Saturday, September 24, 2011

A-Mazing Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

Last week I was tasked with making dessert when some relatives came for dinner. Hmmm...I've made so many batches of peanut butter cookies and a ton of pies in the last few months that I really wanted to make something new. After a bit of hunting online and a lot of pondering, I decided to try making a carrot cake. And what's a carrot cake without frosting, you ask....well, at least that's what I asked. HA! In the "good ol' days" (i.e. when I could have dairy and soy), I usually topped my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. That was definitely out. So a bit more searching, and I found an alternative - coconut cream frosting. Yum!

The cake and frosting turned out great, and I would definitely make both again. The cake was very moist, and the frosting has a really nice whipped cream type consistency. Not exactly diet food, but we're taking dessert here, so whatever. HA!
I will caution you on the frosting though - you must chill the cake and keep it in the fridge, or the frosting will melt.
OK. Enough talking, here's the recipe. Let me know what you think!

Carrot Cake
Adapted from Ashley Skabar's recipe
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 ½ t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground ginger
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plain rice milk (plain)
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil and flour a 9” Springform Pan, tapping out the excess flour.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt.

3. In another bowl, combine canola oil, applesauce, egg whites, rice milk, vinegar and vanilla until well combined. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the carrots until evenly incorporated.

4. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake, until a tooth inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool completely, and frost with coconut cream frosting (recipe follows).

Coconut Cream Frosting
Adapted from CassidyS' recipe

  • 2 cups coconut milk, refrigerated at least 24 hours** (note that I used the Thai Kitchen brand that CassidyS recommended, and only chilled for about 2 hrs - worked great)
  • 1/2 cup soy/dairy free margarine
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • 1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Beat butter on high until smooth. Scoop out the coagulated cream from the coconut milk and beat with the butter until smooth (the longer you refrigerate the coconut milk the thicker your icing will be). Add in the vanilla, powdered sugar, and lemon juice.

Wait to ice the cake until the cake has cooled completely, to avoid melting your frosting, and keep the cake refrigerated. Best to serve the cake after refrigerating for at least and hour, to ensure the frosting has set up.

** Imperial Dragon brand coconut milk from Wal-Mart is not recommended, as it can be hard to get it to separate. The Thai Kitchen brand works great and requires only a few hours of refrigeration.

Finally, if coconut isn't your thing, you could try this dairy-free buttercream frosting recipe - although I haven't tried it yet, so I can't vouch for it. If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The secret to awesome pancakes

A lot of folks have asked me about breakfast ideas, when you can't have dairy and soy. I for one, am not a fan of cold cereal with milk/soy alternatives. I like my cold cereal with milk. Period. So I pretty much don't do cold cereal anymore. I make a lot of baked oatmeal though, and have even gotten my 3-year old to eat it most mornings. I like it heated up with rice milk on top. She likes it cold, with no milk added.
Before I went back to being dairy and soy free for our second daughter, we used to make pancakes every weekend with our oldest. After the switch back to being d/s free, I tried substituting rice milk for the dairy in my pancake recipe. It tasted fine, but resulted in thin pancakes. The rice milk was just too watery.
Well, recently, I've discovered the perfect dairy substitute for pancakes, and in fact, my whole family has decided that it results in better pancakes then when we used milk in them. The secret?!?! OAT MILK. It's excellent for baking. EXCELLENT! So this weekend, try substituting Original Oat Milk (not the vanilla kind - too sweet), for the dairy in your favorite pancake recipe.
And in case you don't have a favorite pancake recipe, here's my old standby.....

Dairy and Soy Free Pancakes
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

1 cup all-purpose flour
1Tbs. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup original oat milk
2 Tbs canola oil

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, powder, and salt. Make a wel in the center of the dry mixture, and set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the egg, oat milk, and canola oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened - batter should be lumpy.
Pour about 1/4-1/3 cup batter onto a lightly greased griddle (I use an electric griddle sprayed with canola oil - but a nonstick pan would be great as well). At this point, feel free to add a few blueberries to the tops of the pancakes, if you want blueberry pancakes.
Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.

Makes ~8 pancakes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quick, Delicious, Dairy and Soy Free Indian Food

First let me start by saying I'm sorry I haven't had time to take pretty pictures for my posts. The fact that I'm able to find time to post still amazes me, given that I'm juggling so much at home these days. That being said, I'll try in the future to get some good pictures of the food I make, as that's one of my favorite things about looking at other blogs. HA!

But back to the subject of this post....Indian food. I love it. I've never cooked much at home, but I like going to Indian buffets a lot. At least I used to. Now that I'm dairy and soy free, I don't dare, since most Indian food has yogurt in it, and you can never be sure at a buffet what's in the food you're eating. So last week I was shopping at Costco with my father, and started perusing products looking for things I could eat...and boy did I hit the jack pot. In the refrigerated section where they sell pesto, salsa, etc. I found Maya Kaimal Indian Cocount Curry Simmering Sauce. It's dairy and soy free (not that the ingredients list on their web site says it contains vegetable oil (which is usually soybean oil), but the ingredients on the actual package say canola oil, so it's OK).

Tonight, we tried the sauce, along with homemade roti (a sort of Indian flat bread) that I made from scratch. It was AWESOME!!! If you like Indian food and have a Costco near you, run run run out and buy this sauce. It's super tasty and really fast to throw together for dinner. Here's the rundown....

Indian Coconut Curry with Chicken and Green Beans
Serves 3-4

1/2 container Maya Kaimal Coconut Curry Indian Simmer Sauce
1 1/5 lbs. skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed
Canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Lightly coat the bottom of a nonstick pan with canola oil, and cook the chicken until it's mostly done. Pour the coconut curry sauce into the pan with the chicken, and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add the trimmed green beans, and simmer until the beans are just slightly tender and the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve over white rice, with Roti on the side (I used this recipe for roti, following it exactly, except I used canola oil instead of vegetable oil).
Next time I'm going to toss in some cauliflower too - and potatoes would also be awesome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Tip: Make your own cooking spray

Today I thought I'd share a great tip that really helps make cooking dairy/soy free easier - especially baking.

As many of you probably already know, cooking sprays, such as PAM, contain soy lecithin, so they're off limits. This is a real bummer, since most baking recipes call for cooking sprays to grease the pans.

Well, no problem! Simply invest in an inexpensive oil sprayer, like the Misto, and fill it with canola oil, and you're good to go. These sprayers aren't great, but you can get one for under $10, so who cares if they break or don't work perfectly. Other than having to pump mine repeatedly to coat a large area, I've been happy with mine. So happy baking!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dairy/Soy-Free Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

Sorry for the delay in posting - life has been crazy. Baby is now 2 months old, and my 3 year old just started preschool last week - it's been hectic to say the least. HA!

So, I found this awesome recipe online for vegan blueberry cinnamon rolls, and I've kitchen tested it twice now. It's AMAZING! A great way to use blueberries (although you can easily substitute a different fruit - I'm thinking applies or other berries would be great - although I would NOT use frozen, as they would give off too much liquid when cooking and make the dough soggy).

Anyhow, I had to share here, and encourage you all to try this recipe. It's actually really easy (only one dough rise) so if you haven't made bread or worked with yeast dough before, don't be scared off. And I've been given the thumbs up from various folks who can have dairy/soy, and they've all loved the end result (took these to a brunch party), so don't be scared by the fact that they are vegan. These ROCK!

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
makes 8 rolls
adapted from Healthy Food for Living


1 cup vanilla almond milk, heated in the microwave for 45 seconds or until it reaches around 100 degrees F
2 1/4 tsp (or 1 0.25 oz packet) active dry yeast, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cup flour (plus up to 1/4 cup for kneading and rolling)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp soy/dairy free margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries (honestly, I didn't measure - just put what looks good in)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk (I used vanilla)
splash pure vanilla extract, about 1/4 tsp


Coat an 8×8 inch square baking pan, or 9-inch round cake pan, with canola oil baking spray. Set aside.
Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10 minutes, or until frothy (you may need to help out the yeast a bit by gently pushing it into the milk, but don’t stir the mixture quite yet).
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted margarine. Set aside.
When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the applesauce. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra all-purpose flour (up to 3 Tbsp) to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and margarine mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
Scatter blueberries evenly over the top. Gently push berries into dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Starting at a short end, carefully & tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (at this point you can refrigerate, covered, overnight or proceed on with the recipe.)
Remove the towel and bake rolls at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk, and vanilla extract.
Remove rolls from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer rolls to a wire rack, drizzle with glaze, and let sit for an additional 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dinner ideas: Thai Chicken Curry

One of the challenges I've found about being dairy and soy free, is coming up with ideas for dinner. There are tons of non-dairy, non-soy dinner ideas out there, but I get so hung up on what I can't have, that I have a hard time coming up with ideas for dinner. Not sure if you all have had that same challenge, but I thought I'd start a series with ideas for dinner, in case you find it helpful too.

Tonight I had some leftover roasted chicken, and not a lot of time to make dinner. I also had a can of coconut milk in the pantry. I did a quick online search and decided to try making coconut curry with chicken. It was fast, easy, and tasted great. You can easily add more veggies and/or leave the chicken out, depending on your tastes.

Thai Chicken Curry
recipe adapted from

  • 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, whisked to blend
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Thai curry paste
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used leftovers from a roasted chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt, to taste

Bring 1/4 cup coconut milk and curry paste to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Add bell pepper and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in chicken, remaining coconut milk, sugar and fish sauce. Heat through, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 3 ingredients and simmer 1 minute. Season with salt. Server over rice.

You can also add other veggies - I through some sliced zucchini in with the tomatoes and it added a nice pop of green color and tasted great.

Tasty Scones

This weekend I had some leftover sweetened MimicCream that I wanted to use up, so I decided to try it out in baking (something I hadn't done before). I wanted to substitute it 1:1 with cream in a recipe, to see how it tasted, and I needed it to be in something sweet, since the MimicCream was the sweetened version. I decided to make scones, and after some looking online, I found an Alton Brown recipe with good reviews. My 3-year-old and I whipped up a batch with minimal modifications. The end result - really tasty scones that I would definitely make again! In fact, I had my husband try one, and he really liked it. And I should note that he hates nuts, and confirmed that you could not taste the almonds or cashews in the MimicCream.

Overall, I was really impressed with the baking ability of the MimicCream. The only disappointment was in the recipe itself - these are not traditional scones - they really seemed more like a sweet biscuit, but they were still really good hot out of the oven, and heated up in the toaster oven the next day.

Note: I have found MimicCream at Whole Foods. If you can't find it locally and want to give it a try, you can get it from

Dairy and Soy Free Scones
recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Scone recipe


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons Spectrum brand shortening
  • 3/4 cup Sweetened Mimic Cream
  • 1 egg


Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Cut in shortening. In a separate bowl, combine Mimic Cream with beaten egg then add to dry ingredients. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll dough out and cut into biscuit size rounds. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.