Coconut Pineapple Bread

Coconut Pineapple Bread I bought a beautiful, sweet, pineapple (that most versatile fruit) at Costco to use in a batch of mango-pineapple jam.  It was so large there was quite a bit of fruit left after making the jam.  Hmmm.  What could I make with the rest of the fruit?  Dessert immediately came to mind.  I did a quick search on-line to get some ideas and ended up with this delightful coconut pineapple bread from Maria and Josh’s blog Two Peas & Their Pod.  The coconut scattered over the top of the batter bakes up into a beautiful golden brown toasted coconut crust.

Toasted Coconut

Coconut Pineapple Bread Though this coconut pineapple bread is baked in a loaf pan I think of it more as a cake than bread.  It’s divine.

Coconut Pineapple Bread

Coconut Pineapple Bread

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or unsalted butter) at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream (I used Green Valley lactose free sour cream)

2 cups fresh pineapple cubes (small dice)


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Spread 1 cup shredded coconut on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake until lightly toasted, tossing occasionally, about 6 minutes.  Watch closely so the coconut does not burn (edges tend to brown quickly).  Set toasted coconut aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, and alternately add flour mixture in three parts and sour cream in two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix just until combined. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can substitute it with a hand mixer.

Using a rubber spatula, fold pineapple and toasted coconut into the batter.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes (cover pan with foil after baking for 35 – 40 minutes so the coconut on top of the bread doesn’t burn).

Remove bread from oven and let cool in pan for at least 30 minutes.  Remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and serve!


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Glory Bowl Salad

Glory Bowl Salad I bumped into a friend of ours, Lisa Tamaki, with whom I have a shared interest in cooking as well as home canning.  She told me about a new salad recipe she thought I would enjoy.  The dressing has nutritional yeast in it, one of my favorite foods. Lisa’s enthusiasm about the “Glory Bowl Salad” (named for a top ski bowl in Canada) made me eager to try it out right away. Thank you, thank you!

Cucumber, Carrot, Edamame, Snap Peas, Red Cabbage The original recipe comes from Shelley Adams who once owned Whitewater Ski Resort in Canada.  This salad is one of her most requested recipes.  Rachel also posted Sami’s version of this delicious salad.  I followed her suggestion of seasoning the tofu with sesame oil and soy sauce before baking and it adds a wonderful flavor to the tofu. You can use almost any vegetables you want to in this salad.  I opted for colorful red cabbage, crunchy snap peas, cucumbers, carrots and edamame.  Don’t skip the toasted almonds.  They are super in this salad.  The dressing has a fantastic umami flavor due to the generous amount of nutritional yeast and soy sauce, so good you’ll be looking for things to pour it on once your salad is long gone.

TofuXpress I use my TofuXpress often.  It presses out the water quickly.   No more wasting paper towels!

Extra Firm Tofu

Baked Tofu It’s best to serve the baked tofu once cooled, however, you may bake it in advance and refrigerate it until ready to use.  The texture won’t be quite the same (it softens once refrigerated) but it will still taste delicious. Just bring it to room temperature before serving.

Glory Bowl Salad

Glory Bowl Salad

Adapted from Whitewater Cooks & The Conscious Dietician blog

Two generous salad bowl servings and 1 cup dressing


Salad Bowl:

1 cup short or medium grain brown rice

1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds (bake in toaster oven at 300° for about 5 minutes – watch so they do not burn)

1 package (14 ounce) extra firm tofu (Wildwood recommended) water pressed out

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 ounces sliced cucumber

1 ounce shredded carrot

1/3 cup cooked edamame

3 ounces snap peas

1 ounce shredded red cabbage

roasted black sesame seeds – optional


1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 1/2 tablespoons tahini paste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup canola oil

freshly ground black pepper

Cook brown rice according to package directions.  Set aside.

Toast slivered almonds for a few minutes to crisp up.

Press out water from tofu using the TofuXpress or a clean dish towel or paper towels (weighted down).  Cut tofu into rectangles about 1/2 inch thick.  Combine sesame oil and soy sauce in a small bowl. Brush mixture over tofu slices, or toss to coat well.  Place tofu on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes (I use my toaster oven).

Using an immersion blender combine nutritional yeast, water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, tahini paste, extra virgin olive oil, and canola oil.  Or whisk by hand until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Assemble your salad by placing the rice on the bottom of your bowl, adding the vegetables and tofu over the rice. Drizzle a generous amount of the dressing over the salad.  Sprinkle toasted almonds and roasted sesame seeds over the top and serve with extra dressing.



Posted in Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Rice Dishes, Salad, Side Dishes, Tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies I’m still on the “Brownie Quest,” searching for the perfect brownie.  These may be that perfect brownie. Besides the eight ounces of melted chocolate, there’s a cup of chocolate chips stirred into the batter.  As the brownies bake, the little chocolate nuggets melt perfectly and become pure decadence in every bite.

Melted Chocolaty Brownies The recipe comes from Sally’s blog.  I love the idea of a somewhat chewy brownie.  The baking time is a bit forgiving, due to all the chocolate in the recipe.  If you take the pan out of the oven just as soon as the brownies are set, you’ll have softer brownies (above) but leave them in for a few more minutes, they’ll become a bit chewier (below).  Either way, they are so delicious.

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies Brownie Batter

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Makes 16 – 20 brownies


1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or salted butter)

8 ounces (228g) coarsely chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (80g) all-purpose flour (measure accurately)

2 tablespoons (11g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips


Melt the Buttery Stick and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly for 10 minutes.

Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom and sides of a 9×9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Butter the foil.

Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.  Whisk in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs when the brownies are done.  As oven temperatures vary, check for doneness at the 35 minute mark.  If the brownies need more time, continue to bake and check every few minutes.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.  Once cooled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares using a sharp knife. (Wipe the knife clean after each cut). Brownies freeze beautifully.

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Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette There must be a million different potato salads out there in recipe land.  This one, with perfectly boiled eggs caught my attention immediately. It is truly a meal in itself.

Upland Cress Our local Whole Foods market carries this delicious Upland Cress.  You snip off just the amount you want to use and store the remainder in the crisper section of your refrigerator.  Because it is sold with its roots still attached, it stays nice and fresh for up to a week.  The tender leaves are delicious in any type of salad.  I especially love tossing them into vinegar based potato salads just before I serve them.

Whole Grain Mustard My sister Mie gave us this crock of whole grain mustard from France.  Lately I’ve been using spoonfuls in this potato salad.

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Potato Salad with 7-Minute Eggs & Mustard Vinaigrette

Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

4 generous servings

1 1/2 pounds baby gold potatoes, scrubbed

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup olive oil

kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

handful of Upland Cress (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoon chopped dill pickles

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives


Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 15 – 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potatoes.  Transfer cooked potatoes to a plate to cool.

Place eggs in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down to medium and simmer the eggs for 7 minutes (set the timer).  Drain cooked eggs and cool in a bowl of ice water. Peel eggs and set aside.

Whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl.  Whisking constantly, gradually add oil and whisk until emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.

Halve potatoes and place in a large bowl.  Season with kosher salt and pepper.  Add parsley and a generous amount of dressing. Toss to coat potatoes well.  Add Upland Cress if using, and lightly toss again. Transfer potato salad to a platter.  Halve reserved eggs and tuck in between the potatoes.  Season eggs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle salad with some of the reserved vinaigrette.  Top with pickles and chives.

*If you are not serving the salad right away, hold back on adding the Upland Cress, eggs, pickles, and chives until just before you serve the salad.  You will have extra dressing.  I use it over salad greens or bean salads.




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Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake “The New Basics Cookbook” published 16 years ago, is still one that I turn to for reliable, delicious food.  Authors Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins are also the authors of the well-known Silver Palate Cookbook. With 849 pages it’s a treasure trove of recipes. This carrot cake recipe was created by Sheila’s mother Berta, and it’s now one of my favorite desserts.  You can prepare it a few days in advance which means it’s perfect for a party or potluck gathering.  It seems everyone loves carrot cake.

Raw Carrots Instead of using raw, grated carrots, the recipe instructs you to cook the carrots and purée them before adding them to the batter.  Worth the extra step, it brings out the carrot’s natural sweetness and ensures the cake is going to be moist and delicious.  To me, there is nothing more luscious than Berta’s carrot cake.

Cooked Finely Shredded Carrots Drain the cooked carrots and with quick pulses finely mince the carrots.  I don’t process the carrots to a fine purée as I prefer to keep a little texture to them.

Sweet Coconut A cup of shredded coconut is called for in the original recipe.  I use a lesser amount, but go ahead and use a cup if you want to.  The recipe doesn’t state whether to use unsweetened or sweetened coconut.  I use the sweetened type.  As you’ll notice in the photo above, the coconut I had on hand has some fairly long strips.  I used my kitchen scissors and snipped the coconut into small, even pieces.  Instead of adding the cup of chopped walnuts to the batter, I left them out but toasted some coarsely chopped pecans and sprinkled them over the frosting.

Best Carrot Cake

Best Carrot Cake

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

Serves 12



1 1/3 cups finely minced cooked carrots (about 3 medium carrots, 14 ounces)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup canola oil

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice (not heavy syrup), drained well

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Green Valley lactose free cream cheese)

3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

2 cups + powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

juice from 1/4 lemon



Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper and sides of pan.

Cut peeled carrots into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and cook carrots until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and cool carrots.  Once carrots have cooled slightly, place them in a food processor and with quick pulses (about 17 pulses), finely mince the carrots scraping down the sides of the bowl now and then.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.  Add the granulated sugar and stir to combine.  Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla, mixing well.  Fold in the carrots, coconut and pineapple.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place it on the middle rack of the oven and bake until the edges have pulled away  slightly from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Check the cake to see if it is done after it has baked for 35 minutes.  If it needs more time, bake a little longer, checking every few minutes to ensure it does not over bake.

Transfer cake pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool completely.  At this point, you may cover the pan tightly and refrigerate the cake until you are ready to frost it.  When the cake is completely cool, transfer to a cake platter.  I find it easiest to line a cutting board or other flat tray with aluminum foil, place over the cake pan, invert the cake on to the foil and discard the parchment paper.  I then place my cake platter over the bottom of the cake, and invert right side up.  Do this right away as the cake has a tendency to stick to the foil.  Now you’re ready to frost the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cream the cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer.  Do not over beat.  Slowly sift in the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until frosting is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and a teaspoon of the lemon juice at a time.  Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar or lemon juice.  The frosting should not be runny or it will not set properly.  Frost top and sides of carrot cake.  If you are not serving the cake right away, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad I have yet to find any type of potato salad I don’t like.  This, however, is one of my favorites.  It features a slightly tart vinegar dressing, and that magic ingredient: bacon!  I stash a bit of the dressing on the side and toss it over the potatoes as they soak up the delicious sauce.  One thing to remember is to make plenty so that you’ll have leftovers. It compliments many dishes and makes the best snack.

Red Onion To mellow the sharp taste and bring out the sweetness of the red onions, I sautéed them for 5 minutes in a few teaspoons of bacon fat before adding them to the salad.

Celery, Parsley, Red Onion, Dill A little fresh dill and parsley give the salad a fresh flavor that is subtle and not overwhelmingly “herby.”

Crispy Bacon Bits Is there such a thing as lean bacon?  I look for bacon that has nicely balanced meat to fat ratio.  This guarantees tasty bits of goodness in each spoonful of potato salad.

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Serves 6 – 8


3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch thick slices

6 ounces bacon, chopped

3/4 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup thinly sliced celery

2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

3 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/3 cup canola oil

salt and pepper


Place potatoes in large pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium and simmer until just done, about 6 minutes.  Check the potatoes often to make sure they do not over cook. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large wide bowl.  Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.  I use a flexible spatula to gently toss the potatoes being careful so they don’t fall apart.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Remove all but 2 -3 teaspoons of bacon drippings from the skillet.  Over medium heat, cook the onions in the drippings for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Do not brown the onions.  Transfer the onions, bacon, and celery to the bowl of potatoes.  Scatter dill and parsley over potatoes.

Combine the apple cider vinegar, water and sugar stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Whisk in the mustard.  Pour vinegar mixture in skillet and warm over medium heat for a few minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the canola oil.  Pour some of the dressing over the potatoes, tossing gently to combine.  Season with salt and pepper. The potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the dressing.  Add more dressing before serving.

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