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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

 

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

Gluten-Be-Gone Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan! Pre-gluten free, I made the homestyle chocolate chip cookies from Vive Le Vegan on an embarrassingly regular basis. I still have the recipe memorized! (admittedly, it’s super simple)….

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to making Dreena’s gluten free version, because they are gooooood. And by that, I mean that they’re crunchy. To my mind, crunchy trumps chewy – sorry, chewy cookie folks. These are the first GF cookies I’ve made that have been even remotely crunchy, so I was very pleased. I bet if you baked them for less time, they’d turn out perfectly chewy, too. 🙂

If When I make these again, I might try a) reducing the sugar in them (woooooheeeeey are they sweeeeet! I froze them ASAP, so hopefully that will minimize any sugar-induced stomach aches), and b) use slightly less xanthan gum, as they were on the verge of being a little squidgey. I keep talking about the squidgey-ness off xanthan gum, am I nuts? I swear I think I know what I’m talking about……

Eve

I’m on a quest for the perfect gluten free vegan brownie. If you had suggested to me a month ago that such a thing were even possible, I would have laughed at you. (but um, in a nice way.) BUT, I have since had a perfect gluten free brownies. (From Fresh, if anyone’s interested.) The brownie in question was dense, fudgey, and totally decadent – I never would have guessed that it was gluten free.

So, for my first attempt, I used this recipe. Apparently, it appeared in Food and Wine magazine, and the article online leads me to believe the recipe is from Babycakes NYC. In any case, it looked promising.

Aren’t they cute?

My results were definitely tasty. (If anyone is interested, my 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour mix consisted of 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. sorghum, 2 tbsp. corn flour, 1 tbsp. arrowroot, and 1 tbsp. besan) Although they didn’t taste gluten free (hooray!), I found that they were more cakey than fudgey. They were very moist (a good thing!), but also, very tender, and almost fluffy -not particularly brownie like. In addition, (and it pains me to write this), they tasted vegan. I think brownies are definitely something where vegetable oil just won’t cut it. If I were to make these again, I think I might make these adjustments:

-addition of walnuts chunks, and higher quality chocolate chips
-less leavening
-maybe a tiny bit more xanthan gum, although I would start to be afraid of heading into ‘squidgy’ territory
-melted vegan butter in place of vegetable oil
-perhaps a couple of teaspoons of dried coffee

Any other suggestions? Has anyone found (or developed??) a good recipe for GF vegan brownies? I would love to hear! 🙂

-Eve

Like what the title says. I wish I had written down more of a recipe for these, but I’ll give you the general gist, since both these meals turned out really yummy.

Black bean, sweet potato, and corn something (chili?) with quinoa:

I used to lovelovelove chili, but then I met a can of kidney beans that (really!) didn’t agree with me, so I’ve been scared off of a) kidney beans and b) chili for over a year now. Anyhow, I wouldn’t call this a chili precisely, anyways.

This was flavoured with lots of garlic and onions, a little bit of chili powder, cumin, and plenty of chipotles in adobo. I read this tip on another blog (I can’t remember where!), and it’s awesome: when you open a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, fish out all the chilis, seed (if desired) and mince them, stir them back into the can of sauce, then divide the paste up into an ice cube tray, freeze, and then store the cubes in the freezer for later use. The cheeze on top is Sheese, and it’s one of the best vegan cheezes I’ve tried, taste wise. It doesn’t really melt (although it does do better than what it looks like in that picture), but it’s really tasty. For melting, Teese is definitely the best I’ve tried. I can’t wait to get my hands on Daiya!

This is cauliflower and tempeh curry (a rather inspired combination, if I do say so myself), with some stirred in millet. See how creamy it looks? If you ever want to perk up a curry, add a big glob of peanut butter, and let some raisins simmer in it so that they plump up. Peanut butter + raisins = very yummy curry.

At this point you’re probably all “Millet with curry? Quinoa with something that may or may not resemble chili?? Has this girl never heard of rice?” Something I’ve learned, eating gluten free:  if you don’t want to turn into a grain of rice, you really need to embrace the weird and wonderful grains that don’t get a tonne of love in the average person’s diet.  Plus, millet is really good! And cheap! What more could you ask for? Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably an old hand at this whole alternative foods thing, right? Varied diets = happy, healthy vegans. 🙂

And finally, a rather successful rendition of a gluten free chocolate chip cookie from Mary of Mitten Machen. Although mine didn’t spread out as nicely as her’s did, I think her recipe is definitely worth trying out! The taste and texture were very good.

Have a good weekend, everyone! 🙂

-Eve

Recently, we were contacted by JK Gourmet, a Canadian company that produces high quality almond flour and gluten free/grain free baked goods, including biscotti, muffins, and granola. They don’t sweeten anything with refined sugar, and are looking to expand their line to include agave-sweetened vegan products! Very exciting! We were offered a bag of their finely ground blanched almond flour to sample, and since I am gluten free all the time, K and I decided I should receive it. I had never tried almond flour before, and I must say, the baked goods that I’ve made with this flour have been incomparable in their rich flavour.

Upon opening the bag, I was surprised at how light and fluffy the flour was. JK Gourmet is so fine that the little bit I sampled alone almost melts away in your mouth. It is slightly sweet and nutty, with a mild and delicious almond aftertaste. Along with the sample of almond flour, I was sent a recipe for an apple galette recipe from the Grain-Free Gourmet: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Living cookbook. It was dark when I pulled the baked galette out of the oven, and although this isn’t a great photo (nor is my galette particularly photogenic), it was demolished (I had help!) before I could snap a better shot! I’ll admit that I was concerned that the almond flour would turn into a puddle of almond soup in the oven, but instead it baked into a delicious golden crust. The almond flour pastry remained very tender and was so flavourful – perhaps slightly like marzipan? My boyfriend, who adores apple pie above all else was more than happy to help me polish this off in record speed.

Next up, I knew exactly what cookies I wanted to bake with my almond flour! I had been eyeing this recipe for chocolate chip cookies from Elana’s Pantry (not veg.) for ages. Made with almond flour and sweetened with agave, these were much healthier than the average cookie. Despite that, they were the richest tasting cookies I’ve had a long time. The JK Gourmet almond flour created wonderfully dense, moist, and chewy cookies – so different from the usual crumbly gluten free cookie! As an aside, JK Gourmet almond flour is one of the few brands that Elana of Elana’s Pantry recommends – clearly, she knows her almond flour! I’m already thinking about my next almond flour cookies – maybe snickerdoodles? Yumyum!

If you would like to purchase JK Gourmet almond flour, you can click through to see a list of their Canadian retailers here, or you can purchase it online. In Canada, it seems to be fairly widely distributed, so keep your eyes peeled! 🙂

Thanks for the sample, JK Gourmet!

-Eve

Hello, blogging world! I’ve taken a looong break from posting – but not from reading! Fortunately, lazy summer blogging seems to be a popular trend, so I don’t feel too guilty!

I know most people are probably in the middle of some hot weather right now, and whether you love it or hate it (me, I’m fine as long as I don’t have to move. Ever. Cold showers are good too.) you’re probably thinking about drinking plenty of fluids. My new favourite thing is to drink iced tea. It’s a great alternative to water – and if you drink it unsweetened, it’s a flavourful drink without all the sugar in juice! I brew up a big pitcher, which usually lasts me a couple of days. Here’s a nice big glass of chilled sencha green tea:
IMG_1450

My current favourite tea to ice is the Taza Passion Tea – buy a box and save yourself the $$ by making a Starbucks drink at home – but with no sugar! Just be sure not to steep it too long, as it gets bitter quite quickly. It reminds me of fruit punch!

If you do dare to get near the oven, make sure you bake yourself something delicious! I admit, I can’t seem to avoid the lure of the stovetop, even on the hottest of days – I’ve certainly made my fair share of curries and roasted vegetables this summer – not great warm weather fare. Call me crazy, but all I can think about is fall temperatures, when I can drink hot chocolate and eat stews and wear sweaters to my heart’s content!

My latest take on the aforementioned baked deliciousness is these Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are based off of this tasty recipe from the awesome Diet, Dessert, and Dogs blog – but made even healthier by using almond butter and nixing the refined sugar. They’re even gluten free!
IMG_1456Preheat oven to 350F

Combine wet:
-1/4 c. almond butter
-1 tbsp. neutral oil, like grapeseed
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 c. + 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Combine dry:
-1/4 c. buckwheat flour
-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-pinch salt

-1/4 c. non-dairy chocolate chips

Stir together, add chocolate chips, and plop spoonfuls onto a nonstick or lightly greased cookie sheet. Use the back of the spoon to flatten down the tops a bit, more into thick discs. These spread quite a bit, so space accordingly! Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are firm and browning – the centre should still feel a bit soft, as they firm up as they cool. Makes 5 crispy-crunchy (with slightly chewy centres!) delectable cookies. These are remarkably similar to peanut butter cookies – certainly they do not have an overwhelmingly ‘almond’ flavour like plain almond butter does (to my mind). Wonderful!

I want to use this post to give a shout out to all the other ethical vegans that are out there in the blogging world. Certainly the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet are swell, but even if that weren’t the case, I would still be a vegan – it’s the right thing to do! As long as I blog, my posts will be full of vegan thoughts, recipes, and tips, and completely devoid of non-vegan food pictures, excuses for omnivores, and statements like ‘diets are such a personal choice’. Sure, I’m not going to force it down your throat, and I go out of my way every day to make sure I am the super friendly ‘surprise’ vegan – the one that breaks every silly stereotype, and then some. But, I am SO into being vegan that I cannot fathom pandering to non-veg family and friends. I know I can’t be alone in feeling like vegan blogs that have pro-omnivore posts (implied or otherwise) are  disappointing and somewhat perplexing. Holla, vegans!

-Eve

This recipe is from my mom, who says she got it from the Dutch neighbours that lived next door in the tiny Quebec logging town she grew up in. Given that, I feel confident enough posting it here – but if you recognize it as your family recipe, let me know! This is reasonably simple to put together, but is fancy enough to make for guests. It’s also delicious – the running joke in my family was that we had no idea how well this lasted, since there were never leftovers past the next day’s breakfast.

img_0976
Dutch Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 425F and grease a pizza pan.
Prepare the apple slices first:
-Peel and core 4 large apples (I like Braeburn, but my mom always used McIntosh), and slice them into medium-thin slices. Each apple should yield around 14 slices. Toss with a dash of lemon juice and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine:
-1 ener-g egg replacer, prepared as per package instructions (1 1/2 tsp. powder whisked with 2 tbsp water)
-2/3 c. non-dairy milk
Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, measure:
-1 1/2 c. a.p. flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-pinch salt
Combine these, and then add:
-1/4 c. COLD non-dairy butter
With two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until well combined – until it resembles sand, with no lumps of butter.
Quickly add the egg replacer/milk liquid to the flour/butter bowl, and stir until just combined- don’t overmix! It will be quite moist. Scoop the batter/dough onto the greased  pizza pan, and use floured hands to press it into the pan. Cover with the apple slices (start at the outside of the pan, and work in!) and bake at 425 for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine:
-1/4 c. room temperature non-dairy butter
-1/2 c. brown sugar
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
It will resemble a thick paste.

When the 25 minutes are up, remove pie and turn the oven down to 350F. Spoon the butter/sugar/spice paste over the hot pie, and spread it around so that everything is evenly glazed. Return to the 350 degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. If the edges look like they might burn before everything else cooks, cover them with a tin foil edging.
This is wonderful served warm with a scoop of vanilla non-dairy ice cream, but I strongly encourage everyone to try at least a sliver of this, served cold, for breakfast the next day!

-E

Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread

Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread

 

Another festive goodie! I like this one because it’s actually pretty good for you, so eat guilt free! The texture is best on the day of baking so don’t leave it too long before eating. Feel free to substitute the flours with what you have.

Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread

5 tsp ground flaxseed

9 Tbsp water

1/2 cup silken tofu

1 tsp lemon juice

3 very ripe bananas

1/4 cup wheatgerm

1/4 cup each quinoa and whole wheat flour

2 cups spelt flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup each of brown and granulated sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9″ by 5″ loaf pan and set aside.

Combine flaxseed, water, tofu and lemon juice in blender. Mix until well combined. Add bananas one at a time, blending between each addition. How smooth you make it at this point depends on personal preference. I don’t like banana chunks in my bread so I made it completely smooth.

Combine wheatgerm, flours, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

Mix sugars, applesauce, vanilla and spices together and combine with blender mixture. Stir into flour mix in a few batches. Don’t overmix. Fold in walnuts and cranberries.

Pour into pan, smooth top and bake for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

K