Archive for Gluten Free

Blueberry Coffee Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

I get asked all the time if cooking and baking vegan is hard. And truthfully? Once you figure out eggs, it’s not really.

There are great substitutes for butter like coconut oil or even any of the commercially available butter subs out there. There are a million different milk substitutes.

You know what’s really hard? Gluten-free. I’ll take a vegan challenge over a gluten-free one any day of the week.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it too much in our house, but I do have several very good friends who are celiac, so I keep things like brown rice flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour and sorghum flour in my pantry. You could also use a cup-for-cup flour replacement blend if you like.

The challenge with doing gluten-free flours is that in order to get the consistency and binding right, you need to use flours with different properties in the right proportions. And that can take lot of time and experimentation to get right.

black forest brownie

Black Forest Brownies are just one example of Pikanik’s gluten-free decadence.

I recently interviewed Joanna Schultz, owner of Pikanik, which is an allergen-free bakery in Surrey. None of Joanna’s products include gluten, nuts, soy or dairy (which are the top food allergens). Joanna obviously knows a thing or two about gluten-free baking.

RC: What’s the deal with the rise in the gluten-free trend over the last few years? Are people more allergic in today’s world? Or are they just discovering these allergies, whereas in the past they would have just suffered through? 
JS: Great question! I am not sure what’s happening out there. I can remember as a kid not knowing any other kid with a food allergy – it was so uncommon. Now in every classroom there will no doubt be at least a  handful of kids with food allergies. My best guess is that’s a combination of factors – how food today is grown and processed, overloaded immune systems coping with all matter of environmental issues and yes, definitely diagnostic tools are more advanced.

RC: I do a ton of vegan baking and cooking, and I find vegan much easier than gluten-free. What’s the key to making gluten-free baked goods that don’t taste chalky?
 JC: I agree! But here’s the secret to your best GF baking — let your batters or doughs rest for 20 minutes before baking. This allows the wet ingredients to properly hydrate the flour(s). Hydrating the mix means that the gritty texture often found in GF baking virtually disappears.
Gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie

Gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie

RC: What’s your personal favorite recipe?
JS: Oh, so many to choose from! I love making homemade pizza at home. I use our dough from Pikanik and then have a variety of toppings and let the kids take the lead. It’s a fun activity and gets dinner on the table.
Thanks, Joanna! That tip about letting your batter rest is life-changing!
And now here’s a recipe from Joanna (or you could just order from them, they deliver).
egan, Gluten-Free Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

{Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Ingredients for the strusel:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 Cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Potato Starch
  • 1/4Cup plus 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Tapioca Starch
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (divided) Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon non dairy yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. First make the streusel: mix the dry streusel ingredients. Using a fork or a pastry blender, work in the vegan butter until it’s in pea-sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the apple sauce and 1 teaspoon of the baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, remaining baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar. Add the apple sauce-baking powder mixture, margarine, yogurt, milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Allow to rest 20 minutes.
  5. Spread one-third of the batter into a greased, parchment-lined pan. Sprinkle half the streusel mixture on top. Spread the remaining two-thirds of the batter over the streusel mixture. Sprinkle the frozen blueberries and remaining streusel over the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool further. Slice and serve.



Overnight Goji Oats

It kills me to write the following sentence, but:

The kids go back to school today.

I know that I, for one, have at least one member of the household that is deeply unhappy that this day has arrived.

We have spent the last two months footloose and fancy-free, flip-flop clad, jumping (literally) in lakes, exploring other cities and countries and making a game of how few nights we spent sleeping in our own beds at home.

The answer is about 3, and we are wildly proud of that fact.

But reality is now coming crashing down. Michael is starting Grade 9, and I am back teaching as of next Monday. A busy fall schedule awaits us both. *sob*

One more moment of silence as we mourn carefree, sunny summer days that were our own.

Okay. Now that that’s done, let’s turn our focus to the matter at hand: school. I’ve already loaded the freezer up with lots of healthy, quick grab-and-go lunches: homemade vegetarian pizza pockets made with yams, Trader Joe’s vegan chorizo, and beans, and individually-sized containers of Cuban rice and beans that I can quickly heat up in the microwave.

But breakfast. That’s the kicker. I usually resort to smoothies, or I’ll make breakfast cookies or homemade granola bars.

But I also love me some Overnight Oats. You see, the thing is, you can really pack a lot of good stuff into your Overnight Oats.Gojoy Goji Berries

Like Gojis, for example. I was tickled pink to discover that there is a local farm here in Vancouver that’s growing gojis. Up until now, our only way of getting this superfood was by purchasing them dry (imported from China). I really like the fresh ones, they have a pop of tartness, and did I mention how good they are for you??

This overnight oat recipe can be customized to how you like it. Be sure to make up 3-5 to last you a whole week of healthy, grab-and-go breakfasts.


Overnight Goji Oats

Ingredients (for each individual serving)

  • 250-ml mason jars with lids
  • 2-3 tbsp oats (not instant)
  • 1 tbsp ground, roasted flax
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegan protein powder(I like vanilla)
  • 8-12 fresh goji berries
  • 1-2 tbsp dried fruit like cranberries, dates or raisins
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (or non-dairy yogourt if you want to keep it vegan)
  • 2 tbsp non dairy milk
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a tiny pinch of salt
  • a drizzle of maple syrup


  1. Place all the dry ingredients in the bottom of the mason jar, and give it a shake to combine.
  2. Now add the wet ingredients and shake/stir well to mix everything together.
  3. Place the lid on and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, grab and go.
  4. If you like, you can add extras, like nuts/seeds, or blob of peanut butter and jelly.



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