Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Apple Oat Crisp – Vegan and Sugar Free!

Apple Oat CrispThis is modified from a recent Martha Stewart recipe. The original recipe was already Gluten Free and was easily converted to Vegan but I still wanted to reduce the sugar and make it a little healthier just so I could feel OK about eating nearly the entire thing in one sitting. So here is my version:

 

 

 

Topping:

1 1/2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 Cup ground flax seeds

1/8 Cup agave nectar

1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 Cup coconut oil (I used refined because I didn’t want the coconut taste, but unrefined would likely work well too)

Filling:

10 – 14 small apples (I filled my baking dish pretty much full, but this part is not an exact science)

1/8 Cup agave nectar

1/4 Cup dried cherries (more or less to taste)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Core, peel, and chop apples. In a medium bowl toss the apples in the agave nectar. Add cherries and cinnamon and stir until all are coated. Transfer in to a medium to large baking dish.

2. Topping: puree 3/4 Cups of Oats in food processor until coursly ground. In a medium bowl combine pureed oats, remaining oats, flax seeds, agave nectar, salt, coconut oil (easier to use if in liquid form). Stir until combined.

3. Distribute topping over filling. Cover dish with tin foil.

4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes with foil on. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until topping is brown and apples are easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool for a bit and serve warm (also reheats well).

I bet this would be fantastic with vanilla ice cream, but as I’m avoiding processed sugar right now I will only get to imagine that. Eat it for me so I can enjoy it vicariously!

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Healthy-ish Chocolate Cookies – Vegan!

I have been working on this one for a while. I absolutely love chocolate chip cookies, but Jason and I can eat them by the handful so I wanted to find a way to make yummy cookies that were not terrible for us (because that sounded way easier than getting us to eat fewer of them). After much experimentation (which Jason and Scout both really enjoyed) I have come up with a recipe I’m pretty happy with:

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I mean, they’re still cookies, but these have a little more food value than most.

Healthy-ish Chocolate Cookies

1 Cup Coconut Oil (I prefer refined because it doesn’t have the coconut taste, but if you like coconut, unrefined works well too and is healthier)

2/3 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice (or white sugar)

1 Cup Agave Nectar (Other sugar combinations: 1 Cup Evap. Cane Juice, 1 Cup Sucanat; or 1 Cup white sugar, 1 Cup brown sugar)

1/4 Cup Non-Dairy milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup Almond Flour/Meal

1/2 Cup Chickpea Flour (reduce to 1/4 Cup if you’re not using agave nectar)

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Baking Powder

9 oz Chocolate Chips

In a medium bowl, beat together the oil and sugars until well mixed. Add the soymilk and vanilla and mix. In another bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, chickpea flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in almond flour/meal and salt.

Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet and beat until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. If you are cooking in warm weather and the oil is liquid, you may need to add a little additional flour to make a nice thick dough.

Spoon tablespoon fulls of dough on to a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 7-9 minutes. The agave nectar makes the cookies more likely to burn so watch them closely. Pull them out when you just start to see golden brown curling up around the edges. For a crispier cookie, cook a little after you see the edges start to brown. For a chewier cookie, pull them out sooner.

Enjoy a cookie with higher protein and fiber content, less sugar, and healthier fats!

Amazing Easy Whipped Cream Cake (Vegan!)

Whipped cream is one of those vegan holy grails. The store bought stuff is expensive, hard to find (impossible if you live in rural Utah), and only OK. So we never really bother with it much. For years we have simply lived without whipped cream on our favorite deserts and one of my favorite treats, Newly Wed Cake (otherwise known as Refrigerator Cake) was totally off the table. Until now.

Newly Wed Cake is made of flat chocolate wafer cookies layered with whipped cream between each cookie and covering the outside of the cookies. You then let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours until the cookies absorb some of the moisture and flavor of the whipped cream and you end up with this lovely soft, sweet, roll type cake that is super easy to make and absolutely delicious. My mom used to make them occasionally and I have always wondered if there might be a way to veganize the idea, but since I had no idea how to do vegan whipped cream I didn’t bother thinking about it too hard.

But then, one day, I stumbled across this recipe for vegan whipped cream that looked so easy I thought it must be too good to be true, but I had to give it a shot. It is just the cream out of two cans of coconut milk whipped up with powdered sugar for about 30 seconds. I am not sure it could get any easier, really. After having my mother ship us some of the Nestle Famous Chocolate Wafers* (which are already vegan) from Michigan, because we couldn’t find them locally, I was ready to make the cake. I decided that it would be a perfect desert for Easter.

*I should mention that these cookies do contain high fructose corn syrup. We didn’t realize this until after we’d made the cake, and we’re only just starting to try to be more vigilant about cutting this out so for us, we decided not to worry about, but next time I think we’ll try making our own cookies…I’ll let you know how it goes.

The directions for how to make it are on the box, but it is really super easy:

1. Get all your supplies in place first because you need to move quickly so your whipped cream doesn’t get warm. You’ll need a long platter for the cake, a spatula (like the type you use to ice a cake) or knife or something like that, your ingredients for the cream, and you box of cookies (or cooled stack of homemade cookies if you go that route).

2. Make your whipped cream.

3. Take a cookie out of the box, spread it with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and set it, creamy side up, on your platter.

4. Continue to stack your cookies, one on top of the other, with cream in between each layer (probably about a quarter of an inch of cream between each layer after you press them together, though there is no exact science here), until it gets high enough that you’re a little worried it might tip over.

5. Lay the stack on it’s side on the platter so now you have a long log instead of a tall tower of cookies and cream.

6. If you have more cookies and cream left you can continue to add them to your log (but remember to leave some cream because of the next step…).

7. When you have your cake as long as you want it to be, finish off the outside of the cake with Imagea coating of cream all around it. (I found that the recipe, which calls for 2 cans of coconut milk, didn’t make quite enough cream to use up all the cookies in the box. So I would recommend adjusting the recipe a bit and using 3 cans of cream and more powdered sugar if you want to use up all the cookies.)

8. Stick the cake in the fridge for several hours (2-4 should be enough, but overnight is fine too) until the cookies have become soft. I left it uncovered for the first couple hours, mostly out of convenience because I didn’t have a good way to cover it, but also because I figured it could use getting slightly drier since the coconut milk whipped cream is more moist than dairy whipped cream. Then, after we had eat much of it, I transferred it to a covered container to store it.

9. When you’re ready to cut the cake, slice it at an angle so that you cut through several cookies at once and get a lovely stripped pattern in each slice. This cake was a huge hit at our house. We at through it in no time. I think that next time I might add a little vanilla extract to the cream to cut the coconut flavor just a touch, but it was pretty perfect as it was. Image

Healthy Chocolate Shakes – Make These Tonight.

I owe Eating Well Magazine a big thank you for this recipe. As I try to cut sugar out of my diet (some days more successfully than others) I am constantly on the lookout for recipes that will fill the void left behind when I am not eating simple carbs, cookies, cakes, and the like. This one packs a pretty good nutritional punch and is seriously decadent tasting. As a bonus for any pregnant or trying to conceive women out there it is also a good source of folate! It’s also low enough in sugar and high enough in food value that you don’t have to feel guilty for letting your kids have some. Scout LOVED it!

Chocolate Avocado Shake

(Makes 2 pretty large shakes in about 10 minutes)

1 ripe avocado

1 1/2 cups of your favorite milk (dairy or non dairy)

3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tbs agave nectar (original recipe called for brown sugar or maple syrup, but agave nectar is easier on those of us with blood sugar issues and the flavor works really well here).

2 Tbs chocolate chips, melted

1 Tbs vanilla or to taste

12 ice cubes

Pit the avocado and scoop it out of the rind and in to a blender. Add the milk, cocoa powder, agave nectar (or other sweetener), melted chocolate, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add the ice to the blender and puree until the ice is in small enough pieces that it is not noticeable (you don’t want those little balls of ice in your shake). If your blender has an “ice crush” setting, that can be helpful, but it isn’t necessary. Just blend until it’s smooth and frothy looking.

Serve immediately! And thank me later. 🙂

It’s Hard Out Here for a Vegan

Ahhh the Holiday Season. There are few things I like better than getting together with friends and family over food. Add to that Christmas lights and gourds, maybe a lightly falling snow in the background, and I’m a happy camper. But it can be really hard to go to parties with my Vegan. If we’re going to a house not owned by a vegetarian, which we usually are, there likely won’t be anything for him. This will leave him hungry, which will mean a less than great evening for me, and the hosts will undoubtedly end up feeling guilty, but won’t really be able to do anything while catering to the rest of the guests. It’s a lose, lose, lose situation.

So I’ve found the best solution to be to bring something with us. The ideal dish is something that is fun to share, that will feel like a good compliment to the party, but also has some protein and bulk to it so that if there is nothing else, Jason’s stomach won’t be growling.

My favorite thing that I’ve come to rely on is my Curry Cream Cheese Spread. It fulfills all of these qualities by being festive looking, makes plenty to share, will fill you up, and won’t be spotted as a “weird vegan dish” by out meat eater hosts and fellow guests. It’s the perfect party dish and here I share it with you:

Curry Cream Cheese Spread

16 oz. Cream Cheese (softened) either dairy or non-dairy
3 tsp Curry Powder (more or less to taste)
9 oz Mango Chutney
1 Cup Dry Roasted Peanuts (chopped)
1 Cup Cilantro (chopped)
1 Cup Green Onions (chopped)
½ Cup Coconut
Crackers (Ritz work well)

  1. Choose a medium sized platter (dinner plate sized or slightly larger) to create the multi-layered spread on. A platter with a ½ inch or so lip is handy because you’ll be able to put saran wrap over the dip for storage of left overs.
  2. Chop the peanuts, cilantro, and green onions.
  3. On the platter, mix together the cream cheese and curry with a spoon until they are thoroughly blended.
  4. Smooth the cream cheese mixture over the surface of the platter in an even layer.
  5. Spread the mango chutney evenly on top of the cream cheese.
  6. Sprinkle the peanuts on top of the chutney in an even layer. Then repeat with the cilantro, then the green onions, then the coconut.
  7. It can be served immediately although can also benefit from having a few hours to a day for the flavors to blend. Serve the spread with a couple of butter or cheese knives and a bowl of crackers. Enjoy!
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