Gluten-free Vegan Pinapple Upside Down Cake

I have been searching for a vegan, gluten-free version of the traditional pineapple upside down cake for quite some time. Today I gave up and decided to make my own. It turned out fantastic! Super moist!
I added coconut flakes and used coconut milk but you could use rice or soy milk if you prefer. It would be fun to try this cake with raspberries, blueberries or other fruit such as peaches, cherries, etc. I could think of dozens of versions that would be great with this recipe. Try it out. You decide what toppings are your favorites!

1-1/2 C. Pineapple, chopped, diced, rings or crushed
1/2 C. Brown Sugar (you could use maple syrup or agave)
1/3 C. Coconut Flakes (optional)
1-3/4 C. GF All Purpose Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/4 C. Pineapple Juice
1/3 C. Coconut Oil, softened
1 Tbs. Flax Seed, ground
3 Tbs. Water
1/3 C. Sucant
2 Tbs. Agave nectar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract, gluten-free, alcohol free
3/4 C. Coconut Milk (canned or fresh; blend meat with water)
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (you could use white vinegar)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line bottom of spring-form pan or baking dish with parchment paper. Rub enough coconut oil on parchment to coat. Sprinkle brown sugar on parchment then put pineapple over sugar. If using coconut flakes, add. Set aside.

Mix together ground flax with 3 Tbs. water until well blended.
Add melted coconut oil, sucant (sugar), agave syrup, coconut milk, vanilla, and vinegar. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.

In large bowl sift together all dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and gradually add wet ingredients. Mix by hand until well blended. If necessary add more pineapple juice or coconut milk until consistency is like thick pancake batter. Pour batter over pineapple mixture in baking dish.
Turn oven temperature down to 325 and bake aprox. 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool. Remove spring-form sides from pan. To turn upside down place a large serving plate on top of cake then turn both the plate and the cake at the same time. Once cake is flipped remove bottom of spring-form pan and parchment paper.


Cheesy & Nacho Cheese Kale Chips! No more ‘Doritos’!

Kale chips

Kale chips

This is one of my most requested recipes. I hope you like it as much as we do!
Kale chips are a personal favorite around here. I make two big batches of these at a time and they are gone within a few days. I have certain friends who seem to know when I’m making a new batch because they always seem to show up just in time to help devour them! Salty, savory, sweet, you can adjust the recipe to your mood. Experiment, try the basic recipe and divide it in half, make half savory and half spicy or sweet.
Chose your favorite sauce below. Rinse and drain 1 large bunch of kale. Put kale leaves in a large bowl. If you use the curly leaf kale you will have more flavor pockets where the sauce hides in the curls of the leaves!
After you get your sauce blended and seasoned to your liking pour sauce over kale leaves and mix by gently squeezing sauce and kale with your hands until your kale is fully covered.
Lay out on dehydrator tray and sprinkle with hemp seeds. I even add more nutritional yeast on top for added “cheesy” flavor.

Sauce base
1 C. Pumpkin Seeds, soaked 3 hrs, rinsed well
1 Tbsp. Sesame Tahini
juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 teasp. Sea Salt
Water as needed

Add pumpkin seeds, tahini, lemon and salt to blender. Add water 1-2 Tbsp. at a time. (enough to blend ingredients well but not to make sauce runny. I like the sauce thick so it will stick to the kale well!) Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Cheesy Sauce
Sauce base then add;
1 Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
2-3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds, + 1 Tbsp. set aside
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Agave syrup (optional)

Add to sauce base in blender and blend until smooth. If needed add a touch of water. You want mixture thicker than salad dressing but thin enough to pour.

Nacho Sauce
Sauce base then add;
2-3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1 Bell Pepper, chopped (red, orange or yellow)
1 ripe Tomato OR a couple of Sundried Tomatoes, soaked for 1 hr.
Small handful Cilantro leaves, chopped
1 Clove Garlic
1/4 tsp. Onion powder
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Chili powder
1/2 tsp. Agave Syrup, optional
Chili (Red Pepper) flakes and hemp seeds to shake on prior to dehydrating.

Add ingredients into blender with sauce base and blend until smooth. Add water as necessary. Cover kale in sauce and lay kale pieces onto dehydrator sheet.
Sprinkle red pepper flakes and/or Hemp Seeds over leaves.
Dehydrate @ 105 until crispy.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Hemp Brownies!

This recipe is so much fun and you won’t believe it’s gluten-free. The best part? Egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and INCREDIBLY delicious!

Intensely chocolatey Vegan Hemp Brownies!

Gluten-free, Vegan Hemp Brownies

1 C. All purpose Gluten-Free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/3 C. Cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/4 C. Hemp Protein powder
1/3 C. Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 C. Maple Syrup or 1/2 C. Agave nectar
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed + 2 or 3 Tbsp warm water (mix together in separate dish)
2 teaspoons gluten-free Vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You can add cacao nibs or chopped nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts if you like. I also like a touch of peppermint extract for peppermint brownies.
Pour into 8 x 8 glass dish coated with coconut oil. Bake at 350 for 20 min.
I could barely wait for them to cool before…

Gluten-free, vegan potato soup

This is truly a comfort food around our house. I have made this soup for dozens of friends and family and every time the same responses; “wow!”, “this is really delicious!”, and my favorite; “This is vegan?!”
This soup is super easy to make and your kids will love it!

Roasted Fennel Potato soup

Vegan potato soup with roasted fennel

Vegan Potato Soup with Roasted Fennel
10-12 organic Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into cubes
8 C. organic broth (vegetable or mushroom work great!) +more or less amount depending on the size of potatoes. You need enough to cover potatoes in the pot.
1 lrg. bulb Fennel *see below
3-4 organic Carrots, cubed
Bay leaf
1 Tbsp. Poultry seasoning
1 Tbsp. Basil, dried
1 Tbsp. Parsley, dried or fresh
2-4 cloves Garlic (to taste)
pinch Paprika
1 tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper
*Nutritional Yeast to shake on top of each bowl of soup for an enhanced “cheesy” flavor.

*To roast fennel cut bulb into quarters, place on cookie sheet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the quarters. Roast in oven at 375 until bulbs are softened. After roasted and cooled enough to touch dice or cut into cubes, set aside.

In large pot add cubed potatoes and cover with broth. Add carrots, bay leaf, garlic, poultry seasonings, basil, paprika and sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Use a potato masher to press down cubes of potatoes.
After you get a ‘creamy’ texture from mashing the mixture, add your chopped, roasted fennel bulbs.
Garnish with chopped parsley and nutritional yeast.

Warming Curried Pumpkin-Apple soup

Pumpkin is loaded with health benefits! It’s full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is high in vitamin A and antioxidants, (alpha and beta-carotenes), it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of important minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s as good for the skin also! Along with being loaded with enzymes and anti-oxidants, pumpkin is moisturizing to the skin and also soothes irritated skin due to it’s high zinc content.
Mix it with fresh papaya or honey and treat your skin to a 5 to 15 minute mask. I actually grind dehydrated papaya seeds with pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder and add to my facial cleanser for dry, dehydrated winter skin.

I thought about all the wonderful pumpkin recipes we have been experimenting with since harvesting our pumpkins. Bread, cookies, smoothies, pie and pumpkin cheesecake, of course. We’ve tried it almost every way for a sweet, nutritious treat but what about a main course? It’s cold out! I want comfort food!
Here is a family-winning recipe (not an easy thing to do in MY family!). I made a double batch and it was devoured almost instantly!
This soup is so easy to make it left me wondering if that was really all there was to this recipe. The entire thing only took me 25-30 minutes including prep.

Warming Vegan Curried Pumpkin Soup

Warming Vegan Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 medium fresh pumpkin – seeded, peeled, chopped. (the easiest way to peel is cut into large chunks first, then use a vegetable peeler on smaller, easy to handle chunks.)
1 can Coconut milk OR 1 fresh young Thai Coconut, including meat and water
1-2 Apples, chopped
Fresh Ginger to taste, chopped or grated
1/2 teasp. White Pepper
1/2 teasp. Poultry seasoning

1 teasp. Curry powder,
1/2 teasp. Tumeric
1-2 cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped, grated or pressed
Agave to taste
pinch Sea Sal

In Vita Mix or food processor add pumpkin and some of the coconut water. Blend till smooth. Add apple, ginger, garlic and blend well. Follow by adding spices then a touch of agave if you like your curry sweetened a bit. (I used a LOT of fresh ginger which added a bit of a punch so the little sweetness of the agave was a nice compliment.
After blending well, leave Vita-Mix running long enough to “heat” the soup. (If you are using a food processor, you will need to transfer to a blender to get the smooth consistency. If you do not have a food processor, cut the chunks of pumpkin smaller and do small batches at a time. Add coconut water as you go for blending.

Pour into bowls or mugs and garnish with fresh chopped green onion, red bell pepper or fresh ‘chiffonade’ chopped spinach leaves.

*This recipe would also be delicious over rice. I’m going to try it with sprouted quinoa.

Gluten-free? What does that mean?

Gluten-free living. What is that?

First we need to understand gluten and it’s intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of grain. Gluten containing foods includes wheat, spelt, tricale, kamut, rye, barley, oats (although, not actually a gluten protein, but almost always cut on the same equipment cutting wheat so is taboo for people with gluten intolerance.) The stored proteins of maize and rice are sometimes called gluten, but their proteins differ from wheat gluten by lacking gliadin.

Although wheat supplies much of the world’s dietary protein and food supply, as much as 0.5% to 1% of the population of the United States has Celiac disease, a condition which results from an adverse immune system response to gluten. The manifestations of Celiac disease range from no symptoms to malabsorption of nutrients with involvement of multiple organ systems. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Gluten can affect your gut, your skin, and your brain.  Celiac disease, a genetic disorder, along with the myriad symptoms that can be experienced throughout your gastro-intestinal tract in response to gluten.  It also includes many other symptoms that do not stem from your gut.  These include brain and behavior disorders, irritability and tiredness, skin problems, muscular aches and pains and joint problems.

1 in 1331 Americans are effected by Celiac disease. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.

Because of the broad range of symptoms celiac disease presents, it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can range from mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss. If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory Celiac disease. It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible.

The only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. An adherence to a gluten-free diet can prevent almost all complications caused by the disease. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods.

It is not uncommon for people with Celiac disease to have trouble digesting dairy as well as gluten. Often times when someone who has a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease their digestive system can react to other proteins as if there is an intolerance or allergy present. This is because after ingesting gluten a person with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance the gut is damaged and will no longer be able to properly break down other proteins that normally would not be a problem.

People with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance realize they can not live in a gluten-free bubble. It sometimes seems that everyone around them is happily enjoying breads, pastas and cakes made with wheat and other gluten containing items while they are omitted from the party.

There are lists of gluten containing ingredients here. If you are one of those who also avoids dairy there are many hidden places and names for cow’s milk protein. Here is a list of dairy containing ingredients.

There IS a difference between having an allergy and having an intolerance to gluten containing foods. You can read more about it at here.