Chocolate Cupcakes

These delicious, allergy-free cupcakes are perfect for Halloween or anytime.  The cupcake recipe is an allergen-free adaptation of Hershey's 'Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake,' and the frosting recipes come from Cybele Pascal's book, 'The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook.' 

Like most cake recipes, this one starts with whisking together the dry ingredients. The milk oil, 'egg,' and vanilla are combined and then stirred into the dry mixture.  The resulting batter looks like brownie batter.

The last ingredient to add is some hot coffee.  I keep instant coffee on hand for this.  As many of you know, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.  If you don't have any coffee or you don't care for it, you can also just use hot water.  Once this is mixed in, the batter becomes much thinner and pourable.

I poured the batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full:

Once they are baked and cooled, they can be frosted and decorated for any occasion.  I opted for chocolate buttercream, tinted with a little black frosting as well as a simple vanilla frosting.  These were decorated with simple Halloween decor for a yummy, spooky treat!


Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)

3/4 c sugar
1 c GF flour mix (I use 6:2:1 Superfine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour)
1/2 c cocoa
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 'egg' (2 t Ener-G egg replacer + 2 T dairy-free milk)
1/2 c dairy-free milk (I used coconut)
1/4 c oil (I used safflower)
1 t vanilla
1/2 c hot coffee or water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Whisk together the first 6 ingredients.  Combine the 'egg,' milk, oil, and vanilla and stir into dry mixture.
  3. Slowly stir in the hot coffee and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (from Cybele Pascal's 'Allergen-free Baker's Handbook')
(enough for 12 cupcakes)
6 T dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
2 2/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c + 1 T dairy-free milk
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt

  1. Beat the shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Combine the sugar mixture with the shortening, alternating with the mik.  Add the vanilla and salt.  Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Vanilla Frosting (from Cybele Pascal's 'Allergen-free Baker's Handbook')
(enough for 12 cupcakes)
1 c dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
pinch salt
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c dairy-free milk
1/2 t vanilla

  1. Beat the shortening and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

What to do with all of those pumpkin seeds you scoop out of your pumpkins this year?  How about a healthy, delicious snack?  Pumpkin seeds are full of fiber and protein, and this recipe adds some yummy fall flavors too.  They also happen to be an allergy-free snack!

Here is the slimy, seed-filled pulp we scooped out of two of our pumpkins yesterday:

I just ran them under running water and separated the seeds from the orange slimy stuff.  It took less than 10 minutes before they looked like this:

The seeds hold quite a bit of moisture, so they need to be dried a bit.  I opted to do this with the oven (at a low temp), which took about 20 minutes.  You can also try using paper towel or simply letting them drain for a while.  As you can see here, they were not perfectly dry, but they had dried quite a bit:

I drizzled the seeds with butter and tossed them with the sugar and spices before I baked them.

To keep the sugar from burning, I gave them a stir every 10 minutes.  I took them out once they were starting to brown.  The combination of sweet and salty reminds me of kettle corn.  Delicious!

Shared on: Gracelaced Mondays, Gluten Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasteful Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten-Free Fridays


Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

2 c pumpkin seeds (scooped out of 2-3 medium pumpkins)
4 T vegan butter, melted. (I like Earth Balance)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t salt
1/2 t allspice
2 T brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees
  2. Rinse your pumpkin seeds well and let drain.  Spread them out on a baking sheet and dry thoroughly.  You can do this with a paper towel or in a warm (200 degree) oven for 10-20 min. 
  3. Drizzle the butter over the seeds and toss to coat thoroughly.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the seeds.  Toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Allergy-free Chipotle Coleslaw

This delicious, spicy coleslaw is not only allergy-free but Paleo too!  I found the recipe on here and substituted an allergy-free mayonnaise.

If you don't count the marinating time, this recipe takes about 5 minutes to make.  All you do is slice up the cabbage (cut down the middle and remove the hard middle part first), mix up the dressing, and combine.   Instead of regular or homemade mayo, I prefer to use my new favorite allergy-free mayo: Earth Balance Mindful Mayo.  It's the only egg-free mayo I have found that actually tastes like mayonnaise.  

The chipotle chile and cilantro are mixed in with the dressing.

Then, the cabbage is simply folded into the dressing. The result - a crunchy, spicy, flavorful coleslaw to accompany just about any main dish!

Shared on: Tastetastic Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Whole Food Fridays, Gluten Free Monday

Recipe: (slightly adapted from

Allergy-free Chipotle Coleslaw


1 small head green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs), thinly sliced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped + 1 T adobo sauce
½ c vegan mayonnaise (I like Earth Balance Mindful Mayo)
1 lime, juiced
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T agave nectar
handful cilantro, chopped

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the chipotle, mayo, lime juice, vinegar, agave nectar and cilantro. Taste and add salt according to your preference. 
  • Toss in the sliced cabbage and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 10 minutes before serving..

Allergy-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since chocolate chip cookies are probably one of the most popular baked goods, I thought I should include a post with my allergy-free version.  These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free. They last about 2 days at my house, enjoyed by those with and without food allergies.

The first thing I do is make my 'egg' mixture with ground flax and let it sit for a few minutes and thicken.  Meanwhile, I cream together the shortening and sugars.  For some reason, I prefer mixing this dough by hand, but you could use a mixer as well. Once the 'egg' has thickened, I stir it and the vanilla into the creamed sugars until it's nice and fluffy.:

The next step is to whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and mix them into the dough.  After the chocolate chips are stirred in, I form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart.  

The cookies are baked in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them to be.  Gluten-free baked goods tend to dry out pretty quickly, so I prefer 10 minutes. I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we do!

Recipe: (shared on Gracelaced Mondays, Gluten Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasteful Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Allergy Friendly Friday, Healthy Vegan Friday)

Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF, V)
(makes about 36 cookies)
1 c vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
1 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 'eggs' (2 T ground flax + 6 T water)
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c gluten-free flour (I like 6:2:1 Superfine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour)
2/3 c oat flour (you can grind yourself with gluten-free oats)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t xanthan gum
2 c dairy-free chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and water and let sit for a few minutes to thicken. Cream together the shortening and sugars in a large bowl.
  • Add the 'eggs' and vanilla to the creamed sugars.  Mix well until the dough is fluffy.
  • Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add the dry mixture to the sugar mixture until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Form the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet about 2" apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Custard

I've been trying to find a yummy, allergy-free pumpkin custard dessert for my daughter that she could have for Thanksgiving.  The other day, I came across this recipe on, which sounded perfect! The recipe is gluten, egg, and dairy-free! I made a few changes to the spice combination in order for it to taste more like pumpkin pie.

The recipe involves combining pumpkin puree, coconut milk (canned), maple syrup, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, the gelatin is mixed with lukewarm water until there are no lumps, and the mixture starts to thicken.  

Right before the pumpkin mixture comes to a simmer, it is removed from the heat, and the thick gelatin mixture is stirred in.  Once thoroughly combined, the custard mixture is poured into some small ramekins or small bowls.

This is a important step: lay some plastic wrap DIRECTLY ON TOP of the custard before placing in the refrigerator to firm up.  This will prevent that nasty pudding skin from forming and ruining your day.  Well, that is unless you like pudding skin. :)

Let the custard firm up in the fridge.  The time will vary between 2-4 hours, depending on the size of your bowls.  Mine were ready in two.  The verdict - a lovely, delicious, satisfying custard!  We will be serving this on Thanksgiving - probably in some fancier ramekins!

Recipe: (adapted from's Paleo Maple, Pumpkin Custard Cups)

Pumpkin Pie Custard


14 oz. can pureed pumpkin
14 oz. can coconut milk (full fat)
1/3 c maple syrup
1  t vanilla extract

1 1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cloves1 T gelatin powder 
1/4 c lukewarm water


  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices.  Right when it’s about to come to a simmer, remove it from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a cup or small bowl, sprinkle the geltain over luke warm water and stir to combine, making sure there are no lumps. Let it firm up. Whisk the semi-solid gelatin mass into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Pour the pumpkin custard into ramekins or any fancy dish you’d like. The smaller the dish is, the faster the custard will be ready.
  • Press a small square of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pumpkin custards. This keeps a ‘pudding skin’ from forming on the top.
  • Refrigerate, to allow the custard to set-up and get firm.
  • You should be able to serve and eat the custard in 2-4 hours.

Paleo Chicken Wings

Tonight I made one of my favorite dishes from what I think is one of the best Paleo recipe sites,  Taco Wings with Guac Dip.   The recipe is naturally allergy-free!  They have a wonderful, smoky flavor, which tastes great with the mild guacamole dip.

This recipe takes very little time to prepare.  You simply lay the wings out on a baking sheet and spray them with a little oil.  After mixing the dry spices in a small bowl, sprinkle both sides of the wings with them.:

The wings are broiled on both sides, for roughly 30 minutes total.  While they are cooking, I mixed up the guacamole.  They were such a yummy main course for this allergy-free dinner, which also included a side of Chipotle Coleslaw and a fresh arugula salad.


The Taco Chicken Wing with Guac Dip can be found on the Health Bent website here.  In case you'd like to print directly from here (see the green 'print' button at the bottom of the post), this is for you:

Taco Chicken Wings with Guac Dip

(From Health-Bent)


3 lbs chicken wings
F.O.C. (fat of choice)
2 t garlic powder
2 t chili powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 t smoked paprika
1 t regular paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
guac dip
2 avocados
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
chili garlic sauce, to taste



  • Move the oven rack to the upper-middle part of the oven. Place the oven on broil. 
  • Mix the spices together. Coat the wings in the spice mix along with a few tablespoons of your F.O.C (melted). Place the wings, skin side down, on a baking sheet. Broil for about 12 minutes on this side, until crispy. Use a pair of tongs to flip over the wings to skin-side up. Continue to broil for about 20 minutes, until the skin is super crispy.

guac dip

  • Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, or just use a fork to smash everything together.

Allergy-free baking substitutions

Food allergies can pose a problem when it comes to baking, especially if you're allergic to dairy, eggs, and wheat.  My daughter happens to be allergic to all 3 (as well as nuts), but luckily there are all sorts of wonderful substitutions available.  Here are my favorites:


Milk: Coconut milk (in a carton), rice milk, soy milk

Half and half: coconut creamer, soy creamer

Cream: canned coconut milk (full fat)

Butter: Earth Balance vegan margarine, Coconut oil, Spectrum vegetable shortening

Cream cheese: Tofutti 'Better than Cream Cheese'

Yogurt: Coconut yogurt, Soy yogurt


Eggs are a tricky thing to replace because they contribute moisture, binding, and leavening. I try to only make recipes that call for 1-2 eggs at the most.  If it calls for more than that, the following substitutions will not work well.

1. 1T ground flax + 3T water=1 egg: This substitution works well in cookies, pancakes, and breads.  It doesn't have a strong flavor, and it adds some great omega-3 fats to your recipe. This option only contributes moisture and some binding, so there has to be another leavening item in the recipe (like baking powder/soda)

2. 1 1/2 t Ener-G egg replacer + 2T water=1 egg: This substitution works well in most recipes, although some say it has a distinct chalky flavor.  This product stores well in the pantry, so you can almost always have it on hand. It contributes moisture, binding, and leavening but has little to no nutritional value.

3. 1t baking soda + 1T cider vinegar=1 egg: This substitution has been around since the times of rationing during World War II.  It works well in cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.  The key is to add the vinegar at the very last moment before baking. Obviously, this contributes only leavening to the recipe, so the baked good may be susceptible to becoming dry and crumbly.

4. 1/3 c pureed pumpkin= 1 egg: This substitution (as well as other mashed fruit such as applesauce or banana) adds some moisture, vitamins, and fiber to recipes and works well in quick breads and muffins.  It will make the baked good more dense, so a little extra baking powder (1/2 t) is helpful.

Wheat Flour

Replacing wheat flour is challenging because wheat contains gluten, a wheat protein and binding agent that is responsible for the elasticity of dough.  Gluten is also good at absorbing and retaining moisture.  In gluten-free baking, a lot of the substitutes only replicate one or two of the gluten properties.  No matter what gluten-free flour is used, either xanthan or guar gum are typically added to mimic gluten's elasticity.

When I replace wheat flour with a gluten-free flour, I typically combine them.  Most of my recipes contain 2-3 different kinds of gluten-free flours.

The following are some of my favorite wheat-free flours. They can be found at most natural foods stores.:
For an excellent gluten-free all-purpose flour, I like the combination Cybele Pascal came up with in her fabulous book, 'The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook':
  • 4 c Superfine brown rice flour
  • 1 1/3 c potato starch
  • 2/3 c tapioca flour
Baking without dairy, eggs, and wheat can be tricky but not impossible.  With the right combination of substitutions, you can create some delicious allergy-free baked goods!

Shared on: Gracelaced Mondays, Gluten Free Mondays, Teach Me Tuesdays, Allergy-free Wednesdays, Gluten free Fridays, Whole Food Fridays

Pumpkin Enchiladas

When my last issue of Clean Eating magazine came in the mail, I was so excited to find a recipe for pumpkin enchiladas.  The recipe in the magazine called for black beans, but I opted for ground turkey instead.  I love how turkey and pumpkin pair together! Being from New Mexico, I'm a bit biased as to how enchiladas should taste, so I wasn't sure how this recipe would turn out.  It ended up being a big hit with everyone - kids and adults.  For those with food allergies, these are a great option because they are gluten and dairy-free!

The recipe starts with sautéing the onion and garlic for a few minutes and then setting it aside in a bowl.    The turkey is then browned and added to the bowl as well, along with the pumpkin, cilantro, lime juice, and spices.

The turkey-pumpkin mixture is then divided among 8 corn tortillas.  Once rolled, they are placed, seam side down, in a baking dish.  The salsa topping is combined in a small bowl and poured over the tortillas. 

Instead of salsa, I happened to use some El Pinto Green Chile Sauce, which is to die for.  That is why you see all of the bits of green in the photo below.  Of course, your favorite salsa would work great as well.

After baking for about 20 minutes, the enchiladas are ready to serve.  I like mine topped with fresh cilantro and chopped avocado. With all of the wonderful flavors in these enchiladas, you'll never miss the cheese!


Pumpkin Enchiladas
(serves 4)


1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground turkey (I prefer thigh meat)
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 T lime juice
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t salt
8 fresh corn tortillas

salsa topping
1 c salsa
1/2 c water
1 t chile powder
1 t ground cumin


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with oil.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Brown the turkey and add to the onion mixture.  Stir in the pumpkin, cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and coriander.  
  4. Divide the turkey-pumpkin mixture evenly among 8 tortillas and place them seam side down in the baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the salsa, water, chile powder, and cumin.  Pour over the tortillas.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and diced avocado.

Pumpkin Scones

Whether or not you have food allergies, you will LOVE these allergy-free pumpkin scones.  I mean, you can't go wrong with a flavor combo of pumpkin, cinnamon, and maple. When my oldest son (who has no food allergies) took a bite, his response was, 'Oh my gosh.....oh my GOSH!  These are good!!'

These scones take about 15 minutes to prepare. You start by whisking together all of the dry ingredients and then cutting in the butter with a pastry knife. Before I cut it in, I chop it up into small pieces.:

The pumpkin, yogurt, and 'egg' are then mixed together and combined with the flour mixture. The dough is then formed into a disk on a GF-flour dusted surface and cut into 8 triangles.

The triangles are placed on a parchment-covered cookie sheet, with an inch or two between each one.  If you look closely, you can see some lovely little bits of vegan butter.  These will help create a nice, flaky scone.

While the scones are cooking, I mix up the maple glaze and then drizzle it on the warm scones as soon as I take them out of the oven.


Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze
(makes 8 scones)


1/3 c brown sugar
2 c gluten-free flour (I used 1 c sorghum, 1/2 c millet, 1/2 c oat)
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
8 T vegan butter, chilled (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 c pumpkin puree
3 T vegan yogurt
1 'egg' (1 T ground flax or chia + 3 T water)

Maple Glaze
1 c powdered sugar
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t vanilla 
1 T dairy-free creamer (we use coconut)
pinch nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the vegan butter with a pastry knife until the mixture has pea-sized crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, yogurt, and 'egg.' Stir pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly GF-floured surface. Shape into a 7 inch circle, approximately 3/4 inch thick, and cut into 8 equal pieces.  With space between each triangle, place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake 15-17 minutes. 
  5. In a small bowl, combine all of the glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth.   Drizzle glaze over warm scones.  Eat and enjoy!