Friday, April 22, 2011

Delicious Zucchini Biscuit Quiche

I remember when I was a kid, everyone used  "Bisquick" in their recipes . It was easy to bake with and the results were always crispy and tasty.


Last year, Bisquick came out with a gluten free version. Although I usually don't use mixes or processed products, I was tempted.

I had been reading gluten free bloggers who posted Bisquick gluten free pizza recipes, Bisquick muffin recipes, pies, etc. The recipes looked so easy and yummy. I just had to try at least once that magic box of nostalgia that is now gluten free.

So, I bought a box of Bisquick and it sat on the shelf and sat and sat. I really didn't know what to do with it. Finally, I got out one of my mother's forty year old cookbooks and sure enough there was a recipe for Zucchini Biscuit Quiche made with what else but Bisquick!

I'm sharing the recipe, and it is really good. I made it for brunch and everyone in my family loved it!  It was easy to make and just as tasty as I remembered, even tastier!

Next time you are looking for something special for brunch, try this recipe. It's easy to make, absolutely delicious and satisfying . .

Here is the recipe

1 cup biscuit mix ( or DIY Biquick Mix  at Morsels of Life Blog using GF flour)
3 cups zucchini , sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup organic carrots, sliced
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped ( I used red onion)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
seasoning to taste

Lightly mix ( do not beat) the biscuit mix, olive oil, and eggs. Add the sauteed vegetables and then the cheese. Mix again lightly. Put into a 9 inch greased pie pan. Bake at 350 about 35 minutes.
Assemble Ingredients

Lightly saute zucchini, onions, and carrots in olive oil spray  until somewhat soft

Mix Vegetables and Cheese Together

Place cooked vegetables and cheese mixture in a well  greased Pyrex or metal pie plate and cover  the vegetable mixture with the  Bisquick, eggs, and  oil  mixture.
Bake at 350 for  about 40 minutes

                                               Serve by the slice with asparagus and figs

Gluten-free Bisquick ingredients: rice flour, sugar, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), modified potato starch, salt, xanthan gum.

Because of the aluminum phosphate in the ingredients,  I probably won't buy this mix again . I don't like to use any aluminum products.  ** update- I found a recipe where you can make your own Bisquick Mix - just use gluten free flour and aluminum free baking powder- 

I will make the recipe again, but I'll  try to find a homemade recipe for gluten free biscuit mix. Leave me a comment if you know how to make biscuit mix from scratch.

The Zucchini Biscuit Quiche recipe is submitted to Go Ahead Honey , Its Gluten Free hosted this month by Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake The month's theme is "Springtime Brunches". If you click on the link, it will take you to this month's gluten free recipes.            

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

How To Reduce House Toxins

Where do toxins come from? 

Toxins come from the common cleaning Supplies that you buy in the supermarket. newly painted rooms give off toxins. New furniture is frequently treated with flame retardants and cleaners that give off toxins. 

New carpets give off toxins, as well as stained or sealed woods and plastics are treated with chemicals that release ongoing toxins into the air in your home or office which can be harmful to you and your family members, especially young children. 

In addition, copiers and ink can release toxic fumes into the air as well.. 

Common House Toxins and Their Sources

Benzene is released into the air from gasoline, inks, oils, paint, plastic and rubber. It is also used in some detergents and dyes.

"Benzene has long been known to irritate the skin and eyes. In addition, it has been shown to be mutagenic to bacterial cell culture and has shown embryotoxic activity and carcinogenicity in some tests. Evidence also exists that benzene may be a contributing factor in chromosomal aberrations and leukemia in humans. Repeated skin contact with benzene will cause drying, inflammation, blistering and dermatitis.

Acute inhalation of high levels of benzene has been reported to cause dizziness, weakness, euphoria, headache, nausea, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, tremors, irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness. In animal tests inhalation of benzene led to cataract formation and diseases of the blood and lymphatic systems. Chronic exposure to even relatively low levels causes headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, nervousness, psychological disturbances and diseases of the blood system, including anemia and bone marrow diseases." ( quoted from an article in a website called Zone 10 )

Formaldehyde is a very common toxin in most homes because it is used in urea-formaldehyde foam insulation and particle board or pressed-wood products. Grocery bags, waxed paper, tissues and paper towels are also frequently treated with urea formaldehyde resins. In addition, many common cleaning products contain formaldehyde.

"Formaldehyde irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. It is also a highly reactive chemical which combines with protein and can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The most widely reported symptoms from exposure to high levels of this chemical include irritation of the eyes and headaches. Until recently, the most serious of the diseases attributed to formaldehyde exposure was asthma.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently conducted research which has caused formaldehyde to be strongly suspected of causing a rare type of throat cancer in long-term occupants of mobile homes."( quoted from an article in a website called Zone 10 )

Trichloroethylene is found in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.

 Certain Varieties of House Plants can Help Remove Toxins from the Air!!

Although it may be difficult to avoid using some of these products, there are precautions you can take to help reduce your exposure to harmful toxins.

Scientific studies conducted by NASA and the Associate Landscape Contractors of America reveal that certain types of common house plants have been found to help absorb airborn toxins.

Results of the Plant Studies
information quoted from the following website:
  • "Gerbera daisy, Dracaena Marginata, Peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Dracaena 'Janet Craig' and Bamboo palm in order were the five most effective plants in removing Trichloroethylene concentrations from the air.
  • Gerbera Daisy, pot Mum, Peace lily, Bamboo palm, Dracaena Warneckei, English ivy and Mother-in-law's tongue are the seven top houseplants for removing Benzene concentrations in the air.
  • Bamboo palm, Dracaena 'Janet Craig', Mother-in-law's tongue, Dracaena Marginata, Peace lily, green Spider plant, and golden pathos are seven of the top plants for removing concentrations of Formaldehyde in the air.
  • 15-20 are needed plants are needed to purify an 1,800 square foot house.    

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat disease. Always check with your doctor if you need medical treatment or before making any changes in diet or lifestyle.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reduce Belly Fat With Greens

Reduce Belly Fat with Dark Leafy Greens. 

Here's why.

 According to an article by Therese Patterson, from Edible Nature Organic Foods, "The body retains fats as a way to protect the vital organs in the body from the toxins that we ingest (and create through stress). Body fat accumulation, especially around the mid section, is a visible sign of toxic build up and a good indication that the liver is not functioning as efficiently as it should.

If toxins build up faster than they can be eliminated, in an attempt to protect your organs, your body will actually make body fat for the specific purpose of storing toxins as far away from vital organs as possible. This fat is particularly stubborn fat that is very difficult to lose unless you decrease the toxic load and you do something to help your body detoxify.

So when we detoxify and cleanse the body of toxins, we give the body a chance to repair and strengthen itself - and when the toxins disappear, guess what happens to the protective layer of fat...yes, that disappears too!"

Based on what research is telling us, it makes sense to include more greens in your diet. Greens are powerful detoxifiers that encourage the body to eliminate fat. As long as you have toxins, you will probably have excess fat, especially around the belly. Toxins can come from a variety of sources including foods that we eat or drink, environmental exposure, dental treatments or medical treatments, and stress. Eating plentiful helpings of fresh dark green vegetables can help rid your body of unwanted toxins and in turn unwanted fat.

Greens = Energy

Dark green foods, like arugula, cilantro, kale, collard greens, broccoli, broccoli raab, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spring mix, etc. are all powerful detoxifiers. Include a plentiful helping of dark leafy raw greens in your diet at least twice a day. Also, Chlorophyll, the green pigment found in green plants, absorbs energy from the sun during the process of photosynthesis. This energy becomes available to us when we eat dark greens.

                 Recipe for cashew and arugula salad 

eat these raw for greatest benefit !

Reasons why  dark leafy greens help with weight loss.

High in Fiber: Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of fiber which is needed to maintain proper elimination to maintain weight loss

Energizing Nutrients: Dark leafy greens are loaded with health giving nutrients like iron, magnesium, vitamin A & vitamin C which are needed to help carry oxygen to the brain so you can feel energized. When we feel energized, we are less likely to be looking to stimulants like chocolate or fattening carbohydrates to give us energy.

Low in Calories and Carbohydrates: Greens are very low in calories and carbohydrates which makes them a perfect food for weight loss while supplying essential health giving nutrients.

Antioxidants and Flavonoids: This is a bonus; Dark Greens also provide antioxidants and flavonoids which help fight free radicals in the body. What do free radicals do? Free radicals can cause cellular damage in the body. Cellular damage can open the door to premature aging and a variety of diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants and flavonoids are nature's way to fight free radicals in your body. Generous helpings or dark leafy greens provide you with a generous supply of nature's antioxidants. Choose organic greens to avoid pesticides and chemicals.

Detoxifies the Blood Stream: Dark leafy greens contain the pigment chlorophyll, which gives greens their dark green color. This pigment absorbs energy from the sun during photosynthesis and is a wonderful cleanser to help detoxify toxins out of our system. Because the body holds onto excess fat in an effort to defend itself against toxins, it makes sense that the more dark leafy greens you consume to eliminate toxins, the less fat your body will need to accumulate for protection.

Boosts the Immune System: Dark leafy greens provide potent antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.

Amino acids: Another component weight loss is building muscle. The amino acids in greens are the very building blocks needed for the body to make protein, which of course is needed to build strong muscle.

Aids Digestion: Greens also stimulate enzyme production which is needed for proper digestion of foods. If you digest your foods properly, this may help eliminate bloat, puffiness and even allergies related to improper digestion of foods. When you are bloated, puffy and have allergies, you tend to hold onto water weight.

Dark leafy green like kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, arugula, watercress, dandelion greens etc. are wonderful internal cleansers, provide protective antioxidants, nutrient dense vitamins and minerals and can even help you lose weight. Nature's dark leafy greens can help you cleanse your body of the toxins you have been storing and accumulating from heavy foods . When it comes to greens, I always look for organic. Most supermarkets now carry a good selection of organic greens If you have difficulty finding them at your local supermarket, Whole Foods carries a full selection.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational reasons only. I am not a medical doctor and am not trying to diagnose or treat disease. Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Fresh and uncooked is the best way to get the full benefit of dark greens. Or cook them lightly just until wilted and serve. Include more beneficial greens into your diet.

               Click Here for recipe : Kale and Blueberry Salad with orange dressing - my favorite

6 Ways to Eat More Greens:

Green Smoothie: This is one way to take advantage of the full benefits that greens have to offer. Make a green smoothie for breakfast or a snack any time of the day. Green smoothies are basically fruit smoothies with greens added to them. Since greens are digestible with just about any other food including fruits, this is a perfect energizing, nutrient giving, detoxifying drink.

Recipe:  2 bananas, 4 soaked dates, 4 ice cubes, 6-8 oz water and 2 stalks of raw collard greens or kale in blender. Mix and drink.

Green Juice: This requires a professional juicer like Mr. Juicer .

Recipe: Juice 2 whole carrots, 1 peeled cucumber, quartered, 2 large leaves  of kale, and 2 large leaves of dark green romaine lettuce. Add 1/4 cup of water before drinking. Incredible for you!

Salads : Use a mix of all kinds of organic dark green leafy greens and add chopped cilantro, parsley, arugala, dill, watercress etc. Add dressing of lemon juice & olive Oil or flax seed oil. Great detoxifier and cleanser.

Kale Salad: Mix 1 bunch of organic kale torn into pieces and 1/2 red onion, chopped fine. Add 1/3 cup lemon juice , 3 Tbsp olive oil, and sea salt. Toss and eat. Great way to eat raw greens. Chew well.

Broccoli Raab and Garlic :

Recipe: 2 pounds of broccoli raab, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, olive oil spray and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Spray pan with olive oil and add olive oil. Saute garlic slightly, add washed and trimmed broccoli raab and toss until well wilted, but still green. Tastes incredible.

Cilantro: Fresh cilantro helps remove heavy metals from your body. Add it to all your salads and green juice Try it in omelets and add to other vegetables.

Click here For information about how to make : Lunch in a Jar

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zucchini and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce for April in the Raw

spiralized zucchini pasta and sauce

I'm posting  one of my previous raw food recipes zucchini pasta and sun dried tomato sauce to the April in the Raw blog event.

Raw food is so healthy. I try to incorporate as much of it as possible into my diet.
I drink freshly made juice each morning.  I juice romaine lettuce, carrots, celery, cucumber, beets, and kale in my juicer.  I love fresh vegetable juice because it doesn't have to be digested like food and is nutritionally available within minutes to my body.  I drink it on an empty stomach to allow the fresh enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to flood into my system and nourish all the cells.I feel like I am drinking "green magic." read more about how and why to juice.

I also eat a raw green leafy salad greens and a variety of colors to reap the benefit of a wide spectrum of antioxidants daily. I eat red peppers, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red cabbage, green cabbage, , carrots etc. to give myself the nutritional benefits that only a rainbow of colors can provide.

Previous raw recipe posts

Pickled onions  

Zucchini pasta and sun dried tomato marinara sauce

Endive Salad

Red and Orange Cabbage Slaw

Broccoli slaw with raw nut dressing ( I called the recipe amazing salad with quinoa; omit the quinoa for a raw recipe)

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Delicious Tomato Soup

 If you like tomato soup, you will love this one.

bowl of tomato soup

This is a light soup that is perfect for the spring and throughout the summer. This recipe is delicious, rich, flavorful, and healthy . It is one of those soups that you keep coming back for more because it tastes so good and comforting. It is easy to make, and a batch can be whipped up in less than an hour . For a heartier soup, add cooked Basmati after blending..Serves 4 .

2 tablespoons butter ( or olive oil )
1 medium onion, diced
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 and 1/2  -28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes ( I use Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes in the winter) or 6 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil ( optional)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh parsley
Salt and  pepper
1 cup milk, coconut milk, or Greek Yogurt blended at end ( optional)

Saute onion and carrots in the butter in a dutch oven skillet over a low flame until the vegetables begin to be tender.  Add the diced tomatoes and olive oil, stir well and saute together for about 3-4 minutes.  Add vegetable stock, and parsley and simmer for about 15 minutes covered. Allow to cool, add the milk if desired and blend (divide into 2 batches) in a Vitamix or strong blender.

Reheat before serving.

Step by Step Pictures
Assemble Ingredients ( I used canned organic diced tomatoes because it's winter)  or use fresh chopped

Saute onions and carrots in butter ( or olive oil)

Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, parsley and olive oil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes

Blend in Vitamix or blender
Yum , this is one good tomato soup ( I did not add coconut milk in this picture)

Serves 4

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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.

Author: Judee Algazi

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

13 Convincing Reasons to Eat Bananas

Healthy Tips Thursday
In addition to posting gluten free recipes, I will now be posting healthy tips every Thursday.

You may have heard the old saying that " an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well apples are not the only healthy fruit. Bananas are highly nutritious as well.  Here are thirteen convincing reasons to start including bananas in your diet.

1. Tired?
Bananas provide an instant energy boost, along with B vitamins, minerals and fiber
When you need a quick energy boost, grab a banana. What could be easier? They do not require refrigeration, they are easy to digest and are readily available. Athletes know this secret and depend on bananas and their added nutrients to fuel their bodies for strenuous exercise. Just two bananas can provide enough energy to sustain a 90 minute workout. Their B vitamins nourish the nervous system, minerals aid muscles and fiber helps lower cholesterol and is a factor in healthy elimination. So, next time you need a quick energy boost, forget the granola bar and grab one of nature's snacks, a health giving satisfying banana.

2. Stress lowers potassium levels; Bananas restore potassium and thus relieve stress:
Bananas contain a substantial amount of potassium, a vital mineral that helps regulate heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain, and normalizes the body's water balance. When we are stressed, the metabolic rate automatically increases and this in turn lowers the body's potassium levels. Bananas are rich in potassium and can help restore the body's potassium levels.

3. Bananas can help lift your mood 
Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin . Higher serotonin levels in the brain can help you relax, improve your mood and make your feel happier. Eating a banana can help raise your levels. So, when you are feeling blue, try a banana before you delve into the junk food. The nutritious low calorie banana may be just what you need to help lift your serotonin levels and thus your spirits.

4.  High Blood Pressure?
Bananas to the rescue again. The banana is high in potassium and low in salt, making it an ideal for lowing blood pressure. The US Food and Drug Administration allows the banana industry to endorse bananas as a food that can help lower the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. This nutritious fruit is a power food when it comes to good health.

5.  Constipation ?
Before resorting to a laxative, first try eating two large bananas. The bulk of the two may help restore bowel function. Better yet, to avoid constipation, try make eating bananas part of your daily routine. Their high fiber content may help keep you regulated.

The natural anti-acid type properties in a banana may help relieve your heartburn. Why suffer? Try a banana for natural relief.

7.  Morning sickness?
Bananas have long been known for their soothing effects on eliminating morning sickness. Eating bananas between meals helps keep the blood sugar up and thus may lower the incidence of morning sickness.

8.  Hangover?
Make a banana smoothie using bananas, milk, and honey . This smoothie helps coat the stomach, re-hydrate the body, and balance blood sugar levels. Many say it works quickly and gives great relief.

9. Ulcers?
Bananas are the only raw fruit that can usually be eaten without distress for those with severe cases. Its soft texture and smoothness makes it an ideal food for intestinal disorders. It is excellent for coating the lining of the stomach which helps reduce irritation and neutralizes acidity.

It might be an old wive's tail , but they say the relief is in the peel. Many people say that by wrapping the inside of the banana peel over the wart and securing it in place with tape, they are able to get rid of the wart. However, use bananas that are somewhat green. The active healing compounds diminish as the banana ripens. If you wan to try it, soak the wart in warm water allowing the wart to soften. Rough the wart with an Emory board so it is better exposed to the banana peel. Cover the wart with the inside of fresh peel and secure in place with a large bandage. My nephew tried it and said it worked! Those who have used it say it takes at least 3-5 treatments but within 2 weeks their wart disappeared. ( Of course check with your doctor before trying this)


11.  Mosquito Bites?
Again the inside of the peel is to the rescue. Rub mosquito bites with the inside of the peel to help reduce swelling, itch, and irritation.

12.  Anemia ?
Bananas also contain significant amount of iron. Iron stimulates the production of hemoglobin in the blood which may help in the case of anemia

13. Looking for a tasty treat? Chocolate Covered Bananas
Try dark chocolate dipped frozen bananas.
Peel bananas and insert a popsicle stick in one end to halfway through banana. Freeze on cookie sheet until frozen ( about 8 hours) . Remove from freezer and dip banana in melted dark chocolate chips.

Bananas make great snacks whether eaten alone or incorporated into a smoothie, a muffin recipe, cut into cereal, dipped in chocolate or eaten on a sandwich with peanut butter. So, when you are tired and stressed instead of grabbing for a cookie, grab for a nourishing health giving banana. Your body will thank you.

You have always known that bananas are good for you, but you may not have known how much  they have to offer? Bananas have many qualities that are thought to contribute to optimal health. In comparison to an apple, they have twice the protein value, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice as many other vitamins and minerals.

Extra Tip: To keep bananas from ripening too quickly, separate your bananas. They ripen more slowly when they are separated from the bunch.

Disclaimer: This information in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose. Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

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This post has been linked to the recipe carnivals at   Thrilling Thursday,  Full Plate Thursdays, Cooking Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursdays, It's a Keeper Thursdays, Frugal Food Thursday, La Bella Vita , Katies Cusina , Fight Back Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck Fighting the Flu

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Apple Pancake Topped with Vanilla Ice cream

This delicious Swedish Apple Pancake Dessert is really easy to make. It's kind of like an oversized pancake and a simple apple pie, but its much simpler to make- even for the inexperienced baker.  In fact it's a great last minute delicious dessert.

I love any kind of apples, but I especially like baked apples that are laced with cinnamon and sugar making them absolutely sensational. The trio of ingredients is the base for this fabulous Baked Apple Pie  Pancake. There is also a recipe at the end of the post for non-dairy coconut milk whipped cream, if you would like to use that for a topping instead of vanilla ice cream.

This recipe is sinfully delicious and can be made rather quickly. Prep about 10 minutes ; cook time 15 minutes
 It is made with almond flour which is simply ground almonds. ( I get a bag of almond flour at Trader Joe's at a rather reasonable price or you can simply grind some almonds  in the food processor) The large apple pancake is then baked in the oven in a Pyrex pie plate for just 15 minutes.

Eat it right out of the oven while still warm topped with vanilla ice cream ,whipped cream, or make the non-dairy whipped coconut cream (recipe below) which is also very simple. If there is any pancake left, refrigerate overnight. Personally, I like it even better cold!

Dairy Free/ Gluten Free/ Grain Free

 Ingredients for Swedish Apple Oven Pancake.

2-3 Tbsp palm sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 apples sliced ( peel if you wish)
1/4 cup of apple juice

1 TBSP vanilla
3 eggs
dash of salt
1 cup cup almond flour
1 cup coconut milk ( or any milk or apple juice you use)
1/4 cup mini choc chips optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a frying pan with olive oil spray. Add sliced apples and spray apples as well. Sprinkle the sliced apples with a cinnamon and sugar mixture and the apple juice. Cook on low until apples begin to soften.( about 4-6 minutes).
Remove from pan when done.

While apples are cooking, mix eggs, salt, almond flour, vanilla, and coconut milk in a blender and mix well. ( add 2 extra T of sugar if you like things sweet)
Place cooked sliced apples in a Pyrex pie plate and pour the egg mixture over the apples. Add mini chocolate chips if desired.
Place in preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Picture Step by Step

Almond Meal from Trader Joe's or grind your own almonds

Saute peeled apples, cinnamon and palm sugar in olive oil spray

Blend eggs, vanilla, ground almond flour, coconut milk - blend

                                                 Lay apples slices in pie dish and cover with egg batter

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes ( version with unpeeled red apples and mini choc chips

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes version with peeled apples

Wan't a delicious non dairy (but healthy) topping? 

Try : Dairy Free Coconut Whipped Cream 
The dairy free whipped coconut cream is from another gluten free blog that has wonderful ideas. They provide pictures with a step by step recipe. Click here for their coconut whipped cream recipe Junior GF Chefs.