Weekend Foodie Warriors- Easter Edition!
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great week so far! For this #throwbackthursday edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re showing you our family’s Easter celebration and experimenting with a new gluten-free and dairy-free version of a carrot cake recipe to celebrate! 🐰🥕💜
Lake Norman, NC
Easter has always been a fairly big holiday in my family, behind Christmas and the 4th of July/Thanksgiving. It’s probably at least in the top four. 😂 The weather has felt super springy outside lately, it’s getting warmer but not too warm, the flowers are blooming, and the pollen isn’t so ridiculous yet that you can’t still enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine. ☀
Jamie and I went home to my parents for Easter, hanging out Saturday afternoon into Sunday. When we got there, we ended up getting Mediterranean food from one of my favorite spots from when I used to go to school in Charlotte, called Le Kebab Grill. Check out my Instagram post below to see pictures and more about the great bites we ate from there.
We started cooking the next morning, with Dad making the ham as usual. 🐷 He’s always proud of the roasting job he does on it, and we make sure to use the bones to make ham stock, soups, and all the leftover ham in quiches and lots of sandwiches later on!
Since we couldn’t go to the beach as we planned, Dad wanted to bring the beach to us and helped set the table with our treasures we had collected from past travel trips there instead. COVID-19 couldn’t stop the Easter bunny from coming and leaving a couple of treats too! 🐰🍫
Of course, we had to have a drink to start us off – Prosecco and raspberries were our go-to this year.
Memere helped to shred some cheese, as one of our big side dishes we made this year was potatoes au gratin. One was full cheese and made the old-fashioned way, and the other one we made completely non-dairy!
We used my non-dairy half-and-half from Califia Farms and a whole block of Manchego sheep’s cheese, which gave it a really cool funky flavor. We might try another version of half-and-half or a non-dairy heavy cream next time because it did end up tasting slightly like coconut. The coconut flavor was kind of strange with the onions and cheese, so not a completely successful experiment, but I was able to ignore the coconut (mostly). Maybe attempting a roux with almond milk or oat milk would be better.
We also made oven-roasted sweet potatoes, maple carrots, and grilled asparagus with lemon.
Last but certainly not least, we can’t forget about dessert! I got some delish dairy-free and gluten-free cupcakes from my friends at Wildflower Bakery in Greenville. The gluten-free ones included the little duck that you see (lemon-flavored), and the other one was Vanilla. The dairy-free vanilla cappuccino is for me, top right of the first picture, and the other four flavors (going clockwise) were their seasonal raspberry (separate container), their most popular flavor – cookie dough, banana pudding (also seasonal), and lemon.
Our big dessert star of the weekend though was our dairy-free and gluten-free stuffed carrot cake, which has its own section below, keep reading for more! 🙌🥕🍰
Carrot Cake Loaf –
GF & DF!
Lake Norman, NC
Between my mom and I, we’re getting pretty good about figuring out how to substitute for her gluten allergies and my dairy-free intolerances. One of the things we wanted to try making this year was a gluten-free and dairy-free carrot cake, but the recipe mom chose called for both cream cheese frosting and have it be stuffed with cream cheese. Check out the full original recipe here from Boulder Locavore for all the quantities we used!
The gluten-free flour is usually a one-to-one easy fix, so no issues there. The batter came together super well and smelled amazing with the nuts, dried fruits, and pineapple included. 🍍
In trying to decide what to use on the inside instead of cream cheese, since I haven’t had too much luck with finding a non-dairy cream cheese that tastes well when it’s melted, we ended up subbing in plain goat cheese! It sounds kind of strange, but it gave off the same texture and tang that you would get from the cream cheese. With the amount of sugar that we ended up using to make the icing. When you tasted it, it really did taste like cream cheese frosting! Will definitely be using this trick in the future.
I’m still working on experimenting with different non-dairy cream cheeses to find one that I love across the board. My favorite so far for cooking and baking seems to be the VioLife non-dairy cream cheese because it lasts a really long time and it still tastes great cold and pretty good melted. I love Kite Hill, but if you don’t use their cream cheese within exactly seven days, it goes bad on you. So until they fix the shelf life on that, it’s going to be really hard to get me to buy a $7-9 dollar tub if I know I won’t be able to use it before it goes bad. 🙈
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? How does your family like to spend Easter or Passover? What are some of your favorite vegan or non-dairy cream cheeses we should try next time? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗