Red Pepper Flake Toast

red pepper toast

My oldest is completely obsessed with red pepper flakes.  He puts them on his eggs, his potatoes, his meat, his toast, and pretty much everything else in between.  He even tried it on plain oatmeal once, although I’m not sure if that was a keeper.

This toast is his creation, and he did the photography also.  The bread is buttered (with dairy-free margarine, Nucoa spread), and then sprinkled with red pepper flakes.  Propping up the bread on a rack allows the air to circulate and dry the bread on the bottom also.  A couple of minutes under the broiler, until it is toasted to your liking, and your red pepper flake toast is ready to enjoy.


Easy Dill Pickles

Refrigerator_pickles combined

Simple crisp dill pickles–no canning required.


Summer whizzed by, and fall has arrived.  I hope your summer was amazing.  Mine was fantastic–full of camping, family reunions, and lots of summer garden produce.  My cucumber plants were especially fruitful.  Making pickles helped keep up with the all the cucumbers.

I adapted my recipe from Old World Garden’s Refrigerator Dill Pickles.  The Refrigerator Dill Pickles are the easiest and tastiest pickles I have made.  I have never had any luck making crispy pickles when they are canned; they are tasty, but a little on the soggy side. These pickles, however, are very crisp.

When making pickles, make sure your cucumbers are fresh, small, and not overripe and turning yellow.   Wash them well.  Cut off the blossom-end of the pickles.  I like slicing the cucumbers lengthwise before putting in my clean jars–that way they are ready for sandwiches.

The recipe makes one pint of pickles.  When I make pickles, I will fill my jars with the cucumbers, and then double or triple the brine recipe based on how many pickle jars I have filled.

Simple Dill Pickles

Makes one pint


Pickling cucumbers, washed and blossom-end removed (sliced, quartered or left whole)

2/3 c vinegar

2/3 c water

1 Tbsp pickling salt

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp red peppers

1 tsp dill seed

1/2 tsp peppercorns


Pack the cucumber into a clean jar.  Boil vinegar, water, and salt. While the brine is coming to a boil, add the seasoning into the jars with the cucumbers.  Pour the boiling brine into the jars.  Put a canning lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator.

For the best flavor, let the pickles brine for a couple of weeks before eating.

Polka Dot Popsicles

Blueberries in coconut milk for a whimsical, dairy-free summer treat. polkadot popsicles

This dessert was so simple to make.  Normally, I just fill my popsicle molds with juice.  I feel better feeding the kids something besides flavored sugar-water, and they are happy to have a cold treat on a hot day.  But today, I thought I would try something different.  The coconut milk is creamy and slightly sweet, and the blueberries are slightly tart.   Continue reading

Muddy Buddies from the Dark Side

Crisp cereal and dark chocolate combine for a  tasty treat.

darkside muddy buddies

Muddy Buddies from the Dark Side…of chocolate, that is. I love dark, dark chocolate–like bitter chocolate.  I think 85% chocolate is about perfect.  I have been known to eat 100% bitter chocolate. You might think I am crazy, but I love the taste.  Maybe it is just my inner-self, healthy-wanna-be calling out to avoid sugar that inspires me to like bitter chocolate; but whatever it is, I like it.

My 12-year-old learned how to make muddy buddies at school and wanted to make them for us at home.  If somebody is willing to make you food, you say “Yes!”  My son shares my love of dark chocolate.  In order to make these less sweet and more dark chocolaty, we substituted half the powdered sugar for cocoa powder. It is divine.

One of the things I’m looking for when I share a dairy-free recipe is availability of ingredients.  Non-dairy butters are sometimes hard to find or expensive.  I hate being limited to one ingredient, so we made it again, trying four different oil products in the same recipe. Then, I did a blind taste test with the family to see if they could tell a difference and see what was their favorite.  Here are the different oils:  Nucoa buttery sticks, peanut butter oil, refined coconut oil, and canola oil. You can read about some of the fat options to replacing butter here, Replacing Butter.

nucoa muddy buddies

Nucoa is typically what I use as a butter substitute.  The muddy buddies are a little drier and less clumped than the other ones.  Any flavoring in the margarine doesn’t stand out  under all the chocolate.

Continue reading