Friday, August 31, 2012

Dairy Free Tomato Basil Skillet Eggs

Here's a dairy free healthy breakfast for two! I found this recipe in a magazine and adapted it to be dairy free. I made it with tomatoes, basil, and parsley from my garden. You can make this recipe even healthier by using just egg whites instead of whole eggs. Eliminate the toast to keep it gluten free or use a gluten free bread. Yummy!


6-8 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
1/4-1/2 cup dairy free shredded mozzarella such as Trader Joe's Soy Mozzarella or Daiya Shreds, according to preference
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
15-20 fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced or 1 tsp dried chives


1. Heat olive oil in a medium non stick pan over medium heat. Add onion with half of the sea salt and pepper (1/4 tsp each) and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and the rest of the sea salt and pepper to the onion, stirring to combine. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Use a spoon to make four even wells in the onion/tomato mixture and crack an egg into each. Cover pan and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with dairy free cheese then cover again and cook for 1 minute. Remove cover and add chopped basil, parsley, and chives. Serve immediately alone or on top of toasted bread. Enjoy the day!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Homemade Cabernet Tomato Basil Sauce

Making your own tomato sauce can be super easy!

There are many complicated and time consuming ways to make tomato sauce. I researched a thousand recipes that all called for skinning the tomatoes and boiling down the sauce to make a thick, rich tomato sauce.

For one thing, I didn't want to toss out all the skins--it seemed so wasteful. I've been refining my gardening skills which is why I need to make tomato sauce. I spent months caring for my plants to get those beautiful tomatoes! Maybe I could toss the skins of store bought tomatoes but not my homegrown roma's. Besides, the skins have the highest concentration of antioxidants.* I'd rather not throw out the health benefits.
Aren't they so pretty?
I also don't have the right tools for pureeing and straining, and I didn't want to stand at the stove boiling the sauce forever. I mean, come on, I have laundry to do!

So I took my own fresh approach. I got out the slow cooker to make it easier. I generally like my tomato sauce herby and with a touch of sweetness. A sweet and salty tomato basil sounded perfect for my roma's, and since I've been growing oregano as well, I decided to add that to the batch. Finally, I added a taste of cabernet to give it a unique flavor. My husband said it was award winning! It's definitely the type of sauce I would expect of a great restaurant.

Honestly, homemade tomato sauce is simple and it's hard to go wrong. It's much healthier than store bought sauce and tastes better. By eliminating some of the steps it becomes a quick process yet maintains great quality. You know what you put into it and know what you get out of it.


2 cups roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (makes 2 servings)
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons cabernet sauvignon
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10-12 fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped


1. Turn your slow cooker on high. While it's warming up, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Toss onions into the saucepan and sprinkle with a pinch of the sea salt and pepper. Cook for three minutes or until tender, then add minced garlic. Cook for no more than thirty seconds.

Should look like this.

Are those tomatoes chopped? I like that my "waste" pile is very small.
2. Add tomatoes and wine to the saucepan and stir to combine with oil, onion, garlic mixture. Let cook for a minute, then add sugar, the rest of the sea salt and pepper, oregano, and basil. Stir to combine. Cook for five minutes, uncovered.
Two cups.
Salt and peppered.
4. Transfer to hot slow cooker and let cook on high for one hour. I let my Crock Pot heat up for 15 minutes before transferring the sauce. A doubled recipe may need another half hour to an hour to cook. You can also simmer over medium low heat on the stovetop for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta--I used tri-color farfalle and added some ground turkey cooked with a little salt and pepper.

Cooking in the Crock Pot.
This recipe makes about 2-3 servings, enough for one meal for a couple. Easily double if you need to make more or want to freeze some for later. I have about enough patience to chop two cups of tomatoes at a time :-).

Finished product.
Fun Facts:

*Did you know that the olive oil in the sauce helps your body to absorb the carotenoids found in tomatoes?

*Also, in the case of tomatoes, cooking for prolonged time at high temperatures makes carotenoids more available. I got my info from

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Zucchini Salad

Coming up with some fresh ways to use the zucchini and herbs in my garden, I put this quick salad together. It works best with very thin slices.  It would probably taste great with some sliced tomatoes as well! Though my zucchini plant is barely producing anymore fruit, I have an abundance of tomatoes.

This recipe requires lemon olive oil. It's amazing as a salad dressing or dip for Italian bread. I haven't found it in a supermarket, but you should be able to find it at a specialty food market or Italian deli (or online). I've found it in Pittsburgh's Little Italy--Bloomfield, and California's farmer's markets. Sigona's has a wide selection of flavored olive oils that you can taste at their store.

This was a special treat just for me since my husband hates vinegar. I love it! Pickles, dressing, beets,  olives, chips--I'll pretty much eat anything vinegary.


1 zucchini, thinly sliced
20-30 whole parsley leaves, stems removed
4 basil leaves, sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic


1. In a large shallow bowl or baking dish, mix all ingredients and spread out in an even layer.

2. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Best if left overnight. Make at night and enjoy for lunch the next day :-)

Lemon Olive Oil from Il Fornaio


Monday, August 6, 2012

Honey Fruit Salad

I made up this fruit salad for one reason alone: to use up fruit leftover from entertaining visitors. It was so amazing that I made it again for a ladies shopping party. There were no leftovers, so I figured it was a hit!


2 navel oranges, cubed
2 small baskets strawberries (20-24 berries), tops removed and halved
2 bunches red grapes
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons blackberry honey
2 teaspoons white sugar or SPLENDA
1 lemon
1 teaspoon lime juice
8 fresh mint leaves, sliced


1. Rinse all your fruit. In a large bowl, add the fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon.

2. Chop your apples first, tossing them in the bowl with the lemon juice so they do not brown. Add the rest of your fruit: peeled and cubed oranges, sliced strawberries, and whole grapes.

3. Add the lime juice. Toss all fruit with the lemon and lime juice to mix and coat.

3. Warm your honey in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until thinned. Drizzle over fruit and toss to coat. Sprinkle white sugar or SPLENDA over fruit and toss to coat until desired sweetness--just a couple of teaspoons is enough. You do not want to overpower the other flavors.

My favorite honey from the Mountain View Farmer's Market.

4. Finally, add sliced mint leaves and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve :-)


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Delicious Dairy Free Ice Cream

Smooth, sweet, and creamy--it's as good as the real thing! I love this combination of full fat coconut milk and vanilla soy milk. It makes a rich ice cream that doesn't make me miss the dairy. I've tried a few combinations, and there are alternatives with fewer calories, but this recipe is the best tasting. Using just soy milk gives the ice cream a grainy, icy texture, but add the thick, sweet, full fat coconut milk and you have an instant substitute for heavy cream.

Any non-dairy milk will do for this recipe, but I love the thick texture and sweetness of Silk Very Vanilla soymilk. Homemade ice cream has the added benefit of being able to add your own amount of sugar. Agave syrup is a healthier option as it is metabolized slower than sugar. Besides being easy to mix in it also has a mild flavor that compliments vanilla quite well.

This recipe requires an electric ice cream maker. If you don't have one, I suggest getting one. They are perfect for making ice cold homemade treats in twenty minutes or less. Frozen yogurt, sorbet, frozen drinks, and slushies are other great ideas to make with this tool.

You can easily add mix ins to make other flavors. Eight ounces of melted chocolate added to this recipe will give you a delectable chocolate ice cream. I've also added crushed chocolate and cream (dairy free) cookies in the last five minutes of mixing for cookies and cream ice cream. The possibilities are endless!


1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled at least two hours in the fridge
1 1/4 cups refrigerated Silk Very Vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (use 1 tablespoon if using non-vanilla soymilk)
My pretty red ice cream maker...not much bigger than a coffee maker!
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well combined.

2. Pour into your frozen ice cream bowl and freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. It should be ready to eat in 15-20 minutes. It will be soft, so if you want harder ice cream, put in the freezer for at least 1 hour prior to enjoying.

Full fat coconut milk and Silk Very Vanilla soymilk.

Agave Syrup.

Adding the vanilla.

Churning process.

Finished product :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cinnamon Rice Pudding

This week I've been lying low, slowly recovering from gum grafting surgery. I have very thin gum tissue around four front teeth on my lower gum line, and it has been gradually receding over the years to expose the roots of some of my teeth. So I decided to take care of it before it got worse. Last Friday I had a minor surgery done where a rectangle of skin on the roof of my mouth was taken and sewed over the exposed roots and thin area of my lower gum line. Sounds gross but it's very cool!

It was a quick and easy surgery but came with a 10 day recovery time that limited my ability to eat (I'm so hungry!).  Being restricted to a soft food diet, I needed to come up with some creative ways to eat substantial food without chewing. I had the added challenge of my lactose intolerance so ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes, etc. all had to be dairy free.

Here is a delicious rice pudding recipe I made for a breakfast option. Besides being easy to eat it has the added bonuses of being dairy free, gluten free, and low fat/low sugar! I used Very Vanilla soymilk, but any dairy free milk could be substituted. If it's not vanilla then I recommend adding an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract to the recipe.

The sweetness can also be varied to taste. I used exactly 1 tablespoon of SPLENDA packet sweetener, which is sweeter than the granulated SPLENDA. The estimated equivalent in SPLENDA granulated form or white sugar is a 1/2 cup. But I haven't tried this measurement yet so I can't be sure of the equivalent sweetness. I would start with a 1/4 of a cup and add more if needed. You can also substitute with Agave syrup or Stevia sweetener. I would start with a 1/2 cup for these as they are not as sweet as white sugar or SPLENDA.


2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup white rice
3 cups Silk Very Vanilla soymilk
1/4-1/2 cup SPLENDA granulated sweetener
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. In a medium size saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and salt, stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed--about 10 minutes.

2. Add Very Vanilla Soymilk, SPLENDA, and cinnamon. Cook uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the soymilk is absorbed--about 15 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm. Easy for someone recovering from surgery!