Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coconut Milk Pumpkin Pie

Last year I made a pumpkin pie out of Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk, but this year I was much more impressed with how it turned out using full fat coconut milk. I made it sugar free as well, using Splenda, although I would recommend using Stevia instead--it's much better for you! Or try making it with Agave syrup. I'm going to try that next time.

I loved how the color turned out--it's looks like it's made with regular milk but it's a bit lighter, unlike the soy milk which makes it darker. And the full fat canned coconut milk has the same consistency as cream so I only needed two eggs. I also used organic pumpkin-go me! Tastes delicious!

1 refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup sweetner (white sugar, stevia, Splenda, or Agave syrup)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
15oz can pumpkin
12 oz full fat canned coconut milk, shaken

Directions:1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mold the pie crust into a pie dish and fold excess dough under the edges. Poke holes in the bottom so your beautiful crust doesn't shrink like mine did! (Oops)
3. Mix sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.

4. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in the pumpkin and then the sugar and spice mixture.

5. Gradually add full fat coconut milk and stir until completely blended. Pour into pie crust.

6. Bake for 15 minutes to set, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 40 minutes. To check if the pie is done, stick a knife through the middle and see if it comes up clean. If there is a layer of pumpkin on it, you may need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

How to Make a Delicious Grilled (Fake) Cheese Sandwich

I made this particular grilled cheese using Trader Joe's Soy Blend of Mozzarella, Jack, and Cheddar Flavors.
Grilled cheese is one of those comfort foods you don't have to lose with lactose intolerance. Fake cheese works surprisingly well as a substitute. The trick is to blend it with other flavors. Some fake cheese options are better than others. I've tried many different kinds of soy cheese or vegan/dairy free cheese alternatives.

One version of sliced cheese singles I can recommend are Veggie Slices. These are soy based, but they do contain milk protein so watch out if you are allergic. They taste terrible on their own but make a great grilled cheese sandwich. I've used them for cold sandwiches but I'd honestly rather do without the fake cheese. This stuff tastes best cooked in something or melted.

If you are looking for vegan and completely dairy free, I always recommend Daiya Shreds. Although for taste, I prefer soy blend cheeses. Two other types I like are Trader Joe's soy mozzarella and shredded soy blend. These are sometimes hard to find in the cheese aisles so look thoroughly. I always find Daiya Shreds and Veggie Slices at Whole Foods.

Other pluses to lactose free cheeses: no cholesterol, less saturated fat, less sodium, and easy to digest.

Adding another filler in your sandwich blends with the fake cheese, making it taste more authentic. I like to add pickles, tomatoes, bacon, or all three to perfectly replicate a dairy grilled cheese sandwich. Get a nice, thick bread, like sourdough, spread on the SmartBalance Light, and honestly, it's hard to tell the difference.

Dairy Free Mac'n'Cheese

Cheese lovers: do you think your body really enjoys all that grease, cholesterol, and hard to digest lactose? Of course not! I know it tastes amazing, but so does my lactose free mac'n'cheese.

Well, I didn't actually use macaroni, but I did use hearty whole wheat penne! Unsweetened almond milk brings this dish to life, along with dairy free Smart Balance Light and lactose free cheese. It has a couple of secret ingredients that you would never have guessed: egg and dry mustard. Topped off with flavorful french fried onions! It will make you wonder if this isn't the real thing. How can I ever miss mac'n'cheese again?

I can recommend a few lactose free cheeses to choose from. Trader Joe's has a shredded soy cheese that's a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and jack flavors. I used that for this dish. It's not vegan and has milk protein in it, so beware if you are allergic to milk protein. It's great if you are just lactose intolerant. Also, Kraft shredded cheeses have little lactose in them, especially the sharp cheddar and parmesan. I'm highly sensitive and can have a little of these, but not a lot. If you are looking for dairy free, soy free, and vegan, then I recommend using Daiya Shreds in cheddar and parmesan.

1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 egg
4 tablespoons Smart Balance Light (dairy free)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar lactose free cheese (I used Trader Joe's soy cheese blend)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese alternative
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese alternative
1/2 cup to 1 cup french fried onions

1. Cook pasta until firm but not done. Knock off about 2 minutes of cook time. Drain and keep in warm, covered pot.

2. Beat egg in small bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Melt Smart Balance in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour in almond milk. Add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.

6. To temper egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the almond milk sauce into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.

7. Slowly pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking until smooth. This will create a nice, thick mac'n'cheese.

8. Add lactose free cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan alternative, stir until melted.

Mmm creamy cheesy goodness.

9. Add sea salt and pepper plus more to taste. You can also add any other spices at this point.

10. Pour cooked pasta into sauce and stir to combine.

11. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking oil, add pasta and cheese mixture.

12. Top with french fried onions and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese alternative.

13. Bake 5-10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Taste approved by cheese lovers!