Welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I'm glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the five years of recipes and ramblings collected here.

The inspiration for this site was my son. To learn about our journey to restore his intestinal and neurological health read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Take a peek at my cookbook.  

 

 

 


 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr122011

Indiana Jones Lego Cake

My little man has it good. He has a mamma who is a Martha Stewart wanna be. This means she'll plan out, shop for and spend hours baking and decorating the "perfect" birthday cake. And, you know what, regardless whether it turns out "perfect" or not, he loves his cakes and thinks his mom rocks (yes, that's my ulterior motive)! With each birthday and each cake he has taught me the much-needed lesson of "let it go, mom, it's good enough"

This week W.C. is celebrating his 5th birthday. And this year, I finally "let go" and let him help make the cake and toppers—and you know what, the memory of it all is already more meaningful.

Here is the finished product. I'll admit this cake doesn't fit into our everyday diet, but once a year, I let go and loosen up a bit. It is, however, gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free.

Here is what I used:

Bottom Cake
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix (using 3 flax eggs and EarthBalance buttery spread) ... definitely NOT sugar-free : )

Top Cake
Half a batch of Elana's Pantry's Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes batter (baked in a 5"-round springform pan). The recipe is in her soon-to-release Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook.

Frosting
A buttercream concoction of coconut oil, Earthbalance buttery spread, palm oil, vanilla and honey. I don't know the measurements, I just threw it all together and lightly tinted with India Tree natural vegetable colorants.

Indiana Jones-Themed Toppers
Store-bought white fondant (warning: sugar and I believe corn-syrup laden!) colored with some fake and some India Tree natural vegetable colorants. We do not eat the fondant. I tell the kids it's just for decoration : )

Now I'd better go wrap those presents (you guessed it, Legos) and wish my "bright and shiny" a happy birthday.

Oh and cool trick. I'm pretty frugal and didn't want to hunt down and spend money on a Lego mold. So my friend Hannah and I made the blocks and pressed Legos into them. The effect was good enough!

Thursday
Apr072011

Raw Nacho Cheese Sauce | Vegan, Dairy-Free


People have been making cashew "cheese" for some time. A Google search will turn up over two million results! Needless to say, the recipe I am sharing has many variations.

What I've found surprising in our transition from pre-packaged and processed to homemade and healthier foods are the tasty replacements available. For example, I would gobble down half a pan of Betty Crocker® brownies (my mom the other half). Today, I make brownies from scratch using ingredients like dates, almond butter and coconut flour. They taste much better and are more satisfying. So it is with this Raw Nacho Cheese Sauce. Use it as a dip, a spread, over nachos, in lasagna—add it to any food or dish that needs a little cheesy love!

Raw Nacho Cheese Sauce

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free |Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-Free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw

Serves:  Makes approximately 1-1/4 cups
Active Time:  5 minutes
Soak Time: 2-4 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup raw CASHEW NUTS
1/4-1/2 cup chopped RED BELL PEPPER
2 tablespoons cold-pressed OLIVE OIL
2 tablespoons WATER
1-1/2 tablespoons LEMON JUICE
1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT (then adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon ONION POWDER
1/4 teaspoon TURMERIC

Directions:

Soak cashews in water 2-4 hours, rinse and drain.

Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend on high until super smooth, scraping sides as needed. You may add additional water, one tablespoonful at a time, to adjust consistency to your liking.

Notes:

Start with 1/4 cup bell pepper and add more as needed to achieve desired color. Less = yellow cheese, More = slightly more orange-colored cheese.

A high-powered blender such as a Blendtec or Vita-Mix will yield optimal results.

Sunday
Apr032011

Have You Met Carol?

Carol Kicinski's Gluten Free Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes

Thank you Sea, of Book of Yum, for hosting the tasty Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger monthly blog event! This month I have adopted Carol of Simply Gluten-Free.

If you eat gluten-free or spend time perusing gluten-free food blogs, I'm quite certain you've been introduced to Carol Kicinski. Carol is the talented baker and chef behind the inspiring blog Simply Gluten-Free. Her mouth-watering food photography draws me in—like a deer caught in the headlights. And that's what happened when I saw these Gluten Free Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes. I had to have 'em!

Carol's cupcakes call for "granulated sugar." Since Sucanat® (essentially unrefined dried sugar cane juice) was the closest thing I had on hand, I added the extra step of whizzing the Sucanat in my blender to achieve a lighter, powdery sugar. [See my post on making Unrefined Powdered Sugar.] I think that this step helped ensure the structure of the cupcake and suggest it if the sugar you are using is of the large crystal variety. The other thing about Sucanat is that it's darker in color. When mixed with chocolate, the color is no different. On the other hand, in a light-colored icing, you can see a difference. Hence the reason for my icing being caramel in color compared to Carol's being dreamy and white.

Carol's book due out this month!I rarely use the word "scarf" because the visual of me "scarfing" is not one I like to evoke in peoples' minds ... but folks, I scarfed these down—like a little piggy. Holy sweetness, were they good! After dinner I fed one (the one left) to my husband. For a moment he was speechless, then exclaimed "I haven't had something like this in years!" I'd say this family of four gives Carol's cupcakes 8 thumbs up!

If you want to indulge in more of Carol's gluten-free treats, how about pre-ordering her new cookbook Simply...Gluten-Free Desserts. It's due for release later this month. Congratulations Carol!!

 

Tuesday
Mar292011

Egg-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Decadence

Chocolate Decadence | A rich chocolate treat that's gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free!

In honor of two anniversaries—a 10th wedding anniversary and the one-year anniversary of this blog—I share with you a special recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and grain-free Chocolate Decadence.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Torte, Chocolate Decadence—the three are closely related. Traditionally these dense, fudgy “cakes” call for hefty measures of cocoa, eggs, refined sugar, butter and/or cream. It’s no wonder this sweet also goes by the name [evil laugh] “Death by Chocolate.”

It was one of those “I gotta have chocolate!” days that inspired this lighter version of Chocolate Decadence. Throwing all caution to the wind (or into the blender), I began mixing chocolate chips, black beans, cashews and a bit of coconut flour. The result was delightful. The little “cake” rose to perfection and then fell (as these desserts do) as it cooled. It's a treat with a slightly crisp top and sides and a super dense, rich and fudge-like interior. Mmmm. This one's a keeper, and it's so EASY!

Chocolate Decadence on the lighter side garnished with Chili Pepper Chocolate shavings.

Chocolate Decadence

Serves:  4-6 (makes one 5" round cake)
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  35-40 minutes
Equipment:  A high-powered blender such as a Blendtec or Vita-Mix is highly recommended

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons virgin COCONUT OIL
1/2 cup Enjoy Life® CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1/2 cup plain, unsalted cooked BLACK BEANS, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup raw CASHEWS, soaked 4-6 hours, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup WATER
3 tablespoons runny HONEY or AGAVE
3 tablespoons dark COCOA POWDER
2 tablespoons COCONUT FLOUR
3/4 teaspoon BAKING POWDER

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Oil bottom and sides of one 5-6" round springform cake pan. Dust with 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder.

Combine and gently heat coconut oil and chocolate chips just to soften.

Transfer chocolate chip mixture (it should not be hot) to a high-powered blender. Add remaining ingredients, except for baking powder, to blender. Blend on medium-high until super smooth. Add baking powder and blend on low 5-10 seconds or until just incorporated.

Immediately pour mixture into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and transfer to refrigerator to chill 4-6 hours. Run knife around edge of cake before removing from pan. Serve cold. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Notes:

1. Enjoy Life® Chocolate Chips are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free.

2. This cake is best kept refrigerated and served chilled.

3. No time to soak the cashews? Soften in very hot water for 10 minutes.

4. Expect the "cake" to rise during baking and fall during cooling. This is to be expected.

5. If your blender is not "high-powered" and you are determined to make this cake. Try pureeing the beans, cashews and the liquid first, then proceeding with the other ingredients.

Saturday
Mar192011

Ginger Umeboshi Broth & Black Bean Noodles

Use this Ginger Umeboshi Broth in place of Miso Soup. Serve over gluten-free pasta and fresh veggies.

A friend of mine at Navan Foods introduced me to the the tasty and wonderful Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti. This gluten-free, grain-free pasta cooks up al dente—beautifully.

And, here is the ingredients list:

Organic Black Beans
Water

Now how simple and wholesome is that?

With Black Bean Spaghetti in hand and craving an Asian noodle soup, I mixed up a batch of this Ginger Umeboshi Broth and served it over the cooked pasta along with some raw veggies. It was delightful! Light. Fresh. Nourishing. The kind of meal the body thanks you for. This broth is quick to prepare. I use it as I would miso soup.

Ginger Umeboshi Broth

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan

Serves:  2-4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

6 small dried SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, rinsed
2 teaspoons UMEBOSHI PASTE or 4 UMEBOSHI (pit removed)
2 teaspoons minced GINGER ROOT
2 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE BROTH
4 cups WATER
2-4 cups prepared BLACK BEAN SPAGHETTI
4-6 cups VEGETABLES (I suggest carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, bok choy)

Directions:

In a large saucepan, simmer mushrooms, umeboshi, ginger, broth and water for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are plump. Using a slotted spoon, remove two of the mushrooms, slice and reserve for garnish.

Allow broth mixture to cool a bit then transfer to a blender and carefully blend on high until smooth (blend in batches if necessary). If your blender has left undesirable chunks, strain using a wire mesh strainer. Return to saucepan and heat through.

Divide and arrange pasta, vegetables and sliced mushrooms into two deep serving bowls. Ladle 2-3 cups broth into each bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

Vegetables pictured were prepared using a Joyce Chen Spiralizer. I am moderately happy with this model. There may be better ones out there. A spiralizer is a fun kitchen gadget to have for making raw vegetable "noodles" and garnishes (see my post on Zucchini Noodles).

What is Umeboshi?

For those unfamiliar with umeboshi, it is a salty and sour fermented species of apricot. For centuries, Japan has hailed umeboshi for its medicinal properties and alkalizing effect on the body. It is known to be a natural remedy for headaches, a natural antibiotic, a digestive aid and a detoxifier. It may be purchased in the form of the whole fruit (with seed) or paste. Take care in the brand you purchase. Some brands contain monosodium glutamate and food coloring (tsk tsk). Eden Selected Umeboshi products are a safe bet and can be found at most natural food stores and on Amazon.

Navan Foods | The Allergy Friendly Food Shop

Explore Asian also makes Mung Bean Fettucini and Soybean Spaghetti. All are gluten-free, high protein and low carb. The place to order these products is from Navan Foods. Navan Foods is a great online allergy free food shop. Visit today and explore its expansive allergy-friendly grocery offering.

Other Umeboshi Recipes to Try:

Homemade Umeboshi over at Just Hungry
Umeboshi Cucumber Dressing
over at Elana's Pantry
Umeboshi Rice over at The Whole Wheat
Umeboshi & Avocado Salad
over at Tokyo Terrace