Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pear, Blueberry, Cucumber, Tomato Fruit Salad

I know, this sounds different… and it is different from your average fruit salad, but it’s good. I first discovered the wonderful blend of pears, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados, while doing a fruit cleanse (aka: fruit feast) as part of a yoga training. Until that time, it had never occurred to me to mix foods I considered vegetables, with sweet fruit. As I soon discovered, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocados are technically fruit, because they contain seeds. So you see, this works!

This idea, made me rethink what a fruit salad could be. Adding crunchy cucumber, and soft avocado, offer different textures to a fruit salad. Plus they compliment the sweet blueberries and pears.

Great, with or without dressing, this fruit salad is a MUST for summer. Enjoy!

Poppy Seed Dressing
by Laura Friendly
  • 4 tbsp light oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • juice & zest of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ¼ tsp salt
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, agave, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, poppy seeds and salt. Set aside.

Pear, Blueberry, Cucumber, Tomato Fruit Salad
by Laura Friendly
  • 1 pear, diced
  • 1 english cucumber, sliced or diced
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup sweet blueberries
  • 1 avocado, diced
In a large bowl, toss together diced pear, cucumber, tomatoes and blueberries. Pour Poppy Seed Dressing over the top and mix well. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, top with avocado and serve.

Also see this recipe on HelloGiggles!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

It’s only March, but Michigan is having an amazing weather streak (80ºF!). It feels like summer and I’m loving it. Inspired by this incredible weather, I’ve been prompted to pull out my ice cream maker. I’ve had a desire to give Strawberry Ice Cream a try, and this week felt just right for that adventure.

Being dairy-free, ice cream has never been high on my priority list. I’ve tried several different dairy-free options; soy, coconut and rice ice creams. Some are great, others are okay, but one thing these all have in common… price. Like many gluten-free foods, diary-free ice cream is expensive. I can easily spend over  $5, for a mere 16oz of deliciousness. Hmm… it’s time to start making my own.

If you’ve never made ice cream, I encourage you to go for it! It’s easy, fun, and you can buy a decent ice cream machine for around $25. You really have nothing to lose, and when warm, humid temperatures have you thirsting for cool treats… I suggest you give this delight a try.

Strawberry Ice Cream
by Laura Friendly
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Ice Cream Maker Time: Approximately 20-25 minutes
makes: about 5 cups (1 ¼ quarts)

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and cut in half
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cans coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free vanilla
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free vodka or white rum

In a medium sauce pan, over medium-heat, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring strawberries to a slow boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until strawberries have released their juices and the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a blender, combine cooled strawberries, coconut milk, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add in vodka or rum and blend for about 10 seconds to combine.

Pour liquid into your ice cream machine bowl, and churn for about 20-25 minutes, or according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately.

If you’d like a firmer consistency, transfer into a freezer safe container with lid, and freeze for about two hours to thicken. Before serving, allow to thaw for about 15 minutes.

See this recipe on HelloGiggles!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

I HEART cupcakes.

Cupcakes are the perfect treat. Specifically, yummy, gluten & dairy-free cupcakes… these are true delights.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a new recipe. A classic combination of coconut & lime, and it’s wonderful. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! After much tweaking, I finally feel this little devil is blog-worthy. The fresh lime brings zest and flavor, and the shredded coconut adds great texture; together they make a bright and delicious dessert. Happy baking!

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes
by Laura Friendly
start to finish: 45 minutes
makes 12 cup cakes
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup organic fructose sugar (or 1 cup organic cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 cup sweetened soy milk, room temp
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • ⅓ cup applesauce, room temp
  • ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • juice and zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, shredded coconut, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Add in soy milk, eggs, applesauce, coconut oil, lime juice and zest. Whisk together well, until batter is smooth.

Pour the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin liners. Bake in the center of a preheated oven, until dome shaped and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 20 minutes, depending upon your oven.

Cool the pan briefly, then gently pop out the cupcakes and continue cooling on a wire rack.

Once completely cooled, frost the cupcakes and cover in an air-tight container. They are best eaten the first day, but if you are making them ahead of time, they can also be wrapped individually and frozen.

Vegan Lime Butter-Cream Frosting
by Laura Friendly
start to finish: 10 minutes
makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes
  • ⅓ cup soy butter, room temp
  • 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • zest of one lime

Place soy butter into a large mixing bowl and beat until it is fluffy (using a hand or stand mixer).

With mixer running slowly, add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, and beat until crumbly. Scraping down the sides of the mixer as often as necessary.

Beat in lime juice and lime zest. Add in remaining powered sugar, beating slowly, until fully incorporated. Use immediately.

note: If the frosting seems too thick, add a little more lime juice (1 tsp at at time) until it becomes spreadable. If it’s not thick enough, add in more powdered sugar (1 tbsp at a time) until it’s stiff but still spreadable.

See this recipe on HelloGiggles!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Parsley & Cilantro Pesto

Today’s recipe is super simple but very tasty. Pesto. Parsley & Cilantro Pesto, to be precise.

I make this pesto more often than traditional pesto, because it’s less expensive, and fresh parsley and cilantro are usually available at the grocery store. A traditional pesto uses a combination of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and cheese. Basil and pine-nuts can both be expensive ingredients, so with this in mind, I created what I affectionately call, cheap pesto. But trust me, this doesn’t taste cheap. It’s FULL of flavor. The combination of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs are divine. I hope you enjoy!

Parsley & Cilantro Pesto
by Laura Friendly
Start to Finish: 10 minutes
makes: about 1 cup

  • 1 extra large bunch flat leaf parsley, washed and stems removed
  • 1 extra large bunch cilantro, washed and stems removed
  • juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tbsp)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (or 5 to 6 roasted garlic cloves)
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Combine parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor, and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, until it become a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. note: if the mixture seems too thick, continue to add olive oil, until it gets to your desired consistency

Toss with warm pasta and dive in!

You can also view this recipe on HelloGiggles!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash & Tomatillo Soup

In case you haven’t already noticed… I kind-of have a trend going. Basically, it’s roasted anything and everything. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been re-discovering the amazing flavors of fruits and vegetables, and enhancing them through roasting. There is something beautiful about letting these lovely life-givers, speak for themselves.

Sunday nights have quickly become my ‘roasting’ night. I turn the oven up and throw in everything: peppers, tomatoes, squash, garlic, beets and a random something I haven’t roasted before… this week, green tomatillos.

What is a tomatillo? Tomatillos are related to the gooseberry and are used often in Mexican foods. Green tomatillos tend to be more tart, and are great in salsas and soups.

This soup has a nice savory, spicy combination. The sweetness of the squash, blends with the tangy tomatillos, and is followed up by the heat from the cayenne pepper. You could also use roasted jalapenos in place of the cayenne, if you have a few on hand. I hope you enjoy!

Roasted Acorn Squash & Tomatillo Soup
by Laura Friendly
Start to Finish: 15 minutes (not including roasting time)
makes: about 6 cups
  • flesh of 1 roasted acorn squash, about 2 cups
  • 6 (or more) roasted tomatillos
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper
  • 2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup gluten-free tomato juice (or gluten-free vegetable stock would be good too)
  • 2 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander 
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to your heat level)
Roughly chop the tomatillos and pepper. Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large sauce pan. Warm over medium-heat, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

How to oven roast vegetables:
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Using a strong knife, carefully cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Score the insides of the squash with a sharp knife. Place each half into a baking dish, cut side up. (I like to add about ¼ inch of water into the baking dish to prevent the squash from drying out)
  3. Coat the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Bake until tender, about 35 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon.
  5. Increase the oven to 425˚F.
  6. Slice tomatillos and pepper in half, lengthwise (removing the seeds from the peppers) and place skin side up in a large oven-safe baking dish (or a 4-sided sheet pan). Do not overlap the vegetables but give them space. Evenly coat the skins of the tomatillos and pepper with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skins blacken and blister. Remove from oven and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Allow vegetables to cool and then remove all skins.

You can also view this recipe on HelloGiggles!