Chocolate Mousse & Berries

Chocolate MousseChocolate craving? I get them every night around 8pm. As much as I will myself to crave grapes or carrot sticks instead, the chocolate continues to haunt me. During one of my recent moments of weakness, I decided to look to Google to expand my soy-free chocolate options. I stumbled upon Bobby Flay’s dark chocolate mousse.

Unfortunately, dairy free whipping cream is hard to come by. So, I’ve adapted this recipe to meet the needs of us soy-free eaters. But, if you’re dairy free, plan on tossing back some Lactaid pills!

 

Ingredients:

1 bag of soy-free, dairy-free chocolate

14 ounces of whipping cream (Flay calls for heavy cream, the whipping cream creates a lighter fluff- personal preference)

3 large egg whites

2 tbsp of sugar

A mix of berries. I prefer raspberries and blueberries.

 

Directions:

Melt the chocolate. I do this by heating water in a small sauce pan. I then put the chocolate in a glass bowl and rest the bowl atop the sauce pan. Heat gradually until the chocolate melts. Don’t try to melt the chocolate directly in a saucepan. Been there- it will burn.

In a medium bowl, whisk the whipping cream until it forms standing peaks. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form standing peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar while whisking until the eggs are firm.

Fold the melted chocolate into the egg & sugar mixture. Stir gently. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture. Stir slowly until everything is integrated.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you’re ready to indulge, toss the mousse in something pretty and top with berries!

 

 

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Pumpkin-Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

In a seasonal mood? These pumpkin-based muffins will absolutely satisfy your autumn-craving palette. I’m not certain where the recipe originated, but it’s been one of my mom’s Fall staples for years. She makes it in a 9×5 loaf pan. I prefer muffin cups for an easy grab-and-go breakfast.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup of flour

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 cup of granulated sugar

7.5 oz of canned pure pumpkin

2 eggs

1/2 cup of canola oil

1/4 cup of apple cider (the original recipe calls for water or apple juice)

1 large baking apple (I prefer Granny Smith)

 

Directions:

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a second medium bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and cider. Beat the mixture until it is just blended.

Combine the two bowls and mix until moistened.

Peel and chop the apple into tiny cubes. Fold into mixture.

Pour into 12 lined muffin cups. I like to sprinkle the tops with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Peaches & Pork

There’s nothing I love more than unexpected combinations when cooking. The more comfortable I become experimenting with flavors, the more enjoyable the outcome. I happened to come across this recipe from Cooking Light when searching for a new, summery dish to try. The sweet & savory compilation is most certainly one to add to the list of regulars!

Ingredients:

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

2-4 boneless pork loin chops

4 thinly sliced shallots (sliced red onion will also suffice)

2 tsp. dried rosemary (the original recipe calls for chopped fresh thyme)

2 peaches, wedged

1/2 cup dry white wine (I use pinot grigio)

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tsp. honey

2 tsp. Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread

Salt & pepper

Directions:

Salt & pepper the pork chops. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook the pork chops. Depending on the thickness, they’ll need about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chops and put them in a warmed oven while you prepare the sauce.

Leave the oil from the meat in the skillet. Add in the peaches, shallots, and rosemary. Cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in wine, broth, and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for about five minutes or until reduced by half. Add in the butter to thicken.

Prepare plates with the pork chops and pour the peaches and sauce over the meat.

I did not prepare a side because the flavors are so strong on their own. A starter salad would be complimentary.

Enjoy!

Peaches & Pork

Peaches & Pork

A Twist on Fruit (in) Salad

A fruit salad is a typical side dish at summer get-togethers. It’s also naturally soy-free! However, I happen to loath cantaloupe, honeydew, and most-things-melon. As luck would have it, they are the cheapest of the fruits. Therefore, melon is typically the alpha fruit of the American fruit salad.

Can’t afford a fruit salad sans melon? My remedy: the fruit (in) salad. It’s delicious, cheaper, and still fruity!

 

Ingredients:

Greens (I’m partial to arugula, but anything will do)

Fresh blueberries and strawberries (your local farmers market is a great place to get fresh, organic berries at a reasonable price)

Dried cherries (dried cranberries are generally more affordable and I can hardly tell the difference once they’re mixed in)

(optional) Sliced almonds

(optional) Blue cheese

Italian dressing (Good Seasons’ Zesty Italian packet with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and water)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Wash the berries and greens.

Slice the strawberries.

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate if you’re saving it for later.

Add the dressing when you’re ready to serve! Dressing tip: less is more. With the juice from the strawberries, it can get soggy quickly.

 

Fruit (in) Salad

Fruit (in) Salad

Saturday Morning Pancakes

It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, let’s make it a good one!

This pancake recipe is adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/good-old-fashioned-pancakes/. It’s completely fool-proof and quick- perfect for you non-morning people. These pancakes will be ready faster than you can brew your pot of coffee.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup flour

3 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 1/4 cup Lactaid milk

1 egg

3 tbsp. melted Earth Balance natural buttery spread, soy-free (found at Whole Foods)

(optional) 1 cup fresh blueberries

(optional) 100% pure maple syrup (no added flavorings)

(optional) a pinch of powdered sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Throw an oven-safe dish into it- a sheet of aluminum foil will also suffice. This is where you can keep the finished pancakes warm until the entire batch is ready.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl, mix milk, egg and melted butter.

Slowly pour the liquid bowl contents into the dry ingredients while stirring. Mix until smooth.

Heat a dab of butter in frying pan. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan. Push a few blueberries into the top. (I prefer this to adding them to the mixture in the bowl- better distribution).

When the pancake bubbles start to pop, it’s ready to be flipped.

Once you’ve finished your whole batch, sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar and dig in!

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast is served!
Breakfast is served!

 

Blueberry Muffins

This one’s for you, Tom!

If you have food allergies, you know that cooking from a box is nearly impossible. And if you happen to find an allergen free pre-made mix, it doesn’t taste good. Why make our non-allergen-challenged friends suffer the consequences. These muffins are delicious and do NOT taste altered in the least.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil (in place of vegetable oil)

1 egg

1/3 Lactaid milk (in place of dairy)

1 cup fresh blueberries

A shaker of even parts sugar and cinnamon (topping)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Line 6 muffin cups with muffin liners (recipe yields 6 large muffins)

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Stir.

Add oil, egg, milk. Beat until well blended.

Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups.

Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. Leftover mixture is great on toast with butter!

Bake for 20-25 mins.