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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:
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! 🙂
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! ;))
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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:
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!)
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.