Category Archives: Recipes

Pumpkin Pie is Delish, even a dairy & gluten free one!

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I’m a fan of food. I love to eat it. I love to look at it. I love to cook it. I love to read cookbooks and could scroll through Pinterest for hours dreaming about what delicious recipes I will try next.

My love for food is obviously probably why I’ve had weight problems my entire life—that and my lack of control. The control part I’m working on and getting better at. But I’m never going to try to not love food. I’m just working on loving the right kinds of food!

I’m always trying to figure out ways to make high fat/high sugar dishes with less fat and less sugar but still taste just as good. Another thing I’m always trying to figure out is how to tweak “normal” foods so they are more allergy-friendly. That’s what I did this weekend!

I’ve developed sensitivities to dairy and wheat unfortunately, and Ben has allergies to those as well as to soy, xanthan gum, and nuts among other things. Having food allergies sucks, but it sucks even more when you love food so much. Ben’s favorite dessert is pumpkin pie, but he hasn’t eaten it with a crust for years now. He would just eat it as a custard—until a few days ago, that is.

I’ve been planning a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free menu for Thanksgiving and wanted to make sure I could make a delicious pumpkin pie with a crust for him for the holidays, and with my birthday this week, what better time to practice the pie and celebrate at the same time!

This was my first time making a pie of any sort, and I was so pleased how it turned out. Seriously, it was delicious, and you would never guess it was free of gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts.

It was just under 300 calories per slice, so it’s not something to eat every day but certainly worth making and eating on special occasions. I’m thinking about figuring out a way to make it healthier, but Ben specifically told me not to change a thing. Maybe some day.

I’m so excited it worked, and I’m even more excited that he gets to have a crust for his pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving! It’s the little things in life!

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Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie with a Gluten-Free Crust

Ingredients for Pie Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup canned light coconut milk

Ingredients for Crust:
1 cup Vanilla Chex cereal
1 cup Cinnamon Chex cereal
10 Shaar shortbread cookies
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons coconut butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425° F.

To make the filling: Combine brown and white sugars with the spices and salt in a small bowl. Beat the eggs in a large bowl; beat in sugar and spice mixture, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the coconut milk. (I used light, but you could certainly use the full-fat version.)

To make the crust: In a gallon zip-lock bag, add ¼ cup sugar, 10 Schar Shortbread Cookies and a cup each of Vanilla Chex and Cinnamon Chex Cereals. Crush the mixture, using a rolling pin or like me, a heavy kettle. It’s okay if you there are a few bigger pieces of cereal and cookies. Also, feel free to substitute the cereals for a different kind, or you could even use ginger snap cookies only, for example. You just need 1 ½ cups crushed of whatever you want. Dump mixture into a bowl and add the 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance Coconut Spread (or real butter or another substitute). Mix together with a fork until the cereal mixture is evenly coated. Transfer to a pie dish and mold the crust using your fingers.

Pour the pie filling into the unbaked pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. (Mine only took 45 minutes.)

Set the pie on a wire rack for 2 hours to cool and firm up. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

*The crust is slightly chewy and sticky, which was my favorite part!
*I topped the pumpkin pie with a dairy-free canned whipped cream. Next time I will make my own using full-fat coconut milk!

Let me know if you try it or if you have any favorite allergy-friendly pie recipe!!

Oh The Places You’ll Go With Mango & Avocado!

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I love to cook, and I especially love to cook when I can make things quickly and in advance with just a few ingredients, which is what I did this weekend.  This time around, mango and avocado were my main ingredients, and I had to use them because they were about to spoil.

I boiled a dozen eggs.

*Tip: Boiled eggs are easier to peel when they aren’t super fresh, so I buy 2 dozen at a time and boil the second dozen the following week or so.

I took a few eggs and made avocado deviled eggs, which are really easy and fast to make!  Instead of mayo, I used half of an avocado, and I also used only 4 of the egg yolks instead of the 6 yolks to cut down on the fat and calories some.  I blended them together with some salt and pepper and a little lemon juice and then dusted the filled eggs with paprika.  I just spooned the filling in the eggs, but sometimes I pipe the filling if I want them to look extra pretty.

The other boiled eggs will be eaten as snacks or with breakfast the rest of the week.

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With the other half of the avocado, I made an avocado and mango salsa. I also made homemade corn tortilla chips that aren’t pictured here.  Super easy!

The salsa ingredients & directions:

1. Mash 1/2 avocado with a few splashes of lemon (or lime) juice

2. Dice jalapenos (however hot you like it), one tomato, 1/4 of a red onion, and 1/2 of a mango

3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix all together

The corn tortilla chip ingredients & directions:

1. Cut corn tortillas into 6ths or 4ths and brush each side with olive oil (I only used 1 tablespoon for all of the chips.)

2. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

They were a little too crunchy, but I’m guessing if I only baked them for 10 minutes instead of 12 they would’ve been perfect!

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With the other half of the mango, I just cut it up and put it away for a smoothie later that weekend.

Lastly, I made a simple chicken salad that had nothing to do with avocados or mangoes.  However, I’m guessing a chicken salad with avocado instead of mayo, and using bits of mango mixed in would be rather tasty, too!

Anyway, I just mixed together:

shredded chicken breast (a 2.5 serving-sized can) or you could use fresh chicken breast!

with 1 tablespoon of safflower mayo (or regular) (It’s a bit more dry than a typical chicken salad, but it really cuts down on the calories.

1 cup of sliced grapes,

and 1/4 cup of diced red onion (the same onion from the salsa).

I added salt, pepper, and celery salt.  Sorry, I don’t really measure anything so I’m not positive on the amounts of spices.  I eat mine with gluten free table crackers, but it’d be equally good with spinach or on bread.

2014-04-28 13.47.40I never really added up the calories for each recipe, but I know all of them were low-calorie & delicious!

What do you enjoy cooking that is easy and healthy?  Or what kinds of ingredients do you like to use for several different recipes at a time?  I’d love to hear from you!!