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A Gift for You

Christmas Greetings!

My gift to you is a couple of new recipes I’ve been working on this fall, plus a link to an all-time favorite. If you haven’t guessed by now, I love food, and I’m always on a quest to re-create a favorite recipe into a gluten, dairy, egg and cane sugar-free version to accommodate our food sensitivities. I’m most excited about the “Nanaimo Bars”—free of gluten, dairy, egg and cane sugar—they melt in your mouth! And even my gluten-and-dairy-lovin’ husband has been scarfing them back.


Nanaimo Bars

These take a bit of time, but are well worth the effort. This makes a 9X9” pan, but if you want to make the effort more worthwhile by making a larger batch and freezing some, you can multiply the quantities by 1.5 and put it into a 9X13” pan, or just double it for 2 9X9” pans. These keep well in the fridge for a week, or for a couple of months in the freezer.  


1 ½ cups almond flour

½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1/3 cup coconut sugar

¼ cup cacao powder (raw cacao powder or cocoa powder)

10 pitted dates, soaked in boiling water (reserve water)

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt


2 cups of soaked cashews

¼ cup water that you reserved from soaking dates

½ cup maple syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

½ cup melted coconut oil

¼ tsp. salt

Topping (*or see easier option below)

¼ cup cacao butter

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

½ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla (or 2-3 tsp. if you love vanilla)

Pinch of salt

Pre-soak cashews for filling for 4-6 hours in filtered water. Rinse cashews 2-3 times, drain, and keep in refrigerator until ready to use. You can do this up to a day ahead of time.

Base: Soak pitted dates in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Drain, reserving water. Place dates, melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and coconut sugar in food processor and process until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and mix in almond flour and coconut until well combined. Press firmly into a 9X9” pan and chill in refrigerator while you make the filling.

Filling: Place cashews, date water and maple syrup in your food processor and process until smooth. Depending on your food processor, this will probably take at least 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Spread filling evenly over the base, and place in freezer to chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Topping: Place cacao butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler and melt gently. Once melted, add remaining ingredients and whisk briskly until well combined. Immediately pour over the filling layer and spread evenly. (Or, if you let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it, whisk it again because sometimes the syrup and oil separate). Place in freezer to chill and harden for several hours.

Option 2 – Easier Topping: In the top of a double boiler, gently melt:  2 cups of dairy-free chocolate chips, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, and 1 Tbsp. non-dairy milk (coconut, cashew, almond). Whisk well. Spread evenly over filling. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. We like them in the freezer because they are slightly firmer, and we take them out half hour before serving. Enjoy!


Lemon Pie Filling

Before my son and I discovered our food sensitivities, lemon meringue pie was my absolute favorite. I had a great recipe and always made the filling from scratch, and I savoured the tart lemon flavor combined with the creaminess of the filling. This is my own version of that pie filling, without the meringue. You can use this as pie filling in your favorite gluten-free pie crust, or make pudding desserts (see the picture). If you are making pudding, use only 6-6.5 Tbsp. of arrowroot powder instead of ½ cup to make it softer and more pudding-like. Using ½ cup of arrowroot as below makes a fairly firm pie filling so that it stays on the crust when you cut it to serve it.

1 ½ cups coconut milk, full fat

1 cup cashew milk

1 ¼ cups coconut sugar

½ cup arrowroot powder (6-6.5 Tbsp. for pudding)

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 large lemons)

2 tsp. lemon rind (from 2 large lemons)

3 Tbsp. vegan butter

Pinch salt

One baked pie shell*

Combine the arrowroot powder, coconut sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk together well. Add cashew milk and coconut milk, whisk until combined, and then place over low-medium heat and heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling. (Stirring for part of this time is a great job for your old-enough-child while you prepare the lemon ingredients). Wash lemons well and zest to make 2 teaspoons of zest. Then squeeze lemons to make ½ cup of lemon juice. When the filling in the saucepan is bubbling, remove from heat and add lemon juice, zest and vegan butter. Whisk until well combined. Cool for 30-60 min. (just until it’s not hot anymore), whisking frequently or placing plastic wrap over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Pour into a baked pie shell. For pudding, pour into serving dishes. Chill for at least 2 hours.

*My favorite pie crust is the one from my Nourishing Meals cookbook. It has ground pecans in it and it’s delicious! There are many GF pie crust recipes online, including one on the nourishing meals website—I just haven’t tried any others.


Black Bean Fudge

Lastly, here is a link to one of my favorite all-year-round recipes—black bean fudge. You won’t believe it’s made with black beans. An added benefit of both this recipe and the Nanaimo Bars is that they have a substantial amount of protein content in comparison with most dessert recipes, so they satisfy the appetite for longer and aren’t so hard on the pancreas causing a burst of insulin production followed by hypoglycemia. For the holidays, consider adding a few drops of peppermint oil for a treat.


I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and happiness, prosperity and health in 2015!



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