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 blueberry jam.

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....

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.

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 Vitamix, 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.

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.

Salt & Seasonings

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. You can also make your own Herbamare at home using my recipe here, for a fraction of the price!

Coconut Aminos: Use this soy-free soy sauce made from fermented coconut nectar in any dish calling for soy sauce or tamari. I prefer to add a little sea salt too as coconut aminos are not as salty as soy sauce or tamari. Learn more about using coconut aminos here.


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!

Avocado Oil: Primal Kitchen Foods makes two wonderful avocado oils. One is for high heat cooking and the other is great for salad dressings. Use avocado oil for higher heat sautéing, roasting, and more!

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 and cooking 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: Use this low glycemic, nutrient dense granulated sweetener anywhere sugar is called for. It is dark brown and rich-flavored so keep that in mind when baking your favorite recipe! 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 rarely ever use this sweetener but if I do I will 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.

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

Whole Grain Gluten-Free Flours

Sprouted Brown Rice Flour: You can find this flour though a number of different companies including Azure Standard and To Your Health Sprouted Flours.

Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Flour: Use this flour as breading for my gluten-free, egg-free chicken nugget recipe in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. It is also works wonderfully as a batter for gluten-free vegetable fritters! I also use this flour to make dumplings in my Gluten-Free Chicken and Dumpling Soup.

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 if you do not want to use sprouted flours. I have a lot of Baked Treats on this site you can check out. You can use a sprouted GF flour interchangeably with its non-sprouted counterpart in any recipe. 

Superfine Brown Rice Flour: I use this very finely ground gluten-free flour for making pie crusts, biscuits, rolled cookies, and a few other treats. I usually blend it with Superfine Sweet Rice Flour

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 a flour blend in gluten-free baking. You can also order organic tapioca flour here

Arrowroot Powder: Is used as part of the flour blend in gluten-free baking, can also be used to dredge foods for sautéing, and can be used as a thickener in sauces and desserts. 

Organic Gluten-Free Oats

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

Other Baking Products

Raw Cacao Powder: Nativas Naturals is my favorite brand for raw cacao powder. Their chocolate products are all gluten-free. Use this high-antioxidant chocolate anywhere cocoa or cacao powder are called for in a recipe. 

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 potato vodka and vanilla beans.

Chocolate Chips: I buy organic dark, soy-free chocolate chips in bulk from my local food co-op. The brand they carry is Equal Exchange

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


I like to use Simply Organic's spices most often for cooking and baking. Simply Organic's spices are gluten-free and can be found at your local health food store or food co-op.

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 gourmet-ish 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.....