Lemon Pudding Cheesecake

I make this cheesecake for Easter every few years & it is always a smash hit! It’s light & lemony delicious! Enjoy! I have to apologize that in all of the commotion & excitement on Easter, I never took a picture of the cheesecake, but it is so very delicious!! It will not disappoint!!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups crushed g-free graham crackers

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbspn. sugar, divided

3 Tbspns. Earth Balance butter, melted

4 packages (8 oz.each) Tofutti cream cheese, softened*

2 Tbspns. g-free flour

2 Tbspns. almond milk

1 cup Tofutti sour cream*

4 eggs

2 packages  g-free lemon flavor instant pudding & pie filling

1 cup rice whip whipped topping* & white chocolate curls-for top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix wafer, cookie  crumbs or graham crumbs, 1 Tbspn. of sugar and butter; press firmly onto bottom of 9″ Springform pan. Bake for 10 min.
  2. Beat cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and milk in large bowl with electric mixture on medium speed until just blended. Add sour cream; beat until just blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until just blended. Stir in dry pudding mixes until just blended.
  3. Bake for 1 hour & 5 min – 1 hour & 15 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around side of pan to loosen cake; cool completely. Refrigerate overnight. Remove side of pan. Top cheesecake with whipped topping & white chocolate curls, just before serving. Make sure to store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

*You can use the dairy versions of these, if you wish, instead of the vegan versions.

lemonpuddingcheesecake
This is the dairy version of the cheesecake I make at Easter. It is a Kraft dessert. mine looks very similar & is just as delicious as a vegetarian version.

 

 

Simple G-free stuffed Mushrooms

G-free Stuffed Mushrooms

4 (10 oz.) packages of whole white mushrooms, stem scooped out & diced. Save the mushroom rounded top whole

1/2 cup gluten free seasoned bread crumbs

dried minced onion (to taste)

s & p to taste

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) Earth Balance butter stick

1/2 cup water

vegan parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on tops before baking)

Directions:

  1. In a large chef’s pan, saute with a 1/2 stick of Earth Balance butter, the diced mushroom stems.
  2. Put in 1/2 cup of water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube & stir until cube is diluted.
  3. Sprinkle in the dried minced onion, s & p to taste.
  4. Place in the g-free bread crumbs. add more water if it gets too dry. The mixture may be sticky. That’s normal for g-free.
  5. Scoop mixture into the open whole mushroom heads.
  6. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
  7. *Optional: You can sprinkle grated or shredded cheese as well if you wish, or instead of the Parmesan.

These are delicious stand by appetizers or you can even chop up whole mushrooms & use as a stuffing for Portobello mushroom heads as a main dish. Enjoy!!

Gfree stuffed mushrooms

Day 5 of the challenge:Brownie Pancakes

Here we are on the 5th day of the challenge & I decided to make the Brownie batter pancakes. They were delicious, but very small! They made silver dollar sized pancakes. So, as I was feeding my starving family & myself (also famished), I made vanilla regular sized pancakes along with the silver dollar sized brownie ones! Oh Wow, so good together!! (You can find the vanilla pancake recipe from a previous post). Hope you enjoy them as we did!

Brownie Batter Pancakes

Ingredients:

Vanilla Pancakes

1/4 cup All-purpose G-free flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar

1/16 tsp salt (it’s about a pinch)

1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil (liquid form & cooled)

Vanilla & Brownie Pancakes on griddle

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

5 1/2 Tbsp Cashew milk (or milk of choice)

Directions:

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry & stir together.

3. Using a ladle, pour small circle shapes onto a hot electric griddle. When you see small    bubbles on top, flip. Heat for a few minutes & when browned lightly, take off heat.

4. Serve with my vanilla pancakes, if you want, on the bottom & top with these silver dollar pancakes on top.

5. Top with your favorite real maple syrup. Enjoy!!
Vanilla pancakes with brownie silver dollar pancakes on top & with real maple syrup

Easter Decor

Creating a pretty & simple festive home for the Easter holiday is always a joy. I love the pastel colors around the home, light & breezy sheer curtains on the living room windows & each year adding  a new element of decor, while usually taking away an item from a previous year. Each year I decorate differently & it’s always fresh & new & oh, so much fun!! My favorite places to shop for decor are: dollar stores, Ocean State Job Lot, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, our local Goodwill stores, flea markets & my own home & woods in my backyard. I’ll be decorating up until the actual holiday & enjoying every minute of it. Here are some of the areas of my home decorated. Nowhere near finished, but here’s what I have so far……

Elements of spring decor around the house ❤
A little pop of Spring! So ready for Easter!!! Love this time of year!!

Day 3: Crispy Roasted Tofu

So, this challenge thus far is going well. Last night the ‘Crispy Roasted Tofu’ was made. My family enjoyed it, but I would have liked it to be less spongy & more crispy. My advice is to cook it for 5-10 minutes longer under a higher temp in the oven or, for a few minutes under broil (watch it the whole time if it’s on broil). We served this tofu with baked sweet potatoes, kale, and sweet carrots. It was a wonderful meal.

**Note: The sauce is mixed with the tofu chunks & is marinated in it overnight.

Ingredients:Crispy roasted tofu. So good!

1 lb. Extra Firm organic tofu

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp real maple syrup

1/4 cup tamari or other g free soy sauce

*I doubled this recipe to feed a family of 4.

Directions:

1. Add this sauce to a large bowl & whisk to combine. Add tofu, cover and let sit in refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day, preheat oven to 450°F.

3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

4.Arrange tofu in single layer on tray.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden underneath. Turn each piece over & bake another 10-12 minutes until golden & crisp all around. This is where if it is not crispy enough for you, you should up the temp higher & place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes or on broil for a few minutes. Watch it so it doesn’t burn.

*** Leftover tofu should be stored in covered container in refrigerator.

Hope you enjoy!

Day 4: Anti-Inflammatory Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

So, continuing on my journey with trying new recipes from my Pinterest Board of Recipes, I decided upon this delicious Pineapple Ginger smoothie. I felt so refreshed & hydrated after it, and I felt like I was on the islands somewhere! What a nice way to start my day!

This beverage is full of wonderful benefits. Here are some of those benefits:

Pineapple: It has a lot of Vitamin C in it.

An excellent source of Fiber.

It has Bromelain in it that helps prevent colds & break up phlegm & mucus to help you heal faster from colds.

It has manganese to help promote strong bones.

Reduces inflammation

Helps prevent arthritis, cancer & heart disease

Boosts immunity & increase circulation

Mango:  Prevents Cancer

Lowers cholesterol

Has Vitamins A, C & E

mango

Improves digestion

Ginger: Helps with Nausea & Muscle soreness.

Helps aid against inflammation.

Drastically lowers blood sugar & heart disease risk factors

Can help with chronic indigestion & even menstrual cramps!ginger root

Lowers cholesterol & prevents cancer

May help with brain function

Can help fight infections

Celery:  Excellent source of antioxidants & beneficial enzymes

Has Vitamins: C, K, Potassium, Folate & B6

Helps prevent dehydration

improves liver, skin, eye & cognitive healthcelerystalks

Coconut Water:Very hydrating (way better than sports drinks)

Has potassium, magnesium & calcium

Contains other natural vitamins, especially B vitamins, minerals, natural salts

It’s a natural diuretic

Lowers Cholesterol & Manages Triglyceride levels

These are some of the many benefits of these ingredients among the many not listed. This was so refreshing! I hope you all enjoy it as well!

Ingredients:

2 Cups ripe pineapple

1 Cup ripe mango

1 piece of ginger (about 3 inches)

1/2 Cup of celery

1 Cup coconut water

1 tsp fresh vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place chunked fruit & veggies, vanilla & coconut water in a blender & mix until all blended well. Serve immediately. Enjoy! Serves 2.pineapple

 

 

 

Tofu Stir Fry

From Tofu stir fry night
Ingredients:

1 box firm Tofu, squeeze excess water out of it without breaking, sliced lengthwise in half, then cubed

water chestnuts (as many as you want)

string beans

broccoli

corn

cauliflower

red pepper, sliced

sweet peas

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 Tbsp raw organic honey

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp dry mustard

s & p to taste

3 cups cooked brown rice

3 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the brown rice according to instructions.
  2. Heat Large saute pan & pour in the olive oil. Cook the tofu cubes until browned & toasty. This could take 15 minutes or so to get to desired browning.
  3. Throw in the vegetables a little at a time along with more olive oil & a little water to cook & loosen up ingredients plus meld them together, a little at a time to keep it moist.
  4. Place in the spices & stir around, add a little more water if needed.
  5. After a few minutes, add the sauces & cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve.

I like to serve mine with black or matcha tea on the side. You could serve with fortune cookies if you wish, for fun. This is such a nice comfort food. Hope you enjoy it!

Food Challenge: Day 2

Hello Everyone! Yesterday was Day 2 in my food challenge to make all of the recipes in my Pinterest “Recipes/Food & Beverages” Pin Board. I decided to make the “Gluten Free Magic Cake” recipe. It had it’s frustrating moments, and it was very time consuming, but in the end, the result was very good. It is quite plain & not one of my favorite recipes but my family & I liked it well enough, but my family thought it was delicious. Hope you enjoy it. Here’s the recipe along with some of my notes.

Gluten Free Magic Cake
Gfree Lemon Magic Cake
Ingredients:

1 stick of Earth Balance butter

2 cups almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs, separated

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar, then 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup G-free all purpose flour with xanthan gum includedGfree lemon magic cake sliced up with powdered sugar & bananas dipped in lemon on top

1 pinch of salt

coconut oil to grease the pan

Directions:

  1. Grease a 13″x9″ pan with the coconut oil & dust with G-free all purpose flour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Mix the butter & milk in a saucepan & heat until just melted. Remove from the heat & mix in the vanilla extract. Put to the side to cool down.
  4. Whip the egg whites with the lemon juice until light & fluffy. Add 1/4 cup sugar & mix until stiff & glossy. This is the step that was ridiculously time consuming (30 + minutes & still not stiff). My advice is to chill the bowl before putting in the egg whites to mix & even chill the beaters on the mixer all for around 30 minutes. This step should help get the egg whites stiff & quicker as well. Another tip could be to have a more wide & shallow bowl to mix this in. Lesson learned for me.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, until double in volume & creamy & pale.
  6. Mix in half of the milk mixture & 1/2 cup coconut flour as well as a pinch of salt to the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Mix in the rest of the milk & all-purpose flour until smooth.
  8. Fold in the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
  9. Pour the mix into the prepared pan & Bake for 40-50 minutes. Mine was ready in 40 minutes, until golden brown on top & set.
  10. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing & serving.
  11. Sprinkle on confectioner’s sugar (optional). I sprinkled cake with the confectioner’s sugar & also placed on each serving for each person, banana coins that were stirred with lemon juice. It was very good & looked pretty.

A Fun Experiment!/Flourless PB bread

One of my favorite movies is Julie & Julia, based on the memoir by Julie Powell Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously & Julie Powell’s Blog where she tackled Julia Child’s 524 recipes from Julia’s book: “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in 365 days. It is such a fun concept & so inspiring! I have decided to take that inspiration & tackle my 2,637 food pins from my Pinterest board & start cooking & baking! This will most definitely take longer than a year to complete & some recipes will be grouped together. I have a unique situation, as these recipes are mainly gluten free & vegan & those that aren’t, I pinned with the intention of vegan-izing & altering them to become gluten free. Some I will keep vegetarian for the sake of the recipe.

I should say that some of these pins have “50 gluten free breakfast ideas” & some tips, but I will tackle each & every recipe. Thank you, Julie Powell for your inspiration! I have been wanting to tackle this project ever since watching this movie. I began this morning & may take a day off here & there, but my goal will be 2 years. I have to try & control the urge to pin more recipes to that board! I hope you enjoy these recipes! I hope I do as well! LOL!!

Day 1: Flourless Peanut Butter Bread:  I made it with my own breakfast potatoes & spinach mix, along with homemade g-free/vegan sausage crumble, cut up cantaloupe & chocolate/peanut butter/banana smoothie.

The Pin on the Recipes board was for the breakfast bread & I wasn’t that pleased with it, as it was very dry & flavorless. So I drizzled Raw Organic Honey on top & it was much tastier! I suggested to my family as another option to put raspberry preserves on top & they liked that option better for them. It tasted almost like a PB & J, they commented.

Here is that recipe:
Flourless Peanut Butter bread with Breakfast this morning!
Ingredients:

1 Cup Smucker’s natural creamy peanut butter

3 large eggs *

1 tsp vinegar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp granulated white sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 mini loaf pans (at sizes of 3″ x 5″). I chose to put in 1 regular size loaf pan (4″ x 8″). It was easier for me & didn’t change the recipe’s dignity.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Use a hand mixer to mix together until smooth.
  3. If using 2 mini pans, spread the batter equally between the two, or just toss it all into one pan, as I did. 😉
  4. Bake for 20 minutes (It says 25, but 20 was perfect-check at least in 20 & see if a toothpick inserted comes out clean)
  5. Let cool for approximately 10 minutes & serve slices with vegan butter, jam or preserves, more peanut butter & drizzle with honey or maybe even some maple syrup!

*If making these vegan, and omitting the eggs, I would highly recommend substituting 3 small or 2 regular sized bananas in place of the eggs. It may even give a nice sweet banana flavor to the bread as well as bind it together.

Have you tried this recipe & altered it in some way? How did you alter it? I’d love to know!

Hope you enjoy this new adventure I’m on!

Cocoa/peanut butter smoothie with breakfast
The cocoa/peanut butter smoothie

Fresh cantaloupe at breakfast today
Fresh cantaloupe

Potato & spinach mix for breakfast
Potato/spinach bowl

Gfree Vegan sausage crumble at breakfast
Homemade Gfree sausage scramble

Getting to know you….Easter Edition

Easter is my all time favorite Holiday of the year!! It comes at a time when life is being renewed, refreshed & Mother Nature starts over! Flowers & plants are peeking above the ground, leaves are poking through on the trees, grass is beginning to green a little at a time, the sunshine is brighter, days are growing progressively longer, the outside temperature is slowly rising and well, the Easter Bunny is coming to town!!

bunnyeggs

I simply love coloring eggs (still), watching Easter movies, (Yes, I still watch them, along with my husband, adult daughter & teenage son! 😀 ) and cooking & baking lighter fare for our Easter Menu! I always host it here at my home & love every second of it! My children humor me & still do our annual Easter Egg Hunt & are always excited to see what the Easter Bunny left in their baskets!! I will never tire of this fun holiday & traditions!

Traditional-Easter-eggs-make-at-home

I await all year for this Great holiday & season of renewal! Here are some questions that were asked of me just recently. I’ll answer them & would love to hear what your answers are too! Happy Easter to you all!!

Questions:

1. What is the first thing you do to prepare for the Easter Season?

There are a lot of things. I first decorate with my Easter decorations. Less is more & the colors are pastel; there are flowers around too. I also spring clean!

lilacs

I prepare my Easter Menu list. I try to change it up every year to keep it fresh, but I still have some favorite standbys.

My family & I always start the season with “Jesus Christ Superstar” movie. We then go to our cartoon movies & always finish with our new favorite, “Hop” movie.

I almost daily go through the home singing Easter songs like “Here comes Peter Cottontail” &  “Easter Bonnet”, as well as all of us going through all the music from “Jesus Christ Superstar”!! We’re a very musical family!

I begin to seed for my garden with some of my seeds, as some were already started weeks before & still some soon after, but some of them.

garden-tools

I begin my Spring cleaning & bring up our Spring weather wardrobe & slowly pack up our winter gear! Yay!!

Finally, I begin early in March to shop for Easter gifts & items for my Easter Menu (Non- perishables & non- food items).

2. What is your favorite Easter meal item?

I love the potatoes & the roasted asparagus! I Love dessert too!!

roasted-asparagus

3. What desserts do you enjoy?

I always try to make something lemon-y, along with other desserts. I Love lemon at this time of year! I love to make cream puffs & sometimes even a lemon cheesecake! They’re vegan & g-free!!

lemonpuddingcheesecake

4.What are your happiest memories of Easter?

Getting dressed up in pretty pastels & seeing everyone get dressed up! When I was little, we always had a brand new dress with shiny white shoes, white tights, white gloves, a new purse & a pretty hat! When my daughter was born, I dressed her that way too! My son also looked adorable in his little suit & bow tie! Those were the days! We still dress up (A little less formally, but we still do!)! 🙂

5.What are some of your favorite traditions?

Definitely coloring Easter eggs!! I wait all year for this fun activity!! I’m still a kid at heart!! I also love to watch the kids try to find all of the plastic filled eggs on the annual egg hunt! My children will someday be in their forties & I will still hide the eggs & make them find them! Hahaha!

6. Any other traditions?

Every Easter Eve, we light candles & express our gratitude for all we have & we watch “The Ten Commandments”. Then we wait “for the Easter Bunny to arrive”!!

easterchickrabbit

I just love waking to Easter morning!!

I Love to make Spring & Easter crafts & cook & bake lighter, healthier fare & watching the season develop with Hope.

I wish all of you a Wonderful Happy Easter & Beautiful Spring!!

Our bunny, Emma ❤
Our bunny Emma
Our bunny, Olivia ❤
Our bunny Olivia