Tag Archives: goat cheese

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

wpid-storageemulated0PhotoEditor2014-02-21-20.48.12.png.pngCrispy golden crust and bottom with a soft and chewy center and its gluten-free, you’re going to love this recipe and, definitely not miss the gluten or wheat flour!  This recipe makes two 12 inch or one thick 16 inch crust, I have a pizza stone and haven’t tried to make this just on a pan, but I’m sure a heavy bottom one would work fine, just watch for over browning.   I don’t like to eat much dairy either so I often top my pizza with goat cheese or buffalo mozzarella but make it however you desire!

Oven 425 degrees
Oiled Pizza Stone
Large Bowl or Food Processor with paddle attached
1/2         cup White Rice Flour
1/2         cup Potato Starch
1/3         cup Millet Flour
1/3         cup Sorghum flour
1/4         cup Tapioca flour
1              teaspoon Xantham Gum
1              teaspoon fine Sea Salt
Small sauce pan
1/2         cup Whole Goat Milk
1/2         cup Water
One package or 2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2             teaspoons Cane Sugar
Small bowl
2             large Egg Whites, lightly beaten
2             tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Combine dry ingredients well.

In small saucepan over medium heat, stir together milk water and heat until warm but not hot,  then, add in yeast and sugar and let sit for a few moments.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk egg whites and 2 tablespoons oil then combine everything in a food processor on medium for about one minute or until a dough ball forms. You can do this by hand too.

Now, transfer to a larger bowl, split dough in half and cover with a tea towel in a warm, draft free spot for 20 minutes to rise.

Bake for  7-9 minutes.  Note:  at this point you can freeze your crust to use another time!

Remove and top then return to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until toppings are cooked and crust is golden brown.  May reduce the oven temperature here if needed.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cake

SONY DSCThis recipe is amazing.  I had never made a cheese cake before let alone attempted a goat cheese and gluten-free one and to be honest I was pretty nervous as botching it would mean wasting A LOT of pricey ingredients, not to mention I made it for my first try the night before a dinner party but since I am here posting it obviously it was a success!   I have had no issue in the past making traditional dairy recipes with coconut milk so I was confidently hopeful it would work here too and it did.  I made this one another time with goat yogurt and milk and it turned out great too! If using coconut milk I suggest full fat thick coconut milk and even draining off the separated liquid, you can find thickened coconut cream at some health food store which would work beautifully but it’s not necessary.  The only other detail worth mentioning is whether you decide to use a “water bath” or not.  I’ve now made this recipe both ways, the water bath method worked and the cake was very moist but the bake time was unbelievably lengthy, I honestly lost track but it was well over an hour and a half in my oven.  The cake turned out without a water bath too but it did crack.  Maybe do some further research yourself and decide which way you want to go. For the crust I bought one box of gluten-free Graham Crackers and one box of Mary’s Gluten-Free Ginger Snaps from Whole foods and combined at about a 2/3rds Graham to 1/3 Ginger Snap but honestly you can’t go wrong anyway here, use both or one or the other, doesn’t really matter.  My guests consisted of a man I planned to impress, a very dear friend and fellow health foodie, her partner, a cheese loving, health foodie skeptic and their young daughter who said “seriously I don’t even usually  like cheese cake but this one, with the pumpkin I love!”.  All thoroughly enjoyed this cake and they even took the left overs home with them.  I served it with a dollop of a vegan whipped topping mixed with cinnamon.  Seriously Delicious.

A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes
Large Sheet Tin Foil  (if doing a water bath *see below)
Second Large Baking Pan

Graham Cracker Pie Crust:
1.5          cups gluten-free Graham Cracker/Ginger Snap Crumbs, finely ground
1              tablespoon Coconut Sugar
5              tablespoons melted unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil, melted
Cake:
1.5          lbs or 24 ounces of un-ripened soft Goat Cheese, room temp
3/4         cup Coconut Sugar
1/4         Raw Cane Sugar
1              cup/can Pumpkin Puree (make your own or store-bought), room temp
1              cup full fat Coconut Milk, cold  (or 3/4 cup Greek Goat Yogurt and 1/4 cup Goat’s Milk, also cold)
5              large Eggs, room temp
1              teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1              teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4         teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/2         teaspoon ground Ginger
1/4         teaspoon ground Clove
1/8         teaspoon ground All Spice
1/8         teaspoon ground Cardamom
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt

For the Crust

Oven 325 degrees. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan twice with aluminum foil (preferably heavy-duty). Take care to pull the foil all the way up the sides so that water cannot seep in from the water bath. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with coconut oil. Pulse the crackers (or crumbs) and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Dump the moistened crumbs into the prepared pan and, using a measuring cup or glass, press into an even layer. Bake until fragrant and set, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling

Bring about 2 litres of water to a simmer in a kettle (this will be used for the water bath). In a small, heavy saucepan, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputter, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until thick, bronzed and shiny. Scrape the mixture into a large food processor fitted with the metal blade and process for 1 minute.

With the motor running, add the cold coconut cream then the goat cheese (cut into chunks) and process for about 30 seconds, scraping the sides if necessary, or until smoothly incorporated.

Add the eggs and process for about 5 seconds or just until incorporated (do not over mix!).

Set the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the batter into the cooled crust, and then pour enough boiling water into the large roasting pan to come about halfway up side of the cake pan. Bake until the cake is just set, about 1-1 1/2 hours. If it jiggles, it’s not done.

Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and set on a wire rack. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool until the water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil and set on a wire rack. Continue to cool at room temperature until barely warm, about 3-4 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

CHEESECAKE TIPS

1) A springform pan (with removable side and bottom) is the most commonly used pan for making cheesecakes.

2) Avoid over-beating the batter. Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake.

3) For even marbling and the best distribution of added ingredients, such as chocolate chips or nuts, do not over-soften or over-beat the cream cheese.

4) Avoid over-baking: Cheesecake baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.

5) Upon removal from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This allows the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools.

6) Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack away from drafts.

7) After a cheesecake has cooled completely, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the springform pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

8) Baked cheesecakes freeze well. Cool them completely and wrap them securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings.

PREVENTING SURFACE CRACKS

The most common complaint is cracking that develops through the middle of the cheesecake during or after baking.

Bake the cheesecake in a water bath (instructions below) to keep the oven moisture high and the heat gentle.

Don’t overbake the cheesecake. When perfectly done, there will still be a two to three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Cheesecake will shrink as it cools. Generously greasing the sides of the baking pan before pouring in batter will allow the cake to pull away from the pan as it cools and shrinks instead of pulling apart from the middle.

Cheesecakes have a tendency to crack, but they don’t have to. This favorite American dessert can have a cracked surface for a number of reasons. One cause is air trapped inside the batter – a result of over-mixing. Once in the oven, the air bubble expands and wants to escape from the cake. As it finds its way out of the top of the cake, it creates a crack or crevice in the cake’s surface. Another cause of a cracked surface is a drastic temperature change.

How to avoid cracks then? Be sure to mix your cheesecake batter well, eliminating all possible lumps in the cream cheese BEFORE you add the eggs. It is the eggs that will hold air in the batter, so add them last, and mix as little as possible once they are in the mix.

Also, be sure to cook your cheesecake gently. Use a water bath – wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil and place it in a larger pan with water in it, just halfway up the outside of the springform pan. This will allow the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly.

Finally, cook your cheesecake slowly – at 325º F. After about 45 minutes, turn your oven off and leave the cheesecake inside the turned off oven for another hour. Cool at room temperature with a plate or cookie sheet inverted over the cheesecake to slow the cooling. Only then can you refrigerate the cake, which you will need to do for another 6 hours at least.

If after all this, you still have a crack, make a topping or a sauce for your cheesecake, and tell all your guests that you intentionally made a special crack in the top of the cake to hold more sauce!

ready-to-bake-in-water-bath” Water Bath ” For Baking Cheesecakes

A “water bath” is a method that will help keep your cheesecake from cracking while baking.

Instructions For Water Bath

First, take heavy aluminum foil, and wrap it around sides and bottom of your springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom. This prevents leakage while baking your cheesecake.

Place your springform pan or cheesecake pan (filled with cheesecake batter and crust) into a larger deep baking pan* that it will fit into easily.

*Note: The larger pan should be at least 2-3 inches in depth.

Place in pre-heated oven. With a kettle filled with very hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up, or approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches.

Bake cheesecake as directed. When cheesecake is done, remove springform pan or cheesecake pan (if using) from “water bath” in oven. Carefully remove larger pan with water in it from oven. It will be very hot. Discard water when it has cooled.

Remove aluminim foil from sides and bottom of pan after your cheescake has cooled completely in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to release sides of springform pan, or remove cheesecake from a cheesecake pan with removable bottom (if using) and cheescake has cooled in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight; this is the best time to remove aluminum foil.

Aside

Here they are!!!  Very proud of these treats, I have made them several times trying to get this recipe right.  As my goal is to make healthier recipes, I used goats milk and butter instead of dairy, all organic ingredients, … Continue reading

Gluten-Free Pierogis

I’m thrilled to share this recipe!  Pierogis are one of those comfort foods I’m sure gluten-free people think they’ll never enjoy again, I know I haven’t had them in YEARS and I grew up on them.  I even had a Baba and Gido, maybe being of Ukrainian decent makes me bit more proud of this one.   I spent a few hours or so working on the dough this weekend but it truly only took two batches to get right, the first I made vegan and they were good but not quite good enough.  The second batch I added greek goat yogurt and they turned out perfect, honestly can’t even tell they are gluten-free and just to be sure I served them to my healthy lunch group today and got two thumbs up from all!  (If anyone wants a vegan version feel free to email me for the recipe).  Fill them however you wish, the originals are cheese and potato and I considered do a Daiya Vegan Cheese/Potato one myself but I went with potato, onion and squash and goat cheese instead.  Experiment for your own or Google for recipe ideas.   Make the fillings first, then dough, once your pierogis are formed you can cook to serve right away or,  freeze them for later use.  My Baba used to serve them freshly boiled then fry the left overs with onions another day, today, for the lunch group I boiled then fried right away.  Again, it’s totally up to you these little guys are good anyway you like them.  Enjoy and please post comments!

Fillings

Roasted Potato, Onion and Garlic with Parsley

3 medium Yukon potatoes, quartered, skin on
½ medium onion,  chopped into larger pieces
½ a head of garlic, peeled, cloves left whole
Sunflower oil or butter (I used goat butter)
handful of fresh Parsley, chopped
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss in oil and roast everything except parsley in a roasting pan at 350 degrees until the potatoes are soft.  Hand mash or food process with a bit of milk, I used almond milk.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Buttercup Squash, Goat Cheese and Thyme

1 small Buttercup Squash
Sunflower oil
Handful fresh Thyme, de-stemmed
3-4 ounces of soft Goat Cheese

Arrange chopped squash skin side down in a baking pan, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with Thyme and sea salt.  Roast at 350 degrees until soft.  Scoop out squash and hand mash with goat cheese, add a bit more thyme and sea salt and pepper  to taste.

Pierogi Dough

Medium bowl:
2              cups Tapioca Flour
1/4         cup Arrowroot Powder
3/4         cup White Rice Flour (Sweet Rice Flour would be better if you can find it)
3/4         cup Potato Starch (not potato flour)
2 1/2      teaspoons gluten-free Baking Powder
2              teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1              teaspoon Sea Salt
Small bowl
2              large Eggs, beaten
3/4         cup Greek Goat Yogurt
1/2         cup Water
1/8         cup Olive Oil

Combine and mix dry ingredients.  Combine and mix wet then, add to dry.  Hand stir a bit then knead dough.

Work in small batches, roll out on parchment paper to about an 1/8 on an inch thick.  If you are having trouble with sticking you can add a little flour to your rolling pin or better yet simply roll between two pieces of parchment paper, you’ll appreciate then stickiness later. I use a small glass to cut my rounds then rolled a bit more to get the thick/thinness I wanted.  Once you have 5-10 cut outs scoop approximately 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle then pick up the dough and fold in half and simply pinch to seal edges.

To cook you simply drop into boiling salted water, once they float they are done.  From fresh this only takes 30 seconds or less, from frozen a bit longer but again just wait till they float!  If you are frying them too just scoop from boiling water into an oiled or butter pan.

Serve with Greek Goat Yogurt or Sour Cream.  Yum yum yum!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Scones with Goat Cheese Frosting

Whipped these up tonight and nailed it on the first try, LOVE it when this happens! I was inspired by some scone like pumpkin cookies served at a party this weekend that were made with wheat flour (man were they good). Here I just used my basic gluten free scone recipe and added the pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice.    I used the guts of the pumpkin I carved today to make my own pumpkin purée, all you need to do is roast it for 20 minutes then puree in a food processor but feel free to use canned pumpkin too.   Also, make your own pumpkin pie spice, it’s easy: 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.  I’ve included a goat cheese frosting for these scones that adds a nice sweet touch as they aren’t very sweet on their own but they are good either way. I used my food processor to make the dough as its just so simple and very little mess but you can also do it the old fashion way. =)

Oven 425 degrees
Parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with flour
1 ½         cups Sorghum Flour
1/4         cup Tapioca Starch
4              teaspoons Xanthan Gum
2              teaspoon Baking Powder
1              teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4         cup Organic Granulated Sugar (your choice but I use cane sugar)
1 ½         teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
7              tablespoons cold Unsalted Organic Butter, cut into chunks (I use goat butter)
1              cup Pumpkin Puree
2              tablespoons Goat Yogurt (or Greek Style)
1              large Egg

Optional: Brush the tops of the scones with the goat yogurt, cream or egg white then sprinkle with a little raw sugar

Add all dry ingredients to your food processor then pulse a few times to combine.

Add the cold chopped up butter, and pulse again until butter is cut into pieces. Then, add the pumpkin puree, yogurt and egg and process just until dough comes together.

Dump the dough out onto the baking sheet and use the parchment paper or dusted hands to roll in into a log then cut into 8-10 discs and arrange on the baking sheet (still lined with parchment paper).

Brush the tops of the scones with yogurt, cream or egg white, and sprinkle with course raw sugar.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until just golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Drizzle with Spice Glaze:

Spice Cream Cheese Glaze

1/2         cup Organic Icing Sugar
1/2         teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1              tablespoon Goat Cheese or Cream Cheese
1              tablespoon of Almond Milk

Whisk together until smooth, maybe adding more icing sugar to thicken then spoon into a small ziplock.  Simply cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle onto of the cooled scones.

Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Honey Frosting – flour-less, gluten-free and dairy-free!

Okay friends, here it is….

I made these lovely chocolatey treats for my class (22 five and six year olds) and friends on my birthday.  The batter recipe is one I perfected a long while ago for a chocolate flour-less cake but it works just the same for cupcakes.   They were a huge hit with anyone who had one (or more).  Many people have asked for the recipe, most not believing they are simply made with quinoa.  No Gluten, No Flours, No Dairy and as little sugar as I think I can manage.  The frosting is made with powdered sugar but I can’t seem to make a decent frosting without but a little sugar sometimes isn’t such a bad thing.  I love them as mini cupcakes, they are a perfect pop in your mouth size this way and I don’t feel guilty at all eating two or three!  Enjoy!

Medium pot
2/3         cup Organic Quinoa
1 1/3      cup Water

Food Processor or blender
1/3         cup Almond Milk (sub other milks you like)
4              large Organic Eggs
2              teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4         cup Sunflower Oil
1/2         cup Goat Butter, melted and cooled

Medium bowl
1 1/2      cups Organic Unrefined Sugar
1              cup Cocoa Powder
1 1/2      teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2         teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2         teaspoon Sea Salt

Rinse quinoa well and strain with fine mesh strainer.   Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil, cover and reduce to minimum heat until water is absorbed then remove from heat and let stand covered for a minimum of 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool completely.

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the cups of two 1 dozen non-stick cupcake pans or use cupcake wrappers.  You can also make mini cup cakes (makes approximately 3 ½ dozen minis).

Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor or blender.  Add the cooked cooled quinoa and blend until really smooth.  Add the oil and melted butter and blend some more.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt then add the quinoa mix and combine well.  I actually just mix in my food processor but I wouldn’t suggest doing this step in a blender.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake pans until almost full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan before serving or frosting.

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month

Chocolate Goat Cheese Honey Frosting

Large bowl
Hand blender
Rubber spatula
4oz         Soft Creamy Goat Cheese,  room temp
1/2         cup Goat Butter, room temp
1/4         cup Organic Honey
1              teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/3         cup Organic Powdered Cocoa
1/2         cup Organic Powdered Sugar (or more depending on desired consistency)
1              tablespoon Almond milk

Cream butter and cream cheese together in a mixing bowl, slowly add your honey as you continue to mix. Then slowly, bit by bit add the cocoa and powdered sugar, alternating between the two. Add vanilla and almond milk until desired consistency is achieved. I like mine light, fluffy, if you like yours a bit more stiff add more powdered sugar or cocoa to firm it up a bit.  More powder sugar would make it sweeter; more cocoa would make it darker.

Frost cupcakes when cooled however you like, I make a frosting bag with wax paper.

Store frosted cupcakes in the fridge or freezer.

Sheep and Goat Cheese Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Wow it’s been so long!  I know too much time has past without any posts, I have a few good reasons or excuses but mostly just haven’t been creating anything new at all.  I have one quick little recipe to share that I came up with over the holidays that was a huge hit and then a promise to post again soon.  In fact, I have just been given a good amount of Saffron which is amazing because it’s expensive but also because I have never worked with it and have wanted to for a long while. Going to do some research and creating and get back to you very soon!

Sheep and Goat Cheese Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This is my healthier, dairy-free version of traditional spinach and artichoke dip, I honestly put this one together while guests were arriving for our Christmas party and thankfully, it turned out awesome. Kinda a hit at the party! Only thing of mention as far as the recipe goes is the vegetable bouillon cube, I think it’s important to find a good healthy brand because most have a lot of junk in them.  I like GoBio, they are made with sea salt and are gluten free, GMO free, no MSG and yeast free.

Oven to broil
Glass baking dish

8          ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and drained
1/2     cube Vegetable Bouillon melted in a few tablespoons of warm water
1          can (4 ounce size) Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped up
1/2     cup grated Perricone Romano
2          ounces Goat Cheese
2          tablespoons Full Fat Goat Yogurt
2          tablespoons Vegan Mayonnaise
1/2     head Roasted Garlic*
Sea Salt and Pepper

Combine all ingredients in glass baking bowl and bake in oven for 10 minutes until the top has turned lightly golden brown.

Serve with gluten-free chips or bread and veggies!

*Roasting garlic is incredibly easy, wrap a whole head in tin foil and place in 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Healthy Holiday Baking

Peppermint Bark: Gluten-Free
Almond Butter Cookies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan) Short Bread Cookies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan)
Raw Coco Rum Balls: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Ginger Bread: Gluten-Free, Vegan

Peppermint Bark – Gluten-Free

There are several versions of this one on-line, I had to include it because I love it. Only real substitution I do is to use coconut cream rather than dairy, understanding there is milk powder in white chocolate, I still try to avoid it as much as possible.

Baking sheet flipped over and covered with foil or parchment paper
Two pots or double broiler
30    Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed, divided
20    ounces White Callebaut Chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
10    ounces Dark Callebaut Chocolate, coarsely chopped
6       tablespoons Coconut Cream (unshaken can of thick coconut milk)
1        teaspoon Peppermint Extract

Melt half of the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stir frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula. Careful not to burn!

Spread evenly into the prepared pan then sprinkle 1/4 of the crushed peppermints evenly over top. Place in fridge or freezer till hardened.

Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate, coconut cream, and peppermint extract the same way.

Working quickly from one end to the other pour dark chocolate on top of the hardened white and spread it evenly. Sprinkle another 1/4 of the crushed candy cane. Return to chill until very firm.

Last, melt the remaining white chocolate then spread quickly over the chilled bark. Sprinkle with the remaining peppermint pieces; chill until firm.

Cut or break into small pieces and keep chilled until serving.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies – GF, DF, (can be Vegan)

Oven 350 degrees
Heavy bottomed baking sheet
Medium bowl
1        cup unsalted Almond Butter (works well with smooth or crunchy)
1/2   cup Sucanat Sugar, ground to a fine powder
1        large Egg (or egg replacer)
1/2   tsp Baking Soda
1/2   tsp Sea Salt
1        heaping handful of Dark Chocolate Chunks or Chocolate Covered Almonds*

Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate, in a medium bowl and mix well. Then, fold in chocolate chunks.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack and allow to cool.

* for my Christmas baking I pressed one single chocolate covered almond into each cookies before baking

Short Bread Cookies – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, (can be Vegan)

Okay my gluten-free friends, here it is: crumbly, moist, buttery, sweet short bread! These are awesome eaten cold out of the fridge or freezer. If you want to try something different I have included a recipe for maple butter to top with.  These are also great with a cranberry pressed on top or try adding different flavours like almond, peppermint, lemon or cinnamon.

Oven 325 degrees
Large bowl:
1       cup Goat Butter, softened
2       tablespoon Organic Dark Brown Sugar
1       teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1        large Egg White (or equivalent egg replacer)
Small bowl:
1        cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/2   cup Organic Cane Sugar, ground to a fine powder
2/3   cup Tapioca Starch
1/3   cup Arrowroot Powder
1/2   teaspoon Xanthan Gum

Combine dry and sift well. Combine wet and mix with a hand blender until nice and creamy. Add dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time and blend until it is well combined and creamy looking.

Just like traditional short bread, you can roll this dough out and cut out shapes or roll into balls and flatten a bit.  Have fun!

These are also nice with a little sprinkle of turbinado sugar or lemon peel before baking.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow to cool completely.

Maple Butter
Small sauce pan
2/3    cup Dark Maple Syrup
1         cup Goat Butter (room temperature).

In small saucepan, bring maple syrup to a boil and reduce by half, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature. When cool, add the butter and stir until completely blended.

Place in refrigerator until firm if you’re not using it right away.

Raw Cocoa Rum Balls – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan

Growing up around the holidays I remember my mom’s amazing rum balls being in the freezer, she always made on-boozy ones for us kids but we definitely got into the rum version once or twice. I am so thrilled to have perfected a raw and healthy version, there is only 4 ounces of Rum in about two dozen balls but if you want to go totally healthy, feel free to omit I offer lots of options to boost the flavour.

1       cup fine shred Coconut Flakes
2       tablespoons Rolled Oats
2/3  cup raw Almonds
1/8   teaspoon fine Sea Salt
1        teaspoon Coconut Oil, room temp
1-2    tablespoons Agave or Maple Syrup
4        tablespoons Dark Rum (alcohol-free: sub a few more tablespoons of agave)
1        tablespoon of Cocoa Powder
3        tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar, ground fine

Cocoa Powder, Fine-Shred Coconut Flakes or Melted Vegan Chocolate for Rolling.

Grind almonds to a coarse powder, add oats and 1/2 cup coconut flakes and grind well.

Combine ground mixture, rum, oil, sea salt, agave, cocoa powder and mix well.

Grind the raw sugar to a fine powder and add to the bowl, mix again.

Mix adding the other 1/2 cup of coconut flakes till you get a soft dough. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more powdered sugar or agave.

Chill for half an hour.

Form balls and roll in cocoa powder, coconut flakes or cover in melted (vegan) chocolate!

Add whatever you want to this recipe, chocolate chips or pistachios in the middle would be nice or substitute the booze and cocoa powder and add in an essence or extract like rose, vanilla, or a pinch of cardamom. Yummm!

Gingerbread Cookies – Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan

Oven 350 degrees
Two baking sheets lined with parchment paper
Large bowl:
1 1/4    cups Tapioca Starch
3/4       cup Teff Flour
1/2        cup Coconut Flour
1/4        cup Millet Flour
1/4        cup Sweet Rice Flour
1/4        cup Almond Flour
1             teaspoon Baking Soda
1             teaspoon Sea Salt
1 ½       teaspoon Agar Agar Powder
1/3       cup Organic Dark Brown Sugar or Sucanat
2            teaspoon ground Ginger
2            teaspoon Cinnamon
1            teaspoon ground Cloves
1            teaspoon Cocoa Powder
1/4       teaspoon Nutmeg
2            grates Black Pepper
Cut in:
1/2       cup cold Vegan Shortening or Virgin Coconut Oil
Large bowl:
2            teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½         cup Dark Maple Syrup
1/3       cup Fancy Molasses
1/3      cup Cooking Molasses

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and sift.

Cut in shortening with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Combine wet and then stir into the dry. Chill dough for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

Take out a handful at a time and roll on wax paper dusted with tapioca starch to approximately 1/8 inch thickness and cut out shapes.

This dough is quite sticky, you will need to keep it cold and dust it often to be able to roll out and cut shapes. Have patience; even with lots of starch dusting and re-rolling they will turn out. Also, these cookies will puff up, if a moister cookie is what you prefer roll out thicker and bake a little less, if a crispy cookie is what you’re after go thin and bake longer.

Bake time is about 8-12 minutes. The cookies will be quite soft even when cooked and will harden while cooling. I suggest letting them cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet then at least an hour on a rack.

Makes 2-4 dozen, work in batches with two baking sheets.

Happy Holidays!!

Bison, Kale, Goat and Sheep Cheese, Rice Pasta Lasagna

This lasagna is unbelievably flavourful and uses only easily digested healthy sheep and goat cheese, gluten-free pasta and nutrient dense kale. I serve it to three wheat, meat  and dairy eating people and they ALL loved it.  If you haven’t already given up beef for bison here is a link to my write-up on why it’s so much healthier for us.  I think this recipe would work just fine with ground turkey if you prefer that and, feel free to switch sheep ricotta for goat if you can find it.   I  bought all my cheese at Whole Foods.

Oven 400 degrees
Large frying pan
9×12 glass square baking pan
3          tablespoons Olive Oil
1          cup Yellow Onion, chopped
3          Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/2  pounds ground Bison
1          tablespoon Braags
1          (28-ounce) can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2       (6-ounce) can Tomato Paste
1/2       cup fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped and divided
1/2       cup fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1            bunch Kale, chopped (approximately 3-4 cups)
1/2       teaspoon  Sea Salt
3/4      teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1            package Rice Lasagna Noodles
10         ounces Ricotta (Goat or Sheep), broken or chopped
5           ounces Creamy Goat Cheese, crumbled
3/4     cup grated Pecorino Romano Emma (like Parmesan but Sheep), plus 1/4 cup for  sprinkling
1          extra-large Egg, lightly beaten
1          pound fresh Goat Mozzarella, thinly sliced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the ground bison and Braags and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for about 8 minutes or until just not pink (no need to fully cook).

Add the can tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, all of the basil and 1/2 teaspoon sea  salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with boiled water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse. They will be firm but bendable.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Pecorino Romano, the egg, the remaining parsley, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular glass baking dish, spreading over the bottom of the dish.

Then add the layers as follows:

Half the pasta,

half the kale,

half the mozzarella,

half the ricotta mix.

Then, another 1/3 the sauce,

the rest of the pasta,

rest of the kale,

rest of the mozzarella,

rest of the ricotta mix, and finally,

the last 1/3 of the sauce. Top with 1/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.

Sausage and Goat Cheese Penne

Goat cheese and rice pasta make this one of my favorite not so guilty, guilty pleasures! Use whatever sausage you wish (even a vegan one if need be), although I suggest a good quality Italian sausage. I often add some baby spinach to my bowl just before serving, it softens up and blends right in giving the meal just a little bit of healthy green.

Large Pot
Large Saucepan
2 cups Penne Rice Pasta (enough for four)
5 links Italian Sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices)
1 medium Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
3 fresh Sage Leaves, torn
6 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup crumbled Goat Cheese
1 small bunch fresh Parsley, chopped
Sea Salt and Pepper

Cook Penne as per direction in sea salted water.

While pasta is cooking, sauté onions and sausage in the oil until the sausage almost cooked through.

Add the garlic, sage and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.

Add balsamic, and remove from heat to wait for pasta.

Add cooked, drained pasta to the sauce and return to medium-low heat for a minute or two.

Remove from heat, stir in crumbled goat cheese and parsley and serve!