Everywhere you look in winter there is another recipe for an eggnog or boozy drink. This version is not only alcohol free, but dairy and egg free as well. Not that you couldn't add a swig of something, but it is absolutely delicious and warming all on its own.
Egg & dairy free nog recipe - using medjool dates, it is even low glycemic.
Pour your coconut milk into a pot along with the pitted dates.
We don't do dairy in the house, as my older son has a severe allergy. And quite honestly I don't want any of us in this house to follow down the road of our genetic lottery of diabetes, so I love recipes that are not only dairy free, but also use low glycemic sweeteners. The dates also are what gives the drink that thicker creaminess. If you use rice milk, it will be a little thinner, obviously, but hemp, cashew, coconut and other thicker milks have the perfect thickness!
I love strawberry season. It lasts only a few short weeks, but it sure is good while it lasts. We are not growing strawberries this year - well, we are, but they are not big enough to fruit this year - but they can be found all around here. Strawberries are at local farmer's markets, roadside stands, u-picks, and in CSA's. We have picked up strawberries every time we see them, knowing that in a week or two they will be gone. I love making some jam and drying some for granola, but really, sorbet is a must. It is the perfect thing on a hot day.
Making an unheated dairy-free sorbet is really the best way to get the full amazing strawberry flavor. I know many recipes call for syrups with water, but really, who wants watered down strawberries. I want it to taste like an explosion of strawberries in my mouth. I don't like using white sugar and my body doesn't like me using white sugar, so I have experimented to get a scoopable sorbet using a natural sugar. This recipe uses raw honey and a wee bit of limoncello to keep it from freezing too solid (I love our homemade limoncello!!!!). This remains scoopable and a vivid red with the full pow of fresh strawberries. This *only* uses 3 Tbsp of limoncello per full quart of sorbet, but if you wish to have no liqueur in this, you can use 2 tsp of vanilla instead of one (vanilla extract also uses alcohol, which is what helps keep the sorbet from freezing into solid ice chunks) - but it WILL still be hard to scoop since you won't have the same recipe ratio and nobody wants several tablespoons of vanilla extract in their sorbet to compensate. Don't add *extra* limoncello though, as too much alcohol will make it more of a slushie. This recipe really is a great balance of flavor and freeze consistency and sweetness.
This is an unheated strawberry sorbet that packs so much intense strawberry flavor you will want more!
Blend the strawberries & lime juice on high in a blender until smooth.
Strawberry season doesn't last very long, and while we *could* buy strawberries from the grocery store all year 'round, we all know nothing tastes as good as locally grown strawberries in season. This recipe really takes advantage of the natural sweetness and amazing flavor or summertime fruit. I think I have a sorbet recipe for just about every single berry all summer long, but strawberries are the first berries after a long winter and spring, and the taste is just...summer. I sometimes try to tuck a quart of it down at the bottom of the chest freezer so we can find in the fall and get all excited that we still have strawberry sorbet in October - but it never lasts that long. That is partly because I just have horrible secret agent stealth skills, and partly because it is so good and who wants to save some for later when you can have it now, when it is hothothot outside. We had strawberries in our CSA yesterday, and picked up a few extra quarts, so I am going to go make some more sorbet!
I love the beginning of CSA season. Spring arrives late in Wisconsin and it takes until June for the vegetables to really start rolling in, and it coincides with my burst of rapidly growing herbs which I planted a few weeks ago. Pesto is a favorite way to combine different flavors and use the herbs in abundance with all of the fresh vegetables. The key for me of course is the combining of different flavors. I like pesto, but we have a dairy allergy in the house AND I don't like drowning myself in mono-flavors. I love making different types of pesto so that there is fantastic variety not only for immediate consumption, but also enough to freeze/preserve for winter. This pesto is a favorite. I grow many types of basil, and no matter what type I have on hand, it works.
This recipe is dairy free and combines fresh zesty flavors such as lime, ginger and garlic. I am also using cashews instead of pine nuts. Not only are they easier to find, but they are nutritious and I always have some on hand (I'm addicted to date/cashew truffles and cashew cream). You will be amazed at the flavor and want to make extra to freeze for winter!
There is nothing better than the taste of freshly homemade pesto with crudités, on grilled veggies, or over pasta. This version is vegan, and combines the amazing flavors of basil, lime, garlic, and ginger. The ground flax and hemp seeds make a great texture subsitute for the cheese -it is so good! GF/DF
First, using a food processor, pulse your raw cashews with the flax meal and hemp seeds until finely ground.
I made a single batch of this today, which will likely only last me a few days. So I am sure I will make some more as my genovese, persian, blue spice, thai, lemon, lime, lettuce leaf, and emily basils grow, grow, grow!
bonus: This recipe is delicious and easy to prepare, but also packed full of good vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Yum+.
Garlic & Ginger
I have never been a breakfast person. For years I was more of a cup of coffee and run kind of person. But with the advent of autoimmune disease, I have a schedule for my supplements and medications, and eating before I take anything is critical. We also cannot eat gluten, so that eradicates a whole bunch of possibilities. So what is left is eggs, GF toast, GF oats...meh. I'm not a big sweets or bread person. I'm also not a huge fan of repetition. I spend a lot of time cooking dinners every day, so I don't want to spend a ton of time on breakfast or lunch. Amaranth is a nice alternative for breakfast. It is a seed, not a grain, and it is a complete protein packed with all of the essential amino acids, iron, magnesium, fiber, and even calcium. You can cook it, bake it, boil it, or even pop it. This breakfast is quick and easy and has a lot of flavor. And you can add different toppings to change it up - fresh blueberries, sliced bananas, toasted coconut, hemp seeds, warm apples pan-sautéed with a little maple syrup and molasses...the possibilities are endless!
Amaranth Breakfast Porridge
This is a healthy warm breakfast - a great GF alternative to creamy hot cereal. This version is dairy-free!
Soak the amaranth grains in 2 cups of water overnight.
A bowl of amaranth porridge is perfect for spring mornings - it warms you up, fills you up, and gives you energy to get moving on busy spring days. Kids love it too, and everyone can have their favorite toppings!
I love making truffles. I tend to go in spurts, most often in winter, when I want something small and sweet, but allergy-free and not too much. Truffle bites are perfect. I like that I can go from pulling out the ingredients to popping them in the fridge to set in under 15 minutes. The only thing that is heated is the chocolate!
These are great quick and easy sweet treats for yourself, or they can be packed up into little boxes and gifted for Valentine's Day.
Peppermint Mocha Truffles
These peppermint mocha truffles are easy to make, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and take only a few minutes to prepare. These are sweet treats, but as they contain dates and maple syrup, it is not a guilty pleasure. Make a batch to gift on Valentine's Day, or keep them all for yourself.
In a food processor:
Turmeric has been used traditionally not only as a flavorful spice/seasoning, but also for its health benefits. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The addition of ginger gives this drink a warm spicy flavor, and is good for digestion and also an anti-inflammatory. I consciously add anti-inflammatory foods to my diet as much as I can to help support anti-inflammatory processes in my body, and having a drink with both ginger and turmeric is an added bonus. The taste is rich and creamy with a hint of a musky chai-like undertone. It is delicious. This rich golden milk is great during seasonal transitions when it can go from warm to cold in one day or when you get inside after a cold day in the snow, and a steaming mug of spicy milk tastes and feels wonderful.
Spiced Turmeric Milk
While using fresh turmeric is best, it can be hard to find at the market during certain times of year, so this recipe uses powdered. This is delicious on a cold winter day.
Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan on the stove.
I love using turmeric and ginger as much as I can, and this drink is so delicious and rich and spicy. I do like coffee (we roast our own beans) and I love herbal tea (I grow and dry my own herbs all summer long to make herbal tea blends), but I also like having a hot drink that has a different flavor in my winter mug rotation!
Most of us are not lucky enough to live where citrus grows locally. And while eating close to the source is ideal, in this day and age not everything we consume will be from the corner farm. Salt, pepper, olive oil, coffee, tea…we can make conscious decisions to support fair trade and organic for as much as we can, while still working towards finding local for those things which are available. So for me, citrus is a part of our winter and holiday experience, no matter our climate. I love that sharp blast of citrus as my fingers break the peel on these dark, gloomy days of winter.
Citrus in winter is like the sun - fleeting, delicious, and memorable. One way to balance our distance with citrus is to use everything. Waste nothing. When we find it in season in the winter, use it all, enjoy it all. We use the peels and candy them, make garland, and dry for tea blends.
This recipe is simple to make, but quite a show stopper dessert. It is made in a spiced, fragrant syrup, but it isn't overly sweet. It is nice because it can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a day or so before serving, so it is perfect for the holiday table.
Poached mandarins have a delicate flavour and add a great flair to the end of a holiday meal. This is simple to make, and tastes great. And don't forget to save the rind to make candied or dried citrus peel.
First prep your citrus; gently cut off the ends, peel the citrus whole, and remove any extra pith.
Citrus is a winter treat, to be enjoyed on these dark winter days. We boost our mood as well as our vitamins (A, B-6, C, folate), fiber, and minerals (potassium, calcium, iron). By using the whole fruit, we don’t waste a thing, and get the most from these sunny, fragrant orbs. Yum.
A favorite staple in our fall CSA share each week is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic fall and winter food. They are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins, potassium, fiber, and more. They are healthy, delicious, and can be dressed hundreds of ways. They can be baked, boiled, added to stews, stuffed, and used in savory or sweet dishes.
A simple yet delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes is baked with a filling in the middle. This recipe is simple and the taste is warming and rich. I often bake a bunch of sweet potatoes at once over the weekend, and then keep them in the refrigerator for daily lunches. It is easy to re-heat and top with whatever you like. Perfect "fast food" ~ yum.
Sweet Potatoes with Curried Lentils
This recipe takes advantage of the smoky sweetness of sweet potatoes by combining with lentils and curry. This is a rich and warming meal, perfect on a chilly day.
Sweet potatoes are great for autumn and winter potlucks. Try setting up a create-your-own-sweet potato bar. Roast the sweet potatoes and serve them next to an assortment of toppings and let everyone make their own.
I use sweet potatoes a few times a week in fall and then worry I won't have enough to last all winter long. I know we have a few more fall CSA shares before our season is over, so I plan to stock up!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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