Saturday, July 23, 2011

Worth the Blistering Heat.

There are times that I really just dont think things through. My mind focuses in on one thing, and all else is lost.

Its nearly 100 degrees today. Im sitting in my room browsing through food recipes, nearly suffocating with this humid, sticky, and hot air. Yet after seeing the Chocolate Chip Blondies on CCK's page, I not only forget the heat- but I TURN THE OVEN ON to make them for myself.

When my mom walked in the door she almost lost her head. Apparently 100 degree weather and baking is not recommended and our poor window air conditioner was not impressed either.

BUT despite my lapse in judgement, the Blondies (with a few tweaks here and there) turned out better than expected and I guarantee once my mom gets a taste, it will be impossible to be anything but lost in deliciousness.

Chocolate Chip Blondies
adapted from CCK's recipe

  • 1 1/2c. chickpeas (cooked or canned, drained and rinsed)
  • 3/4t baking powder
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1/8t salt
  • 1/4c. maple syrup
  • 1T honey, brown rice syrup, or agave
  • 1" of a banana
  • 1/3c. shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 2T ground flax
  • 2T peanut flour
  • 2T peanut butter
  • 1/3c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth. Mix in chips, and scoop into 12 muffin cup liners (I sprayed mine with coconut cooking spray first). Bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Raw Food

Shortly after going vegan I stumbled upon 'raw foodism' and since have dabbled in raw food recipes from time to time, even tried to go all/high raw. I love the idea of it, I really do enjoy the food, and Im aware of the health benefits. Yet, I know I wont fully commit to an all raw lifestyle and to be honest, Ive learned that its not something I would want to do. Everyone is different and we all have to come to understand what works best for us individually. For me, I need to include a variety of both raw AND cooked vegan foods in my diet to both nourish and enjoy myself.

So tonights dinner was a mix of raw and cooked foods. Gluten free quinoa bread from Organic Works Bakery right here in London, Ontario, organic smoked tofu, daiya, onion sprouts, and a high raw homemade hummus (recipe below)! Yum! The picture doesnt look too appetizing but I promise you, it was delicious.

75% Raw Zucchini Hummus

1/3c. cooked or canned chickpeas
1/2c. chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cloves garlic
2T raw tahini
1T braggs liquid aminos
1T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4t black pepper

Process until mostly smooth in a food processor. Makes 3/4 cup.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Simple Red Lentil Stew

1 1/2c. water
1/2 GF veggie boullion cube
1/2c. dry red lentils
1/2c. yellow zucchini, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/4c. bell pepper, diced
1/2c. butternut squash, diced
1/2c. sweet potato, mashed
1 bay leaf
1t. tumeric
1/8 tsp. each ginger, garlic powder, and cinnamon
1t. fresh thyme

Bring water and boullion cube to a boil and add all ingredients up to (and including) the bay leaf.
Let the stew come back to a boil and reduce heat to medium.
Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until all veggies are soft and lentil have become mush.
Add in remaining herbs and spices.

MAKES 2 1/2 cups.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chipotle Coconut Wrap with Avocado and Sunflower Seeds PLUS a Brilliant Chickpea Secret

The possibilities are endless when it comes to wraps. Whatever youre in the mood for, toss it in, wrap it up, and (if your feeling adventurous) pop it in a panini press to make it no less than gourmet deliciousness. Quick, easy, who can complain?

Ive been know to put all kinds of strange treats inside a GF brown rice wrap and call it a lunch. Today was no different and the flavours created a crunchy, creamy, spicy, meal that I honestly couldnt improve on. (Well, maybe with some melty Daiya cheese...)

Chipotle Coconut Wrap with Avocado and Sunflower Seeds

1 GF brown rice wrap (Food for Life)
1-2 thin slices vidalia onion
1/8 med. avocado (1-2T)
2t sprouted/dehydrated sunflower seeds
2t flaked toasted coconut OR 1/2T toasted coconut shreds (unsweetened)
1-2T (or more!) daiya or other vegan cheese

1/3c. canned or **home cooked** chickpeas
1/4t olive oil (or coconut oil!)
2T canned coconut milk
2t nutritional yeast
season to taste with salt, pepper, chipotle pepper powder, garlic, and a touch of cinnamon

Heat pan over medium high and add chickpeas and oil. Cook until they brown up.
Turn heat down to medium low and add coconut milk and spices to taste and stir for 30-60 seconds or so until the liquid becomes thicker. Remove from heat and stir in yeast.
TO ASSEMBLE WRAP: Mash avocado in the center of the wrap, top with chickpea mixture and remaining ingredients. Wrap and toast in a panini press or (if you dont have a press) in the oven or stovetop.

NOW... are you ready? I mentioned an ingenious secret, did I not??

(Im preparing to make myself look really stupid if Im the only one who just figured this out...)

Chickpeas. I thought I was doomed buying them in cans for the rest of eternity. It was just IMPOSSIBLE to get that same creamy texture, the soft delicious chickpea that comes from a can. I all but gave up on cooking them at home. I mean, really. Who wants chickpeas that are hard? They dont mash, they wont puree right, theyre just all wrong. No matter how long I soaked them, how long I cooked them- nothing mattered. All I could produce was hard unwanted peas that ruined the enjoyment of eating one of my favourite foods.


I came across some information a few days ago that changed my life. And here's the secret..


Seriously! If you add baking soda to the dry chickpeas, cover them with water to soak overnight, and drain them before cooking- you will have PERFECT soft, creamy chickpeas in 45 minutes on the stovetop. Just like canned!

Excuse my (possibly) excessive excitement about this discovery but its pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

In Progress: Vegan Coconut Blueberry Muffins (GF)

They smell delicious. The flavour combination is perfect. It has all the elements to be absolutely amazing.

These muffins over at Gluten-Free Bay seem like absolute perfection. But this recipe flopped (despite looking like total yum). The original recipe , unfortunately, isnt vegan.. so I made some minor substitutions such as egg replacer for the 3 eggs and 1/4c. xylitol plus 1T extra coconut milk for the honey. The house smelled wonderful but the muffins came out mushy (uncooked?) even after 15 EXTRA minutes, they didnt turn golden brown at all nor did they rise, and they crumbled to pieces much too easily.

Ive got some experimenting to do but Im not giving up on these until theyre perfect! I have a few ideas to test out on the next batch:

- agave nectar or maple syrup instead of the xylitol and extra coconut milk (as a closer sub for the honey)
- substitute a portion of the coconut flour for another GF flour (to make it less dense and cook through)
- add a bit of baking soda (for leavening)
- a touch of xanthan gum (to stabilize the muffin)
- frozen wild blueberries instead fresh ones that I froze (wild blueberries tend to be smaller instead of the jumbo ones I used)
- maybe melted coconut oil or Earth Balance instead of the olive oil I used (for taste!)

Keep an eye out for a follow up post! And hopefully much better results!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Homemade Larabars

At two dollars each, Im going broke! Larabars are just so delicious, that I thought it was worth it. But now Im making my own!

I subbed in apricots and raisins for the dates because thats what I had on hand. The apricots made them a bit dry and they werent sticking together so I tossed in a bit of Trader Joes peanut flour mixed with a sprinkle of water and it did the trick. In the end, they came out wonderful.

Apricot Cashew Coconut Bar

1/3c. apricots
1/4c. raisins
2T cashews
1/2c. toasted coconut flakes
1/2T TJ's peanut flour mixed with 2t water
pinch of salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor (I used my mini food chopper) and process until its crumbly and starting to stick together.
Form into three or four bars or cookie shapes and put in the fridge or freezer.

*INFO: 215 calories per 1/3 recipe (one bar).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chocolate (or Avocado and Banana) Covered Pancakes

A few months back I used to make nearly ALL of the recipes on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog. So delicious and fun (especially fun eating them!) But now that Im off gluten and soy AND a lot of veggies (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), I cant eat most of the things I read about. I saw this recipe for Red Velvet Pancakes for One and wanted to try it. Now I know, CCK has a good amount of GF adaptations but I truly despise Bob's Red Mill GF flour mix (its the bean flour!). So I made my own version, gluten free with banana avocado creme.

GF Chocolate Pancakes with Avocado Banana Creme

1 1/2T sweet sorghum flour
1/2T tapioca flour (or starch)
2T + 1t GF oat flour
2T cocoa powder
1/2t baking powder
1/8t salt
1 1/2 packets stevia powder
1/2t egg replacer powder mixed w 1T warm water
1/4c. non dairy milk (I used homemade almond cashew)
1 1/2-2T water

Mix together the dry ingredients (everything up to and including the stevia) and the wet ingredients separately, then pour the wet into the dry and combine. Cook like regular pancakes.
Meanwhile whip together 1/8 avocado and about 4-5 inches of a banana in a food processor.
Once pancakes are done, plate up and top with avocado banana creme and the remaining banana.

SERVES: One (makes about 5 small pancakes and creme to top).

If I had them, I would've added toasted coconut flakes on top as well. That would have made it phenomenal!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cantaloupe Juice? Yes, please!

A while back I bought a Jack Lalanne juicer on Kijiji. (Only 40$!!). Ive been juicing up a storm lately.

This morning I whipped up a big glass of cantaloupe juice!! And I know I know... they say not to eat melon with anything but itself, but I broke a cardinal rule and added a pear.

SO worth it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My First Raw Soup!

Todays soup was definitely a leap of faith. Ive contemplated making raw soups before, but.. I do not have a Vita mix, I do not have a Blendtec, I dont even have a food processor. No. My blender is a different sort.

Yes. That is what my beast of a blender looks like. (Its actually an older model than that one.) Suffice to say it does its job... but raw carrots? Turning those raw carrots into a smooth puree? Hmmm... I dont know.

But alas! It not only pureed those pesky little carrots, it made an amazing meal. I wont be underestimating my elderly blender again.

Carrot Garlic Cream Soup (RAW!)

3/4c. chopped carrots
1/2c.-2/3c. warm water
1/2c. baby spinach
1 tbsp. avocado
2 tbsp. cashew garlic creme**
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
pinch each of salt, pepper, and chipotle powder

Blend the carrots and water first, then add the spinach and blend, and lastly add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

**Cashew Garlic Creme

1/4c. cashews, soaked
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
salt and pepper
water to equal 1/2c.

Puree in blender until smooth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tropical Inspiration

Todays smoothie was, hands down, one of the most delicious creations Ive ever tasted. Seriously.

Inspired by Kathy's salad HERE, I came up with this recipe.

Mango Avocado Smoothie

JUICE (fresh):
-2c. baby spinach
-1 tart apple
-2 carrots
1/2c. mango
1/4 avocado
5 ice cubes
pinch of pumpkin pie spice


Oh my yum. You have to try this. The only downside is that its quite unphotogenic.

Well... dont say I didnt try.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Curried Carrot and Parsnip Soup

This recipe has been on my radar for quite a while. (CLICK HERE for the original.)

There were a lot few changes to this recipe than my other experiments. There were the major adaptations (veganizing and making it soy free) and some minor ones (adding a little more oomph where it was lacking). The breakdown is as follows:


-5 3/4c. water and 2 veggie boullion cubes for the chicken stock
-160ml (one small can) coconut milk for the tofu


- 2tbsp + 2tsp. extra curry powder
- 1tsp. cumin
- extra bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1/2 tbsp. olive oil

I also decided to saute the onions and garlic in olive oil before adding the ingredients to the pot. The rest of the instructions remained the same.

It made 7 cups of soup at 155 calories per cup and was absolute YUM.

Ive been making so much soup lately Im surprised its not coming out of my ears! Not only did I make this soup today, I made a Tomato Soup as well just to use up some cherry tomatoes I got at 50% off at the grocery store a few days prior. So keep an eye out for that recipe in the near future! (Also get excited for my Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe and another delicious wrap!)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wheat Free Vegan Coconut Cashew Granola

Is anyone else but me absolutely in shock over how high the price of granola is?? ESPECIALLY gluten free granola. Nearly 7$ for 6 little servings!!

This became a perfect excuse to make my own. (Now, Bobs Red Mill makes wheat free rolled oats. So its not necessarily 100% gluten free but some people with gluten intolerances aren't affected by uncontaminated oats.) My idea came from this recipe for Tropical Granola.

I played around with the portions and ingredients so much, it really doesnt look much like the original at all. But I, in all my sincere embarrassed glory, couldnt wait to have a bowl until morning and I had it for dinner last night when I made it.

Wheat Free Vegan Coconut Cashew Granola

2 cups wheat free rolled oats (bobs red mill)
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 cup chopped cashews
3 tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. whole flax seeds
6 tbsp. maple sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. coconut butter, melted
1 tbsp. original almond milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup diced dried apricot, preferably unsweetened & unsulfured
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

There were also a few changes to the instructions as well but other than the following, they remained the same.

1. I added the nuts with the oats.
2. For the coconut butter, melt in the microwave with the almond milk and mix with agave/applesauce mixture.
3. Add dried fruit the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

Makes 4 3/4 cups.
Each 1/2 cup serving is 205 calories.

*NOTE: In the future I would probably sub out 1 tsp. of the coconut butter for an extra 2/3 cup or so of puffed rice just to make it an even 5 cups, therefore yielding exactly 10 servings at 195 calories each.