Thursday, July 16, 2015

Super Simple Summer Sangria

This recipe is so easy, and so yummy, you really can't lose. You just need to prep the wine with the fruit the night before you plan on serving for best flavor distribution. Then just add in the last couple of elements when it's time to party and you're all set! Careful though, it's so full of flavor and light, you may forget it has a nice kick to it as well. As always, drink responsibly and preferably with people who make you smile.


2 small lemons
2 clementines
1 cup blue berries
1/2 cup red cherries
1 cup strawberries
2 shots/ jiggers of Limoncello
2 shots/jiggers of Triple Sec
1 bottle of Riesling wine
4 cans Seagram's ginger ale

You will also need a very large pitcher, a cutting board, a sharp knife, large spoon, medium bowl, extra lemon or clementine for garnish purposes if you so choose. Make sure all your fruit is thoroughly washed, too.

First, quarter your lemons length wise then chop across to create wedges, but keep the peel on. Toss into the bottom of your serving pitcher.

Next, peel your clementines and divide into sections and then cut the sections into wedge slices. Again, put these into your pitcher.

Gently muddle your blueberries in the medium bowl with a large spoon but don't completely crush them. You want to just break the skin to allow the juices out into the wine mix. Toss into the pitcher.

Cut your cherries in half, and remove the pits, then cut each half into halves and into the pitcher they go.

Chop your strawberries into bite size pieces. Depending on the size you have will affect how you will need to chop these up. Really there is no wrong way, you just don't want the pieces to be awkward and big. Add to the pitcher.

Now, pour entire bottle of wine into pitcher and mix together with the fruit using your spoon. Cover and store in your fridge overnight.

Before serving, add in the Seagram's and the shots of liquor to your mix and make sure that when you pour you let some of the fruit fall into the glass. For fun you can add a slice of lemon of clementine to the rim of your glass.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Avocado Ranch Veggie Dip, Made Dairy Free

You know what I miss, and I mean really miss, that creamy, flavorful dip called Ranch dressing. In my pre-no-dairy-for-you days, I loved going to parties or barbecues and savoring the tang of the sour cream and bite of dill. Granted, I have experimented a few times with trying to make it with substitutions but never really getting the result I hoped for, especially since I discovered the ready made packets of seasoning can sometimes have a kick of dairy, depending on the brand you buy. ::sigh::

The other day, I wandered around the internet looking for "make your own seasoning blends" as meat rubs, but managed to stumble upon a really basic Ranch seasoning blend from To get the recipe for just the Ranch seasoning, go here. After reading through the recipe, I began to mull over the possibility for trying my hand, again, at a Ranch vegetable dip, especially since the 4th of July was at the end of the week.

Wouldn't you know, it was while I was grocery shopping with two ramped up little boys, high from the latest kitten encounter, that the light bulb moment hit. Avocado. Yep, simple and green, and a great healthy fat item I could actually tolerate, just like my beloved coconut milk. So you can bet I grabbed a few, especially since there happened to be a lovely sale on them, and home they came with me.

I knew that the avocados would definitely make a great base to this recipe but to lighten it up, both in color and texture, I added in some coconut milk to make it less like a guacamole and more like a traditional dip. And to avoid that persnickety issue of the avocado getting that browning issue, I added in a healthy dose of fresh lemon juice. Bonus, the lemon juice brought in the classic tangy aspect the sour cream would normally add in the traditional recipe. And if you want this as more of a dressing, just switch over to a lite coconut milk but slowly add to the avocados so as not to over-thin the mix.

The fact that it tasted so good right after making it, really made me thrilled because I knew it would only get better once things had a chance to really marry and blend together. Altogether, it took less than 10 minutes to make, too. Not shabby, at all.

Dairy Free Avocado Ranch Veggie Dip


2 very ripe avocados
1/2 can of chilled Golden Star Coconut Milk (not Lite)
1 medium lemon, freshly juice
1tbsp dried parsley
1tbsp dried dill
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
Spring of fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

You will also need a stick blender (or food processor if without one), a medium size bowl, spatula, and air tight container.


1. Cut both avocados in half, remove pit and spoon meat into the bowl. Then add in lemon juice and blend smooth with stick blender.

2. Add in coconut milk and continue to blend with stick blender until a smooth and airy consistency is reached.

3. Add in all dry ingredients and then fold together using spatula.

4. If not serving immediately, make sure to store in an air tight container. The lemon juice does help the avocado from browning, but you will need to stir a few times before serving when ready.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

S'mores Pudding Made Dairy Free!

Pudding...yummy rich, sweet and delicious...pudding. You can bet that was another recipe to work on for the summer. While ice cream is great, sometimes you don't really want that full throttle frozen treat but still something cold and creamy. Now, being dairy intolerant, it's not so easy to get a good pudding, especially one with those fantastic homemade aspects to it. 

Once again, I broke out my go to canned coconut milks and clear gelatin and decided that my inherited jam jars were a must for means of presentation. Surprisingly the first round of experimenting worked. I loved everything about the way this turned out and I went with more of a dark chocolate flavor. However, there is an adjustment option in the recipe should you want more of a classic milk chocolate flavor to yours. 

So here you go! Get ready to feel like a kid again with this great combination of graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow, but on the cooler side ;) 

1 sleeve crushed graham crackers
1 can Golden Star full fat coconut milk
1 can Thai Kitchen Lite coconut milk
2 packets Knox clear gelatin
1/8-1/4 cup Hershey's coco powder
3/4 cup powder sugar (to be divided later in recipe)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

You will also need two medium glass bowls (or other microwave safe bowls), a hand mixer, a sifter, whisk, and a ladle. And don't forget 10 small canning jars or similar sized containers.


1. Evenly divide the Lite coconut milk between the two bowls. Then sprinkle one packet of gelatin over the milk in one bowl and allow it to bloom. Give it about 5-10 minutes to be sure as much liquid as possible is absorbed. (Don't just dump the packet into the milk. It will seize up and be an obnoxious glob and totally worthless. Best to be careful and slow if you are new to blooming gelatin)

2. While gelatin blooms, take the crushed graham crackers and sprinkle into each jar filling a little less than 1/3 way up.

3. Once gelatin blooms in first bowl, carefully move to the microwave and slowly heat it up at 15 sec increments until gelatin starts to melt and liquid becomes warm. You don't want it absolutely boiling hot. Warm is key in order to melt it but not destroy the gelatin. You know the gelatin is ready when the liquid feels smooth and not grainy to the touch. You may find you'll have to remove a couple of stray gelatin clumps, esp if you are new to this method.

4. To the first bowl add in the vanilla and 1/4 cup of sifted powder sugar to the mix. Use the whisk to combine.  Then add in half the can of the Golden Star coconut milk and use the hand mixer to blend together until nice and smooth.

5. Ladle the vanilla mixture into the containers with the graham crackers, filling halfway, and then move them into the refrigerator to get them to start setting up.

6. Start the blooming process for the  next bowl of milk. This should also give you enough time for the vanilla mixture to be firm enough to use for the next steps.

7. Repeat the directions for 3 with the second bowl of milk.
8. When milk is ready add in a sifted 1/4 cup of the Hershey powder for a more dark chocolate flavor or just 1/8 cup for a more milk chocolate flavor along with 1/2 cup sifted powder sugar. Again, whisk together until well combined, then add in the remaining half of the Golden Star coconut milk. Use the hand mixer to blend evenly together.

9. Take jars out of fridge and sprinkle more graham cracker crumbs on top of the set vanilla mixture. Then fill jars to the top with the chocolate mixture. Place jars back into fridge and allow to set completely before serving.


To serve you can add a big marshmallow, or sprinkle mini ones onto the top for fun, or a bit of whipped cream for those who can have dairy, or a non dairy whipped cream like product to keep this dairy free. (I like to use my own whipped coconut milk version which you can find by going here and scrolling down to the bottom for that recipe.)