Archive | December, 2011

Cherry-Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

28 Dec

Ever since going vegan I have been on the ultimate search to find a delicious bread pudding recipe, since bread pudding has always been one of my weaknesses. I haven’t put too much effort in my search yet, but I will definitely find the perfect recipe. This one I just threw together, and it turned out to be great-not too sweet, with the coconut complimenting the tart cherries perfectly. I almost added dark chocolate chips, but opted out to keep it more simple. You can really change this recipe up making several variations. I would have added more coconut milk (or another nut milk)  because I like my bread pudding more soggy and not as dry. But it is a personal preference.

Cherry Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

  • 5 1/2 cups stale whole grain bread (Left out to stale at least overnight-lightly covered)
  • 3 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1  3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs arrowroot powder (could sub tapioca starch)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease bottom of casserole dish or 4 ramekins with coconut oil and then sprinkle with a couple Tbs of coconut. You could also sprinkle with sucanat or brown sugar-but I omitted.
  2. Whisk together all wet ingredients, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, salt, cherries, almonds and 1/4 cup coconut.  Place  bread cubes in the mixture and let sit for 15 minutes to soak up all the liquid.
  3. Press bread into dish or ramekins and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut and more cherries if desired. Bake 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden on top. If you prefer your bread pudding more wet, just take it out of the oven earlier-it is not like there are any unsafe raw ingredients!
  4. It is always the best to eat while still warm! Enjoy with a cup of hot tea. I recommend vanilla rooibos chai :)

Spiced Pecan Butter

22 Dec

I just love making nut butters, of all kinds. It is definitely one of my favorite things to make. There is such a huge difference in flavor between eating raw nuts, and eating raw nut butters. I think it has to do with braking down the fats and natural oils in the process. I would say cashew butter is my go-to nut butter to make. I usually buy raw almond butter at Trader Joes, just because I love theirs so much. Walnut butter is not my favorite-I would rather eat raw soaked walnuts. But this pecan butter was exceptional.

Spiced Pecan Butter

2+ cups of raw pecans

1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean to be extra flavorful)

1/2 tsp of organic cinnamon-or to taste

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Combine in vitamix on high, using your tamper constantly pressing the ground nuts into the blade at all times. You may need to add more pecans if there is not enough to reach the tamper to push the grounds into the blade. It will become pecan flour, then the oils will release and turn into a butter the more you blend and the vitamix heats up more.  No oil is necessary. This is delicious to eat on a banana, apple, whole grain muffins or breads, in oatmeal, on banana ice cream, or just eating a spoonful plain like I love to do. You could even freeze by spoonfulls on wax paper and have on hand as a great snack.

Pecans are rich in oleic acid-a monounsaturated fat, that lowers LDL cholesterol. They also have a polyphenolic antioxidant called ellagic acid, along with vitamin E that lowers free radicals protecting your body from disease and cancer.

This would make a great Christmas gift with a red bow around the jar!

These Adagio Tea samplers I bought online on cyber Monday. I got free shipping! You can go online and customize any way you like! You can mix chai with coconut, vanilla, chestnut, sweet potato, or whatever you like. They are mostly all loose leaf teas. The only downfall is that they are not organic or fair trade. But still a pretty cool tea company.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

22 Dec

Why is it the most wonderful time of the year? We get to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We get to eat great food with family and friends. We get to indulge a little. We get to share joy with others. We get to give to others, and try to find peace amidst the craziness of the season.

I had to make Christmas cookies, after all it is tradition and I am all about sticking to tradition. This year I adapted, created and baked some great vegan cookies! They were all definitely not as healthful as I usually would make, but I allowed a little more sugar for this occasion. But yes it is absolutely possible to eat healthy during the holiday. It’s not giving up anything, just making things your own. In a “lighter” way. Not “lighter” giving up fats, but lighter in a sense of real ingredients. Real foods.

Perfect Pecan Cookies

Recipe here.

I actually followed this recipe to the T, since I made them with Karly when we had a tea date at my house (: They turned out wonderfully, soft and not too too sweet, great flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Crescent Shortbread

These were excellent, tasted like shortbread. A little too much sugar for me, but I love the strength of the almond flavor in these cookies.

  • 2  cups spelt flout
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Beat softened butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy, add vanilla and almond extract. Add dry ingredients to wet, and blend until combined. Work dough on floured surface and lightly knead. Then scoop balls of dough and shape into crescent shapes and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Minty Double Chocolate-Carob Cookies

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (not melted, but room temperature)
  • scant 1/2 c. raw sugar or sucanant
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. flax meal mixed with 3 T. water)
  • 1/2 c. almond or spelt flour
  • 1/4 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 oz. carob chips
  • 1 tsp mint/peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the coconut oil and sugar until well combined then add in flax the flax egg and mix well.

Sift the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix into wet ingredients. Add a tiny bit of water if the batter seems too dry. Stir in the carob chips. Form into disc shapes, about 1 Tbs per cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. These will expand/flatten. Cook completely before serving. These may be prone to getting crumbly-but they would be perfect on top of some cashew or almond ice cream!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Socca!

18 Dec

I have loved experimenting with new foods and recipes, from my go-to findingvegan site (:

I’ve seen many sooca recipes from pure2raw, so I finally tried their pumpkin lentil socca! I was so impressed how they turned out, and cooked all the way through, without being wet in the middle. They are so simple and versatile. With only 4 ingredients, I was thinking of all the ways I can tweak these and do so many different variations, sweet and savory.

Socca is a chickpea flour cake, but can be made with other beans as well. It is popular in Italy and France and is often baked in a large skillet in the oven. These are so healthy because they are so simple  with a pure lentil or chickpea base, where you can add any twist you wish. Baking into a bread or biscuit like consistency these can be great muffin replacements of any kind!

Lentils are a type of legume, they are great at lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar. They have a ton of  soluble (and insoluble) fiber. The way that soluble fiber is so great at lowering cholesterol is because soluble fiber forms a gel with water in your body and this reduces the amount of bile reabsorbed in the intestine and allows you to excrete this bile (where your cholesterol is), lowering your LDL cholesterol. This is the same way that oats work-except they have more beta-glucan.

They are high in magnesium and folate. Magnesium helps blood flow, which is one of the main reasons lentil are GREAT for heart health. These guys are also great at replenishing your iron stores in your body-so extra great for women. I cup has about 230 calories and 17 grams of fiber! That’s a lot of fiber-not that you would eat a whole cup by yourself at once-but still.

Pumpkin Lentil Socca from pure2raw

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup lentil flour (made from whole lentils ground into flour in blender)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (can be from canned or fresh pumpkin)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

For the lentil flour: place whole lentils into a vita-mix or any blender. and blend till whole lentils become flour

In a large bowl and measure out 1 cup of your homemade lentil flour and place into bowl. next add in your sea salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree. begin to stir. then slowly add in your water. stir till everything is combined.

In muffin pan and a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and place 1/2 teaspoon worth of olive oil into each muffin pan. Makes 9-10 muffins

place oiled muffin pan into hot oven for 2-3 minutes. remove from oven and scoop your pumpkin lentil socca batter into each muffin liner. fill only half way full

place socca filled muffin pan bake into hot oven and make for 30 minutes. remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes before removing socca muffins from pan.

Lentil flour in the vitamix

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to add some more flavor. They were great, but still mild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect for topping with apple butter, pumpkin butter, pecan or almond butter, or really anything you want!

Even though the batter seems really wet and thin, they cook all the way through!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond butter with bananas and extra cinnamon (:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The options for these guys are endless. I would love to do a spice carrot cake socca, and savory sage, and even chocolate coconut!

JOY

15 Dec

I just finished all of my finals, what a relief! Can’t believe first semester is over already, it literally flew by. Now, time to not study, not stress, and go home to celebrate Christmas with joy! I have been so so lazy about updating the blog, studying for the past week straight. But now I have all the time I want to cook and bake and be so productive in a non-school way (:

Here is an end of the semester treat,  brownie batter dessert with carob chips, adapted from here.

Made with chickpeas and dark cocoa, this is one health(ier) dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cute "mugs" right? They are from Anthropology!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are actually….measuring cups! Cute enough to keep out on the counter for decoration & convenience. I love their vintage-look!

These would make excellent Christmas gifts.

 

 

Christmas cookies coming soon!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst of the Worst

11 Dec

I am continually disgusted…..Read how Monsanto is harming our health and world.

–> Monsanto

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving!

4 Dec

Lauren and I made a delicious vegan Thanksgiving of our own-but we shared (:

On the Menu:

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mushroom Walnut Stuffing

Cranberry Sauce

Carrot Souffle

Rosemary Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Pumpkin Pie

Raw Carrot Cake & Chocolate Coconut Balls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sweet potatoes were AMAZING! Perfectly sweet, but not too much. The key is to let the sugar naturally come out of the “hole forks” while the potatoes are baking in the oven. I used the whole potato, with skins (only if organic) to retain all the nutrients including the fiber. Using sucanat (the raw-est sugar you can find) allows you to use only a little, because it goes a long way.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled (only if organic)  and cooked
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance) OR 1.5 Tbs melted Coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbs almond milk
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping:

4 TBA cup Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
1/4 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/3 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat) (or gluten-free)
3/4 cups chopped pecans
additional cinnamon
(unsweetened coconut sprinkled on top-optional
Directions: Bake sweet potatoes in oven at 424 for 45min to an hour depending on their size. They natural sugars should crystallize our of the “fork holes”. Then Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish with coconut oil. I wipe a bit on with a paper towel.

*For the topping first (so you don’t have to clean the vitamix twice!)

Add coconut oil (or vegan margarine) to vitamix then add the rest of the ingredients (Except pecans) Blend until combine then add pecans to lightly chop. Set aside in bowl

*For sweet potatoes: Cut in Half or quarter  baked sweet potatoes and add sweet potatoes with skins (if organic) to Vitamix. Blend just to mash it up some with the tamper. Add melted coconut oil, almond milk, maple, vanilla salt, and spices until well combined. If the consistency is too think add almond milk, if too thin add a little ground oats (oat flour) or ground flax if desired. Pour into casserole dish. Top with Topping and bake 350 for 50 minutes! Enjoy!

Carrot Souffle

  • 7  cups  chopped carrot (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4  cup  sucanat
  • 1/4  cup  fat-free sour cream or less
  • 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat)
  • 2  tablespoons  coconut oil, melted
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2 Tbs ground flax or chia with 6 Tbs warm water

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook carrot in boiling water 15 minutes or until very tender, drain. Place carrot in a food processor or vitamix; process until smooth. Mix ground flax or chia with warm water and let sit for a few minutes in a seperate bowl. Add  sugar and next 7 ingredients to the cooked carrots; pulse to combine.

Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until lightly brown on top. These will be soft and a little wet-so it is more like a cooked carrot dish than a souffle, but it is still delicious (:

Pumpkin Pie

The recipe for the FILLING is from here

The recipe for the spelt CRUST is from here

Carrot Cake Balls: 2 large carrots, splash of carrot juice, grated ground ginger, raw almonds, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg. Blend in vitamix and roll in oats. Keep in freezer.

Chocolate Coconut Balls: Raw cashews, dates, cocoa powder, cinnamon, dash of vanilla. Blend in vitamix and roll in unsweetened coconut. Keep in freezer.

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