Wednesday, April 11

Porphyria-friendly recipe link love

This is a list of Porphyria-friendly recipes from around the web that I've seen this week (and then some).  I do share some of these links on the Facebook page when I find them.  So, if you'd like to get them sooner, make sure you "like" the page to get updates.

  • Artichoke pesto from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. I would replace the spinach with another green like arugula.
  • Cheesy herbed artichokes from How sweet it is. I *love* artichokes, but I only make them boiled and plain with mayo for dipping. (Don't judge, it's how I grew up eating them. Comfort food at its weirdest?) I've wanted to try them differently, but I had no idea what to do. I would totally make them this way. Although, Gorgonzola = Blue cheese = gross in my mind, so that will defo get switched out. 
  • Buckwheat Patties from While Chasing Kids.  These are just about the only veggie burgers I've seen that doesn't use beans as a base. Leave the flax seed out and replace the cilantro sauce with something more Porph-friendly, like pesto.
  • Toasted ravioli from A Zesty Bite. I love that it is healthier than fried ravioli, but that it's still nice and crunchy from the toasted coating. 
  • Dried fig jam from the TasteSpotting blog. This would be the perfect thing to make with dried figs that I've been holding onto.  I was originally going to make fig bars or homemade fig newtons, but I like this idea better. Plus, it's easier. Tara has been eating a lot of toast lately, so she's been getting into jams as a way to jazz up the toast and add carbs.
  • Egg and bacon bread bowls over at Jo Cooks. Of course the eggs and bacon aren't technically Porph-friendly, but the bread bowls are super customizable.  I am seeing these with the extra bread that was pulled out mixed with rice, maybe cheese, spices, and a bit of some sort of liquid.  Anything would work, as long as it's not too wet.
  • Beetroot tiramisu with pesto croutons from Cooking in Sens.  I'm sharing this purely for the inspired pesto croutons.  I've never thought about that!  It just occurred to me recently that I can make my own croutons with leftover bread and I think pesto croutons would be fab.  Use the recipe for arugula pesto on the blog or your favorite recipe. 
  • Walnut Bella "meatball" subs from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes (2nd link from them this week).  "Meat" balls made with walnuts, dates, and seasonings. I love meat substitutions that don't rely on beans. Replace the flax egg with a regular egg or egg whites.
  • Mushroom Bread Pudding from Breanna's Recipe Box.  I always want to like bread pudding, but it never lives up to its expectations for me.  However, this recipe looks really good!
  • Cinnamon Apple French Toast Wraps from Food Family Finds.  A tortilla isn't necessarily super high in carbs, so it's what you put in it that's important. I never think about sweet stuffed tortillas, so I love this.  I keep wondering how it would be stuffed with rice pudding (or even just sweetened rice) and some fruit.  
  • Sabudana (Sago) Khicdi from Ambika's Kitchen.  I'm posting this for the inspiration to create a non-traditional breakfast.  I see a sweet version with Israeli couscous as a great substitution.  Maybe using rice milk as the liquid base?  Even if water is used, I could add sugar, spices, and some fruit.  I think I'm going to give this a try.  
  • Penne pasta in a roasted beet sauce by Bev Cooks.  Tomato free and onion free pasta sauce.  Yet one more sauce to add to my must-try recipes.  We like roasted beets at the house, but rarely eat them because they are a bit labor intensive.  Wonder if this sauce would freeze well?

- Sunshine

Tuesday, April 3

Tips for increasing carbohydrates: New series

I'm starting a new series this week on tips for increasing carbohydrates (carbs).

I know one of the things we struggle with is how to keep Tara's carb level within the recommended 300g per day range. We do this by increasing the amount of carbs in a particular meal or snack and by adding in carbs throughout the day with something other than a meal or a snack.

The easiest way for Tara to "sneak" in carbs is to take them in through liquids. (This is, of course, also the easiest way to sneak in and increase your overall calorie intake, but that's a post for another time.) There are times when Tara doesn't feel good, but just can't or won't eat.  It's a lot easier for her to drink something than to try and eat.

Gatorade is Tara's number one choice for liquid carbs. Tara normally drinks at least 2 quarts of extra strength Gatorade a day; she will increase that to 3 quarts during an attack or when she's not feeling so hot.  Fruit punch is the only flavor that she likes.  She prefers the powder over the already made liquid because she is able to control the strength and there are less ingredients.  It's sold in most grocery stores, although we have been having some trouble finding the fruit punch flavor lately. It can be purchased online through places like Amazon (click on photo above).

Unfortunately, Tara's acid reflux has been acting up lately so she hasn't been able to get her full quota.  She might drink 1 quart of watered down mix.  It is because of this, in part, that she's been feeling worse than ever.  There has definitely been a noticeable decrease in her overall health since she reduced the amount of Gatorade she's been drinking.  She said the best she ever felt was when she was consistently drinking 1/2 gallon of fruit punch Gatorade per day.  We've been looking into other alternatives but haven't found anything that is nearly as effective.

What do you do to increase you carb intake level throughout the day?

Friday, March 30

Foods with soy: Cranberry Walnut Dressing

Here's another edition of my ongoing series, "Foods you didn't know had soy."  I'm gonna change how I post the series. I'm going to make this a weekly series and post whatever foods with soy I find during the week instead of waiting until I have a certain amount of items.

You would think I'd be jaded and no longer shocked by all the foods I find that has soy, but I am constantly amazed at how many foods contain it. Almost every time I go to the store, I find something else and snap a pic with my iPhone.

Any food items with soy you've found recently that surprised you?  If so, feel free to take a pic and e-mail it to me.  I'll load them up as part of the series.

- Sunshine

This week's entry is Cranberry Walnut Dressing from Naturally Fresh (I'm not even gonna go there with the company name).  Even though I realize that almost every single ready made dressing has some form of soy in it, I'm always surprised when I find it, especially in the refrigerated (i.e. "fresher") brands.


I really like how this flavor combination sounds and think it would be a great fall fruit dip.  I may end up attempting to recreate it.

And, soybean oil aside, since when did sour cream have so many damn ingredients?

Wednesday, March 28

Review: Barbaras Bakery Strawberry Bars

Hey all,

Just a quick note to let y'all know that I haven't dropped off the blog.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I went to the FoodBloogForum Conference at Disney World in Orlando over St. Patrick's Day Weekend and I was so inspired. I have so many great ideas for this blog and my other blog, Scoops of Sunshine.

There has been some behind the scenes work going on for both of the blogs and I have several posts in the works, including a recap of FoodBlogForum Orlando.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a quick product review of these strawberry cereal bars from Barbara's Bakery(affiliate link).

One of the main things we struggle with is having easy, portable, and Porphyria-friendly snacks for Tara so that she can grab them for work or have something quick at home.

That's why I was pretty happy when I saw these bars and checked out the ingredients. Most importantly, it has no soy. I got so excited about a soy free "grain" product that I initially overlooked the slightly less than stellar ingredients like red cabbage and canola oil.

They can be a little hard to find. Only one of my local grocery stores carry the strawberry bars. Whole Foods carries a few different flavors, but that's not always convenient for everyone.

On a final note, Barbara's Bakery has several different type of bars, some of which contain soy, so be careful if you are strictly avoiding it.

TCV Quick notes

Pros: Portable, good amount of carbs, low fat, low protein, quick, convenient, dairy free, soy free, tastes good

Cons: Has a few iffy ingredients, can be hard to find.

Verdict: I would definitely buy these again.

Have you tried these bars?

Thursday, March 15

Lasagna Stew

I wasn't too sure if I should share this recipe or not. It isn't exactly porphyria-friendly. Not only is there meat, but there are also tomatoes, onions, fennel, and a good amount of dairy. The only thing that it has going for it is that it has pasta.  To be sure, Tara only had one serving and I ate the rest.

We definitely don't eat like this every day. But here's the thing, we're human and we don't always eat the best.  It's just like when you're on a diet and you eat huge slice of cake (and a bowl of ice cream and some cookies, and a burger...); you know you shouldn't, but you do anyway. And, if you're the type, the next day you go bust your ass in the gym, or, at the very least, you get back on track with your diet.  It's the same thing here.  Tara occasionally  gets cravings for certain foods that aren't so trigger-friendly or we're in a pinch.  So, we try to eat foods before and after that are super high in carbs or she'll drink a Gatorade.

Anyway, enough of that and on to the recipe. Or the discussion of the recipe...

I initially saw Pass the Sushi's post on Lasagna Stew and it looked so good that I knew I was going to make it soon, like either that night or the next day, soon. 

Thankfully, my version of lasagna soup - Lasagna Stew - did not disappoint!  Honestly, the main reason I decided to post the recipe was because, people, this is good. I mean, really good. I'm not sure if it's because I love a good meat sauce and I rarely get to enjoy it, but I was savoring the sauce like nobody's business.

It doesn't taste quite like lasagna, but it is very lasagna-esque.  You know, kind of like a cousin of lasagna.  All the elements are there: meat sauce, pasta, ricotta, and browned mozzarella topping.  They just combine to form something fabulous.

Despite what I said earlier about this lasagna stew being essentially a trigger-bomb, it is quite customizable. It can easily be made vegetarian by replacing the meat with veggies like mushrooms and/or zucchini, etc.. It can be made dairy-light or even dairy-free. You can change up the spices somewhat by leaving out the fennel and upping the basil, oregano, and bay lead. I suppose it could even be made onion-free, too, although I'm not entirely sure because, at that point, it would probably be another dish entirely.


Lasagna Stew

Adapted from Pass the Sushi and Closet Cooking  and

Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you; this comes together fairly quickly.  If you want to make this more soup-like, increase the chicken stock to at least 4 cups. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 medium - large onions, finely chopped,
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste (organic preferred)
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups, approximately, chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8oz pasta (mafalda would be appropriate, but any big pasta will do)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I left this out)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella


In a large pot (either a sauce pot or a large, high-sided skillet), heat oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until brown, breaking up into small chunks, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside (this step is optional, but it will help the next step go quicker.).

Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and fennel and sauté for about 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes or so.

Add to the pan tomatoes with juice, sausage (if you removed it), stock, bay leaf, and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

While sauce simmers, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Dump in the pasta, boil for a minute or so, turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Once done, drain and return to the pot.

While the sauce and pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to broil and place oven safe bowls on a baking sheet.

When the pasta is cooked and the sauce is done simmering, fish out the bay leaf and discard. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in pasta.

Scoop a heaping spoonful of ricotta into each bowl. Ladle stew into bowls and top each bowl with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Place in broiler with oven door cracked for 3-5 minutes or until cheese browns.

Wait a few minutes before serving because the stew will be super hot.

Recipe variations:

Vegetarian:  Replace the meat with any number of vegetables, but especially mushrooms. Replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water.

Dairy-free or dairy-light:  Decrease the amount of ricotta used in the lasagna and decrease the amount of topping. If you are just looking for a little bit of dairy, I would eliminate all but a smidge of the topping.

Fennel-free:  Leave out the fennel and, if you are using a meat, use ground pork and beef in place of the sausage. Increase the rest of the seasonings, especially the salt, pepper and bay leaf, and double the basil by adding it to the sauce while it is cooking and then at the end.

Gluten-free:  Use any gluten free pasta you prefer.

Onion-free:  I am guessing about this one. Leave out the onion and significantly increase the seasonings. I would add 2-3 bay leaves, add the larger amount of red pepper flakes (assuming you can handle heat), increase the oregano (add some fresh, too, if you have it), and double the basil by adding it when the sauce is cooking and then at the end.

If you try out any of these variations, please let me know how they work for you or what you did or would do differently.

Wednesday, March 7

Arugula Pesto

This is another one from the unposted archives.  It is, however, a timely one.  Tara and I have been in a dinner rut recently, falling back on dishes that rely heavily on tomatoes. While they're good, I really need to make an effort to seek out some tomato-free pasta (and other) dishes.

I was doing a search on tomato-free pasta dishes and what came up were tomato-free pasta sauces that included things like beets, roasted red peppers, and sometimes squashes.  That's all well and good, but I need something fairly easy and that doesn't require lots of steps.  Then, as I was going through my draft posts, I happened upon this one for pesto.  And I literally hit myself on the forehead.

How could I have ever forgotten pesto as a great, tomato-free pasta dish?!  (Incidentally, it is also onion-free and could be made garlic-free.)  The preparation is fairly simple and can probably be done in under 15 minutes.  Basically, in the time that it takes to cook your pasta, you could have the pesto ready.    

Arugula basil pesto

Use this recipe as more of a suggestion and starting place than a concrete, hard and fast rule.  With the seasonings, garlic, olive oil, etc., start with a little bit and keep adding until you are satisfied with your result.  Also, use all pine nuts or use all pumpkin seeds.  Toast the nuts or don't toast.  Use more basil and less arugula.  Etc.  Basically, make it yours.

Updated 4/3/12 to add: Arugula can be a little bitter.  If your pesto is too bitter, add more basil to counter balance.  If that doesn't work, top your final dish with a good amount of shredded Parmesan.  I find that works for me.

You can use a mortar and pestle for small batches, but definitely break out the food processor or blender for bigger jobs.

  • 2 large handfuls of arugula
  • 1 very small handful of basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons garlic*
  • ~ 1/4-1/3 olive oil*
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (to taste, but at least 1/4 cup)*


Pulse arugula and basil in food processor a few times. Add pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and garlic; pulse a few times. Turn your food processor on and drizzle in olive oil through the feed tube. Turn off the food processor and check the consistency; add more olive oil and pulse if you need to.  Add in a bit of lime juice, maybe a teaspoon or so at a time, and pulse; check the flavor as you add until you get it to where you like it.  Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse to disperse; again, check the flavor as you add until you're satisfied.

Serve with pasta and sauteed mushrooms.


1. You can make this garlic-free by leaving out the garlic (duh...).  The arugula has a nice, spicy kick, so the garlic probably wouldn't be missed.  You might need to punch up the lime juice and pepper to compensate, though.  I haven't tried it, but let me know how it works if you do.

2. As you can tell from the photos, we like our pesto on the paste-y side where it's almost as thick as a spread, so we use only a little bit of olive oil - just enough to thin out the mixture a bit.  Most people seem to like their pesto thinner; if you are one of those, use more olive oil.

3. Regarding the Parmesan, if you are baking a large batch and planning to freeze, don't include the Parmesan.  Sprinkle the Parmesan on your dish when you mix in the pesto.  If you are not planning on freezing, you can mix in the Parmesan while everything is in the food processor.  That said, we rarely add Parmesan to the pesto anyway, because Tara doesn't like it on her pasta so much.

Thursday, March 1

Oatmeal whole wheat bread

Ignore the fantabulous background and focus on the totally awesome looking bread.

Now that the blog is up and running, I can finally get to those posts that have been languishing in my cue for over a year.

When I first started making homemade bread, I was super excited because I conquered (mostly) my fear of yeast and - Hello! Homemade bread!

But, unfortunately, I haven't made any bread in a while.  Tara isn't much of a fan (she likes plain ol' white bread) and there's only so much that I can eat.  Because of that, it either goes bad or I have to freeze it for some yet-to-be-determined use.  So, I just kind of...stopped.

However, looking at these photos is making me hungry for some fresh bread.

I had a few problems with this dough.  Mainly, it was incredibly large and very unruly. It didn't just double; I think it quadrupled in size. I've learned a little bit more about bread-baking and now realize that the dough rose too much, probably because it was super humid and warm.

I also converted the yeast in the recipe from active dry to instant or rapid rise without reducing the amount; that may have played a part as well. I have fixed the amount in the recipe below.

I should have proceeded with the shaping and baking when the dough was the right size, not according to what the recipe said. I'm learning that, while the recipe is important, some skill and experience is also helpful.  This is true of any baking or cooking, but it seems especially important with bread-baking.

I somewhat prefer the free-form loaf look, but I'm also a little scared of making a sandwich loaf.  (It's silly, I know, but steps.)  My loaf was probably no more that 2 and a half inches high at it's tallest spot. 

I paired this with a few things, but my favorite was a smear of organic tomato paste (it must be organic,  Trust me; it's totally worth the extra few cents.) and soft cheese like cream cheese or those Happy Cow wedges.  I'm sure it would be a great sandwich bread, especially if you like whole wheat, slightly sweeter breads.  Mine wasn't exactly conducive to sandwich making, though, because of its funky shape.  

Little visitor. 

Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread
barely adapted from Cafe Fernando, adapted it from “Good to the Grain” by Kim Boyce.

I mixed the dough in my stand mixer, but I will give instructions for doing it by hand.


  • 2 cups warm water
  • scant 2 tsp instant / rapid rise yeast
  • 3 tbsp unsulphured molasses
  • 2+1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, water, molasses, melted butter, oats, and half the flours.  Using the paddle blade, blend until smooth. Stir in remaining flours with a wooden spoon.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

Add salt to the dough, attach the bread hook to the mixer and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides (add a tablespoon or two of flour if necessary).  While the dough is mixing, lightly butter a large bowl.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times. Proceed below.

By hand: Combine half the flour with the oats and yeast in a large bowl and stir to blend.  Add the water, molasses, melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Stir in remaining flours.  Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.  Lightly butter a large bowl.  Add salt to the dough.  Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Proceed below.

Put the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with a towel or saran wrap, and let it rise for about 1 hour, or until it is doubled in size.

Free-form loaf shape: Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Shape the dough by bringing the sides of the dough to the bottom.  Squeeze and pinch the seam closed tightly.  Do this a few more times, making sure that you shape the loaf into an oval shape the last time.  Put the dough on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  Let rest until the dough puffs slightly, about 20 minutes.  Pinch the bottom of the oval to seal the seam as best you can.  Sprinkle all over with flour and put on a well-floured baking sheet.  Let rise, covered, until it doubles in size again, about 1 to 2 hours.  

Sandwich loaf shape: Shape it into a square, then fold it down from the top to the middle and then up from the bottom to the middle (just like you fold a letter). Bring the top and bottom edges together, pinch and seal.  Place the dough in the pan with the seam side down, and press it gently into the corners of the pan. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size again.

About 30 minutes before you're going to bake, heat the oven to 450F.  If you have a pizza stone, put it on the bottom rack.  If you don't, on the oven floor, put a shallow ovenproof pot (I use 2 old metal bread making pans) half-filled with ordinary (but clean) rocks.  Boil some water.  Just before putting the bread in the oven, carefully pour boiling water to just over the top of the stones.  Close the oven door.  A minute later, put in the bread and start baking, turning the heat down to 400F.

Bake until the internal temperature of the bread is at least 210F on an instant-read thermometer, about 40 to 60 minutes.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, February 23

Banana oat muffins

Today it's National Banana Bread Day.  I could tell you that I had this post planned out on purpose, but I'm totally not a liar.  We'll call it kismet instead.

Tara finished the Pumpkin Cranberry muffins from last week and I wanted to make another healthy muffin.   I wanted to try something a little different and since we had bananas on the counter that were getting past their prime, banana bread muffins were a no-brainer.

I've recently discovered how wonderful bananas and cloves are together.  There's only a touch of it, so you don't actually taste it (as in, it doesn't taste like Christmas).  Feel free to up the amount if you want the flavor a bit more aggressive or present.  Don't skimp on the cloves if you have some. Also, you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or ground ginger if you'd like, but I found just the pinch of cloves and touch of vanilla were more than enough of an accent to the banana flavor.

These muffins are surprisingly light and tender.  I think it's because of the 2 eggs (the original recipe only had 1).  They're also very buttery, which is odd because there is no butter, whatsoever.  I've had this happen before with other banana breads, but I'm still curious about it.  Has anyone else noticed buttery banana bread when there was no butter?

Banana Oat Muffins
Adapted from allrecipes

Yield 14 muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose, whole wheat)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8+ teaspoon (generous pinch) cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or other non-flavored oil like grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1 cup mashed bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)


Preheat oven to 400.  Grease muffin cups or line with liners.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and cloves.

In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Pour the flour mixture into the banana mixture and stir a few times, until most of the powder is mixed. Fold in your nuts, if using, until everything is just combined.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 15 to 18 minutes.  Let cool in the muffin pan (although, I dare you not to be seduced by the amazing smell and eat one while warm).  Use a butter knife around each muffin to remove, if needed.

Friday, February 17

Cranberry orange clafoutis

We don't fuss too much over Valentine's Day.  Rather, I should say that I don't fuss too much over V-Day.  I'm a minimal kind of gal when it comes to most holidays.  Tara, on the other hand, is sort of a holiday maniac.  (It has taken us years to find a happy medium.  Compromise is the key to a healthy and long-term relationship folks.) 

Anyway, because of my holiday mentality,  I usually suck at gift-giving, particularly with romantical events.   So, I tend to fall back on the tried-and-true fancied-up homemade dinner and dessert to make it more gift-appropriate.  Dinner was an easy choice of Penne a la Vodka, which is Tara's favorite meal that I make.  For dessert, I had originally thought about doing something strawberry (you know, because it was V-Day), but as soon as I saw the recipe for Cranberry Orange Clafoutis over at BowlLicking, I knew I had to make it. 

I'm so happy that I went with this dessert. Cranberry-orange is one of Tara's favorite flavor combos.  Plus, the preparation was simple and quick (prep was 5 minutes, tops), but it looked elegant in a rustic sort of way.

So often, it's hard to find a high-impact dessert that's easy to make for two.  Inevitably, there's always one ingredient that refuses to be broken down further (I'm talking to you, "one large egg".) or there's an odd fraction of an ingredient (1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon?).  This recipe, however, was pretty reasonable; it was easily halved (or scaled up) and, if you're using an egg replacer, you could break it down even more.

Despite the heavy cream, egg, and sugar, the dish was rather light.  I'd call it a mix of a souffle and a custard (like creme brulee).  Don't skimp on the butter and sugar coating on the dish; it adds a nice caramelized crunch to the edge.

This recipe is extremely flexible, based on the multiple variations I saw when I did a super-quick Google search.  Check below the recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free variations.

Cranberry Orange Clafoutis
Barely adapted from BowlLicking, who adapted it from Martha Stewart

Yield: 4 small servings


  • 1/4 tablespoon unsalted butter (or nondairy alternative), melted, for ramekins
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon+ granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten free alternative)
  • heaping 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch ground ginger (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3/8 cup) heavy cream (or non-dairy cream alternative)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3/8 cup) whole milk (or non-dairy alternative)
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange oil (or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest)
  • 3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • Powdered sugar, to dust


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Brush melted butter all over the bottom and sides of 4 small ramekins; sprinkle 1 tablespoon (or more as needed) sugar all over.

Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, flour, salt, and ground ginger (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together egg, cream, milk and oil (or extract or zest) in a small mixing bowl. In two additions, whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Scatter cranberries evenly on top. Bake on top of a baking sheet (to catch any overflow) for 15-20 minutes, until puffed, barely set in the center, and light brown around the edges. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so. As you can tell from the pictures above, the mixture will rise pretty high while cooking and then fall while cooling.

Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Options

Gluten-free:  Use an appropriate flour substitute such as pre-made GF flour or a nut flour.

Dairy-free:   Use whatever non-dairy milk you prefer to replace the milk.  To keep with the richness in this particular recipe, I would substitute the cream with the separated coconut milk from the can (the white-stuff on top after it separates).  Finally, you can use a non-flavored oil or non-dairy, soy-free butter substitute in place of the butter to coat the ramekins (like this Organic Coconut Spread that I talked about in my last post on Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins).

Monday, February 13

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

It's been a little while since I've posted over here. But what's over a year break to you and I? We're just (hopefully) gonna pick right up and keep going like nothing ever happened.

I will, however, give y'all a brief update on how things have been with us. I recently started another blog. It's a dessert blog with a focus on ice cream. Go check it out over at Scoops of Sunshine.  Tara has been focusing on her jewelry business, Flipside Creations, and has recently started a part time job as a tour guide down in Miami.  Tara has wanted to be a tour guide for ever and it totally suits her.  Unfortunately, she has to be in the sun for over 9 hours a day and she only gets quick snack breaks throughout the day, so she has been having some problems with her AIP.

We've been a little lax about our food choices and eating right, especially for Tara and her Porphyria.  For example, Tara has been eating things like Pop Tarts, chips, and cookies for her snacks for work.  She rarely eats a "real" breakfast, choosing to normally drink a glass of rice milk and maybe grab a banana for the road.  So, I've taken it upon myself to start making better treats for her.

These cranberry pumpkin muffins are perfect snacks because they're portable, quick to eat, and don't need refrigeration. 

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 1997

Makes about 16 muffins

I made a few changes to the original recipe, mostly based on what I had on hand, but also personal preference.  See the notes below for my verdict and possible substitutions.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed if possible
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped (halved or quartered) cranberries (dried is OK, just make sure they're sulfur free)
  • butter or oil to grease the pan
  • Optional topping: 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Other optional ingredients: ground ginger, crystallized ginger, orange zest or extract/oil


Preheat oven to 350.  Grease muffin cups or line with liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, OJ, and butter.  Add the orange zest or extract/oil, if using.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir a few times, until most of the powder is mixed.  (Don't worry, we'll get it all in there.)  Fold in your cranberries and crystallized ginger, if using. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Fill to the top for nice, domed muffins.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds, if using.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a few muffins comes out clean.  Make sure to check about halfway through to see if you need to rotate the pan(s) around.  Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Verdict and notes

I liked the bread well enough, but I would definitely make some changes if I were to make it again.  The flavor was a little flat and I think some ginger would improve the taste dramatically.  Also, I bet throwing in some crystallized ginger would be awesome.  I'm not normally a fan, but it would amp up the complexity a bit.  Finally, I think a little (not too much) orange extract or oil would have been good.  If you're squeezing the orange juice from an orange, zest the orange and throw zest in the batter with the liquids.

As for substitutions, quick breads are usually very forgiving, so don't fear:
(1) Feel free to use any squash or sweet potatoes in place of the pumpkin.
(2) We use whole eggs in the house, but the original recipe used an egg substitute.  Also, I bet egg whites would work, too.  1 egg equals 1/4 cup of substitute. 
(3) I'm a firm believer in butter is better, but I think coconut oil would have been really tasty.  Also, Earth Balance makes an Organic Coconut Spread (flash site) that is vegan and is soy free.  It does, however, have canola oil in it.  The coconut flavor is mild and only initially noticeable.
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