Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vegan, Soy Free and Gluten Free Olive Garden Black Tie Recipe

Rich and Delicious Vegan, Soy Free and Gluten Free Olive Garden Black Tie Recipe!!

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Decadent, creamy and rich vegan version of Olive Garden's Black Tie!  This rich dessert features a thin dark chocolate brownie crust, topped with a thick creamy chocolate mousse, layered with a creamy vanilla custard and topped with homemade dairy free white chocolate swirled with dark chocolate.  The ultimate chocolate lovers dream dessert!

I created this recipe for a very wide audience, this olive garden black tie recipe is gluten free but can easily be made with whole wheat flour for those who do not need to be gluten free.  It is also soy free, I realize that most vegan cheesecake style recipes call for silken tofu and while I believe tofu is an excellent food, some people may have soy allergies and so I thought it would be best to make this dessert soy free as well.

 It is absolutely possible to make delicious vegan desserts without the use of tofu if desired. I did not make this soy free for those who believe soy is going to somehow magically turn them into a newt or somehow change their gender in the middle of the night without them knowing it!!  Check out the actual scientific research on soy before you go believing all the outrageous claims being made all over the internet.  Seriously a legume is somehow powerful enough to wreak havoc on your hormones, really?  However, estrogens secreted in cow's milk is a whole other story.........but we'll save that for another time.

Is this recipe Complicated?

Well, yes and no.  If you aren't used to cooking this recipe may seem very daunting.  It really isn't, yes, it does have a lot of steps but it flows really well and is actually not difficult.  Time consuming? Yeah, it is probably a more time consuming dessert if you are comparing it to whipping up some chocolate chip cookies or brownies. I would say this recipe probably takes a couple of hours with chilling time.

I don't mind making it but some may want to reserve this for special occasions.

This recipe contains oils.....I thought you said refined oils are not a healthful food?

Okay, you got me!  That is correct, refined oils are not health foods and really should be avoided or consumed VERY rarely. Refined oils are best avoided for those suffering from insulin resistance or diabetes.  However, this recipe was made as a special occasion treat such as a birthday or holiday.

Why did I create this recipe?

My husband is a die hard fan of the black tie at Olive garden and lately he has been talking about it relentlessly!  Well, Olive Garden is a celiac's or vegan's worst nightmare!  Olive Garden has yet to offer any gluten free options or vegan options on their menu.  Not only is their menu very unfriendly so is the staff and Olive Garden corporate has made it very clear they have little interest in offering options to gluten free, vegetarian or vegan we don't eat at Olive Garden!   I MUCH prefer going to Macaroni Grill or other Italian restaurants as they are very willing to accommodate any dietary preferences or food allergies!

The Old Spaghetti Factory now offers gluten free pasta and many vegetarian or vegan options!  I'm still surprised Olive Garden refuses to accommodate a variety of individuals but it's their loss I suppose.

My husband is a vegetarian but does consume dairy and eggs because he simply cannot resist desserts so of course if we did go to Olive Garden he would NOT go without his black tie but he has been a great sport in avoiding Olive Garden because all I could have is the WATER!!!  So I decided to take on the challenge of creating the famous Olive Garden Black Tie in a vegan version!  I have attempted this before with so-so results but this time it was an absolute success!!

Without Further Adieu.....Here is the Vegan, Gluten free, Soy free Olive Garden Black Tie Recipe.....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes with Raw Version and How to combat sugar cravings or night snacking

Gluten Free Raw Apple Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes with Coconut Cream

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Raw or Cooked buckwheat pancakes smothered in caramel flavored cinnamon apple sauce topped with a coconut cream.  A delicious warm breakfast fit for a Saturday morning after your morning workout or as a special Sunday treat.  The apple cinnamon sauce is so delectable it can be eaten alone or would make an excellent topping to some banana ice cream.

As I have gone over my recipes I realize that I make a lot of desserts and main dishes but I have neglected breakfast.   Generally I have a nice bowl of fruit topped with a sprinkling of buckwheat or a green smoothie in the morning so my personal breakfasts are quite boring and not really worthy of blogging about.   However, I have discovered something about having a 'light' breakfast in the morning and I feel like it is important to share what I have noticed happening to me.

How to Combat Sugar Cravings and Night Snacking!

Okay, confession time..... I have become a raging sugaraholic!  Most of my life I could eat one cookie and I would be completely satisfied, but lately I have been making simple desserts every single night and I can't get enough.  My biggest question.....Why?

I have been pretty good at tracking my calorie intake, diet journals and my weight because I teach nutrition classes and I like to give people examples of healthy ways to eat and lose weight, especially for those who are 'slow losers' like me!

Well, I noticed a trend in my eating habits and weight!  I started eating smaller and smaller breakfasts and lunches with less whole grains and legumes to 'save' calories.  I wasn't doing this on purpose it was kind of falling back into old habits I guess.

  1. DO NOT skimp on calories at breakfast or lunch to 'Save' them for dinner!                                 This does not work, your body needs X amount of calories every single day in order to function and if you skimp on breakfast and lunch your body will crave those calories at dinner and after dinner and you will end up feeling like you would eat everything in the kitchen including the paint of the walls!!     You  need a filling breakfast, it is called Break-Fast for a reason.  Your body has been fasting for 12 hours or so since dinner last night and it needs to refuel in the morning.  Despite some misguided nutrition guru's claims Protein does NOT give you energy!  I don't know where this comes from, you need a good hearty meal like oatmeal, quinoa, ezekiel cereal or another whole grain for breakfast.  Anyone who understands blood sugar realizes that we NEED blood sugar, without it YOU DIE!  I don't know what all this craze about blood sugar is about, we need it!  It is fuel for the cells..period.  Yes, fats can be converted into fuel but I'm not interested in second class fuel that produces metabolic waste in the process of conversion, I'm interested in optimal fuel for the body!  EAT a good breakfast!
What Does a healthy breakfast look like?

  • A green smoothie- These are great as long as you consume enough and you add enough fruit to provide adequate calories for your body type.  A 180 pound person obviously needs more than a 100 pound person...  It is also easy to overdo calories with smoothies because you can get a lot more pureed fruit to fit in your stomach than whole fruit so make sure you calculate this out the first few times so you know what you are getting.
  • Oatmeal- The breakfast of champions in my book!  Old fashioned oatmeal should be topped with berries, banana or other powerful antioxidant fruits for a well balanced breakfast.
  • Whole Grain Pancakes- I'm sure it is plainly obvious that refined flour is NOT a healthy option so whole grain pancakes whether gluten free or whole wheat is a great option paired with antioxidant rich fruits or berries. 
  • Quinoa- Cooked, topped with berries or other fruit and almond milk.
  • Cracked Wheat- topped with fruit and almond milk

My rule of thumb for breakfast is any whole grain paired with fruit and for the more athletic or those needing higher calories walnuts, pecans, flax, chia or other nuts or seeds are also a great choice.  

2.  Do NOT avoid Whole grains! I know this can be fairly common among a lot of people but whole grains are the body's best fuel source, they are converted into fuel for the body in a steady state and during the process of breaking down and utilizing complex carbohydrates the only waste produced is carbon dioxide and water, protein and fat are a completely different story here.

Whole grains actually contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber and all the nutrients the body needs They Are NOT just CARBS!!!

Why do I say they are not carbs?  Because they are not, they have protein AND fat as well as carbohydrates therefore they are not just a carb!  Sugar is a carbohydrate, whole grains are not!


1 cup Quinoa    


Quinoa is MORE than just 'carbs'

1 c. Oatmeal

Omega 3's....4%

1 c. Buckwheat

Omega 3's....12%

1 c. Brown Rice

Omega 3's......2%

If you are looking for a high protein breakfast that contains a balance of macronutrients buckwheat is the BEST you can get!!!

3. Do NOT skip meals-  Aside from skimping on calories skipping meals is also a big no no.  If you skip a meal you will struggle with cravings every single time.  Skipping meals is NOT a  successful weight loss strategy either.

If you eat balanced meals and snack if necessary you will find that the cravings will slowly decrease.  When I say 'Balanced' I mean eating to obtain all the macro and micro nutrients the body needs without over eating.

Lots of leafy green vegetables!!!
Whole grains
1/2- 1 oz. nuts or seeds
Lots of other starchy and non-starchy veggies

Avoid refined sugars, [yes, this includes honey, maple syrup, turbinado, agave etc...], avoid refined oils, flours or processed foods!

If you are craving sweets banana ice cream or a really yummy sweet green smoothie is a better option!
Okay...on to today's recipe....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vegan Mascarpone Blueberry French Toast Recipe

Delicious Vegan Mascarpone filled Blueberry French Toast Breakfast Recipe

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Thick homemade gluten free bread sliced and filled with rich, creamy vegan mascarpone cheese toasted on each side and topped with a homemade fresh blueberry sauce and more sweetened mascarpone cheese.  A delicious breakfast for a special occasion.  Maybe breakfast in bed on Mother's day, or a delicious start to a fun-filled birthday celebration or wedding anniversary, or maybe you just want to treat yourself to an amazing breakfast!

I created this delicious recipe for my family to enjoy as an amazing Easter breakfast.  The vegan mascarpone cheese recipe can be modified and used in savory dishes as well, it is very versatile.  If you have more time and want to make a more traditional type mascarpone cheese you can ferment the vegan mascarpone cheese.

We had quite a busy Easter weekend.  We attended a vegan Easter egg hunt and potluck held in a beautiful park.   We enjoyed tasting all of the different delicious foods people brought to the potluck.  It was a lot of fun to enjoy a whole meal filled with delicious plant-based foods.  After the luncheon the kids got to go out on a vegan easter egg hunt through the park and they both recieved buttons from the local vegan bakery for dillos...or better known as twinkies. 

Sunday was an amazing day and we enjoyed a delicious BBQ bean burgers, homemade fries, delicious berry salad with poppyseed dressing, grilled pineapple and of course my newest recipe creation......

Vegan Better than 'anything' cake!

Ooooo man was that rich and delicious!!! 

Rich chocolate cake

Topped with homemade caramel

Homemade  coconut whip cream

Shaved dark chocolate to finish it off......

You do NOT want to miss this amazing recipe!!  My mom raved over this recipe and she is an EXCELLENT cook with very discerning taste when it comes to desserts!  I just thought I would tease your taste buds before moving on to today's recipe.

Mascarpone Blueberry French Toast

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Moist Vegan & Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Accomplishing the Impossible....

Vegan & Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins!

If you would like to continue following my work please visit my new site:

I hope to see you there!

These blueberry muffins are the lightest, fluffiest muffins I have EVER tasted...gluten free or not!  They will stay moist sitting on the counter for up to two days!   If you love a light, moist, warm muffin in the morning this is definitely a recipe you are not going to want to miss!!

I know I have been MIA for awhile and my posts have been growing farther and farther apart.  I truly do enjoy creating delicious recpies but at the same time......I have a family to take care of.

I homeschool my kids and lately I have been spending more and more time helping them understand their school work.  Now, I know you are probaby thinking I am saying this with some level of 'I wish I didn't have to do that' but the reality is....I really do enjoy it!!

Spending  quality time with your children, learning together, laughing and enjoying a quick snack while learning pre-algebra brings a lot of joy!  Building strong family relationships and learning with your children is priceless!

So while I completely enjoy working on  my blog, editing pictures, creating recipes and responding to comments when it seems I am 'slacking' a bit it is because my little family must come first.

Okay.... on to todays' most amazing recipe!!!

I know, they've said it cannot be done, gluten free baking without way!


With a little  creativity, a lot of patience and some skill you can make ANYTHING vegan!

**Not a fan of blueberry problem!

You can make any kind of muffin you want....

banana muffins
zucchini muffins
chocolate chip
cinnamon apple

The list is endless just substitute your favorite fruit, add some cinnamon or even use chocolate chips!!

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Absolutely the most MOIST gluten free muffin ever! LOVE these!