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A blog about all things allergen-free and delicious

Entries in dessert (5)


Dutch Cinnamon Bread (GF, DF, Soy-free)


This is a great recipe to make on special occasions or to bring to a brunch.  It's a flavorful, sweet and sensuous dessert bread.  Even though it isn't my Grandmother's recipe, it always reminds me of her, and how I never wanted to leave her table.



1 egg

1 cup sugar 

1/4 cup sunflower, safflower or similar oil (a neutral oil is best, although coconut oil would work and lend a little coconut flavor)

1 cup GF teff flour

1 cup GF buckwheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 can Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (you need the can to include the coconut fat)

Topping / Swirling Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1 T. cinnamon

(in a prep bowl, mix these together and set aside)

Put it Together

BREAD - post swirling

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9x5x3 loaf pan (use the same oil you are baking with).

In a food processor or mixer, beat the egg, sugar and oil together until creamy.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and soda.  Remove the coconut milk from the can into a bowl, and beat the fat into the rest of the milk.  Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture alternatively with the coconut milk until blended.  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the loaf pan.  Sprinkle the top with 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Add the rest of the batter to the pan, then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the top.  Using a knife, swirl the sugar into the bread in a figure eight type pattern.

Bake 1 hour.  Cool for at least 30 min. then remove from the pan.  Slice and serve.  This bread freezes really well.



A Day of Meals for Tender Foodies!

Soy-, Dairy-, Gluten-, Nut-, and Egg-free




In keeping with the meal planning tips from Chef Jenny Brewer, here is the article I wrote for Women's Lifestyle Magazine's March Foodie issue.  This day of meals is free of the top 8 allergens and then some.







Variety is a "Must Have"

Variety is the spice of life.  Did you know that variety is also necessary for a healthy body? As we eat, each nutrient performs a set of very specific, highly complex tasks that keep us walking, talking and vibrant. Our bodies use magnesium, for instance, in over 300 biochemical reactions (according to The National Institutes of Health*).  

When you have multiple food allergies, it isn’t so easy to find the food that you need to be fabulous. You have to reject some habits and learn to cook new and different foods. Recipes that require no adaptation are scarce. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an entire day’s worth of recipes that are free of the top 8 most common allergens?  I asked Jenny Brewer, nutritionist and chef, to lend a hand in this delicious one-day meal plan.  Each recipe, even the dessert, is packed with nutrients.  Give it a try!

Quinoa Power Breakfast

From Elisabeth Veltman

See original post on

Prep Time:  5 Min.
Cook Time:  15 Min.
Serves:  2-4

Soak 1 cup of quinoa in water for 5 minutes. Run through a very fine strainer until the water is clear. Place quinoa into a medium to large saucepan. Add to 2 1/4 cups of water and bring the entire mixture to boil. Then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. White halos will appear around the grains when the quinoa is done. Keep a little liquid in the cereal to soak up the flax seed.

Add in 1/2 cup of ground flax seed.
Add 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon (add more, to taste)
Organic black raisins, organic dried cherries or cranberries
Continue cooking for 1 more minute until the flavors are mixed and the raisins warm.
Spoon into bowls with fresh strawberries, sliced (or your favorite fruit).
Top with 1 or 2 TBS of real maple syrup.  (Grade B or C.  No high fructose corn syrup should be anywhere on the label.)
Leftovers will keep 2-3 days. 

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup

From Chef Jenny Brewer

See original post on

Prep Time:  
20 Min.
Cook Time:  
35 Min.
Serves 6-8

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 28-can whole plum tomatoes
1-cup water or vegetable stock
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
1 dried chipotle pepper (smoked jalapeño), seeded and chopped (easiest to do with scissors)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the onion, pepper, garlic, and sweet potato chunks. Sauté, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
 Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add water or stock, beans, chipotle, cumin, and chili powder, bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Lamb Chops

Adapted from

See original post on

Prep Time: 12 Min.
Cook Time: 16 Min.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4

4 loin lamb chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (optional)

Combine the vinegar, rosemary, garlic and salt in a large glass bowl (or an 8x8 shallow pan). Slowly drizzle and simultaneously which in the olive oil. Place chops in bowl and turn repeatedly to coat well. You could put all of the contents into a Ziploc bag, too. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours. Once marinated, remove chops from fridge and bring to room temperature (15 minutes). Preheat grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Remove chops from marinade and place on a lightly oiled grill rack. Cook for 8 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes.  Serve.

Not Your Mama’s Chocolate Mousse Tart

From Chef Jenny Brewer

See the original post on


1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted*
½ cup popped millet**
½ cup raisins
1/3 cup dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 4 Tablespoons water and left to gel for 3-5 minutes           
Pinch of salt
In a food processor bowl, pulse pumpkin seeds and millet until seeds are ground. Add raisins, dates and pinch of salt and chop until everything is ground together. Add in flax mixture and pulse until sticky. Wet your fingers and press the mixture into 8-inch pie pan and keep refrigerated while you prepare the filling.

Chocolate Mousse Filling

2 LARGE ripe Haas Avocados 
(if your avocados are small, add another avocado or more and adjust the ingredients, since avocados vary quite a bit in size.)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3-4 TBS maple syrup (taste after 3 and add to taste)
1 TBS vanilla extract 
Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Spread into crust and chill until ready to serve.

If you would like more naughtiness, double the filling for a more voluptuous tart.

*To toast pumpkin seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium high heat, stirring until brown, about 5-7 minutes, being very careful not to burn.

**To pop millet, place in a dry, hot skillet over medium heat and stir constantly until you hear consistent popping.  Don’t burn.

Visit the recipes on for videos and more information.


About Elisabeth Veltman

Writer, owner of Blue Pearl Strategies, and lover of all culinary delights, Elisabeth is a Tender Foodie. She started The Tender Palate, a website for foodies with food allergies where she consults with experts from every area of the Tender Foodie life. She believes that everyone should live deliciously and have a healthy seat at the table. Find her at


Recipe: Brownie Tart (Dairy- & Gluten-Free)




My love for brownies led me to try every gluten- and dairy-free brownie mix on the shelves.  Not floored (although there are some great mixes out there now), I started making my own from scratch.  Then with alternative flour in my hair and coconut oil on my shirt, I looked for a brownie-like cake that I could take to parties and have people ask, "Who made this?"  To achieve this lofty goal, I thought it wise to start with a recipe from one of the brownie masters, The Barefoot Contessa.  I adapted her recipe so that I could safely and joyfully consume, but also have "normal" guests demand a repeat performance.  This recipe is rich (you don't need big pieces), chocolatey, chewey - all of the different textures that you want in a brownie. 

And this tart gets people to make naughty sounds. 

 Just out of the oven. It smells so, so good.


6 TBS of coconut oil

20 oz. (3.25 cups) of Enjoy Life Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (or bittersweet chunks if you are really in a decadent mood)

1 cup of sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 tsp. of gluten-free vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. of GF coffee extract (rounds out the flavor of the chocolate)

1/4 c. GF brown rice flour (I find white rice flour too sweet) - I use Bob's Red Mill

1/4 c. GF tapioca flour -- I use Bob's Red Mill

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. sea or kosher salt

2-3 TBS of rice, almond, coconut (or other alternative) milk


Put it Together

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

With coconut oil (or safflower, grape seed), grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.  Then flour the pan with brown rice flour.

Wet Ingredients:  Melt the 6 TBS of coconut oil in a bowl over simmering water.  Make sure the water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl.  Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips to the bowl with the oil, then remove from heat until the chocolate melts.  If you need more heat, put the bowl of back on the simmering water for a few seconds.  (Chocolate burns easily, hence this method.)  Let chocolate cool completely.

In a bowl of an electric mixer (use the paddle attachment) beat the eggs, sugar, GF coffee extract and GF Vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate.

Dry Ingredients:  In a medium bowl, combine the tapioca and brown rice flours, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of chocolate chips.  Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just combined.

Bake:  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the center is puffy.  Don't overbake - if the center puffs up and possibly cracks, it is good to go.  The inside will still be very soft, but the outer rim will be perfectly chewy. 

Dress Up:  Melt the remaining chocolate chips with the 2-3 TBS of rice milk (or other alternative milk).  You can do this right in the double boiler you used for the first melted chocolate.  Drizzle over the top of the tart in whatever pattern floats your boat.

Cool to room temperature before removing the tart pan sides.

 The End.



Grilled Peaches with Brown Sugar & Tofutti

While lucky California and Georgia can harvest their peaches as early as May, Michigan has to wait until mid-July.  Now that August is saying bye-bye, we still have September to take advantage of this favorite fruit.  Straight from the tree, they are tasty and juicy.  Another way to eat them is on the grill as a fabulous dessert. 



6 peaches

Safflower, Sunflower, or Organic Canola Oil for brushing

6 TBS of brown sugar

6-8 TBS of Tofutti Non-Hydronenated Plain "Better than Cream Cheese" - Optional. 

(Tofutti is a brand name for non-GMO, dairy-free, vegan cream cheese made from soy.   If you are allergic to soy, do not use this product.  For gluten allergies, please read the statement below.  This peach recipe is just a good without the Tofutti!)

Perhaps a sprinkle of cinnamon to finish it off.



Cut each peach in half and remove the stones.  Brush the entire peach with a light coating of oil.  Grill, cut side down for 1-2 minutes on a hot grill so there are beautiful grill marks.  Turn the peach over, sprinkle with brown sugar, then grill the other side, covered for 1 more minute until the sugar melts and is bubbly.

Place each hot peach in a bowl with a dollup of Tofutti on top.  We want the "cheese" to "just" melt.  If you are not allergic to dairy, you can use Creme Fraiche (lucky dogs, although Tofutti is a really, really good subsitute).  Add a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like.  Then enjoy.

Other Allergen Notes

If you have found a dairy-free, soy-free cream cheese, let me know!  We are always looking for great tasting products that serve multiple allergies.

Kosher?  Read more.

Please click this link to see Tofutti's (USA) statement on gluten.

Here is Tofutti's (Canada, no USA statement found) statement on peanuts as pulled from their website on 8/31/11:

Question: Does TOFUTTI® use peanuts in any of their products? If so, how do you make sure that there is no cross contamination?

Answer: Prior to running our products each day, the equipment is specially cleaned under the supervision of a Rabbi to ensure that there is no possibility of dairy contamination. This special cleaning will also take care of any other type of contamination. Our products are made in an ice cream plant where other peanut products are present. We therefore cannot guarantee that there will not be any peanut contamination, no matter how unlikely the possibility. If you feel that the preceding information raises your concerns about the safety of our products regarding peanut contamination, please do not use our products. Safety of our consumers is always our number one priority. If you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please contact the company directly for any allergen concerns that are unique to you.




Tasting the Vegan Cupcakes of Grand Rapids. Dairy-free, Egg-free, & a Gluten-free Surprise.


We once again welcome guest blogger, Audrey Depenbrok.  She and a group of taste testers had the "painful" job of eating their way through all of the dairy-free and egg-free cupcakes they could find in Grand Rapids!  Their favorite, of course, is at the end.  Thanks Audrey!


Preparing to Score

Cupcakes seem to be all the rage these days. However, if you are a vegan, or suffer from food allergies or intolerances, finding an enjoyable cupcake can be a challenge. Our group of tasty testers scoured the local cupcake scene to find a few bakers who are creating treats for we, the allergen-free, the Tender Foodies.

"We" were a group of taste testers whose ages ranged from 9 to 75 years old.  We conducted a taste test and came up with four of our favorites.  Each person graded each cupcake in four different categories (Taste, Texture, Appearance, and its Similarity to a "regular" cupcake).  We then gave each cupcake an overall score, all on a scale of 1-10, where 10 reached perfection.


Cupcake Group #1 - Bartertown serving Roc's Cupcakes

Roc's Cupcakes at Bartertown 

Bartertown is a recently opened vegan eatery located in downtown Grand Rapids. Their cupcakes are provided on a daily basis by Roc's Cupcakes. These cupcakes are vegan, so they are free of any dairy or egg product. They offer a variety of different flavors each day. 

On the particular day that our taste testers swarmed into Bartertown, we were pleased to see that they offered five different flavors. The offerings were; Chocolate, Vanilla, Apple Crumb Cake, Orange Blossom and Rosewater. 

Our favorite from this group was the chocolate cupcake. Which scored an 8. It had great taste, although it was slightly dry. The icing was very good, very creamy and sweet. This cupcake was more dense than a traditional cupcake might be.

The vanilla cupcake was also a favorite, scoring a 7.5. Its taste, however, was a bit like cornbread, and again had the same dense and dry texture that we found with the chocolate cupcake. 

We were very excited to try both the Orange Blossom and the Rosewater cupcakes - but we were disappointed with the flavor. Both cupcakes scored a 4. The rosewater cupcake was a bit overdone, and came off tasting soapy. While the orange blossom cupcake didn't seem to have enough flavor, and it didn't offer much in the citrus department. 

The apple cupcake was delicious, and had beautiful texture. But, each taster made a comment that it was more muffin-like, even more similar to a coffee cake than a cupcake. It scored an 8, even though it wasn't perfectly "cupcake-like".

All of the cupcakes from Bartertown were beautiful. Each was iced to perfection, with coordinating sprinkles or decorative sugar. 


Cupcake #2 - Little Pearl Cupcake


Little Pearl Cupcake, located on Northland Drive in Plainfield Township, recently began offering gluten free cupcakes and vegan cupcakes.


First, we tested out their Cinnamon and "Butter"Cream Vegan cupcake. They use Earth Balance spread in place of the butter in their icing. 

Cinnamon & "Butter"cream Vegan Cupcake at Little Pearl

These cupcakes had a nice texture, weren't too dry, and they looked great. We found this cupcake to have a slight cornbread flavor as well. The cake portion of the cupcake didn't offer much in the way of cinnamon flavor. The icing was topped with a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon, which is the main source of cinnamon flavor on this cupcake. 


This cupcake scored a 7.


LIttle Pearl also offered a Gluten Free variety, so we took a bite out of their Gluten-free Lime cupcake. 


Gluten-free Lime Cupcake from Little Pearl


We found this cupcake to have a texture very similar to that of a regular cupcake. In fact,  many of our tasters commented that if they hadn't known it was gluten-free, they would have thought it was made with regular flour.

The taste however, left something to be desired. Nearly all of our tasters agreed that the lime flavoring seemed very artificial. The lime flavoiring did seem to please our 9-year old taster who said, "the flavor is very soothing".

The icing on this cupcake was very sweet. It also melted very quickly. I put these cupcakes into an already cool car, and drove them approximately two miles to the tasting location.  They were melted by the time I arrived. 

This cupcake scored a 6.


Cupcake Group #3 - Marie Catrib's 


Nestled in "The Center of the Universe" on the corner of Lake Drive and Diamond in Grand Rapids, Marie Catrib's offers a plethora of vegan and gluten free baked goods each day. 

Although there weren't any cupcakes available, we took a recommendation from the staff for two of their most popular cakes - which are also available as cupcakes from time to time. 

The Vegan Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Cake.


 Vegan Chocolate, Chocolate Cake from Marie Catrib's - sometimes available in cupcake form

This chocolate cake was rich, moist and utterly delicious. A dark chocolate cake, with a "milk" chocolate icing and filling, and drizzled with a chocolate ganache. This cake could easily be passed off as it's dairy-laden counterpart. 

The Vegan Chocolate, Chocolate Cake scored a 9.


The second item we tasted from Marie Catrib's was the Vegan Carrot Cake, which is also available in cupcake form on certain days. 


 Vegan Carrot Cake from Marie Catrib's - on certain days, this presents as a cupcake, too.

The carrot cake was equally as good as the chocolate cake. Since this cake is vegan, the traditional cream cheese is missing. However, the icing is sweet and delicious and covered with toasted coconut that helps hide the fact that the icing is lacking cream cheese. 

The carrot cake scored a 9.


Cupcake #4 - Cakabakery 


Cakabakery, founded by J.T. Kakabaker in 2010, is a custom cake baker. Designing custom wedding and special occasion cakes and cupcakes. Cakabakery will attempt to meet any dietary need. 

Vegan Raspberry Lemondate Cupcake from The Cakabakery

From Cakabakery, we taste tested their vegan Raspberry Lemonade cupcakes. These cupcakes were a lemony cake, topped with a raspberry icing. The cake had pieces of candied lemon zest running through it, while the icing had bits of real raspberries. 

This was the unanimous favorite of our taste testers. Each agreed that the cake was beautifully moist, not too dense, and had a perfect balance of sweet and tart. You would never guess that this cupcake is dairy-free and egg-free. 

This cupcake scored  perfect 10. 


 Note from Elisabeth:  We will be contacting these bakers to ask if they would be willing to provide some information on their kitchen practices, so that highly allergice/ Super Tender Foodies will have more information regarding cross-contamination and baker knowledge.


Audrey Depenbrok is a Tender Foodie and a self proclaimed cake-aholic with an indecisive nature. She spends her days as a freelance non-profit consultant while taking care of her little boy, golden retriever and two cats.  You can find her tweeting away @mommy_kinz.