Fourth of July Panna Cotta

Fourth of July is only five days away! Can you believe it? I’m never totally ready for it to come because summer always seems to fly by in the blink of an eye after the Fourth is over. We don’t have any plans other than working a little that morning (I am anyway — not sure about Jesse) and keeping our kitties company in the evening. Our cat, Frankie, is terrified of fireworks and loud noises in general, but our other cat, Dutch doesn’t seem to mind much. Anyway, we want to be there for Frankie since she gets so stressed out. Poor kitty. During the day, maybe we’ll go for a bike ride or something. We’re playing it by ear.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a festive, healthy, and patriotic dessert to make, look no further. I’ve got you covered with this non-dairy Fourth of July panna cotta featuring coconut milk, blueberries, and raspberries. It has a hint of lemon flavor thanks to the lemon essential oil and tastes wonderful with the fresh berries.  If you don’t have access to the lemon essential oil, you can substitute lemon extract instead (1 tsp is probably enough, but it depends how lemony you want it). Strawberries would also be a great addition to this dessert if you want to add some extra red color and more berry flavor.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my summer “grain” salad with lemon tahini dressing. Watch the replay of the segment HERE.


  • 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is great and has no gums)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp cold filtered water
  • 1-1/4 tsp gelatin powder, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter
  • 4 drops high-quality, dietary-safe lemon essential oil (learn where to get therapeutic grade oils here)
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries or strawberries, for serving
  • Toasted slivered almonds, for serving
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes or chips, for serving


  1. Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin powder, allowing it to bloom. Set aside.
  2. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in the vanilla and honey. Once the honey is fully dissolved, add the gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon essential oil.
  3. Divide mixture equally among three individual size glasses or small bowls (small mason jars also work well). Place in fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
  4. Once set, top with desired amount of fresh blueberries and raspberries. Garnish with the slivered almonds and coconut.

Yields: 3 servings


Fourth of July Celebratory Dinner and Dessert

Well, Jesse and I had a pretty chill Fourth of July this year. Normally, we go to Bend to be with friends, ride in the annual ‘Freedom Ride,’ and have a crazy good time. We weren’t able to go this year for a few different reasons, so we stayed in town and did our own thing. We sat outside on the patio, relaxed and ate some good food, but no fireworks … we didn’t really care (we sure could hear ’em around the neighborhood though).

No drinks for me, but Jesse indulged in a few … and a few more! He was celebrating in his own way. Whenever I do choose to indulge in a beverage, it’s usually a small glass of Crispin Honey Crisp Hard Cider (it’s gluten free with no added preservatives or sugar!) or good quality vodka with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. One drink is enough to make me dizzy and tipsy (seriously), so generally I never have more than that, but on occasion I’ll have two. I very, very rarely drink though because I don’t particularly like the way it makes me feel. More often than not, I’d rather have a coconut water. I did try a (nonalcoholic) Tiki Juice though, which I wasn’t too impressed with despite the happy look on my face below. It’s made from rooibos tea and has different botanicals added to it – in this case, stress-relieving botanicals. It was the only flavor of the two available that didn’t have added sugar. By no means am I stressed right now (I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life!), but I still wanted to try it. Needless to say, I won’t buy it again. It was basically iced rooibos tea and I’m not a big rooibos tea fan in the first place.

Alisa with Tiki Juice
Me with my not-so-special Tiki Juice.

We had a spectacular dinner of grass-fed tri tip steak, which I pan seared in butter with salt and pepper and then finished in the oven, roasted asparagus, tossed salad made with lettuce from our friend’s garden and homemade vinaigrette, crimini mushrooms sautéed in steak juices and butter, and a dessert of fresh berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt (drained to make it even thicker) and a drizzle of honey on top. Oh, there was second dessert too because I found a recipe that I wanted to try pronto … almond butter freezer fudge. Thank you to Theresa Fisher’s blog for that one. It is awesome! Theresa’s recipe calls for peanut butter, but I don’t and can’t eat peanuts, so I used almond butter instead. I used 1/4 cup of honey, rather than a 1/2 (it calls for 1/4 – 1/2 cup) and subbed pure almond extract for the vanilla because I was fresh out. I also added one tablespoon of organic butter to the mixture for added creaminess. For ease of cleanup and cutting, I lined the pan with foil before pouring in the fudge mixture, which worked like a charm. Seriously, this is such an easy recipe and SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD … almost too good!

Overall, it was a pleasant Fourth of July and nice to spend it at home. How about you … what did you do for the Fourth and what sorts of goodies did you eat?

Almond butter fudge mixture
Stirring the almond butter fudge mixture.
Fourth of July feast
Fourth of July feast.
Almond butter freezer fudge
Almond butter freezer fudge.
Berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt
Local strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt and a drizzle of honey.