Sour Cream Coffee Cake

IMG_2676Well I’ve finally decided to take the plunge! This is the year, the one where I go big or go home! For the last couple of years a number of people have been suggesting to me that I write a recipe book. There are lots of books out there on eating gluten free and some dairy free, but very few sugar free and often if they are dairy or gluten free there may still be sugar present.

For a number of reasons I delayed and delayed in doing this, even though I was confident that it would many people would be interested in it and likely be a success. For whatever reason I have decided it’s time and am diligently outlining and creating.

Part of the fun in creating is that I am taking my old tried and true family recipes and methodically, one by one, making the appropriate adjustments and trying it out. I am a big believer in making sure it works out before actually sharing it and publishing it for others. It only makes sense to me. Besides my family is enjoying being my guinea pigs and making sure that it tastes good 🙂

IMG_2674On the weekend I tried out my Mum’s coffee cake recipe, which I have always loved, making the appropriate adjustments. I was pleased that it turned out fabulously and to be honest if you had tasted the original and the sugar free one side by side you would not know the difference. I guess that is one advantage I have growing up with these recipes as I know what the originals taste like, so I can compare as to whether the new versions measure up.

Everyone gobbled it up and is now asking for more. But I am onto the next recipe to try…which I have not decided which one yet, but I am sure it’ll come to me soon enough. In the meantime if you are looking for a sugar and dairy free coffee cake, I would definitely give this one a try.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan spreadIMG_2672

3/4 c. coconut sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

1 c. vegan sour cream

2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt


1/2 c. coconut sugar

1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. Earth Balance vegan spread

Mix Earth Balance, coconut sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add vegan sour cream. Mix separately flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients into sour cream mixture.

Spon half batter into well greased bundt pan. Sprinkle half topping over batter. Spoon in rest of batter. Pat firmly with remaining topping.

Bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Absolutely to die for!

It’s coming… Thanksgiving and all things pumpkin! Big feasts, meals with friends and did I mention pumpkin? I love pumpkin and all things related to it, especially pumpkin pie. And Thanksgiving seems to be the only time of year that I make or get some.

Of course with any pie you can make any kind any time you want. But I seem to fall into the  times of the year when they are most prominent, as I imagine do many of us. So though I love pumpkin pie and it is my favorite, I do only get it once a year.

Every year at Thanksgiving I decide I am going to try a new pumpkin recipe, as my sister often makes things like pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin tarts and pumpkin cheesecake. And though I love to branch out and try new things I tend to fall back to my pie. What can I say? It seems just wrong to not have it.

This year I truly did branch out and I made a pumpkin cheesecake for the first time. Not specifically for Thanksgiving, because of course I will make pie, but around the right time 🙂 I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked really good and thought that I would try it.

Being dairy free I thought that I would just have to avoid cheesecake altogether. During the summer my friend decided to try a tofu chocolate cheesecake, which gave me hope. I thought that it would prove to be quite good. Not so much. Though not terrible we both agreed that we would not make it again. Then, I remembered that they make non dairy cream cheese and I had tried it before and liked it, so why not just substitute that into a regular cheesecake recipe? This got me very excited so I went to work.

After I got over just how much cream cheese this recipe called for; I went out got the ingredients and looked at what other substitutions I needed to make. The crust was a bit of a challenge as it called for graham wafers, but I came up with a solution using almond mash leftover from making almond milk, as I had done something similar making a pie before. I substituted coconut sugar for the sugar and then of course the non dairy cream cheese and sour cream (yes this recipe called for sour cream which was another reason why this particular cheesecake recipe intrigued me).

Now this recipe is not one that you can just whip up and have ready in an hour. In fact when I finally went to make it I looked at the recipe, and in reading it more closely almost aborted the whole idea. It was a lot of time, a number of steps and would not be fully ready until the next day (as when it was finished baking you had to let it sit in the fridge overnight).

Let me tell you it is totally worth it! This cheescake is absolutely fabulous, moist, creamy and flavourful. All the kids asked for a second piece and D’Wayne looked like he was in heaven. It was absolutely delicious! I think Matthew even licked his plate and then asked for a third piece of cheesecake (to which of course I said no).

So if you are a fan of cheesecake and even a remote fan of pumpkin this recipe is worth the time and effort put into it. And the nice thing is, dairy free, sugar free, gluten free all equals guilt free and will impress every one of your guests this Thanksgiving.

Or you could just go with plain old pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake


12 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan spread

2 1/2 c. almond mash (leftover from making almond milk)

1/4 c. coconut sugar

dash of salt


4 – 8 oz. vegan cream cheese

1/4 c. vegan sour cream

2 1/2 c. coconut sugar

15 oz. canned pumpkin

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 tsp. sea salt

2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 2 drops of Cinnamon Bark essential oil

1 tsp. ginger or 1 drop Ginger essential oil

1/4 tsp. cloves or 1 drop Clove Bud essential oil

Postion rack in center of oven. Preheat to 325 F.

Brush a 10 inch springform pan with 1 tbsp. of Earth Balance. In a bowl, stir the remaining Earth Balance in with almond mash, coconut sugar and a pinch of salt. Press mixture into bottom of pan and up the sides. Bake until golden brown about 15-20 minutes.

Cool on a rack, then wrap outside of pan in tin foil and place in a roasting pan.

In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add coconut sugar and beat until just light. Add sour cream, then pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 tsp. sea salt and spices and until just combined. Pour into cooled crust.

Gently place roasting pan into oven (do not pull the rack out). Pour boiling water into roaster until water is about half way up springform pan. Bake until the outside of cheesecake is set but the center is still loose, about 1 h 45 min. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat.

Close oven door and let cheesecake sit for 1 more hour. Carefully remove from roasting pan and let cool on rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Deals of the Week: New deals every week, online only!

Delicious Dairy Free Dips

Matthew and Chloe enjoying a cucumber

While having all the kids at home over the Christmas holidays I discovered that my kids will eat pretty much anything, that they are not fussy eaters. I also discovered that whatever I put in front of them they ate. So even with the surplus of yummy sweet treats around, if I put  fruit or vegetables in front of them that is what they would eat. Not that they did not ask for the sweet treats mind you, I did too at some points. But I noticed that when I was prepping a veggie tray and Matthew came wandering by, he would pick up a carrot or celery stick and start eating – without being asked! – and then he would come back for more. I felt I was onto something…

Now my kids will eat their fruit and veggies regardless if there is a dip to go with it or not. Which is great because sometimes when I am running out of time, the dip is the thing that does not get done! But they and I do enjoy a yummy dip to go with it. In fact, often Chloe will eat only the dip, which I know defeats the purpose, but the dips I provide have good stuff in them too so it is ok. Sometimes though I do use it as a bargaining tool, “more dip if you eat your carrot stick”, not always the best tactic in getting kids to eat I know, but I think you would agree that we all do it to some degree.

So today I am sharing you with some of my favorite dips that are great with a variety of things, fruit, veggies, fish even, depending on the dip. (My sister made a fabulous dinner at Christmas of fish and chips and I could not get enough of dipping my fish in the Peppery Dip, it was delicious!)

Dill Dipgreat with veggies and/ or tortilla chips

1/3 c. veganaise

1/4 c. vegan sour cream*

1 tsp. parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. dill weed

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/16 tsp. celery salt

1/16 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve immediately or chill until ready to use.

Recipe can easily be doubled. Makes about 1/2 c. dip

Peppery Dip

1 c. veganaise

2 tbsp. grated onion

2 tsp. tarragon vinegar (can use regular vinegar and tarragon seasoning)

2 tbsp. chopped chives

2 tbsp. chili sauce

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. thyme

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with veggies, also great with fish!

With fruit I use this homemade caramel sauce that is made from dates. It is especially good with apples, but goes with any fruit well. All the dips will keep in the fridge for at least a few days, so make ahead of time or keep until later -that’s if you have any left 🙂

Enjoy and happy dipping!

*when I first started making dairy free dips I used Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese, a soy based product. I discovered that they use sugar in their product and since then have moved to using Earth Island, which has no sugar and I feel is a better product in general. Both work well and is up to you as the cook which one you’d like to choose – or maybe you have another favorite vegan sour cream 🙂

Sugar Free Condiments

When we went sugar free at our house I began reading labels more diligently to ensure that we were not purchasing products with sugar in them. I believed that if we had to eliminate sugar for Matthew to have it really make a difference, we needed to do it across the board. Which meant everything, not only the obvious stuff like candy, cookies, cake, etc. but the hidden sugars as well. So in things like bread, ketchup, relish, mayonnaise, even table salt (yes it’s true), all contain sugar.

Some of these things I have been able to easily make myself. For instance, I bought a Cuisinart breadmaker and now make all our bread. Anything from whole wheat to cinnamon swirl, I have been able to find or adapt a recipe to make yummy fresh bread. And I love my breadmaker! In the past I avoided making bread because I always had trouble getting it to rise and ended up with a firm heavy loaf. With the breadmaker I simply put all the ingredients in, select the right loaf, size and crust and I walk away. In 3-4 hours I have fresh bread. That is my kind of breadmaking!

Condiments are one of those foods that we as a society use frequently that can be very high in sugar. Things like salad dressings, ketchup, barbeque sauce, and mayonnaise. Though I have found and tried some recipes in making my own, there are some products available to buy from the grocery shelf without sugar, that are excellent. Though I am very dedicated to meeting my family’s dietary needs, I do not want to spend my life in the kitchen! So when I find a product in the store that meets our requirements, it makes life a little easier.

These are the condiments that I have found, so far, that are sugar free and delicious.

Bodacious Tomato Ketchup – made by Honey Bunny, this organic tomato ketchup is sweetened with honey and is very good. I used to be a loyal Heinz ketchup user and found that other brands just did not measure up, but I find this one to be quite good.

There are also other brands of ketchup out there that sweeten it with agave and though I have not tried them myself, could be a good alternative.

Amazing Dad’s BBQ Sauce – also made by Honey Bunny this is a really good BBQ Sauce. The original flavour is the only one that is without sugar, sweetened with honey.


Vegenaise – made by Earth Island, this is a dairy free, as well as a sugar free option for mayonnaise. There is no sweetener in this product whatsoever.

Relish – I have yet to find a relish on the grocery shelf without sugar, so my only option at this point is to make my own. But I am sure there is one out there, so I will keep you posted!

Salt – I no longer buy regular table salt but have moved to buying Sea Salt. There are many brands out there to choose from, but I find Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt to not only be a good brand but reasonably priced.

Condiments in general seem to have a lot of added sugar in them. Salad dressings are another condiment that often have added sugar. Though I have found some tasty salad dressing recipes I have yet to discover a product off the shelf without the added sugar.

In the meantime check out your local grocery store for some of these sugar free options, give them a try and decide for yourself!

PS If you have found any sugar free products such as salad dressings or other condiments I invite you to comment below and share your discoveries with us! It is always great to share resources.