My vegetarian and vegan recipes

Ultra Cheddar Vegan Nut Cheese

Sometimes I want a mild, delicate cheese with a creamy texture that politely compliments its surroundings. However, other times I want a bold, robust cheese that stands on its own and happily becomes the life of the party.

I was really inspired by the flavors my son prefers.  As a little boy he wants the mac n’ cheese, quesadillas and pizza everyone else his age enjoys.  But as a mom, I know he will grow to be a gentleman who will want a spicy cheese to crumble on top of his chili, melt over his nachos or dip with his friends in a savory fondue.  And let’s face it, the only reason I ever started making vegan cheese was this little boy child of mine that I love to smithereens. It makes sense that he gets the number one vote on how tasty a cheese is.

With that in mind I created an Ultra cheddar that’s delicious, great with mix-ins and super extra cheesy.  Perfect for now and adaptable for a life time of dairy free cheese enjoyment.

Most of all, my kiddo loves it!

Let’s begin with the following ingredients:

1 ½ c water
5 T agar agar flakes

3 c soaked cashews
2 – 3 cloves garlic

3 T lemon juice
2 T tahini
2 T chick pea miso (soy miso if tolerated)

1 c nutritional yeast flakes
2 t granulated onion
1 T paprika
½ t dry mustard
¼ t kosher salt (optional)

Oiled cheese container with lid

20150323 113
All the parts for making cheese.

Let’s get to it:

1) In a sauce pan combine water and agar agar. Mix and let bloom while the other steps are completed.

2) Add cashews and garlic in food processor or blender and wiz into small pieces.

3) Add lemon juice, tahini, miso, nutritional yeast flakes, granulated onion, paprika, dry mustard and kosher salt. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse peanut butter.

4) Bring the bloomed agar agar mixture to a boil. Whisk continuously as you bring the temp to medium.  Continue to whisk and simmer until the liquid forms glossy bubbles and turns a light golden brown color.

5) Pour the agar agar into the processor and blend with the nut mixture until smooth. Be sure to scrape down sides to ensure all is incorporated.

6) Pour the cheese mixture into the pre oiled container. Work quickly as the agar agar will begin to set right away.

7) Cheese stays happily in the frig for a week and a half in a covered container.  Ours is consumed pretty quickly so I can’t vouch for longer than that.

*I have made two loaves at the same time.  One to use and one for the freezer.  This cheese is easier to grate when partially frozen.  Once defrosted it slices and behaves normally.  I should do myself a favor and make two more often; it was nice to have a back up ready to go.*

Voila!  Deliciousness accomplished.
Voila! Deliciousness accomplished.

Some fun add ins to this ultra cheddar nut cheese are:

2 T chili powder = nacho cheese flavor
2 T Italian seasoning = cheese pizza flavor
1 T pepper flakes = zesty cheese flavor

Happy cheese making.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Banana Pancakes With Wee Ones

My kids LOVE pancakes.  Golden, fluffy little medallions of deliciousness arranged artfully on a plate and smothered with fruit or drizzled with real maple syrup.  Kid heaven.

Before we went Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free (aka Autism Diet)  my husband would make either pancakes or waffles every weekend.  Making breakfast and taking special time with his children gave him immense joy.  In the 10 months since our diet change we have tried different recipes without the reliable success we had before.  Pancakes and waffles were replaced with other breakfast items.  All the while Hubby was wishing for a great recipe that would get him back to the pancake griddle again.  I kept looking and trying with limited success.  

And then while browsing Pinterest I found the super simplest banana pancake recipe ever!  (You likely know which one I am talking about.)  I didn’t like how it turned out at first, so I messed with it and made it better.  Aka. more substantial and filling.  AND I discovered a way to do it in a sourdough form. Plus it keeps well in a shaker container in the frig for easy make ahead pancakes and morning prep ease!  On top of it all, it is easy enough that my seven year old made a batch. By now you are chomping at the bit to get your hands on this recipe.  I feel your joy! 😀

6 ripe bananas
12 eggs
1 c. brown rice flour *sub of coconut or almond flour works well*
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon 

*If you are doing the sourdough version, add 1 c. recently fed sourdough starter* 

Prep your eggs early as this recipe calls for a bunch.

Add banana to blender.

Mix until smooth.

Add eggs a few at a time.

Mix until smooth.

Add brown rice flour (or coconut or almond flour) and whisk to incorporate.

Cook as you would any other pancake.
The flavor is outstanding.
The banana makes it sweet enough where you don’t really need syrup.

Enjoy my sweet Bolognas 😀

Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Sourdough Starter

Okay, before going GF,DF I kept and loved sourdough.  (I even named it)  I made breads, rolls, pancakes, sweet buns, waffles, and battered everything from french fries to chicken and fish with my sourdough starter.  Once a week I came up with something sourdough fabulous.

Part of the all for one and one for all family GF,DF family diet change involved using up the last of, and saying good bye to my beloved sourdough.

However, I never let go of my love of sourdough and kept trying to find ways to make it work.

This is how I found Brown Rice Sourdough Starter.

Brown rice starter is a different consistency from traditional starter, denser in a way.  But it has great flavor and I am enjoying getting back into the swing of all things sourdough again.  I am still getting to know this brown rice version and am tweaking recipes as my learning curve continues to grow.

So for those in love with sourdough like I am, I thought I would share.

Brown Rice Sourdough Starter:

2 T. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 c. brown rice flour
2 T. honey

*Combine honey and water until honey dissolves.
*Add yeast and proof until frothy.
*Whisk in brown rice with non reactive spoon or whisk.
*Cover lightly with lid or cheese cloth.  (I set mine in the sink as it may over flow)
*Stir down with wooden spoon twice a day.  (I live in a warmer climate and needed to stir more)
*If too thin add more brown rice flour plus 1 t. honey, too thick add water 1 T at a time until the right consistency.
*After 24 hours your sourdough should have a slight sour smell.  This is a great thing and means it is ready to be used.

If using 1 c. starter ~ feed remaining starter with 1 c. brown rice flour + 1 t. honey + 1 c. water.
Mix well with non reactive spoon.

**Feed weekly and may be kept in frig between feedings.

Enjoy my sweet Bolognas 

Say Cheese!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free and Casein Free that is.

Mild cheese much like Colby
Herb cheese


Going gluten free, dairy free, soy free and casein free has not been that hard.  I have figured out breads, cookies and pies – for the most part.  I still feel like I have so much I want to try.  But I miss the cheese!  I wanted to make a huge ol’ quesadilla with herbs to dip into salsa.  I want creamy pasta dishes.  I need cheesy goodness to enjoy with a slice of apple, and I want pizza.  

In the end I made three variates of cheese.  They are creamy, melty, sliceable, and they are all delicious.  Even my husband and four year old like them.  (They love me enough to tell me if it was awful – my daughter has hit the age where she wants to spare my feelings.  Awww!)

I will share the base recipe then tell you what I did to make each batch look and taste very different.

1 ½ c. water
5 T agar flakes
½ c soaked raw cashews (I soak the day before for the creamiest result)
¼ c nutritional yeast flakes
3T lemon juice
2T sesame tahini
2t onion powder
1 clove garlic
¼ t dry mustard

1)  Lightly oil 3 cup container and set aside.

2)  Combine water and agar in measuring cup, mix and let ‘bloom’ (
ß—if you don’t do this, and your agar acts up like mine did the first time, your cheese won’t firm up.  Blooming is super duper helpful and worth getting it ready first!) Let this mixture hang out on your counter top while you get everybody else ready.

3)  Add cashews, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, tahini, onion powder, garlic and dry mustard into a food chopper or blender.  Wiz until it begins to look smooth.  

4)  By now your agar is poofed up and ready to heat.  Pour into saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once it has boiled, reduce heat and let simmer for about fifteen minutes.  Whisk/ stir frequently.  Watch it constantly.  This is not the time to get lost in a book.  It is going to get thicker, glossier and even change color a bit.  When dipping in a spoon, the agar should coat the back.  Also, you could place a small plate in the freezer and drop a dab of agar onto the chilled surface.  If it gets all jello-ish firm, you are good to go!  

5)  Pour the agar into the pre blended nut mixture  and wiz for a few more minutes.  Scrape down the sides and get all those parts mixed in.  It should be super smooth and even look and smell like cheese by now.

6)  Pour the cheese mix into your pre greased container.  Work quickly as the agar wants to set up right away.  

7)  Cover container and refrigerate overnight.  Your cheese is ready to serve the next day.  (Must chill for at least a few hours to help set the agar completely)

Now here is what I did to make it two more ways:

To make an herb cheese I added dill, parsley and chives.  It was super yummy and got better tasting by the third day.  My little guy did not like the parsley consistency so it will not make it into the next batch.  I am thinking of trying a finely ground Italian seasoning for next time and see how it goes.

To make it extra cheesy to attempt a more cheddar effect I added 2T chickpea miso and 3t. paprika, plus one more clove of garlic.  This is what my little guy is eating now and loves with apple slices.

So there you go.  Once you find all of the ingredients (which as you can see will be used in most kinds of cheese you want to make) it is a matter of waiting for the nuts to soak and waiting to be able to slice into the uncheesey goodness.

Happy Uncheese everyone!

If you enjoyed this recipe and want more like it.  Please check out the book
The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook:

  Delicious Dairy-Free Cheeses and Classic “Uncheese” Dishes by Jo Stepaniak. 

It is not just a recipe book but it educates about the various ingredients and their purpose.  Each recipe has an allergen guide box so you can see at a glance if you can eat the items that recipe. That way you can choose to stay and enjoy or move on to something that suits you better.  The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook has spreads, sauces, soups, fondues, pasta, quiches, block uncheeses and sweets. 

Certainly a cook book that lives in my kitchen. 

Gluten Free Dairy Free Bread Machine Loaf


Onion dill bread is super yummy!

This bread is great for slicing and using for sandwiches.  It is spongy and light yet holds its shape and has great flavor.  Super for toasting and fun to add spices to switch it up from regular bread.

*Follow the guide for your bread machine please.  I will list what I put in mine.*

For my machine, moist items go in the pan first, followed by dry.

3 eggs
1 T. apple cider vinegar
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. honey
1 ½ c. rice milk (or your fav dairy free sub)
3-1/3 c. Gluten Free flour mix
1 t. salt
1 T. xanthan gum
1 T. yeast

Set your bread machine on the ‘sweet dough’ setting.

Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Today I added 2T onion powder and 2T dill to change things up a bit.  Super yummy, great hit with the family.   Italian seasoning is a fun addition as well.  Cinnamon and raisins, bacon, or vegan cheese and chives are amazing.  Just have fun with it.  Toss anything in there and make it your own.

Left over bread is great cubed, tossed in oil and herbs and baked.  Crushed fine it can be used as a coating for chicken strips or a crispy topping on casseroles.  Left large it is perfect for stuffing and croutons.

Amazing Gluten Free Dairy Free Muffins

These GF/DF beauties were sweet, golden and moist.  They would be great for breakfast, spiffed up and decorated for a dessert, or just enjoyed any time of the day you want a yummy treat.  Look how much these lovelies poof up! 
Today I added raisins, cinnamon, vanilla and stone ground corn meal for added  fiber staying power.

400*F, Bake 25 minutes,  Yeild 12 muffins

1c. rice milk
½ c. oil
2 eggs
¾c. brown sugar
2c. GF flour
3t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
1t. xanthan gum
¼ t. salt
1t. cinnamon
1t. vanilla
1c. fruit of your choice.

Mix dry ingredients and make well in middle.

Add wet ingredients plus fruit and mix by hand.

Do not over mix.

Pour into oiled lined muffin tins.

Bake at 400*F for 25 minutes.

Let set on rack to cool before removing.

Enjoy every body.

I Loaf Cheese! ~Vegan Cheese~

                                             Gluten Free Dairy Free Vegan Cheese. 

Home made mostly vegan cheese is scrumptious! My kids voted it a winner 😀  And it tastes like nutty cheddar.  It was fun adding flavors that inspired color such as paprika and a pinch of tomato bullion.  (Tomato Bullion was the only non vegan item in this cheese.  Leave it out and you are Vegan golden….if that is what you are going for.)  Because I added Tomato Bullion I left out the salt suggested in the recipe.

^^^This is the link to the page I got my recipe from.

I found agar powder at the local Asian market for about two dollars, but I bet any store with an organic section may have all of these ingredients
. I used ordinary organic sliced almonds with skins on(more nutrition that way). I didn’t have any tomato paste so instead I used paprika and Tomato Bullion for color. I also did not use white miso. Mine is amber in color so that adds to the “cheddar” look.

It was easy to put together.  My sweet boy child helped and tasted his way through the whole process. I had a hint that it was good when he volunteered to lick the bowl after I let him taste the rubber scraper.  Mmmmm Mmmmm Good Mama!  Delishish!! 

Very fun.  I did a CrohnieBolognaIBD Mama Happy Dance right there in the kitchen! 😀 I will take any small victory I can get.  I have no shame.
This cheese shreds and melts and doesn’t taste all chemically or waxy or like bland plastic. (as you can tell we have tried a few vegan cheeses, some of which my little guy refused to eat) Cost wise this is super affordable in comparison, and is actually yummy

And because I made it myself, I know there are no odd ingredients or preservatives, colorings or hidden things Sweet Boy can’t have.
I think of this one as a Mom WIN!!
I am going to freeze some to see how it behaves after being thawed 😀
I am also on the hunt for a soy free version. But for now, this one is a hit.
As a mom, my first priority is my children.  I am eager to try new things that may enhance or make their lives better.  I love making home made, real food for them every single day.  It is worth every small effort I can make to fill their growing bodies with true, real food that will result in happy minds and full bellies.  I know I am growing their bodies and minds in a caring atmosphere that I create, and in a large way influence.

In a deep part of me I hope to raise children that are healthier and stronger than I am in mind, body and spirit.

One day at a time for my little sweet hearts.