Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Make Your Own Non-toxic All Purpose Cleaning Spray

Ok, maybe this is a little random on an allergy-friendly food blog, but I couldn't resist sharing.  Considering how much time an allergy-friendly person can spend in one's kitchen, I figure this is still relevant! I discovered this recipe for all-purpose cleaning spray at Lexie'sKitchen here. I have been using it for awhile and think it is fantastic. Especially since it saves me a fortune compared to buying cleaners at the store.  So without further ado. . .

Mix the following in a (recycled) 32-ounce spray bottle:
2 cups WATER
1⁄2 cup distilled WHITE VINEGAR
1 teaspoon pure liquid CASTILLE SOAP
3⁄4 cup HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (large bottles at Costco or Sam's Club)
20 drops TEA TREE OIL
20 drops of lavender or lemongrass ESSENTIAL OIL (or your own blend)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

{Gluten and Dairy Free} best chocolate cake ever

A client contacted me and asked me to make two gluten, dairy, nut and sugarcane free cakes.  I discovered this beauty and it was possibly the best cake I've ever made. A Girl Defloured,  shares this altered version of the glorious Hershey's cake and it is amazing. (below) I had to alter it quite a bit to meet the qualifications. I used rice milk instead of whole milk and chia eggs (3 TBS chia and 9 TBS water) instead of the eggs. For the coffee I did decaf to make it kid friendly. It was SO moist!  Here is what it looked like.  I used beet sugar instead of sugar cane sugar. For the frosting I used 2 cups palm shortening, 2 teaspoons gf vanilla and 1 cup arrowroot powder and 1 cup agave.
I went the natural route with decorations. 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups Cup4Cup (235 grams) or other light gluten-free flour blend (I used 1 cup brown rice and 1/2 cup tapioca and 1/4 potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit of your blend has it)
  • ¾ cup good quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten (room temperature)
  • 1 cup whole milk (or milk substitute of your choice)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • ½ cup butter (or dairy free stick butter substitute of your choice), melted and cooled slightly
  • ⅔ cup good quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cup whole milk (or milk substitute of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with gluten-free cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, xanthan (if using), cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Carefully whisk in the hot coffee. The batter will be runny.
  3. Evenly distribute the cake batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. Make the frosting. Whisk the melted butter into the cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Alternate adding the sugar with the milk while beating until the frosting is smooth and glossy and a spreadable consistency. If the frosting seems too thick, add a splash of additional milk. If it seems too thin, add additional powdered sugar. Beat in the vanilla extract and salt.
  5. Frost the cooled cakes as desired.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

{Gluten and Dairy Free} Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am in love with these muffins. They don't taste like pumpkin pie since I deviated from using all of the pumpkin pie spices.   There was just a hint of pumpkin and lots of chocolate. If you use the coconut milk, and chia these muffins have a surprising amount of nutrition. The chia has omegas and the coconut increases your good cholesterol, HDL (according to Nutrition and You). Yet it tastes like dessert. The pumpkin has vitamin A, and flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance (according to Nutrition and You).We ended up enjoying them despite their October/November connotations!  I love it when some random thing you got on sale turns into a great surprise!

1 and 1/3 cup brown rice flour (or sorghum)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 TBS GF vanilla
2 "Chia eggs" (2 TBS chia with 6 TBS water) or 2 regular eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1 cup of pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk (I used So Delicious)
1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Combine the flour, starches, xanthan, baking powder, soda, salt, brown and white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the oil, chia eggs, vanilla, non-dairy milk and chocolate chips. Stir well. Put in muffin tins.  Cook for about 13 minutes for mini muffins and about 22 minutes for regular sized muffins. Cook until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Creamy Indian-Spiced White Bean Dip – Gluten-free + Vegan

photo from tasty-yummies.com
I found this delightful recipe at tasty-yummies.com. Note to self: Go back to find more wonderful recipes. I hope you will find many great things there, too!makes about 1 cup of dip
1 can white beans
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
dash of chili
1 clove garlic, peeled and very roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Add of the ingredients, except the olive oil, to the food processor. Start pureeing and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running, until it is all added. Puree the dip until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator and serve chilled. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Two Favorite Pork Recipes

I'm not a big fan of pork. I love me some ham and bacon (who doesn't love bacon??), but pork I find a lot harder to swallow. Until I found this recipe. This is one of my all time favorite ways to eat pork.  It's grilled on the barbecue which makes it very easy. We love to serve it with rice or baked potatoes.  We often sub pears instead of apples and may like it even better.  I have it in a Pampered Chef cookbook, but found it posted on-line.  We mix the rosemary and next six ingredients all together and use as a glaze on the pork and apples.

Glazed Pork Chops with Grilled Apples

Submitted by: ARAMINTHA here on sparkpeople.com

from Pampered Chef - It's all Good for You
Number of Servings: 4


    boneless pork top loin or sirloin chops, cut 3/4 - 1 inch thick (about 4 oz)
    1 tsp. dried rosemary
    1 garlic clove, pressed
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    (top 4 should be mixed together)
    2 tsp finely chopped, peeled fresh gingerroot
    1/2 cup apricot preserves
    3 T Dijon mustard

    2 medium gala apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices


Yield: 4 svgs

1. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium coals. Season both sides of pork chops with 1 tsp of the seasoning mix.

2. Peel gingerroot; finely chop using food chopper. Combine ginger root, preserves, mustard and remaining seasoning mix in bowl; mix well. Core apples; cut apples crosswise into 1/2 inch slices, using chef's knife.

3. Lightly grease grid of grill. Brush one side of apples and pork chops with glaze using bbq brush. Place apples and pork chops, glazed side down, on grid of grill. Grill apples 3 minutes and pork 5 minutes, covered, turning once. Brush apples and pork chops with remaining glaze. Grill, covered 3-5 minutes or until internal temperature for pork reaches 160 degrees for medium doneness.

Number of Servings: 4


Mustard Oregano Pork Chops

My friend gave me this recipe recently and I must say it was amazing. My husband even grabbed one of the leftover pork chops the next day, ate it cold and still commented on how delicious it was!  She told me this makes three servings for a family of five. She divides it into three gallon size bags and freezes it. That's three fast and easy dinners! I love it! She serves it with hasbrowns and apple sauce, so that's what I did, too. I used pomegranate juice instead of the vinegar and lemon juice and it worked out super well. I wish I had taken a photo before they were all eaten. Next time!


12 lean pork loin chops
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T honey
3 t dried oregano
3 t minced garlic
3 one-gallon freezer bags

Whisk mustard through honey, divide into separate bags. Divide oregano and garlic evenly between bags. Add pork and freeze. Thaw and grill.

How to Make Rice in the Crockpot

Practical Stewardship explains the secrets to making rice in the crockpot. I love a crockpot. There's nothing like being able to throw in ingredients, walk away and let it do the work for you.
photo as noted from practical-stewardship.com
  • 3 1/4 cups of water (for more flavor, you can sub part or all of the water with broth depending on what you are serving the rice with)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic brown rice, I use Basmati (basically it's a generous 2 parts water to 1 part rice). The amount of cooked rice yielded depends on the type of rice you use.
  1. Generously grease the slow cooker with coconut or olive oil.
  2. Place the rice in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Slowly pour in the water.
  4. Cover and cook on high for about 2 1/2 hours or on low for about 5 hours or until the rice is soft and the water is absorbed. Every crock-pot cooks differently, so WITHOUT lifting the lid, check the crock-pot every hour the first time you make this.
  5. Stir when completely cooked and top with your meats and sauces like Thai Cashew Shrimp.

{Gluten and Dairy Free } Crockpot Mongolian Beef

I am drooling over this mongolian beef from Tip Hero in the crockpot! You can use gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos (soy sauce usually contains wheat, so you can choose "tamari", the gluten-free soy sauce instead) to make this gluten-free! Yum! I love these videos! I could watch them all day. I love Tip Hero.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
2-½ lb. flank steak
¼ Cup cornstarch
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. garlic, minced
1 tbs. ginger, grated
¼ tsp. chili flake
¾ Cup soy sauce (you can use gluten free tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos)
¾ Cup water
¾ Cup brown sugar, packed
1 Cup carrot, grated
green onions for garnish
Cut flank steak into thin strips, cutting across the grain. Put steak into a ziploc bag with the cornstarch and shake to coat.
Add the olive oil, garlic, ginger, chili flake, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, add the flank steak. Stir again until completely coated with sauce.
Cover with lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours, on low 4-5 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender. About 30 minutes before done stir in the grated carrots. Can serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.
Slightly adapted from The Recipe Critic