Sheryl Jesin


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Recipe – Vegan Gluten Free Crustless Pumpkin Pie

A few weeks ago it was American Thanksgiving, and I kept seeing pumpkin recipes popping up all over the internet. Pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins and so on and so forth. When I was at Whole Foods last week, I spotted cans of organic pumpkin on sale. I decided to pick up a few, and experimented with a pumpkin pie recipe.

While pumpkins are best known for their decorative purposes at Halloween, they are a surprisingly super source of nutrition. Pumpkins are high in carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre. Did you know that pumpkin flesh contains L-tryptophan, a chemical compound that triggers feelings of well-being and happiness?

The next time you are at your local grocery store, pick up a can of pumpkin puree, and make this recipe. It is a dessert you can feel good about eating.

Recipe – Crustless Pumpkin Pie – Vegan, gluten free, soy free

Ingredients:

2 tsp cinammon

1 tsp. dried ginger

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/3 cup oat flour

2 tbsp corn starch

1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1 cup coconut milk (I mostly used the solidified cream from the top, with a little bit of the liquid)

1/2 cup maple syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cinammon, ginger, sea salt, oat flour and corn starch.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and maple syrup.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix well. Ensure all lumps are gone.
  5. Pour into an 11 inch glass pie plate.
  6. Bake for 35 mins.
  7. Remove from oven. Middle of the pie should be set.
  8. Cool on wire rack.

I served this pie topped with a bit of coconut cream, drizzled with maple syrup, and dusted with cinnamon. It was a hit with everyone in the family, including the kids.

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Recipe – Carrot Cake Spelt Muffins

I can’t seem to get out of the kitchen these days.  Every night, once the kids are tucked into bed, I tell myself that I will organize a drawer (ya right),  just veg out on the couch and watch TV or go to bed early!  Instead, I always end up back in the kitchen cooking or baking!

Last night’s experiment was muffins.  I went a little crazy at Whole Foods last week and bought a few new flours to play with – spelt flour, brown rice flour and chickpea flour.  I used the brown rice and chickpea flours to make some cookies that were just OK.  Definitely not blog worthy.  Last night I opened up the spelt flour and 45 minutes later, I had a delicious muffin in my hands!  The muffins were certainly worth writing about!

I’m on the fence as to whether or not spelt agrees with my tummy.  I definitely prefer it to traditional wheat.  Whole grain spelt is high in protein and fibre, and contains more nutrients than traditional wheat.   It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese.  So for now I eat spelt, but not huge amounts of it, and my stomach is not protesting!

This recipe is not super sweet – there is just a 1/4 cup of maple syrup.  I find that the sweetness of the raisins and carrots are enough.  You could substitute the coconut milk for another milk of your choice – I had some left over from another recipe that I needed to use up, so I used it in these muffins.  I based this recipe on Marni Wasserman’s Spiced Carrot Ginger Muffins.

Recipe – Carrot Cake Spelt Muffins (Sugar free, dairy free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinammon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup coconut milk

2 organic eggs

4 tbsp grapeseed oil

2 medium carrots, grated

2 tbsp grated ginger

1 cup raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (spelt, baking soda and powder, cinammon).  In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.  Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing as you go.  Do not over mix.  Stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins (either greased, or using muffin cups). Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.  Remove from tins and cool on a rack.  ENJOY!

These muffins were moist, light, fluffy and I was really impressed by how high they rised in the oven!  The kids loved them and so did I!


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Recipe – Banana Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Like many other runners, I love bananas.   We seem to go through so many in our house!   They are an amazing snack before a run, after a run and basically anytime throughout the day!  They are also so versatile when mashed and used in baking, and I adore them sliced in a bowl of oatmeal.  I find them very easy to digest, and they pack a lot of nutrition into 100 calories, including 3 grams of fibre and 12% of your daily requirement of potassium.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the deliciousness of banana soft serve (which is basically frozen bananas processed in a blender).  I was inspired by the Ultimate Vegan Ice Cream over at the (Never) Homemaker blog, and the “Blizzard” recipes over at Angela’s Oh She Glows blog.

So, I decided to come up with own version, made from some of my favorite ingredients – bananas, coconut milk, almond butter and chocolate!   It is so simple to make – I hope you give it a try!

Recipe – Banana Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Vegan, soy free, gluten free)

Ingredients:

2 medium bananas

1 tablespoon almond butter

100 mL coconut milk

4 ice cubes

A few squares of dark chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Slice bananas and place in freezer for an hour until frozen, or overnight.   Place frozen bananas, coconut milk, almond butter and ice cubes in food processor or blender (I used a Vitamix, of course).   Blend until smooth.  Top with chocolate.  ENJOY!

This recipe makes 2 large servings.  You will be so surprised how creamy the bananas get in the blender.  You won’t believe that this ice cream is dairy free!  I used greenish bananas, and the ice cream did not have a strong banana flavour.  I think I like this recipe even more than my previous coconut milk ice cream recipe!  It is a bit lighter, more refreshing, and not quite as rich.

(As an aside, my photography skills can use a bit of work.  I’ve read that pictures of food turn out much better when taken in daylight.  This is a problem for me, since most of my adventures in the kitchen tend to take place once the little ones are in bed for the night.  Oh well…a real first world problem, right?)


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Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice (aka Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk)

As someone who is trying to avoid gluten, I eat a lot of rice.  I eat brown rice cakes, brown rice pasta, and use brown rice flour in baking.  Brown rice is a frequent side dish also!  I like rice – it has quality carbohydrates that give me energy to chase after two kids and helps to fuel my runs.  And it does so without hurting my stomach, as wheat tends to do.

A couple days ago I tried a new rice dish and I have coined it “The World’s Yummiest Rice”.  Both my kids loved it and so did my husband and brother-in-law, so it’s not one of those crazy healthy dishes that I love, but no one else does.   This has mainstream appeal!  I wanted to take a picture of it, but we ate it all up before I had a chance!

It contains delicious Indian spices and the secret ingredient is coconut milk.  The coconut milk makes it creamy and satisfying.   You’ve got to try this!

Recipe – The World’s Yummiest Rice – Fragrant Indian Brown Rice with Coconut Milk (based on Marni Wasserman’s recipe)

Makes 8-10 servings, 15 minutes prep time, 45 minutes cook time

Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice

1.5 tsp cumin

2 tbsp grapeseed or coconut oil

2 medium onions, diced

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp salt

1 tsp tumeric

1.5 tbsp garam msala

1 can coconut milk (398 mL)

3.5 cups water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add oil, onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and ginger to a large pot.   Set heat to medium.  Stir.  Add in the tumeric and garam masala, and saute until onions become soft and translucent.   Stir often.

2.  Add the rice, water and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for 45 minutes.

3.  When the rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed, add the raisins.   Stir well.   Remove cinnamon stick.  Serve and enjoy!

Note about amount of liquid – different rice may require different amounts of liquid.  Follow the directions on your bag if they differ from what mentioned above.  Factor in the coconut milk and reduce water as necessary.  For example, the rice I had said 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water.  So I used just under 3.5 cups of water and 1 can (or 1.5 cups) of coconut milk. Check the rice at around 35 or 40 minutes to see if you need to add more liquid.


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Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I’ve been avoiding cow’s milk dairy for the past few months for a variety of different reasons.  Does that mean I have to give up ice cream?  Nope!

I discovered an amazing brand of vegan, soy free ice cream called Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss.   It is made with coconut milk and it is truly blissful!  It is creamy and delicious and even if you eat dairy, you should give it a try.   Why?  It’s made from amazing ingredients – in particular, coconut milk.   Coconut milk is is super creamy and delicious but its fats are actually good for you!  Unlike the cholesterol-laden artery-clogging fats in cream, coconut fats are high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).   These MCTs are identical to those fats found in human breast milk, and contain similar antimicrobial and heart protective qualities.   The breastfeeding advocate in me just loves this!!

Fat in coconut is used differently by your body than other fats.  MCTs don’t need to be broken down – instead they can be used by your body immediately as energy.  In fact, coconut fat provides easily digestible energy that is ideal to consume before physical activity such as running, cycling or hiking.   Coconut fat stimulates your metabolism!

I buy Luna and Larry’s at Whole Foods or Noah’s Natural Foods here in Toronto and I definitely recommend that you try it.   If you can’t find it in a store near you,  I recently discovered that it is pretty simple to make your own coconut milk ice cream using the Vitamix.

Recipe – Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients:

One 14oz or 400 ml can of coconut milk – (I used full fat, not the light versions)

Sweetener – maple syrup, agave syrup or honey to taste

Vanilla to taste

Mix your coconut milk, sweetener of choice and vanilla in a bowl.  I didn’t list amounts because the amount you use is really personal preference.   Start with 1 tablespoon of sweetener and 1/2 tsp of vanilla.   Give it a taste and add more if necessary.

Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray.   Freeze for a few hours until solid.

Place the frozen ice cube mixture into your Vitamix and blend!   It will become creamy and delicious and take on an ice cream texture within seconds.   Serve right away and ENJOY!