Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dairy Free Chocolate Banana "Mylkshake" Anyone?

When we went gluten free a while ago, we discovered that a few of us also had to be dairy free.  That was a huge disappointment!  Personally, I have a harder time being dairy free than gluten free.  I love all things dairy:  ice cream, yogurt, milk shakes, and cheese!  mmmm.

While I have not found a cheese substitute that I like, I have created a chocolate banana smoothie that can rival any dairy milkshake any day.  This is a very healthy but delicious "mylkshake."  My kids beg for this all the time, and we have been known to have this for breakfast on quite a few occasions!

Chocolate Banana "Mylkshake"
2 c. cold water
1/2 c. raw cashews*
6 pitted dates (or can use less dates plus some stevia, if desired)
2 Tbs. cocoa powder
2 ripe bananas, peeled then frozen**
ice cubes

Blend the cold water, raw cashews, dates, and cocoa powder until smooth.  Depending on your blender, this can take a minute or two.  I don't have a VitaMix, so I blend it about 2 minutes.  Add the frozen bananas and blend just enough to puree the bananas.  If you like your mylkshake colder you can add a few ice cubes, but my blender is not powerful enough to blend the mylkshake after 2 frozen bananas are added.  This will make a full pitcher for my blender.  There are six in my family, so I usually have to make 2 pitchers before everyone is satisfied.

*I soak my cashews, drain, and rinse them before using.  It isn't necessary to soak them, but it is healthier and will make your mylkshake a little creamier, though it will be nice either way.  You can find more information on soaking here: 

**If you didn't freeze your bananas, you can add maybe 8-10 ice cubes when you add the bananas at the end.  You can add as many ice cubes as you want to make your shake as cold as you like.  I love to buy a ton of bananas, wait for them to ripen, then peel them and freeze them for those times when I want to have a nice, thick mylkshake or even a fruit smoothie.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Banana Cake Revised

     Ok, so we went to my mom's house to celebrate my son's birthday tonight.  I wanted to make my banana cake as 2 round 9" cakes instead of 8", so I thought maybe I should change some of the amounts of my ingredients.  Anyway, my husband said he liked my cake even better tonight than the one I made last night.  So, I'm putting up my revised cake recipe and will follow this one from now on since I liked it even better, as well.  There was a more pronounced banana flavor, and the cake was a tad deeper.  I made 2- 9" round cakes and made a maple vanilla cream to put between the layers.  Since my parents can't have chocolate, and my son prefers carob over chocolate, anyway, I made a carob frosting.

     Tomorrow night we are going to a New Year's Eve party, and it is our son's actual birthday.  I will be making this cake again, which my family is very excited about.  It will work out perfectly because there are a few people going to the party who have celiac disease and also cannot have dairy.  However, I will be frosting the cake with a chocolate ganache frosting instead of carob.  I love chocolate!

Grainless Banana Cake Revised
1 1/4 c. Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
1/2 t. sea salt
3/4 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
10 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 (12 oz.) can Thai Kitchen coconut milk--not light
      OR 1 1/2 c. MimicCream
3/4 c. honey
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 Tbs. pure GF vanilla extract
3 ripe banans, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Oil 2- 9" cake pans, and line with a 9" parchment paper circle OR grease 1-9x13" cake pan.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a small mixing bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the oil, milk, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour mixture and mix until well blended. Mix in the mashed bananas.  You could also add chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips if you would like.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake 45-55 minutes until golden and toothpick tests clean for a 9x13" pan.  If using round cake pans, baking time may be reduced, though I'm not sure how much since I make this in the larger pan.  Next time I use round pans, I'll make it a point to update this.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baked Oatmeal

     One of my family's favorite breakfasts has been oatmeal for some time, now.  I was so disappointed to find out that oatmeal was off limits on a gluten free diet, until I learned that the reason why oatmeal was not gluten free was because of contamination from gluten-containing grains.  I was excited to see that Bob's Red Mill manufactures gluten free oats in a dedicated facility. 
     While I realize that a very small amount of people with gluten intolerance cannot handle oats at all because the protein in oats is similar to, though not the same as, gluten, that has not been the case for my family, thank God!  I found a recipe for baked oatmeal on that sounded good as a starting point.  I altered the recipe to meet my family's preferences and needs, making this breakfast delicious, healthy, and very satisfying.
     While oatmeal cooked over the stove can have a somewhat slimy texture that is unappetizing to some, this oatmeal has a pleasant mouth-feel and taste.    
     Traditionally, my husband and I made an elaborate breakfast on Christmas morning which included pancakes.  This year, we decided to make the baked oatmeal in lieu of pancakes and invited my in-laws to come for breakfast.  It turned out to be a big hit.  My father-in-law normally hates oatmeal, but he loved this recipe so much that my mother-in-law requested the recipe from me! 
     In the future, we will be changing our tradition and will make baked oatmeal instead of pancakes on Christmas mornings in the future.  Incidentally, we also had scrambled eggs, MSG-free and GF breakfast sausage, GF Cranberry Nut Bread (recipe found at ), apples, orange juice, milk for those who could have it, and coffee (for those who could have it).  Over all, it was a very nice breakfast. 
     A great thing about this recipe is that you can double it and refrigerate the leftovers to eat throughout the week.  Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal    serves 8-10
6 c. gluten-free oats
1 c. pure maple syrup
1 1/2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
4 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
2 c. rice milk
4 large eggs
1 c. grapeseed oil, light-tasting olive oil, OR
          melted unrefined coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbs. pure gluten-free vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. raisins (or you can use dried cranberries, which is what
          I used on Christmas morning for that holiday flare)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.   Oil a 9x13 baking dish.  Mix all the ingredients together well and pour in the prepared baking dish.  Bake until golden, 45-55 minutes.

Testing the Waters

     When I was growing up, I spent most of my time reading books or playing imaginative games with my best friend. I played the piano, loved singing, and composed my own songs. Television was limited, as were video games. I remember a few times when I was young my dad brought out his "video game"--a big, bulky thing with two knobs. It was some kind of tennis or something. Each player (there were two) would turn his knob to move a line up and down his side of the screen, to hit a dot back across the screen to his opponent. My dad was very protective of his game, so I only got to play it once.
     I became aware of computers when I was in middle school. My best friend's family had a PC, so I would go to her house to play games sometimes.
     I didn't really become aware of the internet until I grew up and got married. After the birth of my third child, we bought a computer. That is when I finally started playing around on the internet. My husband taught me how to turn on the computer and get online.
     Over the last 10 years, I have gradually become more fluent in using the internet to research topics and play games. I have been exploring the world of blogs mostly over the last year, while researching nutrition and the role that food plays in our health. Almost everyone in my family has health issues that are directly affected by the food that we eat, so I have had to learn how to recognize the trigger foods and how to cook and prepare meals accordingly.
     My husband is the one who has been encouraging me to try writing my own blog. I have secretly played around with the idea for a little while, but I have been reluctant to try it--who wants to hear anything about my life or experiences? I'm just a stay-at-home homeschooling wife and mother of four beautiful children. However, I can't help but think there is someone out there, somewhere, who may find my life interesting--perhaps someone I can help on their journey.
     So, here I am. Starting a blog. Testing the waters. Is there anybody out there?