Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Pudding

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I love this recipe for chocolate pudding. I like that it is dairy-free and lacking all the preservatives and colorings that you find in boxed pudding, but it is also gluten-free which is just a bonus for some people. With a couple family members that cannot eat dairy or gluten, I’m trying to learn as many good recipes as I can so they don’t starve when they come over! Also, if you use Stevia instead of sugar, it is sugar-free, too. Woah. Despite all the “frees”, it really is delicious.

I first saw this recipe on A Beautiful Mess, but I had to play around with it to get it exactly how I (and my kids) like it, which is a little sweeter. Here’s what I came up with.

Simple ingredients:

1 ripe avacado
1/2 cup almond milk (I like vanilla but you can use unsweetened or even chocolate)
1/4 cup stevia or sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen mixed berries

This is a great opportunity to add some chia seeds for added nutrients since they will blend right in and won’t affect the taste.

Since everyone’s tastes are a little different, you kind of have to play around a little bit to get it how you like it. For example, I love the taste of banana in anything. If you don’t, just omit the banana and use another fruit. The fruit will add extra sweetness and thickness which is important because unsweetened carob can be a little bitter. Don’t go heavy on the carob.

Peel and pit your avocado and place into a food processor (or blender). Add in the carob powder, vanilla, milk, sweetener, and frozen fruit. Blend until smooth. You may need to add a little extra milk or fruit in order to get the consistency you like.

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Place in your desired cups and put in fridge to chill.

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Serve chilled.

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Just a little hint. If you’re serving this to your family, call it pudding to your kids but when you serve your husband, call it a chocolate mousse. You’ll get a better reaction 🙂

 

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Fresh Mango Salsa

If you are looking for a dish to bring to a cookout this Memorial Day or just a fresh, healthy (and low calorie) treat, this mango spring salsa is amazing!

Fresh Mango Salsa

I actually found the recipe in a mailing from Kroger. It looked so good, I had to try it.

And since it was so good, I had to share it.

What you will need:

Fresh Mango Salsa

1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup (each) green and yellow peppers, diced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup corn (canned or fresh)
1/2 up canned black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tsp. jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red onion, chopped
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1 1/2 tsp, sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

This salsa is great with chips.

Fresh Mango Salsa

But I also spread it over a chicken breast and it was wonderful.

Fresh Mango Salsa

This would also be great with pita chips or over fish. It has the most refreshing taste and is perfect for the upcoming spring and summer.

I actually had two batches going because I wanted to experiment with a couple different ingredients.

All I can say is this recipe is perfect just as it is!

Enjoy!

 

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Homemade Flavored Greek Yogurt

More and more people are switching to Greek yogurt, and rightfully so. It has double the protein and half the carbs as regular yogurt. And depending on which variety of regular yogurt you normally get, Greek yogurt will have less sugar and sodium.

It has a thicker consistency so it can be used as a replacement for sour cream or other high fat ingredients in cooking. Eaten alone, though, it can be a little bitter and tangy for some people’s tastes, which is why I wanted to share the following versions.

This post is inspired by a dessert recipe that I recently tried. The dessert was a flop. But as with anything in life, it’s not a failure if you learn something from it.

What I learned was a low calorie, natural way to sweeten plain Greek Yogurt.

I ended up experimenting and came up with three different varieties.

The first is my favorite. It’s a honey-lemon version.

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I just blended about 1 Tablespoon of honey into a cup of yogurt. Then I grated lemon rind into it (about 1/2 teaspoon).

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Refrigerate for an hour before eating (nothing scientific here, but I found it seems to let the rind soften and the flavor settle a bit) and you have the most refreshing, lemony yogurt! It goes great with fresh fruit.

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The second one is a cinnamon-maple syrup version.

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Simply blend about 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup into a cup of yogurt and sprinkle your cinnamon in (about 1/2 teaspoon). Delicious! This one goes well with a cinnamon bagel.

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The third is a Vanilla-Nutmeg Yogurt.

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I blended about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract into a cup of yogurt and then sprinkled in the Nutmeg (just  a few dashes). This was has a warmer flavor and can be scooped up with graham crackers. No spoon needed!

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This is just the start of the different flavors you can create. I love that you can change it up without a bunch of sugar or additives.

Enjoy!

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6 Best Uses for Vinegar in the Kitchen

If you’ve never heard yourself say, “Vinegar is so amazing!” then please keep reading. There are so many reasons why I love vinegar (and hundred of uses for it) , but today I’m just going to share my top 6 uses for white vinegar in your kitchen. For about twenty cents, you can make a bottle of vinegar water that you can use for dozens of purposes.

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I usually do a 50/50 ratio of white vinegar and water in my spray bottle. That is strong enough to be effective, but diluted enough to not damage surfaces.

My husband was a little doubtful that vinegar would clean as well as a store-bought, chemical cleaner so I did a little research to assure him that his house really was clean.

I know people love their clorox, but vinegar has strong antibacterial properties and one test by Good Housekeeping’s microbiologist found that 5% vinegar is 90% effective against mold and 99.9% effective against bacteria. Because it is acidic, it can dissolve mineral deposits from glass and other smooth services.

The main reason it is so awesome is because it is all natural, so if you have kids or pets, you don’t have to worry about anyone ingesting chemicals. Also, if you’re pregnant (or even if you’re not), you are not inhaling any fumes while you clean.

Let’s travel around my kitchen and I’ll share the top 6 uses for your vinegar/water mixture.

1) Mirrors and Windows

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Amazing streak-free results every time. And when the kids fog up the mirror by pressing their mouths against the glass, you can relax. No chemicals.

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2) Cleaning the inside of the Refrigerator

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I really can’t image using anything else inside the fridge. It is filled with food. Plus, when you shut the door, you’ve trapped any leftover fumes from a chemical cleaner.

3) Outside of the refrigerator

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Vinegar/water mixture is wonderful on stainless steel, so you can use it on all of your appliances.

4) Clean Stovetop Surfaces

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Spray and wipe the surface for everyday cleaning. For stubborn stains or caked-on residue, spray and leave for 15 minutes. You can also soak your grates in the mixture.

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Our oven repairman told us to soak the metal piece on a gas stove (i’m sure it has a name) in vinegar overnight. This will remove any grease buildup in the hole where the pilot light lights.

5) Disinfect your garbage disposal and drains.

Vinegar-homemade cleaner

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Run garbage disposal and rinse well so that it is food-free. Then pour 1/2 cup or so of baking soda into your garbage disposal and then pour 1-2 cups of straight vinegar (not your mixture) down the drain. It will begin to fizz. Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse with hot water for a few minutes.

7) Clean fruits and veggies

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Buying organic fruits and veggies can get expensive. A great alternative is to clean fruits and veggies with this mixture. It can remove most of the harmful residues that remain on our food. Simply spray the item well and rub under water giving the fruit or veggie a good massage.

Some bonus uses: To clean the inside of your dishwasher, place a cup of vinegar (in a dishwasher safe cup) in the top rack of an empty dishwasher and run a hot cycle. To clean the inside workings of your coffee maker, pour 2 cups of your vinegar and water mixture into the machine and run a cycle. Follow with 1-2 cycles of plain water to rinse.

Caveats: Vinegar is acidic, so do not use it on any wood surfaces like kitchen tables or wood floors. If used regularly, it will damage the wood. I promise and can show you proof 🙂

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Healthy Ice Cream (non-dairy)

If you are avoiding dairy or just looking for a healthier version of ice cream, you will love this recipe.

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It is so easy and tastes amazing. Plus, it has no dairy, added sugar, or weird ingredients.

All you need are:
2 (frozen) bananas
1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons almond milk.

For a low-fat version, just omit the almond butter.

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First you will want to slice up some bananas and put them into a freezer bag.

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Be sure to separate the pieces so they freeze flat. Otherwise you can get a big clump of banana slices when they all freeze together.

This is a nice way to save a bunch of bananas that aren’t going to make it much longer.

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Slice them up and freeze them so you have them ready when you get a sweet craving. You can freeze them in single serving bags to make it easier. I usually do two bananas per bag.

When you are ready, pour a bag of your frozen bananas, carob powder, almond butter and almond milk into a food processor.

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Blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and you are done. If you want more of a milkshake consistency, just add more almond milk.

I love this treat because kids think they are getting a sweet dessert but it’s actually all good stuff!

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You can also do this with frozen strawberries for a version of strawberry ice cream. I’d love to hear your variations on this. I’m sure there are a ton!

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