Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter Banana Pops

These have quickly become my FAVOURITE snack! Given that a small pint of dairy-free ice cream can run up to $7, and the ice cream bars are no cheaper, this is a great alternative that is so easy to make! I don’t remember who posted this recipe on Facebook, but I owe them a debt of gratitude because these are fantastic!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas (make sure these are ripe or it won’t taste right, we found that out the hard way last night)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (I decreased the quantity from the original recipe because I found it got too messy when I was eating them)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dairy/gluten free chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life chips)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers
  1. Mix almond butter, vanilla and cinnamon together until well combined
  2. Peel and cut bananas in half. Slice the halves vertically in half
  3. Spread your almond butter mixture over half the banana slices
  4. Press your popsicle stick or skewer on top of the almond butter and top with the remaining banana slices. Freeze the banana pops until firm (about 2 hours)
  5. When the pops are frozen, melt your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a large skillet filled with some water and place a smaller pot inside the skillet to melt the chocolate and oil until smooth
  6. Coat each banana pop in the chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is hardened and cold.

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*You can eat these immediately once the chocolate has set, or store them in the freezer and take them out 20-30 minutes before eating

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Veggie Rice Medley

This is a quick and easy side dish that goes great with a variety of meals. I don’t remember where I got the original recipe, but have been using it for years, adding whatever vegetables I happen to have in the crisper!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • *any other desired vegetables
  • 14-1/2 oz low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 cup MINUTE White Rice, uncooked
  1. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Add vegetables and cook until tender, about 5 minutes
  2. Add broth; bring to a boil
  3. Stir rice and cover. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving

Orange Chicken

I’ve used my family as guinea pigs for a lot of recipes. Some great, others not so great. The fact that they eat “regular” food makes them more critical judges of any of my gluten/dairy-free cooking. This is a recipe that not only passed the test, but my boyfriend asked me to make it again so he could take it for lunch at work (he does not do leftovers).

The first time I made this it tasted fantastic, but we thought it would be better with some extra sauce to mix in with the rice. This version has the sauce increased by half to give a bit extra.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is better, but store bought also works)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp ketchup
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Green onion and/or chili flakes for garnish/extra flavour
  1. Mix together flour, salt, pepper and other seasoning (if desired), then toss the chicken in the flour mixture. Cook in oil in a large frying pan over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side (or until cooked through)
  2. Mix together orange juice, vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour over cooked chicken and simmer on low for five minutes. Add green onions and/or chilis if desired.
  3. Serve over brown rice

*Serves 6

Lasagna

Over the years, I have attempted to adapt most recipes to create traditional dishes. Until last week, lasagna seemed like an insurmountable task, even though I had finally found gluten-free lasagna noodles, I wasn’t sure how I’d re-create the taste (and texture) of ricotta cheese for my lasagna loving boyfriend. After some searching, I was able to find a great recipe, and success was had!  Not only did my family LOVE the lasagna, but they suggested I make extras and freeze them so that we can make them whenever we feel like.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground meat
  • 1 batch of pasta sauce
  • Double batch of Cashew Ricotta Cheese
  • Gluten-free lasagna noodles
  • Dairy-free mozzarella shreds (optional – I like Dayia Mozzarella Shreds)
  1. Brown meat (this would also taste delicious as a vegetarian dish) and combine with prepared sauce
  2. Prepare noodles according to directions on package (I used Rizopia brown rice lasagna noodles, which did not require pre-cooking)
  3. Layer lasagna as follows: sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce (I also sprinkled some Dayia Mozzarella Shreds on top)
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

*this recipe made two 9×9″ lasagna,  or could make a larger one.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

On my search for a lasagna option my family would actually love, I came across this post for Cashew Ricotta Cheese.  Turns out it cooked perfectly and even mimicked the taste and texture of the real thing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp each apple cider vinegar & lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • dash of onion powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Soak the cashews for at least two hours in a bowl of water, covering the cashews about an inch with water
  2. Drain cashews and place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, blend scraping the sides as needed until creamy.  Taste for flavors adding any additional ingredients if needed.
  3. Store in refrigerator in an air tight container for an hour or two (I like to leave it overnight).

*this makes about 2 cups and can keep in the refrigerator for up to a week

Pasta Sauce

This is a quick(er) alternative to canning sauce (which I’ve done), and much tastier than store bought because you can customize it any way you want. I got the base from here, but added quite a bit to make it my own.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup each spinach & kale, cooked
  • *any other desired vegetables
  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 tsp dried basil
  • 2-4 Tbsp sugar
  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Lower heat to med-low and add peppers and mushroom, continue stirring for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Do not let the garlic burn.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Turn the heat back up to medium and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer for as long as possible, at least 30 minutes.

East Coast Seafood Casserole

Growing up on the East Coast, I have always been a seafood fanatic. My stepfather makes this fantastic seafood casserole that could just make my mouth water! I have to say, since I began my gluten and dairy free journey, this has been one of those dishes I have been most tempted to cheat with. A few months ago I finally got up the courage to try making a “safe” version of this incredible dish, and it turned out even better than I remembered!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter substitute (I love Vegan Becel)
  • 5 cups milk substitute (Almond, Rice or Coconut work well)
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour mix
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 cups chopped celery
  • 1 pound faux Velveeta
  • 3-4 pounds mix of lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp, clams and/or fish
  1. Cook onions & celery in butter or oil on medium heat
  2. In separate saucepan, mix together flour and butter on low for 2 minutes. Pour in milk, stirring constantly as it thickens. Once sauce is smooth, add “cheese” and stir until fully melted.
  3. Add seafood to saucepan (beginning with raw items) and heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Pour mix into casserole and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Serve over rice and enjoy 🙂

*I doubled this recipe for a family function, and still had tons left over. The nice thing about this one is that you can easily throw any leftovers in glass jars and stick them in the freezer for further use. Just take it out in the morning and it will be ready to heat up on the stove in time for dinner!