Figgy Lemon Tart

8 Comments

Oddly enough, I have been craving all things lemon. Why is this odd, you ask? Well, I don’t like lemon. Actually I don’t mind lemon, I just don’t love it. But lately, I’ve been adding  lemon to everything and loving it. To me, that’s weird. I have never liked lemon meringue pie, lemon bars, lemon pudding, lemon pound cake, lemon on my fish… I think it’s true what “they” say about our tastes changing and becoming more refined as we get older, but mine seem to be changing at warp speed. I’ve been craving and eating all kinds of foods over the past year that I would never have given a second thought to. I kind of like it, a lot. It’s exciting to have a palette change at the age of 43, to try new things, and not be so opinionated on what I think tastes good or doesn’t.

There are a lot of wonderful lemon tart recipes out there. Beautiful and all different depending on the parts of the country or the world. Here are a just a few of the blogs I’ve run across lately.  frugal feeding   seriouseats   manofnovember   peasepudding   thym-thym   smitten kitchen   rosas-yummy-yums

This is my dairy free and gluten-free version of a lemon tart, with a little help from the blogs above. It came out absolutely unbelievable! Smooth, creamy, tart, and with an intense lemon flavor. Seriously…shockingly delicious. I am tickled pink! I have tried on three occasions to make a dairy free coconut cream tart and coconut cream pie in the past that would never set up. I am convinced that it’s the addition of the powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar in the filling (thanks to Frugal Feeding!!). The corn starch they add to the sugar must be the ticket to having a non-dairy filling set up the way it’s supposed to. I would think that if you have a corn allergy you can make your own powdered sugar (with a Vitamix) and add potato starch or tapioca starch. You might want to Google how much to add though, as you don’t want your filling coming out weirdly chewy and thick.

Figgy Lemon Tart

 For The Tart:

1 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1/4 Cup Rice Flour

1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used table not sea because I worried that the sea salt was too large)

2 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter, cold

In a small bowl add both flours, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a mixer, add the butter and sugar, beat for 30 seconds and scrape down the bowl. Add the almond extract and beat until thoroughly combined and mixture is fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium for 30 seconds, scrape down bowl. Then beat for about 1 minute or until the mixture begins to almost pull all the way away from the sides of the bowl.

Scoop mixture out into a tart pan with removable bottom.

Press tart crust dough into the tart pan quickly, you don’t want the butter melting too much because it makes the dough too soft. Trim edges on an angle with a very sharp knife. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Remove the refrigerated crust after two hours and poke holes around the pan with a fork. Preheat oven to 325°

Line the tart crust with parchment paper and baking beans (or rice, couldn’t find my baking beans) and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove bean/rice and parchment paper and allow to cool while you get the remaining ingredients ready.

For The Filling:

7 ounces Almond Milk (I like to cook with Almond Breeze because it’s thick)

2 teaspoons Dairy Free Butter

3 Eggs plus 2 Egg Whites

1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Zest of 6 Lemons (You can use 4 if they are large lemons)

Juice of 4 Lemons

8 Fresh Figs

Heat the almond milk and dairy free butter on low in a small saucepan. Once it was hot I kept mine on warm until I finished the remaining ingredients. Next, in a medium bowl, add the eggs and powdered sugar. Whisk until there are no lumps remaining.

Add the lemon rind and lemon juice and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.

Remove the stems from the figs and quarter.

Slowly, drizzle the warm milk and butter mixture into the egg mixture whisking quickly the entire time.

Pour 1/2 of the liquid into the tart shell and add the figs in a nice design.

Pour the remaining liquid into a measuring cup and place the tart pan in a preheated oven. Do not pull out the shelf, because when you pour the remaining liquid into the tart and then have to push the shelf back in, it will slosh all over the place and your beautiful tart will be in the bottom of your oven.

Pour the remaining liquid slowly into the tart pan, it will re-arrange the figs a bit. No worries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. You want it to have a soft jiggle when you remove it from the oven, similar to jello, but not too much movement. You’ll know if you’ve overcooked it because it will crack and start to pull away from the sides of the tart shell.

I had a little bit of filling and figs leftover. Didn’t want to overfill the crust or have it too figgy.

Allow to cool on the counter and then dust with powdered sugar if you want to eat it room temperature, or allow it to cool on the counter and then refrigerate it for a couple of hours if you want to eat it cold. If you’re serving it cold, wait until you remove it from the fridge to dust it with powdered sugar.

The wind was blowing on the deck so getting the powdered sugar to actually land ON the tart was a challenge.

I don’t want to toot my own horn too loudly, but I must say, this tart was absolutely outstanding. The filling was the perfect texture and absolutely overflowing with intense lemon flavor. The figs were a nice balance and also added beautiful color. The crust was just like a flaky almond butter cookie. And all gluten AND dairy free. Well worth the time it took to put it all together.

See? Living a gluten-free and dairy free life is totally doable. 

A Little of This and a Little of That

Leave a comment

Get Up and Go Smoothie

You can pack a lot of really great things into a smoothie glass. A smoothie has a lot of positives. It’s can be a  healthy and tasty breakfast or snack for people on the go. For those of you who are terrible about eating breakfast, it only takes about 8 minutes to make and you can drink it while you’re getting ready in the morning. It’s not messy to drink in the car on the way to work or while you’re chauffeuring little ones around because it’s thick and you can put a straw in it. If you have a hard time getting your fruit or veggie servings in, a smoothie is a great way to do that. The options are endless and the only thing limiting you is your gag reflex. I know a lot of people that can drink a smoothie packed full of spinach, kale, and beet greens. I’m not one of them. I can handle a small amount of greens and herbs in my smoothies, but major amounts of cold, pureed, kale and spinach for breakfast make me shudder. Don’t be afraid to venture out a little bit though, you never know, a morning smoothie might end up being your new “go to” healthy drink.

What I used:

*This recipe makes 1 – 16oz smoothie

• A Vitamix Blender (I highly recommend it, it’s worth every penny)

•1 – 8oz Can of Pineapple Tidbits in 100% Pineapple Juice

•1 Cup Frozen Mixed Berries (Blackberries, raspberries, & blueberries)

•1 Very Ripe Frozen Banana (Stash your overripe bananas in the freezer)

•1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds

•1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley

•1 inch of Fresh Peeled Ginger (If the skin isn’t tough you can leave it on)

•Juice of 1 Small Lemon

•1/4 Cup of Ice

Lemon, pineapple, ginger, and parsley are all considered “detox” foods and are fantastic for digestion and inflammation. You can read more below on the health benefits of all of the ingredients in this smoothie. Even if you only add a smoothie to your daily routine 3 to 4 times per week, you are packing your diet full of vitamins, minerals, and adding all kinds of other major benefits to your health.

Health Benefits of Pineapple

Health Benefits of Berries

Health Benefits of Bananas

Health Benefits of Almonds

Health Benefits of Parsley

Health Benefits of Ginger

Health Benefits of Lemon

Baked Apple Breakfast

3 Comments

My house smells heavenly this morning. This breakfast is the perfect way to celebrate one of the first days of Fall.

Baked Apple Breakfast

Preheat Oven to 350° (This recipe makes 1 baked apple)

1 Honey Crisp Apple

1/4 Cup GF Old Fashioned Oatmeal

1/8 Cup Walnuts, broken up

1 1/2 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter

1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 1/2 teaspoons Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

A Pinch of Shredded Coconut

Wash and dry the apple and remove the core with a knife and spoon. You can also use an actual apple corer, but I don’t think it removes enough of the inside allowing for a lot of filling. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the oatmeal, walnuts, butter, pumpkin pie spice, flour, brown sugar, and coconut.

Crumble it between your fingers until it starts to come together.

Place the apple in a medium-sized ramekin or small baking dish that has been lightly coated with non-stick spray. Pack the oatmeal filling into the apple and pour the remaining filling around the base of the apple.

Bake for 40 minutes. I like mine with a little crispness (a little crisper than baked apples in an apple pie), if you want your apple to be very soft, bake it for about 60 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

Banana Plum Tart

2 Comments

A few days ago I bought a bag of fresh Italian Plums at the outdoor market. I had eaten several but wanted to set aside a few to make something…I just wasn’t sure what that something was. For the last couple of days I’ve been mulling it over and going through what I have on hand that I might be able to pair with them to make something nice. I also remembered that I had stuck a bunch of very ripe bananas in the freezer. If you’ve never done this, you should. You don’t need to bag them or anything, I just stuck mine on the shelf. When they thaw they are amazing. Very intense banana flavor, like a banana liquor, and the texture is perfect for smoothies and baking.

This recipe is adapted (very loosely) from a tea cake recipe I used to make in the “olden days” when I could eat gluten and dairy. It was in the Better Homes & Gardens Old Fashioned Home Baking Cookbook. An absolutely amazing cookbook that I would highly recommend. If you’re into adapting recipes to fit your needs and aren’t the type that sticks to a recipe, you’ll love it.

Banana Plum Tart

Preheat oven to 350°

8-10 Very Ripe Italian Plums

1 Frozen Very Ripe Banana

2 1/2 Cups Mama’s Almond Flour

1/2 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 Egg

3/4 Cup Almond Milk, with 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

About 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

Spray a round tart pan with non-stick spray and pour about 1/8 cup sugar in the pan.

Wiggle the pan around to disperse the sugar, coating as evenly as possible. Set aside.

Wash and dry the plums. Cut in half, remove the pit, then cut into quarters.

Set the banana on a plate to partially thaw. (This shows two bananas, you will only need one.)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and xanthan gum. Add the dairy free butter.

“Cut it in” with your fingers until it resembles course crumbs, I prefer this over a pastry blender. What fun is cooking and baking if you can’t touch it? Do it quickly though, you don’t want the butter melting in your fingers.

Set aside about 1/2 cup of the mixture.

Into the remaining flour mixture, add the baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir or whisk until combined and set aside.

Measure out 3/4 cup Almond milk and add the lemon. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. This makes buttermilk. Or at least the scientific equivalent.

When it has set for 10 minutes, add the egg and beat with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Mash the partially frozen banana with a fork. The reason you want it partially frozen is because if you allow it to thaw completely it gets very runny and mushy.

Add the egg mixture and banana to the dry mixture.

Stir just until combined, do not over mix. Baking ingredients don’t like to be fiddled with and over-mixed, it makes them tough and cranky.

Spread two-thirds of the batter over the bottom and sides of the tart pan with a spoon.

Add the Italian plums in a pretty pattern.

Use the remaining one-third batter to dollop over the plums.

Sprinkle with the reserved dry topping and brown sugar. Why more sugar? Because frankly, dark brown sugar just makes everything taste better and it makes a perfect friendship with plums and bananas.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into a couple different places comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely (or for at least 30 minutes) before removing it from the pan.

Because Sometimes, You Just Need To Start Your Day Off With Chocolate

1 Comment

We all have those days, don’t we? This is just a little treat that somehow helps to right what went wrong in our morning routine. Please drink it out of a beautiful cup, it makes all the difference in the world.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

* Makes 1 Serving

1 Cup Almond Milk

1 Square Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

1/2 Tablespoon Sugar

1/8 teaspoon Instant Coffee Crystals

Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Mini Marshmallows

Give the chocolate square a few chops. Pour the almond milk, chocolate, coffee crystals, and sugar into a small sauce pan and heat on medium.

Whisk the entire time until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of cinnamon and serve in your favorite glass or cup.

Veggie & Cheese Omelette

2 Comments

Sometimes I just can’t face another bowl of oatmeal or dairy free yogurt for breakfast. I actually prefer dinner leftovers for breakfast, but that’s another post I suppose. I like an occasional omelette, and having it filled with vegetables is certainly not  an unhealthy way to start your day.

Veggie & Cheese Omelette

2 Organic Eggs

1/4 Cup Diced Summer Squash

1/4 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper

1/4 Cup Chopped Broccoli Florets

1/8 Cup Diced Red Onion

1/2 Minced Jalapeno, Seeds & Membrane Intact

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Daiya Vegan Cheese

Olive Oil

Non-Stick Spray

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Fresh Thyme Leaves

Gather all of the main ingredients. It might look like a lot of vegetables for 1 omelette but they cook down and end up being the perfect amount.

Drizzle a skillet with a little olive oil and saute the bell pepper, broccoli, and red onion for about 5 minutes. Add the squash, jalapeno, and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk eggs in a small bowl until fluffy and completely combined. Pour into a small omelette pan that has been prepared with non-stick spray and heated on medium. If you’re not sure how to cook the egg part of the omelette, you can go here for tips . Really, it just takes practice. Mine don’t always turn out and sometimes they have to be morphed into scrambled eggs. It will taste great either way.

Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, add the cheese.

Then, add the sautéed vegetables.

Flip the empty side of the omelette over the ingredients, leave omelette in the pan for about 3 minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Season with sea salt & pepper and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.

Quick & Healthy Breakfast

2 Comments

Oatmeal. Sometimes I have a scowl on my face when I think about it. It’s very hard for me to get excited about oatmeal. Especially, when I woke up this morning craving bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. Unfortunately, I’m not the skinny chick I was last Fall. Therefore, oatmeal for breakfast it is. I suppose one good thing about oatmeal is that you can dress it with all kinds of things that are a lot more exciting than the oatmeal itself. It also keeps you full longer than a regular breakfast of let’s say….a pound of bacon. Or cereal, or eggs, or yogurt or toast. I think you know what I’m getting at. According to Care2 Make A Difference, a healthy living blog, there are 10 Benefits to eating oatmeal. Who am I to argue?

Peach & Walnut Oatmeal

Gluten Free Oatmeal, cooked

1/2 Very Ripe Peach, peeled & sliced

About 1/8 Cup Walnuts

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Almond Milk

This is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll give a quick run down. Cook the oatmeal, top with the peeled peaches, break up the walnuts over the top of the peaches, pour the almond milk, and sprinkle with the pumpkin pie spice.