Bana-no pudding

Continuing an I-miss-creamy-texture theme, this week’s recipe is a dairy-free version of banana pudding. It’s not much to look at — even if a better photographer had shot it — but it tastes as good as the real thing. Enjoy!CIMG5789_edited-1.JPG

Bana-no Pudding (dairy free)

Mash 3 bananas (fresh or thawed from frozen). Cover tightly and set aside.

Mix together 3/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Gradually add 3 egg yolks and 2 cups nut milk, whisking until smooth.

Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and the mashed bananas. Stir well.

Move pudding to a tightly covered bowl and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least two hours. If you want to be fancy, serve with fresh banana slices and/or a dairy-free cookie. If you just want a big dose of “creamy” right now, eat some straight out of the bowl. I won’t tell. 🙂





Moo-free salmon bake

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” Charles de Gaulle, French resistance leader and lover of democracy

The thing I have missed most since going dairy free is cheese, particularly all those creamy sauces that put the “comfort” in comfort food come snowy weather. Thanks to my vegan friends out there, that cheesy joy is back!

Moo-free Salmon Bake, while obviously not vegan or even vegetarian*, uses a nut-baseCIMG5836_edited-1.JPGd “cheese” that may taste better than the real thing. Enjoy!

Moo-free Salmon Bake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking dish (a Dutch oven or 9-by-13-inch Pyrex dish works well) with coconut oil or some similar dairy-free alternative. Set aside.

Put one can of drained, wild-caught salmon into a medium bowl and crush skin and bone bits well. (I crush rather than remove such parts. One, if I’m going to eat meat, I don’t want to waste. Two, those bones are loaded with nutrition.) Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, mix 1 cup water, 1 cup unsalted cashews, 1-2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (has cheesy flavor) and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cook one 12- to 16-ounce box of small wheat or gluten-free pasta (like rotini or elbows) according to directions. Return pasta to cooking pot and add the salmon and the cashew sauce. Mix. Taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 large egg and 1 cup frozen sweet peas and mix again.

Put the mix into the prepared dish. Top with crumbled rice squares (the gluten-free cereal) and a light sprinkle of paprika. Bake 30 minutes and serve while warm. (Oddly enough, one daughter and I like to add ketchup on top for full-on comfort food.)

* Vegans and vegetarians: You know what to do. Leave the salmon out and, for vegans, substitute for the egg. 🙂 It’s still yummy. Blessings!


Frosty-windows oatmeal

“Battles that involve oatmeal are just never going to end up being historic, you know?” Jake went on. “Gettysburg? No major oatmeal involvement. The Battle of Midway? Neither side used oatmeal. Desert Storm? No oatmeal.” Katherine Applegate, American young adult/childrens author

Forget “frost on the punkin'” — when you live in an old house with wavy-glass windows, you watch for frost on the windows. Drafty? Yes. But, window frost isCIMG5750_edited-1.JPG highly underrated — a delight, in fact. This is especially true for children, who love to hand print it and draw on all sorts of shapes. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about making frost patterns using one of Ma’s thimbles. Laura lived into her 90s. So, this bit of exposure to the elements obviously didn’t kill her.

Jack Frost hasn’t hit the inside of our house quite yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I have already switched over to oatmeal for breakfast in anticipation.

Even if you live in Florida or have windows that block out everything from cold to political advertisements, you might want to give Frosty-Windows Oatmeal a try. It’s winter comfort (and good health) in a bowl. Enjoy!

Frosty-Windows Oatmeal

Place 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats; 1 teaspoon brown sugar, maple syrup, honey OR molasses; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 Tablespoon of raisins (or any other dried fruit) in a Pyrex or heavy ceramic bowl. (If you make this breakfast a lot, use a dedicated Pyrex bowl as repeated microwaving will eventually trash your stoneware.) Add enough water to almost cover.

Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of nuts and top off with a splash of nut milk or dairy milk. There you have it — a hot and healthy breakfast that’s speedy enough to make any day of the week.


Gluten-free cornbread stuffing

“It’s too bad we’re not all teddy bears. More stuffing would only make us cuter and cuddlier.” Richelle E. Goodrich, American novelist

I can’t decide whether I live north or south of the stuffing/dressing line, but you get what I’m saying. This is a recipe for the bready stuff that used to go inside poultry back in the day.

And, it’s a recipe that pretty much anyone who shows up at your holiday table can eat. Adding lots of broth and slow-baking it away creates a sweet/savory vibe that can be enjoyed by those who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut free. You’ll have them all covered. Enjoy!

Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing

Two to three days beforehand, make two recipes of my Mountain-style Cornbread (in my recipe archive on homepage). You’re going for dry and stale. Air dry it under cheese cloth for at least 24 hours or dry it out on a low oven if you’re pressed for time.

The day before Thanksgiving (timed for the best flavor and juggling for oven time), use your fingers to crumble the rounds to bits in the largest bowl, pot, whatever that you have. Add 4-6 cups veggie stock. You’re going for moist, not soggy. Add water if needed. Set aside.

Coarsely chop four ribs of celery and four to six unpeeled apples (eating apples such as Gala are best for this).  Finely dice one small onion. Sautè onion, celery and apple chunks in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until fork tender.

Mix cooked celery, apple chunks, onion and 2 cups black or golden raisins (or a mix of both if you’re feeling fancy) with the moistened cornbread. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 Tablespoon sage and mix well. Taste. Adjust seasoning to your palate. (I use way more sage than this, but that’s me.)

Place in an oiled 9×13-inch pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown on top. Cool to room temperature. Cover in an airtight way and refrigerate until a half hour before turkey is done. Let return to room temp. While the turkey is resting, pop container back into a warm oven, covered with aluminum foil, to re-warm.



Spicy butternut squash soup

“Roses and violets from summer gardens, sun-drenched Sicilian lemons squeezed of their juice and mingled with juniper from the frozen north. Saffron threads and gold leaf from the Indies waited to be turned into something magical.” Laura Madeleine, “The Confectioner’s Tale

For days, it has been hovering near 90, too hot to even sit properly on the porch. Then, yesterday afternoon, the temperature began to plummet. Our beds are piled high with blankets in preparation for tonight, when it may dip to the 30s. It is clearly soup weather.

If you find yourself in similar temps, here is a simple recipe to whip up over the weekend. Enjoy!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Peel, seed and coarsely chop a large butternut squash (the ones with larger, thicker necks have the most edible flesh). Put the squash (it’s OK to use frozen if you’re pressed for time or not handy with a chef’s knife) in a large soup kettle. Add four to six cups of vegetable or chicken stock. Cover with a lid and cook on high until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork tender.

While the squash is cooking, whip up one recipe of my Speedy Summer Corn. This recipe can be reached through my home page under the recipe button, or just saute 1 package frozen corn until some kernels are lightly browned and season with cumin and chili powder. Set aside.

Using an immersion blender, puree the squash and stock. Add one 16-ounce jar of good-quality salsa and stir. Add a bit of water if the soup is too thick. Taste. Add salt and pepper if desired. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with 1/2 cup of Speedy Summer Corn. Served with crusty bread and salad, this makes a satisfying meal on a cold weekend.