Author Archives:

Tazo Thai Iced Tea

Tazo Thai Iced Tea

Some of my favorite food in the Summer comes from street festivals. Why go to one restaurant and sit down when you can pick and choose a meal from different carts on a nice Summer day? 

My favorite drink to pick up is a Thai iced tea, which is usually some part tea concentrate, water, ice, and condensed milk. It’s almost always too sweet, but that makes me like it even more. I wish it were as easy to find year round as a Starbucks iced coffee but this homemade version is the next best thing.

If you have the foresight, you can make the tea in advance and let it chill in the refrigerator over night and save yourself some ice. I wouldn’t have minded adding a little sugar to mine, but keeping it less sweet lets the spices and mint flavors come out. Before adding to the drink, try activating the mint by clapping it between your palms.

Tazo Thai Iced Tea

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1 Tazo sweet cinnamon tea bag
  • 1 Tazo black tea bag(any variety will do)
  • 1 anise clove(plus more for garnish)
  • 10oz boiling water
  • 3 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups ice cubes
  • Fresh mint

Method:

  1. In a large mug, combine the teas, anise, and 10 ounces of boiling water.
  2. Steep the tea for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Put 1 cup of ice into two cups. Pour 5 ounces of tea over each.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of ice to each cup after 30 seconds when the ice melted.
  5. Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to each cup and stir well.
  6. Garnish with activated mint and anise clovers.

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

As much as I don’t like the cold, Winter and Fall are some of the best baking months because there’s sometimes nothing to do but stay in and sit next to the heater. Now that Spring’s here and the heat waves, too, no-bake recipes are suddenly ten times more appealing. 

I made these “brownies” over the weekend for a sweets fix that wouldn’t involve sifting flours and melting chocolate. It’s pretty much the same recipe I made 3 years ago with an extra avocado frosting on top. Avocados and dates definitely don’t sound like dessert ingredients, but you’d be surprised how rich and chocolaty these come out. 

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

These are easier to stash and store without the frosting, which does go bad about as quickly as guacamole, so if you’re planning on waiting a while to eat these wait until the last minute to make the frosting. It’ll taste better if you do.   

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 8-12 brownies):

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut butter(optional but recommended)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons agave or honey

Method:

  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they are pulverized and start to stick together. The dates don’t have to be fresh but make sure you’re not using dry and stale ones or they won’t stick.
  2. Add the walnuts and coconut butter and continue blending until the dough starts to stick to itself. Add the water as necessary if your ingredients are too dry to clump.
  3. Lastly add 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder and continue blending until it’s mixed in.
  4. Dump the processed ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper. With your hands, clump them together into a square or rectangle.
  5. Freeze the dough for 5-10 minutes until it’s firm and cut it into even sized squares. Store in the refrigerator for freshness.
  6. To make the “frosting”, mash the avocado into a smooth puree. Add the agave and remaining cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
  7. Spread an even amount on top of each brownie square. Garnish with any extra walnuts.

Oh My Yog!

Oh My Yog

This month Stonyfield offered everyone in their Clean Plate Club the opportunity to try their new line of yogurts. Since I really loved their last new product, Petite Cremes, I was eager to try this one, too. Being so new, these yogurts were tough to find but after some searching I brought home the Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Gingered Pear, and Wild Quebec Blueberry.

Unlike most yogurts that come pre-blended, the Oh My Yog! line is like fruit on the bottom with an extra kick. The pureed fruits and flavors are covered by whole milk yogurt and a noticeably thick cream top. In a world where Greek yogurt is the new norm, these are definitely lower on protein and higher in sugar, added and natural.

The first thing I noticed when I started trying them was that these didn’t feel like yogurts you’d have alongside breakfast or added to a lunchbox. The cream top and bottom layer of fruit had so many combined flavors and textures going on that it felt like a full-bodied meal compared to other varieties. Add some granola and fruit and you’re good to go.

IMG_7691-2

My favorite of the ones I tried was the Madagascar Vanilla Bean. While it looks syrupy-sweet at first with the vanilla bean-speckled layer at the bottom, the yogurt was more rich than sugary and brought out the better flavors vanilla has to offer. It felt more like a creamy dessert like panna cotta than it did a yogurt.

The one flavor I wished was sweeter was the Wild Quebec Blueberry Oh My Yog!. It fell a little flat as is even with whole blueberries swimming around. Like the cinnamon-y Gingered Pear I had hoped for more sugar or spice.

Lastly, if you’re worried about your daily commute or trip to the store ruining the layers, don’t be. I was really surprised after all the tossing and turning in bags these had how well the yogurt held its shape. Getting a taste of Oh My Yog! definitely made me want to try the rest of their flavors and keep some of these around the house for a healthy cool and creamy fix.

Easy Lemon Buttercream

Easy Lemon Buttercream

One of the best parts about living in NYC is that there are now vending machines where you can get cupcakes. It’s dangerously convenient for anyone. They have 1 gluten-free option, a red velvet with cream cheese frosting, that’s completely delicious. That being said, who can live with just one flavor?

When my birthday rolled around a few weekends ago I made these cupcakes a few days early to bring into work–just a premade vanilla cake mix, coconut milk instead of whole milk, and shredded coconut and lemon zest added in. 

The frosting I made was from scratch but came out just as easy and delicious. Using vanilla extract and lemon zest gives it an extra layer of flavor that you’ll want to lick off the bowl. 

Easy Lemon Buttercream

This frosting works well with any number of lighter-flavored cupcakes. You can try it on cupcakes with vanilla, coconut, berries, or even white chocolate.

Easy Lemon Buttercream

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes enough for 18 cupcakes):

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons whole milk or half & half
  • 1 teaspoon finely zested lemon

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Make sure to use an extra fine zester with the lemons to avoid chunks in the frosting. 
  2. Beat with an electric beater until mixed and the frosting’s smooth and silky. If the powdered sugar stops mixing in, add milk by the teaspoon until it reaches the right consistency.
  3. Frost using a frosting spreader or a pastry bag. If you’re using a pastry bag, add an extra teaspoon of milk before beating to make the frosting smoother and easier to squeeze out. 

5 Gluten-Free Easter Desserts

Easter’s not a holiday that’s know for its desserts. That’s probably because after too many Peeps and lackluster chocolate eggs, more chocolate doesn’t seem all that appealing. I promise you these desserts are better than any Peep you’ve ever had(although unless you’re a hardcore Peep fan that’s probably not saying much).

Once you’re done serving ham and asparagus, try slicing out some of these Spring dessert recipes. Some might require special gluten-free flours, but others do not or could even be made with regular all-purpose flour. All of these can be made in advance and set aside so you can sit back and enjoy the day.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies aren’t necessarily an Easter dessert, but you can never go wrong serving some. Add in some ice cream and hot fudge and you might want to consider skipping Easter dinner to save space.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Lemon Cornmeal Cake is definitely a dessert to welcome Spring. The slightly-coarse cornmeal gives a rustic and homemade touch to a simple dessert, and you can even save a slice for a sweet breakfast the next day.

Homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs

Homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are the DIY solution to possibly the best drug store candy ever. The peanut butter to chocolate ratio beat out all the other variations hands down. Since these are fresh and homemade though, they might melt in your hand so best to keep these wrapped until dessert time.

Grain-Free Carrot Cake

Grain-Free Carrot Cake isn’t quite your traditional carrot cake, but it’s equally as spiced and delicious. This cake uses almond flour instead of regular, and has all my favorite fixings for carrot cake: Carrots, raisins, spices, pecans, and–of course–cream cheese frosting. It’s long overdue to be remade on this blog.

Gluten-Free Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Nothing says Easter dessert more like lemon and powdered sugar. If you don’t feel like cake or something time intensive, Gluten-Free Lemon Crinkle Cookies are a perfect light dessert with coffee or goodie bag gift. You can make a big batch and keep the extras for yourself, too.

Healthy Vegetable Chickpea Salad

Healthy Vegetable Chickpea Salad

As quick as the weather changes, so do taste buds. After weeks of snow and cold, the weather here has skyrocketed to the 50s and the streets are full of melting snowbanks. Instead of being just another barrier to speed-walk past in the cold, the open air vegetable stalls are suddenly more inviting to stop and pick up new ingredients.

While none of the ingredients in this dish are exactly “new”, they’re definitely a fresh take on heavier tuna or hard boiled egg salads. I’m not usually a fan of bright and loud flavors like black pepper and thyme but they work well with the creamy mayo and balanced chickpeas. Whether you’re serving this on top of a freshly chopped salad or if it’s the only vegetable on your plate it’s sure to be a healthy meal.

Healthy Vegetable Chickpea Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1 14oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 2 (heaping) Tablespoons mayo
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped thyme

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the chickpeas, cucumber, and tomato. If there’s any liquid at the bottom of the bowl carefully drain it out.
  2. Add in the mayo, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly until it’s evenly creamy. Add in the thyme and mix again.
  3. Serve at room temperature. Keep refrigerated if not eating right away.

Strawberry Hazelnut Creme Parfaits

Strawberry Hazelnut Creme Parfaits

Valentine’s Day usually marks the last good dessert you can eat and not feel guilty about during the holiday season before you have to wait another 8 months for Thanksgiving to roll around. You might as well make it a really good one.

Last year I got to go to Stonyfield‘s launch party for Petite Creme and sample all the flavors served along champagne, puff pastries, and fine wine. There’s definitely something special about Petite Creme. It’s creamy and elegant in a way most yogurts aren’t. Making a faux “mousse” for this parfait with it is definitely a kitchen cheat no one will mind. 

Strawberry Hazelnut Creme Parfaits

Using the vanilla bean flavor here (my personal favorite) makes the strawberry and Nutella a little more complex in my opinion. Make sure to use a flavorful strawberry jam for the best results. I made this into two servings and it was almost too rich to finish. It’s definitely a hefty dessert, so if you’re looking for something lighter try splitting this between 4 shot glasses and having taster desserts.

Strawberry Hazelnut Creme Parfaits

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 large servings or 4 tasters):

  • 2 5.2oz vanilla bean Petite Creme
  • 1/4 cup Nutella 
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

Method:

  1. In one bowl, mix together 1 container of vanilla petite creme and 2 Tablespoons Nutella.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 container of vanilla petite creme and 2 Tablespoons strawberry jam.
  3. Divide the Nutella mousse between 2 to 4 small parfait glasses. Shake gently so that the top is level.
  4. Gently melt the remaining Nutella in a microwave until it’s liquid. Pour the liquid Nutella over the Nutella mousse and spread out gently with a spoon in an even layer.
  5. Mix the remaining strawberry jam with enough water (about 2 teaspoons) to make it fluid. Pour gently over the Nutella in the parfaits and spread out lightly with a spoon.
  6. Add 1/2 Tablespoon of chopped hazelnuts on top of each parfait.
  7. Scoop the strawberry mousse gently into the parfait glasses and shake lightly to make level.
  8. Refrigerate the parfaits for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly.
  9. Remove from the refrigerator and garnish with any remaining chopped hazelnuts.

Cumin-Spiced Red Beans

Taco Flavored Beans

Homemade breakfast on the weekend is a usually my reward for 5 days of quick, processed breakfasts eaten at a desk or sometimes standing up. Melted cheese, runny yolks, and lots of flavor are a must.

One of my favorite things to make is lightly-fried corn tortillas filled with this spicy bean mixture. It’s just the right balance of salt, spice, and richness to start off the day topped with some pepper jack or parmesan cheese. You can serve it next to rice or scrambled eggs for a more protein-filled plate. Use either mild, medium, or hot salsa to adjust the heat.

Cumin-Spiced Red Beans

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1 cup black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup salsa 
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin

Method:

  1. Heat up the beans and salsa in a pan over a burner set to medium.
  2. Stir the beans and salsa along with the cumin as it comes to a boil. Keep stirring until most of the liquid boils off and the mixture is thick.
  3. Add in the butter and continue stirring until it melts. Once the butter’s melted completely, turn off the heat and mix for a minute over the stove as it cools.
  4. Serve hot with shredded or shaved cheese on top.

Strawberry Jam Brownies

Strawberry Jam Brownies

When you’re gluten-free, picking through Ben & Jerry’s flavors just isn’t as exciting. I’m sure that they make amazing cookie dough-infused moose tracks with fudge-covered red velvet cake chunks, but I’ll never know what that’s like. Just when I was ready to stop rifling through their section they came out with their Core flavors and reeled me back in.

I can’t get enough of their That’s My Jam chocolate ice cream with a core of pure jam. I’ve always liked the pairing of chocolate and jam before but now chocolate just tastes boring without some preserves spread on top. I tried to make a brownie as close as you can get without visiting the freezer. 

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam Brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 1 8 x 8 pan):

  • 1 cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4oz baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips(optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts(optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  3. Beat in the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl, melt together 4 ounces of chocolate along with the butter.
  5. Slowly pour the melted chocolate and butter into the batter while whisking until fully incorporated. Add in 1/4 cup of jam and the chips and hazelnuts if using and stir until mixed. 
  6. Pour the batter in a greased 8 x 8 pan.
  7. Add the rest of the jam on top of the batter and spread out in a thin layer on top, reaching to all the edges.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let these cool completely before cutting in.

Almond Butter Granola Snackers

Almond Butter Granola Snackers

The best part about being gluten-free in this decade is the endless supply of new products available(not to mention whole restaurant menus and online websites). Chex just came out with two new products to add to that list: Honey Nut Granola and Mixed Berry Granola, made with gluten-free oats and clusters of Chex cereal.

I got to try both and the honey nut was definitely my favorite–just the right amount of sweetness to go with any flavored yogurt and chunks of almonds and real Chex baked together. After eating half the bag, I made these cookies with the rest to make the granola more portable. These snackers are the perfect fix for an afternoon snack or along with breakfast.

Almond Butter Granola Snackers

I used almond butter for these because it goes perfectly with the almond slivers in the granola but you could also use peanut butter or even sunflower seed butter.

Almond Butter Granola Snackers

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 18 Snackers):

  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Honey Nut Chex granola
Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, honey, sugar, egg, salt, and baking powder until well mixed.
  3. Add in the granola and fold it in completely.
  4. Roll the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and flatten slightly between the palms of your hands. Put each round of dough on a non-stick baking surface.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the outside starts to turn brown and is slightly firm to the touch.
  6. Let cool slightly before moving. Store in an air-tight container.