Category Archives: Recipes

Whole-wheat Pancake Mix.


Today I succumbed to the cold that my 3 girls have been passing around, and the last thing I want to hear when I’m feeling crummy is complaints about dinner. So I went to the grocery store for some soup for myself and my husband made pancakes for the girls. And it was quick and easy, thanks to the tub of whole-wheat, clean pancake mix I had mixed up a few weeks ago and kept in the pantry! I had taped on a Post-It with the list of “wet” ingredients to add, so no need to look up recipes. As easy as Bisquick, with whole foods instead of additives!

Whole-Wheat Pancake Mix (makes approx. 6 small batches)

  • 6 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, airtight container, making sure to break up any clumps of coconut sugar. Store in your pantry until needed.

To make pancakes: (I usually double this to feed our hungry family)

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  1. Whisk ingredients together until just combined.
  2. Heat your griddle on medium and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. Ladle 1/4-cupfuls onto the griddle, wait until bubbles form and edges look set, then flip and cook until done.
  4. Repeat for remaining batter.
  5. Serve warm with pure maple syrup and maybe some peanut butter spread on top.

*Make your own buttermilk–you can even do nondairy! Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar to a measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way to the 1-cup mark with regular milk. Even almond milk curdles this way! Give it a try!

Original recipe here

Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Clean eating


Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Wacky Cake: No eggs, milk, butter, or bowl needed.

It’s my birthday week, so I thought I would share a birthday cake recipe!


I found out my baby was MSPI three weeks before my 30th birthday. I was so dejected at the prospect of not being able to have cake on my birthday. But just a week later, this recipe started making the rounds on social media. It has been a lifesaver for me. It won’t win any awards for Most Delicious Cake In The History Of Ever, but when you don’t have another option, it tastes like the best thing on Earth.

It’s called Wacky Cake, or Crazy Cake, or Depression Cake–because lore says it was popular during the Great Depression, when eggs and butter were scarce, and because you actually make depressions in the dry ingredients to add the liquid ones. It rises thanks to the exothermic reaction between vinegar and baking soda and makes a great experiment with your kids. This is a great option for people who can’t have eggs or dairy–and I’ve read that it works well with gluten-free flours as well.

There are a few ways to make it. All of the different options are listed at another blog, but here are the ones I’ve tried and tweaked: Chocolate, Vanilla, and single-serving Mug Cake versions of both. I’ll tell you right now the chocolate is definitely the better tasting, but for those who prefer it, the vanilla option is there. That’s what we did for my MSPI baby’s first birthday, because she hadn’t had chocolate yet. For her birthday party a few days later, I used the chocolate mug cake recipe to make an extra-small batch of cupcakes so that she could have her own dairy-free cupcake while everyone else ate carrot cake.

I’ve also got the recipes for chocolate fudge frosting and vanilla “butter”cream frosting. So this will be a long post, but hopefully a useful one!


Chocolate Wacky Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8-inch square or round pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in prepared pan (for round cake pan, mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour the batter into the pan). Make 3 depressions in the flour mixture with your thumb. Pour the vinegar in one, the vanilla in another, and the oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour the water over all of it. Mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Original recipe here

2-ingredient Chocolate Fudge Frosting 

Note: This is easy, but requires at least a day of advance planning.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bag Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Remove carefully from the fridge–DO NOT SHAKE–and carefully open. Spoon out the cream that has separated to the top into a saucepan. (You do not need the liquid “coconut water” underneath; save it to use in a smoothie later!)
  2. Add the chocolate chips to the saucepan. Melt them together over low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into a mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. (Usually I refrigerate overnight, then leave it on the counter for the morning to soften a little.)
  4. Whip it with a hand mixer or the whisk attachment on your stand mixer until smooth and creamy. It will be a thick, ganache-like consistency. Thin with nondairy milk if desired, but really, you don’t need to. Add a pinch of sea salt if it floats your boat.
  5. Resist the urge to just eat the whole batch with a spoon, and frost your cake as desired.

Original recipe here


Vanilla Wacky Cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups + 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8-inch square or round pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in prepared pan (for round cake pan, mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour the batter into the pan). Make 3 depressions in the flour mixture with your thumb. Pour the vinegar in one, the vanilla in another, and the oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour the water over all of it. Mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Original recipe here

Vanilla “Butter”cream Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) Earth Balance soy-free buttery stick, room temp
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • almond milk for thinning (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. meringue powder (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the Earth Balance until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add about half of the powdered sugar, mixing until incorporated.
  2. Add vanilla. Mix in remaining powdered sugar gradually, pausing to whip the frosting mixture at high speed before adding more sugar, until the frosting looks thick enough. Whip at least a minute more and adjust powdered sugar or almond milk amounts as desired. Add meringue powder if you want your frosting to hold its shape during decorating.
  3. Dye with food coloring if desired.

Quick Single-Serving Microwave Mug Cake – Chocolate or Vanilla

  • 5 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder (for vanilla, add an additional 2 tsp. flour instead)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. water
  1. Grease the inside of a large ceramic mug. Combine dry ingredients inside, mixing well with a fork.
  2. Use your index finger to make 3 depressions in the flour mixture. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla in the second, and oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour water over all. Mix with fork until very well incorporated.
  3. Place in microwave and cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 – 2 minutes–it will vary depending on your microwave. Don’t overcook! Remember there are no eggs, so a little underdone is ok–even delicious!
  4. Top with dairy-free chocolate chips, So Delicious CocoWhip, or whatever you like! Eat warm.
  5. FOR SMALL BATCH OF CUPCAKES: This recipe will fill about 3 cupcake liners. Fill remaining wells of your tin with water, then bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You’ll have to watch them carefully.

Original recipe here

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Egg-free | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Easy Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Stew.


Lesson one: No amount of processing can save a poorly lit photo. (Thanks for nothing, Standard Time.)

Lesson two: However it may look, this stew tastes incredible. And it’s easy. And clean, paleo, low-glycemic, dairy-free, soy-free, and kid-approved!

Browning the beef beforehand sounds like an extra step, but it is SO important to the full flavor of this dish. And it’s a quick way to get your kitchen already smelling delicious before you even turn on the crock pot! Put this one on your list for the cold, busy weeknights ahead. (Please send some of that cold down here to Florida!)

Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Original recipe here

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs stew beef (cubed)
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
  • optional, to thicken broth: 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the beef chunks, season with a little salt and pepper, and sear on all sides. Dump into your slow cooker and cover with the remaining ingredients, except tapioca starch.
  2. Cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9.
  3. Optional: if you want to thicken the broth, 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, whisk the tapioca starch with 2 Tbsp water. Pour the mixture into the stew, stirring gently, until distributed throughout, and allow it to resume cooking.
  4. Remove bay leaves and enjoy! In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, they reheat beautifully.

Paleo | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Clean Eating | Gluten-free | Nut-free

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Magic One-Pot Pasta.

Have you read the children’s book Strega Nona, by Tomie de Paola? The main character is a grandmother witch who has a magic pasta pot. She sings a song to it, and it magically fills with fresh, hot pasta:

Bubble, bubble, pasta pot–
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot.
I’m hungry and it’s time to sup;
Boil enough pasta to fill me up.

Her bungling assistant, Big Anthony, thinks he knows her secret, but he forgets one crucial step and soon the whole town is swimming in pasta!


We love that book. And we love pasta! When I first introduced my girls to this recipe, I called it “Strega Nona pasta,” because it’s magic, just like hers! This pasta won’t magically appear in your pot, but it takes so few steps that it might as well. And at least you don’t have to worry about it overflowing and filling your house!

I love that I can dump all these fresh, delicious ingredients into a pot, turn on the burner, and when the timer goes off, I have a magical pot full of fragrant, hot pasta, ready to eat–I don’t even need to drain it!

“Strega Nona” Pasta

Original recipe here

  • 12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti (I throw in a couple handfuls of short pasta, like whole-wheat rotini, for my little ones as well)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into ribbons)
  • up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 tsp)
  • up to 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups chicken (or “no-chicken” or vegetable) broth
  • optional: fresh grated parmesan
  1. Dump all ingredients into a large pot with tall sides. If your pot isn’t wide enough for your spaghetti to lie flat, break the spaghetti in half.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 10-12 minutes or until pasta is cooked and much of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Serve immediately, topped with parmesan if desired.

Meatless | Clean | Vegetarian option | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free


Filed under Recipes

Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas.

Meet my husband’s favorite meal:


Ok, so it’s really hard to make enchiladas look sexy, but trust me, they’re awesome. The key is the homemade enchilada sauce. I love restaurant enchiladas, but never loved how they tasted when I made them at home using the canned sauce. The homemade stuff a total game-changer. I make a double batch so that I can freeze half of it for another time. For our family, I can get away with stretching the filling to two 9×9 pans–one for now, and one to either give away or freeze for later (the Hefty foil pans are ideal for either use). So when I double the sauce, I get enough for four dinners’ worth of deliciousness!

Keep this one clean with whole-grain tortillas and less-processed chicken broth in the sauce. Make it truly vegetarian with “no-chicken” broth. Make it dairy-free with vegan cheese: we use Daiya cheddar shreds and it tastes similar enough that my husband and kids don’t pitch a fit. Make it gluten-free with the right tortillas.

Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Enchiladas: adapted slightly from here.

  • tortillas of choice
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded Mexican blend cheese or Daiya shreds, divided
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cumin
  • heaping 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce (below)
  • 1/4 cup onions strained from sauce (see below)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking dish (one 9×13 or two 8x8s).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, 4 oz (1 cup) of the cheese, spices, and strained onions. Use a fork to mash some of the beans so that mixture is chunky and incorporated, keeping some of the beans whole.
  3. Lay a tortilla flat and spoon about 2 heaping Tbsp (or more, if you like a larger filling-to-tortilla ratio) into the center. Roll it up and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, then repeat until dish is filled.
  4. Pour sauce over enchiladas (if preparing 2 pans, pour 1 cup over each pan), then top with remaining shredded cheese. (If freezing, wrap well with foil and plastic wrap and freeze at this stage. Then thaw 24 hours before baking.) Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Enchilada sauce: adapted from here. Tip: Double it!

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-3 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken (or no-chicken) broth
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges. Add the garlic, spices, and salt; toast until fragrant, about a minute.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and pour through a strainer set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press the onions into the mesh and force out more of the sauce. Save about 1/2 cup of the onions to mix into the filling.
  4. This makes about 2 cups sauce. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for up to 3 months!

Vegetarian | Clean eating | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Gluten-free option

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Dairy-free Candy Corn Sugar Cookies.

Who loves candy corn?

I don’t. I do love cookies shaped like candy corn, though!DSC_0052

Sugar cookies feature prominently in many holiday traditions–at least in our home. This became problematic when, on Halloween one year ago, I had to cut dairy and soy out of my diet literally overnight. Let’s just say our Christmas season was a little less merry without Mom wanting to bake up our usual Christmas treats.

So this fall, when candy corn sugar cookies started surfacing again on Pinterest, I thought I would give them a dairy-free go. Here in warm, humid Florida, I have a hard enough time getting my sugar cookies to keep their shape without essentially subbing oil in, but I figured that an easy shape like this left enough room for error to give it a try.

This is basically just a half recipe of my favorite soft sugar cookies, with dairy subbed out, food coloring added, and a lot less rolling, flouring, and cookie-cutter-washing. Even with just a half recipe, these things are small enough that it literally made over EIGHT DOZEN–two cookie sheets’ worth. So prepare to give some away!

Dairy-free Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) Earth Balance buttery stick
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (add additional 1/4 cup if you live somewhere really humid)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (treat Earth Balance like salted butter and decrease the salt in your recipes)
  • red and yellow food coloring
  1. Cream Earth Balance and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
  2. Gradually add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  3. Divide dough into 3 parts.
  4. Line a loaf pan with wax paper. Press 1/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan, spreading evenly. (My loaf pan was about 2 inches too long, so I created a wall with my hand behind the wax paper while pressing the dough down with the other hand; otherwise my layers would be too thin.)
  5. Put 1/3 of the dough into a small bowl. Add yellow food coloring (3 drops). Mix it in with the back of a metal spoon, adding additional color if needed. It will look disconcertingly like Play-Doh. This is normal. Spread this layer over your white layer in the pan.
  6. Put remaining 1/3 of dough into the small bowl. Add the same amount of yellow food coloring, plus 1-2 drops red. Mix it in; press into pan on top of yellow layer.
  7. Cover with additional wax paper and chill several hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and add some sugar to a shallow bowl.
  9. Unwrap your dough. Cut a 1/3-inch slice widthwise, then make 6 angled cuts in the slice to make 7 triangles: DSC_0050
  10. Coat in sugar and place on cookie sheet: DSC_0049
  11. Repeat slicing and coating with remaining dough.
  12. Bake at 400 for 7-8 minutes or until just golden around the edges and set in the middle.
  13. Cool and enjoy!

Dairy-free | Soy-free

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes

Make-Your-Own Salad Night: Chicken Apple Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

What would you say if I told you that, during our time living in Switzerland, Make-Your-Own Salad Night was my girls’ single most requested meal?

I wouldn’t have believed me either.


But it’s true. When so many other things were different from what they were used to, we could count on the produce at our corner market to be both familiar and amazingly fresh. The bottle of Ranch dressing we brought with us helped too. (Don’t worry–I have a delicious clean dressing recipe at the bottom.)

Since returning, it’s still one of the few meals that don’t get any pushback or “how many bites?” Because they can make it how they want. Both of my big girls prefer to separate all the ingredients on their plates and eat one at a time.


You can make this your own; I’m a big fan of fruity salads, so I just keep it simple with chopped apples, seasoned chicken breast, and balsamic vinaigrette, but I pull out as many of my girls’ favorite raw veggies and fruits as they can fit on their plates, and it all gets eaten! Tailor this to your (and your kids’) preferences and any dietary needs, and every once in awhile, add something that’s a little bit of a stretch for them to let them try: kale instead of spinach, for a start.

If making your own dressing sounds intimidating, start with this one. It has 4 ingredients and all you do is shake. Plus, you know what’s in it, and most importantly, what’s not in it.

Do you do a Make-Your-Own Salad Night? What do you include?


Chicken Apple Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Greens of choice
  • Chicken breast, seasoned as desired and grilled or broiled
  • apple, diced
  • vinaigrette
    • 1/4 cup GOOD-quality balsamic vinegar (trust me, it’s important)
    • 1/4 cup grapeseed or other light-tasting oil (avoid olive oil)
    • 2 tsp prepared Dijon mustard, no-sugar-added
    • 1/2 tsp (or more, to taste) dried Italian herbs
    • dash salt
  1. Assemble greens, chicken, and apple.
  2. Add vinaigrette ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well incorporated. Drizzle over salad and enjoy!

Adapted from here

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Clean eating | Paleo


Filed under Recipes