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I’ve got some pretty fantastic people in my life, case in point: my roommates who put up with me and my idiosyncrasies on a regular basis, and who are kind enough to chauffeur me around on occasion, including when my flight kept getting delayed and finally ended up getting in at around 2am. Similarly, my mom, who took it upon herself to make aforementioned roommates a ‘gratitude pillow’ for their efforts. I love my parents, but sometimes the things they do baffle/embarrass me a bit. The pillow, while a lovely gesture, has an embroidered square on the back denoting it as a gratitude pillow to them from my mom and the date which we got a bit of a chuckle out of.  Anyways, the next time I had a flight, I deemed it a perfect opportunity excuse to make cookies (although really, is there ever a bad time to make cookies!?)  which were then dubbed ‘gratitude cookies’ (my poor mother!).

I am still not incredibly confident with my skills at gluten free baking, so I adapted this recipe from the ever fantastic Karina over at The Gluten Free Goddess. They turned out pretty darn fantastic if I do say so myself, and they stayed nice and moist for several days post baking, which is a welcome surprise for gluten free baked goods.

1 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil + 1/4 cup coconut spread + coconut milk (or 3/4 cup coconut oil) *See note*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup coconut milk until frothy
1 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced dried tart cherries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients (sorghum flour through cinnamon) in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients (coconut oil through egg replacer) until fully combined.  Stir into dry ingredients. When fully combined, stir in oats, coconut, cherries, and chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout dough.
Scoop dough into tablespoon or so sized balls and place on silpat, or parchment lined baking sheet. Press down to flatten and bake for about 12 minutes, or until just golden around the edges, cooking for a few minutes longer if you prefer a crunchier cookie. Allow to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before removing to a baking rack or plate.
Enjoy or bestow upon others as a token of your appreciation (but don’t forget to test one a few before you send them off!  😉 )

*Note* I wanted to use unrefined coconut oil to impart a coconut flavour to the cookies, however I only had refined oil on hand, so I used a combination of oil and coconut spread (which I think was basically coconut butter-quite dry) mixed with a bit of coconut milk to make it smooth. If you have unrefined coconut oil, feel free to use just that.

I’m also submitting these to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Kathleen

***Have you checked out our tea giveaway yet? There’s going to be two winners, and the prize is awesome!***

 

I ended up choosing to make cookies for my non-vegan potluck last week. These caught my eye a while back, with their festive colouring and this seemed like the perfect reason to veganize the recipe, which really wasn’t hard at all. As I was going for maximum vegan decadence I didn’t make any of my usual recipe alterations, so this truly is a dessert cookie; not much to go on in terms of convincing yourself that they are good for you (unless you want to go the antioxidant route- pomegranate and dark chocolate, knock yourself out! ;)). Alas, mine didn’t end up quite as pretty as the original as I opted for dark chocolate due to the general absence of vegan white chocolate in these parts.

Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from here)

1/2 cup earth balance

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

3 tablespoons water (or milk alternative)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup rolled oats (I used quick but I do think that old fashioned would be better)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (you could probably go with 3/4 of a cup – I found that I had an awful lot of chips that wouldn’t mix into the batter)

1/2 cup pomegranate arils

Preheat oven to 375F.

Place earth balance and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Whip (or stir with a wooden spoon- I was going for fluffy so I whipped them with beaters) until fully combined. In a small bowl, mix the first measures of baking soda and powder with the water/milk and flour. Pour into butter sugar mixture with vanilla extract and beat again to combine.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, stir to mix. Pour into wet ingredients in two or three batches, stirring between additions. Stir in chocolate chips and oats. Scoop out about tablespoon sized balls, squish five or six pomegranate arils into the ball and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for a minute or two to cool. You could also stir the arils into the batter with the chocolate chips to save time but the batter would likely get stained with burst arils.

So the verdict seemed to be pretty good regarding the cookies as people couldn’t believe they were vegan and they were definitely a plate real estate contender despite the other offerings being an eggnog cheesecake and a lemon poppyseed cake. A success in my books!

-K

I have a bit of a complex about feeding nonvegans vegan food if they know it is/I am vegan. I get all kinds of paranoid about how it’s my responsibility to show them that veganism isn’t all about eating lettuce and carrots and that it can be delicious and decadent and not at all restrictive. This usually winds up with me making some kind of dessert because really, who doesn’t like dessert/baked goods? Unfortunately that also usually means making something not so healthy, which doesn’t jive particularly well with my normal mode of baking where I try to sneak in as much good stuff as I can. I fear that I have ‘healthy’ tastebuds and even the baked goods that I think taste good (with flax seeds, spelt flour, etc.) won’t be sufficient for my vegan wowing aspirations. All that to say that I have an event on sunday which is causing me a bit of trauma in that department so if you have any veggie dish and dessert recommendations, let me know!

I baked this up to use up some of the colony of overripe bananas overtaking my kitchen counter and initially was thinking of going for a low sugar/stevia sweetened loaf but then remembered my sunday event and thought I could potentially bring this if I didn’t monkey with healthifying it. Alas, I think I need to get some groceries before truly beginning to embark on my amazing vegan recipe quest – currently the pantry houses no white sugar, a little bit of all-purpose flour (unbleached), and a smidge of brown sugar, no good! 😀

Anyways, those of you with fellow healthy tastebuds should be a-okay with this recipe, and really I don’t think it is that healthy tasting, but what do I know! 😉

Gingery Banana Bread

4 ripe bananas

1 cup brown sugar (or sucanat) not packed

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons minced ginger root

2 cups spelt flour

1/3 cups wheat germ

1/4 cup flax

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mash bananas in a medium sized bowl, add brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract and ginger root. Mix.

Combine flour, wheatgerm, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl. Add to wet ingredients in batches stirring between each addition.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Wait until the loaf cools to slice as it is quite delicate and will break (or just resign yourself to banana bread crumbles to top your oatmeal with the next morning! ;))

-K

Whew, VeganMofo is certainly a feast for the eyes! I have come across so many delicious looking things that I really want to remember, particularly with holiday goodies on my mind. I figured that a post of what I’m drooling over right now was in order (both for me and you- I always have a devil of a time trying to remember where I saw that delicious looking recipe)

First up, macarons!! How cute would chocolate macarons with pepperming filling be on a holiday tray? Or, peppermint and chocolate, chocolate and orange… (heh, do we sense a theme here with the chocolate?) I also think it would be fun to experiment with this recipe as a meringue; I was all exciting when I came up with the brilliant idea of a pumpking meringue pie, only to Google it and find out that alas, I am not quite the culinary trailblazer I had envisioned. Nevertheless, plenty of ideas about this one.

Cranberry Chocolate Tartelettes, yes please! How pretty and unique would these be on a holiday cookie tray, or baked up into a big tart for an end of meal showstopper?

Cranberry Gingerbread. Yum! I love fresh cranberries and this recipe is refined sweetener free and gluten-free!!

Chocolate Chestnut Tart. I love chestnuts and while I have never had them combined with chocolate, I am betting it’s a delicious marriage. Also, how pretty would this be sitting on the dessert table at a holiday meal? Or a slice of this while cozied up in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate/tea  and a good movie/company? Mmmm…

German Gingerbread Cookies, how adorable and the flavour combination sounds amazing!

 

Coconut Macaroons. I love me a good coconut recipe, and these look like the perfect way to try to replicate the non-vegan macaroons I used to love.

Not so vegan but on my list of things to veganize!!

Pomegranate White Chocolate Mousse. Sounds delectable! Love the stark contrast between white and red; I’m thinking making some mousse with just the white chocolate, and some pomegranate and swirling them in bowls/tartelettes.

Hope my American readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving with plenty of tasty food!

-K

 

I love the winter holidays and we are on the cusp of the Christmas season (okay, well if you ask the retailers, it’s more like halfway through) so my mind has been wandering to holiday cookies, warm drinks, festive music, and all things sparkly. These muffins are my first go at a holiday baked good this year, and I think we are off to a pretty good start. 🙂 Muffins are not just cupcakes without icing in my mind, they are a much healthier option and can even kind of pass as a breakfast-on-the-go solution, so while these are no bowl of flax topped oatmeal, they certainly aren’t your refined sugar and fat laden coffee-shop muffin either. Boasting the vitamin packed goodness of pumpkin, iron from molasses, healthy fats from flax and grapeseed oil, and made with whole grains; I say go ahead and indulge!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (you could use homemade as well, just ensure it is fairly thick)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/4 cup cooking molasses

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup ground flaxseeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2 cups spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch each of allspice and cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all wet ingredients (pumpkin through vinegar) into a bowl and mix. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into wet until fully incorporated. Spoon into silicone muffin cups, or a greased muffin tin, filling them almost to the top. This, plus my batter sampling tendencies, gave me 11 muffins, but I think you could eek out 12 if you keep your mitts out of the batter. 😉 Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

-K

 

My trip at the end of October took me out to visit relatives on my maternal side of the family. My uncle has an orchard and sent me back with a big bag of apples (among other veggies, I may or may not have had to acquire another bag in order to lug all of my foodstuffs on the plane! :D) that I have happily been munching through. However, I decided that such special fruit needed to be used for more exciting purposes than snacks and oatmeal add-ins, which is when I came up with the glorious plan of making apple caramel bars.

Think a peanut butter oatmeal crust topped with a delicious spiced caramel apple mixture. Oh it was a glorious fall treat in my minds eye, alas, in real life I had some issues. I made a peanut butter oatmeal cookie-like dough, pressed it into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan and cooked it up for about 20 minutes until it was browned. In the meantime I thinly sliced up three of the gifted apples, tossed them with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, and got to work on the caramel. I used the caramel recipe from Ricki’s Sweet Freedom cookbook . It was this step where I started to run into trouble. I don’t have a candy thermometer (well, that’s a lie, I found out post baking adventure that our household actually does have one, but for the purpose of the story, no candy thermometer) but figured I could go by her description of the consistency and the times listed just fine. Once my caramel got to that stage, I wanted to pour it over the apples that were spread on top of the crust, unfortunately my timing was poor and the crust wasn’t ready yet. When all parts were finally ready the caramel was past the pouring stage so I kind of spooned globs over the apples and hoped for the best, despite the fact that the bit I had nibbled off the spoon hardened in my mouth rather quickly. Fortunately after another stint in the oven, the caramel did soften up a bit more, though not enough to spread around and glue all the apples onto the crust. Anyways, after all that it was pretty darn tasty, although not the most photogenic (see below). I would like to give it another go because I think in theory it is quite a workable recipe, but I am giving it a bit of a rest for now. Let me know if any of you give it a try, or have a similar recipe. 🙂

-K

Well it certainly seems like my recipe crafting abilities are most easily adapted to cookies (not that I’m complaining! ;)) These here cookies are my contribution to this months SOS roundup using tahini. I loved the idea of using tahini in a peanut butter style cookie recipe and cranberries seemed like a good match flavourwise, although had I had chocolate chips they would be in there too.  While these certainly aren’t the most healthy cookie out there, tahini does boast some pretty decent nutritional stats and makes these cookies nice and moist and chewy (maybe not a plus for Eve and other crunchy cookie folks, but for the rest of us, super yummy!) so get eat up and just remind yourself that these cookies are contributing to your daily calcium, copper, and EFA intake.

1 cup spelt flour

1 cup rolled oats (I used quick cooking but I am sure you could use old fashioned as well)

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1 cup brown sugar (or Sucanat, for an unrefined substitute)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp ground flaxseeds

1/4 – 1/2 cup water or nondairy milk

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350F. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside. Stir together tahini, oil, sugar, vanilla, and flax until fully combined. Add flour mixture in small batches, stirring between each addition. When it is all combined you will likely have quite a dry mixture. Add water/milk until you get a moist dough that holds together (mine still looked borderline too dry but when I rolled it into a ball it held together). Stir in cranberries. Scoop out a tablespoon or so of dough at a time and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Enjoy!

-K

Just squeaking in at the end of the month here (speaking of which, where the heck did September go!?) with another recipe to add to the SOS Challenge.

It seems fitting, to me at least, that this recipe is based off of one from Ricki’s Sweet Freedom cookbook. I changed up the ingredients a bit to better suit the contents of my pantry, but also to fit with the fall harvest idea I was going with; apples, carrots, cranberries, oats, caramel, cinnamon – all perfect fall ingredients. These cookies are very moist and chewy, not too sweet, and pretty healthy as far as cookies go.

Fall Harvest Cookies (adapted from Sweet Freedom by Ricki Heller)

¼ cup each grated carrots and apple

½ cup brown rice syrup

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup dried cranberries

1 cup spelt flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp five spice powder

1 cup rolled oats (not old fashioned)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine ingredients up to, and including, cranberries in a mixing bowl and mix. Pour flour, baking soda, baking powder, spice powder, and oats into a separate bowl and combine. Add dry ingredients to wet and fully incorporate. Take spoonfuls of batter and drop onto cookie sheet, flattening tops (and smoothing edges and bumps if you’re stupid picky about the appearance of your cookies like me) before baking. Bake for 10 minutes rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove and let cool on cookie sheet (they are quite soft and crumbly straight out of the oven, so you are apt to break them if you start messing with the cookies right away).

-K

I know, I know, I’m not sure I am quite ready to accept the coming of fall yet either, but when apples go on sale, I buy them. With a bag of apples sitting in my crisper and a hankering for dessert, this recipe was concocted. I am not a big fan of the amount of oil that goes into the topping of most crisp recipes but previous attempts making low fat crisps have been decidedly uncrisplike. Enter my hero- peanut butter! Who doesn’t like the combination of apple and peanut butter? Thus this crisp has a peanut buttery topping (which I am sure others have done, but allow me to avoid google for the time being and bask in my creativity)

3 apples, diced (I used granny smith)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups rolled oats (I liked it better when I made it with old fashioned)

1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar (taste for sweetness and adjust, I used 1/4 cup) or maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup maple syrup the second time I made this, however the crisp ended up softer, and remember to adjust your amount of milk accordingly for the increase in liquid)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

almond milk (I used about 1/4 cup)

Preheat your oven to 375F. Combine chopped apples and cinnamon in a small casserole dish. Stir oats, sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Warm peanut butter to make it  runny, stir in vanilla extract. Stir peanut-vanilla mixture into oats. Add almond milk until the ingredients clump together. Top apples with crust mixture and cover. Bake for about 30 minutes (or until apples are soft), remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes or so to allow the oats to crisp up.

Serve, preferably with ice cream! 😉 I kept meaning to make up some banana soft serve to have with this, but it didn’t end up happening before the crisp was all gone.

I am submitting this to the September Sweet or Savory Challenge hosted by the lovely Ricki of Diet Dessert and Dogs and Kim of Affairs of Living.

-K

My coworkers and I were invited out to a picnic a few weeks ago and while the property is gorgeous and right on the river, I think my favourite part was all of the food-bearing plants it had. The property boasted two vegetable gardens, countless fruit trees, and blackberry bushes and the two dogs that reside there were pretty cute too! 😉 The owners are some of the nicest people I have ever met and knowing I’m vegan, insisted on sending me home with some goodies from their gardens. ‘Some’ is perhaps an understatement though, as I came back with two bags full of zucchini, beets (with greens!), cauliflower, potatoes, kohlrabi, and plums that resulted in a very full fridge! After a failed beet green smoothie adventure, I let the remainder sit in the fridge until I could do them justice, which happened to be in the form of this healthy soup that I came across in a recent cookbook perusal. I am not sure that calling this Italian is correct but somehow the rosemary and balsamic vinegar combination tastes very Italian to me.

Beans and Greens Soup (Adapted from ReBar Cookbook)

1 onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

4 cups cooked chickpeas

3/4 cup diced, canned tomatoes

greens from two bunches of beets, chopped

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Saute onions in a frying pan until golden, add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant (don’t burn the garlic!). Add chickpeas and tomatoes and enough water to just cover all the chickpeas. Bring to a boil then let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add beet greens and cook until just wilted. Add balsamic vinegar and salt (if desired, I didn’t feel it needed any) to taste.

As going to an event is a great excuse to bake goodies, I whipped up a batch of the cowboy/cowgirl cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. I used sliced blanched almonds instead of pecans and added some cinnamon and vanilla extract. Two thumbs up from me, and I think all the omnivores who were in attendance as well as they disappeared awfully quickly. I will warn you though that the recipe makes a LOT of cookies (granted I think it does say that in the book, but apparently I didn’t really believe them).

-K