Monday, April 27, 2009

Moist and Yummy! Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Recently I ended up with a bunch of over ripe bananas - I'd bought too many for my daughter and they got ripe before she could eat them. My old standby in banana bread recipes is awesome, but it's so good because it has buttermilk in it, to make it moist. So I went online to try and find a good substitute recipe. I found one on the Food Network site, that worked with a few modifications. We enjoyed it, so I thought I'd share.

Be sure to try toasting a thick slice in the toaster over - it remelts the chocolate chips - YUM YUM YUM!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain unsweetend apple sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dairy/soy free chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt. In a large bowl cream together eggs and sugar. Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla, apple sauce, and cinnamon. Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time, until just combined. Add chocolate chips. Divide batter into two 9x5 loaf pans. Bake for about 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean (minus any gooey melted chocolate!). YUM!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Before I cut dairy and soy from my diet, I was a total rice pudding junkie. I made it several times a week and ate it for breakfast, dessert, and snacks. I was addicted. And my favorite (only) version was Dave Lieberman's. So when I had to stop eating diary and soy, I searched and searched for a decent rice pudding recipe that I could substitute nut or coconut milk in. Saddly, nothing compared to my good Dave Lieberman standby.
Now fast foward to a recent Whole Foods shopping trip....while in the "dairy" section, I came across a product I hadn't seen before...MimicCreme.
The product claims you can substitute it where ever you would use your coffee, in recipes, to make ice cream, etc. It's made from almonds and cashews, but unlike the other nut milks, it doesn't have a strong nut flavor (in my opinion). I got the unsweetened, but it also comes in sweetened and sugarfree sweetened.
Last night I tried my Dave Lieberman rice pudding recipe, subing equal parts unsweetened MimicCreme for the milk. It came out GREAT! My only complained about MimicCreme is it's's a bit dirty looking, and my rice pudding ended up looking a bit gray...but it tasted FANTASTIC!

Here's the recipe, with my minor modifications for a dairy/soy-free diet...enjoy!

Dave Lieberman's Rice Pudding

1 cup water
Pinch salt
1/2 cup Arborio rice
2 cups unsweetened MimicCreme
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Few dashes ground cinnamon
Plain rice milk, for thinning (if serving cold)

Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Shake the pan occasionally and cook until rice has absorbed the water but it still al dente, about 15 minutes.
Bring MimicCreme, sugar, vanilla, and a few dashes of cinnamon to a simmer in a separate saucepan. Add the cooked rice and cook at a simmer over medium-low heat until rice absorbs most of the liquid and mixture starts to get thick and silky, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer pudding to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Place in refrigerator until cool and set. Pudding will thicken in the fridge - so thin it with some plain rice milk when you're ready to eat it. Tastes great served with fresh raspberries or blueberries (or mix in some frozen ones). YUM!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Impatiently waiting....

There are a bunch of new dairy and soy-free products about to hit the market that I'm REALLY excited to try. The two biggies include a new yogurt called Nu Lait.
They have 5 flavors, 4 of which are coconut-based and 1 that is nut-based. The flavor combos sound really interesting. They have a Web site, but it's still under construction. You can read a review by an early taste tester here.
The other product I'm incredibly excited about is a soy-free margarine by Earth Balance. As you probably have already discovered, there really isn't any version of margarine avaliable to soy-free folks. Being able to cook, bake, or simply add a pat of "butter" to a baked potato is going to make life so much better! I know it sounds silly, but it's easy to feel sorry for yourself when you can't butter your toast in the morning.

This soy-free Earth Balance is suppose to hit stores in May, so keep your eyes peeled! I'll be stalking the local Whole Foods until it turns up!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - My Thoughts on Hemp Milk

I'd been hearing a lot about hemp milk as an alternative to soy milk and dairy, so I finally got around to buying a box and giving it a try. I'll be honest. I thought it was completely undrinkable - tasted exactly like drinking chalk...OK, I've never actually consummed chalk, but at least it tasted like what I imagine drinking chalk would taste like. I threw the box away, discouraged and alittle irritated, since it was dang expensive!
Then the other day I was on a shopping adventure in the local Whole Foods. I don't usually shop at Whole Foods, but when I want to load up the pantry and fridge with dairy/soy free stuff, I drag myself over there since they have a great selection.

Anyhow, I was perusing the frozen food section when I stumbled upon a new product...Tempt by Living Harvest. It's ice cream made from hemp milk.

Now, I realize I just finished saying how nasty hemp milk is, but I've been on a quest to find a good alternative for vanilla ice cream. The coconut-based ice creams make vanilla, but they have a pretty distinct coconut flavor that just doesn't work when you're looking for a pie a la mode experience. And most rice milk based ice creams contain soy. So I was willing to give hemp milk another try. Even the guy bagging my groceries was excited by Tempt. He hadn't seen it on the shelves yet and wanted to know what I thought. So grocery bagging guy, if you're reading this, here's what I thought....vanilla hemp milk ice cream by Tempt is....YUM!

It is really the closest thing I've found to vanilla ice cream. It's got a good creamy taste and texture, and there aren't really any strong flavors coming through, other than vanilla. Managed to get the hubby to taste a tiny bit (he was resistant), and he said it was actually decent, although perhaps a bit thick for his tastes. But that's pretty high praise, since I can't even get him to sniff the coconut and rice milk based ice creams. HA!

I had some with a piece of pear pie and it was really good. I'm going to try it in a root beer float this weekend. I've been craving one of those for months now!

So long story short, I'd steer clear of hemp milk for drinking, but if your local grocery store happens to carry Tempt, I'd encourage you to give it a try. I've heard hemp milk is good for cooking, but I haven't tried that and if I'm honest, I probably won't. Sorry.

Cupcakes that might REALLY take over the world!

So I've been craving something for dessert that's safe and really good. I was looking around online for recipes and I came across this great Web site: I was inspired and got her cookbook from the library. It's called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Last night I made her basic vanilla cupcakes (subing rice milk for the soy milk in her recipe). They were AWESOME! I mean it. They were simply divine. Moist, light, and super flavorful.
The hubby, who is not dairy/soy free ate one and announced "These are the best cupcakes I've had in my entire life." Wow. That's pretty high praise, and I'm inclined to believe him. Plus, I was pleased with myself for whipping them up so easily. HA!
If you're looking for soy/dairy free treats, you should definitely check out this book. It has a lot of soy products in the recipes, since soy is vegan, but you can easily sub rice milk for most instances of soy milk, and shortening or canola oil for vegan margarine. There are a few recipes that won't work with easy substitutions, but there are enough that will to warrent checking this out. I'm telling you, you won't be sorry! And who cares if you're not vegan - you're still allowed to eat these! Yum. I think I need to make another batch. Perhaps I'll try the chocolate ones this time......

Friday, April 3, 2009

Really Good Chocolate

I've found that treating myself is even more important, now that I'm dairy and soy free. I just need that extra little something decadent. Finding dairy-free chocolate isn't that hard, but finding chocolate that also happens to be soy-free can be challenging. Lucky for us, there is some excellent, organic, and fairy traded chocolate bars that fit the bill. Introducing Equal Exchange Chocolates!
Not all of their chocolate bars are dairy and soy free. Of course you have to avoid the milk chocolate varieties. But they do have a good selection of "safe" chocolate. My personal favorites include:
  • Dark Chocolate with Almonds
  • Dark Chocolate with Pure Cocoa Nibs
  • Chocolate with Espresso Beans

Go ahead - have some chocolate!