Dairy Free

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette


1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

Pinch of salt

2 drops lime vitality essential oil

2 drops black pepper vitality essential oil

Add to a glass oil bottle…shake shake shake and enjoy!

Keep refrigerated after combining.

*when ingesting essential oils, always be certain your oils are pure grade A essential oils that are grown and distilled without any chemicals or additives. For peace of mind, we use Young Living vitality oils in our home. www.myyl.com/sweetestoils

Lemon Poppy Seed

Zesty, mildly sweet, and oh so delicious! Perfect for spring and summer...and fall and winter! Who says you can't enjoy lemon year round?


You may have seen us posting about our arrival of Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) and how excited we've been to cook and bake with them! The first recipe...Lemon Poppy Seed using Lemon Vitality! This was a fun endeavor because Chef Ben and I made the same recipe side by side. His was made with 2% cow's milk, butter, AP flour and granulated cane sugar; while mine was made with coconut milk, vegan butter, gluten free flour and monk fruit sugar! Let me tell you...he tried both and said the 'ingredient free' version was as good as the traditional. All I know is that I had a bite, and then somehow both of my loaves were gone. I don't know where they went??? ::shrugg:: little ol' me couldn't have eaten all that by myself (but even if I had eaten both loaves...they weren't THAT big)...I made a half batch.

Before you read the recipe, remember that you can substitute equal amounts of standard ingredients for any of the specialty ingredients if you don't have the same dietary needs. The recipe is written with sugar, milk, butter and flour substitutes. *We purchased our ingredients at Wegmans.   

Lemon Poppy Seed 

(loaves or muffins)



  • 1/2 cup Monk fruit sugar (Lakanto's monk fruit sweetener is amazing!

  • 1 cup Gluten free flour ( for this one we used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1)

  • 1/3 cup Poppy seed

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

  • 1⁄2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk (we use So Delicious)

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter - melted (Earth Balance is always our recommendation)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 tbs Lemon Juice

  • 3 drops Lemon Vitality Essential Oil

  • 1 tsp FRESH lemon zest

  • 1 Egg beaten

  • 2 tbs powdered sugar (optional to sprinkle on top after cooled)

Combine Dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest. Stir together and set aside.

x4 mini loaf pans/x1 standard loaf pan/ x12 muffins

x4 mini loaf pans/x1 standard loaf pan/ x12 muffins

Combine liquids: milk, vanilla and Lemon Vitality and set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and cream together. 

Add egg and mix until incorporated

Alternate adding dry ingredients and liquids, mixing on low in between, just until incorporated. 

Fill loaf or muffin pan and bake on 350 for approx. 25-30 minutes. 

Allow to cool and Enjoy!

*You can sprinkle with powder sugar if you'd like to add a little extra sweetness!

Chocolate Beets and Spinach Cake

If I didn't know any better, I'd say there was some sort of trickery involved, but I assure you, there is not. Just Chef Ben's culinary love magic at play. We host a church group in our home every Monday and they got to be our guinea pigs...along with our finicky children. It was a win! We had one skeptic who doesn't eat anything 'colorful' and she stared at it trying to wrap her head around this perfectly normal looking piece of chocolate delight that we had just described with an ingredients list. Spinach? Beets? Apple Cider Vinegar? Pea Milk?! What in the world is pea milk?! I will admit, the pea milk was a last minute ingredient switch, and it made for hilarious conversation, as we began to call it 'Chocolate Pea Cake'.


Sidebar: Chef Ben and I ran to the store for beets and full fat coconut milk for the recipe and remembered I needed more (normal) coconut milk for smoothies. Just above the milk I buy, I saw Ripple's Pea Milk and asked Chef if he had ever heard of it. He hadn't, so we thought hmmmm, this is too weird not to try! I have to say, I wouldn't drink it on it's own (but I don't drink coconut, almond or cow's milk on it's own either), but it has the perfect creaminess to it for smoothies! Amazing. 8g of protein per serving as well! Anyway, we got the beets and beat it...leaving behind the full fat coconut milk for the recipe...resulting in using the pea milk...which was just an added bonus because it's healthier than the type of coconut milk he was going to use!

Back to it...The cake was delicious! It had that slightly different quality that most GF items have (if I'm being perfectly honest), but it was wonderful! All three of our kids loved it, and so did our friends...even the skeptic! Well, (if I'm being perfectly honest) she didn't 'LOVE' it. but she said said it was much better than she expected and couldn't believe it was loaded with spinach and beets. It wouldn't be her first choice but this is also a woman who "hasn't eaten a vegetable since she was 18 months old"...so I'm going to chalk this up as a win! 

So here's how you make this undercover nutrient loaded

Chocolate Beets and Spinach Cake

*As always, feel free to switch out non-dairy/gluten free flours, butters and liquids for standard baking flour, milk, and butter



  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups Gluten free flour ( for this one we used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1)

  • 1 cup baking cocoa (Dutch process or dark cocoa preferably. We use Cacao Berry Extra Brut)

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup pea milk (we used Ripple Pea Milk , you could also use vanilla soy, vanilla coconut milk etc...)

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter - melted (Earth Balance is always our recommendation)

  • 1 cup beet puree (you can buy a can of beets and puree yourself)

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2-4 handfuls baby spinach- pureed (we recommend adding to your beets puree for puree process)

  • 4 eggs - beat

  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks *optional (we use Callebaut Dark Chocolate Semi-Sweet Chips)

Combine Dry ingredients

Combine wet ingredients

Stir (or mix on low/medium) Dry and wet ingredients together until incorporated. Add beaten eggs and fold in (or mix on low) until incorporated. 

Spray 11x14 cake pan (metal or glass) with non-stick spray and pour batter in evenly

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cool and enjoy!

Banana Bread (Ridiculously Good)


Ohhhh, I may have eaten a whole loaf. In my defense, Chef Ben made two small loaves...so it wasn't that big.

In preparing for yet another snow day home with three kids today, my loving hubby asked me if there was anything I wanted him to make for me...meaning, something specifically gluten free/dairy free that would be extra enjoyable. I thought about it and had an overwhelming craving for either banana bread or pumpkin bread. I don't discriminate, I love all breads. Sweet breads, savory breads, seeded breads...banana, pumpkin, lemon and poppy seed. I can go on and on. I LOVE BREAD. But having to abandon gluten has left me with a frequent longing for all things bread-y. Today, it was specifically for that slightly sweet, spongy-textured, warm, fruit-or-veggie-infused-kinda-bread. So he obliged...cause he kinda loves me <3 

I don't know how he does it. But it was amazing...every slice. Baked to perfection. He has this way of creating flavors that are elusive. You can never quite pin point the flavors you experience, or the balance between them....you just know they're so very enjoyable and you want more. 

I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did. Yeah, our kids love it too. And those almost bad bananas were transformed into something wonderful instead of meeting a tragically wasteful fate in the garbage. 



Ridiculously Good Banana Bread (Gluten and Dairy Free)


  • 4oz - or 1 stick Softened Non-Dairy Butter (we use sticks of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) *Can use regular unsalted butter if non-dairy is not a requirement for you.

  • 7 oz Granulated Sugar

  • 2 Large Eggs

  • 4 Mashed Bananas (use very ripe bananas. You know, the ones your kids won't eat because they're 'almost bad'. We also find that organic bananas are creamier and better tasting)

  • 7 1/2 oz Gluten Free flour (while Chef Ben uses his own blend, it's base, and our recommendation for ready to use flour would be Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour, available most local grocery stores)

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (while Chef Ben now makes his own vanilla extract, we prefer Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Vanilla for off the shelf vanilla - but any pure vanilla extract will work)

  • 2 tbs confectioner's sugar (set aside to dust final product)


Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes on medium.

Add eggs one at a time while mixing on medium.

Add bananas and mix 20-30 seconds on medium.

Add dry ingredients slowly while mixing on medium/low until incorporated.

Add vanilla and mix only until the vanilla is combined into batter. 

Pour batter into loaf pan(s)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean from center)

Once completely cooled, use a strainer or sifter to dust top of loaf.



Chocolate Chip Cookies- Allergen Friendly!

Well, as promised, below is the recipe for Gluten Free / Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. This was Chef Ben's first go at the cookie so we were not sure how they would bake, feel or taste. I am pleased to say, they're a keeper!

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Now, I haven't had a cookie since we were still in Thailand. Had I of know it would be the last time I ate a traditional chocolate chip cookie, I would have savored it a little more. For many, 3 or 4 weeks without a particular cookie isn't a big deal...but a lot of you know that I started my work days with Chef Ben's House Cookies. Every morning as I set things up for the day, I had my cookie before I opened the shop. It's just what I did. So I haven't been able to do that now that I have to steer clear of gluten as well as dairy (and believe me, there's still been house cookies floating around our house, even though the shop is closed. It's not like the goodies went away as well). Oh the joy in my taste buds as these medallions of satisfaction came hot out of the oven looking just like the cookies I've grown so fond of! Great news...they are absolutely delicious too! 


Chef Ben's House Cookie (Gluten and Dairy Free)


  • 340 grams Gluten Free flour (while Chef Ben uses his own blend, it's base, and our recommendation for ready to use flour would be Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour, available most local grocery stores)

  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda

  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

  • 1 tsp Salt

  • 8oz Non-Dairy Butter (we use sticks of Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) *Can use regular unsalted butter if non-dairy is not a requirement for you.

  • 160 grams Granulated Sugar

  • 160 grams Brown Sugar

  • 2 Large eggs

  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (while Chef Ben now makes his own vanilla extract, we prefer Nielsen Massey's Madagascar Vanilla for off the shelf vanilla - but any pure vanilla extract will work)

  • 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy chocolate chips or chunks...2 cups if you like them extra chocolaty. Note: We recommend using bittersweet chocolate, but you can also use semi-sweet if you like your cookies extra sweet. (Callebaut is our recommended chocolate, but Guittard is a great non-dairy option that will be available at most stores)


*Note: It's going to seem like a long process because of the rest times, but it's worth it. Cookie dough freezes incredibly well, so you only have to make the dough once in a while!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for convection) 

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt - set aside

Using stand mixer with paddle attachment, add both sugars and mix on low speed until incorporated (15-20 seconds)

Slice each stick of refrigerated butter into 8 pieces (total of 16) and add all butter to sugar mixture. Mix on medium speed until creamed and incorporated (approximately 1 minute). *Note: You should not be able to see and butter or sugar chunks once properly creamed

Add 1 egg, mix only until incorporated and then add second egg, mixing only until incorporated and then add the vanilla and mix for 5 seconds. 

Turn mixer down to low speed and add approximately 1/3 of flour mixture only until incorporated. Add another 1/3 of flour mixture until incorporated, and add final 1/3 of flour mixture until incorporated. *There will no longer be visible signs of flour once incorporated.

Stop mixer. Add chocolate chips and mix on low for 5-10 seconds. 

Remove dough and scrape bowl onto plastic wrap. Wrap securely (2-3 wraps) to ensure it's well wrapped and protected from air. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

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Once refrigerated, use ice cream scooper to dish cookie dough onto parchment paper. Average ice cream scooper will yield approximately 20 cookies (2.5 oz each). Fold parchment over dished dough, wrap in plastic and place in freezer for a minimum of 2 hours. *We recommend making a lot of dough so you can keep ready to bake cookies in your freezer for months at a time.

You will know your cookies are ready to bake when they are firm to the touch. *Note: If you bake your cookies before they are firm, they will spread more when baking and you will end up with a thinner, crispier cookie)

Line cookie sheet with parchment and place cookie dough evenly on sheet with 3 inches between each cookie. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate tray 180 degrees and bake an additional 6-7 minutes. 

Remove sheet pan and allow to cool for 10 minutes. 


Using a spatula, move cookies to a wire cooling rack to complete cooling process. 

Note: You may enjoy warm gooey cookies which will make your cookies ready to eat after the initial cooling time. We recommend allowing the cookie to cool completely in order to fully enjoy the texture of Chef Ben's House Cookie.