no refined sugar

Paleo Flan with Honey Caramel

paleo flan with honey caramel

Ah, how I adore flan! There is something amazing about the combination of something creamy and caramel! I remember staying up late one night in Mexico in one of the host homes I stayed in and chatting with the house cook, Lucina as she waited for the flan to be done in the oven. She took great care to prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners that were first class! Every Sunday she would prepare lunch and dessert for more than 40 people! It was amazing. I will never forget her dedication in the kitchen, love of good ingredients and love of food! 

So, in honor of Lucina, I created this healthier version of flan using coconut milk and honey. I am so pleased at how it turned out! It is heavenly and can be enjoyed knowing that it doesn't have any refined sugars. I hope that you enjoy this special flan with your friends and family soon. 

Paleo Flan with Honey Caramel: 

Adapted from a recipe from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy

Makes 4 small servings (You may double this recipe for a larger flan to serve 8) 


1/4 cup honey + 2 tablespoons

1/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk (not light) 


2 cups canned full fat coconut milk (not light) 

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

2 eggs

3 egg yolks


rimmed baking sheet for a water bath

large bundt pan

1. To make the caramel, place the honey and coconut milk in a small frying pan over medium heat. Stir with a rubber spatula as it cooks. It will bubble and thicken. Thicken it to a light sauce texture and take it off the heat when it is caramel in color and thickened. If the caramel is too thin, add a bit more honey, if it is too thick, add a bit more coconut milk.  Pour the caramel into the large bundt pan and swirl it around so it covers the bottom and sides. 

2. Heat the oven to 325. Make sure there is a rack on the lowest rung of the oven. 

3. In a large, heavy saucepan add in the coconut milk, salt, and honey. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and honey. Continue to boil slowly, making sure that the mixture doesn't boil over. You want to reduce the mixture by 1/3 cup. Once the mixture is reduced, take it off the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a bowl. Once the coconut milk mixture is cooled, place a fine mesh strainer over the saucepan, pour the egg mixture into the strainer and let the eggs strain through into the coconut milk mixture. Use a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg mixture strains in. Whisk the egg/milk mixture lightly before adding it to the bundt pan. 

5. Place the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack in the oven. Place the bundt pan on it with the flan mixture in it. Then, pour boiling water into the rimmed baking sheet to about 1/4-1/2 inch. 

6. Bake at 325 F for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The flan will be set and will be browned on top. Refrigerate until cool, then unmold onto a plate. 

Sweet Cherry Nice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

Sweet Cherry Nice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

Oh my! As soon as I saw those glorious orbs of red at the store I was in heaven! I am a self-proclaimed "fruitatarian." I have been and always will be instantly swooning over any type of delicious and colorful fruit. Luckily this is not such a bad thing. I do get to explore what to do with such bounty. I knew that I wanted to create a yummy nice cream with these amazing cherries so I thought and daydreamed about it for a while. I imagined a re-making of a type of banana split-like dessert..all of the trappings and deliciousness, but without the large amounts of refined sugar. 

With this idea in mind, I created this cherry nice cream with a yummy dairy-free chocolate topping and of course topped it with a cherry! I believe that the cooked cherry sauce that is then frozen adds an extra dimension of flavor to this delicious and amazing dessert. 

I hope that you enjoy a bowl of this for dessert and share not only this yummy nice cream but the recipe with your friends and family. That is my great wish for you. How many of you are also "fruitatarians?" How many can't pass up all of that amazing fruit at the store or the market? I know I'm guilty, but that's ok. It's healthy, full of joy and colorful. Nothing could be better. :)  

Sweet Cherry Nice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

Note: The sweet cherry nice cream served on its own does not contain any added sugar. The chocolate chips contain a small amount of sugar. 

Makes 4-6 small servings

1 1/2 cups fresh pitted sweet cherries, cut into quarters

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons arrowroot starch


2 frozen bananas, peeled


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries and pure maple syrup. Cook until the cherries release juices and the mixture bubbles. 

2. Add in the arrowroot starch and stir to let the mixture thicken. Take off the heat. 

3. Put this mixture into a container with a lid and freeze the mixture until solid-2-3 hours. 

4. Once the cherry mixture is frozen, add the mixture along with 2 frozen bananas into the bowl of a large food processor. Process the mixture until very smooth and all of the chunks of banana and cherries are pureed. 

5. Transfer this mixture into a container and freeze until solid- 2-3 hours. Then, you can scoop out portions into small bowls and top with the chocolate sauce and fresh cherries for a garnish. 

Chocolate Sauce: 

1/2 cup gluten free, dairy free, allergy friendly chocolate chips or chunks

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Fresh cherries for garnish

1. Place the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Continue at 30 second intervals until the chocolate chips have melted and the sauce comes together. 

2. Spoon the sauce over each serving of nice cream and add a cherry on top for garnish. The sauce will form a "shell" on top of the ice cream. Yum! 

If you enjoyed this recipe, pass it on to a friend! 

Cultured Coconut Milk Oatmeal Muffins

Cultured Coconut Milk Oatmeal Muffins

This special recipe is dedicated to my grandpa, Harry Pedersen. These muffins in their original form were the ones that he loved. I loved to invite my grandparents over to dinner and I would always make these muffins as part of the meal. Every single time, my grandpa would eat several and exclaim how much he loved those muffins and how tasty they were. This was music to my ears and such a boost for me as a young cook/baker. 

I loved how my grandpa was the kind of person (when we stayed with our grandparents from time to time if my parents were on a business trip) who would wake up early, walk down the driveway to get the paper, make sure we were ready for school, cook up a healthy breakfast and make sure to take us to school. He was not afraid to be a caretaker, a cook, an amazing gardener and so much more. I loved all of his qualities and these muffins remind me of how much he would enjoy food and really enjoy the moments with his family. 

I changed this recipe to be gluten free and dairy free and it brings me even more joy now that I am able to offer these to everyone! I love the flavor, the delicious coconut and the texture of the muffins hot from the oven. 

I hope that you enjoy these muffins and relish them with joy as much as my grandpa did! 

Cultured Coconut Milk Oatmeal Muffins: 

1 egg

1 cup cultured coconut milk, vanilla flavor (unsweetened) (coconut milk yogurt) 

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil (Keep at room temperature and add in little chunks) 

1 cup gluten free oatmeal

1 cup gluten free flour mix

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

unsweetened coconut flakes to sprinkle on top

1. Heat the oven to 400F. 

2. Grease 12 muffin cups with coconut oil, or vegetable oil spray. Beat egg, stir in cultured coconut milk, coconut sugar and coconut oil. 

3. Mix in remaining ingredients, just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Bake 15-20 minutes, just until top springs back when touched and the muffins are golden brown. 



Grandma Marion's Scandinavian Dried Fruit Soup

grandma marion's scandinavian dried fruit soup

Making this delicious and pretty fruit soup brings back amazing memories of Christmases past with my Grandma Marion. My Grandma was Swedish, and she always helped us create a traditional Swedish meal for Christmas Eve. 

For this meal we would work together to create: 

Swedish Meatballs- simmered in beef stock for hours

Potato Salad- studded with hard boiled eggs and radish roses

Swedish Beans-sweet and sour beans

Lefse- A potato flatbread that we would slather with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. 

And for dessert we would have a large selection of cookies and small servings of fruit soup in pretty little bowls. I loved the smell of the cinnamon and the fruit simmering together. It is so delicious and such a holiday dish! 

So, today I share with you this amazing recipe that brings my grandma right back to life, by my side this coming Christmas Eve when I will serve her meatballs, her cookie buffet and her fruit soup. Here's to memories, delicious food and family! 

Grandma Marion's Scandinavian Dried Fruit Soup: 

2 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit: apricots, plums, pears, cherries, cranberries, figs, dates, peaches, etc.

1/2 cup raisins

1 cinnamon stick

3 1/2 cups water

2 cups orange juice

1 1/2 cups pineapple, fresh- cut into chunks

2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup honey- or to taste

Thinly sliced oranges to top the soup with

1. In a 3 quart pan, combine the dried fruit, raisins, cinnamon stick, water, and orange juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 10 minutes. 

2. Remove from heat and add pineapple chunks, honey, tapioca, and pineapple juice. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the tapioca to soften. 

3. Return to medium-low heat and cook, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes longer, or until mixture is thickened and fruit is tender but not mushy. 

4. Add thinly sliced orange to hot mixture, barely heating through. Serve fruit soup hot or refrigerate and serve cold. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious and healthy dessert soup! 

If you loved this post, pass it on to a fruit-loving friend!