Thursday, October 20, 2022

Dairy Free Cinnamon Apple Dip

 Dairy Free Cinnamon Apple Dip

     I think of this recipe every Fall when apple season starts. The first time I made it was when my husband and I were first married. We would have his two younger sisters over once a week for "movie night" which sometimes meant we watched a movie but it was also my opportunity to try out new recipes on them. I remember my sis-in-law Katie loved this dip so much. I kept that in mind, and since feeding people is my love language, I decided to keep making it for her. Her fiancĂ© has a dairy allergy so I wanted to try out the recipe with dairy free cream cheese to see if it would still work. I think it's just as good, if not better! Make sure you use Day brand cream cheese, in my opinion the other dairy free cream cheese brands leave a very strange and salty aftertaste so they don't work well in sweet dishes. One of the things I love about this dip is how you can switch out some ingredients and it will still taste great. If you can have dairy feel free to use cream cheese. If you need it to be lower carb use Swerve brown sugar. You also can use this as a dip for gluten free graham crackers or any other fruit! 

Dairy Free Cinnamon Apple Dip


1 8 oz package Daiya Dairy Free Cream Cheese ( do not use Kite Hill brand)
1/2 cup coconut or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon


1) In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and brown sugar using an electric mixer until smooth and glossy. This will take about 3-5 minutes. You want the brown sugar to combine very well so the dip is not gritty.

2) Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix for another 30 seconds. 

3) Serve with sliced apples. 

Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days. 

* You can use regular cream cheese if you can have dairy.
* You can sub 1/2 cup Swerve brown sugar to make this a sugar free dip.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Applesauce Snack Cake (Gluten Free)

 Johnny Appleseed Applesauce Snack Cake 

     This applesauce snack cake was one of the only cakes I remember my mom making when I was little. She would make us elaborate birthday cakes with homemade buttercream, or this simple but delicious snack cake. I'm sure she made other cakes, but this one stuck out in my memory. I was always excited each fall when she made her first apple cake of the season. As a child I remember sneaking into the kitchen and sneaking little bites. The ingredient list is small and the cake tastes even better the next day. I hadn't had it in years, but recently my sister mentioned it and I knew I had to make a gluten free version. I also made it dairy free so that more friends could enjoy it. I always loved the name too, I have fond memories of reading stories about Johnny Appleseed as a child. 

Applesauce Snack Cake


1/2 cup refined coconut oil ( refined so it doesn't taste like coconut, or butter) melted

1 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 

1 cup granulated sugar 

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups of Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour

(optional 1 cup of raisins, I leave these out usually)


1) Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or coconut oil.

2) In a large bowl add the melted coconut oil, applesauce, and sugar and whisk well to combine. You will want to make sure to use refined coconut oil so that it doesn't have a strong coconut taste. Trader Joe's and Simple Truth brand from Kroger carry this.

3) Add the cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, salt, and gluten free flour. Stir well to combine all ingredients. If adding raisins gently stir in at this point. 

4) Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.


This will keep at room temperature for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months so you can grab a piece when you are craving it!

I think the cake tastes even better the second and third day as it becomes more moist as it sits with all the applesauce in it. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Smoky Paprika Chicken and Veggie Bowls

 Smoky Paprika Chicken and Veggie Bowls

     This is my new favorite meal to make. It has tons of flavor, and is so easy to put together. The warm spices on the chicken make it a perfectly cozy fall meal. You can switch up the roasted veggies based on what you have on hand or your preference. I like the combination of a sweeter veggie like sweet potatoes, carrots, or butternut squash paired with a more savory vegetable with cauliflower. When I'm not in the mood to cook diner I usually put a sheet pan meal in the oven. I love that you can put the ingredients in the oven and come back later and have a delicious hands off meal ready! If you use parchment paper on your sheet pan a bonus is that clean up is easy also! No pans to wash, which is always a bonus. 

Smoky Paprika Chicken and Veggie Bowls

Serves 4-6


Smoky Paprika Chicken 

2 pounds chicken breast

3 TBSP olive oil 

1 TBSP smoked paprika 

2 tsp cumin 

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

1 garlic clove finely minced

1 TBSP honey

2 TBSP lemon juice

zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp salt

Roasted Veggies

1 head of cauliflower broken into large florets

2 medium sweet potatoes cut into 1/4 inch rounds

2 TBSP olive oil 

1 TBSP sesame seeds

salt to taste 

store bought or homemade hummus to top bowls with 


1) Pre-heat oven to 400 and line two sheet pans with parchment paper

2) Place the cauliflower florets and sweet potatoes on one of the sheet pans and drizzle with the olive oil. Salt the vegetables generously and use your hands to make sure the veggies are evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on the pan leaving room in between so they will roast without steaming. 

3) Place the sheet pan with the vegetables in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes. 

4) Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the ingredients for the chicken rub and stir to combine. If your chicken breasts are thick place in a ziplock bag and pound to make them even and thinner. I have found this really helps to get juicy and evenly cooked chicken in the oven. 

5) On the second sheet pan place the chicken breast. Using a spoon coat one side of the chicken breasts with the paprika mixture, flip, and then coat the other side. 

6) When the timer for the veggies goes off take the vegetables out of the oven, stir them to make sure they are evenly roasting and sprinkle with the 1 TBSP of sesame seeds. Return the vegetables to the oven and place the sheet pan with the chicken in the oven also. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and reaches a temperature of 165 and the vegetables are starting to brown. Depending on the size of your vegetables in may take longer or shorter so take them out before the chicken is cooked if they are getting too dark. 

7) Remove the sheet pans from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting. 

8) In each bowl add sweet potatoes, cauliflower, sliced chicken, and then top with a spoonful of hummus! I think the perfect bite has a little of each of these in it. Adjust salt as needed, I always like to finish my dishes with a little sprinkle of salt.  


* You can mix up the veggies in this meal I like the combination of a sweeter veggie like sweet potato, butternut squash, or carrots paired with a more savory vegetable like cauliflower or brussels sprouts. 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Chocolate Pastry ( Gluten and Dairy Free)

 Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Pastry 

     I discovered Schar gluten and dairy free puff pastry last Holiday season and I was so excited to experiment with it. Years ago I would make easy appetizers and desserts for family and friends all the time using regular frozen puff pastry. It always made me feel like a pastry chef. I recently saw a post for an easy dessert using puff pastry and knew it would be the perfect ending to our Lord of The Rings Rings of Power viewing party. I needed it to be gluten free so I could enjoy it and I knew there would be a guest at the party with a dairy allergy. I knew the delicious pastry could easily be adapted to meet both of those dietary requirements. The chocolate pastry was so good there was only one small piece left and even the guests who did not need to eat gluten and dairy free went back for seconds and thirds! If you have been craving chocolate croissant this is the next best thing. 

Gluten and Diary Free Chocolate Pastry 
Recipe for 1 pastry 
(you can double and use both pastries in the box)

Serves 4


Schar brand gluten and dairy free puff pastry defrosted

Dairy free chocolate bar or Enjoy life chocolate chunks

1 egg for egg wash

1 tbsp almond or coconut milk for egg wash

1 tsp sugar for dusting

extra chocolate for garnish


1) Pre-heat oven to 400 and place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

2) Carefully roll out the puff pastry on the parchment paper. Place the chocolate bar or an even layer of  chocolate chunks (about the size and shape of of a chocolate bar) in the middle of the puff pastry. 

3) Cut the corners off the top and bottom of the puff pastry and cut the long sides into strips. See picture below for example.

4) Fold the strips of pastry over each other overlapping over the chocolate. 

5) In a small dish beat the egg and almond milk. Using a pastry brush apply the egg wash over the top of the pastry.

6) Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is a golden brown color and crispy. 

7) Remove from oven and sprinkle on the tsp of sugar. When the pastry has cooled for at least 10 minutes use a microplane to shave chocolate over the top. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Wrap leftovers in plastic wrap at room temperature. It is best served the day it is made.


Recipe inspired by 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Three Ingredient Pumpkin Bars With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

 Three Ingredient Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 

(gluten free with dairy free option)

      These pumpkin bars have been a staple in our house since the nineties. I think it was originally a weight watchers recipe that was going around and was topped with cool whip. I made it not weight watchers friendly by adding homemade cinnamon cream cheese frosting which in my opinion makes these bars amazing! The bars are so simple to make. You only need a cake mix (you can use gluten free), a can of pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Most recipes call for a spice cake mix but I have yet to find that in a gluten free version so I use a gluten free yellow or vanilla cake mix and add in lots of pumpkin spice for a warming flavor. I have tried these once with a simple mills cake mix to make them paleo and they will turn out but only make an 8x8 pan and aren't quite as sweet. I have also made the frosting with dairy free "butter" and "cream cheese" and they turn out great but the ingredients are a lot more expensive so I stick to the full dairy frosting unless I'm making them for someone who needs to be dairy free. I have a note at the end of the recipe for brands I suggest if you want to make your frosting dairy free. 

Three Ingredient Pumpkin Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(gluten and dairy free options) 


Pumpkin bars
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 gluten free yellow or vanilla cake mix ( make sure your cake mix is at least 15 oz.)
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese room temp.
4 oz butter room temp.
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
2 cups powdered sugar


1) Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan with butter or coconut oil.

2) In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix the cake mix, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice for 1 minute until fully incorporated. The batter will be very thick.

3) Using an offset spatula spread the batter into the greased 9x13 pan evenly. The batter is thick and will not level out much during baking so make sure you even it out as much as possible when spreading.

4) Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

5) Make the cream cheese frosting. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can also use a hand held mixer) combine the cream cheese and butter for 1 minute until smooth. 

6) Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Slowly increase the speed to high and mix for 1 minute until the frosting is combined and fluffy. 

7) Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting with an offset spatula. 


These bars will keep for 5 days covered in the refrigerator. 

Gluten Free Cake Mix Substitutes:
Kroger Brand Simple Truth Organic Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix is usually what I use for this recipe. It is available at Kroger ( or Baker's or Ralph's ) grocery stores. For an organic cake mix it's a great price under $5 usually. 

Aldi and Natural Grocers also have gluten free vanilla and yellow cake mixes. 

Pillsbury Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix is the most cost effective. 

Simple Mills makes a great paleo option for a cake mix but it will only make an 8x8 cake so it does not turn out as well. 

Dairy Free Substitutes:

Daiya brand cream cheese is the best tasting brand for "cream cheese" frosting. I've used it a lot to make cream cheese frosting and usually those who aren't dairy free don't even realize it's not real cream cheese in the frosting. It gives you that cream cheese zing but isn't salty. I would not use Miyokos brand as it it too salty. 

Miyokos dairy free butter or Earth Balance taste the best in frosting and have the most buttery taste. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Peach Ice Box Cake ( Gluten and Dairy Free)

 Peach Ice Box Cake (Gluten and Dairy Free)

    Have you ever had an icebox cake? They are so easy to make and no bake, which is wonderful this time of year when it's 100 degrees outside! You can make many different variations of Ice Box Cakes, strawberry and chocolate seem to be very popular flavors. Recently I was craving a peach dessert and I decide to experiment with making a peach ice box cake for my weekly summer girls night. I made it gluten and dairy free so everyone could enjoy it and will definitely be making this again! 

Peach Ice Box Cake ( Gluten and Dairy Free)

Serves 9


1 package gluten free vanilla sandwich cookies

1 15 oz. can peaches in juice drained

1 container SoDelicous CoCowhip thawed ( you can use whip cream or cool whip )


1) Place a single layer of the vanilla sandwich cookies in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.

2) Top with 1/2 the can of peaches, make sure you spread the peaches out so each serving will get some!

3) Spread 1/2 of the container of the coco whip evenly over the cookies and peaches.

4) Repeat steps 1-3 saving a few cookies to sprinkle on the top for decoration.

5) Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight before serving. The longer it sits the softer the cookies will become and the juice from the peaches will incorporate into the cookies. 


* Note *

 Kinnikinnick,  Kroger Simple Truth brand, and Wal- Mart all have gluten free vanilla sandwich cookies. They all vary in the amount of cookies in the package, If you have a smaller amount of cookies it's okay to leave the crushed cookies off the top or also break the cookies in half so they fit in the pan evenly. It will still taste great once all the ingredients set together! 

Can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days. 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Crispy Rice Sun Butter Bars

Crispy Rice Sun Butter Bars

     I have a sweet tooth so I like to have something on hand I can grab when that sweet tooth hits. I came up with these bars after having a hard time finding a bar at the store that met all the criteria I wanted. No peanut butter, made with gf ingredients, and sweet but not too sweet. These bars are sweetened just enough to feel like a treat. They also include a great crunch from the crispy rice and the addition of chia and hemp seeds gives them a nutrient dense boost. They can be kept at room temperature but I prefer the extra crunch you get from keeping them in the refrigerator or even the freezer. I love a recipe that its easy enough to make in just a few minutes and can also be flexible based on what you have on hand.

Crispy Rice Sun Butter Bars


2 cups gf puffed rice cereal ( Nature's Path and One Degree Organics brands have them) 

2 TBSP hemp seeds

1 TBSP chia seeds

1/2 cup sun butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 TBSP coconut oil 

1/4 tsp sea salt 


1. Line a 9 inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large microwave safe bowl add the sunbutter, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir, and microwave for 30 more seconds. 

3. Stir the mixture and then add the rice cereal, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and sea salt. 

4. Press the mixture into the parchment lined loaf pan using a spatula to press the mixture firmly down. This will help to shape the bars and allow them to set. 

5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars. 


* You can just any nut or seed butter in place of the sunbutter. You also may add other nuts or seeds, or even coconut just make sure your total of dry ingredients is very close to two cups or the bars will be dry. The hemp and chia seeds aren't in a large enough amount to need to count towards the two cups.  
*These bars keep best in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a week. They can be kept at room temperature in a sealed container but will be softer when you eat them. You may also freeze them for up to three months. I personally like the texture of them frozen! 


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Old Fashioned Key Lime Cookies

 Old Fashioned Key Lime Cookies 

     These cookies are inspired by my Grandma Lucille Elliott. When she moved up to Omaha, Nebraska after living in Miami most of her life she brought an old cool whip container full of frozen key lime juice she had juiced. She knew that key lime pie was my favorite dessert she made and she didn't think you could get key limes in Nebraska. You didn't used to be able to but now during the right season you can find them! I used regular limes in this recipe as I couldn't find key limes but both work well. I love the soft texture of these cookies from the addition of sour cream, baking soda, and baking powder. The recipe is based on my Great Aunt's old fashioned sour cream cookies, or as they were called in her recipe book, boy and girl cookies. I think maybe it's because she used boy and girl cookie cutters? Whatever you call them these cookies are delicious! 

Old Fashioned Key Lime Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature 

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 TBSP key lime zest

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

2 3/4 cups flour or gluten free flour ( I used Pamela's Gluten Free Blend)

1/4 tsp salt

1tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder 

Key Lime Drizzle

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBSP key lime juice

1-2 TBSP milk of choice

1 TBSP key lime zest divided 


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the sugar, butter, and lime zest for 1-2 minutes until fluffy.

3. In a separate medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt,  baking soda, and baking powder stir to combine. 

4. Turn the mixer to low and incorporate the eggs one at a time, turn the mixer to medium speed and add in the sour cream until incorporated. 

5. With the mixer on low speed slowly add the flour mixture a third at a time, once the flour is all added stop the mixer and use a spatula to stir a few times to make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed in. The dough will be sticky but should still roll out well. 

6. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper lightly sprinkled with flour. Using a rolling pin roll the dough out to 1/4 of an inch, added more flour as needed so it does not stick. 

7. Using a 3 inch diameter round cookie or biscuit cutter cut the cookies into round discs and place at least 2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. You will need to bake these cookies in batches or use two cookie sheets for all 18 to fit. Repeat steps 6-7 gathering the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting the cookies out until all of the dough is used. 

8. Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. The tops will still be light.

9. Let the cookies cool for 30 minutes before frosting. 

10. Make the key lime glaze, in a medium bowl sift the 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Add in 2 TBSP lime juice, 1/2 TBSP lime zest, and 1 TBSP milk of your choice. Using a whisk combine the ingredients until a thick glaze forms. If the glaze is too thick add a tsp of milk at a time until it is the right consistency. 

11. Once the cookies have cooled place the glaze in a piping bag and snip of the end. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies using a back and forth motion. Before the glaze sets use the remaining 1/2 TBSP of lime zest to sprinkle over the cookies.


These cookies will keep at room temperature for 5 days.