Category Archives: cooking

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 1/3 cup flour

1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup almond milk

2 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

almond slices, optional topping

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, then the almond extract and lemon zest. Mix well.

In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the almond milk until combined. Fold in poppy seeds.

Pour equally into 6 jumbo muffins if you are using a pan for large sized muffins lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 -35 minutes. I absolutely think these are better as a larger muffin.

For regular cupcake sized muffins use cupcake liners and fill 2/3rds full (12 muffins) and bake 15-18 minutes.

Portabella & Chicken Risotto from leftover chicken

This is a good leftovers recipe for an extra piece of chicken. You can cook the chicken as a first step also but I more often make this with a piece of cooked leftover chicken. Add 1/3 cup parmesan for cheesy chicken, or you can exclude the chicken entirely and use vegetable broth for a meatless side dish.

Stir constantly. The key to obtaining creamy rice is directly effected by your dedication to constant stiring.

Ingredients

1 cup precooked chicken breast, diced

2 tablespoons of oil

2 large portabella, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 1/2 cup long grain white rice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups chicken broth, low sodium

2 tablespoons of butter

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Instruction

In a sauce pan place the chicken broth, cover and heat to a simmer.

In a skillet, over med-high head add the oil, portabella, onion and bell pepper. Saute until soft and beginning to brown, this is where most of the cooking will happen so make sure they are nicely cooked and browned to your satisfaction. Remove the portabella, bell pepper and onion to a bowl and set aside with the diced chicken.

Mix in the rice and then de-glaze the pan with the white wine. Turn the stove down slightly to medium. At this point you should not stop stirring the rice until it is done. Once the wine has been absorbed you will add a half a cup of the simmering chicken broth. Stir until it has absorbed completely before adding another half cup of liquid, repeat until there is no chicken broth left.

When you get to the last of the chicken broth you should have a thick creamy texture rice from the stirring. Once the last of the chicken broth absorbs, turn the heat to low and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Mix until melted. Add the chicken, onion and portabella back into the rice and stir until the chicken has heated through.

Spanish Chicken & Rice for Tacos

Sumac is definitely a rare spice where I am, it has a tart and lemony sort of flavor that enhances the lemon, but it can be left out if it’s not on hand. I make this often, and about half the time I do not have a lemon or lime on hand so that is how Sumac originally ended up in this recipe. Double it to 1/4th teaspoon add a pinch of dried lemon peel if you have it… it’s an acceptable replacement for a fresh lemon. And also enhances the flavor of the lemon when you do have it.

The chicken and rice is fine as a meal on it’s own with beans and warm tortillas on the side. Being steamed with the rice.. you end up with very moist and flavorful piece of chicken.

Ingredients

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast meat

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup rice

1 lemon

1 2/3 cups chicken broth(low sodium)

Seasoning

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/8 teaspoon sumac

Instructions

Mix the ingredients for the seasoning and divide it into two parts. Set one part aside and use the other half as a dry rub on the chicken. To prepare the lemon, cut it in half and then cut one half into slices and set aside.

Add the avocado oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Braise the chicken and diced bell pepper together, cook until it begins to brown. Remove the chicken to a plate temporarily and add the rice to the skillet along with the chicken broth, lemon juice from half the lemon and the rest of the seasoning, stir to de-glaze the pan and then return the chicken and situate it with the rice mostly surrounding instead of underneath the chicken. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and then cover and simmer on low for 20-25 minutes or until both the chicken and the rice are cooked through.

In the meantime, prepare and set out the toppings of your choice.

Use two forks to shred the chicken meat when it is done.

Flour Tortillas can be heated in a skillet over high heat if you do not have tortilla pan(or directly on a burner if you learned to do it that way.) Corn tortillas as I was taught to make them, would be fried in oil momentarily until crispy and them shaped in a taco shape to cool before filling.

For Tacos

1 pack tortillas (they are also easy to make)

1 can of refried beans

Toppings

I never would have thought to include this list until I moved from the South West… and was shocked to find broccoli… BROCCOLI on a taco!… and I learned that it is rare to find a good authentic taco’s in some other places.

Toppings range from a handful, to all of the following.

Diced raw onion, diced tomato, shredded lettuce, avocado chunks or guacamole, salsa, shredded Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, lemon or lime wedges, jalapenos or other peppers(fresh or fire roasted), cholula hot sauce.

Coconut Boston Cream Cake

This is a great dairy free cake. A bit of chocolate, a hint of coconut with creamy filling. I am using my basic coconut cream cake in this recipe. It’s a winner so I have no reason to change anything.

Ingredients

Cake

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dairy free butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup coconut cream

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Filling

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups coconut cream

2 tablespoons dairy free butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

I’m not gonna lie, I used dairy free canned frosting here. I just don’t like making frosting.

Instruction

Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut two 9 in rounds out of parchment paper and place them inside two well greased 9in cake pans.

Empty contents of can of coconut cream into a bowl, microwave for 20 seconds, mix until combined and smooth. Measure your 1 cup of coconut cream once fully mixed.

Technique: Creaming the butter properly is important in the overall consistency of the batter.

In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil, butter and sugar using a standard mixer on low until it is white and fluffy. Incorporate one egg at a time followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for another 30 seconds.

While mixing begin adding the coconut milk and flour in small potions, mixing well with each addition.

Detatch and clean the whisk attachments for the egg whites.

In another bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on medium for 6-7 minutes to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds.

pour into two 9in round cake pans evenly and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the cake center comes out clean.

Filling

Add sugar, cornstarch and salt to a saucepan, stir then add coconut milk and whisk steadily while bringing to a boil over medium low heat.

Once thickened reduce heat to low and whisk for one minute more before removing from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Continue to mix until combined. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then carefully pour the contents into a gallon ziplock bag. Remove extra air and seal. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Assembly

I like to take the simple cake decorating route. I haven’t got the patience for fine detail when it comes to cake decorating.

Use a bread knife to make the cake tops flat.

Place one of the cakes on a plate place about 50% of your frosting in a piping bag with a standard round tip or, use a ziplock bag, press it completely closed. Cut a small piece of corner off the bag and use that to pipe the frosting in a ring around the top edge of the cake. This is your barrier to hold in the filling so you want a solid wall of frosting instead of dollops with space in between. Even a small barrier of frosting will generally do, save the remainder in the bag, you will frost the rest once the second cake is on top.

Take your ziplock bag of cream and cut one of the corners to make a small hole. Apply the filling in an even layer, filling all of the area inside of your frosting barrier evenly.

Gently add your second cake on top in an upside down position so the top you evened is face down against the filling. Gently press down to push down and even out the cake as needed. Fill in the gaps between the cakes with the remaining frosting in the bag. Smooth the sides with the serrated edge of a butter knife for texture. Use the remaining 50% of the frosting on the top.

Other Dairy-Free Cake Recipes

Daffodil Cake

Dairy-Free Mudslide Cupcakes and Kahlua Hot Cocoa

Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake

This is one of my favorite cake recipes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dairy-free butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract(optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup coconut cream

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 can of dairy-free premade vanilla frosting ( I do, I hate making frosting!)

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Empty contents of can of coconut cream into a bowl, microwave for 20 seconds, mix until combined and smooth. Measure your 1 cup of coconut cream once fully mixed.

Technique: Creaming the butter properly is important in the overall consistency of the batter.

In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil, butter and sugar using a standard mixer on low until it is white and fluffy. Incorporate one egg at a time followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for another 30 seconds.

While mixing begin adding the coconut milk and flour in quarters, mixing well with each addition.

Detatch and clean the whisk attachments for the egg whites.

In another bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on medium for 6-7 minutes to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds.

pour into a 9x13in pan and smooth evenly with a spatula. I added some food dye in a mantra swirl design.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer in the center area of the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Fruit Smoothie

Smoothie shops, at least every one I have ever been to has added sweeteners and concentrated flavors to mask the fact that part of what you are getting is just blended ice. Ice, is not an ingredient to a good smoothie, you want frozen fruit so that you need no ice at all.

The basic Ingredients of a Smoothie

Bananas are essential for texture in a good smoothie, they bring the creaminess to the smoothie. I like to peel a few bananas and freeze them in freezer safe zip-lock bags. Freeze them before they start getting spots for the best flavor. They last for about a few weeks in the freezer. Any fruit you aren’t going to use can be frozen for smoothies instead of letting it go bad.

Aside from preventing waste there is pre-packaged frozen fruit from the store. They sell it packaged individually but premixed bags, are my usual go to.

The standard selection of individual frozen fruit that I can find in my region is Mango, raspberry, cherry, peach, strawberry and blueberry. There are also pre-packaged blends of Peach, Pineapple, and strawberry; blueberry, cherry, and strawberry; and blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.

For the liquid portion of your smoothie you can use any citrus juice, or fresh peeled citrus, pomegranate juice, canned coconut milk/cream, apple juice or pineapple juice. I have even used hibiscus and lemon teas in a smoothie because I was out of everything else.

Additional additives, any fresh fruit, canned pineapple, powdered freeze dried fruit, to make it a little less healthy there also the addition of sorbet and fruity alcohols like coconut rum or tanqueray.

The ratio and the rest

(disclaimer: I never actually measure the ingredients, I just eyeball everything.)

1 banana

1 cup of frozen fruit

1/2 cup of liquid

Adjust slightly this way or that to get the correct consistency. It can change slightly from one combination to the next.

Add all ingredients to a blender, you want just enough liquid that it starts to blend smoothly. If things freeze up and stop moving when blending, remove and shake the blender and add another ounce of liquid until it blends smoothly. Continue to blend for about 20 seconds. Pour into serving glasses and immediately fill the blender with about a cup of hot water and a tiny drop of soap, blend it on the pulse setting a few times and pour out the soapy water into the sink. Rinse the blender clean and then enjoy your smoothie.

Here are my three favorites

Mango Smoothie

1/2 cup of canned coconut cream*

1 cup frozen mango chunks

2 bananas

Empty can of coconut cream into microwave save dish and microwave for 15-20 seconds, mix until you get a consistent thick coconut cream in it’s liquid state.

Citrus Berry Smoothie

1 cup frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

2 peeled seedless oranges

1 banana

Tropical Booze Berry Smoothie

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup orange juice

1 banana, frozen

1 oz coconut rum

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Coconut Rice

I really liked how the flavor of the bell pepper comes through in the rice. I like to use canned coconut cream instead of canned coconut milk.

Marinade

2 large chicken breasts, butterflied or split into four pieces if they are thick

1 teaspoon cooking oil, of your choice

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic

1 pinch lemon zest or dried lemon peel

3 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

3 teaspoons jerk seasoning

Rice

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup white rice

1 can coconut milk or coconut cream, microwaved for 20 seconds and stirred until smooth

1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen

Directions

(This is a one pan meal, you will need a lidded skillet large enough to contain the entire recipe. )

Marinade:

Place all of the marinade ingredients into a gallon ziplock bag or sealable tupperware bowl. Add the chicken and marinate in the fridge for several hours.

Add the marinated chicken to a skillet, preheated to med-high heat and braise both sides of the chicken. and set aside. Reduce the heat and add the remaining marinade, the bell pepper and shallot. Stir until the onion is slightly translucent and all of the liquid is just evaporated.

Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil, stir in the rice and the pineapple chunks. Manouver the chicken back down into the pan with the rice surrounding it.

Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is done and the chicken is cooked through. Careful, if you have the heat on anything above the lowest setting to maintain your simmering you may burn the rice.

Mint Flower Tea

I can never keep mint happy, I fail to prune it correctly when it is in hydroponic and I fail in general at growing it in containers but I am going to try again. I have it growing hydroponically and I am testing by taking all of my trimmings and I am sticking them directly into a container of dirt I have outside.

The hydroponic light keeps it flowering inside and I have to keep the indoor pollen count down so about once a week for the past few weeks I have enough flowers to make a small pot of mint flower tea which is delicately minty and floral.

Museli Wheat Bread

I took a regular wheat oat bread recipe and used museli in place of the oatmeal.

The museli mix I used contains sunflower seeds, almonds, dried apple, dried cranberry, raisins, coconut, pumpkin seeds and rice crisp to make a very flavorful bread that makes amazing avocado toast and peanut butter sandwiches.

Ingredients

2 cups boiling water

1 cup museli breakfast mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 teaspoons table salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 packet yeast

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

4 cups bread flour

Combine boiling water, museli, sugar, honey, butter, salt and cinnamon. Stir and allow to cool to 110 degrees. (~10-15 minutes)

Add yeast and incorporate flour one cup at a time. Knead until smooth ~10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and rise for 60 minutes or until doubled.

Divide for two smaller loafs or leave as one larger loaf.

Shape bread and rest another 30 to 40 minutes before placing in the oven.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent with aluminum after 25 minutes if needed.

Daffodil Cake

It’s one of the first cakes I ever made and you can find many versions of it. Some of them require 12 egg whites which leaves you with 6 left over egg whites. Unless I am planning on making pasta noodles I generally go with this version of the recipe that leaves no leftover egg yolk. In the past I have also made this cake with lemon zest in the white but I decided to do a single flavor this time. Any citrus of your choice and even pineapple versions of this recipe are out there. Orange is my favorite and originally I planned to add lemon zest to the white cake. In the end I decided to do just the orange and left the white cake vanilla flavored.

Ingredients

White cake:

6 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest(optional)

Yellow Cake:

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange zest

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup water or orange juice

1 pinch orange zest

Instruction

White Cake

Place egg whites in a large bowl, let them come to room temperature ~30 minutes.

Add tartar and vanilla and beat on medium until foamy before gradually adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time until soft peaks form.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Fold into egg white gently and set aside.

Yellow Cake

Beat egg yolks and orange juice until thick and lemon colored. In a seaparate bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into egg mixture. Beat in vanilla and orange zest.

Alternately spoon yellow and white batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.

Immediately invert pan and remove cake. Let cool completely then apply a basic orange zest glaze.

Glaze

Add all glaze ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Brush or drizzle glaze over cake.