Creamy Winter House Salad Dressing

This dairy-free salad dressing will help you enjoy dark greens all year long! The secret to it's wonderful taste? Two special ingredients.

This creamy dairy-free dressing has rich undertones from surprising ingredients that make it perfect for dressing salads during the cold winter months.

Lately I’ve been craving big green salads and I’ve been almost obsessed with making this dressing to go over it!

The backstory to this dressing was a beautiful bottle of salad dressing my in-laws gave me from a restaurant up in Canada. My husband and I liked it so much that we were very sad when the bottle was used up. I wanted to create something similar in taste, but their dressing had a long list of ingredients, so I wanted something simpler to make at home. I honed it on two of the ingredients – tahini paste (ground sesame seeds) and tamari (gluten-free soy sauce). It sounds like such a strange addition to salad dressing, and a strange combination too, but it works so well!

When combined with olive oil and vinegar, the tahini adds depth of flavor, richness, and creaminess to the dressing. The tamari adds a more complex saltiness than just salt alone, and a deep satisfying flavor.

These two ingredients appear to be the secret to dressing we enjoyed from Canada, as it does taste very similar, despite being so much simpler.

A word on ingredients:

  • This is a good Organic Tamari brand.
  • Don’t use toasted tahini paste. I’ve been using a wonderful organic tahini paste from Trader Jo’s. This Organic Sesame Paste  looks similar. In the past, some tahini brands have been hard to deal with because the paste had gotten very hard, making it difficult to work with, but this brand and Trader Jo’s shouldn’t be a problem.
  • I prefer raw apple cider vinegar. If you need a substitute, I’d try fresh lemon juice.

I make this in a wide mouth mason jar with a wide mouth plastic mason jar lid (nonreactive lid).

For another dairy-free yet creamy salad dressing, see this other favorite salad dressing that pairs balsamic vinegar and coconut milk. Also, check out my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons for practical, beautiful salads.

This dairy-free salad dressing will help you enjoy dark greens all year long! The secret to it's wonderful taste? Two special ingredients.

Creamy Winter House Dressing

PDF file to print recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, if not gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup of raw apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: 

In a quart-sized mason jar (or container of choice), use a fork to combine the tahini paste and tamari, until smooth. Add the vinegar, and stir until smooth. Add the olive oil and stir again until combined. Put on the lid to the jar, tightly, and then shake to completely combine.

Serve right away, or keep refrigerated. Let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, and then shake to recombine ingredients, if refrigerated. (I keep my dressing in the door so that it won’t harden quite as much as when I put it in the back of my fridge).

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Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa Mix (Dairy-free)

instant-raspberry-hot-cocoa

By Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity

Rich cocoa mingling with creamy coconut and tangy raspberries.

Cold winter days were made for hot cocoa. It’s the time of year that is perfect for warming yourself by the fire and wrapping your hands around a steaming mug of cocoa.

You love hot cocoa, you savor the simple art of heating the milk on your stove in your favourite stainless steel pot and mixing your cocoa and sweetener together and whisking it into the milk.

But some days, you just can’t. You may be having a busy day. Or maybe you are just.too.tired.

Instant cocoa mixes from the store are tempting for those days when you aren’t going to be able to make a cup from scratch. Unfortunately, the ingredients are generally not nourishing. If you need it to be dairy-free, you are going to be hard pressed to find one.

Did you know that you can make your own dairy-free mix in 5 minutes?

Coconut milk powder is my go to for making instant hot cocoa. It is dairy-free and full of nutrients.

A basic mix is always nice to have on hand but sometimes you want something a little different. Raspberry and chocolate have long been a favourite combination of mine, second only to peppermint. I have enjoyed many cups of raspberry Earl Grey hot cocoa over the years.

This instant raspberry hot cocoa mix only has five ingredients, coconut milk powder, cocoa powder, unrefined sugar, freeze dried raspberries, and unrefined salt. It is perfect for those days when you need an easy to prepare cup of hot cocoa! If you prefer you can use powdered cow or goat milk.

Ingredients Needed:

Instant raspberry hot cocoa mix is also a perfect gift when paired with a cute mug!

Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa Mix

  • 2 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered cocoa (Fair trade and organic, preferred)
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/8 tsp unrefined salt

Directions:

1: Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for about one minute or until the raspberries are completely powdered.

2:  Sift the mix into a bowl using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to remove the raspberry seeds.

3: Store in a glass jar for up to a year.

Mix 1 to 3 TBS of cocoa mix with 8 ounces of hot water depending on the desired strength of the cocoa. Stir until smooth. Top with coconut milk whipped cream if desired.

Instant Raspberry Hot Cocoa
 
Serves: 3½ cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup powdered cocoa
  • ¾ cup unrefined sugar
  • ⅛ tsp unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for about one minute or until the raspberries are completely powdered.
  2. Sift the mix into a bowl using a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to remove the raspberry seeds.
  3. Store in a glass jar for up to a year.
  4. Mix 1 to 3 TBS of cocoa mix with 8 ounces of hot water depending on the desired strength of the cocoa. Stir until smooth. Top with coconut milk whipped cream if desired.

 

 

Easiest Gluten Free Cake from a Muffin Mix

This super easy and frugal gluten free cake got rave reviews! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

One of the things that made me first love being in the kitchen was baking. I love baking! Warm bread from the oven, juicy pies, sweet cakes, healthy muffins, pizza, bagels ¬– I love it all. I especially loved making baked good for my family and friends. I still have my love of baking, but I don’t always have the time or energy now to spend as much time baking as I’d like. In fact, as we have been in survival mode as I go through treatment for a chronic health issue, I’ve hardly been baking at all.

For us this last year, if we were in the kitchen it was making the most basic of basic things while we tried to figure out my health issues (things like super easy skillet dinners). Dinner was a priority. Making cookies weren’t.

However, when there was a special occasion (such as a birthday), I really needed to make sure I made something special for the girls. To them, it’s not a birthday unless we have cake. A couple of years ago they were horrified that I didn’t have a cake on my birthday. It was like having Christmas without a Christmas tree to them!

So while this addition to my series, The Low Energy Guide to Healthy Cooking, isn’t exactly centered on a healthy main dish, I think it’s important for those of us who need a relatively healthy option for gluten-free cake making for our family.

My youngest has a birthday coming up, and we had two fall birthdays, all during a time of ill health for me. I’ve never found baking to be tiring until recently when I’ve found most kitchen tasks to be tiresome and have had to keep things as simple as possible.

As I was scrambling to make the all important birthday cake, I figured out a method that kept sugar content lower and made things super easy and fast for me. Win-win!

My New “Secret” GF Cake Trick

You all know that I am a make-it-by-scratch all the time type person. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the girl’s birthdays coming up, I knew that having a homemade cake for them was really important to them. I was feeling extreme fatigue at that time, though, so I knew my usual soaked gluten-free cakes were not going to be an option. I also knew that all of the gluten-free cake mixes were extremely sweet – something we didn’t enjoy.

In a moment of inspiration, I found a gluten-free muffin mix that was more lightly sweetened and had good (not perfect, but good) ingredients in it. When I compared it to some of the gluten-free cake mixes, the muffin mix was only about half of the sugar content per serving!

We made it into a lemon cake for my ten-year-old’s birthday by simply adding lemon zest to the mix with homemade lemon frosting once it was baked. For my six-year-old, we added vanilla and sprinkles for a fun cake that she adored.

It wasn’t too sweet, they were super easy to make (even for me with my fatigue), and my girls felt loved and happy with their cakes. When I served this cake to guests at their birthday party, I was gratified to see that everyone liked the cake, and even a hard-to-please family member complimented me on the cake. Great news for a gluten-free cake made out of a muffin mix! With a frosting, the sweetness it just right for a birthday cake.

For their joint, Pokemon party, we did the same trick and made it into a Pokemon ball cake.

Tips for Success

This is the gluten free muffin mix we used.
Instead of using muffin tins, I just greased two cake pans. It took roughly the same amount of time to cook as the muffins on the package instructions. Since this will make thin layers, check for doneness a couple of minutes early. You can also make just one cake layer (just add more time to the cooking time).
I added lemon zest to both the cake and a simple frosting for the lemon cake (one lemon for each).
For the sprinkle cake, I added vanilla to the batter along with a generous amount of sprinkles. For the frosting, I used freeze dried raspberries and blended them into a powder in my blender. I added that to a simple butter frosting, and then lightly sprinkled with sprinkles.
For the Pokemon cake, I kept it a simple vanilla cake by adding 2 teaspoons of vanilla and then decorated with dark chocolate chips and red sprinkles on top of a plain butter frosting.
I was in survival mode, so I didn’t think of it in time, but you can order naturally dyed sprinkles! (Examples:This one or this one. )

Other ideas: Chocolate chip cake – add chocolate chips, Orange cake – use orange zest, Lemon Poppyseed: Zest of one lemon and 1 tablespoon of poppyseeds.

Two other bonuses? This is a very inexpensive cake to make. I thought about buying a cake from a gluten-free local bakery, but it would have been at least 6- 10 times the price. Plus, it’s so easy to put together even a beginner baker can easily make it (like one of your children!).

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“Busy Day” Asian Veggie Noodle Soup (Gluten & Grain-Free Options)

Busy Day Asian Veggie Noodle Soup - AnAppetiteForJoy.com

By Natalia Gill from An Appetite For Joy

This asian-inspired broth is rich, savory, and loaded with perfectly cooked veggies and gluten-free rice noodles (or grain-free kelp noodles). The best part? It comes together in a flash! And it’s high on nutrition, particularly if you have homemade broth on hand.

I typically use chicken broth I have in the freezer, made in one of two ways – either a budget-friendly bone broth or a time-saving gelatin rich drumstick broth.

I’ve always looked for ways to spend less time cooking without sacrificing nutrition. But now, simple cooking is a must since earlier in the summer, we got a big surprise that our family is expanding! I’m on a mission to get my meal rotation pared down to simple meals, many of them using the slow-cooker or prepped ahead in the freezer (Check out Kimi’s great list of gluten-free freezer meals!)

My favorite simple meal is chicken soup and all the quick variations that can be made with it – from enchilada to Thai red curry to this Asian veggie noodle. I notice that my kids eat this variation with more gusto than plain chicken noodle, so I make it often.

I omitted the chicken this time for a lighter, veggie-focused soup. But feel free to add a few boneless, skinless thighs in at the beginning of cooking. When they are done, take them out, shred them and add back into the soup.

ADDITIONAL SIMPLE MEALS ON MY ROTATION:

Busy Day Asian Veggie Noodle Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Asian-Inspired
Serves: Serves 6-8
 
This Asian inspired veggie noodle soup is so comforting and full of flavor, but requires very little time and effort! See the recipe notes for additional shortcuts or ways to further enhance it.
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces thin rice or 24 ounces kelp noodles (kelp noodles are hydrated in the package and weigh more), freshly prepared according to package instructions and set aside in individual serving bowls
  • 8 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cups snow peas (ends removed, halved)
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce (less if full sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring the broth to a simmer and add the diced carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the snow peas and tamari. Simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the broccoli florets and scallions. Simmer until the broccoli and carrots are fork tender but still have life in them.
  4. Stir in the sesame oil and, if using, fish sauce. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Add salt and pepper if needed.)
  5. Add the soup to the individual bowls you have set aside with the noodles. Enjoy!
Notes
When you have less time: Swap out the snow peas for frozen peas and put them in with the broccoli (step 3). Buy pre-chopped broccoli florets (Trader Joe's sells a bag of organic ones).

When you have more time: Add 2 cloves of crushed or minced garlic, a small knob of fresh peeled ginger (removed at the end), and/or 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro to the soup with the carrots (step 1).

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