Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe (Vegan)

If you are looking for a great alternative to traditional cheesecake for your Holiday celebrations, I’ve got one for you. A dairy-free, egg-free cheesecake with a gluten-free pastry crust….and the filling? Well, fresh baked sugar pie pumpkin to start, then cashews, and maple syrup….but what else? Hint: it is also soy-free!

I got the idea for this "cheesecake" from the Lemon Teascake recipe in our cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Though that original recipe came from the vegan, gourmet Café Ambrosia restaurant in Seattle. It was such a lovely restaurant but is no longer in business. Tom and I dined there only a few times as it was a little pricey for our student budget back then, but their amazing food was worth every penny!

Recently on our Facebook Page, Nichole E. left me a little note on our wall asking for a gluten-free pie crust recipe. Well, today I am going to share one of my pastry crusts. Interestingly, I didn’t realize until last week that our Facebook Page had a wall where people were leaving notes and questions for us. I clicked on something and then they all popped up! I am not technical at all, I haven’t even figured out how to use Twitter yet!

You’ll need a 9-inch spring form pan for this recipe, which can be found at most kitchen stores. Here is one from if you are interested. I don’t use non-stick bakeware but this one on Amazon is.

This lovely dessert has more steps than most of my recipes but is really very easy to accomplish. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. (All of the little indents in the photo below are from my twins poking their fingers into it while it was setting)!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gluten-Free, Vegan Hemp Bread Recipe

This fantastic gluten-free yeast bread recipe utilizes high protein hemp flour along with other gluten-free flours such as teff flour and brown rice flour. It is dark and hearty, perfect for sandwiches. For a slight variation you can create a flavorful "Rye" bread by adding onion powder and caraway seeds.

Here is the feedback from my taste testers: rustic, hearty, "dessert bread," mmm, I'd like to make this!

I buy my hemp flour from our local Community Food Co-op, though here are a few other places that sell it online: Nature's Perfect Food, Essense-of-Life, and Healthy Hemp Food.

Hemp's nutrition profile is no laughing matter. This seed boasts over 33 grams of digestible protein per 100 grams. It contains all essential amino acids; is high in minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium; and is high in essential fats.

I won't go into much more detail about the nutritional benefits of hemp, but you can read more about it here

Pictured below is the hemp bread with my homemade honey-sweetened bluberry jam.

Gluten-Free Hemp Bread

This hearty, nutritious hemp bread is great for making nut butter and jam sandwiches. It is also great for toast in the morning. I would suggest making a few loaves at a time, let them cool completely, slice them, and then freeze. That way you have a loaf ready to go when you need it.

2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon organic cane sugar, maple sugar, or honey
⅓ cup grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup teff flour
1 cup hemp flour
¾ cup potato starch or tapioca flour
¾ cup arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Oil a 9 x 5-inch bread pan.

Place the warm water and teaspoon of sugar into a small bowl (a 4-cup liquid measure works well). Make sure the water is the right temperature. If the water is too cold the yeast will not become active and if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Add the yeast and stir. Proof the yeast by allowing it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. It should become foamy and/or bubbly, if not start over with fresh yeast and water.

Add the oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Stir well with a fork or wire whisk.

In a large bowl, add the brown rice flour, teff flour, hemp flour, potato starch or tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, xanthan gum, sea salt, and baking soda. Combine the flours with a wire whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk them together as you are pouring to avoid lumps. Continue to stir with a large spoon for another 60 seconds or so, or until the batter thickens and becomes smooth.

Spoon dough into prepared pan. Use the back of a spoon to shape into a loaf form. Place pan in a very warm spot. Let rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for about 60 minutes. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and place onto a wire rack to cool. Tip: to get a crustier loaf, turn up your oven to 425 degrees for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Variations: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds and 1 to 2 teaspoons onion powder for "Rye" bread. Or try adding 1/4 cup each of flax, poppy, sesame, and sunflower seeds for Seeded Hemp Bread.

More gluten-free bread recipes:
Dark Teff Sandwich Bread
Best Gluten-Free, Vegan Sandwich Bread
Yeast-Free Whole Grain Flatbread

Follow us on Facebook! Subscribe to this Blog!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thai Coconut Fish Sticks (Gluten-Free + Egg-Free)

Here is a yummy recipe I created a few weeks ago for gluten-free fish sticks using halibut. This is one of my super-quick-and-easy meals! I use shredded coconut for the breading and a unique slurry to dip them'll see in my recipe below. I also like to serve these with a Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce (recipe to follow).

I find these fish sticks very filling and only eat about 2 or 3 before I am done. I like to serve them with plenty of fresh, organic greens. I usually just drizzle some of the peanut dipping sauce over the greens for a dressing.

I haven't been posting much lately and the truth is that my 22 month old twin boys are really difficult right now. Last Sunday they figured out how to climb out of the crib at nap time. The daily two hour nap is forever gone I am afraid. I have not figured out how to get them to sleep otherwise. Usually I read them a few books, nurse them, and put them in the crib. Then I blow kisses and close the door. They normally just go to sleep. Not anymore! Evenings are much more difficult now because they are just so darn tired by dinner time...and so am I! They were asleep by 6pm tonight. We had an early dinner that took about 10 minutes to prepare. Got to love that!

Along with the fish sticks and greens, we had leftover brown rice, quinoa, lentils, and green smoothies (for the twins). Tom made his own vegan coconut curry with the Thai red curry paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, collard greens, onions, garlic, and Kaffir lime leaves. Hope you enjoy my recipe....

Thai Coconut Fish Sticks

For a vegan version of this recipe (if you tolerate soy) try cutting extra firm tofu into sticks and marinating them in a mixture of brown rice vinegar, red curry paste, and tamari. Then use the breading recipe below. These fish sticks are great as leftovers too. To reheat, use a skillet with a touch of coconut oil. Saute on both sides until warm. I did this last time I made them and it worked great. Fish cooks very fast so make sure you don't ever cook these. They will dry out if cooked too long. Also, have the skin cut off when you purchase the fish, it is much easier that way. I cut it off today. If you decide to do it just make sure your knife is super sharp.

Fish Sticks:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds halibut, skin removed and cut into "sticks"
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (or arrowroot powder)
5 to 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Thai Kitchen red curry paste
1 teaspoon Herbamare
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
coconut oil for cooking

Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup creamy organic peanut butter
1/2 cup water (plus more if needed)
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
1 teaspoon Thai Kitchen red curry paste
Herbamare, to taste

First, rinse the halibut, then cut into "sticks." In a separate bowl whisk together the sweet rice flour (I use Authentic Foods superfine sweet rice flour), water, red curry paste, and Herbamare.

Begin heating a large 11 or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. You want your skillet to be hot when adding the fish.

While your skillet is heating, place the fish into the rice flour/water mixture and coat evenly. Then add the shredded coconut and mix it with the fish to coat, using your hands to press the coconut into the fish sticks.

Add abut 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil to your skillet. Make sure the oil spreads out quickly. This means your pan is hot enough. Add the fish sticks, I do mine in two batches (adding more oil in between). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Use tongs to flip them. You may need to cook yours shorter or longer depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish sticks will continue to cook after you remove them from the pan. You can check for doneness by breaking apart the thickest stick with a fork.

To make the peanut dipping sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Add more water to desired consistency. Add sea salt or Herbamare to taste. Source:

For more gluten-free breading ideas you can read a past post I did on this subject. It contains plenty of ideas for breading along with a few extras that readers left in the comments sections.

This post is also linked up to Amy's Slightly Indulgent Mondays.

More easy dinner recipes you might like:
15-Minute Poached Salmon
Thai Fresh Green Curry
Spiced Chicken and Rice Stew
Chipotle Black Bean and Yam Stew
Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos
Zucchini Bake...tastes like cheese

Subscribe to this blog via Email
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf

This easy quinoa pilaf is flavored with curry, cardamom, and turmeric. The almonds, currants, carrots, and kale bring color, flavor, crunch, and plenty of nutrients to call this a meal in itself! Try serving it with a mixed green salad using the Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette. I bet this recipe would also be great as a stuffing for winter squash…acorn, buttercup, or delicata would be perfect to hold this pilaf.

The other week I created this recipe with what we had on hand at the moment. It was one of those nights where we fed the kids early, put them to bed, and then whipped up something for ourselves. It is a rarity that Tom and I get an uninterrupted meal. I mean come on, it’s nice to have a break from quinoa all over the floor for just one night, isn’t it?

I made it again today to take note of amounts and timing so I could share it with you. We had it for dinner this evening with bowls of creamy hubbard squash soup.

Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf

This recipe can be made ahead of time and then reheated in a pan. To reheat add a few tablespoons of water to the pan before adding the pilaf. Sauté until warmed. For variation, try replacing the currants with chopped dried apricots and the quinoa for cooked brown basmati rice. You will need to cook 2 cups of quinoa for this recipe. For directions on how to cook a pot of quinoa, refer to this post. It works best if your quinoa is completely cooled before using it in this recipe.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: six

2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 cup raw almonds, chopped
½ cup currants
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon Herbamare
4 cups chopped kale
4 to 5 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1 small lemon, juiced

Heat a large 11 or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. If you don’t have a skillet that size then use a wide pot. Add olive oil. Then add the chopped onions. Sauté onions for 4 to 5 minutes.

Then add the sliced carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes more. Keep the heat at a medium temp to allow the onions to cook but not brown. Adjust temperature accordingly.

Add the almonds, currants, spices, and salt and sauté 5 minutes more. Add the kale. Note: it is best if your kale is still dripping wet from rinsing when adding it to the pot. The extra water will help it to cook. Sauté about 5 minutes, or until kale is tender.

Then add cooked quinoa and stir together over low heat. Add a few tablespoons of water if the pilaf seems dry. An extra tablespoon of oil will also help prevent the quinoa from sticking to the pan.

Remove from heat and add the juice of the lemon. Stir together, taste, and adjust salt and seasonings if needed. I also like to add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper at this point. Source:

Elimination Diet Modification for Phase 2 (no nuts, nightshades [cayenne pepper in curry], or citrus):
-Replace almonds with either pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
-Replace curry powder with a mix of cumin, coriander, turmeric, and black pepper.
-Omit lemon juice.

Other delicious gluten-free whole grain recipes:
Quinoa with Warm Cinnamon Apples
Rice, Kale, and Garbanzo SaladSpiced Chicken and Rice Stew
Healing Quinoa and Cabbage Soup
Nori Rolls with Sticky Brown Rice

Subscribe to this blog via Email
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Since it is squash season, I thought I would begin to share the plethora of winter squash recipes I have floating around my kitchen on scraps of paper. Today's recipe is a cookie, a gluten-free, high fiber oatmeal pumpkin cookie. Paired with a mug of hot mulled cider, it creates a lovely fall snack. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the center.

Last week I wanted to create a true whole foods cookie with no starch or gums and I did it! The only problem was that the cookies disappeared before I had a chance to take a photo. I made them again yesterday with my 4-year old daughter and got a photo before they disappeared again.

Yes, they are that good.

The main flour in this recipe is oat flour made from freshly ground rolled gluten-free oats. I have not found an oat flour, gluten-free or not, that was not rancid. You can easily grind rolled oats in a food processor or Vita-Mix, I use the latter. Just make sure to grind them until a fine flour forms. My favorite brand of gluten-free oats comes from Their oats always taste very fresh and work well in baking. I also like this brand which can be purchased through Azure Standard if you have an account with them. 

The cookies in these photos are made with pureed butternut squash because that is what I had in my fridge. You can also make them using canned pumpkin. Fresh pumpkin or squash puree contains more moisture than canned so you may need to add a few extra tablespoons of oat flour to the batter to compensate. The dough should be the consistency of traditional chocolate chip drop cookies.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Drop Cookies

These cookies are best the day that they are made. We had a few leftover with this batch and I found that they softened quite bit but were still every bit as tasty. Use canned pumpkin, baked pie pumpkins or other winter squash. You may need to add extra flour if your baked pumpkin is very moist. I used coconut oil in all four batches I made but I imagine that unsalted butter would work too ~ of course they wouldn't be vegan then! Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temp before mixing. Your coconut oil will be soft enough for this if your house is in the mid 60's (Fahrenheit). Do not melt your coconut oil or use another liquid oil.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

1 cup softened virgin coconut oil (or unsalted butter)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar, maple sugar, or brown sugar
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups oat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 to 4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a large bowl beat together, using an electric mixer, the coconut oil, pumpkin, sugar, flax seeds, and vanilla extract. Add the remaining ingredients and beat together again.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven is preheating let your cookie dough rest on the counter for 20 minutes. The oat flour will absorb some of the liquid during this time which helps the cookies hold their shape.

Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Remove cookies and place them onto a wire rack to cool. Cookies are best after they have cooled. Source:

Other Gluten-Free Fall Treats:
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Spiced Teff Cookie Bars
Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp
Sunflower Seed Cookies
Pumpkin Cheesecake (vegan, soy- and sugar-free too)

More Pumpkin Recipes from other Gluten-Free Blogs:
Easy Pumpkin Squares from Gluten-Free Easily
Pumpkin Spice Cake from Life, Gluten Free
Pumpkin Corn Muffins from Karina's Kitchen
Pumpkin Cupcakes from Celiac Teen

Other News:
Tom and I had a lot of fun at the Wordstock Festival last weekend in Portland. We met Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of bestselling vegan cookbooks such as Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Neither of us realized until the day of the event that we were presenting together in a room. She brought some delicious looking vegan cookies from her new book and Tom made green smoothies for everyone. Fun times!

Tom will be at the ADA Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo in Denver, CO this Sunday the 18th though Tuesday the 20th. He will be in the Gluten-Free section (of course)!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Links to Products we Use

I have had dozens of requests over the last few weeks for either a post on the products I use or specific questions on where to find a certain product. So here it is, all organized and in one place. I have added a link on the sidebar of this blog under "Essential Posts" to make finding this post a snap!

Click on the links to view the product brand names and to read more about the product.


Sea Salt: We use RealSalt which comes from an ancient dried sea bed that has never been exposed to modern day pollution. This salt also contains over 50 trace minerals!

Herbamare: Is a flavorful sea salt and herb blend made by steeping fresh herbs and vegetables in sea salt for several months before being vacuum dehydrated. This salt makes very flavorful soups and stews. I buy it from our local food co-op or health food store.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I think this is a personal choice. I like Lucini best, but also like to use Napa Valley Naturals Organic oil because the cost is reasonable and the quality is good. Omega Nutrition also makes an excellent, reasonably priced olive oil.

Virgin Coconut Oil: I use Nutiva oil nearly every day for cooking and baking. I find this brand to have the best flavor. It is also great used as a massage oil!

Grapeseed Oil: I like Napa Valley Naturals best. It is unrefined which you can see with its beautiful green hue. I use this oil for baking occasionally.

Organic Palm Shortening: I use this for baking occasionally. It is great for biscuits, pie crusts, and scones. I also use it in special occasion cakes! I have found that the Spectrum brand works best.


Balsamic Vinegar: This is one of my favorites. Now you can spend quite a bit of money on high quality aged vinegar but you don't need to for everyday home cooking. I use Lucini brand balsamic vinegar which has been aged in wood casks.

Seasoned Brown Rice Vinegar: Is made from an alcohol fermentation of mashed brown rice. It then undergoes another fermentation to produce vinegar. Organic grape juice concentrate and sea salt are added to create the Seasoned Vinegar. I like to use this for salad dressings or to season a finished vegetable or bean dish. It is delicious over sauteed kale!

Wine Vinegars: Of course this is a personal choice too. For everyday home cooking Spectrum makes very reasonably priced organic vinegars that can easily fit into the family food budget.

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: I personally like Braag's raw apple cider vinegar and use it for salad dressings, soups, and stews. A little taken before eating can boost digestion as well!

Natural Sweeteners

Coconut Palm Sugar: There are many places on the internet to buy this low-glycemic sugar. I personally use the 2-pound bags from Essential Living Foods. The facility used to process the sugar is gluten-free but not nut or peanut-free. To read more about coconut sugar you can view my Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp Recipe.

Whole Cane Sugar: Whole cane sugar is simply dried cane juice. I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand which is gluten-free. Tip: for baking you can pulse this sugar in a coffee grinder or blender to make it finer.

Maple Sugar: Coombs maple sugar is gluten-free and organic. You can also buy small bags of maple sugar from Authentic Foods. I like this sugar best because it is local to the northern latitudes. Reading the Little House on the Prairie series to my daughters brings me back to the simple ingredients used by our ancestors before the commercialization of food. Maple sugar was used for everyday baking back then.

Blackstrap Molasses: Wholesome Sweeteners makes a delicious, organic blackstrap molasses that is great for baking gingerbread cakes, molasses cookies, and other holiday sweets. I also use it in bean dishes.

Agave Nectar: I use agave nectar occasionally in baking and cooking. Agave nectar varies from light to dark. I use lighter varieties for baking and the raw, darker type for raw desserts.

I also use Grade B maple syrup which I buy in bulk from my local co-op and fresh honey which I buy locally as well.

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Flours

Teff Flour: The Teff Company produces the best teff flour in my opinion. Teff is an ancient grain that originated in East Africa but is now produced in the Snake River region of Idaho. It is high in protein, iron, and other minerals. View my Teff Recipes for inspiration.

Whole Grain GF Flours: Bob's Red Mill produces great whole grain gluten-free flours for baking. I use brown rice flour, sorghum flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, and amaranth flour in baking. I have lots of Baked Treats on this site you can check out.

Superfine Flours: I use these very finely ground gluten-free flours for making pie crusts, biscuits, rolled cookies, and a few other treats.

Almond Meal/Flour: Is made from ground blanched almonds. It has a coarse texture and works great in addition to other gluten-free flours in baking to add extra protein and flavor.

Blanched Almond Flour: This flour works for baking grain-free desserts and breads. It is a very fine flour that can not be substituted for Almond Meal.

Pumpkin Seed Flour: Pumpkin seed flour is great to use for grain-free, nut-free baking. I have a few pumpkin seed flour recipes on this blog.


Tapioca Starch: Also called tapioca flour, is used as part of the flour blend in Gluten-Free baking.

Arrowroot Powder: Is used as part of the flour blend in gluten-free baking, can also be used to dredge foods for sauteing, and can be used as a thickener in sauces and desserts. Authentic Foods is the only brand I have found to be Gluten-Free.

Gluten-Free Oats

Rolled Oats: For making oatmeal, for baking, or for grinding into flour for baking.

Other Baking Products

Cocoa Powder: Dagoba is my favorite brand. Their chocolate products are all gluten-free.

Extracts and Flavorings: Frontier produces good quality organic extracts and flavorings that are gluten-free. I use their almond, orange, and lemon flavorings for baking. I make my own vanilla with organic vodka and vanilla beans.

Mini-Chocolate Chips: I use Enjoy Life's mini chocolate chips for baking kid-friendly, allergen-free treats. Otherwise I use Dagoba Chocodrops (which have a much stronger flavor).

Shredded Coconut: I use the finely shredded, unsweetened coconut for baking or breading.

Xanthan Gum: I know there are many of you who would prefer to leave this out of your diet, but it is necessary for the most part in gluten-free baking, especially in yeast breads. If you would like to learn more about it you can view this post. I use Bob's Red Mill brand.


I like to use Penzey's Spices most often for cooking and baking. Penzey's spices are gluten-free.

I think that's it for specific products. If I missed anything please leave a comment below. Hope you find this helpful! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spiced Chicken and Rice Stew Recipe

When the weather cools, having recipes for warming, nourishing, gluten-free soups and stews is essential. This chicken and rice stew can also be made vegan by replacing the chicken with kidney beans or pinto beans. Sometimes I make two versions of the same meal for the vegan in our house, though other times we usually have enough leftovers to have a complete meal.

If you are interested in reading more on Celiac Disease and the myriad of nutritional considerations that go along with it then check out Tom's review article that was recently published, entitled, Digestive and Nutritional Considerations in Celiac Disease.

Today's recipe can be made in a snap if your rice is precooked. We almost always have leftover cooked grains hanging around the kitchen which makes dinners go quickly and easily. I like to use short grain brown rice in this stew but I imagine long grain rice or even quinoa would work too.

Serving some sort of raw veggie salad with a stew like this helps to digest the meal. A quick cabbage slaw made from chopped savoy cabbage, grated carrots, chopped parsley, and fresh corn off the cob is quite delicious. I make a dressing that is almost identical to the dressing I use for my Spring Slaw, only replacing the apple cider vinegar with champagne vinegar.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to Make and Can Applesauce

Today I wanted to share with you one of our family's most treasured fall projects: making homemade applesauce and canning it. I use applesauce quite a bit in my vegan, gluten-free baking recipes (which I will be sharing more of this fall) so I thought it would be fitting to demonstrate how to make it with step-by-step photos.

You will save a LOT of money by making your own applesauce, especially if you pick all of the apples yourself like we do. Just the other day the kids and I walked around the neighborhood and picked about 70 pounds of apples, Asian pears, and pears! I always find it amazing how much abundance there is and that people are more than willing to share their fruit. Thank goodness for double baby joggers!

In this recipe we will be making homemade apple-plum sauce though any fruit combination works. Think apple-blueberry sauce, or apple-peach sauce, or just plain apple sauce flavored with cinnamon. I don't have any of the fancy canning equipment so I thought it would be fun to show how to make applesauce with your everyday kitchen equipment.

First, take an 8-quart pot and fill it up with cored, chopped apples. Use sweet apples like honeycrisp, rome, fuji, gala, or red delicious. You can leave the skins on. I use about 3/4 apples to 1/4 other fruit. In this recipe I used pitted Italian plums. Place the pot on the stove, uncovered and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

The above photo was taken at just about an hour of simmering. Make sure you stir the sauce with a long spoon to keep everything cooking evenly. Cook for about 2 hours total or until the fruit is well-cooked and mashes easily. You can add honey or agave to the sauce if desired. Sometimes I add a little lemon juice to help preserve the colors but it is not necessary.

Place a large colander over another pot or bowl (or use a food mill). Pour the sauce in batches into the colander to remove the skins. This is the fun part where the children can really get in there and help. Use a large spoon and stir the sauce to push it through the colander. The skins will remain in the colander.

After the applesauce is though the colander, dump out the skins and pour in more sauce from the pot. Continue to do this until all of the skins are removed. Place pot back on the stove to keep the applesauce warm until your jars are ready to be filled. While this is happening (assuming your child is doing the work) get your jars and lids ready by boiling them in a large pot to sterilize. I boil mine for about 15 minutes.

Place your empty jars (I use wide mouth pint jars) onto a towel on the counter and slowly pour in the sauce leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rim of each jar with a thin, damp dishtowel. This is a very important step! If any sauce remains on the rim you won't get a good seal. Then take the lids from the boiling water bath, using tongs, and carefully place onto each jar. Cap and seal.

Place jars into the boiling water bath. I use an 8-quart pot with a pasta strainer basket. Make sure your water is boiling first, before you put the jars in. I can only fit 3 jars at a time. Boil for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your altitude (see below). Use tongs (I use stainless salad tongs for this) to remove each jar. Place on the counter to cool. Repeat with remaining jars.

Boil your applesauce pint jars for 15 minutes at sea level to 1,000 feet, 20 minutes for 1,000 to 6,000 feet, and above 6,000 feet boil them for 25 minutes.

After about 24 hours, test each lid by pushing your thumb into the middle. If it pops up the lid didn't seal. This rarely happens but it is important to test. If it does you can just use that jar right away and store it in the refrigerator. Label and date your applesauce jars and store in the pantry! Enjoy! :)

If you are interested in learning more about canning I recommend checking out an excellent blog, Food in Jars.

Applesauce can be used in:
Gluten-Free Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Figs blended with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup....well, what's not to love? This lovely salad dressing is delicious atop a salad of fresh organic greens, maple roasted walnuts, heirloom apples, and fresh figs. Sounds gourmetish doesn't it?

Well, you could pour yourself a glass of wine and imagine yourself sans children dining at one of those fancy, expensive restaurants. I do anyways. It's a nice break from watching the twin toddler WWF wrestling matches we have going on here all day.

This dressing recipe was inspired by a salad served at Cafe Gratitude last weekend. My friend and colleague, Dr. Jean Layton, walked to this wonderful, gluten-free, mostly raw restaurant in San Francisco. I ordered the "I am Celebrating" which consisted of a deep dish pizza made from raw buckwheat groats and sunflower seeds topped with an olive tapenade, fresh tomatoes, and a nut cheese. The large salad that came with it was drizzled with a luscious fig-balsamic dressing. The whole meal was so amazing I decided to order another to go. The fig dressing still lingered with me so I decided to recreate it.....

Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette

The blended figs work as a natural emulsifier in the dressing. Simply put, the oil and vinegar will stay mixed together. The figs also add a bit of seedy texture and a touch of sweetness. I used Adriatic figs here but black mission would be equally as delicious. Today I made a simple salad of mixed organic greens, maple roasted walnuts, sliced heirloom apples, quartered figs, and feta cheese. Crisp and delicious, with undertones of Autumn and the summer we just lived.

5 fresh figs, stems removed
6 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Herbamare
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the figs, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and salt in a blender and blend on medium until combined and the figs are lightly pureed. With the motor running on a low speed, slowly pour in the olive oil. Add black pepper if desired and blend on low speed, slightly, to incorporate.

Pour dressing over your favorite salad. Transfer remaining dressing to a glass jar. Will last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. Source:

This salad would pair well with the Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs, or the 15-Minute Poached Salmon. It would also go well with my Zucchini Bake and Whole Grain Flatbread. End the meal with my sensuous gluten-free Apple Crisp Recipe.

This recipe is being entered into Diane of The Whole Gang's Friday Foodie Fix. Check it out for more fig recipes from other bloggers! Happy Cooking!