Tag Archives: dessert

Being Thrifty

Before we get started: I added the super simple and thrifty recipe for the stuffed peppers at the end of yesterday’s post.

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Today, I practiced being cheap. Thrifty, if you will.

I learned a few things.

Like the fact that some of the best pancakes in the world do not actually require the use of milk.

In fact, I can get by just fine – better, maybe – with the use of orange juice and yogurt.

Yogurt-Spice Pancakes for One

  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. flour (I used graham flour)
  • 1 1/2 T. wheat germ
  • 3/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 2 t. chia seeds mixed with 2 T. warm water, and allowed to gel
  • juice of one large orange
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 T. yogurt (I used SoDelicious vanilla. aka crack in a cup)
  • butter/earth balance/non-stick spray, for greasing pan

Mix dry ingredients together. Add in chia egg, orange juice, extract and yogurt. Whisk until a thick batter forms. Divide into two pancakes on a pre-heated, greased non-stick skillet. Cook until golden on both sides.

The xtra ground nutmeg gives them that extra oomph of spice that the otherwise plain pancake batter lacks. And the yogurt gives them fluffy texture yet still moist.

But it’s what’s on top that makes them complete: cashew cream, maple cream and cashews. For the “cashew cream,” just mix ~1 T. cashew butter with 1-2 T. yogurt.

For the maple cream, buy it here and prepare to become an addict. I wanted to swim in it this morning.

It prepared me for a day of being cheap while shopping.

See, I spend too much money at the grocery store. I used to be pretty diligent about printing coupons and buying stuff on sale, but recently I’ve slipped. In case you couldn’t tell, because it’s not like I use twenty different flours at a time. hardee-har-har.

I’m not going to be too cheap with myself, but I realized last night how couponing can be such an addiction.

But maybe I’m just belligerent, and chose to see it as a challenge. Yes, I think that’s what it was. So maybe I only saved $8 this time. I’ll try harder next time.

But can I just be a little bit proud of myself for a second? Can I tell you why?

Because I only paid 9 cents (yes, cents) for this bag of sticks and twigs. Now sure, I don’t even know if I like them, but I’ve heard wonderful things about this company, but have always been too cheap to try them for myself. I’ll just make crackers myself! But 9 cents? I can’t make pretzels for 9 cents, people.

Oh, and just to share with you my relatively ridiculous obsession with cashews at the moment, I purchased 2 pounds of cashews today. (At $10, that means it was only $5/lb! oh, no – I really am becoming a bargain freak, aren’t I?!)

And I even decided to make my own hummus instead of paying $4 for my favorite brand.

Recipe a la Appetite for Reduction. I love how it’s basically pure chickpeas. No call for tahini or even very much oil, just pure chickpea bliss. Which is pretty thrifty, too.

I’m sure glad I decided to be thrifty a while back when I had a bitt too much bread on hand, and needed breadcrumbs – but I definitely should have ground them finer.

…so that they would stick to my onion rings!! Okay, when I first saw the O.M.G. Oven Baked Onion Rings in appetite for reduction, I sort of said “oh yeah! onion rings!”

Truth be told, I think I sort of forgot they existed.

I mean, the last time I was introduced to one was when I still thought vegetables would give me cooties.

As such, the recipe seemed fun, but maybe not one I’d go through the hoops of making.

But then fate happened.

(website being my photo website, i don't refer to my blog as "my website" baha)

Every time I’d pick up the cookbook, it’d open to onion rings.

And then I saw sweet onions on sale at the grocery store.

And then I realized I was thinking about them so much, they worked their way into a conversation. I was debating between making onion rings and getting work done on my photo website.

I chose onion rings.

My method needs help. It will come with time. I blame the breadcrumbs.

And by breadcrumbs, I mean mix of course homemade breadcrumbs and pretzel crumbs.

Don’t ask. It worked. These were damn fine onion rings. I ate them and ate them until my belly could take them no more. And I think I need to go finish the leftovers now. And go back to the store and get more onions to make them all week.

I need a condiment plate/bowl. Do those exist? Like, a single person-sized condiment/dip tray? Because that’d be perfect for my needs.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this plate pretty much defines my life right now. Dates a la Gabriela (stuffed with almond butter and dark chocolate chips) and homemade pumpernickel with almond butter and/or maple cream.

Even if you, like myself, claim not to be a chocolate fan – you will love these dates. I promise.

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Filed under almond butter, baking, breakfast, cooking, dates, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, healthy living, hummus, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, review, shopping, snack, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Day 1 of the Deep Freeze:

obviously not spent at the barn. This will be a weekend that is intended for curling up with a hot cup of something and watching the Bruins slaughter the Avalanche. Avalanches? The Avs, we’ll leave it at that.

Unless I’m at Hannaford’s, I guess. My mom and I both had to do some work in town and then pick up something in the “big town” (I know that sounds corny, I’m just refraining from naming places!) so I ran into Hannaford’s for some sweet potatoes…

…but Amaranth flour found its way in my basket when I saw it “bargain priced to move” at $1.99. I don’t pass up bargain flours that I haven’t tried yet. Even if I’ve never even had amaranth as a grain before.

The irony? When I got home, I was reading through my comments on yesterday’s post with buckwheat flour, to discover my flour infatuation is rather well-known to you guys, too.

Look at how much iron it has, though!

Anyways. I haven’t used it yet and probably won’t even open it up for another couples…weeks…but I just found it ironic I suppose.

I did, however, make more sweets today. Cookies for the fam. We have a lot of desserts in the house right now, but they keep getting gobbled up so I’ll keep making them.

Which is probably the reason why I do try and make an effort to make stuff at least a little bit healthier if it’s possible. I don’t want to be blamed for making my loved ones unhealthy, so it’s my way of being able to continuously keep baking things I guess 😉

Which is why it’s going to be our little secret that I didn’t actually follow the recipe for the cookies that were requested, and instead followed Angela’s Ultimate Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe instead. The “requested recipe” was one that was an advertisement in a Rachel Ray magazine for Ocean Spray Craisins. It wasn’t that bad a recipe…but I think it was more of a “I like the process of finding a recipe rather than following one given to me.” sort of thing.

And yes, I baked with Angela’s printed-off recipe snugged in the magazine so it would look like I was following the magazine should anyone walk in the kitchen.

Ironically, I sort of unhealthified it, but mainly because I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to use the last of my coconut oil or maple syrup for something I wasn’t baking for myself.

Go ahead and call me selfish, I know.

That and, obviously, I needed to use cranberries. Raisins would just be a dead giveaway that I didn’t follow the other recipe, y’know?

The swaps:

  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour in place of Kamut
  • scant 1/2 c. brown sugar (the alternative suggested for Sucanat)
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup rather than 1/2 c.
  • 2 T. cow’s milk
  • 3.5 T. butter vs. coconut oil
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries vs. raisins

I realize it probably seems contradictory to talk about using butter when I previously said I tried making things healthier – but I should probably clarify that I really don’t have any problems with butter or anything labeled “unhealthy.” I just don’t like to use a ton of it. And less than 4 tablespoons for 20 cookies is pretty marginal, if you ask me.

Alright alright. You’re sick of the cookie pictures. In case you were wondering, though, they were a serioius hit. And they smell amazing whilst baking. I think it was all the walnut meal and maple syrup.

Onto other, really unattractive things. I have the most difficult time photographing sweet potatoes and curries. The color just makes my WB go crazy, and it doesn’t help that I am so. sick. of having to use my flash to photograph anything that’s not lunch.

…which is just about everything, these days.

Being that my mom and I got home from town sort of late, I didn’t have time to have my daily sweet potato for lunch.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

And so that meant only one thing: I had to make up for it at dinner.

Normally I’m pretty content just eating them plain, but decided I’d live life on the edge tonight. And stuff it. I had a stuffed sweet potato kick sometime last year, and they really are delicious.

I know it’s easy to slice into a fresh oven-baked sweetie and want to just eat it plain right then and there – but please, every so often…give the sweetie the love and time it deserves! Here’s one way 😉

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato (try and choose a round one versus a long skinny one!)
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 c. diced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 a block of tempeh, diced (or chickpeas or tofu or ground beef, for all I care)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 T. curry powder, depending on your taste (I used a heaping 1/2 T. of a sweet-ish curry)
  • 1/2 t. honey
  • salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 425* and poke the sweet potato a couple of times. Bake for an hour, or until tender – when I knife can slide through it.

About half an hour into cooking, prepare your filling: in a small pan over medium heat, preheat your olive oil. Add in the onion and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sautee one more minute. Add in the mushrooms and red pepper and allow to cook until all of the liquid has been cooked out of the mushrooms. Stir in the tempeh and then the curry powder and honey. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water at this point.

Once the potato has cooked, cut in half and very gently scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ around the outside. Chop the sweet potato you’ve scooped out and mix in with the filling. Spoon the filling back into the sweet potato and enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of sweet potatoes and curry powder. If you’re hesitant, don’t be! It’s a lovely balance of flavors.

…or maybe I’m just weird. I’ve never been one to want to slather almond butter or maple syrup on my sweet potato, after all 😉

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Filed under cookie, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, healthy living, recipe, sweet potato, sweet potatoes, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove

Crust:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, recipe

Orange Date Cookies + GIVEAWAY!!!

I’ve been hiding a deep, dark secret.

That deep, dark secret is also ooey, gooey and deliciously sweet.

I’ve briefly mentioned my adoration for date syrup – but this type of relationship doesn’t deserve a brief mention.

It deserves an award and a plaque. I don’t love just anything, you know – and for something to compete with maple syrup, you know you’ve got a serious situation on your hands.

When Colleen at Organics are for Everyone contacted me to see if I was interested in trying their date syrup – my first response was the same as it would be had someone asked me a relatively inappropriate question pertaining to what kind of business a bear does in the woods.

…and then of course, my honesty got the best of me, and I instead let her know what I’ve actually tried their date syrup before, as the kind Tatianna had sent me some. I have nowhere to buy it in stores around here! Of course, I did make sure to mention that I would more than willingly welcome more samples if she so chose 😉

The possibilities with date syrup are endless. I liken it to maple syrup because it is a natural sweetener – but the taste is not alike at all, as I’m sure you can imagine. It is far less sweet, being derived wholly from the amazing date.

And that makes it wonderful to drizzle on pancakes!

Back when civilization began, there was date syrup. Stone tablets containing the earliest documented recipes in existence portray this flowing fruit of the date palm as an essential sweetener in the ancient world. It was, and still is, a delectable, complex fruit syrup with a variety of uses and nutritional benefits.

Its uses are many. The syrup’s rich flavor makes for an ideal substitution to processed sugar in your favorite baking and cooking recipes. Use it also as a topping with anything that would normally go with honey or syrup. The benefits are also numerous. A mineral content including potassium, magnesium and iron, make this a great alternative to sweeten up recipes without adding sugar.

Did you know dates have more potassium ounce for ounce then a banana? Forget about stuffing your cheeks like a monkey to get rid of those post-workout cramps! Instead enjoy some delightful date syrup in a protein shake, smoothie, or on its own, and enjoy every sweet bit as it absorbs into your system like sweet nourishment. Dates are also a great source of iron and magnesium as well as an excellent source of energy without adding a speck of anything to them. Use date syrup instead of high-sugar sports bars and drinks to replenish and recharge fatigued muscles.

And then, of course, there’s all the baking you can do with it! Its’ unique flavor lends itself well to cookies and bars, and naturally, I have been putting this theory to use!

When I made these date bars, I replaced the maple syrup the recipe called for with date syrup. It’s only fitting, right?! The substitute was a winner – while I haven’t yet tried them with maple syrup, this extra-datey version was a winner with everyone in my household – a rare occurence!

But my personal favorite recipe I’ve made with date syrup?

I suppose it could be considered a cross between SuperCharge Me cookies as well as the previously mentioned date bars: Orange-Date Cookies!

If you want to use half the dough to eat raw and the other half as a luxurious body scrub because it smells so wonderful, I won’t tell anyone. It can be our secret.

When I tasted one of these cookies hot out of the oven, I wasn’t sold on my final product. I thought they just needed a bit more zazz – maybe a touch mroe date syrup, a touch more orange juice.

But after letting them sit a couple hours, or even better, a day or two? I am in love. They are very subtly sweet – but the orange really shines through and plays well with the texture of the soft, chewy dates baked into their insides. The cashew butter is a wonderul compliment, too – it does not compete with the flavors, but rather, nicely complements them. In fact, my favorite way to enjoy these cookies? Smothered with a bit more cashew butter and had alongside a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa.

Orange-Date Cookies

yields 15-20 cookies

adapted from Vive le Vegan’s SuperCharge Me cookies

  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2/3 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1/8 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. chopped medjool dates
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries (or extra dates)
  • zest of one medium orange
  • juice of one medium orange
  • 1/3 c. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. date syrup
  • 2-3 T. almond milk
  • 3 T. cashew butter
  • 2 T. coconut oil, softened

Preheat the oven to 350*.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, spices and baking powder. Stir in the orange zest, dates and cranberries, making sure the dates are separated. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the milled flaxseed, juice of the orange, cashew butter and date syrup. Pour the wet into the dry and then add the coconut oil. You may need to add 2-3 T. almond milk, depending on how much juice your orange gave you. I think I had to add a tablespoon or two? You’ll want a stiff dough, but not crumbly.

Roll into balls and flatten slightly before placing on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for ten minutes, cool for one minute on sheet, and then remove to cooling racks.

As I mentioned – I enjoyed these even more the next day, and especially smeared with more cashew butter!!

Now it’s your turn.

Do you want to win some date syrup? Of course you do. And you can!! Colleen graciously has offered me the opportunity to host an Organics are for Everyone giveaway.

Want to enter? I’ll give you a couple chances! And no, I’m not going to make you add me to your reader or follow me. Not to say that wouldn’t be lovely…

1. Follow OAFE on Twitter (@datesyruprocks) and tweet about the giveaway in some way, shape or form, linking back to this post.

2. Comment on this post with something relating to date syrup – how you would use it, if you have tried it, a joke involving date syrup, a fact, something to crack me up, you get the point.

3. Link back to this giveaway in your next blog post.

Additionally, it’d be awesome if you came up with and then posted a recipe involving date syrup (either on your own blog or in my comments if you don’t have one) but I realize you may be using this giveaway as your chance to get your hands on date syrup, rendering that potentially impossible, but it’s another option 🙂

Make sure you post a separate comment for each entry! The winner, whom I will randomly choose next weekend using a random number generator, will recieve two (!!) jars of date syrup!

Unfortunately, this giveaway is for people in the contiguous 48 states only. Sorry!

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, recipe

Cranberry Almond Coconut Balls

I’m pretty beat.

I’m ready for Christmas so that I can just relax, and work will stop being a whirlwind of people scrambling to get massive projects done at the last minute. I work in n industry where people being “last minute lucys” turns into our problem if we can’t make a 2-day job happen in 1-hour.

Of course, the 2-day job in 1 hour could potentially happen if everybody wasn’t working on the same deadline.

Such is life. There is a calm after the storm just like there is one before it.

And at least I had time to make these this weekend.

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After making my Mounds Balls, I quickly realized 20 balls for 5 hungry people (some going to families) was not going to cut it – especially at the rate that those balls are demanded. I made some again the next morning.

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But, you may know me enough by now that I couldn’t just do the same ol’ Mounds Balls as I made the night before. When my eye caught the dried cranberries I’d picked up, I decided to work them in there, too.

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Part of me also really wanted to work in some almond butter, but I resisted on the basis that even I am not completely sold on eating almond butter straight up, and so didn’t think I could convince anyone else of it, either.

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Then I wanted to make another batch with peanut butter – but aren’t there already peanut butter balls made with sugar and graham crackers and rolled in chocolate? Buckeyes or something? So I passed.

I like to remain relatively original. Hence why I don’t bake things like chocolate chip cookies. It breeds for comparison, and I’m really not that good of a baker. I dare you to find someone who doesn’t have a “favorite” chocolate chip cookie. Now think of how many people you know that have a favorite lemon poppyseed cookie. I rest my case. I will never be able to compete against people’s favorite chocolate chip cookies, no matter how good mine are.

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I used (and recommend) marcona almonds for this recipe – but I’m sure any almonds would be fine. I just enjoy the salty, smooth marcona almonds to contrast the sweetness of the coconut, and cranberry.

And FWIW, my disclaimers about this recipe are the same as they were for the Mounds Balls. I am in no way, shape or form declaring these to be healthified. They are, however, an enjoyable treat that gets you out of ay kind of trouble. Though maybe not quiiiiite as easily as the Mounds Balls do Winking smile 

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Cranberry-Almond Coconut Balls

for 21 balls:

  • scant 3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 c. date syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, softened but not liquid
  • 1 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries (I think mine were fruit juice-sweetened, though only because I have a terrible time finding unsweetened!)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped marcona almonds
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1” square parafin wax, finely chopped
  • 1 square baker’s chocolate, finely chopped

Cream together the date syrup, sugar and coconut oil. When smooth, add in the coconut, cranberries and almonds. Mix to combine, then chill for approx. 30 minutes.

When chilled, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. Roll the coconut mixture into about tablespoon-sized balls, and place on the paper. Try and make sure they’re not touching. Freeze for at least an hour, or overnight.

When balls are frozen, set up a double boiler on the stove with the chocolate chips, wax and baker’s chocolate. Heat until smooth and thoroughly melted. When ready, remove from heat and drop the balls in a few at a time, using the spoon and your fingers to thoroughly coat. Place back on the waxed paper baking sheets when done, and chill/freeze when set.

I toasted some coconut and marcona almonds to sprinkle on top, too – which is entirely optional but an added touch. You’ll need to sprinkle it on a couple of seconds after you place the balls on the sheets, though, as the wax casues it to set pretty quick.

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I preferred these over the Mounds Balls, but most likely because I like “different” things.

What about you – do you like to break the mold, or do you tend to go with the flow?

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Filed under baking, christmas, coconut, holiday, recipe

Holiday Traditions

 

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One cookie that totally missed a very deserved spotlight while my power was out were sparkled ginger cookies. (I got the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance – but in case you need some convincing to purchase the book – there is someone who posted the recipe. )

I made these the Tuesday before the crisis and saved some for home and brought the rest to work

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With the holidays, I will probably be trialing many cookie recipes to decide which ones “win” the position of being in our cookie giveaway baskets. It’s become a tradition to bake an assortment of cookies to give with cards and trinkets, and my mom always makes the same cookies. Well, I’m just beginning to do the tradition myself, rather than just leeching all of my mom’s freshly baked cookies to give away.

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And what’s a gift basket without a good ginger cookie?!

They’re pretty much essential.

Ironically, the “taste testers” of these cookies are also the people who will be getting said goodie buckets.

It’s kind of like buying a present for someone right in front of them, just saying it’s for yourself. They’ll never guess that way, you know.

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These ginger cookies were the perfect ginger cookies. A chewy interior contrasted the slightly crunchy, sugar-covered exterior. I also added some crystallized ginger to the recipe for an added texture and gingery kick.

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But the next cookies I made – Lemon Poppyseed Crackle Cookies – really stole the show. The recipe is from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. The only thing I did differently was sub the barley malt syrup for maple syrup, as I did not have any.

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I really am not adventurous/”playful” when it comes to tinkering with cookie recipes. There is too much chemistry involved! I want my cookies to be cookies – not cookies with identity crisis’s.

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Someday, I’ll get there. For now – I’ll leave it to the pros Winking smile

These cookies, however – perfectly light, refreshing and flavorful with a perfect texture: chewy with a crust just crispy enough.

I forget how much I love lemon poppyseed way too often – believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite muffin flavors, but I can’t remember the last time I made them! Shortly prior to blogging, I loved making lemon poppyseed pancakes.

Do you have any holiday baking traditions?

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

I sort of have a niche, cooking my way through vegan cookbooks and surprising everyone Winking smile

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Filed under baking, cookies, dessert, gingerbread, recipe

Better Than Gramma’s Branana Muffins

Call me an old lady – but I love bran muffins. Seriously! And lets be honest – everyone should enjoy them every so often because made right, they’re packed with plenty of goodies. This recipe has plenty of:

  • Wheat Bran which is actually a probiotic food, with antibacterial fighting properties, and daily bran intake actually helps to reduce cholesterol and combat heart disease.
  • oats which help stabilize your blood sugar levels all the while helping you to reach your daily intakes for selenium, dietary fiber, manganese, and magnesium.
  • flax which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids – the good fat! Like bran, this is proven to be heart healthy!
  • bananas which are a great source of potassium and b6. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, helping to reduce the risks of high blood pressure and stroke. b6 deficiencies are known to cause weakness, irritability, and insomnia!
  • peanut butter like bran helps combat high ldl (bad) cholesterol. it’s a good source for healthy fats and protein, too!

Lets get started, non?

I adapted this recipe to be a mish-mosh of Amanda’s recipes for bran muffins (whom she adapted from Tat) and her blissful banana bread. Her banana bread sure is blissful, and the bran recipe looks spectacular, too. How many times have you found a recipe that looks great – – until you see the recipe and discover it wants you to use bran flake cereal?! I wanted real wheat bran – the good stuff!!

Branana Bread

to yield 8 mini loaves/12 “regular” muffins

Firstly, combine:

  • 1 c. wheat bran (if you don’t love wheat bran, you could likely use oat bran. just don’t tell me because i’ll be disappointed.)
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 T. vanilla chobani

Set this aside.

In a separate, large bowl, combine:

  • 3/4 c. WW flour
  • 1/2 c. quick oats
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. cinnamon (heaping)
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg

And in still another bowl, combine:

  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter (microwaved for a few seconds to thin)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 “flax egg” (1 T. milled flax, stirred with 3 T. water, and allowed to thicken for a couple of minutes)

Add the liquid mixture to the bran mixture, and stir to combine. Pour this into your dry mixture, and fold until just combined.

Fold in:

  • 1/4 c. chopped figs
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans

and then pour into muffin tins/mini loaf pans that have been lightly coated with non-stick spray.

Bake in a (preheated) 350* oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

These are wonderfully moist and branny.

I can only imagine the variations I will continue to concoct. For instance:

replace the bananas with canned pumpkin, and the figs with raisins

replace the bananas with applesauce and the figs with fresh chopped apples and raisins

How do you like your bran muffins?

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, health