Oct 24, 2014

Chunky Applesauce

It's been such a long time since I've posted a recipe.. "But it's apple season and we had such a wonderful crop from our tree this year!" Cinnamon and spice and everything nice has permeated throughout the house, I'm in heaven with thoughts of holiday foods and family gatherings around the corner!

I wanted to share at least one recipe with photos.  My apple butter photos will be coming up soon..hopefully in a post with our yummy gluten free version of the Italian Stuffed Cookie.  

This is a simple crock pot applesauce recipe that makes such a yummy, low sugar, chunky monkey type of sauce! Every slow cooker heats differently, so you decide how long you cook your apple sauce for. The original recipe I read said 4 hours for a saucy sauce, but I found that 3 hours gave me some chunky pieces which I prefer.

My apple tree produces a Fuji Apple, but I also added Red Delicious apples to cut down on the sugar addition. Plus, my previous batch of apple butter took a lot more apples than I expected.
For a completely sugar free apple sauce, find out from your produce man what the sweetest apples are for the season!! 

Yield: 3 ~ 16 oz Jars

Prep Time: 45 minutes to an hour (unless you have a rotary apple peeler)

Cook Time: 3-4 hours


A mix of 6 pounds Fuji and Red Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks. 

1/4 cup light brown sugar (if needed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients in the Crock Pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours. 
2. For chunky applesauce as pictured, stir and mash the apples with a large spoon close to the end of the cook time.  Store applesauce in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze in freezer jars for up to 6 months.

Jun 9, 2014


Kinda excited about this new shoot. It's for a company called Mrs G's | Hot Pepper Jellies. I can't post photos yet.. but these are ingredients from a dish I styled and shot today.

Apr 4, 2014

Coconut Milk Chocolate Pudding

I can remember it like it was yesterday.. 
Sitting on the floor, huddled up with girlfriends in front of the fireplace on a cold Winter's night. 
Home made chocolate pudding.. the one that you made with the recipe from the the Hershey's Cocoa can. I don't think pudding ever tasted so good! For some reason, it's that particular event that is re-played in my mind time and time again when I make pudding for my kids. 

It's been a breezy few days here on the West Coast.. a moderate in temperature Spring day. Comfort and warmth was on the menu! (we like our pudding still a little warm) :)

I have been wanting to try making the pudding dairy free, but i'll be honest with you.. I can't imagine pudding without the luxury of the richness of egg yolks, so as of now.. it's only milk free. I did see some dairy free and vegan recipes out there, and I'm sure I'll try them someday.. but today it's with yokes!

Chocolate Pudding | Made with Coconut Milk
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

2 cups whole fat coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, and the cocoa in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a simmer, over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat whisking constantly, until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.

While I was taking photos, I asked my Bella if she would go into the garden and choose some flowers to style with the pudding shoot. This was her choice.. perfect!! :) 

Have a favored day!!

Apr 2, 2014

Onion Skin Dyed Eggs

I don't know what's more exciting..
Learning a new art thats healthy as well as pretty, or styling a shoot with these gorgeous colors!

When I first read an article about naturally dying eggs with herbs and produce, I never thought I could achieve the depth of color that I did with yellow onions!

The onion skin in itself looks so pale and absent of colorants. But when they are boiled, the richness of color becomes bolder. I was so surprised at how quickly the white of the egg shell took on this amazing hue.

*I used the skin of one onion per egg. But, the color seemed a bit too dark for me, so if you would like a paler egg, add one less of the onion peels.

Onion Skin Dyed Eggs

The skins of Six Yellow Onions (or red onions) 
6 eggs
Pot of water

Place onion peels and eggs in pot of cold water. The water should just cover the eggs and peels. Let water come to a rolling boil, stirring a few times. Turn off heat and let the eggs and skins sit in pot for 20 minutes. Drain. Put in a separate bowl and wrap the skins around the eggs. Wrapping skins around the eggs will lend to different effects on the eggs. Some more spotted and mottled, some will even take on the stripes in the skins.

Place in the refrigerator until cool. Remove the skins and wipe the eggs dry. 
Store eggs in the fridge. Easy.. and beautiful!!

Mar 24, 2014

Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta with Blackberry Syrup

I am so excited about this Coconut Panna Cotta!
I am pretty new to dairy free cooking, and was pretty doubtful that I would find desserts that would satisfy the way custards, puddings and cheesecakes do. But "Oh-how-I-was-surprised!"
This is delicate, creamy, smooth and firm. It's everything a panna cotta should be! The coconut milk is light, but at the same time it is dense and not lacking in creaminess! I was amazed that I could enjoy panna cotta in a less traditional milk based version. But if this Italian cook can love it.. then you can too!

Coconut Panna Cotta
Adapted from the Deliciously Organic website

4 cups full fat coconut milk, divided 
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1⁄3 cup raw or regular honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup seasonal berries

Pour 1 cup coconut milk into a medium saucepan and sprinkle evenly with the gelatin. Let the milk
sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.

Heat the milk and gelatin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and milk
begins to steam. Stir the remaining coconut milk and honey into the warm milk and whisk until all the
ingredients are dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool
for 10 minutes.

Divide the coconut milk mixture evenly among 6 glasses or small bowls. Cover panna cottas tightly
with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the cream's surface. Refrigerate for

about 5 hours, until cold and set. When you are ready to serve, top with seasonal berries.

Blackberry Simple Syrup
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups frozen or fresh blackberries
*Optional; A handful of fresh rose scented geranium leaves and flowers washed and dried

Combine sugar, water, and blackberries in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

When mixture boils, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes, gently crushing blackberries against side of pan.

Remove the pan from heat and let mixture steep for 15 minutes.
Strain blackberry syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Refrigerate until cold, and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

*For an added aroma, add fresh herbal flowers or mints to your syrup for a refreshing flavor. 
My rose scented geraniums surprised me this winter with an early appearance, so I simmered them in the sugar, water and blackberry liquid while cooking. Add them after the sugar dissolves. Immediately strain the flowers and leaves from the syrup when you have reached your desired syrup thickness. 

Mar 17, 2014

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Yield: about 36 cookies
Bake 375°F  7-9 mins per batch

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar or 1/4 cup honey
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1-¼ cups Gluten Free Baking mix with added Xanthan Gum 
(or GF Flour blend plus ¼ rounded tsp. of Xanthan gum.)

Granulated sugar for rolling dough balls

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Using the tines of a fork, flatten balls by making crisscross marks on top. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Makes about 36 cookies.

Mar 14, 2014

Roasted Sausage and Potatoes | GF, DF, Allergy Friendly

This recipe contains simple ingredients that when prepared together with the balsamic, herbs and olive oil have a fragrant aroma that's out of this world! Comfort food that can be enjoyed by all!

Roasted Italian Sausage, Carrots & Potatoes

2 pkgs. Sausage of choice cut in quarters
4 large russett potatoes cut into quarters
1/2 lb. Asparagus cut in 2-3 inch lengths (discard the woody ends)
1 pkg. Mushrooms, Crimini or Button cleaned and cut in half
3/4 cups spanish or kalamata olives (not canned)
6 sliced carrots
5 leaves fresh basil chiffonade (pronounced: shee foh nahd)
2 fresh sprigs oregano
1 yellow onion sliced
2 cloves chopped garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar (*good quality very important)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. salt

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large roasting pan.
Layer all ingredients into the LARGE roasting pan. Drizzle around two or more tablespoons of olive oil on top. Add ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well.

Cook covered for 1/2 an hour. Remove lid and turn meat and vegetables. Continue cooking without lid and turn meat and vegetables frequently drizzling more balsamic vinegar and a little more olive oil.. so it doesn't get dried out (but also not to drench).
Cooking time will be approximately an hour and a half.
Veggies should be soft and sausage cooked through.

Almond Oatmeal Bars | Gluten Free

These oatmeal bars with chocolate chips are amazing and a must try! :)  I have two recipes here, the "allergy friendly" recipe, and the "not so allergy friendly" version. I don't have allergies to nuts, so I bake with almond flour quite often, but this nut free version is still quite satisfying!

Gluten Free Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 
2 cups Almond Flour or Meal
1 cup Quick Oats (GF)
1 cup Gluten Free Baking Mix (Arrowhead Mills)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9X13 cake pan with cooking spray.  Combine oil, sugars, egg, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Add the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon dough into the prepared pan spreading to the edges.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.


Gluten Free, Nut Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg or (egg substitute)
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum 
2-1/2 cups Gluten Free Baking Mix (Arrowhead Mills)
1-1/2 cups Quick Oats (GF)
2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 cake pan with cooking spray.  Combine oil, sugars, egg, coconut milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl and mix on medium for 1 minute.  Add the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon dough into the prepared pan spreading to the edges.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool slightly before cutting into bars.

Mar 12, 2014

Coconut Banana Orange Smoothie

2 cups Coconut Milk (more if needed)
1 Frozen Banana
1/4 cup frozen orange juice
2 tsp. of Honey if needed

Mix in blender and enjoy! 
*For extra texture, fold in some shredded coconut and chunks of fresh banana, so good!!

Mar 10, 2014

Grilled Peaches and Coconut Ice Cream | Dairy Free Goodness

As simple as grilling fresh peaches and topping them off with a delicious non dairy coconut ice cream! I used the So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk frozen dessert here. It truly is "SO" delicious! I have yet to make my own dairy free coconut milk ice cream, but when I do, I think i'll be adding chocolate chips to make a chocolate chip coconut dream ice cream dessert.
Sound's so good!

Grilled Peaches and Coconut Ice Cream | Dairy Free

Grilled Peaches
2-3 Large, firm but ripe peaches
1 tsp. mild olive oil
2 tsp. Turbinado Sugar or Raw Sugar
Grill Pan

Cut peaches in half and remove the pit.
Heat grill pan on medium heat.
Brush a small amount of the olive oil on peach halves so they don't stick to the grill pan.
Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the peach as well. This will give a beautiful caramelized effect to the grilled peaches. Place peaches on pre-heated pan pressing down for 5 seconds. Remove pressure from peach and allow to cook for around 1-2 minutes. When peach has nicely grilled with caramelization turn over and cook for an additional minute.
Remove to platter. 

Serve with a dollop of dairy free coconut ice cream and ENJOY!