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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! The contest ends tomorrow, so go enter now! :)***

This past Sunday I made caramels, and took pictures! I also learned a few things along the way:

1) Making candy is exciting! Really exciting!

2) I can’t be around delicious candy without eating too much and slipping into a sugar coma.

3) Therefore, candy is best left un-made or shipped to unsuspecting individuals post-haste.

I used this recipe for salted caramels from CHOW, and made a few alterations. I used Silk coffee creamer for the cream, Earth Balance for the butter, and cut the salt back to only 1 tsp. to compensate for the salt in both those products. If you make them, make sure NOT to freeze the sheet of caramel ‘rock hard’ like the recipe instructs, because it will shatter everywhere if you try and cut it! Now, pictures:

Boiling the cream....

....and getting ready to add various sugars (and eventually butter/vanilla).

Boiling caramel with a desperate/ingenious thermometer grasp, and a wooden spoon/back of a spatula handle. Classy.

Scraping the caramel into a dish to set and harden....

...and form a most unwieldy slab!

The slab was portioned into ~1M. little cubes. The recipe claims it makes 85, but I know better. The hand I used to push the knife through the caramel still hurts!

I attempted (and succeeded?) to temper chocolate in my ghetto double boiler.....

....and make a rather unholy mess of the kitchen, and myself. I had chocolate everywhere from my forehead to my socks. True talent!

If I were a conscientious blogger, this is where there would be an amazing, out-of-the-kitchen photo of the finished caramels, but I can’t say I took any such pictures. 😦 Nevertheless, they were delicious, and I hope that the tin I sent to my family will be thoroughly enjoyed! 🙂

-Eve

***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

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here; trees were put up on Sunday to the Nutcracker soundtrack and yesterday the city got a nice white covering so we are all set. Anyways, for those of you in the U.S. thanksgiving is just around the corner (those of us up North are already in full-blown Christmas mode) and you are probably more worried about the upcoming big (birdless) feast so I have compiled a list of thanksgiving appropriate recipes for you if you are still looking for ideas to cook up.

 

Baked Goods:

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Orange Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread

Cranberry Tahini Cookies

Fall Harvest Cookies

Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

Sugar-free, Gluten-free Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Gluten-free Cranberry Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Dutch Apple Cake

 

Main Dishes:

Moroccan Rice and Squash Pilaf

Sides:

Sweet Potato, Carrot Soup with Tempeh

Raw Sweet Potato, Pineapple and Apple Slaw

 

Menus:

2010 Thanksgiving

2009 Thanksgiving

Here’s to good food, friends and family and the start to a wonderful holiday season! 🙂
-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

I don’t know about you, but I am quite the chocoholic! Thus when I came across both of these products I knew I had to give them a shot. First up, Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk:

What I love about this product is that it still has all of the nutritional additives that the plain almond milk (and soymilk) has. I always like it when I can tell myself good reasons to have a delicious treat (50% of your B12, go ahead, have another glass ;)). The fact that it is the almond milk is also really appealing; while I don’t have any real problems with soy, I would rather get my soy from products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh than from soymilk so I love that Silk has made that possible (a lot of the other almond milks don’t have the add-ins that Silk does – that may not be a deal breaker for you but I don’t take supplements so I like knowing that my morning milk substitute provides a good amount of calcium, B12, and vitamin D) and hey, I would never complain about having the additional choice of chocolate! 😀

As for the actual product, it is sweetened, but I didn’t find it overpoweringly so, and that along with the chocolate, brings up the calorie count to over double that of the original TrueAlmond (60kcals in the TrueAlmond and 130kcals in a cup of the Chocolate) so that is something to consider, if you are a calorie minding individual. That being said, they aren’t lying when they call it dark chocolate, so much so that I was happy to mix it half and half with the plain and still have a yummy chocolatey drink. I also took to heating it up and adding a drop of mint extract for a yummy mint hot chocolate experience. Mmmm!

So five gold stars, two thumbs up etc. from me for the Dark Chocolate Silk TrueAlmond. I definitely suggest picking some up if you see it in your store.

Next up, Vega Shake & Go Chocolate Smoothie mix.

This is actually not the kind of product I normally purchase, mostly because of the prohibitive cost. A bag of this is usually betwen $20-$25 around here and it contains ten servings, not exactly the most budget friendly product out there. I purchased this while I was out travelling, unsure of what kind of food I would find, so I figured having something like this that you can just add to water was a nice safeguard against living off of side salads, er iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots for 10 days.

Compared to the other flavours offered (Vanilla, Berry, and Tropical), the chocolate has more calories, but it also has more iron and calcium, two things I am generally concerned about how much I am consuming, and hey, it’s chocolate, so I really need any other reasons to choose it! 😉 The other thing I love about it, and all Vega products, is the impressive ingredients list:

Organic green pea protein, natural flavours, organic coconut palm nectar, flaxseed, hemp protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic green food blend (alfalfa grass, organic kale leaf, organic spinach leaf, organic broccoli sprout, spirulina), xanthan gum, digestive enzyme blend, and dairy-free probiotic blend (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum).

By itself, the mix does have a bit of a ‘healthy’ taste, but nothing too strong (I still though it was yummy mixed into almond milk). I would definitely suggest using it as an add-in to a regular smoothie rather than having it on it’s own, I thought it was quite a tasty addition to a frozen fruit and spinach smoothie.Aside from that, I also found it to be quite sweet, and initially thought it was sweetened with Stevia (which I find sometimes has a bit of an aftertaste) but the ingredients indicate otherwise. I also used it as a chocolate flavouring for the waffles I made in the hotel, stirred it into oatmeal with pears (mmm, chocolate pear oats), and mixed it into almond milk for a healthy hot chocolate; all tasty uses of the product.  

Overall, I would say it is a good product, although perhaps best used as suggested by individuals who aren’t epecting their ‘smoothie’ to taste like Nesquick. Mixed into a full fledged smoothie, I think it would be happily consumed by most and for the ingredients, I would say a good way to sneak greens into the smoothie of an otherwise reluctant greens drinker. 🙂 Really the big negative is the cost. For 10 servings, it doesn’t go far if you are using it regularly, and while the ingredient list is impressive for a packaged product, you can eat your greens fresh for much less than that.

-K

Okay, a bit late to the party here, but how about we just pretend I am early for American Thanksgiving, mmkay?

So, roomies and I decided to make ourselves a glorious thanksgiving feast. On the menu:

Butternut Squash Bisque

Lentil Loaf/Nutroast: Notes were taken in the making of this, it was lentil, mushroom and walnut based I think… 

Gravy from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Cranberry Sauce: Cranberries plus water and a bit of agave cooked on the stove until cranberries were mushy

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Roasted a head of garlic in the oven and added it to cooked potatoes with some almond milk before mashing it all up.

Brussels Sprouts: Cleaned and sliced in half and then baked in the oven with oil, salt and pepper

Pumpkin Cheesecake (Made crustless, largely followed the recipe except for adding an extra tablespoon or so of cornstarch, not sure if it made much of a difference, but once cooled, you could cut out a slice – see picture)

So here is my plate (actually I am kind of lying, this was a plate of leftovers, hence the lack of Brussels sprouts-they were decimated the first go around!)

And dessert!

It was most delicious, and quite lovely indeed to have a big group meal making effort and sit down (we normally do cooking and eating separately).

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, so here is my homage.

Source

-K