Tag Archives: dairy free

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Oyster Chowder

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Oyster Chowder at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comI jumped at the chance to join the Cook the Books selection for February/March of Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens [affiliate code] by Andrew Beahrs. Me and Mr. Twain go way back. Of course, there’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which I read in grade school. But I didn’t appreciate him until my freshman English teacher introduced us to Letters from The Earth in college. A very cynical and sarcastic college of essays that was perfect for someone who loved Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller.

I’ve dipped into Twain’s works since then, but after all these years I didn’t realize what a gourmand he – well, Samuel Clemens – was. Documented in his first successful novel, A Tramp Abroad [affiliate code], Mr. Twain  takes every opportunity to poke fun of the horrid hotel food in Europe and how he can’t wait to come back to “a great cup of American home-made coffee with the cream a-froth on top” or “a plate of hot buckwheat cakes, with transparent syrup.” So different from today’s culinary adventurers who find bliss in every European bistro and sidewalk café and shutter to think of American fast food and chain restaurants!

Exploring American food ways with Twain’s Feast

Gluten Free Oyster Chowder at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comEven if you’re not a big fan of Mark Twain’s books, if you love American food history, you’re sure to flip over Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens. He takes some of the foods Mr. Twain mentions in A Tramp Abroad, digs deeper into how people enjoyed them back in Twain’s time, and shows us how so many of foods that were taken for granted, like prairie chickens and terrapin turtle, are gone or endangered now due to environmental destruction and/or overhunting. I was fascinated to learn how certain fish and oyster species no longer exist in their native habitats, like the native oysters in San Francisco Bay and the trout in Lake Tahoe. In fact, we’ve had to transplant other U.S. species just to keep up with demand and our changing landscape!

My choice for Cook the Books – oysters!

Dairy Free Oyster Chowder at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comWhen Twain was living in San Francisco in the 1860s, oyster places were popular places for men (and men only!) to gather, talk, eat, smoke, drink – and drink some more. In 1892, according to Beahrs, Americans would eat 197,639,000 of dressed (meat only) oysters. It was the Age of Oysters! I find it sad today that most Americans go, “Ewwwww, oysters, how disgusting!” and won’t even eat cooked oysters let alone raw ones.

Inspired by Twain's Feast and food my husband makes me sometimes, I decided to make Oyster Chowder. While I was recovering from brain surgery, one night for dinner my husband made two versions of oyster soup – one with milk and the other with rice milk for me, since I have a food sensitivity to the whey in milk. The funny thing was that after trying both soups, Paul preferred the soup made with rice milk, which had a nice sweetness to it that complimented the taste of the oysters. The soup made with cow’s milk tasted like milk and then like oysters. It was kind of nasty, frankly.

There’s got to be a better, more delicious, and gluten and dairy free way to make oyster soup!

From oyster soup to oyster chowder

Healthy Oyster Chowder at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comWhen Paul made his oyster soup, he hadn’t bothered to thicken either with a roux or cream, so I wanted to figure out how to do that while keeping the soup gluten free and dairy free. I decided to try two methods in my oyster chowder recipe. Maybe this was overkill, but it worked out rather nicely to thicken the oyster soup into a creamy oyster chowder.

First, I added cooked rice to rice milk, heated it up, and then used an immersion blender to create a super thick rice milk broth. Second, I cooked up a roux with all purpose gluten free flour and a non-dairy buttery spread. While this served to further thicken the chowder and give it a velvety finish, it also added a lot of buttery flavor to the stew. If you’re used to making a roux with regular flour and butter, don’t expect a gluten free flour and buttery spread roux to brown. It just won’t. If you wait around, it’ll just start getting crusty and burnt.

I also want to add a note about oysters. I used canned Chicken of the Sea Oysters and was pleasantly surprised of their excellent quality. The oyster liquor tasted great and the oysters themselves were plump and fresh smelling. It’s nearly impossible to get fresh oysters outside of one of Hugh Acheson’s restaurants here in Athens and I didn’t want to assume my readers have access to fresh oysters or the budget to purchase them, either.

I did find fresh (dressed) oysters at Publix, but I don’t trust the seafood at grocery stores. Plus, eight ounces of (dressed) oysters were $6 versus $2.49 for the cans. Ideally, if I lived closer to Atlanta, I would have gone to the Buford Highway Farmers Market or one of the other Asian markets with an amazing fresh seafood selection and would have gotten fresh oysters and had them shuck them for me right there. Talk about fresh and much more affordable!

Finally, if you don't like oysters, feel free to use clams instead as this recipe would also make a wonderful clam chowder. Add a bag of frozen pre-diced potatoes at the end, heat through, and you're ready to go!

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Oyster Chowder at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Oyster Chowder

Ingredients

  • 7 cups rice milk, divided
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup dairy free buttery spread
  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 4 large stalks celery, minced
  • 4 (8 ounce) cans oysters, drained reserving the liquid
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 4 cups of rice milk and white rice in a large pot slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Bring to a low simmer.
  2. Take an immersion blender and blend rice milk and rice until smooth. (You can do this in stages in a blender or food processor instead.)
  3. Add remaining 3 cups of rice milk and bring rice broth back to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low.
  4. In a separate skillet, melt the buttery spread over medium to medium high heat for the roux. Add the gluten free flour tablespoon by tablespoon, stirring it in until the flour is totally incorporated. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the minced shallots, minced onions, and the reserved oyster liquid. Cook until the celery and shallots are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the roux, shallots and celery mixture to the rice broth. Stir until fully incorporated. If chowder seems too thick, you can add more rice milk if you like.
  7. Add oysters to the chowder and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Cook until heated through and keep on low heat.
  8. Serve with hot sauce.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: Serves 8 to 10
  • Serving size: 1 to 2 bowls

Coconut Milk Braised Pork with Lemon Grass and Ginger

Coconut Milk Braised Pork with Lemon Grass and Ginger at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

When I was diagnosed a few years back with food sensitivities, I found out that any products containing whey such as milk or yogurt were off limits to me. At first this was frustrating until I realized that companies like Silk have created wonderful tasting (and easy to cook with) alternative milks like their coconut and soymilk products. (I don’t use almond milk because of my daughter’s nut allergies.)

Since I’ve discovered Silk’s dairy free and gluten free products, I’ve really bloomed as a food blogger because I’m willing to use alternative products – from milks to sweeteners – in my cooking. This makes it easier for my readers who have food sensitivities and allergies to find delicious and healthy recipes to make at home that everyone in their family will like – not just the person who has to avoid dairy or sugar!

I feel good about using Silk products because they’re made without the use of GMOs, which I know is important to many of my readers, too. Silk is a leading supporter of the Non-GMO Project and is committed to ensuring that all of their products receive their verification. Plus, their seal is displayed right on the front of most Silk products.

Silk Unsweetened Coconutmilk at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

To learn more about Silk and get an instant coupon for .75 cents off any Silk half gallon, sign up for their monthly email blasts. When you register, you can also look forward to receiving more coupons, getting news of Silk sweepstakes and promotions, and have monthly chances to win a year's supply of Silk!

You can also connect with Silk on Facebook, on Twitter @LoveMySilk, on  Instagram, and Pinterest.

Cooking with Silk Unsweetened Coconutmilk

Coconut Milk Braised Pork with Lemon Grass and Ginger at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

To show you how versatile Silks alternative milk products are, I decided to make a milk braised pork recipe using Silk Unsweetened Coconutmilk. What I especially like about using coconut milk to braise pork is that unlike cow’s milk, it doesn’t curdle and you don’t need to strain the curds out of the milk before making the gravy. Silk Unsweetened Coconutmilk also adds a wonderful but subtle coconut taste to the recipe.

I gave the coconut milk braised pork a Thai flare by using lemongrass, ginger, basil and some sriracha sauce. If you cannot find lemongrass at your supermarket, Gourmet Garden has tubes of already prepared lemongrass. (They also carry basil and ginger.)

I cooked the coconut milk braised pork in a Le Creuset round braiser with lid, but a large Dutch oven would also work. Finally, serve the braised pork on a bed of quinoa, rice or with some steamed veggies on the side. Cover with a few spoonfuls of the coconut milk gravy and you have an amazing dish the whole family will love – at least my family did. Enjoy!

Coconut Milk Braised Pork with Lemon Grass and Ginger at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Coconut Milk Braised Pork with Lemon Grass and Ginger

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds bone in Boston butt (shoulder) pork roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon grass
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 medium onions, cut in quarters
  • 4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons rice or corn starch

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Evenly sprinkle salt and pepper all over the pork roast.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven or braiser over medium high heat. The pot should have an oven safe lid and be big enough to hold your roast.
  4. Add the olive oil to the pot and brown the pork roast well on all sides. (Don’t forget to brown the ends, too!)
  5. Add the onion, basil, lemon grass, ginger and sriracha to the pot. Pour the coconut milk over the roast, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover the braiser with the lid and transfer to the oven. Cook until the pork roast is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning the meat every 30 minutes.
  7. When done, turn off the oven, and take out the pot. Remove the pork roast from the pot, wrap in foil, and place back in oven to keep warm. Make sure the oven has been turned off!
  8. Place the pot on the stove top and bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
  9. In a small bowl, mix the rice starch with enough liquid from the pot to form a slurry. Pour slurry into pot and stir occasionally until the coconut milk thickens. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed. If you want, use an immersion blender to puree any pieces of onion and make the coconut milk gravy free of lumps.
  10. Place the meat back into the braiser. Pour the coconut milk gravy over the meat, cut into pieces and serve with rice, quinoa or steamed vegetables flavored with a few spoonfuls of the gravy.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours 45 Minutes
Servings: Feeds 4 to 6 with leftovers.
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Kale Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Earlier this week I posted a recipe for Citrus Hummus as a healthy appetizer for Oscar watching parties. Well, if you’re looking for something more decadent and indulgent, look no further than chocolate fondue! Unlike other fondues, this one uses coconut cream instead of whipping cream. So if you have a food sensitivity to dairy (or whey like me) you can indulge in as much chocolate fondue as you like without worrying about a tummy ache the next day!

This chocolate fondue is so rich and creamy that it’s pretty tough to eat too much of it. I found that after dipping a few strawberries or marshmallows, I was on chocolate overload and had enough. Since none of us could eat a lot of chocolate fondue, we had quite a bit leftover when I made this on New Year’s Eve. So I kept the chocolate fondue in the pot, covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the refrigerator. Then I just heated the pot on low on my stovetop the next few evenings when it was time for dessert!

You can also put the leftover fondue into a brownie pan as the firmed up chocolate makes excellent refrigerator fudge. Just cut off a piece when you want to indulge in some creamy chocolate!

Fondue pots!

I have an old green aluminum fondue pot from the ‘70s that I found at a thrift store. However, the fondue pot I love using is my Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Fondue Pot [affiliate link] shown here. What I especially like about this fondue pot that you can prepare the chocolate fondue right in the pot on your stovetop instead of using another pot and then transferring the chocolate. Since its enameled cast iron, it heats up the same as my other Le Creuset pots, so I don’t run the chance of accidentally scalding the chocolate.

The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Fondue Pot also has an extremely sturdy and heavy stand, so you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally tipping over the pot or knocking over the burner element since it’s built right in.

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Easy Dairy Free Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream (not milk)
  • 1 (20 ounce) bag semi-sweet organic chocolate chips (dairy free & gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (gluten free)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Goodies for dipping: strawberries, marshmallows, chunks of banana, sponge cake, etc.

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan or stovetop safe fondue pot, heat coconut cream over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add chocolate chips. Lower heat.
  3. Stir until chocolate is fully melted.
  4. Transfer to fondue pot, if needed and serve warm with favorite dippers.
  5. Add vanilla extract and salt. Stir frequently until chocolate is fully melted
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Makes about 4 cups
  • Serving size: Up to you!

Healthy Moussaka with Gluten Free Bechamel Sauce

Healthy  Moussaka with Gluten Free Béchamel Sauce at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comWhen we visited the Hellas Bakery & Restaurant in Florida in December, Paul and I tried the moussaka. It was part of a huge combination dish that included gyro meat, pastitsio (a type of Greek lasagna), and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Moussaka is sort of like a cross between a shepard's pie and eggplant parmesan and delicious. However, I had a feeling the moussaka probably wasn’t gluten free, so didn’t eat too much of it.

Smart on my part, because a traditional Greek moussaka recipe calls for a layer of béchamel sauce over the layers of ground lamb and sliced eggplants sautéed in olive oil. Béchamel sauce is made from flour, milk and butter – three things I have food sensitivities to. Since it was so tasty, it inspired me to create a healthy moussaka recipe to serve a home.

I guess I’m not the only person who loves moussaka. I recently came across moussaka recipes in the January 2014 issue of Cooking Light and a recent issue of Jaime Oliver’s UK-based magazine, which I highly recommend if you don’t mind paying $10 for it. Here I thought I was being so unique, and now I find I’m part of a food trend!

Healthy  Moussaka at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Creating a healthier moussaka

To health up the moussaka, I first changed the meat. Even though I love lamb, it’s very greasy. Instead, I used very lean ground turkey combined with lots of chopped vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions. If you prefer lean ground beef, you can use that instead. I also cut back on the eggplant since it has to be fried in quite a bit of olive oil.

I also punched up the flavors a bit by using Penzeys Spices Greek Seasonings and fresh basil. If you don’t have any Greek Seasonings, use 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil instead.

I then created a gluten and dairy free version of the béchamel sauce. I loved how the sweetness of the rice milk added a nice flavor to the béchamel sauce. Also, since I did use cheese in the dish, the overall moussaka recipe isn’t strictly dairy free. So, if you are dairy free, you can omit the Reggiano-Parmesan or use a vegan substitute.

And a note on buttery spreads. I personally like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter as it’s soft and easy to measure right out of the refrigerator. However, it does have a teeny bit of milk in it. If you’re vegan or need to be 100% dairy free, use a spread like Earth Balance instead.

Healthy  Moussaka with Gluten Free Béchamel Sauce at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Healthy Moussaka with Gluten Free Béchamel Sauce

Inspired by English Rose’s Low Fat Healthy Moussaka

Ingredients

For moussaka:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 3 teaspoons Penzeys Spices Greek Seasonings
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup grated Reggiano-Parmesan (optional or use a vegan substitute)
  • Fresh Basil, chopped for garnish

For gluten free béchamel sauce:

  • 4 cups rice milk
  • 1/2 cup buttery spread
  • 1/2 cup gluten free multipurpose flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste

Directions

For moussaka:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat adding enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Place slices of eggplant in the pan and fry each side for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and softened. Remove slices and place on a paper towel covered plate. Cover with more paper towels and set aside. (Repeat with next layer of cooked eggplant.) Cook the rest of the eggplant slices in batches.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in the same frying pan over medium high heat and cook the onions, peppers, and mushrooms for 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the ground turkey to the frying pan and cook, breaking up the meat with your spoon or spatula, until the turkey is browned. Carefully drain any water in the frying pan after turkey is fully cooked.
  4. Add the cooked vegetables to the frying pan. Stir in the garlic cloves, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, Greek seasonings, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove frying pan from stove and set aside.
  6. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Prepare béchamel sauce.
  8. Place half of the meat and vegetable mixture in a 9x13 casserole dish.
  9. Cover with a layer of half of the cooked eggplant.
  10. Cover with the remaining meat mixture, then a layer of the remaining cooked eggplant slices.
  11. If using, sprinkle Reggiano-Parmesan cheese evenly over the last layer.
  12. Then gently pour the béchamel sauce over the entire dish and carefully smooth out with a spatula if needed.
  13. Cook moussaka in the oven for 45 minutes until bubbly and the top begins to brown.
  14. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.

For gluten free béchamel sauce:

  1. Pour rice milk into a saucepan and bring to nearly boiling over medium high heat. Lower temperature, but keep rice milk hot and steamy!
  2. Melt buttery spread in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in the gluten free flour. The melted butter and gluten free flour will form a paste.
  4. Pour in the hot rice milk by the 1/2 cup, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens and bubbles.
  5. Turn off heat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 2 Hours
Total Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1/6 to 1/8 of recipe

Gluten Free Moussaka at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Stay healthy during the holidays: Raw Oatmeal "Risotto"

Raw Oatmeal "Risotto" from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Last month I shared with you a couple of brunch time recipes that would be a great way to add some Benefiber® to your daily routine in my Mexican themed brunch: Chorizo Breakfast Casserole and Healthy Horchata post. If you’re gluten free and not getting fiber from whole grains, it’s especially important to add fiber to your diet from fruit, vegetables and products like Benefiber.

If you’re gluten free and very strict about it, make sure to buy certified gluten free oatmeal. Oatmeal is naturally gluten free, but some brands of oatmeal may be subject to cross-contamination since they’re processed on the same machinery as gluten containing foods.

Stay healthy during the holidays

This month, I’m featuring a recipe for Raw Oatmeal “Risotto” from Benefiber and Chef Richard Blais. It’s perfect for the holiday season when we get too busy to eat in a healthy way, especially with all those unhealthy treats and overindulging during holiday parties! Fiber is one of the most important parts in everyone’s diet and it’s easy to forget to have your daily recommended amount during the holiday season.  By incorporating Benefiber into your holiday meals, you can keep your friends and family on track – and they won’t even taste the difference!

Raw Oatmeal "Risotto" from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Raw Oatmeal "Risotto"

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw steel cut oats, divided in half (gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup finely ground raw almonds
  • 4 cups coconut milk or almond milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar, amber
  • 1/4 cup chopped Medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 teaspoons Benefiber
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For garnish, use a combination of any of the following:

  • Chopped walnuts, sliced banana, pomegranate seeds, raisins, goji berries, cacao nibs, and/or hemp seeds

Directions

  1. Grind or blend half the oats.
  2. Combine with remaining oats and all ingredients and let sit overnight.
  3. Mix the following morning and top with garnishes of your choosing.
  4. Mix in a little water or milk if texture is too thick.
Prep Time: 12 Hours 15 Minutes
Total Time: 12 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

Some healthy holiday tips

Below are some holiday prep and cooking tips from Chef Richard Blais to help you “Better it with Benefiber” this holiday season.

  1. Plan ahead. Organize your menu and grocery list ahead of time to avoid last minute dashes to the grocery store the day of. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Benefiber!
  2. Organize the kitchen. Take inventory of your refrigerator and throw out anything you don’t need to make room for fresh produce and vegetable platters.  
  3. Incorporate fruits and veggies that are in season. Using the season’s abundance of fresh produce will add a little zest to your dish of choice without taking too much from your wallet. For added fiber, mix in Benefiber to help you and your guests reach your daily intake!
  4. A little seasoning can go a long way. A great way to cut back on the salt without sacrificing flavor is by substituting for your favorite herbs and spices. You don’t want your food to be tasteless – only your added Benefiber.
  5. Serve dinner buffet style. Set the food in one area and invite guests to select what they want to eat. It will be more fun for your guests to move around and interact with each other around the buffet table.

I’m a Benefiber® brand ambassador. I’ve been compensated for my work and all opinions are my own.

Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts

Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Do you have a baking fantasy? I do! Mine has to do with Payton Manning showing up at my door with a box of my favorite Rainbow Seven Layer Cookies and a couple of tickets to the Super Bowl. Because you know the Broncos are going this year, right?

Seriously though, my my down to earth baking fantasy has to do with the recipe turning out right in the first place. I’m not much of a baker, which is why I rely on mixes and premade gluten free pie crusts. Heck I can’t even get premade pie dough to work out no matter how hard I try. It’s sad really because I used to be quite the bread baker when I was a kid. Nowadays, I let my daughter do the baking. Well, I did until I realized she was the one who was eating all the cupcakes and hiding cans of frosting and sprinkles in her room. Can you say, “Sugar fiend?”

These days I try to keep it simple and stick to fool proof baking like Gluten Free Coconut Macaroons, Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread, or Gluten Free Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Luckily, gluten free baking has become so much easier thanks to all the great all purpose gluten free baking mixes on the market. They make my baking fantasies a reality. And without getting a gluten headache or any tummy pain, too!

Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Speaking of which, do you know what a pain it is being unable to make delicious nut laden recipes because you have a child with nut allergies? That’s why pine nuts are such a wonderful thing! They’re seeds, not nuts, and can be substituted for nuts in many recipes. (They may be processed on the same machinery as other nuts, so if you’re hyper-allergic to nuts, best to avoid them altogether.)

So here’s to baking fantasies coming true with my Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts!

Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten & Dairy Free Coffee Cake Topped with Berries & Pine Nuts

Inspired by this recipe

Ingredients

Coffee Cake

  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten free rice flour blend
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup buttery spread, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free rice flour blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen berries, thawed and drained of juices
  • 1/3 cup Diamond of California pine nuts

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar or sugar substitute (confectioners style)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice milk

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour the bottom and side of a 9-inch round springform cake pan with shortening and gluten free rice flour blend.
  3. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup sugar, softened buttery spread, and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
  4. Beat in 1/2 cup rice milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until just blended.
  5. Using a spatula, stir in flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
  6. Evenly spread batter, which will be the consistency of dough, in the pan with a spatula.
  7. In medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over batter.
  8. Add berries and pine nuts to remaining sugar mixture and toss until well coated.
  9. Spoon berry and nut mixture over batter. Press lightly into batter.
  10. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  11. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. (If your berry layer is still very moist after baking, the glaze will spread out and cover the entire coffee cake. If so, you may want to use a pastry brush to gently even out the glaze.)
  12. Let coffee cake sit for 10 minutes. Place cake pan on a decorative platter and gently remove springform ring from cake pan.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: Serves 8
  • Serving size: 1/8 of cake

Diamond Nuts. Bake and you shall receive. 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Diamond Foods via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Diamond Foods.

Mexican themed brunch: Chorizo Breakfast Casserole and Healthy Horchata

Chorizo Breakfast Casserole at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

For a lot of us who eat gluten free diets, it’s very important that we’re getting fiber from sources like vegetables since we’re not getting it from grains. Of course, even those of use who aren’t gluten free have problems getting enough fiber in their diet. That’s why I decided to partner with Benefiber® as a brand ambassador, because getting enough fiber in your diet is important.

What I really like about Benefiber Powder is that it can be added not only to drinks, but to your cooking! And not just the obvious things like smoothies or sprinkling it on your morning breakfast cereal. You can also use Benefiber in anything from soups to baked goods. Unlike most other fiber powders, Benefiber Powder is grit-free and non-thickening. It’s also taste-free, gluten free and you can use it in hot or cold foods. The only thing you can’t put Benefiber powder in is carbonated beverages!

To learn more about Benefiber, check out their FAQs at benefiber.com/faqs/. You can also connect with Benefiber on Facebook.

A Mexican brunch - Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Casserole and Healthy Horchata

Mexican themed brunch: Chorizo Breakfast Casserole and Healthy Horchata at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

As a Benefiber Brand Ambassador, I’ve been asked to create some brunch  recipes using Benefiber. I wanted to keep the dishes healthy, easy to make for weekday morning work meeting or teacher appreciation party, and delicious, of course. My family loved the Chorizo & Egg Breakfast Casserole. You can prepare this the night before and bake it that morning. If you cannot find chorizo at your local grocery store, make your own homemade chorizo using ground beef, pork or something leaner like venison or buffalo.

The beauty of this dish is that there’s so much flavor from the chorizo and salsa fresca that you don’t have to add any seasonings to the dish – not even salt. As far as the added Benefiber? No one had any idea it was added as there was no weird texture or flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) container salsa fresca
  • 1 red onion, cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, shredded (leave skin on)
  • 6 eggs
  • 8 1/2 ounces egg whites
  • 1/3 cup Benefiber powder
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Queso fresca, crumbled (optional garnish)
  • Cilantro, finely chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Drain salsa fresca in a fine mesh colander. Set aside.
  3. Shred sweet potato using a food processor with shredding attachment. You could also do it by hand with a box grater if you’re strong enough! Set aside.
  4. Place eggs, egg whites and Benefiber powder in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  5. Removed chorizo from casings, if necessary. Cook chorizo in a large skillet over medium-high heat, using a spatula to break into small pieces. Cook until browned and cooked completely through.
  6. Add onion and shredded sweet potato. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add salsa fresca and spinach to skillet. Cook until spinach begins to wilt, about 4 minutes.
  8. Pour chorizo mixture into the prepared 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Using a spatula, spread evenly.
  9. Pour whisked eggs over the top. Make sure to mix the eggs into the chorizo mixture with a spatula.
  10. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When done, the casserole middle should not be wiggly in the middle and the edges should be lightly browned.
  11. Remove from oven, garnish casserole with a light sprinkling of crumbled queso fresca and chopped cilantro if desired
  12. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut and serve.
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: Serves 8
  • Serving size: 1/8 of casserole

Healthy Horchata

Healthy Horchata at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I paired the spicy Chorizo Breakfast Casserole with a traditional Mexican drink designed to cool off your palate – horchata. I made horchata the easy way – instead of soaking rice overnight I just used rice milk. Much more convenient! I also sweetened it with stevia instead of sugar or agave to reduce the calories. What I love about horchata, besides that it’s dairy free, is the combination of cinnamon and vanilla. It feels sort of Christmassy even though it’s a cold drink that’s served all throughout the year.  If you’re making this for Sunday brunch, feel free to add a little rum to it!

Healthy Horchata

Makes 4 8-ounce servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup stevia
  • 2 tablespoons Benefiber powder
  • pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pitcher or large measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Whisk until combined and pour into glasses.
  3. Drink immediately. If contents settle, stir with a spoon.

I’m a Benefiber® brand ambassador. I’ve been compensated for my work and all opinions are my own.

Healthing up holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Maybe I’m just a little out of it due to my recent follow up brain surgery. Or maybe because it barely feels like fall here in Georgia since the leaves in our backyard have just started to turn red, gold, orange and brown. Yet, it’s holiday party and entertaining time!

I’m always on the lookout for healthy and easy to make appetizers and this one from the folks at Prosciutto di Parma fits the bill. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of bacon wrapped anything when it comes to appetizers – dates, mushrooms, scallops, and so on. But not very healthy, right? Well, you can still get that wonderful salty pork flavor, avoid the grease, and make a much more sophisticated and elegant appetizer with prosciutto. Best of all Prosciutto di Parma is 100% all-natural and gluten free – perfect since so many people have issues with gluten these days.

You can take slices of prosciutto and wrap them around asparagus spears or melon. Or try them in this recipe for Prosciutto di Parma Caramele. The prosciutto is wrapped around a simple-yet-delicious filling of fresh ricotta cheese and herbs to look just like little Italian candies, or carameles. Make this even healthier by using a low fat ricotta.

If you have dairy free guests, substitute extra firm tofu for the ricotta. Use a blender to make the tofu smooth and then add the parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper to it. If you find the mixture is too dry or maybe missing a little flavor, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to the tofu mixture.

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Prosciutto di Parma Caramele

Recipe courtesy of Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces ricotta, strained overnight
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces Prosciutto di Parma (approximately 16 slices)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine strained ricotta, parsley, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper; mix until herbs are evenly distributed; set aside.
  2. On a cutting board, cut each slice of Prosciutto di Parma into 2 to 3 squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of ricotta mixture onto the center of each square; roll prosciutto around ricotta mixture so that the seam faces down. Gently pinch the two ends of the roll to achieve the shape of a caramel.
  3. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and ricotta mixture. Drizzle caramele with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of chives.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Makes 16 servings
  • Serving size: 1 appetizer

Recipe and photo used with permission

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from All the Good Cookies

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comYou may have heard about Gretchen Holt-Witt, who back in 2007 after her  two-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer, “baked a difference” by hosting a bake sale and raised more than $400,000 for pediatric cancer research. From the success of that one bake sale, she founded Cookies for Kids Cancer, a national non-profit that encourages people to be “Good Cookies,” by hosting bake sales and other grassroots fundraising events.

The organization also raises funds through online sales of all-natural gourmet cookies, with ALL profits going to pediatric cancer research. With the holidays coming up, they’re introducing two limited edition gift sets that also include a copy of All the Good Cookies [affiliate link]. The cookbook features over 65 cookie recipes including a chapter dedicated to food allergies (which includes gluten, dairy, and nut free recipes) and even doggie treats, along with dozens of inspirational stories. All author proceeds from the book are donated to cancer research.

Good Cookies” & Milk Holiday Set

If you’re already thinking of doing some online holiday gift shopping and are looking for gifts that give back, consider purchasing the “Good Cookies” & Milk Holiday Set. It has a copy of the All the Good Cookies cookbook, two Bormioli Rocco glasses, and a matching carafe, perfect for cookies and milk. This limited edition gift set is perfect for sharing cookies and milk, and is sure to help make memories throughout the year. It goes on sale November 1, 2013 for $59.99 (including shipping!)

Below is a sample gluten and dairy free recipe from All the Good Cookies – Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from All the Good Cookies. You could make this nut free by substituting sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter and using pine nuts instead of peanuts. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanuts and peanut butter pack extra peanutiness into these flourless cookies, and their saltiness is the perfect balance to the brown sugar. For a sure bake sale sellout, take them to the next level by dunking half of each cookie into melted chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups natural-style creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter, sugar, eggs, and baking soda in a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chopped peanuts.
  3. Using a heaping small (2-teaspoon size) cookie scoop, drop the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Top cookies with chocolate sprinkles, if using.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets on the oven racks halfway through the baking time. Cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough on cool cookie sheets.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 - 12 Minutes
Total Time: 20 - 22 Minutes
Servings: about 4 dozen cookies
  • Serving size: 1 cookie

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce

Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce

This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was A Spoonful of Thyme. Like me, Kathy’s a big fan of bread pudding and features several versions of it on her blog – San Francisco Bread Pudding, Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Creamy Bourbon Sauce and  Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Frankly, I couldn’t decide which version to tackle. Instead, I took elements of two – the San Francisco Bread Pudding and the Bourbon Sauce from the other.

Then I made it both dairy free and gluten free since that much cream, milk and gluten would send me to bed with a tummy ache for a week. Inspired by Kathy sneaking in shredded coconut into her bread pudding recipes, I used canned coconut cream instead of cream and rice milk instead of milk. In the sauce, instead of butter, I used a vegan buttery spread, too.  I also used leftover gluten free hot dog buns from the summer I had in the freezer – waste not, want not!

Even though it’s perfect for folks with food sensitivities to dairy, whey and gluten, my Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce is by no means a healthy dessert. It’s full of coconut cream, eggs and booze! So keep it for special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other family celebrations. And watch your portions!

Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce

Since I was using Chattanooga Whiskey that I bought on my trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee last spring, instead of sugar I decided to sweeten the bread pudding and sauce with sorghum syrup, another southern staple. If you don’t have access to sorghum syrup, you can use honey, maple syrup or dark agave nectar instead.

Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce

Cranberry & Coconut Bread Pudding with Chattanooga Whiskey Sauce

Inspired by recipes for San Francisco Bread Pudding and Creamy Bourbon Sauce at A Spoonful of Thyme

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 8 cups gluten free bread, cut up into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups rice milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream
  • 1 cup sorghum syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup orange flavored dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

For the whiskey sauce:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice starch
  • 1/2 cup Chattanooga Whiskey, divided
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons buttery spread

Directions

For the pudding:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well. Let sit for 20 minutes so bread absorbs liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Pour into a greased 11 3/4 inch oven safe skillet or similarly large baking dish.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes until set. The pudding is done when it is puffy and golden brown. Serve warm with the whiskey sauce.

For the whiskey sauce:

  1. Combine coconut cream, rice milk, and sorghum syrup in a one quart saucepan and set over medium heat.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, blend the rice starch and 1/4 cup of the whiskey to make a slurry.
  3. Pour the slurry into the coconut cream and rice milk mixture and bring it to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the salt, buttery spread, and the remaining whiskey.
  6. Serve warm.
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: Makes 16 servings
  • Serving size: 1/16 of recipe

More from the Secret Recipe Club!

Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? You can sign up here.

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Unless we’re having a party, I usually don’t buy chips. However, there are certain people in my household who feel that watching sports on television isn’t fun without a bag of salt and vinegar salt potato chips. (Ahem.) So, when faced with a chips request, I try to find a brand that’s as healthy as possible. That’s why I buy Kettle Brand Potato Chips since they’re as wholesome as you can get for a snack food.

The folks at Kettle Brand Potato Chips cook real, unpeeled potatoes in small batches for a superior taste and a signature crunch. In addition, they use only the finest all-natural, non-GMO ingredients – no trans fats, no MSG, no artificial colors or flavors, and no list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. In fact, they’re the first potato chip to be verified by the Non-GMO Project.

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Taste wise, their chips are delicious and hard to put down! Our favorites of the 24 flavors they make are Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sea Salt, and Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Crinkle Cut Chips. Kettle Chips also makes four types of organic potato chips: Organic Country Style Barbeque, Organic Sea Salt, Organic Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper, and Organic Sweet Chili Garlic.

All Kettle Brand Potato Chips (including Kettle Brand Bakes, Reduced Fat, Organic, and Krinkle Cut Potato Chips) are gluten free and processed in a gluten free environment. They’re also considered to be safe for people with peanut allergies, since they’re processed in an environment free of peanuts and other nuts. The chips are processed on equipment shared with ingredients that contain very small amounts of dairy. Even though they thoroughly clean the lines after each flavor run, there's a slight potential of cross contamination. (See Kettle Brand’s FAQ page for more info.)

Kettle Brand Potato Chips inspired meatloaf

At my house, meatloaf is a popular but challenging dish. For years, I had to make it egg-free due to my daughter’s allergies. She’s grown out of her egg allergies, but now we have to deal with me being gluten free.

Inspired by Kettle Brand, I thought I’d use crushed potato chips instead of bread crumbs in my meatloaf recipe. I also used crushed potato chips on the top of the meatloaf for added visual appeal. To health up the meatloaf, I used shredded carrots and egg whites, and kept it dairy free by using rice milk. (Feel free to use regular milk if you don’t have a food sensitivity to dairy.) I used Kettle Brand’s Sea Salt Potato Chips, but you can experiment with your favorite flavor. I bet Kettle Brand’s Backyard Barbeque, Jalapeño Jack, or Cheddar Beer flavors would be wonderful in this meatloaf recipe, too!

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Since I used one of my favorite Memphis style barbecue sauces, I’ll serve that on the side instead of ketchup. In addition, I’ll be serving this with fresh green beans from the farmer’s market and some Easy Mashed Parsnips and Chives. And don’t forget, leftover slices of cold meatloaf make wonderful sandwiches!

If you double the recipe, you can freeze one loaf for later. Let the meatloaf cool in the pan. Then lift it out and cover completely with foil to freeze.

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Potato Chip and Carrot Meatloaf

Instead of the aluminum foil, you may want to use a two-piece meatloaf pan that has a perforated, elevated insert so fat can drain away as meatloaf cooks. Several companies like Rachel Ray and Wilton make them.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Kettle Brand Sea Salt Potato Chips – divided
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except for cooking spray and 1/2 cup of the crushed potato chips) in a bowl. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. You can use your hands or a potato masher.
  3. Line a 9x5” meatloaf pan with foil. Spray inside with cooking spray.
  4. Place meatloaf ingredients in the pan. Pat down evenly.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of crush potato chips evenly on top of loaf.
  6. Place meatloaf pan on top of a baking sheet and place into oven.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently remove the meatloaf by lifting up on the aluminum foil. Peel foil off of meatloaf, cut into slices and serve.
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Servings: Makes 6-8 servings
  • Serving size: 1-2 slices

What is your favorite flavor of Kettle Brand Potato Chips?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kettle Brand. The opinions and text are all mine.

Summer Berry Pudding Trifle

Summer Berry Pudding Trifle from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Whenever I have a chance, I turn into ABC’s The Chew (weekdays 1e|12p|c) for a little foodie inspiration. It’s one of my favorite cooking shows since it’s informative, fun, and not a cooking competition. (I’m a little burnt out on that type of cooking show.) The cooking by Carla Hall, Mario Batali and Michael Symon is practical, affordable and something just about anyone can make in their kitchen, like Carla’s recipe for Summer Berry Pudding – take a peek below!

Since I wanted to make something special for Fourth of July entertaining, I took Carla’s Summer Berry Pudding and turned it into a trifle so I could include a blue and white layer to match the red one. Due to my food sensitivities, I also made it gluten free, used stevia and coconut palm sugar instead of white cane sugar, and used a non-dairy whipped topping instead of regular whipped cream. The topping I used,  Trader’s Joe’s House Whip, has a tiny bit of milk in it that I can tolerate. If you have to stay away for even small amounts of milk, you may want to skip the whipped topping  altogether. Or you can try making whipped cream from coconut milk.  Another idea for the white layer would be vanilla coconut ice cream or a layer of coconut, vanilla or lemon sorbet.

What I especially like about trifles, aside from the cool presentation, is that if you have a trifle bowl with a lid, it’s very portable (great for parties and picnics!) and it’s easy to store leftovers right in the bowl.

Summer Berry Pudding Trifle from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Summer Berry Pudding Trifle

Based on Carla Hall's recipe for Summer Berry Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of gluten free raisin bread
  • 1 cup low sugar apricot preserves
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 4 cups blueberries, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered stevia (I like Stevia Extract in the Raw.)
  • 1 (10 ounce) tub non-dairy whipped topping

Directions

  1. Spread the apricot preserves on one side of each of the slices of bread.
  2. Line the trifle bowl with the slices of bread, jam side in. If needed, cut bread into smaller pieces to make a solid wall. Leave a few inches at the top for whipped topping and blueberry layers. Reserve a few slices of the bread to use as the top layer.
  3. Combine the raspberries, blackberries and 2 cups blueberries in a saucepot over medium heat with lemon juice, palm sugar, and stevia. Cook until the berries begin to burst, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Pour the berry mixture into the well in the bread-lined trifle bowl. Cover the top with the reserved slices of the bread.
  5. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the cooked berries and bread layer. Place a few plates on top to weigh it down. Place in refrigerator and chill overnight.
  6. Add a layer of whipped topping. Then carefully add the remaining 2 cups of blueberries.
  7. Spoon trifle into small bowls and serve.
Prep Time: 12 Hours 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 12 Hours 40 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1 bowl

Take a summer time break with The Chew

The Chew

ABC’s The Chew comes on at 1 pm ET, which is why I try to take my lunchtime break when the show’s playing. (I also DVR it!) I’ve been a fan of the show from the very beginning. (Read my review of The Chew from October 2011.) I originally started watching The Chew because I adore Mario Batali and Michael Symon. I soon grew to love the other cast members like Carla Hall because her recipes are so good, Clinton Kelly because of his entertaining ideas, and Daphne Oz since she gives good health and wellness advice. I also enjoy their money saving tips and the banter between the hosts and their guests. I’m sure the cast is also why The Chew is one of my mother-in-law’s favorite shows. We often watch the show together when she visits.

Here’s a recent The Chew episode you can watch FREE on Hulu for a limited time. If you’re growing a garden this summer, The Chew’s “Field of Greens” episode should prove inspirational! Curtis Stone guest co-hosts and whips up a delicious dish straight from the garden. Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly team up for a garden inspired recipe of their own. Also, the show visits the rooftop garden of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, which is fascinating!

I'm always looking for new ways to spice up my Summer dishes, and ABC’s The Chew serves up everything from grilling and outdoor entertaining to road trips and picnics. Watch weekdays 1e|12p|c on ABC to see what celebrity chefs Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Carla Hall, lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly and fresh face of healthy living Daphne Oz are dishing out to inspire you this Summer.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ABC’s The Chew. The opinions and text are all mine.
 

Thanksgiving meal planning: Moist Tofu Cornbread

Moist Tofu Cornbread at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

As an Udi’s Gluten Free Community Leader,  I know that the Thanksgiving holiday is especially hard for anyone who’s gluten free, has food sensitivities or allergies, or are just trying to eat healthy since everything seems to have wheat flour, cream, sugar, butter and nuts. That’s why we’ll be having a chat at Udi’s Gluten Free  Community next week on Wednesday, November 7 at 8 pm EST to discuss the challenges Thanksgiving brings. You can find the chat here. Hope you can join us!

It’s also why I’d like to share a recipe I got from Simply Soy, a wonderful cookbook put together by the Soyfoods Council. It was given to me earlier this year when they invited me to Iowa to learn about soybean production and the benefits of soy in your diet.

Vegan Tofu Cornbread at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Planning a Southern Thanksgiving

I’m making a southern-style Thanksgiving this year as it’s our first year living in Georgia. To me, nothing is more southern than cornbread dressing with the turkey, so I’ll be making Bon Appetit’s Cornbread, Sausage, and Pecan Dressing, but using pine nuts instead of pecans since my daughter’s allergic to nuts.

Unfortunately, most cornbread mixes contain wheat flour or “from scratch recipes” contain milk or eggs. Instead, this recipe from Didi Emmons, author of Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, uses tofu to make a dense, moist bread, and I’ve substituted an all-purpose gluten free baking mix for the flour. You can make it in any size pan, including an 8-inch square or round cake pan. It’s also a great cornbread for vegans as it contains no butter, dairy or eggs.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free baking mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary, optional
  • 8 ounces firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil a 9×5–inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose gluten free baking mix, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, squeeze the tofu through your hands until it is the consistency of scrambled eggs. Stir in the oil and 1 cup water. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. (The batter will be very dry.)
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
  5. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then rap the pan sharply to remove the bread, and cool the bread on a rack for at least another 20 minutes before slicing.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: Makes 12 slices
  • Serving size: 1 slice

________________
Disclosure: As a Udi's Gluten Free Community Leader I'm compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf. In addition, I was invited to an all expenses paid editor’s trip by the Soyfoods Council. All experiences and opinions are my own.