Tag Archives: Recipes

No-milk Milkshakes

My adoring fans,

My apologies for not updating my site this week. I have been soooooo busy. Fall is nearly upon us here in the PNW, and it’s this time of year that I find myself jumping into a zillion new projects and generally over-committing myself in ways I never imagined. I think it has something to do with being in school until I was 30. It’s a habit.

So here I sit this fine morning eating late summer cantaloupe, bacon, and sipping my hazelnut-honey-coffee treat (I rarely drink coffee), thinking about a bunch of stuff I need to update you on, such as:

  • I went camping this past weekend at Waldo Lake east of Eugene. Uhm, BEAUTIFUL.
    Sunrise over Waldo Lake, Oregon

    Sunrise over Waldo Lake, Oregon

    The Man blowtorching briquets on the new camping hibachi.

    The Man blowtorching briquets on the new camping hibachi.

  • I revised the Rare draft of my novel and decided that it’s actually okay.
  • I’m thinking of starting an online literary journal.
  • I’m planning a xmas holiday. Ideas thus far center around Mendocino or Loreto, Mexico.

But for now, on to the MILKSHAKES!

First, let me say that I hate the word “smoothie.” That word just conjures up for me southern California and being “healthy” (you know, by drinking some sugary-yogurt concoction they poured out of an envelope and into a blender with ice cubes).

But “milkshake,” now there’s a word. “Milkshake” is all Marilyn Monroe and real health, ample North American hips, and homemade ice cream. “Milkshake” is a gorgeous farm girl and the best stuff from 1956, like innocence.

I managed to crawl out of my most recent food funk with the help of a blackberry “milkshake.” This recipe also does nicely in a popsicle form factor. If you experiment with different fruits and flavors, let me know how it goes.

Mel’s Blackberry No-milk Milkshake

1/2 can of coconut milk, works better if it’s been shaken and refrigerated

1/2 bag of frozen blackberries, or fresh if you’ve got ’em (tis the season, after all)

2-3 tbs agave syrup (to your taste)

2 frozen bananas

Basically, just toss all this into a blender and blend until smooth. It’s that easy.

Look at that color!

Look at that color!

Same recipe used for popsicles

Same recipe used for popsicles


Filed under Cooking, food, Food allergies, Glorious Food, Gluten-free vegan, ice cream, Recipes


Back in the olden days, we used to have this thing called Neopolitan ice cream. It was a half gallon of ice cream divided into three flavors: vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate (the best flavors I would say). Seems like I haven’t seen Neopolitan ice cream in the store since I was about eight years old. For you young folks, it looked like this.

I made a little ditty recently that reminded me of Neopolitan ice cream. Basically, I took my panna cotta recipe and my chocolate pot de creme recipe and mixed them with strawberry sauce (easy: mix frozen strawberries and a load of sugar together in a sauce pot over medium heat; blend together with a stick blender et voila). You could easily use strawberry jam, too. In fact, I think that would look and taste better. Mr. Man did not like that the strawberry sauce was warm on top of cold custard (go figure).

Anyway, this is a fairly easy and cute little parfait presentation that looks like this in my granny’s antique glasses:



  1. Make the chocolate pot de creme recipe and pour into your glass. Let set up in the fridge.
  2. Either put the strawberry sauce on top next or make the panna cotta mixture and pour that over. You get the idea. If you use panna cotta next (as I did in the photo), you’ll have to wait overnight for it to set up before you put on the strawberry layer. The strawberry layer can be nice for hiding unsightly blemishes in the panna cotta.
  3. Pig out.


Filed under Cooking, food, Food allergies, Glorious Food, Gluten-free vegan, ice cream, Recipes

You Gotta Panna Cotta

I think I have expressed my affection for custards several times before on this blog. And as the custard-making foods like eggs and cow dairy go AWOL from my diet and join the Allergy-Bad-They-Want-to-Kill-Me camp, it’s really nice to find some custards that I can actually eat.

Panna cotta is truly dreamy. I don’t think my recipe is dreamy, but I think it’s as close as I’m likely to get for a while. My next attempts with panna cotta will probably be in the savory category and include chevre and bacon, something along these lines. I think the chevre would give it the richness and mouth feel I’m craving.

For now, this works pretty darn good. I’m sorry it’s not vegan. I worked on this for a while, so I kind of ran out of steam to go that extra mile. However, I’m sure now that it could be done by a determined vegan using arrowroot powder, nut or rice milk, and coconut milk. If you come up with something, do let me know. I can no longer experiment with this recipe because I’ve eaten twice my body weight in coconut milk this month.

Panna Cotta for the Cow-Allergic

1/2 c goat milk

all but 3/4 tsp of a gelatin packet

1 can of coconut milk

1/4 c agave syrup

pinch of salt

1 tsp coconut or vanilla extract (depending on your end flavor goal)

1/4 c sheep yogurt

Put the goat milk in a bowl and gently sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let that stand for about 10 minutes or so to soften the gelatin, like so:

Gelatin in Goat Milk

In a saucepan, heat one can of coconut milk with a pinch of salt over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1/4 c agave syrup and 1 tsp of extract. Whisk in the goat milk-gelatin mixture.

When the mixture is warm-ish, add 1/4 c of sheep yogurt (I find it’s less tangy than goat, and here you want less tangy; otherwise, this just ends up tasting like stiff yogurt). Pour this mixture into ramekins and refrigerate overnight.

Important Note: You really need to let it sit if not overnight, then several hours or it won’t gel correctly. You don’t want it stiff. You want it to just hold together and be lovely.

To serve, either eat it straight from the ramekin, like so:

Panna Cotta in Ramekin

Or add some fruit on the side or a quince glaze, thusly:

Panna Cotta with Quince Glaze

Or, my favorite, add some chocolate sauce for a little Mounds bar theme. If you can eat almonds, sprinkle some of those around and call it Almond Joy Panna Cotta.

If you’re going to eat it out of the ramekins, dislodging it can be tricky. First, hold a warm cloth to the ramekin for a few seconds. Next, run a sharp knife around the edge. Then put a plate face down on top of the ramekin. You see where we’re going with this right? Now turn the whole thing upside down to plop the panna cotta onto the plate. Your goal is something like this:

Mounds Panna Cotta



Filed under Cooking, food, Food allergies, Glorious Food, goat/sheep cheese, Recipes

Reader Recipes: Chocolate Pudding

A while back, Allergy Mom sent me a recipe for chocolate pudding. It came at a great time as I had begun to wonder if I’d ever eat chocolate again. It had been on my list of suspects. I’m happy to report that for now, anyway, it doesn’t seem to bother me. Hallelujah choir sing!

When I looked at the recipe, I said to myself, “Self, last time you made something with cocoa powder you thought it sucked. So let’s experiment, shall we?” We did.

Here’s what my Self and I came up with. It’s Allergy Mom’s recipe on chocolate crack.

(Vegan) Chocolate Pot de Creme

2 C coconut milk (one can)

1/4 C agave syrup

5 T arrowroot powder

1/2 C chocolate chips

2 t vanilla

Run the coconut milk through a fine sieve. This removes any stray coconut chunks–maybe mine was old, who knows. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk and arrowroot powder. To prevent nasty arrowroot powder chunks, either put a small amount in with a small amount of coconut milk and stir out all the chunks as you would corn starch; or, when adding the arrowroot to the coconut milk mixture, sift it through a fine sieve while whisking the coconut milk. Does that make sense?

Heat that up until it gets a little thick. Allergy Mom said to boil, but I’m not sure that was really necessary. You can have fun experimenting. Just get it hot. Then add the agave and vanilla and remove from the heat.

While that’s heating up, melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. When those are melted and smooth, add the mixture to your coconut milk mixture. Then, pour into ramekins and serve, or chill and serve. I think it was best chilled because it was more like pot de creme that way, which I never thought I’d have again. Also, to make it look a little nicer, you can top it with some kind of glaze (since, if you’re me, you can’t top it with whipped cream).

Chocolate Pot de Creme

Without a glaze or sauce, you can see these little pock marks. Doesn’t bother me, but you could dress it up a bit if you’re serving them to VIPs. Here’s a pic with a basic strawberry sauce, but my favorite was a quince glaze that I made from some quince jelly I made last fall. (FYI, quince has to appear in italics anytime it appears on this blog due to its very special place in my heart.)

Chocolate Pot de Creme with Strawberry Sauce

I really, really, really enjoyed this treat. I’m also happy that it’s vegan for my very special vegan friend, RCMB. Hope you like it, too!


Filed under Cooking, Food allergies, Glorious Food, Gluten-free vegan, Recipes

Reader Recipes, Part One: Falafels

As regular readers will recall, I had some unfortunate encounters with falafels a couple of months ago. Thankfully, a reader was gracious enough to send a new falafel recipe to me to try (look at the Comments in that link). I had imagined this post would be my triumphant report of beautiful falafels. Alas, the cooking muse had other plans for me.

One thing I have learned: it’s not the recipe, it’s me. I am clearly doing something wrong, very wrong. I made two batches last night and both sets turned out the same: big fat oily soup messes.

Falafel Mess

Batch number 2

So I call on readers once again to help me out here! What the heck am I doing wrong?

Here’s what I did:

  1. I followed the recipe religiously.
  2. I gently stuffed the falafel mixture into a tablespoon and dropped the little nuggets into hot oil (the pan was on med-high heat). In this batch, I used a lot of oil…enough that it came up the side of the falafels but did not cover them.
  3. When that resulted in a disintegrated soupy bean mess, I got a new pan and started over. In this batch, I used about 1/3 of the amount of oil as in the first batch.
  4. Then I packed the falafel mixture tightly into the tablespoon, thinking it was my technique that was off. The results, however, were the same.

So, what is going on here? Would making them bigger help?

It’s one thing to fail miserably the first time, but the second time? Come on!


Filed under Cooking, Food allergies, Recipes

Gluten-free Pancakes, Oh My!

Not sure why I’ve been so into breakfast lately. Maybe it’s because breakfast is the first meal I cook on weekends so I’m really paying attention and into it. Also, I’m trying to add grains back into my diet and breakfast is a great way to do that.

There is a local restaurant that makes awesome corn pancakes with ground toasted hazelnuts. I was thinking about those this morning and decided to try it for myself. Here’s what I came up with.

GF Banana-Walnut Corn Pancakes

1/2 c. corn meal

1/4 c. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 small mushy banana, mushed

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbs. agave syrup

pinch of salt

1/2 c. hazelnut milk

oil for frying

(serves 2; makes 6 silver dollars)

If you have a warming drawer, turn it on and put your serving plates inside. Dig the maple syrup out of the back of the fridge and get that warmed up as well.

Next, put all your dry stuff in a bowl, like so:

Corn Cakes Dry Ingredients

Heat up your nonstick skillet pretty high and put a little oil in there. I used canola today, but any ol’ oil would do, and/or butter.

Then, add the hazelnut milk to your dry stuff and mix together gently and loosely (don’t beat it to death). Drop pancakes as silver dollars into your skillet like so:

Corn Cakes Frying in Skillet

Note that there is way too much oil in this pan. Add less than I did!

Fry on both sides until they’re slightly browned. Add maple syrup and goat butter or margarine. Then, enjoy these little corn bombs!

If I were to make this recipe again, I’d probably add some tapioca flour to see if that would lighten up the batter a bit, or Wonderslim’s Egg and Fat Substitute (I avoid Egg Replacer due to the potato starch = sulfites). These weren’t overly heavy, but it’s definitely a lot of corn. I’d also spread my batter thinner next time.

Banana-Walnut Corn Cakes

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Adventures in Panna Cotta

I really love custards. But what’s not to love about cream, eggs, and sugar? Now that those three basic food groups are off my personal menu, I’ve struggled to come up with a good replacement.

I turn now to a favorite subject: panna cotta. Sally Schneider has a truly knockout recipe which I’m sure I’ve mentioned at least a thousand times on this blog already for panna cotta made with sour cream. It’s really divine.

But how can I have panna cotta without cow dairy? Strangely, not a whole lot is out there on the Internet about how to make panna cotta with goat milk. I have found one recipe that I am going to try very soon.

The basic problem is that panna cotta is cooked cream. The fat globules in goat milk are smaller than cow’s milk. I’m thinking that all those little fat globules you’d normally get with cream just don’t gel, literally.

So what about coconut milk? I’ve been experimenting and so far I have made a very tasty coconut-something-or-other that is more the consistency of yogurt, not panna cotta. But I’m almost there! Just a little more tweaking…and I shall have the recipe for you.


Filed under Cooking, Food allergies, goat/sheep cheese, Recipes

Homemade Granola Girl, Uh Huh!

I’m getting sick of talking about my health issues. Also, I don’t want my blog to be hijacked by The Rash, much as it would love to eat my blog, too. So, just know that I am improving and I will be updating My Health Project page quarterly (that means March 21st, Nourooz/Ostara).

I woke up today craving granola. It’s something that’s a little hard to find gluten-free, sugar-free, etc. I have long known that I could just make my own, but it wasn’t until today that I finally managed to try it out. Woohoo!

So, basically, I took some gluten-free oats and toasted them under the new kickass broiler. Then, I toasted some pumpkin seeds, which I love. I tossed the oats and seeds together and coated them very lightly with agave syrup. You have to watch that stuff because it is really sweet.


Then I added some sliced banana and cinnamon, and voila! Granola.


The flavor when you make it yourself is obviously way different from grocery-store granola. At home, it’s more nutty and you really taste the oats. Next time I’ll try oats, walnuts, and blueberries, and maybe toss in some sheep yogurt (one of my new favorite foods).

I feel good knowing my intestines are getting an oatmeal cleanse.


Filed under Cooking, Food allergies, Gluten-free vegan, Recipes

Football Food, Part 3

Okay, maybe I’m having way too much fun with this football food thing. Alas, I can’t help myself.

So with the super-bowel coming up (and of course you’re rooting for the Giants because they’re the underdogs), things should be getting, well, oily in the kitchen, no? Once again, I’m thinking about goat-buttered popcorn. Last night I tried it with some fresh rosemary cut in. For those of you who haven’t been following this recent obsession, I’ll draw up a little recipe here. Vegans, you can make this without the goat butter. Just substitute the butter for a fruity, flavorful olive oil. The corn-allergic should steer clear of this recipe.

Goat-Buttered Popcorn with Rosemary

Pour about 3 tbs of olive oil into a big pot and crank up your electric burner. Add about 6 tbs of popcorn (I know, I know! I really need to start measuring things for your sake). Let it get nice and hot, shaking the pot back and forth to coat all the kernels with the oil. Any second now, the kernels’ll start popping.

Meanwhile, melt about 3 tbs of goat butter in a small skillet. Chop up a couple of teaspoons of fresh rosemary and toss that into the butter (or olive oil).

The popcorn is done when you don’t hear any pops about 5-10 seconds apart. Keep shaking the pot so that the popcorn doesn’t brown or burn on the sides or bottom of the pot. Put the corn into a big bowl. Toss the browned popcorns to your dog or cat so they can share the joy. Pour over the melted butter/oil (onto the corn, not the dog), toss the kernels, and add some kosher salt. My advice: don’t get all fancy and add minced garlic. You will detract from the goat butter flavor, which is what you’re after.

There you have it. My favorite treat of the past month. Naturally, you’ll want to eat this with a big glass of goat milk, Okie style. Enjoy!

Goat-Buttered Popcorn

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Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Go ‘Niners!

Okay, got that out of the way. As in totally out of the way since they didn’t do so hot this year. It’s a building year.

My favorite football weekends are during the playoffs, specifically, the AFC/NFC Championship games. They’re usually so much better than the super-bowel.

I spend a lot of time thinking about food, specifically, combinations of food, which I guess some people would call recipes. Typically, it goes something like this:

“Hmmm. The AFC/NFC Championship games are this weekend. What should I make?”

Then I spend many, many more hours thinking about the answer to that question. Last year for the super bowl (for some reason, I just can’t capitalize it) we did all manner of finger foods, including a watermelon jello that didn’t go so well. I remember writing all about this meal in my journal. Yet I honestly can’t remember who was in the game.

Like you didn’t already know the depths of my OCD.

So, anyway, this year I’m back on the topic. All I’ve come up with so far is popcorn with goat butter because it’s one of the few “treat” things I’m tolerating lately. Even that has been sketchy. If you haven’t yet tried popcorn with goat butter, get yourself ON IT NOW. Pop the kernels in olive oil, melt a little goat butter and pour over the popcorn, lightly salt. Taste sensation.

Sometimes I think about meals that I can’t have. Or I think about meals that I would have with specific people. For example, if my dear old football-watching friend were still alive and I could eat the following foods, this is what I would make for us for the championship games: gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, my goat butter salted popcorn mixed with Crunch ‘n Munch, accompanied by North Beach pizza. This friend had a serious sweet tooth. But you could never just have those items as your meal. You had to have it with something healthy and filling. You know, like pizza.

I have to think more on this topic before I develop any solid plans for Sunday. In the meantime, at long last, here is my gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. Hope you like it.

Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 c flour*

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

1/3 c canola oil (or margarine or melted dairy product of your choice–like goat butter)

1 tbs flax meal

1/4 c “milk” (think hazelnut, almond, hemp, soy, rice)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. In a small bowl mix flax meal and milk. Add sugar and stir. Add oil and vanilla. Whisk until all ingredients are emulsified (about a minute).

Mix wet ingredients into dry. Fold in the chips.

Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1 1/2″ between cookies.

Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool 5 minutes.

* A note about flours. Depending on what I have in the house, I use sorghum, garbanzo bean, or amaranth. I hesitate to specify here because it’s fun (for me) to experiment. If you don’t like experiments, I would start with just straight sorghum. I think the best combo is sorghum (1 c), bean (1/2 c), and tapioca (1/4 c).

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