I could put the frying pan in the oven. Since my doctor discovered my wheat, dairy and egg intolerance, I have always bought a vegan gluten-free pie crust. I have never attempted to make a crust from scratch because I haven’t had the time and the process seems tricky. However, I was wondering what the difference would be if I tried to make a crustless apple pie in this skillet instead of a normal glass pan. I was shocked at the result! My pie actually stayed together without a crust!!! I was expecting it to just fall out of the pan onto the plate, but it firmed up! Maybe the iron skillet gets much hotter than an average pan? I don’t know, but it works. I made an easy crustless apple pie that plated well!

We went apple picking the week before and had bags of apples sitting on the counter. We picked Enterprise apples, which are a blend of McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Rome Beauty. If you can’t find an Enterprise Apple, I personally have never seen them in the store, you could use a McIntosh and a Delicious Apple in this pie; I don’t think it really matters.

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In this recipe, I tried some new ingredients from Bob’s Red Mill. I had never baked with date sugar before. FYI – this date sugar has oat flour, and I didn’t notice it until I used it! If you are sensitive or allergic to oats, don’t use this brand of date sugar; Royal Palm is oat-free and you can buy it here on Amazon, or you can substitute coconut sugar in the recipe. According to Bob’s Red Mill’s website, “date sugar can be used in many baking recipes as a one-to-one replacement for white sugar or brown sugar.” It has “lightly sweet with delicious butterscotch notes.” At first, I wanted to make a caramel apple pie with my favorite Dulce De Leche recipe. But, then I was wondering, would the date sugar give my pie a hint of butterscotch? Since the pie doesn’t have any refined sugar, the taste of walnuts and apples dominates with an undertone of cinnamon and a hint of butterscotch sweetness. Try serving it with coconut whipped cream, vegan ice cream or So Delicious CocoWhip!™ if you wish for extra sweetness.

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Crustless Apple Skillet Pie

  • Servings: ~12 searchings
  • Difficulty: easy
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This crustless vegan apple pie is sweetened with date sugar, the taste of the apples dominates with an undertone of cinnamon and a hint of butterscotch sweetness. It's also gluten-free.


Credit: My Real Dish

Ingredients

Topping:


Directions

  1. I lightly sprayed the 8-inch skillet with olive oil (although the label says I don’t have to); set skillet aside.
  2. Peel and chop 2 apples (~3 cups) into small chunks
  3. In a very large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, Redmond Real Salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, add applesauce, date sugar, vegan butter, and vanilla. Mix until fluffy and well combined.
  5. Slowly add in dry ingredients into wet. Mix until fluffy and well combined.
  6. Stir in apples and nuts.
  7. Put the topping ingredients into a small bowl. With a fork, cut in the butter by mashing it into the date sugar and cinnamon until it is finely combined into little granules. I prefer fine granules over large clumps.
  8. Evenly spread topping over the pie.
  9. Bake in a 325 degrees oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.
  11. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
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Zyliss is offering my readers 10% off on all products. The Zyliss Cook promotional code: cook2017 can be used at check out.

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Sweet Carrot Smoothie

My mother purchased 5 lbs of carrots for me, and I don’t want them to go to waste. I’ve been trying to use them up with soups and salads, but I started incorporating them into my smoothies too. Here’s my first easy sweet carrot smoothie; it tastes like orange sherbert!

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Sweet Carrot Smoothie

  • Servings: ~13 oz
  • Difficulty: easy
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This Sweet Carrot Smoothie has carrots, peaches, mango, and orange juice, and is naturally gluten-free and vegan. It tastes like an orange sherbert and is a healthy fiber-packed breakfast or snack.


Credit: My Real Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup mango
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 3/4 cup orange juice


Directions

  1. Add ingredients to Vitamix or blender.
  2. Purée and serve!

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Hearty Vegetable Lentil Stew with Goda Masala

If you want to curl up on a cool fall day with a nice hearty lentil stew, this dish is for you. During my pregnancy with my daughter, I craved Indian Food. My friend Melanie and I always used to eat Indian Food, but since she moved to Kansas City, I haven’t had anyone to go with me. So I decided to head to a local Indian market by my home in order to find some delicious spices. I always used to order Tikka Masala at a restaurant, but I decided to switch things up and purchase a goda masala spice blend instead. It’s a spice often used in Maharashtrian cuisine, the third largest state in India located in the west. If you would like to make your own goda masala spice, you can find a recipe here. Maybe one day I will learn to make an authentic Maharashtrian dish with the goda masala spice.

While I was at the Indian market, I also picked up 24 Mantra Organic Mixed Lentils / Pancharatna Dal. They are a mix of mung bean split, black gram split, lentils hulled split, pigeon pea hulled and chickpea hulled split. Supposedly they are easy to digest and do not require soaking. However, I do have a very sensitive stomach and didn’t want to risk the upset. In case you are a newbie to making lentils, here’s what I did to successfully avoid tummy troubles. First, I boiled water. Then, I poured the legumes into a pot and covered them with a few centimeters of the boiled water, the warm water helps break down indigestible starches. I added 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (2 tablespoons for each 1 cup legumes). You can also add another acid such as lemon juice. I soaked them for 8 to 12 hours, drained them, rinsed them again, and returned them to a clean pot. I went here online and read about what to do with lentils and followed the instructions.

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Goda Masala Lentils

  • Servings: ~8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This Hearty Vegetable Lentil Stew with Goda Masala is in a creamy coconut tomato sauce; it's delicious and naturally gluten-free and vegan with cauliflower, green beans, peas and flavorful spices such as cumin, turmeric, and curry.


Credit: My Real Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lentils (I used 24 mantra organic mixed lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons (~7 cloves) garlic 
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 3 tablespoons Goda Masala
  • 15 grinds of pepper (or pepper to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons (or salt to taste)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • optional: fresh cilantro for serving
  • English peas (10 oz / 1.25 cups)
  • green beans (12 oz / 1.5 cups)
  • cauliflower (12 oz / 1.5 cups)


Directions

  1. See tips above about preparing the lentils. If you don’t soak the lentils, this dish is an easy dump in the crockpot meal with little prep!
  2. Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
  3. Add all of the ingredients (except the peas, cauliflower, and green beans) to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Remove bay leaves.
  5. Heat a 3 inches water in a large pot to boil. Once the water boils, put in cauliflower, peas and green beans in a steam insert into the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Gently fold in the vegetables into the lentil dish.
  7. Optional: top with cilantro when served.

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