Posts Tagged With: honey

Healthy Soft Granola Bars

Here’s a pretty straightforward recipe that disappears quickly any time I make it. Most, most delicious. I don’t appear to have a photo of it in my files. I guess that means I need to make it again soon?? Great for a snack or a healthier dessert choice.

1/2 c brown sugar
2/3 c peanut butter
1/2 c honey (or agave for vegans)
1/2 C butter (or Nucoa margarine for vegans), melted
2 tbsp vanilla
3 c oats
1/2 c cocoanut
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c raisins
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1 c chocolate or carob chips

Mix brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, butter, and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients.

Press into sheetcake pan.

Bake at 350 for twenty minutes. Cut into squares while warm; then let cool completely before removing from pan.

***

You could try other nut butters and combinations of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. I always initially balk at the idea of combining peanut butter and raisins, but when it’s actually in my mouth, I really enjoy it, and therefore haven’t really tried any other options at this point. Let me know what you try and how it tastes!

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I’ve been requested to do a post on salads, so I’m mulling that over and hope to have something on that topic next week!

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Categories: dessert, recipes, snacks, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold, Frosty Goodness: Cocoanut Milk Ice Cream

Breyers Triple Chocolate with Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Chips, Cocoanut, and a Maraschino Cherry. Heavenly.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s December, and nobody wants to think about cold, frosty goodness in December. Except for me. And since it’s my blog, and I know there’s at least one of my followers who lives where December is in summertime, I will talk about cold, frosty goodness anyway.

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I like ice cream. My earliest ice cream memories date to 1990, when we discovered a flavour at Albertsons, I believe, called French Cream Almondine. It became a staple at our house until it vanished from the store freezers forever a few months later. I can still taste it, though, in my mind’s mouth.

There's nothing like a fantastic homemade Cold Stone wannabe.

Over time I got to be a bit more of an ice cream snob, preferring Breyers over the other brands. Anything that could possibly be nicknamed Death By Chocolate was my favourite. Anything minty was my favourite. Or full of nuts. Okay, so anything not coffee-flavoured was my favourite.

Still pretty newly married at this point.

(This is me at the Hershey Chocolate Factory. I was having a wonderful time, in case you couldn’t tell. It was Edy’s ice cream, I believe: mint chocolate chip. AND MY HUSBAND BOUGHT IT FOR ME.)

I love visiting my in-laws.

I don’t really get ice cream very often these days, because it’s dairy, and therefore I generally choose to neither ask nor expect my husband to buy it for me except on rare occasions, such as at the Hershey Chocolate Factory. I have gotten to a point where I don’t care as much, although I still thoroughly enjoy it as an At the In-Laws’ treat.

Going in for the kill

Because when we visit my in-laws, I eat ice cream. Sometimes too much, admittedly. (This was Dreyer’s Slow Churned Cookies ‘n’ Cream, I think.)

So, here was the conundrum. How could one continue to enjoy cold, frosty goodness while still abstaining from dairy? Sure, there are soy and rice and cocoanut ice cream substitutes out there, and many of them are quite tasty. However, the price tags are not so tasty.

This recipe is from a friend. To be perfectly honest, I’ve not ever actually made it myself, but I’ve eaten it at her house many times, so I know it works and is good. Here goes.

Cocoanut Ice Cream

1 can cocoanut milk

1 cup water

1/2 c raw cashew nuts

1/2 c pitted dates

1/2 c honey or agave

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp guar or xanthan gum (optional)

1 tray ice cubes

Blend all ingredients, except the ice cubes, until very smooth. This may take up to 2 minutes. There should be no grittiness when a drop is felt between your thumb and finger.

Add the ice cubes and blend until smooth. This will aid the chilling time. Add water as needed to make 5 cups total mixture.

Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to your directions, OR (if you have no ice cream maker) pour into a shallow pan and freeze, stirring every 15 minutes until the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

Categories: dessert, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Granola Recipe Template

Granola

Golden, crunchy goodness.

I just love granola. Especially I love chunky, nutty granola with raisins in it. While I’m still working on finding THE perfect granola recipe that fulfills all my wildest granola fantasies, here’s a basic granola recipe that I’ve found to be foolproof and delicious. You can eat it with any type of milk (almond milk is my favourite). Or, something my husband likes to do is just stir in applesauce and no milk, which is also very tasty.

7 c oats
1 c wheat germ
1 1/2 c cocoanut
1/2-1 c white flour (optional; use if you want it to clump)

1/2 c agave or honey
3/4 c melted butter, margarine, or olive oil (can use half applesauce)

1/2 c nuts, chopped
1 c sunflower seeds (or to taste)

1 c dried fruit, chopped up if it is not already small (like raisins)

Mix well, starting with all the dry ingredients. When they are combined, add the agave/oil. If it is too dry, add a little water as needed.

Now, here’s where most recipes will tell you to put the mixture on cookie sheets, and here’s where I say DON’T put the mixture on cookie sheets. Unless you want burned granola. Here’s what you do: you take two 13×9 pans, split the granola mixture evenly between them, and pack it down.

Bake at 275 for 20 minutes. Take out the pans, stir the contents up, and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. When that time is up, stir in your nuts and sunflower seeds and return to the oven for as long as it takes to finish cooking. You’ll know it’s done when it’s quite dry to the touch, but not petrified.

Once it’s done baking, stir in whatever dried fruit you have chosen to add. Let it sit out to cool completely, stirring occasionally to expedite the process. Put it into a tightly sealing container of some kind to store it.

NOTE: I don’t store it in the freezer/fridge because it goes so fast around here. If you think it might last a month or more at your house, fridge might be a good idea so the nuts don’t go bad before you eat it.

And, here’s a bonus recipe. Using the recipe above, I tweaked a few things and came up with….

Pumpkin Granola

PUMPKIN GRANOLA!!!

You use:

The same first 4 ingredients PLUS 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

Reduce oil to 1/3 cup and add 1 cup pureed pumpkin. Instead of agave, use molasses.

Walnuts or pecans for the nuts

Raisins for the fruit (if fruit is desired)

***

You want another one?

CINNAMON RAISIN GRANOLA

The same first 4 ingredients PLUS 1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 c molasses or other sweetener

1 c Walnuts for nuts (skip the sunflower seeds)

1/2 c flaxseed

And, of course, raisins.
Have fun playing with granola and let me know if you come up with any tasty combos of your own!

Categories: breakfast, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Every Blog Has to Have a First Post: Baked Oatmeal

21 years ago, on a dusky November evening, my family pulled into the driveway of some friends, who opened their home to us our first few days in our new state of Idaho while we found a place to live. This family loves to socialise, and they love food, and many of my favourite memories involve times at their house.

The next morning we were welcomed to consciousness by the warm loveliness of something I’d never encountered before in all my seven and a half years: baked oatmeal. It was love at first taste.

I have, over the years, made modifications to the original recipe so that I have a vegan version. (I’m not hardcore vegan, but prefer it on the whole, so much of what you see on this blog will reflect that.) How many does it serve? Well, my husband and I can clear out the entire pan in one breakfast. We are rather voracious consumers of foody goodness.

Baked Oatmeal

Warm, luscious breakfasty goodness.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

2 whole eggs, beaten (vegans: substitute 4 T water mixed with 2 T ground flaxseed)
½ cup honey (or agave, or just substitute water if you’d rather not have sweetener)
1 cup milk (soy, rice, cocoanut, whatever)
½ cup melted butter (Nucoa margarine or olive oil)
3 cups rolled oats (other rolled grains can be used, or gluten-free oats!)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups frozen blueberries, unthawed (fresh berries and any kind of berry can be substituted)

Beat the eggs. Stir in honey. Add milk and melted butter or oil.

Add dry ingredients. Stir in blueberries last.

Put into an ungreased 13×9 pan and bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes. It should look nicely browned on top without being burned. Serve warm, with milk of choice.

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Make this version first, and then try the following if they appeal to you: substitute applesauce for half the oil; throw in some cocoanut or finely chopped nuts.

Categories: breakfast, gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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