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Tag Archive: nut-free

Homemade Tandoori Chicken (gluten-free, paleo)

June 6, 2013 Print this page

When I was younger, I used to be a REALLY picky eater. If I had my way, I’d eat Kraft macaroni and cheese every day for the rest of my life. Sure, I ate my fair share of apple slices and grape tomatoes, but for the most part, I was fairly limited in what I wanted to eat.

Around the time I was 10 or so, a switch went off. I still loved my Goldfish and pizza, but began becoming more adventurous towards more exotic cuisines and ingredients. One thing I fell in love with was Indian food.

My family lives within a half an hour of several excellent Indian restaurants, where spicy, comforting dishes were boundlessly served up. With a mango lassi in one hand and a huge chunk of naan in the other, I happily dug in to new flavors.

To this day, my favorite dish is by far Chicken Tikka Masala, and really, it was because of the sauce. When you put tomatoes and spices with a rich, creamy base, how can you go wrong?

Today, I’ve created a more health-friendly version using Aarti Sequeira’s recipe as inspiration. This recipe is not dairy free, for I feel the marinade really needs the yogurt’s acidic tang. I’d use a plant or nut-based yogurt, but unfortunately, most ones with a coconut or almond base are loaded with sugar and other additives. Once in a while, some good-quality dairy (especially if it’s fermented) is fine by me.


There are two ways to make the marinade. The first is to make your own spice blend; the second is to purchase a pre-made one. Making your own is more complicated, but yields a more complex flavor; buying a spice blend is easier, but may not produce the desired result. It’s up to you what you want to do.

Toast the seeds of 2 pods of green cardamom and 1 pod of black cardamom, 3 cloves, and 2 guajillo chilies (I got mine at Penzey’s) in a small skillet over medium heat. Once you start to smell the spices (about 3-4 minutes later), pour everything into a spice or coffee grinder and blend to a fine powder.

Add the spice mixture to a medium-sized bowl with 1 1/2 cups of yogurt (I used Green Valley Organics), the juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR liquefied coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric, and a pinch of paprika. Stir well to combine.

imageIf making a spice mixture seems too daunting to you, you can always buy a pre-made Tandoori spice. (I know Penzey’s has one.) Simply substitute 3 heaping tablespoons for the dry spices I used in this recipe. Make sure you still add the lemon juice and oil!

Lay out 2-3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a dish and, with a fork, stab each piece like it’s Caesar. (Et tu, Brute?) I learned this trick from Aarti—it will allow the marinade to really seep itself into the meat. The more stabs, the better. (Don’t just be Brutus, be Cassius! Be Casca! Be…OK, enough with the Julius Caesar references.)

Pour the marinade all over the chicken and make sure each piece is sufficiently smothered. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and preferably 8-24.

When your tummy starts to grumble, turn on your broiler to low and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack atop it and lightly grease with some coconut oil.

Take the chicken out of the marinade and spread it out on the wire rack. Don’t toss the marinade! You’ll need it later to make the sauce.

Broil the chicken on an oven rack about 4-6 inches away from the heat source. Cook on one side until beginning to char, about 15 minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side for an additional 10-15 minutes, depending on how hungry you are and how crispy you like it.

While the chicken turns into magical tasty goodness, make the sauce. Pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan with 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of honey OR maple syrup OR raw coconut nectar, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low to thicken. 

Serve the chicken with the sauce on top and your favorite vegetable on the side. I usually make this with cauliflower florets, which I toss in about a teaspoon or two each of paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil or ghee. I then roast them at 450 until soft and golden brown, about 30 minutes total.

What’s your favorite Indian dish? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!

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Chocolate Mousse Pie (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo)

June 2, 2013 Print this page

What’s high in healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and E?


Chocolate mousse pie, duh!

Unlike traditional mousses, this one is made with…you guessed it…AVOCADO. That’s right: A-V-O-C-A-D-O AVOCADO. And trust me…you’d never know it was there.

The first time I encountered this magical combination was in Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. I immediately thought, “COOL!”, then realized, “Wait…what?!” Avocados and chocolate seemed pretty out there. But, after seeing that even Giada de Laurentiis attempted such a dessert, I decided I had to give it a try.

To ZipList this recipe, click here.

I actually think I like it better than traditional chocolate mousse…especially with this delicious crust.


A few hours before you want to bake the crust, soak 5 or 6 small dates in about 1/2 cup of water to soften them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a spring-form pan with coconut oil.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together 1 cup of almond flour (blanched or unblanched, it doesn’t matter), 1/2 cup of almond slivers, 2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of melted refined coconut oil, the dates, and a pinch of salt until no clumps remain, about 2 minutes. Scoop everything out, form it into a ball, and press it to the bottom of the spring-form pan, using your hands to flatten it and spread it to the corners. 

Bake until fragrant and beginning to darken in color, about 17 minutes.


Let the crust chill in the freezer while you make the chocolate mousse. It shouldn’t take very long; but don’t exceed more than 30 minutes in the freezer. DO NOT TAKE THE CRUST OUT OF THE PAN.

In a small saucepan or in the microwave with 30 second intervals, melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate. (I used Alter Eco’s Dark Blackout, which is 85% cacao.) 


In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process 4 VERY ripe avocados until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. If you use unripe fruit, you’ll get a chunky, tough mess. Bleh.

By the way, avocados are one of the few types of produce that you can buy organic OR conventional. The tough outer peel protects the inner flesh from pesticides and sprays, so feel free to get whatever’s ripest.

To the blended avocados, add 1/2 cup of good-quality cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup, a few drops of stevia (if you want it sweeter), 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and the melted chocolate. Blend until no green remains in the bowl, about 4 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut milk if it’s too thick for your taste.


Now, aside from the residue around the edges, could you tell there were avocados in here? Nope.

Take the crust out of the freezer and pour the mousse on top of it. Smooth it evenly on top of the crust with a spatula, and let sit in the fridge until set, at least 2 hours and preferably 4 or 5.


When you’re ready to eat, take the mousse pie out of the fridge and carefully separate the pan’s bottom from the sides. Transfer to a cutting board, slice, and serve. 


Any dessert you’d like me to re-create? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!

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Mango Cupcakes (gluten-free, Paleo, dairy-free option, nut-free option)

May 28, 2013 Print this page


To ZipList this recipe, click here.

It’s Memorial Day, which to me means the start of summer. School is ALMOST over, the weather is should be getting nicer, it’s light out later…what’s not to love? 

If you’ve got a barbecue to attend in the upcoming weeks, try these cupcakes. They’re light, summery, and very friendly to gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, and nut-free diets! 

A special thanks to Tammy Credicott from The Healthy Gluten-Free Life for recipe inspiration!

To bake the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 10 parchment muffin liners. (I know, 10 is an awkward number in baking, but I’m not perfect.)


First, separate 4 egg yolks and whites. This is best done when the eggs are cold. Put the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and the yolks  in the bowl of a food processor. 

Beat the egg whites on medium-high (for me, about setting 8) until smooth but NOT stuff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In the food processor, blend the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar OR raw honey, 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of whole milk, nut milk, or coconut milk until well-combined, about 2 minutes. (If using coconut milk, increase the vanilla extract to 1 1/2 tablespoons.)

Slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of refined coconut oil and keep going for about a minute more.

To the wet ingredients, add 10 ounces of defrosted mango chunks. Blend until completely smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Your finished product should be golden yellow and the consistency of a thin pancake batter.


Fold the mixture in the food processor into the egg whites with a spatula. Make sure there are no clumps! 

Once the wet ingredients are well-folded, sift in 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a good pinch of salt. Gently stir with the spatula until homogeneous. 

Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups, smoothing the tops with the back of a spatula if necessary.


Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and the cupcakes are firm to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to come to room temperature.


While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer on low (for me, about 2), beat together 1/2 cup of organic, non-hydrogenated palm shortening, 1/3 cup of raw coconut nectar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons of coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and a pinch of salt. Slowly drizzle in 1 heaping tablespoon of melted refined coconut oil and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Here comes the cool part: with a spatula, gently fold in 2 ounces of freeze-dried mango, pulverized. This technique is awesome for creating fruit frostings: try it with strawberries, raspberries, or even pineapples!

Scoop the frosting into a large plastic bag and push to one corner. Twist up the end of the bag you’re not using to create a pastry-like bag.

Let the frosting chill in the fridge until ready to use. Before piping, let it sit out on the counter for 15 minutes.

Top each cupcake with about 2 tablespoons of frosting and a slice of kiwi, then serve!


What are you cooking up these days? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!

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My Fifteenth Birthday! (And chocolate mini muffins…)

May 24, 2013 Print this page


A year ago, I probably would have said ew at holding a 30 pound pig leg.  I would have never imagined that I would look the way I do…or spend every possible moment cooking up a storm. 

Well, here I am. You really never know. 

When I started my journey, I really didn’t think I could do it. I was clueless. I was frustrated. I was plain and outright SCARED. But I did do it, and I’m so glad I tried and didn’t give up.

So, whether you’re 15 or 50, just know that if I can do it, so can YOU. You have power over your body. You don’t need chips and candy to make your life complete. All you need is a little determination, and you can accomplish it.

Now, onto the real reason why you’re here: the chocolate mini muffins.


If you’re one of those people that will eat an entire pan of brownies as soon as they exit the oven, these are for you. With your chocolaty dessert pre-portioned beforehand, you’ll be much less likely to go overboard while still enjoying yourself. Yum.

And—bonus—these little guys are very allergy-friendly: they’re both gluten-free and nut-free, and can easily be made dairy-free. How awesome is that?

A special thanks to Tammy Credicott of The Healthy Gluten-Free Life for recipe inspiration!

First, preheat the oven to…you guessed it…350 degrees. Line a mini muffin pan with liners and grease a bit if necessary.


In a small bowl, sift together 1/3 cup of raw cacao powder, 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a good pinch of salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

On medium speed, beat together 4 eggs, 1/3 cup of raw honey OR maple syrup, 1/4 cup of melted refined coconut oil, and 1/4 cup of full-fat or low-fat yogurt. (I used Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free yogurt, which both my mom and I adore.) Don’t do dairy? Substitute 1/4 cup of coconut milk and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract instead.

Meanwhile, melt about 3 ounces of chocolate in a saucepan or in the microwave in 30-second intervals. (I used Alter Eco Blackout, my favorite dark chocolate bar.) Pour gently into the rest of the wet ingredients and mix for 1 to 2 minutes more.


Next, add the dry ingredients in two batches to the wet ingredients. Mix on medium until well-incorporated, about 2 minutes longer. With a spatula, fold in 1/4-1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips.


Using two large spoons, fill up each mini muffin liner with a generous glob of batter.


Bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center and the tops are beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.


Let cool in the pan for at least five minutes (restrain yourself!), then eat alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What’s your favorite birthday treat? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!

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