Category Archives: Beverages

Eggnog Reminder

Two posts in one day???  This is just a quicky to remind you that I have an AMAZING dairy-free gluten-free Eggnog recipe.  I’m posting it today so you have time to get the ingredients before New Year’s Eve.  Leftovers (if there are any) are great for breakfast.

Happy 2016!!!! Continue reading Eggnog Reminder

Paleo Breakfast

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions many years ago because, let’s be honest, by mid January I would have already abandoned all my resolutions and would be left with severe disappointment in myself.  So why talk about them now?  Well many of my friends, who have not yet figured out the futility of resolutions, are considering trying the Paleo lifestyle and have come to me to talk about it.  The first question is always “what can you eat?”   The second or third question is usually “But what can I eat for breakfast?”  It seems everyone I know eats either oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast and my response “bacon and eggs” is a little horrifying to them.

The standard line about breakfast from many of the Paleo gurus is:  breakfast is just another meal, you can have the same thing as you have at any other meal.  They go on to suggest just having leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.  But I get that breakfast is a special meal and you want “breakfast” food.  For me that translates into “eggs any style” frequently with a side of bacon, sausage, or ham and sometimes home fried potatoes or grilled tomatoes.  What has changed about breakfast is I usually include a salad, it adds a certain healthy (or maybe just less unhealthy) feeling to the meal.  Of course there is always coffee – though learning to drink coffee black with no sweetener was probably the hardest part of going Paleo.

So here’s my New Year’s resolution:  I will create more Paleo breakfast dishes this year so when someone asks me what they can eat I will have an acceptable answer – right on the tip of my tongue.  Here are some of the recipes I’ve already posted that are excellent choices for Paleo breakfast.  Enjoy!

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Mango Chia Seed Pudding with Fruit Topping
Shakshouka
Fruit Smoothy
Fruit Smoothy

Continue reading Paleo Breakfast

Gluten-free Dairy-free Eggnog

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian *  Parve * Paleo *

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Happy New Year everyone!  My favorite part of New Years is the eggnog – imagine how unhappy I was when I had to give up dairy.   In general I’m not much of a drinker so to me the best possible way to imbibe alcohol is hidden in a milk shake! DOUBLE YUM!!!  The only problem with that is – it’s so delicious I can drink many many glasses before I realize I’m totally smashed…not to mention how many calories that includes.

The amazing thing about this recipe is – it’s as delicious as “the real thing”.  To be honest, that may not be true if I were to do a side by side taste test – but short of that I don’t think anyone would suspect they were being served a dairy-free version of eggnog.

Cheers and wishing you all a happy, healthy, and delicious 2015!

P.S.  You may notice that I’ve put this recipe in the “breakfast” category – because it is my very favorite breakfast item on January 1.
Continue reading Gluten-free Dairy-free Eggnog

I Love My Immersion Blender – do you have one yet?

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If you know me well, you know that when I LOVE something, just one is never enough.  So here are my two immersion blenders; the white one (Braun) is very ancient (in small electronics years) and the stainless steel (Cuisinart) one is less old, but not too new.  But why fall in love with an immersion blender in the first place?  The biggest reasons in my book are:  it saves time, it’s small so doesn’t need much storage space, it performs the function of more than one appliance – and it’s not too expensive (although if you want to go top of the line I’ve seen them for as much as $300).

But let me take a step back.  If you don’t own one the first question is:  what does it do?  The wand (motor + blade) purees.  It does the same job as a blender or food processor.  You can buy an immersion blender that does only that – however, you can also buy one that comes with attachments (like mine).  The mini-processor – in addition to pureeing it chops.  I was so happy to have it when I was cooking for Thanksgiving and needed tons of minced garlic.  I just peeled the cloves from two heads of garlic; put them in the mini-processor and in seconds they were minced for me.  It’s also great for chopping nuts and vegetables if you don’t need more than a cup or two.  The whisk does just that – but it’s much more effective than a fork if you are scrambling eggs and its easier to grab and clean than an electric mixer when you want to beat cream or egg whites until stiff.

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Let’s go back to my reasons for falling in love.  It Saves Time.  It’s so much quicker to puree a pot full of sauce or soup by plunging in your immersion blender, than to transfer the soup to your food processor or blender and then have to puree it in batches.  What about the cleanup?  All you have to do is wash the blade.  No extra dirty dishes like a blender container or the bowl, lid, and blade of the processor.

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It’s Small.  I store it in a convenient drawer with my pots so it’s easy to grab and doesn’t take any counter space.  You gotta love an appliance that doesn’t take up counter space.

It Performs the Function of More Than One Appliance. Okay, not exactly true.  It certainly does puree, but if you want to chop big batches of things you’ll still want a food processor especially if it shreds and slices; and the whisk is only for small jobs like beating eggs, making pancake batter, whipping cream.  You will still need a mixer for making cookies or other big jobs.

It’s Not Too Expensive.  I’ve seen the wand for as little as $13.00 though most are around $30.00.  The wand plus attachments can be had for as little as $30.00 though the majority are $45 to $99.

As the holidays approach you may want to think about giving an immersion blender to someone on your gift list who loves to cook.

And here’s a really cool thing I just figured out to do with my wand:  Fruit Shake in a Glass
Continue reading I Love My Immersion Blender – do you have one yet?

Homemade Coconut Milk

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Why make your own coconut milk when it’s so easy to buy  canned or in boxes?  I have several reasons…first of which is I’m trying to avoid cans.  I guess if you read enough stuff on the internet you can find that anything you use is harmful to your health, but I’ve decided to buy into the “bad stuff from cans leach into the food” theory.  The coconut milk in boxes have ingredients other than coconut and water; like gums and most importantly carrageenan – I have no idea what that is, but I’ve read it’s not good for you.

Now I understand that the idea of making coconut milk at home may be daunting.  All you need is the shredded unsweetened coconut,

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water, a blender, a strainer, a spoon or soft spatula, and a container to store the coconut milk.  The fact is, it takes less than 10 minutes to make; you know what’s in it; and it’s much less expensive than canned or boxed.  To me this is a no brainer.  I do admit the down side is that you have to wash the blender and strainer and measuring cup and spoon/spatula – buy hey, I have a dishwasher – so it’s not soooo difficult and the fringe benefit is:  I make coconut flour out of the used coconut – but that’s for another post.

What about the flavor?  Although it’s coconutty (duh), it’s less intense than the canned kind, but more flavorful than the boxed ones.  If you want more intense coconut flavor from homemade, double the amount of coconut in this recipe.

Where do I get my coconut?  This is very important…I do NOT use the shredded coconut you find in the supermarket because that stuff is sweetened.  You have to use unsweetened shredded (or flaked) dried coconut.  You can find it in health food stores or ethnic markets that sell Indian or Asian ingredients…or online, of course.  Speaking of not using sweetened coconut, if you are buying canned coconut milk be sure you’re not buying the sweetened one which is like sweetened condensed milk.

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The Asian brands are generally unsweetened as is the Goya pictured at the top of the post.  Just check the label the only ingredients should be coconut and water.

When you’ve made the coconut milk you will see that it separates after it stands for a bit  with the cream rising to the top (just like real milk).

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You can remove the cream with a spoon and that will leave you with “light” coconut milk.  The cream can be whipped to make a non-dairy topping (also for a future post).  I used the full fat coconut milk in the recipe I posted last week for the Butternut Apple Soup and I will be using it in my Pumkin Pie Tartlets coming in the next week or two.

I feel like a real pioneer when I make my own ingredients from scratch.  Try it, it’s fun.
Continue reading Homemade Coconut Milk

Choosing The Juiciest Lemons

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When a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, how do you know how many lemons to buy? The answer to that question is:  it depends.  It depends on how ripe it is and how large it is.  It’s amazing the different amount of juice lemons can produce.  One juicy  lemon can give you as much as 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) but more often 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of juice.  An unripe lemon (even a jumbo one) can give you as little as 1 tablespoon (thus you would need four lemons to get 1/4 cup of juice).

Then there’s the flip side of the question.  How much lemon juice does a recipe call for when it says “Juice of one lemon”?  To be a little dogmatic, to me that would indicate a poorly written recipe, but that aside, I would go for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice assuming an average lemon.

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could select a juicy lemon just by looking at it?  Well you can (or at least I can).  Look at the five lemons above.  Which one do you think is the juiciest?  the darkest yellow?  the lightest yellow?  the biggest one?

Actually none of those factors are the first thing I look for.  It’s the texture of the skin.  Lemons with smooth skins are fresher (less pits and a fresher flavor) than lemons with pitted skin.  Usually they are also lighter in color.

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Although texture of skin is the visual cue, you must also give the lemon the squeeze test.  If it is hard as a rock and has no give; it will not be juicy; and the pith (white part) will be very thick no matter how light or smooth the lemon is on the outside.

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The darker, more pitted lemon in the front of the picture above will also have more seeds than the lighter one (usually the light lemons have no pits at all).

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The last fact to consider is that the really old lemons, ones that are dark yellow with deeply pitted skins, can still be juicy but may have a bitter after taste.

So, when life deals you lemons – make lemonade – but choose the best lemons to make it with!
Continue reading Choosing The Juiciest Lemons

Tomato Paste and Bananas

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OMG that sounds like an awful combination!!  What on earth can you do with tomato paste and banana?  Good question.  If you have a recipe that uses them together, please be sure to forward it to me.  But since this is Friday, and Friday is our day for This and That – the topic is:  What do you do with over-ripe bananas and open cans of tomato paste beside discard them?  The answer to both is:  freeze them.

Freeze the tomato paste in 1 tablespoon portions and then you have them on hand for any recipe that calls for less than the full can.   You can toss them into soup or sauce that needs a little flavor or color boost or any recipe that calls for tomato paste.

Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  Measure the tomato paste in a tablespoon and place the contents of the tablespoon onto the plastic wrap.  Do the same with 2 more tablespoonsful.  Fold the wrap over the tomato paste and place one tablespoon of tomato paste in the gaps between the three you have folded in the plastic wrap.  Continue until you have used all of your leftover tomato paste.

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Frozen Banana Coins are like nature’s ice cream.  Whenever you’re feeling a yen for something sweet just pop one in your mouth.  They’re also great for smoothies.

Prepare them the same way as the tomato paste.

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Here’s a recipe for a breakfast smoothie using frozen banana coins
Continue reading Tomato Paste and Bananas