Monday, January 30, 2012

Natural Hygiene Part I

As we all know, so many personal care products these days have chemicals and other unappealing things added to them. Antiperspirants contain Aluminum which is linked to Cancer and Alzheimer's. One of the biggest problems with antiperspirants is that they clog your pores and literally hinder your ability to sweat. Now I know what you might be thinking... "Makes it so you cannot sweat, isn't that a good thing?" - No, this is a bad thing. Your body needs to sweat, your body was created to sweat, sweating is one of the ways your body detoxifies itself and it is also a built in mechanism to help prevent over-heating. Mother Nature ALWAYS has it right, only humans try to defy Mother Nature... but we were created and built a certain way, these are things that help us, whether we like them or not. I love my body enough to not try and suppress what comes naturally to it. Smelling like a human is how we all came to exist. Without a potential mates ability to smell you, there would have been no way you'd get "lucky" back in the caveman days. Body aroma... Yes, Aroma, NOT odor! Is what allows us to smell natural pheromones, you know... those things that attract people to us.

I hate when people around me smell like an aisle in the store rather than a human being. I do not use deodorant, antiperspirant, perfume, cologne, body spray, spritz or other similar Toxic Fume Fumigation products. I also do not use conventional lotion, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, etc.

Now one might think, "Oh wow, this girl must really smell...."  - Not so, I use natural and non-toxic alternatives. I think I smell just fine and have never received any complaints from those near or far or otherwise. As a matter of a fact, I believe the "Odor" we know and associate negatively these days, just might be caused by the use of all these products. I have been almost Deodorant/Antiperspirant Free for a few years now, using it only occasionally, like 3-6 times a year. Now I am completely rid of it and all that much happier for the wise decision to love myself and care for my body. I think using deodorant/antiperspirants make you have body odor or make you stink quite honestly. As I haven't had a problem since I cut it out of my life. I also believe Shampoo and Conditioner strips your hair and causes it to actually produce more oil to compensate for the excessive and extreme stripping it is subject to.

Products like Toothpaste typically contain Silica and it forms a coating over your teeth, this coating is said to "protect" your teeth but in fact it does more damage in the long run by not allowing the minerals and enzymes in your saliva to remineralize your teeth. Yes, I said it... Remineralize your teeth, because they can and do when people allow them. Teeth, like bones, can heal to an extent but like most modern day money hungry businesses, they want and need you to depend on their products, their services, etc. to make them more money. However there are natural and alternative products available that are better for you than conventional ones and on top of that, there are at home alternatives that work quite lovely if I do say so myself. I'll give a few examples and uses of such alternatives.

Baking Soda
This can be used for everything from cleaning your house to cleaning yourself. Once monthly I give my teeth a good brushing with plain warm water and Baking Soda, it's like just leaving the dentist clean, I love it! I don't do it too often though because while it's great for removing hard to clean plaque, it can be too harsh to use more than every few days for some folks. Simply wet your Toothbrush with warm water and dip it in a bit of Baking Soda, pretty much nothing removes plaque build up like this method. Brush your teeth as you normally would and as with all brushing, keep it to under 2 minutes. There may be a slight stinging/warm sensation but this goes away a few minutes after you rinse thoroughly. I also wash my hair with it once monthly for a super, thorough cleansing. Simply wet your hair and pour a handful of Baking Soda in your hand, rub it around and through your hair, washing as you normally would, it will feel gritty but just keep washing. After a minute or two, rinse thoroughly. This may make your hair slightly frizzy as it's a pretty good stripping and without all the toxic chemicals like shampoo has, I think a good stripping once monthly is beneficial. I have also heard of many people using Baking Soda as an underarm dust, just patting it under their arms dry to absorb the sweat. This can be irritating to some with sensitive skin though and you should limit this to only a few times a week if possible. These are just a few of the things you can do with Baking Soda, as we all know it is an amazing cleanser and deodorizer as well.

Unrefined, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Another INVALUABLE item that I always keep plenty of on hand. It is so versatile you can do a dozen things with it as well. Aside from being one of the healthiest high-heat cooking oils, a healthy source of good fats and a delicious compliment to warm beverages. It also makes one of the creamiest, silkiest, all-natural, non-toxic Lotions you've ever tried. Simply dip a dab from the jar and apply to your skin, rub it in, it will melt from your body heat and a little goes a LONG way. It makes a great Conditioner for hair as this is how all the in-the-know Island Girls girls keep their manes so sleek and chic. Just take a tiny bit in your hands, let it melt, rub your hands together and then run your hands through your hair, no need to rinse. This is very nourishing and soothing for your luscious locks and again, a little goes a LONG way. Be warned, if you overdo it you may have to rewash your hair because it might look too oily. Another awesome use for Coconut Oil is as Toothpaste, you could probably mix a drop or two of mint, peppermint or spearmint essential oils in it if you want it to leave you minty fresh, simply warm slightly, add oils, mix thoroughly and store in an airtight jar for use. OR you could use it plain, nothing else added. Just put a small amount on your toothbrush, similar to the amount of toothpaste you like and brush as you normally would. Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil is great for Toothpaste because it possesses amazing Antifungal, Antiviral and Antibacterial properties in it. It also leaves your teeth feeling silky clean! Because of that fact, it is great to rinse your mouth with if you have Thrush, it's also Natures most perfect, medicated ointment for Fungal/Yeast related rashes. A little massaged into your nails daily is what hand models swear by. Many people just spread a tiny bit of this under their arms for deodorant and say it works well, I have yet to try this though, so I cannot comment. It has about a million uses, this really just touches on the endless topic of Coconut Oils awesomeness!

Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic preferably)
This make a great additive to baths as it really helps to naturally exfoliate your skin. It does wonders for cleaning and cuts grease like you wouldn't believe... but I use it mostly for hygiene. It works well as a very watery conditioner, simply add a tablespoon or two to a container and water it down, quite heavily. Pour it into your hair, let sit and soak for a minute or two and then rinse thoroughly. I've done this many times and it does leave your hair silky and healthy looking. Though the initial odor of vinegar is a bit hard for me personally to stomach. I prefer adding it to baths as I love the way my skin feels when I get out after that. This is also great to gargle with when you feel a sore throat coming on, just put a swig into your mouth and gargle as usual. It helps to kill the bacteria in your throat and stave off viruses, though it does taste quite powerful, it's worth it. Along the same lines, it makes great mouth wash for the same reasons, it really gets in between those teeth and helps to kill bacteria and germs. However you may want to do this and then brush your teeth with some Coconut Oil, with or without added Essential Oils, as this will prevent Apple Cider Vinegar from being the last thing you taste in your oral routine. The reason I advocate these things is because Mouthwash has a whole host of ingredients in it, read them sometime and then do yourself a favor and look into what those ingredients are and can do to you.

Castile Soap
There is some wonderful, all natural Castile Soaps out there, read ingredient labels and find one that suits you and your family. I personally use Castile Soap for most of my washing needs, I wash my hands with it, my hair with it, my body with it. Some people even brush their teeth with it, though I have never tried that so I really couldn't say what it is like. I can tell you that a teaspoon or two of liquid Castile Soap added to a Foaming Soap Dispenser 3/4's of the way full of water makes excellent all-natural, non-toxic foaming hand soap. You could follow a similar method for foaming body wash or foaming shampoo. I currently use a Castile Soap Bar to wash my hair, the lather in it is even far superior to the lather of what comes out of the foaming soap dispenser. Your hair will feel "gluey" after this, you can rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar as mentioned above or you could skip that. If you skip that, your hair may take unusually longer than average to dry, I personally blow dry my hair right after washing and skip the Vinegar when I am going out. It feels nasty but after blow drying it, it looks beautiful and shiny and clean and light and feathery, not frizzy or fly-away, just fantastic.

Other people dust their underarms with Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder but be warned, if you are prone to problems with Yeast Infections, especially of the skin, Corn Starch can make this problem much worse. Experiment, find things that work for you. Just reach out, look and learn all you can.

Do you have any Natural Hygiene Tips to share? Feel free to post them in the comments section, I'm sure we'd all love to hear them.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dressing Anyone?

Okay, so I know I said I rarely exit the realm of dessert but when I came up with this recipe, I really felt the need to share. I made it for my family and I for the first time yesterday and it was AWESOME!!! So I will call this "Awesome Dressing" and it has many universal uses. This dressing is sadly not for anyone with an egg allergy, sensitivity, intolerance or egg free diet for any other reason as it contains Egg Yolk. Now if your problem is only with egg white, you could probably still partake of this seriously amazing sauce. It came to me one day while eating hard boiled eggs after a failed attempt to make Mustard. News flash.... Ground Mustard Powder and Water to make a paste of Mustard consistency is NOT for the faint of heart. However my Dressing/Sauce is universal, very customizable and delicious as all get out, so it can be enjoyed by many people. It doesn't take long to prepare, it's simple and it is versatile enough to be used in a multitude of ways.

This picture doesn't display it's deliciousness as well as I'd like but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.
Awesome Dressing:

5 Hard Boiled Eggs
5 Tablespoons Water
3 Tablespoons Walnut Oil or Oil of choice but this may change the end texture if you use a solid oil.
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/8 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Mustard

Hard boil 5 very large Eggs, Jumbo if possible or maybe 7 Large Eggs. Let cool but do not allow to sit any longer than 1 hour or they will get rubbery. Remove shells and slice the Egg Whites open to remove the Egg Yolks. Reserve the cooked whites for snacking or whatever other use you can think of, I'll suggest one towards the end of this. Place the Egg Yolks in a shallow bowl and mash them with a fork, add 3 Tablespoons of Water, mixing until creamy. Put in all the seasonings and mix thoroughly. Vigorously mix in the walnut oil and then add the remaining 2 Tablespoons water and mix until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes and Suggestions:
If you cannot think of anything to do with the Egg Whites or you just really miss Egg Salad, you could easily chop the Egg Whites and mix with just enough Sauce to make Dairy Free, Mayo Free, Non-Processed, Healthy Egg Salad! You could also leave out 3 Tablespoons Water and 2 Tablespoons Oil and you'd wind up with a thicker result that you could fill the Egg Whites with, like "Deviled Eggs" without Mayo. This Dressing as is goes great over Salads, Braised Romaine Hearts or other greens. If you left out 2 Tablespoons Water and 2 Tablespoons Oil, it might make a lovely Dip for chips or crackers. You can use the dressing as is for a mayo replacement on sandwiches or rolls among many other things. With a little tweaking this could easily be turned into a simple "Hollandaise Like Sauce" - You can also feel free to change up the seasonings and spices to customize this to suit any taste or occasion, it can be made a million ways and I bet tons of them are yummy!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to comment and let me know how it turned out and/or what adjustments you made to it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fruit Roll Cookie Fun

This is perhaps one of my favorites and the most exciting by far. GIANT Newton Cookies? How could that be anything but awesome. They are delicious and versatile, I bet they could be made a million ways. I just discovered this wonderful cookie dough last night through experimentation and I love it. I am going to call the cookie dough "Anything And Everything Cookies" because so many things can be done with this dough. Just in this single batch, I made these Giant Fruit Filled Roll Cookies and a batch of Over-Stuffed Thumb-Print Cookies. I had no problems rolling this dough out, no problems with this dough sticking and that is usually one of the biggest pitfalls of wheat/grain/gluten free baking.

Not only that but they have got a great texture once baked. Let me try to describe it, in the Fruit Filled Roll Cookies the texture is soft, very, very similar to a newton cookie. It holds up well as long as you aren't squishing or being otherwise rough with the Fruit Filled Roll Cookies, in other words, a toddler might have this squished all over them but an older child or adult could easily and fairly mess free, hold these in their hands and enjoy bite after bite of their deliciousness. The texture of the same dough baked into Thumb-Print Cookies is sturdy yet soft, it melts in your mouth and both versions offer a very satisfying bite. At the end of this I will include a picture of the Thumb-Print Version as well as some notes, ideas and suggestions for anyone interested in trying to make these. Now... what you've all been waiting for.... the recipe!

Fruit Filled Roll Cookies:
Prepare dough and filling or filling of choice.

Anything And Everything Cookie Dough:
3/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup OR Honey, Agave OR other similar Syrup of choice.
1/8 Teaspoon Molasses
1/4 Cup Melted Butter OR Butter Substitute OR Oil of choice if doing Dairy Free.
2 Eggs OR Flax/Chia Eggs if doing Egg Free

In a medium to large bowl, add Tapioca Flour, sift in the Coconut Flour and Baking Soda. Add Almond Flour, Sea Salt and mix dry ingredients thoroughly. In a medium bowl whisk the Syrup, Molasses, Butter and Eggs until well combined and almost completely uniform in color. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon. The dough should begin to form a ball, mix well and fold dough into itself a couple times. Refrigerate the dough for 2 to 24, I left mine in the fridge for about 12 hours before I began making my cookies.

Raisin Date Filling:
1/2 Cup Raisins
4-8 Dates, Pitted
1-3 Tablespoons Water

Place Raisins and Dates in the food processor, process until chunky. Add Water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, pureeing and checking consistency in between each addition because you want it to be somewhat paste-like or jam-like.

Preparing Fruit Filled Roll Cookies:
After dough is chilled thoroughly, remove from fridge and place between two sheets of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/8th inch thick and remove top layer of parchment paper. Cut trim edges to make a oblong rectangle of whatever size you wish. Also, just because mine were giant doesn't mean you couldn't divide the dough in half to make ones more newton size if you wish. Whatever size you decide, just have it rolled out about 1/8th inch thick, trim the edges but make it twice as wide as you want your cookie. Spread the filling or whatever filling you use on half of the sheet of cookie dough, leaving about a 1/4-1/2 inch naked edge to seal them shut with. Once filling is spread, using the parchment paper to help you, fold one half over the other, I suggest folding the empty half over the side with the filling. Seal all edges, including ends shut to help prevent filling from spilling out during baking. Just seal the edges by pressing them together and smoothing out the seam, nothing special, no egg white or any stickiness needed.

Baking Instructions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Bake Fruit Filled Roll Cookies in whole roll form for 12-14 minutes, mine baked 13 minutes exactly but all oven temperatures and times vary. Slice Fruit Filled Roll Cookies to any desired size after baking and cooling slightly. Mine were not hot but still warm when I sliced them. If you chose to just roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls for Thumb-Print Cookies. I rolled mine, slightly flattened and then made a depression in the center. I filled them with a dollop of the Raisin Date Filling and baked them at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. So the baking time on them would be about 7-11 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes And Suggestions:
You could fill either of these cookie types with 100% Pure Fruit Preserves, Jam, Jelly or Spread OR Nut or Seed Butters of any kind. The Thumb-Print Cookies might be good with Chocolate or Carob in the depressions. I bet you could fill both cookies with just about anything. Be creative! If you are going to fill them with a nut or seed butters, you may want to do this after baking. You could also just make the dough into plain cookies if you roll them out and flatten them with a fork or spoon. You could then Chocolate or Carob dip half the cookie and lay them out on parchment paper to firm OR drizzle with Chocolate or Carob. You could also bake them plain and spread them with whatever you'd like to personalize each cookie after baking. There's Frostings, Butter, Coconut Butter, Nut or Seed Butters, Jams or Fruit Spreads, etc. OR maybe put a small scoop of ice cream between two cookies and try it like an ice cream sandwich. Another thing you could consider is adding items to the dough and baking them that way, for instance Chocolate or Carob chip, raisins, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc. Or you could also possibly try rolling them out on parchment paper and using cookie cutters to make shaped cookies, the dough held up so well, I think it could probably handle it. The possibilities are endless, let your imaginations run wild, explore, have fun!

Happy, healthy baking to one and all!

Update: (2-12-2012) I made these again and used Apple-Pear filling this time, I simply simmered Apples and Pears, pureed and sweetened them and then thickened it with some Tapioca Starch. It was a bit thinner than my first filling but still delicious! I'll add more photos for reference.

This is me rolling out my dough, cutting the edges smooth, on the left and then on the right I re-rolled the dough slightly and added my Apple-Pear Filling.
This is just prior to rolling over and sealing the edges to form the cookie roll.
------------ ~ * ~ * ~ -----------
On the left is already baked and sliced roll cookies and on the right are the Apple-Pear Thumb-Print Cookies that I make with the left over dough from this. You could do more rolls but my Mother is particularly fond of the thumb-prints so I make plenty of those as well.

I participated in the Nutritious and Delicious Blog Hop!
Linked to Make Your Own! Monday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That Really Takes The Cake!

Everyone will always run into an occasion where they cake and a good cake is not always easy to find. This cake is already fairly allergy friendly and can be made to be even more allergy friendly and tailored to special dietary needs. When holidays, special occasions and birthdays roll around, people typically think of cake as being part of the package. I know that at least my opinion, no special occasion is complete without a special dessert to help celebrate the moment. This cake is not only very healthy for being a cake, it is also easily altered to fit any diet and be allergy free. Might I say, it is also incredibly delicious! Light, fluffy and entirely satisfying. The Chocolate Cake, combined with the two types of frosting make this cake nearly gourmet, each bite an adventure as though every bite cleanses the palate before descending into the depths of yet another flavor. Okay... on to the cake!

Chocolate Cake
3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
10 Eggs OR Egg Replacer OR Flax/Chia Egg  (See NOTES below, on how to do this.)
1 Cup Melted Butter OR Butter Substitute
1 Cup Maple Syrup OR other Equivalent Liquid Sweetener
1 Teaspoon Molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil the sides and lay parchment circles in the bottoms of two 8″ or 9" cake pans and set aside. Mix the Maple Syrup, Cocoa Powder and Molasses in a bowl, whisk until well combined. It should look a lot like Chocolate Syrup. In another  bowl mix Coconut Flour, Sea Salt and Baking Soda. In a large bowl whisk 10 eggs, then mix in the chocolate mixture and mix chocolate/egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into pans and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cakes cool and remove from pans.

Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 Cup Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave, Brown Rice Syrup or other Syrup or a combination to equal 1 Cup.
1/4 Cup Butter OR Butter Substitute if doing Dairy Free
1/4 Cup Ground Pecans
1-1/4 Cups Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
2 Tablespoons Milk or Milk Substitute
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder + 2 Tablespoons Milk or Milk Substitute, mixed

Mix Maple Syrup and Butter in a sauce pan over Medium to Medium-High heat, stirring constantly until melted and combined. Bring to a heavy simmer, still stirring. Stir in the Milk, Ground Pecans and Shredded Coconut and simmer 2-3 minutes. In a small dish mix the Arrowroot Powder and 2 additional Tablespoons Milk together and then add to the Coconut Pecan Frosting Mixture. Continue to cook another 1-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool, it will continue to thicken more as it stands.  Spread this frosting between the two layers of the cake and of course, on top of the cake. It is too runny to frost the sides, it slides right off but the double frosting duo on this cake is what adds the extra special kick to it.

Chocolate Side Icing
4 oz. (1/2 Cup) Pure Bakers Chocolate OR Dark Chocolate of choice.
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (I don't know if you can substitute this, Palm Oil or other SOLID at room temperature Oil should work.)
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup  OR  Honey, Agave or other Syrup of choice.
2 Tablespoons Honey  OR  Maple Syrup, Agave or other Syrup of choice.
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Teaspoon Maple Sugar OR other Granulated Sweetener Equivalent.

In a sauce pan over low heat, melt the chocolate and oil, stirring constantly. Mix in the Maple Syrup, Honey, Maple Sugar and Sea Salt until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat, place in fridge for a half hour to 45 minutes. Check often to make sure it isn't getting too thick. Remove it from the fridge and with a hand mixer blend on high until light and fluffy. If it is too solid, set sauce pan over bowl of warm water and mix with hand mixer or let stand at room temperature until softened enough. If it is not solid enough it will not whip very well so you'll need to put it back in the fridge for  bit and check it again every few minutes or so. When it is the right consistency, it will beat well with a hand mixer and resemble whipped frosting. Frost the sides of the cake quickly with this because it doesn't perfect for long, it eventually takes on a fudge texture on the outside of the cake.

So... If all was done correctly, you have a beautiful, double layer, fluffy, grain free chocolate cake. With two gourmet, home made frosting blends. Chocolate Icing on the side and Coconut Pecan Frosting for the top and center. Now of course you could use any frosting of your choosing or if it is a frosting recipe you are after, one of these two might fit the bill. However be warned, the Chocolate Icing gets very stiff, almost like fudge or a truffle, as a matter of fact, we put little dollops of it into candy cups with the left overs and ate them as candy. Also be warned that Coconut Pecan Frosting is rather thin, so it is great for topping items but may not suit frosting the side of a cake well... which makes it almost ideal for cupcakes if that is what you are making. You could also easily turn this cake recipe into cups and top with either one or a combination of both frostings.  Remember...  The most important thing is to have fun with your baking... and what is more fun than a baking?

You use 1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseed whisked into 3 Tablespoons Water and allow it to stand until thickened to replace one egg. Yes... I realize you'd have to do this ten times but if you need Egg Free, if may be worth it... There are many Egg substitutes, Chia Seeds can be used in a similar fashion to replace Eggs, I have also heard of Mashed Banana being used to replace Eggs.

Please feel free to comment and if you make this recipe, let me know how it goes. Also don't forget to stop by the Suggestions page and give me feedback or make a recipe request. I am looking for new and exciting things to try making. More information can be found on the Suggestions page.

I participated in the Healthy 2Day Wednesday Link-Up!

Allergen Free Pudding... Could It Be?

I am not sure if anyone will be interested in these things or not but I love to cook and bake. I love to make traditional and nutritional  foods, with a specialty in Allergen Free Cooking and Baking. Best of all, I love making all of these things DELICIOUS!  Now this pudding is a bit of work but this post is 4 recipes for the price of one and maybe you found your way here only looking for one of these recipes, whatever the case may be, if you are after a tasty, Allergen Free Pudding, this is your lucky day!
If this seems popular or gets any attention at all, I will keep posting and providing wonderful Recipes and Articles on Traditional Foods, Nutritious Eating, Health In General and Allergy Friendly Foods.
On to the recipes!

Caramel Almond Tapioca Pudding
Egg Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Refined Sugar Free AND Dairy Free.  Astounding!

Prepare Tapioca
Pour 1/2 cup Tapioca Pearls (Not Instant Tapioca)and 3 cups water into a 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil,boil for 20 minutes, covered and allow to sit, covered for 30-45 minutes. Tapioca is done when all the pearls are completely translucent. Pour Tapioca into a strainer and rinse with cool water, running your hand through the Tapioca as you rinse them. Place Tapioca in a bowl and set aside.

Almond Milk
For homemade Almond Milk for the caramel, process 1/4 cup Almonds with 1/2 cup warm water and strain through a sieve or strainer. I used a coffee filter but it took so long I ended up having to "help" it along. You can then puree/process the remaining Almond Milk "Pulp" in your Almond Butter so it doesn't go to waste.

Prepare Almond Butter
1-1/2 cup Almonds 1/4 cup Maple Syrup, Honey OR Equivalent Sweetener of choice.2 Tablespoon Walnut Oil OR other oil of choice.
Pureed and processed in a food processor, until smooth and creamy.

Prepare Maple Caramel Sauce
1/2 Cup Almond Milk, Milk Substitute OR Cows Milk if you are not doing Dairy Free.
1/2 cup Maple Syrup, Honey or Equivalent Liquid Sweetener 2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute, Oil of your choice OR Butter if you are not doing Dairy Free. 2 Tablespoons Maple Sugar or Equivalent Granulated Sweetener 1/8 Teaspoon Molasses
Bring Almond Milk, Butter/Oil, Maple Sugar/Granulated Sweetener and Molasses to a low simmer over low to medium heat.
Once Milk mixture begins to simmer, add Maple Syrup and bring to a heavy simmer for about 15 minutes. Pour from saucepan into a Oiled OR Buttered dish to cool. It will thicken as it cools.

Putting Together The Pudding
In a bowl vigorously mix together all OR part of the Maple Caramel Sauce, I used 1/2 cup, with all OR part of the Home Made Almond Butter, I used 1/2 cup. Once completely mixed together, gently mix with the cooked Tapioca Pearls and you will notice it takes on a lighter, creamier color. If you prepared your Caramel Almond Tapioca Pudding with Milk Substitute and Butter Substitute, the pudding will be Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Wheat Free and Refined Sugar Free.

If you use only half cup of the Almond Butter Recipe, you could always use the other portion to spread on Breads, Bagels, Cookies, Buns, Rolls, Pancakes, Waffles, Crackers, etc. (Gluten Free, Wheat Free or whatever version you may need, depending on dietary needs.) I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I usually eat my remaining Almond Butter with a spoon before the day ends. You could also put it in the fridge for a bit and attempt to roll or shape it and coat or dip it in melted chocolate or carob.
The leftover Maple Caramel Sauce is AMAZING on Conventional OR Dairy Free Ice Cream, it also goes wonderful on Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, etc. OR if you are making the Almond Butter into Candy already, you could spread some melted chocolate or carob in some paper candy cups, fill with caramel and spread more melted chocolate or carob on top to make caramel cups. I am even more embarrassed to admit that the Maple Caramel Sauce is SO TASTY that I usually just drizzle little puddles into my palm and eat it straight out of my hand....

You could probably prepare this recipe with Instant Tapioca by following the cooking instructions on the box. You could also probably just use a 1/2 cup or more of store bought Almond Butter OR other nut/seed butter of choice. You could possibly substitute the Maple Caramel Sauce for plain Maple Syrup, Honey, Agave Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup or other similar syrup.
If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know what variations you used, if you followed it exactly or changed it up a bit on your own and how it turned out. Happy Allergen Free Dessert Making!