Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

When pumpkin lattes are released early each fall, I am the girl who is standing in the front of the line at the coffee shop. I love them! But they do have a fair amount of sugar, processed ingredients, and (surprise!) gluten. Yikes! As necessity–or desperation–is the mother of invention, I had some trial and errors in my kitchen until I created a pumpkin coffee creamer that is delicious, satisfying, and made with solid, gluten-free ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 32 oz Vanilla Almond Milk, Unsweetened
  • 32 oz Coconut Milk, Unsweetened
  • 7.5 oz (1/2 can) Pumpkin Puree
  • 3/4 cup Raw Honey
  • 1/4 cup Mulling Spices in Satchel (or 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1.   Combine ingredients in a large sauce pan over medium heat.

2.   Stir periodically, allowing ingredients to simmer for 45 – 60 minutes.

3.   Remove spice satchel, and pour the liquid through a mesh strainer to catch the pulp.

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4.   Pour the strained liquid into a glass jar and store in your refrigerator.

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5.   Serve a healthy portion with coffee (I add 1/4 cup of the milk for a 16 oz cup of coffee).  Shake well before each use as the pumpkin may to settle.

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Makes 2 quarts, or 32 servings of 1/4 cup, 35 calories per serving.

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Chips and Dip … Revised

From book clubs to movie nights to prayer groups, I love inviting people to come into my home, drink wine and be together. While there is something profoundly delicious about the standard “chips and salsa” fare for such occassions, I have added a few additional dips and and dippers to add color and diversity. This is not so much “cooking” as it is an idea for a quick way to create a vibrant, colorful spread for a party.

Book Club Chips & Dip

DIPPERS:

  • Tortilla Chips (look for the 3 – 5 ingredient chips: corn, oil, salt, touch of lime)
  • Mini Bell Peppers, halved with the tops cut off
  • Jiama, skinned and cut into flat strips, spritzed with fresh lime and chili powder

DIPS:

  • Guacamole (fresh avocados, garlic, salt and pepper, and some fresh salsa)
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Cowboy Caviar (available pre-made at Trader Joe’s or Costco; bell peppers, black beans, and corn)
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Coconut Ice Cream

When it comes to dessert , the taste really needs to be worth the calories. Therefore, my general rule is make dessert as decadent as possible, enjoy every spoonful, and be satisfied with a smaller portion.  Dairy ice cream, even in small doses, tends to make me feel a bit sluggish, so I started trying some non-dairy ice creams, and that is how I fell in love with the taste and creamy texture of ice cream made with coconut milk. Unfortunately, this treat also tends to be rather expensive, except for the simple flavors I can find at Trader Joe’s. Thus, with a little creativity, I have sought to make a delicious, calorie-worthy, dessert of excellence. photoINGREDIENTS:

  • Pint of Chocolate Ice Cream made with Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup salted creamy peanut butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set ice cream on counter to soften slightly (the time it takes to get from the store to home is generally the perfect amount of time for the ice cream to soften)
  2. Put ice cream and peanut butter in kitchen aid mixer on a low setting and mix together for 30 seconds.
  3. Scrape ice cream out of kitchen aid mixer, put it back in the ice cream carton, and return to freezer. Ready to Serve.

Makes 4 servings, 340 calories per serving.

OPTIONAL Chocolate Peanut Butter Hard Shell Topping:

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips with one tablespoon of peanut butter for 30 seconds in microwave. Stir. If not melted, continue to microwave at 15 second intervals until smooth
  2. Pour melted chocolate peanut butter topping directly over ice cream. It should harden within a minute or two.

OPTIONAL Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie:

  1. Follow recipe for Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies, omitting baking soda and eggs
  2. Microwave for 45 seconds, then pile on the ice cream
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Eggplant Caprese

As the cool spring sunshine gives way to a warmer summer blaze, the really good tomatoes are returning to us. The gritty, hard tomatoes in the winter are hardly satisfying, but those sweet juicy summertime tomatoes are just delicious! This is one of my favorite summer recipes, bringing the delicious open-faced caprese sandwich to a veggie-loving palate, offering a grilled eggplant disk in lieu of a crusty bread.

Eggplant CapreseINGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Eggplant, cut in discs, 1/4″ thick
  • 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, cut into discs
  • 4 oz Soft Mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Balsamic Vinegar, drizzled

PESTO INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 Tomatoes (chopped to 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Lime, juiced

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Combine all the pesto ingredients and puree in a blender until smooth.

2.  Heat olive oil on grill (or in a flat bottom pan on the stove top.

3.  Fry eggplant on both sides in the olive oil. Season with salt.

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4.  Spread pesto on the eggplant, then top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

5.  Top eggplant stacks with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


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Egg White and Sweet Potato Casserole

Casserole (3)

Finding the time and motivation to prepare a healthy breakfast every day is rather challenging, so I have become a huge fan of making frittatas and casseroles that will last for several days in a row. That way, I can reheat my delicious, veggie-rich and protein breakfast in just a couple minutes. This recipe almost functions as a quiche, as the sweet potato lined dish almost functions like a crust. As always, subbing other veggies for the zucchini definitely works.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium 5″ sweet potatoes (orange and/or white flesh)Casserole (1)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • seasoning to taste (sea salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh rosemary)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice them into very thin discs. Set aside 12 discs for the top, then layer the bottom of a glass casserole dish with the sweet potatoes.
  3. Pile the grated zucchini, cheese, chopped onions and seasonings.
  4. Add the leftover 12 discs of orange sweet potatoes on the top of the casserole.
  5. Whisk together the egg whites and almond milk and pour over the vegetables.
  6. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes. The casserole is done when it doesn’t jiggle.

Casserole (2)

Makes 4 servings, 130 calories per serving.

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Cara Cara Orange

This week, I discovered this crazy delicious citrus fruit called the Cara Cara Orange. Apparently, it does not actually have any grapefruit ancestry, but it has the most subtle grapefruit flavor while still being sweet and delicious. Basically, it rocked my citrus world. If you happen upon them at the market, I highly recommend you pick up a couple. To make sure you get the really juicy flesh, pick ones that feel heavy with small pores.

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Peanut Butter Mousse Dip

For some reason, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is just magical. This recipe uses Vanilla yogurt as the sweet, creamy base for a peanut butter mousse. It works deliciously well with apples as a dipping sauce. Or, for a more decadent desert, I do a scoop of mousse with a small scoop of French Silk ice cream for a peanut butter chocolate pie flavor.

Peanut Butter Mousse (1)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 oz nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (no sugar or oil added)
  • 2 oz dark chocolate (72% cocoa)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whisk yogurt and peanut butter together until well blended and whipped.
  2. Break chocolate into small pieces and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Melt in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Drizzle chocolate over the cold peanut butter yogurt mixture. Wait 10 – 15 minutes until the chocolate hardens.
  4. Break the hardened chocolate with the whisk to break into smaller bites.
  5. Serve with finely chopped apple slivers or with a small scoop of ice cream.

Makes 8 servings of 1/4 cup each, 155 calories per serving.

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