Dye-free Red velvet cupcakes (Dairy-free)

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I am allergic to food dye so I have to get creative with certain recipes like red velvet cake. I also have a friend who is allergic to dairy so I kind of mixed and matched red velvet recipes I have used in the past to get a dye and dairy free cake that is healthy and delicious. This cake uses beets to achieve that red velvet cake color and uses applesauce and coconut oil in place of the dairy. Be careful not to over cook these as they already have a tendency to be dry and even another minute or two in the oven could make these have a bread-like dryness instead of a moist cupcake texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup beet puree
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 1/4 cups raw granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tray with 12 baking cups( or grease the muffin pan if you don’t have baking cups).
  2. Mix the beet puree, applesauce, coconut oil, and eggs in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Add in all the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) and then mix everything together.
  5. Fill each cup in the muffin pan 3/4 of the way full.IMAG0473
  6. Cook the cupcakes at 350°F for 18-22 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.IMAG0477
  7. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting them. If you want to add frosting some good choices are cream cheese frosting(recipe from Martha Stewart here), paleo(ish) vanilla buttercream frosting(recipe here) or dairy-free coconut cream whipped frosting (recipe here).IMAG0485

Servings: 21 Serving Size: 1 cupcake(without frosting)

nutritionredvelvetnodairy

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Paleo(ish) Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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This is a (more) paleo friendly version of a traditional buttercream frosting replacing the butter with ghee. If you want to make this truly paleo you can substitute an equal amount of this paleo powdered sugar recipe from primal palate for the powdered sugar or you can try substituting honey for the sugar and adding a tbsp or two of arrowroot powder to thicken the frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup ghee, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2-4 tbsp coconut milk( you can also substitute any other kind of milk)

Directions:

  1. Using a hand mixer(or stand mixer) cream your butter by beating at a low-speed for 1-2mins.
  2. Add in your sugar and beat to combine.
  3. Mix in your vanilla and almond extract.
  4. Add the milk 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency for your frosting.
  5. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Servings: 12 Serving Size: 2 tbsp

nutritionpaleovanillafrosting

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Turnip Pear Compote

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This delicious side dish pairs really well with savory dishes like chicken or pork, but could also be used as a healthy dessert on its own or drizzled over pound/angel food cake or ice cream. It is also super simple to make and just requires about an hour in the oven

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced(I used Anjou but any type of pear that is in season/ripe will be good)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean NOTE: If you don’t have vanilla bean you can also substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract(because vanilla bean is super expensive)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan (or any other baking pan you have that will fit your diced pears and turnips.)
  2. Dice your turnips and place in the baking pan. Dice your pears and place them in a separate bowl.
  3. If you are using a vanilla bean, cut the bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the bowl with your pears. Then add the rest of the vanilla bean to the turnips. NOTE: If you are using the vanilla extract add the entire tsp to the pear.
  4. Drizzle the turnip with honey and toss to coat then cover it with aluminum foil and place it into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice to the pear mix and stir, letting it sit for 30 minutes while the turnips are cooking.
  6. After 30 minutes, add the pear mixture to the turnips in the baking pan, recover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for another 30 mins.
  7. Remove the mixture from the oven and serve warm. This can be kept in the fridge for about 2 weeks and in the freezer for 6-12 months.

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Servings: 5, Serving Size: 1/2 cup

nutritionturnippearcompote

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Vegan Ice Cream(Sugar-free)

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This is a slight variation on the simple vegan ice cream recipe made from only frozen bananas. It is super creamy and delicious without using any dairy! This can also be made 21 day sugar detox friendly by using unripe(green-tipped) bananas. I actually made two different flavors of this ice cream(vanilla and chocolate) to see how it turned out and both were really delicious. Next time I make the chocolate variation I will probably add a little molasses to deepen that chocolate flavor.

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen NOTE: if you are following the 21 day sugar detox use unripe bananas
  • 1/4 can coconut milk or 1/4 cup coconut cream NOTE: If you place the coconut milk in the fridge for at least 6 hours, the coconut cream separates and floats to the top so you can use that and save the coconut water for drinking or other recipes. This will make your ice cream thicker and creamier, but the ice cream will be good even if you use non-separated coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For chocolate ice cream: 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder, OPTIONAL: 1 tsp molasses.

Directions:

  1. Slice your bananas and freeze them overnight.
  2. Place all your ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. (Yes it’s really that simple)
  3. You can top with sprinkles or any other toppings you want!

Servings: 2 Serving size: 1/2 cup

Vanilla ice cream nutrition:

nutritionvanillacococnuticecream

Chocolate ice cream nutrition:

nutritionchocolatedairyfreeicecream

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Potato, onion, and cheese parsnip pierogies

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In an attempt to sneak some extra veggies into this recipe I made a parsnip dough(recipe here) that has a cup of parsnips in it. I did not notice a change in the flavor of the dough,which made it easy to use this traditional polish dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of fresh parsnip dough, refrigerated for at least an hour (about 1 lb of any pierogi dough or 40-45 premade pierogi wrappers)
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes(about 8 small potatoes or 4 large)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan/skillet. Add the chopped onions and saute for about 5 mins or until the onion is translucent.
  2. Transfer the hot onion to another bowl and stir it together with the cheese so it melts. Set aside.
  3. Peel and chop your potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place them in a medium/large pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and boil the potatoes for 12-15 mins until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Drain the water out of the potatoes and then add the butter, milk and a pinch of salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash them by hand, with a hand blender or in a food processor.regular blender.
  5. Stir the onion/cheese mixture into the potatoes until they are evenly combined.IMAG0414
  6. Place half your dough on a clean, floured surface and roll it out into sheet no more than 1/8 inch thick. NOTE: If you have the premade pierogi wrappers, skip to step 9.
  7. Using a cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut out as many circles(approximately 3 inches in diameter) as you can.IMAG0411
  8. Combine any leftover dough into the second half of pierogi dough, roll it out again and cut out more circles. Repeat this step until you don’t have any dough left. You should have 40-45 circles by the end of this step. IMAG0412
  9. Place about a tbsp of the onion/cheese/potato mixture into the center of one of the pierogi wrappers(those circles you just cut out), fold the circle in half pinching the sides together to encapsulate the filling.IMAG0417
  10. Press a fork around the sides of the pierogi where the two sides of the circle meet to prevent the pierogi from popping open.IMAG0419
  11. Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium-high heat. Once it starts boiling turn the heat down slightly(medium heat) so the water is boiling but not bubbling like crazy(otherwise your pierogies might fall apart).
  12. Drop your pierogies into the boiling water(you can do 10-12 at a time) and give the pot a quick stir to prevent the pierogies from sticking to the bottom or each other.
  13. Let the pierogies boil for 3-5 mins or until they begin to puff up and rise to the top of the water.
  14. Remove them from the water and place them on a paper towel lined plate to drain. You can enjoy them plain, or topped with bacon and cooked onion. You can also fry them by transferring them to a skillet filled with melted oil. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side and then serve. You can also freeze them. A good way I have found to do this so the pierogies don’t stick together is to place them next to each other but not touching on a baking sheet, then popping that baking sheet in the freezer for 45 mins-1 hour. The pierogies will be mostly frozen so you can transfer them to a bag or container now and they won’t stick to each other! These will stay in the fridge for 1-1 1/2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Servings: ~10, Serving Size: 4 pierogies

nutritionparsnipperogies

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Pork roast with roasted veggies

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This is a super simple way to make a full meal without having do a ton of work. All you have to do is season the pork tenderloin and throw some veggies around it then stick it in the oven and forget about it until it’s done.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs pork tenderloin NOTE: I used 2 1/3 lbs of pork tenderloin in my recipe, which made about 8 servings. If you are cooking for yourself and don’t want a ton of leftovers you can definitely get a smaller roast. One lb of pork tenderloin yields about 3 servings.IMAG0427
  • 3-4 cups of veggies NOTE: You can use whatever veggies you want. I used about 1 lb of red potatoes, about 3/4 cup sliced carrots, and 3 small onions because that is what I had from my food share.IMAG0429
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Roughly chop your veggies. Try to make the thickness of your veggies pieces similar so they cook evenly. Also if your pork roast has strings around it(butchers sometimes put this around the meat to compress it) make sure you cut them off. DO NOT remove the fat layer that is on it as it will keep the pork moist during cooking. If you don’t want it, cut it off after cooking.
  3. Brush 1 tbsp of olive oil around your roast. Place the roast in your pan(you can use a roasting pan, skillet, 9×13 pan, or whatever you have that your roast and veggies will fit into)  and place the sliced garlic on top of it.
  4. Surround the roast with your chopped veggies (you can even place a thin layer of veggies on top of your roast if you want but they might get a little crispy) and drizzle the remaining tbsp of olive oil over your veggies.                                                                                IMAG0430
  5. Sprinkle the entire pan with salt and pepper then stick it into the preheated oven on the middle shelf.
  6. Cook for approximately 1 hour or until the roast turns white and a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145°F. NOTE: Cooking times may vary with the type of pan you use. A glass pan may require a sightly longer cooking time. My roast took exactly 1 hour in the oven and I used a dark 9×13 pan covered in aluminum foil.

Servings: 8 Serving size: 1/2 cup of roasted veggies and a 3/4 inch thick slice of roast

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nutritionprokroast

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Tropical Cod

One of the things I got from the Philly food swap was tropical conserves, which I was excited to try on fish. It is important to note that conserves are NOT a jam, jelly or preserve. They are made from cooked dried fruits and nuts and have a very thick, chunky texture, so they make a pretty good topping on fish and chicken.

I decided the tropical flavors would pair well with cod, which doesn’t usually taste too fishy to me. You can also soak the cod in milk to eliminate some of the fishy flavor if you really want to. This is not really a recipe since I am just putting the conserves on some fish,  but this is how I cooked it.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb of Pacific Cod fillet
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 oz tropical conserves
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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the cod fillet into three equal pieces and coat each piece in the coconut oil before placing on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil(for easy clean up later)
  3. Cook the fish for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the cod from the oven, spread an equal amount of conserves onto each piece then return the tray to the oven.
  5. Cook for 5-10 more minutes or until the fish is opaque but juicy.

I served this fish over my butter lime black radish side dish and it was super good. You could use any kind of conserves you want and could probably even substitute in a preserve or jam in the conserves place if you wanted a very sweet dish. I doubt jelly would be good but you could try it and let me know how it is.

Anyways, because I am not sure the exact way the tropical conserves I used were prepared, I cannot give an accurate estimation of the nutrition, but this is still a pretty healthy and yummy dish.

Butter lime black radish

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I got black radishes in my food share this week and had no idea what to do with them. Honestly, I thought they were beets at first. I started researching online about them and a lot of people said they are super flavorful and extra spicy, but butter tones the flavor down a bit. So I decided to shred them and cook them in butter with a bit of lime to add a little extra flavor. I was this as a side dish to pair with a tropical cod(which is basically just cod with tropical preserves spread over the top( you can read more about this here), so the lime also fit into that tropical theme for my meal.

This is a super simple dish that can also be made vegan/dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of butter. This will also give it a more tropical flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium radishes(about 3 cups shredded)IMAG0400
  • 2 tbsp butter (or coconut oil if you want to make this dairy-free/vegan)
  • juice of one lime(approximately 1 tbsp of lime juice)

Directions:

  1. Peel and shred the radishes. IMAG0401
  2. Melt the butter/coconut oil over medium-high heat then add the shredded radish.
  3. Stir in your lime juice and saute the radish, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15minutes or until the radish begins to brown.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. This pairs well with fish.

Servings: 3, Serving Size: 1 cup

nutritionbutterlimeradish

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Cherry Arugula Bulgar Wheat Salad

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This salad was an experiment to use up some random ingredients I had lying around and came out really well. It is vegetarian-friendly and is on the sweeter side but still super healthy! Bulgur wheat makes up the base of this salad while veggies and dried cherries are mixed in and it is all marinated in a cinnamon, lemon, honey yogurt dressing. I also snuck in some turmeric, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and gives the dressing its yellow color.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 3 cups cold water
  • ½ tbsp butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh arugula
  • 1(7 oz) container plain yogurt (about 1 cup) NOTE: I used Fage 2% greek yogurt, but you can use whatever kind of plain yogurt you want.
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced(about 4 tbsp of lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Add bulgur wheat and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the wheat is tender. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan/skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until translucent.IMAG0388
  3. Add the sour cherries and cook until the cherries are heated through.
  4. Stir the cherry onion mixture into the cooked bulgur wheat and add the chopped arugula.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, and nutmeg.
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  6. Pour the dressing over the barley mixture , and toss well to combine. Serve at room temperature topped with the sliced almonds (about 1 tbsp per serving).IMAG0398

Serving Size: 1/2 cup, Servings: 8

nutritionbularwheatsalad

estimated by http://www.caloriecount.com/

Philly Food Swap

Yesterday, I attended the Philly food swap at the library..Essentially, a bunch of people bring homemade items to exchange with others. There is really no limit to what you can bring as long as it is homemade and consumable. I have seen everything from laundry detergent to chocolate chip cookies and people are super creative so there is usually a  wide variety of options.

I have attended the exchange a half a dozen times over the past few years and every time I have brought a sweet item(like fudge, cupcakes, donuts and other baked goods) because that is my favorite thing to experiment with and to eat. However, I figured a lot of people would be trying to stick to those pesky new years resolutions and as I am also trying to be healthier I decided to make natural deodorant(tutorial here) and homemade cheez-its (recipe here). I know this is a super random combination but that is what I decided on and both were a hit!

I got all the items I wanted (except for a celery lavender simple syrup that I will definitely be trying to replicate) and have been trying to stop myself from going full-glutton and gobbling up all my spoils in a day. Below is a picture of all the wonderful stuff I got .

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It’s kind of hard to see everything but I got: irish cream, grapefruit mint sugar scrub, drupe fruit complex( this is a fruit I previously didn’t know existed but it is similar to a peach and is delicious in this alcoholic drink), savory seed granola(which i wasn’t expecting to like until I tried it and fell in love), and cherry almond granola, raspberry shrub, white chocolate craisin oatmeal cookies, tropical conserves(which is going to be amazing on fish), earl grey tea biscuits(which I am definitely going to try to replicate because they are amazing), and a mini soy candle.

This soy candle is one of the cutest things I have ever seen and I love it so much I don’t even want to burn it. Here is a close up of it:
IMAG0379Come on…adorable, right?

Overall, it was a super successful exchange and I plan on replicating some of this stuff and using others in recipes so look out for those in the next few weeks.