Keeping things simple in a not so simple world

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vegan desserts

For some reason whenever I Google gluten-free lately, a whole bunch of vegan, gluten-free ideas come up. I have been going low dairy lately, but I love milk and butter, especially in desserts, so I was a bit hesitant to try anything vegan.

BUT, friends, do I have some treats for you! Not only are the following recipes vegan, they are raw and super simple…oh and tasty, did I mention tasty?

The following recipes call for the same crust – which is:

Vegan, gluten-free dessert crust
In your food processor, add the following:
8-10 pitted dates (depending on size)
1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts and almonds, etc.)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Optional, depending on dessert: add a spice – cinnamon, cardamom, etc. or some cocoa powder. You could also use a nut butter in place of 1/2 the dates – add a tablespoon to two.

Process until the mixture sticks together well. If it doesn’t, you can add more dates or a bit of coconut oil. The mixture is a thick crust for a 8×8 pan, a thin crust for a 9×13 or moderate thickness for two pie plates. I recommend either greasing your pans with coconut oil before spreading or lining the dish with parchment paper for easy serving.

Avocado Pie
Prepare two pie dishes with the crust.

Rinse your processor and add the following, blending the ingredients together until smooth.

6 avocados (preferably ripe, but unripe will simply take longer to process smooth)
juice of 5 limes
juice of 4 lemons (add more or less lemon or lime to your citrus preference)
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey or agave (to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Once smooth, spread over crusts and place in freezer for 4-6 hours until frozen through.

Variation: substitute 2 large bananas for every 1 avocado.

Chocolate Nut Butter Banana Bars
Press crust above into a 9×13 dish.

In food processor, blend the following ingredients until smooth:
6-8 ripe bananas
1 cup nut butter (almond or peanut)
1 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave, to taste

Spread over the crust and place in freezer for 1 hour.

In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of coconut oil until melted and add 4 ounces dark chocolate (I prefer a less sweet chocolate). Drizzle on the semi-frozen bars.
Freeze for an additional 2-3 hours until solid.

Pumpkin Banana Bars
I recommend using a bit of cocoa powder in the curst above for this recipe. Place the crust mixture in an 8×8 dish.

In your food processor, blend until smooth:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2-3 ripe bananas
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey or agave

Spread the pumpkin mixture on crust and sprinkle with coconut flakes. Freeze for 2-4 hours until solid.


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using up not-so-good-looking produce

For whatever reason, there are always those vegetables that just don’t look so good. (Some farmers and grocers sell this produce at a reduced price to you!)
So what do you do with them?

Here’s one idea:

Chocolate zucchini banana bread with chocolate chips
Gluten-free, easily vegan (dairy-free!)
Makes a large 9×13 cake sized bread and 1 8×8 sized bread or three loaves. You can freeze this!

2 large zucchini, shredded
3-4 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup cocoa powder (to make vegan-use carob powder)
1 cup butter (to make vegan/dairy free, use all coconut oil!)
1 cup sugar or 1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup ancient grain blend
3 cups Pamela’s Gluten-free Baking Mix
(If you are not gf or if you would don’t want to mix flours, etc. just use 3 1/2 cups of whatever flour of your choice)
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix and place in a greased baking dish (see above). Bake at 350 degrees until done in middle.





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great green tacos

Tacos are so simple to make.  And, contrary to what most people think, you can put pretty much anything you want in them.  This is one of my favorite vegan taco recipes that also happens to be raw.

I made the tacos below with my son in mind.  He loves bitter greens and this was a great way to “hide” them for my daughter who is not so fond of them. It is also a way to boost your greens intake. Spinach has a lot of nutrients, but nothing in comparison with chard and beet greens.

Swiss Chard and Beet Green tacos with nectarine salsa

1 bunch swiss chard, chopped roughly
1 bunch beet greens, chopped roughly
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
An oil that can be used at high temps (I used sunflower.)

In a sauté pan, heat one tablespoon oil; once hot, add the onion and cook until just golden. Add the greens and cook down. Add the seasonings, mixing well.
I served mine in corn tortillas with a sprinkle of goat cheese but you could certainly omit the cheese.

For salsa:
I made this to counter the bitter greens. And to please my sweet-loving daughter. We ate it on the side.

2 nectarines, cut into very small pieces
1 cup corn (I used frozen that I simply thawed)
1 can black beans, rinsed

Mix all ingredients together. Add 1 tablespoons lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. Mix and serve.

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bountiful basil

We are home!  It is good to be home.  We spent all our time yesterday, getting ready for the week to come, including a few trips to the garden. The weeds had overrun a bit…

With the bounty beginning to pour from our garden and the market, we are beginning to swim in produce.  I am certainly not going to complain, this is my favorite time of the year.  The garlic is drying!  The tomatoes and peppers, well, I have a favorite recipe to share with you later in the week!  The kale is being consumed in as many ways as there are pieces of kale!  We  have a big bucket of fingerling potatoes from our neighbor and a large head of fennel (which my son keeps sneaking the fronds from!)

And Basil.  One of my favorites.  I plan to share several recipes over the next week or so that include basil.  But for now…

Thai Basil Grapefruit Lime Cocktail
(Recipe makes two-three cocktails)

5-6 Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 finger full liquor – (I used vodka because rum gives me a headache, but you could use rum or gin too!)
1 1/2 cup grapefruit juice

Add basil and lime juice to a mortar and pestle and grind away.



To really concentrate the flavors, refrigerate for 2-5 hours.
Mix a small amount of basil lime concentrate with grapefruit juice.  (Adjust taste accordingly.)
Add vodka and serve.


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gluten-free, garden fresh tabbouleh

I love tabbouleh.  I love its freshness, its lemony zing and parsley…oh, I love parsley.  As always, I am looking for ways to make it more healthy.  And as we eat gluten-free, I’m looking for other grains that give a comparable texture to the traditional wheat bulgher.  I think I’ve figured it out…

Gluten-free, vegetable tabbouleh

1 large bunch of kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces (remove stems before chopping)
1 large bunch of parsley, (curly or flat) chopped into small pieces
1 pepper finely chopped
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped finely (I even seed english cucumbers)
1 and 1/2 cups cooked millet
1 tomato chopped finely

Mix ingredients. Remember, traditional tabbouleh is dominantly herbs, not grain, so keep the millet on the lighter side.
You can also add chopped mint, which is traditional. I didn’t have any, but do love it.

Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, a small pinch of kosher or sea salt and black pepper and sprinkle with a generous helping of sumac. Sumac is a dried berry found in the Middle East. It has a tart lemony flavor. I get mine at Whole Foods.
Start with a small amount of the dressing, mix and add more if necessary. You don’t want your kale dripping with oil.