bread

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: March Edition

So I mentioned in this post that I was going to try a monthly meal plan for March, sticking within my budget of $25/week for food. How did it go?

  • Week 1: I spent $19.47 on groceries.
  • Week 2: I spent $24.09 on groceries. Cutting it close! All necessites for my week’s plan.
  • Week 3: I spent $20.30 on groceries. Roughly $10 0f that was absolute necessities for my planned menu, and I got some extra goodies! (okay, it was mostly bell peppers and avocados.) I ended up not doing all the planned meals because I had lots more leftovers than previous weeks, plus I was sick.
  • Week 4: I spent $26.60 on groceries. This included what I needed for the little bit of overlap for the last couple days of March.
  • But I did end up using the rest of my money buying a couple staple/pantry items that I’ll use next month too.

Keep in mind, we do have loads of bulk stuff stored in buckets from More Prosperous (or simply more reckless?) Times of the Past, and we have a separate line item for bulk food (and I spent all but pennies of that $50 this month aside from the above), so the above is strictly fresh veggies and staples like oil and sugar.

Speaking of oil and sugar, I bought a regular bottle of veggie oil and a 4lb bag of sugar for Week 1. As of the end of week 3, the oil had been long gone and another bottle half-used, and the sugar is all but gone. I find this disturbing.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From More Peas, Thank You:

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1. Corn Chowda with Cornbread Croutons – GooGoo has been pestering me to make a potato soup for weeks now. I finally make one, and will she eat it? No. Sigh. She did like the cornbread croutons and the side of broccoli, though.

 From The Veg Feasting Cookbook:

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2. Carrots in the Raw – This salad was very easy, requiring few ingredients, and went great with the burgers we had for lunch. I left out the raisins and just added some extra pumpkin seeds instead, because fruit in a vegetable salad is just weird to me. The following day we had the leftovers on top of lettuce. Yum.

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3. Cumin Carrot Soup – This became steadily more disgusting the more of it that I ate. Mr Pine Nut thought it was good, but I heartily disagreed. I couldn’t taste cumin at all; even though I reduced the pepper it was way too peppery; worst of all the texture was just gross. Will never make again.

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4. Turkish Lentil Soup – SO good. I was a little concerned, because the cinnamon smelled really strong while it was cooking, but as far as taste went, I didn’t even notice it. The flavours were all blended perfectly with nothing overpowering anything else. I was pleased, and would definitely make this again. Way better than the vomitous carrot sludge.

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5. Spicy Yellow Dal – I didn’t have toor dal, but the book suggested subbing yellow split peas, so I used green split peas. It took a lot more than 2 cups of water to cook the peas, but this was overall quite a simple dish to assemble and it was very tasty. It was at the edge of my heat tolerance level, but very good. We ate it with rice and steamed broccoli.

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6. Mexican Black Bean Salad – This was fairly simple to throw together, and it was a meal for Mr Pine Nut and I (with the addition of lettuce, and some bread on the side). It had a good flavour, but the recipe called for no salt. I added a tiny bit, but more wouldn’t have hurt. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but it was fine.

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7. Cabbage Curry – This was SO easy, and very tasty! I added the garbanzo beans to make it a meal, but the flavour was great and the heat level perfect (that is, not very hot. :-)) It’s a dry curry, and you could really use any veggie (or combination thereof) instead of the cabbage – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, &c.

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8. Cream of Veg Soup – This was just okay. Mr Pine Nut and Lou Who loved it; GooGoo wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t finish mine. It was better than cumin-carrot soup, but I found it just too salty even though I’d diluted it considerably.

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9. Chickpea Mash Stew – I really liked this, despite it being totally different from how I envisioned it would be. Lou Who loved it too!

10. Super Noodle Soup – Very basic. The special thing about it seemed to me just that all the veggies get cut up very tiny (1/8″ dice), and I had to add a lot of extra salt and some garlic powder because it just didn’t have much flavour without. It was good, but I don’t think I’ll rush to make it again.

11. Pulao Rice – This was pretty easy. I used brown rice so I changed the water proportion and cooking time, but it came out very nice and I liked it. I wasn’t super fond of the whole idea of having to pick out all the whole cloves, cardamom pods, and other such things though.

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12. Chickpea Curry – I was prepping my ingredients for this and it calls for a 4-oz piece of ginger, thinly sliced. I only have (frozen) grated ginger, so I got it out and the frozen glob I had weighed exactly four ounces. The problem is that four ounces of grated ginger is like… a CUP’S worth. So I called out into the twitterverse and got confirmation that for the amount of curry, that seemed like an awful lot. So I decided to do 2 ounces instead. The end result was a curry with a good flavour… under an intense heat. I burned my entire digestive tract raw and had steam coming out my ears from eating it. So yeah, I doubt I’ll be making this again.

13. Saffron Rice – I made this to go with the abovementioned curry as per the book’s suggestion. It was okay. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it.

From the interwebs:

14. Parmesan Muffins – A friend made these and raved about them, so I decided to try them, because I need to get more savoury muffins into my culinary repertoire. They were excellent! I used flax instead of eggs (so 2T ground flax and 6T warm water), and I was too tired/lazy to make my favourite almond parmesan so I just used some Daiya mozzarella shreds I had in my freezer. And I left out the sugar.

15. Brownie Coco-Nut-Butter Cups – !!!!!!! YUM !!!!!! So, I made these for a potluck and forgot to take them with me. Oops. What a tragedy. 😉

From Vegan Simplicity:

16. Vegan Red Beans and Rice – This was good, but not great, which seems to be (so far) my reaction to most of Mark Anthony’s recipes. I bought this cookbook when he came and did a presentation/cooking class at our church and really haven’t used it much yet, so I definitely want to give it more of a chance before passing judgement. At any rate, this called for 3/4 cup of vegan margarine. O_O It also didn’t *look* super appetising.

17. Sri Lankan Style Mixed-Bean Soup – No picture; it looked sludgy and not super appealing, kind of pooplike, so like the red beans above the visual appeal was nil. But it tasted pretty good.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

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18. Green Monster Bread (made into bagels/rolls) – I used rye flour and caraway seeds in with this and like it a lot! It seems a tad on the sweet side, so I think I’d reduce the sugar next time, but aside from that this was a definite “something I’d make again”. Way to sneak some kale into my girls’ diets (and mine).

Ten Talents (1978 edition):

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19. Carrot Salad – I thought the combo of carrot/pecan/cocoanut seemed a bit odd, but decided to try it anyway, and it was really good! Also very simple. I served it on a bed of lettuce/cabbage just to give it more variety but I would totally make it again.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

20. Cornmeal Poppyseed Biscotti – I hate lemon poppyseed bread. That being said, these were really good! I was surprised. I don’t know that they’ll be something I’ll make really often, but I brought some home from a potluck and know I’ll eat them. 🙂

21. Rocky Roads – I’ve had these before but haven’t made them before, and my suspicion that I’d like them better without the almond extract was completely correct. They are addictive, amazing, and I think the dough would be the perfect chocolate cookie base for a whole bunch of mix-ins. I’d like to try it plain too.

Everyday Vegan Eats:

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22. Chickpeas and Dumplings – A bit too salty but it was really yummy anyway!

23. Black Bean Feijoada – Really, really good!

[ETA: 24. Macaroni Salad – I made this on a whim the last day of March, and it was GOOD]

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in March: 8

Did I meet my goal? Barely! I was worried the last week or so that I wouldn’t hit 20, but I did.

See you next month, with April’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, salads, side dish, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: February Edition

Things that have happened this month:

  • I broke my blender jar – again (SIGH)
  • I ran out of regular sugar, which has forced me to be Creative with Liquid Sweeteners, because I have plenty of those, and also kept me from making cookies, which is good for my body and not good for my sugar-loving mouth
  • We had our annual nonfire and it was fun
  • I tried a bunch of new recipes!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Veganomicon:

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1 and 2. Chickpeas Romesco with Saffron-Garlic Rice – These were both fantastic and went together great, just as they suggested. Definitely would make again!

3. Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu – Failed to get a picture of this one. I liked this just okay. I think my cornmeal wasn’t quite fine enough and I didn’t have lime zest so it lacked that lime punch. The coating stuff was like twice as much as I actually needed though, so I froze the rest of it for later use.

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4. Potato Leek Cassoulet – I wasn’t super duper impressed with this one; it seemed bland. I imagine that more salt would probably have been the answer, but while I can add salt to the stew, it’s hard to add salt to already-cooked biscuits. The leftovers I heated the next day I added some more salt to anyway and it did help a lot. So I may possibly make this again and just keep that in mind.

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5. Beanballs – So I had some kidney beans in the freezer from a while ago and when I saw this called for kidney beans it was an immediate sell. They were really easy and tasty. Neither of my children were impressed, however.

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6. Double Pea Soup with Roasted Red Peppers – I subbed frozen lima beans for well over half the peas called for because I thought I had more frozen peas than I did. Oops. Anyway, I was concerned I wouldn’t like this soup because of all the random seasonings in it that I would never ever use in pea soup. I didn’t really like the soup, but it was actually not to do with the seasonings, I just found it really blah somehow.

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7. Spinach Noodle Kugel – I had such high hopes for this. I subbed kale and collards for the spinach because that’s what I have at the moment, and only about 1/3 the weight called for – and, guys, I just really don’t like collards and kale. There also seemed a tremendous imbalance between the greens and the pasta. I can’t imagine using 30 oz of frozen spinach in here, let alone that much kale.  I would like to try it again, with spinach.

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8. Lemony Potato Wedge Things – (yeah I’m too lazy to go look up the actual recipe name) I had these going for probably about an hour, the last half of which I cranked the oven up to 400. They never really browned like they were supposed to. BUT, they really tasted good!

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9. Soup With a Really Long Name – (see comment on previous recipe’s title) This was SO good! I subbed oregano for the thyme, because I ran out of thyme. Somehow that always happens when I go too crazy making Isa recipes! :-p Anyway, I would definitely make this again.

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10. Rosemary Foccacia Bread – DE. LISH. US. My children adored it as well. We ate it with seasoned pinto beans.

From the interwebs:

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11. Cranberry Paleo Muffins – Another recipe I found to try using my Christmas cocoanut flour in. These were the most disgusting things I have ever tasted in my life. Even my husband couldn’t eat them. If he can’t eat them, they really must be bad. Seriously, do paleo people actually EAT this stuff???? I took a tiny bite and gagged, as did both my children. Mr Pine Nut gamely picked out the cranberries from his, but declined to take a second one.

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12. Cranberry Orange Upside-down Cake I had exactly enough cocoanut flour from my Christmas bag left to make this. Of the three recipes I tried, this was easily the best, but it was still weird. I think I should have baked it a little longer, and arrowroot just has a weird texture. The flavour was good. It’s all about texture, which is kind of also a big deal. I won’t be in a rush to make it again, and I have no desire to run out and buy more cocoanut flour, because I’m simply not impressed.

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13. Tofu Mr Pine Nut made tofu once, a very long time ago (when we lived in the trailer). It came out soft, but good. I like, nay, LOVE tofu, and because of our finances right now I was thinking maybe I better learn to make it and save us some money. Well, the process went great until the cold water step at the end, when my blob of tofu decided “Hey, I’ll disentegrate into a bajillion bits!!” Not cool, tofu. Not cool. I’ll definitely try again, but preferably on a day when I’m not also doing a ton of other things like I was this day, and ask around for some input from tofu-making connoisseurs.

14. Okara Crab Cakes I had plenty of perfectly good okara out of the lame tofu deal, though! So I tried this recipe. It was good. Not my favourite thing ever, but good.

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15. Okara “Chicken” Nuggets – These were SO good! This is definitely going to be a go-to with future okara. I did the procedure a bit differently than outlined – I wrapped the mixture directly in foil and dumped it in a steamer basket in a covered pot. I did not do the breading and frying, which I’m sure would be good, but these were good just on their own too! We ate them with carrots and mac and cheese.

From Isa Does It:

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16. Spicy Slurpy Spaghetti Sauce – Oh MAN this was hands down the best sauce EVER I will never make another sauce again! (Yes, crazy Pinterest peeps, I’m mocking you.) Seriously though, this was the best sauce I’ve ever made, and it was so easy. I subbed a combo of paprika/smoked paprika for the pepper flakes, since Mr Pine Nut is not a fan of heat, and I blended it in my food processor to hide the “stuff” (tomato chunks, onions) from GooGoo. GooGoo is not a fan of tomato anything, but she slurped this stuff right down with her linguine. Score!

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17. Classic Baked Tofu – Loved the flavour; didn’t love the texture. I think next time I’ll cut thinner slices and skip the parchment paper; I like my baked tofu to have a bit more of a chewy crust than this one ended up with (even after being in the oven way longer than called for!) But I’ll definitely make it again. I had it with steamed broccoli and chicken rice. It was a super delicious meal.

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18. Meaty Beany Chili – This was okay; I did not add the sweetener and I’m glad I didn’t; I like my savoury food to be savoury, and somehow the cloves made it seem sweet enough already. Not sure I’ll make this again.

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19. Lentil-Quinoa Stew – I had only 3/4 cup of quinoa and I probably used only 1/2 pound of kale. Despite the kale (I am so not a fan) it was very good!

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20. Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings – This was amazing. I forgot to put the navy beans in (I don’t even know, guys) but it was still insanely delicious. When I heated the leftovers the next day I added in some of the navy beans with them. Either way it’s great.

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21. Cheddary Broccoli Soup – Not a huge fan of this, although Lou Who snarfed down three bowls and had the rest tonight for her supper, cold, because she was in too much of a hurry to wait to warm it up! GooGoo was also not a fan. It tasted vaguely vomitlike to me when I first tasted it out of the pot, and when I reheated it for our Friday night supper it at least no longer tasted like vomit. It was, however, ridiculously noochy, and I’m really not a huge fan of nooch. It was worth a shot, but I don’t think I’ll make it again.

From Vegan Brunch:

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22. Toasted Cocoanut Chocolate Chip Muffins – I loved the mango ones from last month, so I tried the chocolate chip variation. I had to do a lot of subbing because I’m out of, oh, sugar, and getting low on oil. So I used melted cocoanut oil and instead of the dry sugars used 1/4 cup agave. They turned out nicely and tasted great.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

23. Carrot Cake Cupcakes – These were really good, despite the fact that I do not believe raisins belong in a carrot cake. I would leave them out next time, but I did very much like the overall flavour! I did a double batch in a 13×9 pan to take to a potluck.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in February: 5

Did I meet my goal? Yes, plus 3. Yay!

See you next month, with March’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, entrees, side dish, soup, tofu, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Corn Bread

When I first met Mr Pine Nut, he was more or less constantly engaged in a determined effort to make Really Good Cornbread. Except he didn’t want to use a recipe.

I tried to convince him that Baking is a Science, and Requires Accurate Measurements, but he wouldn’t believe me.

So we had quite a few pans of rather heavy cornbread together, unless I was cooking, in which case I used the recipe on the cornmeal bag, like my mother had always done. It came out okay, though it never seemed to be as nice as when my mom made it.

Eventually I got the recipe my mother-in-law had used when working in a retirement centre kitchen, and I’ve used it ever since with good success and very few adaptations (the original called for eggs, so that was my main change). It always comes out perfectly, except when I try to use flax eggs in it. Flax eggs do NOT work in this recipe. I don’t know why. I’ve tried a number of times and with varying amounts of water. So I stick with the Ener-G egg replacer for this one.

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The amount in black give you for either a pie pan or 9×9″ square pan. The amount in red gives you a 13×9″ pan batch.

Corn Bread
1 c (2 c) corn meal (sometimes I use a blend of corn flour and corn meal)
1/2 c (1 c) wheat flour
1/2 c (1 c) white flour
2 T (1/4 c) sugar
1/2 T (1 T) baking powder
1/2 tsp (1 tsp) salt
1/2 T (1 T) Ener-G egg replacer
2 T (1/4 c) water
1/3 c (2/3 c) oil (can do half applesauce)
1 c (2 c) non-dairy milk (any will work, and water will do in a pinch)
1/2 c (1 c) frozen corn (optional)

Now here are the SuperComplicated(tm) instructions!

In bowl #1, combine all dry ingredients.

In bowl #2, combine all wet ingredients.

Transfer contents of bowl #1 to bowl #2 and stir just until combined.

Pour into a sprayed pan and bake at 350. The 8×8″ will take roughly 20-25 minutes, and the 13×9 at least 30 minutes.

The toothpick test works this way for this recipe: at the end of your baking time, if it comes out clean, let it go another couple of minutes.

You can also do this in a cast-iron skillet with excellent results. I’ve been doing it that way a lot lately.

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Categories: bread, dairy-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Vegan Month of Food, Day 12: Savoury Kale Waffle Sandwich

I really don’t like kale that much.

I know that pretty much revokes any right I’ll ever have to a vegan card, but it’s the truth. Still, as with nutritional yeast, I use the stuff anyway, because I know I should. (Granted, 5 years ago I thought spinach was disgusting and now it’s my favourite green…) So, we’ll see in another five years, I guess.

If it’s steamed or in a soup is the way I like kale mostly.

But best of all is when it’s blended up so I really hardly know it’s there.

Plus, it’s a good way for GooGoo and Lou Who to get greens, since Lou Who still can’t really chew them and GooGoo sometimes eats it, but usually only while she’s in the garden picking it.

The Green Waffle

The Green Waffle

So, here’s a savoury waffle, greened up with kale. This was inspired by Green Monster Bread from “Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day” as well as a waffle recipe from last year’s MoFo that I can’t find now, and also by a waffle from “Of These Ye May Freely Eat“.

Yes, the batter looks like pond scum.

Yes, the batter looks like pond scum.

A few notes:

*Soak lentils overnight, at least 8 hours. I think mine soaked around 14 hours, because I didn’t have time to get to them first thing in the morning.

*You want cold milk and water because it will give you a nice fluffy waffle requiring no leavening when beat well. I don’t really understand the science of it, but it does work.

*Cold water+loads of beating is the magic combo. Since there’s no gluten, you don’t need to worry about overbeating. Blend it at least a minute if not longer, to get lots of air into it.

Green Savoury Kale Wafflewich
2 c lentils, soaked at least overnight
3 c oats, divided
4 c unsweetened almond milk, cold
1/2 c cold water
2 c packed greens: kale and collards were what I used
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp California chilli powder

First, get the waffle iron heating.

Fabulous green batter, green waffle, and green waffle iron.

Fabulous green batter, green waffle, and green waffle iron.

Put all ingredients except 1c oats and 1/2 c water into blender. Blend well. If your blender isn’t big enough, you can do it in batches, which is what I had to do.

Pour into a large bowl and fold in oats and 1/2 c water. I cooked them for about 10 minutes fairly high. Just keep an eye on it, since every waffle iron is different.

Ideas for serving:

  • Serve like beans on toast, with some nice savoury black beans on top
  • Use rice-bean combo to fill, maybe with some onions and bell peppers
  • Black bean burger with tomato, lettuce, and hummus
  • Cream cheeze, tomato, and cucumber

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What I have in the photo at the top is tomato, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, and Sabra spinach-artichoke hummus. And green beans on the side, because apparently today is green day.

This makes 4 12″ waffles, which means I can get 8 sandwiches out of it. They freeze well and are very filling. And the girls both liked them. Score!

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Categories: bread, breakfast, brunch, challenges, freezer meals, gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, oil-free, recipes, snacks, soy-free, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013, vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vegan Blog Challenge 2013, Week 10: The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado

Last October, during my first Vegan MoFo, I watched a lot of blogs, and bookmarked loads of recipes, but I can’t say any of them impressed me quite like Vegan Cookbook Aficionado. I loved the photos, and almost all of the recipes were ones that I thought, “Hey, I’d really really REALLY like to try that.”

I’ve already rhapsodised about Maggie’s Apple-Cranberry Bannock, but the sad thing is, that’s the only thing I’ve actually made in the year since then (albeit multiple times!) So, I was totally thrilled that this was blog #10 on the challenge, because it would motivate me to actually make some of those fantastic-looking recipes that I’ve wanted to try for so long. Of course several of the ones on my to-make list called for either cream cheeze or soy yogurt, which I didn’t have, so here are the ones I did have stuff handy to make.

bannockGarlic Herb Bannock

Since I liked the other bannock so much, I decided to try this savoury one. I did some whole wheat flour, some all-purpose, and some random gluten-free flour mix because I was kind of running out of everything at the time. I used the parsley fresh from our garden, and for my other herbs I picked some oregano, rosemary, and chives.

I accidentally deep-fried the thing because I dumped way more oil into my electric skillet than I intended to. But oh was it delicious. It was light, fluffy, flavourful, amazing.

sconeRaspberry Cocoanut Scones

I splurged on some cocoanut extract to make these, since it was only $2.48 for a bottle and I’ve wanted it a long time and hey, I can use it in all kinds of stuff! Again I used some whole wheat flour here. They were awesome.

tatoesSalt and Vinegar Potato Bites

As per usual, I subbed lemon juice for the vinegar. I used rosemary, oregano, and chives again as my herbs. Usually I like my potatoes sans any sort of sauce, but I decided I’d do half the amount of the dipping sauce and drizzle it on top. It was actually pretty good. GooGoo didn’t like it, and it’s not something I’ll do all the time, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The potatoes themselves, of course – delightful. Mmm.

Chocolate-Strawberry Loaf

No picture of this one, but it was intensely chocolatey and the sweet tang of the strawberries was delicious. I did the variation for regular cocoa powder, and I left out the espresso powder because I had none and hate the taste of anything coffeelike anyway. I had a piece hot out of the oven and could hardly taste it trying to keep it from burning off all my tastebuds (I’m so impatient), but just now I had a cold piece and it was amazing.

Overall comments for this week? Nothing disappointed. I am more stoked than ever to try more!

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Categories: bread, challenges, dessert, lunch, scones, side dish, vegan, vegan blog challenge 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vegan MoFo #6: Swedish Tea Ring

Yesterday was Lou Who’s dedication service, after which we had family over for lunch, during which I discovered two things. Toddlers like to eat plastic forks for appetisers and comb each others’ hair with the forks after they are dirty.

I can’t believe Lou Who is two months old already.

We had Northern Bean Soup and Lentil Soup (which you’ll read about later), both of which I made about ten times more than I actually needed for the people who were there. I clearly do not know how to do anything small. I also had two Swedish Tea Rings for dessert, and they were rather large, and one would really have been enough.

cinnamon raisin swedish tea ring

Cinnamon-Raisin Filling

This recipe was originally found on page 219 of the 1978 Betty Crocker cookbook.


Start with Sweet Roll Dough. I refer you back to my cinnamon roll post for this recipe. Make a single batch for one tea ring or a double batch for two tea rings.

While the dough is rising the first time, prepare the filling:

Cinnamon-Raisin Filling
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c raisins (or other dried fruit – I used a raisin/cherry combo)

Really, the filling possibilities are limitless. Blueberry-Ginger Filling? Chocolate Chip Mint Filling? Orange Vanilla Filling?

When sweet roll dough is risen, punch it down. On a floured surface, roll it into a 15×9″ rectangle. Spread with 2 T vegan margarine and then spread filling of your choice over entire rectangle.

Roll dough lengthwise like a cinnamon roll as tightly as possible, and pinch edge closed.

With sealed edge down, shape into ring on a lightly-greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together. With kitchen scissors, snip 2/3 of the way through ring at 1″ intervals. Turn each section on its side. Let rise about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 and bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. While still warm, spread ring with powdered sugar glaze and decorate with nuts or fruit as desired.

cocoanut lime swedish tea ring

Cocoanut Lime Swedish Tea Ring (I’m not sharing the filling recipe yet, because it needed some work. :-p)

The raisin-cherry-filled ring was unanimously approved; we all agreed the cocoanut lime was just… ih. I have some ideas of how to improve it, and whenever it’s perfected I’ll share it with you. 🙂

Categories: bread, brunch, challenges, dessert, holiday, Lou Who, nut-free, recipes, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Postpartum Freezer Food Project of Doom: Pizza Crusts

For my first freezer project, I chose to do my pizza crusts, because bread keeps so well in the freezer. I need 4 but only had enough oil for 2, so I’ll have to make the others later.

Pizza Crust

Single Basic Pizza Dough Crust recipe (adapted from an old Betty Crocker cookbook)

1 T yeast
1 T sugar
1 c warm water
1 tsp salt
2 T veggie oil
2.5 cups flour (I use varying combinations of white/whole wheat)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add in salt, oil, and flour. Knead until incorporated, adding flour if necessary. I don’t usually knead it for more than a minute. Let it sit there for 5 or so minutes before rolling out to fit your pan.

In this particular batch of 2 crusts, I added in with the salt/oil:
1 T sesame seeds
1 T pizza seasoning

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.* Let cool completely. Freeze on trays before wrapping/bagging.

This recipe will do a variety of sizes, depending on thickness. I have stretched it over an 18″ circular pan (thinner crust) and these ones I did a bit thicker in an 15×9-ish rectangular pan (the biggest that fits in my trailer oven). You can also do small rounds for mini pizzas.

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*If I’m making this to eat right away, I bake it at 425 for about 5 minutes, add my sauce and toppings, and return it to the oven for 8 minutes or so. Since I’m going to be thawing and reheating this time, my theory is that baking it a little less will keep it from being too dry. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Categories: bread, freezer meals, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Raisin Oat Scones

This is a recipe my husband came up with. He adapted it from another recipe such a long time ago that he doesn’t remember anymore where it came from. They are nice because they’re compact and easier to transport than the regular triangular scones that tend to be more flaky and fragile, but they are really tasty and even addictive, especially fresh out of the oven. They also go together very quickly, which makes it a good breakfast choice.

2 cups regular rolled oats
2 cups soft white wheat flour (or all-purpose, or regular whole wheat)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar, agave, or honey
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil or other veggie oil
1 cup water

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly, then stir in liquid ingredients. Mix with a spoon or your hands in the bowl just until combined.

Take small balls of dough and knead in your hands just until it holds its shape. Shape into flat circle and place on sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes.

Categories: bread, breakfast, nut-free, recipes, snacks, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Delicious Homemade Bread Anyone Can Bake

Someone once said:

If girls were taught how to cook, especially how to make good bread, their education would be of far greater value.

(Boys can benefit too!)

Now, how about a recipe using delicious grainy goodness?

I’ve had a lot of issues making bread. Most people have. But because I usually can’t bring myself to shell out $4 or more for a loaf of bread that’s actually reasonably healthy, I’ve made it myself. With endless issues. It sank. Or it was gooey. Or it felt like I should sell it to the third little pig for his house. You name it, it’s happened to me. I tried all the recipes friends and family would throw at me and checked out book after book from the library, and while I’d occasionally get a freak good result, the frustration and failure was monumental. I gave up for a long time and my husband took over the breadmaking for several months.

UNTIL I BEGAN USING THIS RECIPE, and I have never had a failed loaf of bread since (even though I continued on to modify it slightly, because that’s how I roll).

The measurements in black text make 1 loaf. The numbers in red are a double recipe for 2 loaves. I recommend making just one loaf for starters.

Ingredients:
1.5 (3) c warm water (if you’re going by a thermometer, 105-115 degrees; I just stick my finger in it)
1.5 (3) Tbsp sweetener of choice – agave, honey, or sugar
1.5 (3) Tbsp yeast
1/4 c (3/4c) ground flaxseed (optional)
1.5 (3) Tbsp olive oil
1.5 (3) tsp salt
1.5 (3) c white flour or (3/4 c) gluten flour
3-4.5 (6-9) c whole wheat flour

Instructions:
Place warm water in a large bowl. Add yeast and sweetener and whisk to dissolve yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until you see the yeast bubbling and frothing rabidly on top of the water. (This is called proofing the yeast, to make sure it’s alive and functional.)

Yeast and sugar

Here is my yeast with three blops of brown sugar.

Whisked Up

Now I’ve added the 3 cups of warm water and whisked it up.

Frothing Yeastiness

IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE

Add flaxseed, oil, and salt. Add the white flour and stir 1-2 minutes. This will help develop the gluten to make a light loaf of bread.

Flaxseed, oil, and salt

Adding in my ground flaxseed, oil (corn oil in this case), and salt.

Add remaining whole wheat flour about a cup at a time until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hands. [I don’t really count the cups I put in; I just add until it feels right, because it seems to vary depending on weather and temperature and other factors.]

Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes. Add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp towel, and let rise in a warm place approximately an hour until doubled. [Just keep an eye on it, because I find it often will double long before an hour hits, and you want to not let the yeast die out. 30-45 minutes is usually what I do.]

Stirring

Stirring in my flour

Kneaded lump

It’s all kneaded and ready to rise. (Yes, the picture is blurry. I have lousy lighting conditions in my current place of abode.)

Punch down the risen dough and knead a little to work out air bubbles. Shape into a loaf (or two loaves) (or divide dough into 12-16 equal blobs and shape into buns!) and place in oiled bread pan (or cookie sheets for buns). Cover with towel again and let rise 30 minutes approximately, until nearly doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 during this time. [It will continue to rise the first minute or so in the hot oven, sometimes quite dramatically!]

First Rising

After rising for a while, it’s ready to punch down and shape into loaves!

Division

Here I’ve cut the blob of dough in two equal parts.

Rolling out the air bubbles

You can squish the bubbles out by hand if you like; I usually roll it out and then roll it up tightly.

Second rise

In the loaf pans ready to rise the second time.

After rising

Ready to go into the oven to bake!

Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom. [After about 30 minutes, I take the loaf out of the pan and just put it right on the oven rack for another 10 minutes or so. This gets a good crust on the bottom and seems to help keep the bread from being soggy.] (Buns usually go 20-25 minutes, and you can just turn them upside down on the cookie sheets to crisp up the bottom.) Cool on a cooling rack.

All done!

Out of the oven, cooling on a cooling rack!

I also let the bread sit out at least overnight before putting it away. 24 hours would be ideal. It really cures it nicely.

In my next post, I’ll share some substitutionary ideas you can try out once you’ve mastered the plain template above!

Categories: around the kitchen, bread, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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