Cheater Key Lime Pie (Gluten Free!)

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If you’ve been following our shenanigans for a while then you’ll be familiar with my recipe for Key Lim Pie, which I have slowly perfected over time. It’s the Pie’s favourite pie that I make, so when his birthday rolled around this year I decided to do my best to make it again. The thing is, it’s been really hot, and I didn’t want to do much heavy baking. Also, LongJohn decided to go through the growth spurt from hell that week as well, so I had to make something easy that I could do while pretty much wearing him constantly.

I found a few recipes online for no-bake versions but one of them required the use of a frozen can of limeade, and the other was bottled lime juice and Cool Whip. While I DID still have leftover Cool Whip in the freezer from the pre-labour cheesecake, I was reluctant to cut TOO many corners. That meant that I was at least going to use real key limes in my recipe.

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And as Fussellette was staying with us at the time, we went with gluten-free Oreo-like cookies for the crust. This recipe makes two 9″ pies. Easy peasy.

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So start by chucking two packs of Oreos or Oreo-like cookies into your food processor with about 1/2 cup shredded coconut.

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Buzz, buzz, buzz. Then tip in about 1/3 cup softened butter and give that a whaz until you get crumbs that stick together when you press on them.

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Press the crumbs into two 9″ pie dishes and bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes. Let those cool completely. I did this pie over the course of three days, so the pie crusts were done on day one. If you really don’t want to bake at all you can buy a pre-made graham crust, but I like my key lime to have a chocolate crust and they really don’t have gluten-free versions of that at the grocery store near my house.

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Next, we deal with the limes. For two pies you’ll need 2lbs key limes. Grate the zest from each one. It takes for-freaking-ever.

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Next, you’ll need to juice them. This many limes should yield between 1 and 1 1/3 cups of juice.

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I did the grating and juicing while wearing a grumpy newborn. Pro tip: roll the limes between your palm and the cutting board before cutting them open to juice them. It bruises the little globule things that hold the juice and makes it easier for you to extract the liquid.

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When you’re ready to assemble (day three in my case), grab as well 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups Cool Whip (frozen), and 1 cup whipping cream.

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Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and stir to combine.

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Additional pro tip: frozen Cool Whip acts like a shovel and literally scoops all your liquids out of the bowl when mixing, so I would recommend breaking it into chunks first.

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Then you can taste your filling. I may have spilled some on the baby, but he was asleep and didn’t mind.

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Your batter will be whitish with green flecks. Totally not authentic, but nice and tart.

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Divide the filling between the two shells.

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Clean up your mixer after the filling explosion.

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Chill the pies for a couple hours until set.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Melting Moments

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This quick recipe produces a large amount of finished cookies with little effort on your part. I pulled it out of the Ottawa Citizen back in December. I think that due to their dense nature you could easily switch out the flour for a gluten-free option.

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Start by whisking together 3 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup cornstarch.

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Then get zesty! The recipe calls for the finely grated zest of 5 limes, but I only had 3 limes, so I added a large orange into the mix.

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In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat 2 cups butter until smooth and creamy.

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Then tip in 1/2 cup icing sugar and beat that until it’s fluffy and wonderful.

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Add in your lime zest, together with 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat that to combine the ingredients.

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Add in the flour and mix that until it’s all incorporated.

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Cover and chill the dough for an hour until it’s firm.

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When you’re ready to go, preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the batter and form it into 1″ balls.

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Plop those on the baking sheets (they won’t expand much so you can put them pretty close together).

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Bake those suckers for about 10-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to brown. Remove them from the heat and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

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Grab 1/2 cup icing sugar and dump it in a bowl. Roll the still-warm cookies in the sugar and set them on a wire rack to cool completely.

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Roll the cookies again when cool in another 1/2 cup icing sugar and serve. I’d recommend serving them with a beverage, as they tend to fuse people’s mouths shut when they eat them!

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Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

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When I saw this sugar scrub on The Idea Room I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up modifying it a little bit to suit my personal taste, but the end result is just as delightful: a luxurious scrub that eliminates the need for post-shower moisturizing and makes you smell absolutely edible. And if you feel you need to actually taste the scrub because it smells so amazingly, I won’t judge. I may have eaten a small amount myself (it’s yummy!).

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Start with a little bit of unsweetened dried coconut, about 1 tablespoon coconut in total.

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Give it a good whaz in your spice grinder or food processor until it forms fine crumbs. These will be great exfoliants.

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Mix the ground coconut with 1 cup granulated sugar in a bowl, together with about 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (you’ll use 1 whole lime, if you double the batch, which I did).

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Give that a good stirring, then drop in about 8 drops of your favourite essential oil (that matches with limes and coconuts, of course – I went with lemongrass, to offset the sweet fruitiness of the citrus). I also squeezed the lime I had zested, adding maybe 1 tablespoon lime juice to the mix.

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Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and pour that into the sugar.

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Stir until you have this lovely grainy wet sandy kind of thing. By now you are probably also hungry because of how amazing it smells.

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Scoop that fluffy luxury into wee jars to give as gifts or to keep selfishly for your own use.

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I gave all mine away but I’m definitely making this again!

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Three Bean Mexi Salad

Three Bean Mexi Salad

This is a quick and colourful summery salad you can serve at any time, as a side dish and as a standalone meal. It’s easy and appetizing and full of flavour. And, as it’s Labour Day, you should take a break, and enjoy this simple salad.

Start with your beans. Crack open a can each of black beans, red kidney beans, and white navy beans. Or whatever beans you like, really.  Drain them and give them a rinse in a colander. Set that aside while you chop up some veg.

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Chop up 2 red peppers into whatever size you think is appropriate for a bean salad.  Who am I to tell you what to do?

Three Bean Mexi Salad

Do the same with 2 jalapeños.  Be careful not to touch your eyes while you’re doing this.  I like to mince mine up super fine.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

Chop up as well 1 red onion.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

And slice up about 4 green onions.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

Huck all those things in a bowl with your beans, and add to that about 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

For the dressing, start by mincing up a huge bunch of fresh cilantro.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

Drop that in a bowl with a few cloves minced garlic and the juice and zest of 1 lime.

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Add to that 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, a dash of salt and pepper, another dash of hot pepper sauce, and 1 tablespoon ground cumin.

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Mix that all together, then add in 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup red wine vinegar.

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Dump that on top of your salad and toss until well combined.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

This salad is best if you cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight to let the flavours mingle.  Serve it cold.

Three Bean Mexi Salad

Coconut Lime Oat-y Cookies

Happy birthday to Stef and to Thidz!Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 14

Papa John and Mrs. Nice are staying with us for a couple of weeks and Papa John is a cookie fiend so I figured I’d whip up a batch of something a little bit different to keep him occupied for a while.  This recipe is adapted from one I found in Everyday Food.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

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Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup butter with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar.

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Beat them for about 4 minutes, until fluffy and pale.

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Slide in 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons vanilla, and 1 250g package plain cream cheese (at room temperature) and beat that up as well.

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Beat in the flour mixture gradually, then mix in 1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut (you can toast this ahead of time if you wish — I didn’t).

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And 2 tablespoons freshly grated lime zest.

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Aaaand 1 1/2 cups rolled oats.

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Get that all combined.

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Use a soup spoon to dollop quantities of dough onto your baking sheet.  They won’t spread too much but leave lots of space around them in any case.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, for 12-14 minutes.

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Leave on the pan for a few minutes after removing from the oven so the cookies can solidify, then carefully scoop them onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Seal in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

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Fruity Oat Muffins (Gluten-Free!)

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Fussellette sent me this gorgeous recipe from the CBC and I had to try it out after listening to her rave about the results.

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The best part about this recipe is that it’s flexible — you can change the flavours around by changing up the fruit you’re using, even using fruit-flavoured yogurt if that’s what you have on hand.  I’d also like to play with the flours a bit, maybe swapping in some coconut or almond flour if appropriate.

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Preheat your oven to 375°F and spray or line a muffin tin with paper cups. I recommend paper cups for these, because gluten-free baked goods tend to like to stick to what they’re baked in.

Take 1 cup oats (if you have a sensitivity, make sure they’re gluten-free), and pulse in a food processor until they’re all fine and powdery.  Plop that in a large bowl.

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Add to that 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, 1/3 cup corn starch, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.  Whisk that all together.

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Then add in 1/2 cup each dried cherries, dried cranberries, and golden raisins.  I had this multi-pack with all those in it already, so I chucked that in, together with some chopped dried apricots.

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In another bowl, rub 2 teaspoons orange zest and 2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used 4 teaspoons orange because I had no lemons) into 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

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Whisk in 2 large eggs, then 1 1/4 cups Balkan-style plain yogurt1/3 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 teaspoon cider vinegar.

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Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir only until just combined.  It will seem lumpy but don’t fret.  If you stir it too much you’ll end up with flat muffins, which, especially in gluten-free recipes, is the opposite of what we want to happen.

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Spoon into your muffin tin (it should make 12 regular-sized muffins or 6-7 super large ones).

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If you end up with some empty space in your muffin tin, add a bit of water into the empty cups — it will ensure that your muffins bake evenly.

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Sprinkle some more whole oats and maybe some brown sugar on the top of each muffin.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch.  Allow to solidify in the pan for about five minutes after removal from the oven.  Use a fork to transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.  As with most gluten-free material, they won’t last long, so make sure to eat them or freeze them within a couple of days.

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Mango Key Lime Pie

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How much do I wish I was visiting my parents right now?  They’ve been in Florida since January, and they always offer to fly us down there every year when they go for a nice sunny break.  Unfortunately the university here doesn’t offer that Reading Week in February that most Canadian universities do.  Instead we get three days off, and then two days of midterms.  So leaving the country right now is out.  I did, however, see this recipe in the Globe and Mail and figured if I can’t be in Long Boat Key right now I can at least have some Key Lime Pie. Even if it doesn’t actually involve Key limes.

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I’m a huge fan of lime pies, and I’ve made two attempts to make my own.  They aren’t pretty, but they’re sure tasty. This recipe avoids the issue of having to deal with Canadian-sized cans of condensed milk (by adding mango as thickener), which means I can go ahead and only make one pie this time.  I also don’t have to grate and juice all those tiny key limes, which is a bonus for me.  I really hate doing that.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a 9″ pie pan, stir together 1 cup graham-cracker crumbs (I’ve used Oreo crumbs before as well, and it’s delicious, and I bet Nilla crumbs would also work), 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/3 cup shredded coconut (adds a nice texture to the crust). Melt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter and drizzle that over the top.

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Stir it all up with a fork and press it down into the pan and up the sides to form your crust.  Bake that for 10 minutes.

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Let that cool on a wire rack while you’re making the filling, and leave your oven on. If the crust has puffed up during baking (which it probably has), just pat it down again with the fork.

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Ignore the pie filling on the right that you haven’t gotten around to making just yet.

Take 1 medium-sized very ripe mango, peel it, cut it into pieces, and smash it up in a blender.

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Like, so ripe that when you put it down on something it leaves lines in the skin. We’re talking MOOSHY.

Take 1/2 cup of the mango purée and put it into a bowl (you’re supposed to save the rest for smoothies or something but I just chucked it all in, to be honest).

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Mango puree on the left, lime juice on the right. I did everything out of order.

Add in 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (this is like the equivalent of 2-3 juicy limes).  I grated one of my limes before juicing and added that zest in as well.

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Also chuck in 1 300mL can of condensed milk.  Sorry to all you folks who use 400mL cans.  You’re just going to have to figure something else out.  Or chuck in the rest of the can (which is what I would do — screw leftovers).  And when I say chuck the can in I mean chuck the CONTENTS of the can in.  Recycle that can.

Separate 4 eggs and plop 4 egg yolks into the mix as well.  I am going to use the whites to make meringue cookies to serve with the pie.  Because I’m that awesome.

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Stir what’s in that bowl until it’s smooth and lovely.  You’ll notice it’s not green.  Key lime pie is not supposed to be green.  Don’t let anybody tell you different.

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Pour that lovely smooth substance into your pie crust and bake for a further 15 minutes.  It’s still going to be rather un-solid in the middle but it will set as the pie chills.  Put the baked pie on a wire rack until it’s cool enough to chuck in the fridge.  Then refrigerate the thing for at least eight hours, and up to three days.  Honestly, try to wait that long to cut into it.  The longer you wait, the more solid your pie will be.  I promise.

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Serve cold with a dollop of whipped cream or meringue cookie.  Mmmm.  Tastes like summer.

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