Tag Archives: #foodallergies

Tahini Cookies (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

My son cannot eat peanuts. So when Trader Joe’s put the Tahini on the end cap display by the checkout, it inspired me to make my sweet boy some cookies that he could eat! I had never had Tahini before, so I didn’t know what to expect.IMG_1560

The tahini cookie batter consistency was just like that of a peanut butter cookie.

IMG_1561.JPGI rolled the batter into balls, and I used a meat beater in order to see what the pattern would look like, but then decided to dip the fork in water and press – the old fashioned way.

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The result was a crispy wafer tahini cookie, which rivaled a peanut butter cookie (in my humble opinion). But regardless, he didn’t have an allergic reaction to them, so that’s a win in my recipe book!

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My daughter wanted to make sandwich cookies, so we made a vanilla filling. Honestly, I was already happily eating the crunchy tahini goodness with a glass of homemade cashew milk, but she was persistent. The kids often inspire my recipes, because I bake to not only make them healthier gluten-free vegan treats, but also to avoid allergic reactions.

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On the other hand, my son, my husband, and I prefer chocolate EVERYTHING, so I pulled a jar of the Best Vegan Chocolate Sauce from the fridge. It’s thick and spreadable, so I used it as a filling! FYI – I didn’t spread and leave the sandwich cookies sitting out, because we ate all of them before I could blink! However, I’m afraid the sauce would melt if you did. I would fill the tahini cookies right before eating each one, or keep them in the fridge. IMG_1583.JPG

Gluten-free and vegan deliciousness!

tahini cookie pinterest

  • Difficulty: easy
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A crunchy gluten-free and vegan tahini cookie

These tahini wafer cookies are gluten and sugar cane free and vegan. Eat them plain or make a sandwich cookie with chocolate or vanilla filling. If you use the chocolate filling recipe, it contains cane-sugar.

Ingredients

– 1/2 cup (~1 stick) vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

– 3/4 cup tahini butter (I used Trader Joe’s)

– 1/2 cup coconut sugar

– 1/2 cup maple sugar (I use Coombs Family Farms Maple Sugar from Fresh Thyme, but you can use brown sugar too)

– Egg replacer for 1 egg (1 ½ teaspoon Ener-G + 2 tablespoons warm water)

– 1/2 teaspoon gluten free pure vanilla extract

– 1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend)

– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Sandwich Cookie Filling (Optional)

Vanilla Filling:

– 2 tablespoon melted vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

– 1 tablespoon almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)

– 3/4 – 1 cup powdered xylitol or confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate Filling:

Follow the recipe for the Best Vegan Chocolate Sauce.


Directions

  1. The chocolate filling: if you chose to make the chocolate filling click here for the recipe, it's best to prepare this the night before or at least a couple hours before in order to let it cool and firm in the fridge so that it is spreadable.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat your water for the egg replacer - I used a tea kettle.
  4. Add vegan butter, tahini, and both sugars to a mixing bowl.
  5. Cream with the paddle attachment for the mixer until they are well combined.
  6. Switch your attachment for your mixer to a regular beater.
  7. Prepare your egg replacer.
  8. Add egg replacer and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until combined.
  9. Shape 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball.
  10. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Place dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  12. Make a design on your cookies with a small dish of warm water and a fork. Dip the fork's tines in water each time before you press. You can also try the meat beater to make a pattern, but it wasn't as pretty.
  13. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until they are brown; rotate the baking sheets between the oven shelves halfway through baking (at ~9 minutes).
  14. The vanilla filling: If you chose to make the vanilla filling, make it while they are baking with a hand mixer. Mix the butter and non-dairy milk slowly adding the powdered xylitol (or powdered sugar) 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until smooth. You may need extra xylitol until it thickens well or matches your desired level of sweetness.
  15. When cookies are finished baking, transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
  16. Once they have cooled, fill them with icing if desired (refrigerate any remaining sandwich cookies) unfilled cookies, or in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

 

Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

I was craving Shepard’s Pie (also known as cottage pie), but I only had three potatoes. So instead of Mashed Potatoes, I used Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower on top. It added almost a cheesy taste, and it was great with the gluten-free vegan biscuits that I made using Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix .IMG_1114.JPG

Here’s my twist.  In addition to the ingredients for the Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower, you will need:

  • 1 lb ground lamb (or bison or ground beef)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt
  • 10 twists on a  pepper grinder
  • 4 drops Young Living Thyme Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 4 drops Young Living Rosemary Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot
  • ½ cup organic frozen peas
  • ½ organic frozen corn
  • ½ cup organic frozen beans
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (coconut or almond flour make it Paleo)
  • 2 cups beef broth (I used Home Goodness Organic Beef Broth from Costco)

 

I’m personally a huge fan of cooking with essential oils, because at the time I didn’t have any fresh thyme or rosemary at my house –  I didn’t even have potatoes! The essential oils are so convenient, never expire, and still add great flavor. You can read about my dish with cooking with oils here. If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Essential Oils, you can click here. I’d love to help you learn to use oils not only in your kitchen, but in your daily life!

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF & prepare Baked Cauliflower Recipe
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add lamb. Brown lamb until fully cooked, about 5 minutes (I find there’s enough fat released in the beef that I don’t need to add oil to the pan). While it’s cooking, prepare your vegetables.
    3. Chop onion, and garlic (smash with knife and then chop).img_1063
    4. Chop carrots. I only had baby carrots, so I chopped them in fourths and then cut them.IMG_1068.JPG
    5. Soak up excess grease with a paper towel.img_1067
    6. Add onion, garlic, and carrot, worcestershire sauce,Real Salt, pepper,Young Living Rosemary Essential OilYoung Living Thyme Essential Oil, then cook for approximately 10 minutes, until carrots are soft.
    7. Add the frozen peas, corn, and green beans (I snapped the green beans in half), and cook for 2 minutes.IMG_1076.jpgIMG_1077.JPG
    8. Add gluten-free flour and vegan butter to the pan, and toss around until butter is fully melted and the flour disappears (~1 minute). IMG_1078.jpg
    9. Add beef stock. Then, bring liquid to a boil over high heat.IMG_1079.jpg
    10. Cook for a minute or two until broth thickens into a light sauce.
    11. Remove pan from heat, and transfer meat and veggie mixture to an 8×8 baking dish.IMG_1085.JPG
    12. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    13. Pull Baked Cauliflower from the oven, and finish preparing Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower 
    14. Top lamb mixture with  Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower img_1093img_1091
    15. Bake 20 – 25 minutesShepard's Pie.jpg

What are your favorite comfort foods?

susanellenlogoweb

Chocolate Wafer Cookies & Ice Box Cake (Gluten-free & Vegan)

Every year we made an icebox cake for Christmas. My daughter wrote all about it in her tradition story project at school. That’s when I got scared. This was the first year with the kids being wheat, egg, and dairy free. How was I going to make a gluten-free and vegan cake without the Nabisco cookies and whipped topping? I couldn’t break the tradition. See how sweet they are making this cake! My son was 2 here.

 

Last Christmas, we traveled to Florida to see my mother-in-law, so my husband and I went to the local Walmart on Christmas Eve, in attempt to get Christmas gifts and the ingredients to recreate the treasured icebox cake.  Peace & Calming to the rescue; seriously it helped me survive the crowds and chaos! I deserved the mother of the year award for a trip to Walmart, followed by Toys “R” Us on Christmas Eve!

While at Walmart, I bought Pillsbury Best Multi-Purpose Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend, Smart Balance (Vegan Butter), and Hershey’s Cocoa Powder. I was sincerely surprised at how delicious and crisp these gluten free vegan chocolate wafers were, and very inexpensive! FYI,  I don’t recommend the heavy coconut cream from Wal-Mart, it has tons of sugar and water, because of the dilution it doesn’t whip well – it tastes like marshmallows. I prefer the Trader Joe’s Brand or Tai Kitchen full-fat coconut cream.

Since it was Christmas, my mother-in-law requested that I try to stick to traditional cane sugar and cocoa powder instead of cacao and coconut sugar. I get it, she didn’t want to “ruin” the cookies with my typical healthier experimentation. I’ll have to experiment another time and report back!

Regardless, my mother-in-law (who had wanted to go buy the Nabisco cookies and make her own separate cake) declared, “These are really really good! Are you going to put these on your blog? You should!” I take that as a vegan gluten-free win!

Chocolate Wafer Cookies (Gluten-Free  & Vegan)

  • 1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (2.4 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons vegan butter, slightly softened (I used Smart Balance)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk (I prefer Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine the gluten-free flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, scoop 1 tablespoon of vegan butter at a time into the bowl, continually combining with the pastry cutter as you incorporate each tablespoon. (If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you could put them in a Vitamix or a food processor).
  3. Combine the coconut cream and vanilla in a small cup.
  4. Add the liquid mixture and continue to combine with the pastry cutter until it is fully combined.
  5. Knead a few times to make sure that it is evenly blended with your hands.
  6. Transfer the dough onto a cutting board lined with wax paper or foil.
  7. Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter.img_9255
  8. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.
  9. Place your oven racks on the top and bottom slots.
  10. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Using a pastry cutter (the Betty Crocker with measurements printed is great for this), slice the cookies as thinly as possible.
  12. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper approximately 1 inch apart. The first time I placed them too close like this and they grew together but were easily separated. The next time I placed them 1 inch apart and they were perfect.img_9286
  13. Cook for 6 minutes on the top rack of the oven. After 6 minutes, transfer them to the lower rack and cook for another 6 – 9 minutes.

Makes ~60 cookies if you slice them very thin. What’s good about these cookies is that they are flat at the bottom and are perfect for making an icebox cake!

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Icebox Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Ingredients:

  • Chocolate Wafers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 can coconut cream or full-fat milk  (refrigerated overnight)

Directions:

  1. First, make the vegan coconut whipped cream. Since I made this dairy free, I used 1 can coconut cream (you can also use full-fat coconut milk) that had been in the fridge overnight and ¼ cup powdered sugar. Mix with a mixer on high until fluffy. If you don’t have a good mixer, you can use a Vitamix, or put your metal bowl in the freezer before whipping the cream.IMG_9451.JPG
  2. Then, ice your gluten-free vegan chocolate wafers and create a stack of cookies.
  3. After four sandwich cookies lay them on a wax paper covered tray, and continue to put a layer of whip cream on each chocolate wafer, lay it down on the tray creating a row of cookies. Repeat this for three rows. If you’re fancy you can try to make a design – like a Christmas tree with your icebox cake, but I’d try traditional rows for the first time.
  4. Carefully push the chocolate wafer rows together with a cookie inside the filling of another. Then, smooth the vegan whip cream around the entire outside of the cookies.
  5. The icebox cake needs to sit overnight. The wafers will soak up the cream and become soft. Note how the chocolate wafers absorb the coconut cream.img_9378-updated
  6. So in the meantime, the kids didn’t want to wait. I took extra chocolate wafers, put them in a cupcake liner, topped them with coconut cream, and enjoyed them right away! They are little mini-icebox cupcakes!img_9369

What are some of your favorite holiday food traditions or recipes?

susanellenlogoweb

Inspiration: https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/homemade-chocolate-wafers-icebox-cupcakes/. I adapted her recipe to make it gluten and dairy free (vegan) and changed the directions.

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Eggplant Pizza Bake

Eggplant Pizza Bake

I was craving pizza, and planned on making eggplant pizzas. However, when I started to brainstorm my meals for the week, I wanted a way to stretch my recipes and save prep time. So after making the Protein Loaded Pizza SauceI prepped the veggies for pizza, and then made extra for this dish. It’s a divine combination of tomato, eggplant, zucchini, cajun spice, and goat cheese. 

Start with the Protein Loaded Pizza SauceIt will take 30-60 minutes to simmer. Then prep your veggies and start your Eggplant Pizza Bake.eggplant-pizza-bake

Ingredients

Directions:Prepare the Protein Loaded Pizza Sauce.

  1. Preheat oven to 500.
  2. Clean the veggies. I soaked the mushrooms in Young Living Fruit and Vegetable Soak – it is the best at getting dirt off fruits and vegetables.
  3. Chop garlic and shallots.
  4. Slice zucchini into ¼ inch thick slices, and slice mushrooms.
  5. Slice eggplant in ¼ inch slices, and place them on a couple cookie sheets. img_0799
  6. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a measuring cup with 4 drops Young Living Basil Essential Oil and 2 drops Young Living Thyme Essential Oil. I talk about my dish with essential oils here in this veggie pasta sauce post. I’m available to help you use them in and out of the kitchen. Click here to learn how to order them. img_0798
  7. Brush the olive and essential oil mixture on the slices of eggplant. Salt and pepper generously. Flip them over and repeat with the other side.
  8. Sprinkle 2 chopped cloves garlic on the eggplant.
  9. Broil eggplant at 500 for 7 mins
  10. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan on medium-high heat, add zucchini, shallots, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  11. After three minutes add 2 tablespoons olive oil, mushrooms, 2 drops Young Living Basil Essential Oil, and 1 drop Young Living Thyme Essential Oils. Cook until tender, but not mushy.
  12. Change the oven temperature to 350.
  13. Slice the sausages (if desired). I like this brand because it’s antibiotic, gluten, casein, nitrates, nitrites, and MSG-free. This flavor has a little kick, and one sausage adds just a hint of cajun spice to the dish. I’ve been in search of vegan / gluten-free sausages and they are a hard findimg_0805
  14. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce at the bottom of a 10 x 12 glass pan – this prevents the eggplant from sticking without using a spray.
  15. Place eggplant on top of the sauceimg_0811
  16. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the eggplantimg_0816
  17. Top with a layer of mushrooms, zucchini, and sliced andouille chicken sausage (omit for vegetarian, but consider a sprinkle of a cajun spice if avoided).
  18. Repeat layers. Eggplant, sauce, goat cheese, mushrooms, zucchini, and sausage. IMG_0824.JPG
  19. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  20. Remove from oven, and let it cool for 10 minutes.IMG_0831.JPG
  21. Serve & enjoy!img_0841

What are your favorite eggplant dishes?

susanellenlogoweb

2 Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

 

My Quest for the Perfect Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

All the cool gluten-free kids talk about almond flour, because it’s low in carbohydrates, high in fiber and a high source of protein...blah blah blah. I felt like I should experiment with it, but I’d been sheepish because sometimes nuts bother my stomach. When I’m making a gluten-free vegan cookie, I want a nice texture so that you don’t know that it’s vegan and gluten-free. And, when I’ve experimented in the past with dense nut flours, they offer a different texture. I’m especially picky, because I love Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend. It rises well, and is the most similar to actual wheat flour that I’ve tried; my cakes, cookies, and cupcakes rise light and fluffy. I buy it cheapest in bulk at Costco. However, it’s available online at vitacost.com if you don’t have a Costco membership or a store close, and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg.

Speaking of Costco, while I was there I walked by this bag of Blue Diamond Almond Flour. I figured, if I’m going to experiment – go big or go home! There was a chocolate chip recipe on the back, so they must rise and make a decent cookie, right?! Here’s how I adapted the recipe to make it vegan and cane sugar free. Note: I played around with it, and it could not be made completely vegan and not mushy without adding in another flour.

Oh the decisions… I made two batches of chocolate chip cookies for a taste test: one with Blue Diamond Almond Flour and the other with my treasured Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend; then I let my family and friends say which one was best. The taste test was on!

Tips for Making them Vegan:

  • To eliminate eggs: You will need an egg replacer (I use Ener‑G Egg Replacer – it’s available at Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme and Amazon) AND you will need half of a banana or ¼ cup applesauce regardless of using egg replacer. If you skip the banana or the applesauce, they will be too dry and crumbly. 
  • To eliminate dairy: You will need an alternative to “butter.” I used Smart Balance because they had it at Costco, and I was on a shopping mission that day, but I’ve had great results withEarth Balance too. I love thatEarth Balance comes in easy to use sticks instead of just a container.

Tips for Making Them Sugarcane Free:

  1. Organic Pure Maple Sugar instead of brown sugar – you can buy the Coombs Family Farms Maple Sugar brand from Fresh Thyme or Whole Food. I also like Pure Indiana Maple Sugar that I get from a local co-op. It is a great flavor, it has a lower glycemic index than sugar, and contains important antioxidants and minerals like zinc and manganese.
  2. Coconut sugar instead of cane sugar – coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar because it contains a fiber called inulin, which may slow glucose absorption. A lower glycemic index means that you don’t get as much of a sugar rush and insulin spike with maple syrup sugar and coconut sugar.
  3. Chocolate chips –Lily’s Baking Chips are sugar free and are sweetened with stevia. Vitacost has them for less than the store. They are awesome. If you can’t find any Enjoy Life contain sugar cane, but are vegan, dairy free, soy free, and allergy friendly option. My mom used carob chips growing up, but I just don’t like the flavor they provide.

If you aren’t sugar conscientious, then just throw in the brown sugar and the sugar cane. However, if you give these a chance, you will never taste the difference.

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie With Almond Flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine gluten-free and almond flours, baking soda, and Redmond’s Real Salt in small bowl.
  3. Prepare your egg replacer (take with 3 teaspoons egg replacer, 4 tablespoons warm water, and mix until it thickens)
  4. Beat vegan butter, sugars and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
  5. Egg replacer 
  6. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.
  7. Add in the ½ banana and continue to mix.
  8. Stir in the chocolate chips
  9. Drop tablespoons of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet. I used a knife to get the dough out of the tablespoon because they were very sticky, and then gently smoothed the top. If you don’t smooth the top with your hand – they will look jagged like the top right image. 
  10. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until they are lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. (I baked them for 12 minutes)
  11. Cool for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  12. Makes ~2 dozen cookies

Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine gluten-free flour, baking soda, and Redmond’s Real Salt in small bowl.
  3. Prepare your egg replacer (take with 3 teaspoons egg replacer, 4 tablespoons warm water, and mix until it thickens)
  4. Beat vegan butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl until creamy.
  5. Add Egg replacer.
  6. Gradually beat in dry ingredients.
  7. Add ½ banana for vegan cookies
  8. Stir in vegan chocolate chips.
  9. Drop by small rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. (I cooked them for 11)
  11. Cool for 2 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  12. Makes ~34 cookies

Taste Test Results

Both are delicious, and you would never know that they were vegan and gluten-free! The appearance is smoother and lighter with the Namaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend cookie; you must smooth out the top of the Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie if you want it to look like rounded and smooth. The Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookie Cookie is more dense and a tad sweeter, which is rare, because it has less sugar. I consider that a plus! It also has a crunchier browner outside. The gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookie with theNamaste Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend has a softer texture, more like a normal cookie, and is a little lighter color. You really can’t go wrong with either one! After tasting the almond flour vegan chocolate chip cookie, I have visions of chocolate almond flour cookies dancing in my head!

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