Tag Archives: gluten free

Vegan and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

I celebrated Thanksgiving with Mark’s family this year. With only 6 of us at the table, it was a little more subdued than my family’s usual 20 person feast. Not that a small Thanksgiving is a bad thing. We watched a lot of football, played soccer with Reggie, Mark’s Family’s dog, and I went for a nice 5.5 mile run outside. Sadly, I had to work on Black Friday, but unlike everywhere else open, work was painfully slow.

This was also the first year I had a lactose-free meal… it was a little hard to accept that my 22nd Thanksgiving would not include butter, cheese or cream. What is Thanksgiving without those things?

It actually ended up being pretty dang good… I ate a ton of Brussels sprouts, cornbread stuffing made with veggie stock and acorn squash roasted in maple syrup. AND vegan pumpkin pie with gluten free crust! (Mark’s dad is gluten free).

The condensed milk was swapped with coconut milk and thickened with agar agar instead of eggs. Agar agar is basically ground up red algae and when heated and mixed with water it becomes a gelatinous substance. Oh the wonders of biology. I picked up some agar agar and the other necessary ingredients (vegetable shortening and tapioca flour) at the local coop, in bulk.

I also picked up King Arthur’s new gluten free multi-purpose flour… It was the best gluten free flour I’ve worked with and I was supporting local! As an added bonus, it doesn’t contain xanthan gum like some other gf flours… xanthan gum can cause upset stomachs in some people.


The crust was kind of labor intensive, there are many crucial steps and some tips that I picked up from Simply Gluten Free.

  • make sure everything is cold… put ice in your water and put shortening in the freezer for 30 minutes before using it
  • use a food processor to incorporate the shortening.. it will make the crust flakier
  • skimp on the water… the dough should only stick together when pressed with your fingers
  • let the dough rest for 1/2 an hour before rolling… it lets the moisture distribute evenly
  • don’t try to roll the dough out…. extrude it by placing it between two floured sheets of wax paper.
  • use the highest quality ingredients you can afford… it really does make a difference, especially the flour

Since gluten-free baking is a tricky beast, I didn’t really stray from the original recipe. The dough had the consistency of shortbread cookie dough, and was pretty prone to cracking which can be frustrating to a perfectionist like me. I think next time I’d just buy a pre-made gluten free crust, but it was defiantly worth the experience. Plus, I wanted to use my festive little leaf cookie cutters before fall ends.

For the Crust,  from Simply Gluten Free

1/2 cup of organic vegetable shortening (I used spectrum brand)
2-4 tablespoons of water (I used 3)
1 1/4 cups of gluten free multi-purpose flour, such as King Arthur
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Follow the tips and directions here, a lot of the steps are crucial so follow it closely… it’s also a long process. Don’t start it at 9 pm like I did.

For the Pie, from the Blender, a William Sonoma Blog

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of maple syrup (look for kosher label to ensure its vegan, if need be)
1 can of coconut milk (14oz)
2 tablespoons of tapioca flour (found in bulk section)
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
splash of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of water
2 teaspoon of agar agar powder, (not flakes or bars, found in bulk section)

Blend together the pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut milk, tapioca flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla extract, in a large bowl and set aside.

In a sauce pot bring the 3/4 cup of water and agar agar to a boil, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes then stir in the pumpkin mixture and return to a boil. Let thicken for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring it constantly.

Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie shell. Refrigerate for 3 to 5 hours, until set and firm. Serve chilled or at room temp.

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Banana Bread Larabars

This past weekend, one of our college friends was in Vermont visiting his girlfriend, so on Saturday we met up for an afternoon by the beach and dinner in Burlington. On Sunday, the four us hiked Hunger Mountain. It’s only 4 miles round trip but it’s pretty steep and definitely a good workout for your butt. We got a little silly on the hike and had a great time hangout out with some friends.

For a little energy boost once you reach the top, a larabar is always a good choice. They are chocked full of good fats, protein and fiber. They generally have 3 to 5 ingredients and are very minimally processes (think dehydrated fruit and a whirl in the good ole food processor). They are also: dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, and vegan. All of these things leave your mind and body satisfied.

However, when not on sale, this tasty source of fuel can be a bit costly. We snagged some at a steal, 75 cents a bar, the other day. Once those ran out I contemplated making my own, which cost about $0.60 a bar. And making your own is on par with the difficulty of getting in your car/ hopping on your bike and heading to the store to buy them.

We also lucked out the other day when we were at the store… over ripe bananas were on sale for 8 cents a banana! So I decided to make banana bread larabars, one of my favorite flavors.

Banana Bread Larabars

Makes 2 larabars (1 bar: 230 cal, 5 g fiber, 6 g protein)

1 large, over ripe banana, sliced and dehydrated, about 1/4 cup once dehydrated

1/4 cup of dried dates, chopped

1/3 cup of raw almonds

To dehydrate the bananas, stick on a dehydrator sheet and follow the instructions. Or if you don’t have a dehydrator sheet (like me) preheat the oven to 175 to 200°F, depending on how low your oven will go. Slice the bananas and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 2 hours, keep an eye on them starting at about 1.5 hours, you don’t want them to get too dehydrated and turn into crispy banana chips. Remove them from the oven when they have reduced in size and have just begun to brown, but they still have a sticky, slightly gooey texture. Remove with a spatula, or fingers if they get too stuck, which they might. Measure out a 1/4 cup of the bananas and place it in a food processor with the 1/4 cup of dried dates. Combine them in the food processor letting it run for about 2 minutes. You might have to stop it periodically and scrape down the sides. Once combined well, transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add the 1/3 cup of almonds to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds to a minute until the almonds are grounds, but still have some small chunks. Transfer the almonds to the bowl with the dates and banana. Combine all the ingredients together. I found using my fingers was easiest. Then divide the mixture in half and give your hands a quick rinse. Leave your hands a little damp, I found it helped prevent the mixture from sticking to my hands. Shape each half in to a rectangular bar. Wrap in parchment paper and store in the fridge until consumption.

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Gluten-Free Granola

Not sure how I missed posting this recipe (probably because I make more food than I can possibly blog about)… I was going though the folder on my computer where I keep all my foodie photos and I found this recipe. It’s for gluten-free granola! I made it for Mark’s parents for the holidays (Marks’ dad is gluten free).

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, we’ll all be consuming a little more chocolate than we need to (not that it’s a bad thing to eat a little chocolate). Why not be a little different and give cute little baggies or jars of homemade granola instead of chocolate. I feel like the homemade cards and gifts mean so much more than a store bought one. Mark keeps all of the cards that I’ve ever made him in a draw in his desk… and I’ve made him probably a few dozen cards.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day tonight with a special dinner… Pierogis with roasted kale and tofu… I’ll post that soon!

On another note… training for the Seneca 7 is going really well… Mark and I ran at a leisurely pace for half an hour the other day and end up running a little over 3.6 miles, which is roughly an 8:20 pace… not to shabby for a leisure run. I’ve been trying to get back down to sub 8’s now that my shin splint is gone. I think we’ll ramp it up to 40 mins per run soon

Gluten Free Granola

4 cups of gluten-free oats

1 cup of almonds, chopped, or you can buy slivered

1 cup of shredded coconut

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of maple syrup

1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending on your oats and how dry they are)

2 tablespoons of oil

1/2 cup of dried blueberries

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

Combine oats, almonds, coconut, sugar, syrup, and water in a large bowl. Spread onto a large cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring it occasionally. If it starts to brown too quickly, turn the oven down a bit. Remove the pan from the oven once the oats are dry and lightly browned. Let it cool a little and mix in the dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Peach, Blueberry, and Blackberry Crisp

Exciting news… this weekend Mark and I bought some pepper plants to add to our window garden. Our kitchen window faces south and has a wide sill, so I’m going to attempt to nurture these 2 pepper plants and some basil, parsley and chives. Ok, it might be hardly exciting news… but I’m feeling that a spicy thai soup might come out of these new peppers.


Not sure if you noticed but we are right in the middle of peak produce season… everything has been so fresh, delicious and RIPE. Two of my most favorite things, peaches and blueberries, are both in season, so it’s perfect time to make a crisp or cobbler out of these yummy summer fruits. Topped with an oatmeal crumble and some vanilla ice cream, this cobbler is delicious. I made some swap outs to make this treat a little more healthful. I replaced half of the butter with low fat yogurt, used a modest amount of brown sugar because the fruit was so ripe and I changed up all purpose flour for brown rice flour so Mark’s dad could enjoy some (he’s gluten free). We also got a steal on the peaches; we bought a heaping bag of overripe utility peaches for 2 dollars… 2 dollars! I think the overripe ones make the sweetest baked goods, (and as added bonus, you need less sugar). I didn’t exactly measure anything so the amounts are approximate.

 Peach, Blueberry and Blackberry Crisp

Serves 6

6-8 medium size peaches cut into ½ inch cubes, wash and scrub them good to get some of the fuzz off. Peel as much skin as you can off with your fingers, but don’t go crazy, about half of my peach skin remained on.


½ pint of blueberries

½ pint of blackberries

¼ cup of brown sugar, loosely packed, more or less to taste


1 heaping tablespoon of corn starch

1 cup of oats

¼ cup of brown sugar

1 cup of brown rice flour

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup yogurt (vanilla or plain)

Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Chop up the peaches, and add to a large bowl. Add in the blueberries and blackberries, then the ¼ cup of brown sugar and corn starch. Toss gently to coat the fruit. Pour into a greased glass baking dish (8×8). In a medium size bowl combine the remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon, it should have the texture of a loose dough or oatmeal cookie batter. Spoon the batter evenly over the top of the fruit. Bake for 20-25 min or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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