Snack Attack Sunday, Week 4: Dairy Free Maple Roasted Nuts


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As the weather turns colder I am missing home more. Not because I miss the miserable winters of the Northeast, but I miss what I used to do back home around this time. For some reason Anthony and I always visited New York City and Boston in the winter. It makes no sense because that is the worst time of the year to visit either of those cities. It was always so cold, with the wind whipping between the buildings, and the sidewalks covered in a sloppy, snowy mess. But every year that’s when we would choose to visit.

Although we live near two major cities, Washington, DC and Baltimore (ok one major city and one less major city); neither of them comes close to being like NYC or Boston. Sure they have the traffic, the hustle and bustle, the good shopping opportunities but they lack that big city feel. I think the most notable thing they’re missing, other than the amazing skyscrapers, are street venders. To me a city just isn’t a city without street venders! Without them how would I be able to get lunch and a Gucci bag on the same block for 20 bucks? So it is in the spirit of street venders that I bring you this week’s Sunday snack: maple roasted nuts.

Without a doubt “Hot Nuts” are on the list of the top 5 best street venders. You can smell those delicious roasting nuts a block away and I dare anyone to say they don’t taste as good as they smell. I love the wax paper bag they come in and how on a cold winder day they warm your hand up. I have been missing those delicious “Hot Nuts” so I decided to make them myself. Turns out they aren’t very difficult to make and they taste almost exactly like the big city variety. This is a great snack for a crowd because everyone likes roasted nuts, they’re fast and easy, and most pantries are stocked with the needed ingredients. So make up some homemade “Hot Nuts”, watch some football and you’ll be in a New York state of mind in no time. Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Nuts (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

  • 1 cup of raw nuts, I used walnuts but you can use any type or combo you want
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place the nuts in a bowl and add the maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until well coated. Pour onto a well greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until maple mixture has hardened on the nuts. Be sure to turn the nuts at least once while baking. As soon as you pull the nuts from the oven and the coating is still sticky, sprinkle on some freshly ground sea salt. Allow to cool before eating.

Makes 1 cup


Dairy Free Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup


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We have been enjoying an extended Indian summer here in Baltimore, but it feels as though the wind is bringing in winter. Although I am not a fan of winter I do adore winter foods; soups, chili, roasted vegetables, eggnog, soy chai lattes, and steaming bowls of breakfast porridge. For weeks a butternut squash has been sitting on my counter and I’ve been feeling guilty for not using it. Anthony isn’t much of a squash man so I’ve been trying to think of a way to cook it so that he’ll actually eat. A velvety smooth butternut squash soup seemed to fit the bill; he enjoys a good soup and we are finally having soup worthy weather.

The thought of plain old butternut squash soup didn’t inspire me so I looked around the kitchen for something to add a little pizzazz to it. I also happened to have several pears that have been languishing alongside the squash and although I’ve never had butternut squash and pears together I thought it might work. Generally produce that is in season together taste delicious together, I was hoping this would hold true for the squash and pears. After cooking the squash and pears until soft and blending them into a beautiful golden puree, I added a can of coconut milk to give another layer of flavor and a creamy consistency. Some curry powder and ginger complemented the coconut flavor and the acidity of the lemon juice brightened it up.

Overall I would say it was a great success. Anthony and I both thought it was yummy and quite filling. The consistency was smooth and creamy, exactly what I was hoping for, but without all the calories of a butternut squash soup made with butter and cream. It is also chock full of nutritional goodness, beta-carotene from the squash, a healthy dose of fiber from the pears and squash, and some lovely anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the curry powder and ginger. Like most soups I’m assuming it will taste even better tomorrow when the flavors have had time to meld. I’ll let you know how it tastes after I eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Enjoy!   

Gluten and Dairy Free Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small butternut squash peeled and cut into 1-pieces (2 lb.)
  • 3 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (1 1/2 lb.)
  • 5 cups of gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1 14-oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
  • Pumpkin seeds for garnish, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft. Add the curry powder and powdered ginger to the onions and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the squash and pears and sauté for 5 more minutes. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

Remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor, or use and immersion blender; blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and stir in lemon or lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes until soup has thickened slightly. Serve and garnish with optional pumpkin seeds.

Serves 6

Gluten and Dairy Free Millet Breakfast Porridge


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On a cold winter morning nothing warms me up like a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Having been raised in a state where it’s cold for half the year oatmeal has long been a part of my morning routine. However, since regular oats are no longer safe for me to eat, my morning oatmeal has been put on the back burner. Although oats are naturally gluten free, they have become so cross-contaminated with gluten they are considered unsafe for gluten sensitive individuals. Thankfully, some farmers and companies go through the extra effort to grow and process oats in a gluten-free environment. All this extra effort, however, result in extra high prices for gluten-free oats.

Although I do use gluten-free oats on occasion, I’ve been experimenting with some other gluten-free grains to make a hot breakfast cereal with. One of these is millet. I feel that millet is one of the most under used of the gluten-free grains and I’m not sure why its not more popular. It is fast and easy to cook, inexpensive, nutritious, readily available at your local health food store and it has a delicious, almost oat-like flavor. When cooked for about 30 minutes or so, millet develops a consistency reminiscent of cream of wheat. With its mild flavor even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy it. There is endless room for customization to suit your taste so try it with different spices, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and sweeteners. I usually make several servings at a time and place the leftovers in individual containers for a quick, nutritious breakfast any day of the week. Enjoy!

Gluten and Dairy Free Millet Breakfast Porridge

  • 1 1/3 cups millet
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Vanilla, to taste
  • 1/2 raisins
  • Brown sugar or other sweetener, to taste

In a sauce pan combine the millet, water, non-dairy milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, add the raisins or dried fruit of choice, and then continue to cook for 10 minutes more or until a thick porridge-like consistency is reached.

Spoon into bowls and add brown sugar or other sweetener to taste.

Makes 4 servings

Snack Attack Sunday, Week 3: Gluten and Dairy Free No-Bake Bars


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I hope everyone enjoyed their long holiday weekend. I feel as though we should have 4 day weekends every week, wouldn’t that make everyone’s life so much nicer. I spent much of my time cooking so by the time Sunday rolled around I didn’t want to cook at all. Times like this make me miss being able to put out a cheese platter and calling it a day. I looked through my recipe box for some inspiration and came upon a recipe from my teenage years, no-bake bars.  

In my opinion bars, cookies, and pies are the best desserts. I’ve never been much of a cake fan, they tend to be dry and boring and take far too much time and patience to make. Bars on the other hand are much quicker and easier to make and you don’t even need utensils to eat them with. These bars will bring you back to the days of school bake sales. If you really want to relive those days bring a batch to work and charge 50 cents a bar.

So what makes these bars so great? They’re fast and easy, feature the classic flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate, they’re easily made allergy friendly, and they have oatmeal in them so they’re almost good for you (that’s what I told myself last night after my third bar). Feel free to use another nut or seed butter in place of the peanut butter if you have an allergy or would like another flavor combination. Be sure to make these in the morning or the night before because it takes 2-3 hours in the refrigerator to set. Enjoy!

Gluten and Dairy Free No-Bake Bars

  • 1 cup dairy-free butter   
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups gluten-free oats, quick cooking
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth

Grease the bottom of a 9×9 pan.

In a sauce pan melt the dairy-free butter. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla and oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until the ingredients are well blended. Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the other half for topping.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat or in the microwave, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the oatmeal crust, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently. Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars and serving.