Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blogging Break and a big-ole' long mind dump


The Tasty Alternative is making a switch to Wordpress.  So this site is no longer active.  

I hope to launch the new site on week of 3-17-14!  




Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Love Cupcakes? Then check this out: Sweet Secrets Cookbook and eBook Giveaway (4 winners)

If you love cupcakes (and come on...who doesn't) then you must get your hands on a copy of Anna Belle's cookbook dedicated to all things cupcakes and frosting:  Sweet Secrets!!!  She uses gluten and grain free flours, many dairy free ingredients, and alternative sweeteners.  Get this cookbook just in time for Valentine's Day!  
A quote from Anna Bell's cookbook:
"This book has a plan for you, my dear reader. It will show you how simple changes to your pantry,  from non-‘food’ ingredients to Real Whole Food ingredients, can transform your life! Your children,  family and friends will ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ over these quick and simple recipes, making you feel happy and  proud to serve such Delicious Nourishing Treats!"

Here is just a glimpse of some of the cupcakes you will find in her book: 

Apple Spice 
Banana Nut 
Black Forest 
Blueberry Muffin 
Caramel Cheesecake 
Carrot Cake 
Chocolate Chip Cookie 
Chocolate SoufflĂ© 
Cinnamon Roll 
Coconut Cream 
Dark Chocolate 
Devil’s Food 
German Chocolate 
Ginger Bread 
Green Goddess 


Check out this amazing, delicious and super 
healthy recipe found on page 84:
German Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients for Cupcake
-1 ¼ C Blanched, Slivered Almonds
-1 ¼ C Unsweetened, Coconut Flakes
-1/3 C Erythritol
-1/2 C Palm Sugar or 1/3 t Stevia
-2/3 C Chopped Yellow Sweet Potato or Yam
-1 C Packed Baby Spinach or Chopped Zucchini
-1 C Chopped Apple with peel
-1/3 C Cocoa Powder
-1 T Vanilla Extract
-1 t Almond Extract
-1/4 t Sea Salt
-2 LG Eggs and 2 LG Egg Whites
-(reserve yolks for Frosting)
-2 T Coconut Flour
-2 t Baking Powder

Ingredients for Coconut Pecan Frosting: 
-2 Egg Yolks
-3/4 C Heavy Cream or Coconut/Nut Milk
-1/3 C Erythritol
-1/2 C Palm Sugar
-1 C Chopped Pecans
-3/4 C Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
-2 T Coconut Oil
-2 T Honey

How To:
1.  Position your oven rack to lower portion of oven.
2.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line Muffin Pan
with 12 Cupcake Paper Liners and set aside.
3.  In your Food Processor fitted with the S Blade, add
the Almonds, Coconut Flakes and Sweetener.
4.  Process for 2 or 3 minutes until it’s powdery.
5.  Add the Sweet Potato or Yam, Spinach or Zucchini,
Apple, Cocoa Powder, Extracts, Salt and process until
smooth.
6.  Add the Eggs and continue to process another
minute until smooth and well blended.
7.  Combine the Coconut Flour with the Baking Powder
and add while the machine is running. Blend for a
minute, then let set another minute.
8.  Open the lid and check the Batter. It should be the
consistency of thick pancake batter. If it is too thin,
add another Tablespoon of Coconut Flour and blend
again.
9.  Using an Ice Cream Scoop, fill the Cupcake Liners
about 3/4 full.
10.  Bake about 12 minutes at 375, then turn the temperature down to 325 and continue baking about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Enter here to win  
9 chances to enter
4 items to giveaway 
(1 hard copy of the book and 3 ebooks)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 103: February 5, 2014

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).
  AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

This is a weekly blog hop hosted by myself and five other fabulous allergy-free bloggers.  Your weekly submissions will be shared on all 6 blogs!  Check back each week for reader favorites and recipe highlights.  

Your AFW Hostesses:
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom
Janelle @ Gluten Freely Frugal
Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry
Nancy @ Real Food Allergy Free
Tessa @ Domestic Diva
And me!
What can I link-up on AFW?
  • We welcome allergy-free cuisine in any shape or form
  • Tips & allergy related articles/information are welcome
  • Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities all welcome
  • Rules & Guidelines *Please provide a link directly to your post (not your homepage).
  • Please provide a link back to our weekly blog hop somewhere in your post.
  • Please provide a description of your recipe, such as DF (dairy free), GF (gluten free), SF (sugar free), V (vegan), etc.
  • Recipes do not have to be free of all common allergens, just allergy-free in some way.
  • TWO weekly submissions max please.
  • Grab yourself a badge and help support Allergy-Free Wednesdays and the allergy-free community.
  • Entries that don’t comply with stated rules and guidelines will be respectfully removed.
Please leave a comment after you link-up and tell us about your weekly submission(s). We love to hear from you!
By linking up, you agree that I may make use of any applicable pictures in my Allergy-Free Wednesday posts, and that, by your entering, you are giving permission to use them and/or re-pin them via Pinterest. You also, by entering, guarantee that the picture is not someone else’s work , or else has a broad license (for example with stock photography put in public domain).
______________________________
Featured Recipes & Highlights

Each week AFW features the most most popular recipe from the previous week, and the six AFW hostesses will highlight their favorites.  Please note that your submission must contain a link back to our Allergy-Free Wednesday's Blog Hop in order to be featured.  

So without further ado...

May I present you with the most popular submission (most viewed by readers):

Amazing Raw Chocolate "Cheesecake"
From:  Kitchen Stewardship  

And here are my favorite recipes/posts from last week: 

Tuna & Broccoli Quinoa Patties with Lemon Caper Sauce
(I made these - they are awesome)!
From: Allgery-Free Alaska 
Roasted Chickpeas
From: Simply 123 Allergy Free 
Apple Oatmeal "Cream" Pie
From: Grassfed Mama
*
Thanks for visiting Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
And thanks for being awesome and reading through our guidelines before linking up!
_________________________________

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy free, cane-sugar free, nut free)

This chocolate chip cookie is a grand baking success for me!  Woot-woot.  I've been trying to capture that traditional chocolate chip cookie flavor in tasty alternative form for years.  Finally, last week, I did it.  If you're gluten free, or new to gluten free, this is must recipe in your repertoire.  
Enjoy my friends, enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 

{click the affiliate links below for where to purchase ingredients and to support The Tasty Alternative}

Ingredients:
-2 eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk)
-3/4 cup coconut sugar
-1/4 cup honey
-3/4 cup palm shortening
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
-2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
-2 cups brown rice flour (280 grams)
-1/3 cup tapioca flour (45 grams)
-1 teaspoon xanthan gum
-1 teaspoon baking soda 
-1 teaspoon salt 
-1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (contains cane-sugar).  Or 1/2 cup of THESE sugar-free dark chocolate chips (contains soy lecithin) 

How To:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
1.  In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients including the chocolate chips.  
2.  In a separate a mixing bowl add in 1 whole egg and one egg yolk along with the coconut sugar, palm shortening, and honey.  Hand mix briefly with a spoon until the mixture is incorporated then mix on high with hand held mixer (or stand mixer) for 2 minutes. 
3.  Add in the coconut milk and vanilla extract and mix again with the mixer for 1 minute. 
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix by hand - I use a silicone spoon.  
5.  Place the batter in the refrigerator for one hour.  
6.  After the batter has chilled, and thus easier to work with, I recommend using a small ice cream scooper (2 tablespoon size) to create even portions.  Scoop out and roll into balls, then flatten out a bit.  These cookies will spread, so give them room.  I like to line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.
7.  For soft cookies, bake for 11 minutes.  For slightly firmer cookies with a crispy edge, bake for 13 minutes.  I would not recommend baking these longer than 13 minutes (like all cookies, they will burn quickly).  Remove from oven immediately and using a spatula quickly transfer cookies to a cooling rack. 
Makes 32 cookies 

Notes:
*I've also made these cookies with a 2 cup mix of different flours: 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup millet flour & 1/2 cup sorghum flour.  The batter was slightly thicker but tasted the same.
*Try 1/2 teaspoon psyllium husk in place of xanthan gum (I haven't tested this, so I can't speak to the final results).  
*To the batter you can also add in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (decrease chocolate chips to 1/2 cup).  
*Vegans, hang in there.  I will attempt to make these vegan, but it will take some time.  If you feel adventurous, give these a try vegan style and come on back to share your findings.  Thanks!
Dip dip...oh yeah baby!
Here is a list of dairy free milk recipes by The Tasty Alternative

Shared on these awesome link parties: 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Allergy-Free Wednesday Week 102: January 29, 2014

Hello and welcome to Allergy-Free Wednesdays (AFW).
  AFW is a weekly blog hop where folks can share their allergy-free cuisine, gain knowledge about allergy-related topics/issues, and connect with others living or caring for someone with food allergies.

This is a weekly blog hop hosted by myself and five other fabulous allergy-free bloggers.  Your weekly submissions will be shared on all 6 blogs!  Check back each week for reader favorites and recipe highlights.  

Your AFW Hostesses:
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom
Janelle @ Gluten Freely Frugal
Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry
Nancy @ Real Food Allergy Free
Tessa @ Domestic Diva
And me!
What can I link-up on AFW?
  • We welcome allergy-free cuisine in any shape or form
  • Tips & allergy related articles/information are welcome
  • Food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities all welcome
  • Rules & Guidelines *Please provide a link directly to your post (not your homepage).
  • Please provide a link back to our weekly blog hop somewhere in your post.
  • Please provide a description of your recipe, such as DF (dairy free), GF (gluten free), SF (sugar free), V (vegan), etc.
  • Recipes do not have to be free of all common allergens, just allergy-free in some way.
  • TWO weekly submissions max please.
  • Grab yourself a badge and help support Allergy-Free Wednesdays and the allergy-free community.
  • Entries that don’t comply with stated rules and guidelines will be respectfully removed.
Please leave a comment after you link-up and tell us about your weekly submission(s). We love to hear from you!
By linking up, you agree that I may make use of any applicable pictures in my Allergy-Free Wednesday posts, and that, by your entering, you are giving permission to use them and/or re-pin them via Pinterest. You also, by entering, guarantee that the picture is not someone else’s work , or else has a broad license (for example with stock photography put in public domain).
______________________________
Featured Recipes & Highlights

Each week AFW features the most most popular recipe from the previous week, and the six AFW hostesses will highlight their favorites.  Please note that your submission must contain a link back to our Allergy-Free Wednesday's Blog Hop in order to be featured.  

So without further ado...

May I present you with the most popular submission (most viewed by readers):

Healthy Dairy Free Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip
From:  Waldorf Inspired Moms

And here are my favorite recipes/posts from last week: 

Vitamin K2: The Critically Overlooked 
Vitamin that Protects Your Bones and Heart
From: Real Food Forager

Onion Soup
From: Gluten Free, SCD, & Veggie

Flavorful pesto spaghetti sauce is adaptable to many diets
From: Eileen's Everyone Eats Right
*
Thanks for visiting Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
And thanks for being awesome and reading through our guidelines before linking up!
_________________________________

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Nightshade Free Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce (SCD, Paleo, AIP, GAPS)

To the average person pasta sauce is a pretty healthy choice.  But if you suffer from an auto-immune disease and trying to decrease pro-inflammatory foods, tomato-based pasta sauces can be quite aggravating on the system.  Some folks find great success and relief by eliminating nightshades from their diets.  What are nightshades you ask?  Good question.  Nightshades are the following foods: Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, tobacco, goji berries, ground cherries, and cayenne peppers (and more).  See this post by the Paleo Mom with a complete list of all nightshades.  

Nightshades contain compounds called alkaloids and lectins.  The lectins are guilty of wreaking havoc on the digestive system and specifically cause intestinal permeability.  Please see this other post by the Paleo Mom for all the science she covers on the topic.  
I will share with you that tomato-based pasta sauces totally aggravate my digestion and contributes to inflammation.  I made this connection last year.  So, making a tasty alternative to traditional pasta sauce is very important - because mama likes her pasta sauce.  This one is a winner and my family also loves it.  It does not have an overwhelming beet flavor, it's barely detectable.  I urge you to give this recipe a try.  And if you're looking for more nightshade-free recipes, pick up Dawn's cookbook: Culinary Creativity.  I did a review and giveaway last year.  Oh, and P.S., I used butternut squash in this recipe because while browsing the isles at my Natural Foods Coop, I noticed this butternut squash pasta sauce and thought, "Well, that must be just flippen' delicious."  
*

Here we have the pasta sauce topped with asparagus and Brussels sprouts wrapped and baked in prosciutto.  
Swoon-to-the-moon!
Nightshade Free Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:
-4 cups chopped butternut squash 
-2 cups chopped carrots
-1 chopped red onion
-1 cup sliced celery
-1 cup chopped red beets
-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
-1 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon salt 
-1 tablespoon fresh diced garlic
-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
-1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

How To:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
2.  In a large roasting pan (I use a large glass Pyrex) combine the chopped butternut, chopped carrots, chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped red beets, 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and fresh garlic.  Mix all the ingredients together and roast for 40 minutes.  You want the veggies to sort of caramelize - this provides a nice sweet flavor to the sauce.  
3.  Transfer all the veggies into a blender.  To the blender also add the additional 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and the apple cider vinegar.  Blend until smooth and everything is well incorporated.   
4.  Serve immediately or warm on the stove top.
Serves 6

Notes: 

*Leave sauce as vegetarian or add 1 pound of ground meat.   
*For the pasta I like to use spiralized zucchini or baked spaghetti squash.  My favorite brown rice pasta is Tinkyada.  
 "Zughetti" pasta.  See THIS post for how to prepare the zucchini noodles.  Purchase this awesome gadget HERE.  
{This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting The Tasty Alternative} 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fresh Cabbage & Herb Spring Rolls with Sunbutter Honey Dipping Sauce

 About a month after I started blogging I posted a recipe for baked spring rolls and they were my favorite food for months.  I made them over and over again...until like most things I make over and over again...I became satiated (and over it).  I haven't really made spring rolls in a while.  Last month (in December) I was looking for a recipe to bring to a holiday party.  I thought, "What would everyone like, carnivores and vegetarians alike?"  So I made some raw spring rolls and wowza they are fun to make and super yummy.  I forgot how much I enjoy stuffing those little rice wrappers.  And the sauce, oh the sauce!  The sunbutter honey dipping sauce that accompanies these little rolls has such a delightfully complex flavor.  Sunbutter is a great sub for peanut butter in traditional peanut-based sauces.  Definitely give it a try.

And as you are reading this, you might be thinking, "Why on earth is Amber posting a spring roll recipe in the dead of winter?"  Well folks, it's not winter around these parts, unfortunately.  We had a short freezing spell in November and for the last 8 weeks it has been beautiful spring-like weather here in poor drought ridden Northern California.  Next week calls for near 80 degree weather (some sort of record I am sure).  So, our un-winter is calling for some un-wintry meals these days.  Oh, one final note.  If you don't like the texture of the raw rice wrappers, drop some coconut oil in a pan and fry these up (make sure to double wrap).  They brown up nicely and taste like your traditional fried spring rolls.  Either way, these are fun and easy to make and sure to please. 
Fresh Cabbage & Herb Spring Rolls 
w/ Sunbutter Honey Dipping Sauce 
(click the affiliate links below for where to purchase 
products or for more information on products/food)

Ingredients

Spring Rolls 
-1 1/2 pounds green cabbage
-2 large carrots
-1 cup chopped green onions
-1/4 cup chopped basil
-1/4 cup chopped mint
-7 tablespoons coconut aminos
-1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic granules (I prefer 1 teaspoon)
-1 tablespoon grated ginger
-Spring roll rice wrappers 

Sunbutter Honey Dipping Sauce 
-1/4 cup homemade sunflower seed butter
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon raw local honey*
-2 tablespoons coconut aminos

How To
1.  For the sunbutter honey sauce, mix the ingredients together in a small bowl until everything is well incorporated.
2.  It's important to make the cabbage filling ahead of time.  This gives the cabbage time to wilt and soften.  So I recommend making it the day before (or 8 to 12 hours before). 
3.  For the cabbage filling: thinly slice the cabbage, thinly slice the carrots or use THIS tool for perfect thin noodle-like carrots, chop the green onions, mint, and basil, and add everything to a large bowl.  Add in the coconut aminos, garlic, and grated ginger.  
4.  Mix, mix, mix and let this mixture combine for the suggested time (keep in the fridge or room temperature).
5.  For the rice wrappers add some water to a shallow dish (I use a medium size pan).  I like to soak 3 wrappers at time (it goes faster this way).  When the wrappers are soft and pliable, fill with cabbage filling and fold as demonstrated in the pictures below.  Set aside.  They will firm up as they dry.  
Serves 4 and makes 18 - 20 spring rolls

Notes:
*Vegans I recommend using coconut nectar in place of the honey - this is probably the closest sub.  Maple syrup might also work.  

General wrapping process
Shared on these fabulous link parties:  Raw Foods Thursday, Wellness Weekend, Whole Foods Friday,

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