gluten free

Dairy-free Sugar-free ‘Ice Cream’

My kids like ice cream. Don’t all kids? But in a no sugar, low dairy household, ice cream or any of its non-dairy substitutes are not workable. I’m not the first person to make a frozen dessert from bananas, so no accolades for originality here. That said, the version we make is beyond delicious so I wanted to share.

Ingredients 

Frozen ripe banana chunks. (Whenever you have overripe bananas, peel and cut into 2.5cm pieces and then freeze)  Approximately 1.5-2 bananas per serving.

1 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter) for every 2 bananas

1tsp vanilla (optional)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions

Throw all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Scrape the deliciousness into a bowl (I prefer stainless steel) and put in freezer for an hour or two until it is the consistency of ice cream.

Scoop into a bowl and top with whatever toppings you like. We used chocolate sauce made from my chocolate recipe, poured it on and sprinkled with crushed peanuts.

 

Date Paste – Key Ingredient to everything chocolate and sugar-free!

The key to making most chocolate-based items successfully and without refined sugar seems to be date paste.  It’s easy to make, adds a ton of sweetness (and fiber and actual nutrients as opposed to the calories and nothing else good of plain ol’ sugar).  It has the bonus of being good and sticky, so eliminates the need for a million eggs that much gluten free baking requires.   And finally, perhaps the best thing about it, is it sounds like you’re fancy, but it’s really so ridiculous easy to make.

Because I’m using it for chocolate based treats, I use coffee to soak the dates.  I like the richness that the coffee flavor adds to the chocolate. You can’t really ‘taste’ the coffee in the treats, but I think it just adds some depth. You could totally use water if you are worried about the coffee flavor, or use decaf if you’re concerned about caffeine.  Caffeine and I are life long pals, so I go with the full strength version.

I buy my organic dates from Costco because it’s considerably more fiscally responsible – now that I’m not working, I like using terms like this.  Take away one full salary from a family, and you start to really get a sense of what it means to budget-cut, and demonstrate fiscal restraint!  Anyhoo..back to the paste.  

To make a couple cups of paste, I dump approximately half of one of these bags into the blender, and pour one cup of hot black coffee over them.  If you’re an exact measuring type (I am not….thank you Mom, for the genetic refusal to get caught up in the details of exact measurements and following directions) you can weigh out 14 oz of dates to get exactly half a bag’s worth.  Let them soak for a minimum of 15 minutes.  A bit longer is probably better.  I like to make up some date paste ahead of time, planning for a couple of recipes.  You can freeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a few days with no issues.

When the dates are good and soaked in the coffee, pour the remaining coffee into a cup leaving only a small amount in with the dates.  Blend them with a highspeed blender adding small amounts of the left over coffee as needed to get a very smooth, but still thick paste.  It should look a little like the photo below.  Kind of like peanut butter consistency.

And that is it!  Now you have some yummy date paste (taste it, it’s delicious) to use in chocolate recipes.  Sneak peek – I’ll be posting the recipe for these cookies later today, and the key ingredient is, you guessed it, date paste:

No Bake Haystack cookies – Sugar free, gluten free, simple, and delicious!

A couple of days ago I was making dinner (and it was a less than impressive dinner).  I was thinking about my youth and eating haystack cookies with Muriel (her favorite cookie, and my favorite ‘second mom’).  I was thinking it would be great to have a ‘Berrik’ friendly version of that cookie for the holiday season, although considering that cookie is literally more than 1/2 straight sugar, I wasn’t sure it would be possible.  So, while my uninspired dinner was cooking, I started mixing up some ingredients to see if I could make this cookie work.  The result was incredibly good.  Surprisingly good for a first run at it.  I took a few of them to the dance studio and shared with a couple of my dance mom besties (and a dance dad!) and they were met with approval.  Granted, the one mom was dying of hunger as she had yet to eat dinner…. but still, I think everyone thought the cookies were pretty good.  They were quickly kid approved in my house.  So I knew I was on to something good.  I wanted to try the recipe again, with a few minor adjustments though, before I posted it.  Yesterday I tried it again, made a few minor changes, and I think it’s pretty good.  My kids love the cookies, so ultimately that is always the goal for me!

You will see there are many substitution possibilities – that’s the beauty of this cookie.  The base of it is delicious, and the addition options are pretty much endless so you can adjust it to your own tastes or to accommodate food sensitivities/allergies.

The ultimate test would be for Muriel to try them and approve!  I may have to send her some.

Ingredients:

NOTE: The cocoa is not in the photo… I forgot.  But it’s the second most important ingredient. So don’t forget it.  🙂

1 cup  Date Paste

3/4 cup cocoa

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other kind of milk you’d like to use)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups gluten free large flake oats

1 1/2 cups long flake coconut

Approximately 2/3 cup of whatever other additions you’d like to add.  I have done 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, plus 1/3 cup walnuts, and in another recipe 1/3 cup pumpkin seed plus 1/3 cup chopped peanuts.  The options are limitless.  Dried fruit would be good also  Alternatively you can add more oats or coconut if you’d prefer instead.

Directions:

Heat up the date paste, coconut milk and coconut oil over low heat until melted and mixed together. Let cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.

Stir in cocoa, cinnamon & vanilla and continue stirring over low heat until well mixed.

Remove from heat and add oats, coconut and whatever other add ins you are using and mix well.  It should be just sticky enough to hold together.  Add more coconut and/or oats a little at a time if it seems too sticky.

NOTE: Taste the batter at this point.  If you are more accustomed to a sweeter cookie and that is your preference, add pure maple syrup or gently melted raw honey to taste.  I would start with 1/4 cup and go from there.

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Use a small cookie scoop or just roll by hand and place on parchment paper to cool.

After about an hour, put into an air tight container with parchment between the layers and refrigerate.  These freeze well also and taste really good frozen (which means that trips down to the freezer become a regular part of the day for me!)

Sweet potato fries – gluten free, grain free, and full of flavor!

I wanted  an alternative to regular potatoes that the whole family would enjoy and that would be good for us.  I had a few sweet potatoes so decided to attempt to make some ‘fries’ for dinner tonight.  Usually before I try something new, I will at least google a similar recipe for some ideas, but today I was under a bit of time pressure, so I just threw this together without much planning.

Ingredients:

Organic sweet potatoes

Almond flour

Coconut oil

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Cumin

Sea salt

Milk (I used coconut milk, but any dairy or non-dairy milk will work)

Directions:

Peel and slice sweet potatoes into ‘fry’ shaped slices.  Generously grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

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In a bowl, put a ratio of 1 cup almond flour, 1.5 tsp of garlic powder, 1.5 tsp onion powder, and a sprinkle of cumin.  Depending on how many sweet potato fries you are making you may need more or less of this.  I filled one full cookie sheet using the above amounts.

Pour some milk into another bowl.  Dip the fries into the milk and then dredge through the almond flour mixture and place on a cookie sheet until all ‘fries’ are on the cookie sheet.

Place into the oven at 375F and bake until the almond flour ‘crust’ starts to brown and the sweet potatoes begin to look slightly wilted.

Serve and enjoy.  I made a garlic aioli using mayo, pureed garlic and some hot sauce for dipping.  YUM.img_7479