Tuesday, July 9, 2019

REVIEW: YES Cacao Botanical Chocolate Bars: Dirty, KarmaMellOwl and GabaBaba

YES Botanical Chocolate Bars
Okay, as a big promoter of eating organic foods, I admit that I generally share recipes for whole food plant-based dishes that contain organic fruits and vegetables-- if you have been here before, you know the recipes: vegan soups, stews, 'cheeses', sauces, casseroles, breakfast foods, etc.
But what could I do when I received an email asking if I would consider reviewing some CHOCOLATE BARS?? (or more accurately, 99% organic, vegan, wild-sourced, organic, botanic cacao bars with No GMOs, and studded with healthy botanicals (herbs, spices, tea, mushrooms, essential oils??)).
They are also NOT ROASTED which means... tah dah.... RAW VEGAN!!  Oh, and handmade (I guess that means that they DO NOT have the chockies going down the conveyor belts like this classic clip we remember from an I Love Lucy episode:


OF COURSE I SAID 'YES' TO REVIEWING 'YES CACAO' BOTANICAL CHOCOLATE BARS!

And then because I live in Canada, it took several weeks to pony-express the package here via CUSTOMS from Santa Cruz, California.   Just when I thought they had either forgotten to put the package in the mail, that it was a big old scam to get my banking ID or whatever, or maybe there there was a crisis of some sort with our countries' trade relations.... they arrived!!

3 small, flat packages wrapped well so as not to crush their precious cargo.  Here are my reviews of each of the 3:

The 1st BAR Reviewed: DIRTY-- LAUNCH INTO YOUR DAY with Shilajit, Tulsi, Reishi, Maca




My husband and I had just come back from a dinner at my fave vegan eatery in our small city.  We had ordered their spinach burrito, forgetting how massive it is.  Delicious veggie fare with rice and beans and corn and a veggie sour cream topping and salad.

 We were still feeling quite full when we arrived home and found the package with the chocolate in it.  However, chocolate seemed like a very nice little dessert.  We each had a couple of the small squares.  They were silky smooth, dark cacao-- the difference from dark chocolate is that cacao doesn't have the sort of biting bitter edge that dark chocolate does, which I appreciate.  I could sense a tingle of Peppermint-- and when I read the ingredients, I did, in fact find organic Peppermint Oil as the last ingredient listed, so presumably, the smallest portion of the  botanical ingredients was the Peppermint Oil.  I liked the hint and do know from long-time use of essential oils, that Peppermint oil is quite assertive, even when minuscule amounts are used (for example, just dipping the tip of a toothpick into Peppermint oil and then into a cup of hot water is enough oil to flavour a cup of peppermint tea.)

Besides just the teeny hint of Peppermint Oil there was nothing that shouted "this chocolate is full of healthy herbs, reishi mushroom, and maca".  The flavour was pleasant and we also  noted that we felt a warming sensation when we ate it that was also pleasant.

I appreciate the cute little zip-lock feature on the packages so that one can keep the remnants of chocolate 'fresh' in a cool place, as advised on the packaging.

There was certainly no 'medicinal' taste such as one finds in certain chocolate-flavoured diet 'treats' that are claimed to be healthy because of various 'supplement' additives.  I am pretty impressed with the flavour and the mouth appeal of the "Dirty" bar.  It also seemed that just a couple of squares were sufficient, and that I wasn't hit with the sort of 'crave' response that I often have when eating regular chocolate.

Here are the ingredients for the "Dirty" bar:  (some of them I still have to google, such as Shilajit and Gynostemma.)


Very tasty, and all the ethical and health features impress the heck out of me, as I said at the beginning.  The price is a little steep at $5 USD (about $6.71 CAD) but good organic, fairtrade chocolate runs to that these days in the local stores, and doesn't have half the 'benefits' that these bars would seem to have.  As well, these 'botanical' bars are being marketed in much the way that supplements are, and there is a line on the front of the package that reads: "Benefits are cumulative with regular use."  While I am not a big fan of 'supplements', preferring whole food, plant-based eating, I might still buy into the notion that a square of this chocolate every day  is worth a trial (in the case of the 'Dirty; bar, with the goal of "grounding."

Where can you get the 'Dirty Bar'?  Not in Canadian stores at this point, but if you live in the United States, you can find several locations and are able to look them up on the YES Cacao site.  <<order at the site if you live in Canada.
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the 2nd Bar, GABA BABA reviewed: (FIND YOUR NATURAL RHYTHM with GABA, Kava, Blue Lotus, Turmeric)

Cutesy little name for this bar, capitalizing on GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric acid.  Astonishingly, GABA is an "inhibiting neurotransmitter" and helps in regulating excitability in mammal (human) nervous systems.  GABA is also responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.  Again, if you expect to feel instantly calm when eating your first Gaba Baba bar, you will be disappointed-- as it says on the package: "Benefits are cumulative with regular use."  Other botanical ingredients are listed below.

Like the last bar, "Dirty", the cacao-cacao butter mixture was silky smooth in the "Gaba Baba" bar with lovely mouth-appeal and a nice dark chocolate-y taste.  Again, because it is cacao, there was no bitter after-taste like you often find in chocolate that is made from cocoa powder--which has undergone varied treatments before the process of making the chocolate.

It seemed to me that the Gaba Baba bar had less of a pronounced flavour than did the 'Dirty Bar' in which I picked up both hints of Peppermint essential oil and Tusli ("Holy Basil")-- I like both flavour combinations equally.

Both of these bars were delicious and satisfied my desire for chocolate, but after a couple of small tabs, I did not feel compelled to gobble down the whole bar as I often do with other chocolate bars.  I just felt satisfied and content to put them back in their little zip-lock package until the next time I felt the need for a hit.

Each three piece segment of the bar spells Y-E-S which I guess you could say is positively affirmative of this bar?
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SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST (OOPS-- spoiler! )



the 3rd BAR reviewed- KARMA MELLOWL with Turmeric, Bacopa, Lions Mane: MASTER YOUR MIND!

As you can see from the package, only 41% of Karma MellOwl is composed of Cacao, considerably less than the other two bars.  This bar has slightly more sugar content (6%), and a whacking 12 g of Fat (4 g more than the Dirty Bar has).  Besides regular sun-dried cane sugar it contains organic Lucuma in second-listing position, an indication that they have used quite a bit of lucuma.

Lucuma is a fruit grown in the Andes and often used to sweeten ice cream and other foods.  It is said to taste similar to Maple Syrup or Butterscotch.  The pulp contains a full range of sugars: glucose, fructose, sucrose, inositol, as well as citric acid.  The sweet butterscotchy flavour of the Karma MellOwl bar is likely because of the amount of Lucuma used with a boost in cacao butter and a cut back in the proportion of actual cacao.
Lucuma Fruit- CC BY-SA 4.0
One other interesting botanical in this bar is the Lion's Mane Mushroom.  The Lion's Mane showed up in our local health food store this past couple of months, so I know that they grow around here.  This fungus grows on hardwood trees and contains compounds that are supposed to be significant for the brain.  They don't look like other mushrooms you might see in the bins at your grocery store:
Lion's Mane growing on a hardwood tree. 

While I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to sample all three of these  handmade botanical-cacao bars, I have to say that if I were given only one, I would choose the Karma MellOwl.  I love the sweet, butterscotch/caramel notes and I probably have most need for the botanicals related to the brain that are in this bar (being 68 and now hyper-aware of how brains can slam downhill into dementia if we don't take care of stimulating them).  But mostly I would choose this bar because it is so gosh-darn delicious!!

I encourage you to go and take a look at the YES Cacao website and find out more about the 'superfood' botanicals that are in these bars and other features that I only glazed over here.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Braised Red Cabbage Over Baked Sweet Potato- Rainbow YUM

Braised Red Cabbage over Sweet Potato
 I recently purchased Anthony William's Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables and although I am a skeptic around the "medical medium" tag, I was excited by the book's layout.  He introduces what he calls the Holy Four: Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs & Spices, and Wild Foods (Raw Honey being the only departure from the vegan whole foods listed as life-changing).

Each "life-changing" item, example: Cranberries, contains an Introduction explaining why the food is included, Conditions (such as allergies, staph infections, etc.) that eating the food can help with, a section on Symptoms (that could point to conditions that can be healed), Emotional Support and a Spiritual Lesson (for those who follow Louise Hay and other New Age gurus).

There is also a section on Tips and a RECIPE that uses the various life-changing foods, and highlighting the one that you have chosen to look up.

Soooo... we have tried a few delicious recipes and talked about some of the tips.  But the recipe-meal that has really excited us is this braised red cabbage over sweet potato.  Sweet Potato and Red Cabbage and a sauce that contains turmeric, ginger, olive oil and raw honey not only tastes exquisite, but it is power-packed with nutrition, and soooooooo beautiful to look at (remember, the deepest, brightest colours are the ones to go for with vegetables).  I have slightly modified the recipe, as happens with recipes-- you may do that also!


Here's one of the TIPS from the book's section on Sweet Potatoes: 'After you've cooked a batch of sweet potatoes (steaming and baking are the healthiest preparations), set some aside to save for later in the fridge.....a few bites of sweet potato when you are having trouble sleeping in the middle of the night will help get you some rest." p. 177
I would suggest that this recipe is well suited to anyone who has been vegan for quite a while, because chances are you will have most the ingredients on hand already-- and it also is a great choice for those transitioning to vegan who are looking for recipes that are simple to make, nutritious, and delicious.  Everything you see on the plate you can get at a nearby grocery store (with the exception of raw honey), or maybe from your back garden?



RAW HONEY??  Yes, this is the nutrient-packed sweetener that Anthony William recommends, and no, it will not work for many vegans.  For those who see honey as being flower parts merely passed through a bee's body, it is an acceptable choice. Our son (long-time vegan) calls himself "Beegan" when making the decision to eat a little raw honey.



So, here are the INGREDIENTS required for this recipe:

  • Makes 2-4 servings:
  • 4 Sweet Potatoes
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, minced ( I put the Garlic in the Sauce instead-- see below)
  • 1 Onion, diced (I used a red onion to match the red cabbage haha)
  • 1 T. Coconut Oil (Optional-- we left it out and used water for the sauté)
  • 1 small Red Cabbage (goes a long way)-- shredded or finely chopped
FOR THE SAUCE:
    • 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 T. Raw Honey
    • 1 T. Lemon Juice (I used a cube of Lemon-Garlic.  See HERE).
    • 1 T. Grated Fresh Ginger

GARNISH:  4 T. Minced Parsley

(If you are feeding 4 people, double the quantity of  ingredients for the sauce)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/204 degrees C  
  2. Bake the potatoes on a bake sheet for 45-60 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
  3. In a large pan sauté diced onion (and garlic, if you going to do that) over medium heat  5 to 10 minutes, stirring until the onions are translucent and soft. (Or follow directions for Instant Pot) 
  4. Add in the cabbage and sea salt, along with 1/2 cup of water.
  5. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the cabbage is tender.  Stir occasionally and add a splash of moisture as needed.
  6. Split open the sweet potatoes and mash slightly on the sides.  Stuff generously.
  7. Make the sauce just before serving the potatoes.  Add the sauce ingredients (except for raw honey) and stir until bubbly (1-2 minutes).  Remove small pan from the heat and stir in the raw honey.
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley.

You can grow your own sweet potatoes, even in Canada... I am.... see HERE.

Try Best Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Sweet Potatoes

Get Anthony William's book "Life Changing Foods" from Amazon HERE.



Friday, May 17, 2019

Making Basic Whole Wheat Bread Using a Stand Mixer and a Dehydrator


I am always on the look-out for great videos** that can illustrate a concept or recipe that I am including on my blog.  "Making Basic Whole Wheat Bread" is a current interest of mine.  I have the books.  I have bookmarked the links.  I went out and bought a Kitchen Aid stand mixer after having drooled and dreamed about one for a very long time.  I thought that I would start turning out perfect bread loaves (something I have never in my life done) but it was not to be.

This looks like a high maintenance bread recipe, eh?  Stand mixer and dehydrator for raising the dough?  I can see my grandmother chuckle.  She was always able to make more loaves from scratch than I could from with whatever "no fail" recipe I had at hand.  But somehow I know there are others out there who have the fancy equipment and are dreamers like I am.  This bread is for you!


Please watch the video (above) to get all the fine points you will find transcribed below in the recipe.  A video is really worth about 10,000 printed words, right?  After you watch the video you might want to copy and paste and print the following recipe:

RECIPE FOR MAKING BASIC WHOLE WHEAT BREAD USING A STAND MIXER

Set up the Mixer.

INGREDIENTS:

Measure out :
10 C. Fresh-Ground Whole Wheat Flour OR 6 C. Whole Wheat/ 4 C. White Flour (60% Whole Wheat)
1 T. Sea Salt
2 T. Instant Dry Yeast
6 T. White Sugar
5 C. Water at 110 degrees F. (you can barely keep your finger in it for 10 seconds) From the "The Back to Eden Cookbook" there is a suggestion that you use nut milk instead of water to get a tastier bread.

METHOD:

1. Set up the Mixer with the Cookie Mixer (General Mixer)
2. Add 5 C. W/W Flour to bowl
3. Add 1 T. Sea Salt to bowl
4. Add 2 T. Instant Dry Yeast to bowl
5. Add 6 T. White Sugar to the bowl
6. Put on your General Mixer / Cookie Mixer
7. Raise your bowl (Kitchen Aid) or Lower your Mixer (Viking)
8. Mix on LOWEST setting for a minute to get all mixed together
9. Slowly add the 5 C. of 110 degree F. water while the mixer runs on lowest setting
10. After water has all been poured in, let it continue to run for about another minute until mixture is fully incorporated.
11. Begin to add other 5 C. of flour little by little. You can turn up the speed on the mixer when the flour will not be flying all over. You may NOT need all 5 C. of flour.
12. Bread should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. When you see that the dough is pulling away, stop the mixer and Lower the bowl (Kitchen Aid), Raise the mixer (Viking)
13. Remove the cookie dough mixer.
14. Put in the bread hook and Raise the bowl (Kitchen Aid), Lower the mixer (Viking)
15. The dough hook should pull the dough from sides of the bowl more. You may increase the speed again. .
16. Wait for flour to work itself in before adding any more (and keep your eye on the sides of the bowl)
17. Add small amounts of flour until the pulling away is pretty much complete
18. The magic in the bread happens when it pulls everything off the sides and it sticks unto itself and not to the mixer.
19. When you judge that all the flour is off the sides, stop the machine and flip the bread dough over carefully to see if there is any flour on the bottom of the pot.
20. Run the mixer for another minute or so, adding another tablespoon of flour if you think it is warranted. Whole wheat dough is better a little on the wet side than it is if it is too dry (=bricks or paperweights). Stop the mixer and lower the bowl (Kitchen Aid) or raise the mixer (Viking)
21. Remove dough hook.
22. Pat dough lightly to even out a bit in bowl.
23. Let it rest for about 20 minutes (make yourself some tea?)

RAISING THE DOUGH IN THE DEHYDRATOR

My old Excalibur-- bought on eBay, back when people did that-- makes a good dough raiser.  95 degrees Fahrenheit
You do not need to use the dehydrator-- it is standing in for something people have used for generations called a "proof box".  If you live in a house where lots of bread yeast is in the air, you can just do it old-school, sitting on top of the fridge with a warm damp cloth on top.  Or in a very cool oven (100 degrees F.) I have this idle dehydrator that I am experimenting with.

24. Get the Excalabar Dehydrator ready for the raising.
25. Take out all shelves except for one.
26. Put a flat tray of warm water on the bottom of the dehydrator
27. Fit the dehydrator shelf  just above the flat tray of water
28. Place the bowl of dough with a clean damp tea towel (linen works great) over the dough bowl and engage the setting for the raising.
29. Raise for one half hour (30 minutes) to 1 hour.
30. Preheat baking oven to 410 degrees F.
The dough rose enormously after 30 minutes in the dehydrator!

31. DO NOT PUNCH THE DOUGH DOWN. There will be big air bubbles in the dough and the bread will have holes in it. Put the bowl back on the mixer and using the dough hook, mix down for about a minute and a half. (Really, watch the video a couple of times)
32. If you want a fluffier loaf of bread, you can let it do a rise in the bowl for another 30 minutes in the dehydrator, or you can divide it into loaves/buns at this point and let it rise for about 20 more minutes on the kitchen counter before putting into the oven to bake. If you choose to do the second rising, then preheat your oven to 410 degrees before putting the bread in the dehydrator (and kneading afterwards with dough hook again).
33. Bake bread for about 30 minutes for a small loaf. About 20 minutes for buns. (This recipe made me 3 medium sized loaves)
34. Cool completely on racks before slicing.  If you want a tender crust, pat the crust when you put it on the racks with a sponge dipped in olive oil (this is from the "The Back to Eden Cookbook").       I haven't tried that... yet.

**I am very thankful to the woman who made the video for this recipe.  She appears to have had a blog with the recipe on it, but it no longer exists, so I took the recipe from the video and transcribed it to fit with adjustments as to what I was planning to do.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER BREAD-RELATED ARTICLES:

Bread Baking Tips by Darlene Blaney, PhD Nutritionist

Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe (Healthy Choices Recipe)

Millet-Honey-Nut Bread Recipe by Wyona Hertwig, Master Baker

Multi-Grain Sunflower Seed Mineral Bread Recipe, by Wyona Hertwig, Master Baker

Grandma's Health Bread Recipe (Adventist Cooking School)

Mediterranean Pocket Bread Recipe (Adventist Cooking School)



Sunday, April 21, 2019

Blueberry Nice Cream on Raspberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Nice Cream on Raspberry Chia Pudding
If you follow the recipes on Organic Granny (you can do that on this site itself, or by joining the group on Facebook called Organic Granny Veggie Recipes) you will know that I have a longstanding relationship with chia seeds.  These high protein, high omega3 tiny seeds just happen to be the base for many of my dessert recipes-- either as a primary content or as a binder-- and some other recipes as well.  I sometimes make up something called Chia Gel-- basically, chia seeds gelled in water-- and keep it on hand in a mason jar in the fridge.  I often use the gel as a base for the puddings.  You can find out more about the chia gel and how to use it HERE.  Find more recipes at the base of this recipe post.

RASPBERRY CHIA PUDDING
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cups Organic Chia Gel (make ahead of time, up to 24 hours)
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Raspberry Jam or Jelly (vegan is preferred - or blend and sweeten ripe fresh or frozen berries)
  • 1 Cup Non-dairy Milk (such as Almond, Coconut, Hemp, etc.)
  • 2 T. Maple Syrup or other preferred sweetener (optional)

BLUEBERRY NICE CREAM
INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 Very Ripe Organic Bananas, peeled, chunked and frozen in a baggie for 24 hours
  • 3/4 Cup Frozen Organic Blueberries
PUT THE PUDDING TOGETHER:
  • Stir together the Chia Gel, the Non-dairy Milk, the Sweetener, and the Jam or blended raspberries.  
  • Spoon into 1/2 pint mason jars (or old-fashioned glasses)
  • Put into fridge again to set for a couple of hours, or during the time you make the Nice Cream
PUTTING THE NICE CREAM & CHIA PUDD TOGETHER: 
  • AT SERVING TIME: Put frozen banana chunks and blueberries together into a high-speed blender like Vitamix, and process until smooth.
  • Scoop a 1/4 of the Nice Cream over each of the 4 chia puddings 
  • Sprinkle a few hemp seeds on each NiceCream as a garnish (optional, but yummy)
  • Serve immediately!
This is a lovely dessert that can be eaten by itself anytime and as breakfast!

OTHER CHIA RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE TO TRY:


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Recipe for Chickpea Tofu: By Ally


A dear long-time friend has passed along this recipe for Chickpea Tofu for anyone who is sensitive or allergic to Tofu (soy).

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup "Raw" Chickpea Flour
1 1/2 cup Water
Pinch of Turmeric



METHOD:

  1. Dissolve 1/2 cup of Chickpea flour in 1/2 cup of the water.  Add a pinch of Turmeric powder for colour.
  2. Heat remaining cup of water over medium heat.
  3. Add in the Chickpea paste and whisk/stir, scraping sides down.
  4. When the mixture is boiling and thickened, pour into a pan and let it cool.  
  5. Cut into desired shapes after completely cool. 
Ally also states that she often eats it with a Burmese Salad:  Fried Onions and Garlic along with Green Spring Onions, Tamarind Juice, chopped Cilantro and optional Chili pepper and Fish Sauce.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) and Spinach Patties- Burgers (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

This chickpea-spinach patty or burger recipe grew from some consternation with a commercial brand of chickpea-spinach burger that had more than a few ingredients, a few of which I felt could be excluded from a recipe and still have the same flavourful and 'kind' appeal without those ingredients.

 Plus, as an ethical vegan, I was not crazy about the idea that the particular brand is just a side line for a longtime "meat packing company."  While I think it is wonderful that there are an amazing number of vegan "meats" hitting the market, I don't think that I am reduced to buying a product that is likely just a way for this company to capture some of the 'new' revenue coming in with vegan foods, while they continue to support the factory-farming of animals, their "inhumane" slaughter  (is there a humane way to kill a sentient being to eat?) and the ongoing other ethical and morale concerns perpetrated by the meat industries.
The 8th Annual Food Revolution Summit, April 27 - May 5

So, yeah, this recipe was developed.  There are quite a few other vegan chickpea burger recipes online that you might want to google.  Some modified versions of them will likely turn up on here in the near-ish future since I plan to do a series of recipes that are (not exactly) copy-cats of some of the commercial burgers to show that these recipes can be put together without the kinds of ingredients that are often just meant to preserve shelf-life or be more like the solid-bulky texture you got used to with a hamburger, for example.

This recipe uses fabulous aquafaba (or a gel produced from chickpea "juice") as the "eggs" that appear as binders in the non-vegan burger recipes.  I was originally set to use the usual "flaxseed egg" (2 Tbsp. Flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup water) but noticed the chunky gel that I had poured off my home-cooked chickpeas as it sat in the fridge in a mason jar.  I subbed a 1/4 cup of it (picture below) for the flaxseed egg.  And it worked well!  I would suggest that you use the flaxseed gel if you feel less comfortable with using aquafaba.

Here is a close-up of the Aquafaba magic gel.... the thick liquid that came from cooking my chickpeas in the Instant Pot
 The original recipe I was most attracted to had 18 ingredients.  At the time I was "developing" this recipe (or "throwing it together" might be a less pretentious description), my husband and I were quite hungry, having gone past our usual suppertime schedule.  So, while I knew that it might be minimally tastier if I searched for and measured out a bunch of individual spices (cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, ground ginger, etc.) it would work just as well for our not very discerning taste buds if we just used a really good variety of organic Mild Curry Powder that involves all the of the above spices, and then some.  If you have experience with dealing with spices, or have a favourite formula that you love, by all means, use that in this recipe!

I also did a short cut on the 2 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice and the 1 Tbsp. of Garlic Puree because I use a combo frozen cube of Lemon Juice-Garlic every day in our smoothie (yes, it IS potent).  I just tossed a cube of that in-- easy peasy.  I include that in the recipe in case you want to go ahead and try making those cubes yourself, the recipe is HERE.  It really comes in handy for a lot of recipes (as well as for our smoothie, of course heheh).

So, here is a photo of the reduced number of ingredients:

INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN CHICKPEA AND SPINACH PATTIES/BURGERS:

  • 2 Tbsp. Flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup Water OR 1/4 cup thick Aquafaba (Chickpea juice gel)
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper (red, yellow or orange-- green are unripe peppers)
  • 1 tsp. Oil
  • 1 tsp. Mild Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp. Red Chili Powder (I used Chipotle)
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Puree and 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice or 1 Garlic-Lemon cube
  • 1 Tbsp. Tomato Puree/paste
  • 14-oz/114 ml can Chickpeas (save the 'juice') OR 1 1/2 - 2 cups of cooked Chickpeas
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup Chickpea Flour
DIRECTIONS:

  1. If making a Flaxseed egg, combine the seeds and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Finely slice the onion, and chop the pepper into small cubes.  
  3. Stir-fry the Onion in the Oil over high heat, stirring continuously  Add in the Curry Powder. Stir for 3-5 minutes until golden.
  4. Add in Bell Pepper, Chili, Garlic Puree, Lemon Juice (or cube), and Tomato Puree/Paste.  Stir another 3-5 minutes until soft.
  5. Set aside to cool (briefly)
  6. When cool, add the mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth paste.
  7. To the food processor, add in the Chickpeas, Spinach, Flax egg or Aquafaba gel,  and a pinch of Salt.
  8. Process until mostly smooth, although a rougher texture of Chickpeas is great.  If you think it is too smooth, mash up some more chickpeas and add them in without further processing.
  9. Dump this mixture into a medium-large bowl and mix in the cup of Chickpea Flour.
  10. Stir until it is evenly mixed in.
  11. You can either divide the mass into six equal lumps and fry with in a pan with some oil, or you can turn the oven to 400F, cover a pan with parchment paper, and spoon six burger shapes onto the pan.  Bake for about 15 minutes on each side, more if you are not happy with the texture.
  12. These patties (baked in the oven) resemble pancakes, but are savory and have a very nice texture that is not like a cookie or a pancake...


Here are some other recipes you might also like to try:

How to make ChiaSeed Gel and How To Use It

How to Make Yummy No-Meat Balls (Gluten Free)

Barley Pecan Burger

Mushroom Walnut Burger

Vegetable Burger

The Classic Vegan Roast or Burger

Join  Organic Granny Veggie Recipes Facebook for lots more Transitioning-to-Vegan Recipes

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spelt-Caraway Scones - Vegan Recipe

Today would have been my Irishy Grandma's 115th birthday. She would have loved these.  Happy St. Paddy's Day! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Flax Egg  (1 T (7 g) flaxseed meal + 2 ½ T(37 ml) Water beaten up together in small bowl)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk such as Almond, Hemp or Oat Milk
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour 
  • 1 1/4 cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Maple Sy
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 T. Caraway Seed
  • 1/4 C. dried Currants
  • 6 Tbsp room temperature coconut oil (scoopable, not liquid or frozen) (or sun vegan butter)

Icing:
  • 1 c. Icing sugar
  • 2 T milk
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest.  
Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit
  2. Whisk in bowl: flax egg, non-dairy milk and maple syrup. Set aside.
  3. In another larger bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and sea salt.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the coconut oil until pea-sized clusters form
  5. Spill in caraway seeds and currants
  6. Add wet ingredients and combine lightly-- do not overwork the dough
  7. On a silicone-sheeted or parchment covered pan, turn out the dough and carefully shape into a 1-inch high circle.
  8. With a pizza cutter or knife, cut 8 equal size pieces. Make about a 1 1/2-inch space between the slices.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges
  10. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, or a little longer to ice
  11. To ice or glaze, blend sugar and nondairy milk and mix until smooth- mix in orange zest
  12. Drizzle or spoon over warm scones

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Maple-Brown Sugar Glazed Tofu - Vegan, GlutenFree


Maple-Brown Sugar Glazed Tofu is a gift to you if you enjoyed ham as a part of your celebrations back in the day and were feverishly looking for a recipe online that gives you back some of that experience.  You will be missing the salt-piercing tongue paralysis of a cured ham, but you will also be missing the very dangerous cholesterol.  Tofu is the way to go if you want to enjoy a piece of "sham" with your Christmas or Thanksgiving.  And for those of you with religious proscriptions, it's CLEAN-- it's not even meat.  So win-win.

Want to know MORE about the health benefits of Tofu? Watch Dr. Michael Greger's videos HERE.



So here we go with the
INGREDIENTS (3 ADULT SERVINGS)

  • 1# Block of Organic, non-GMO, EXTRA FIRM Tofu (bought mine at Costco)
  • 1/2 C. Pure Maple Syrup OR Blackstrap Molasses (Molasses gives a darker glaze)
  • 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
  • 1 T. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (May want to use Cayenne or Chipotle Pepper)


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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Press the tofu for 30-60 minutes-- makes a huge difference to the results
  2. Set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/205 degrees Celsius
  3. Cut the tofu with a sharp knife to form 2-3 'steaks' (meaning you cut through the sides of the tofu to create 2-3 same-size rectangles as your original block).  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on each side of the steaks.
  4. With the same sharp knife, score through one side of each steak in a crisscross pattern.  Be careful not to cut through entirely!
  5. Place tofu on baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silicone pad (to avoid use of oils)
  6. Bake at 400F/205C degrees for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  7. While the Tofu is baking, make the glaze, mixing together Syrup OR Molasses, Mustard, Cinnamon, Ginger and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan on the stove.
  8. Whisk the sauce over medium heat until everything comes together, and then turn the heat to LOW.  Keep whisking for another few minutes until the sauce is smooth and thickening a little. 
  9. Remove sauce from the heat (it will thicken as it cools)
  10. Remove the slightly crispy tofu from the oven and turn the temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius.
  11. Brush the sides of the Tofu that have not been scored, first, and then turn and brush the scored (cut) sides, making sure that you are generously brushing the tofu so that lots of the sticky goodness sinks into the crevices.
  12. Return to the oven and bake another 5-10 minutes.  Flip over to the sides that have been scored and makes sure that the cuts have received the syrup and are not sealed up (you can lightly re-cut them if so, and spoon on more glaze)
  13. Remove from the oven and rebrush the tops with glaze.  Serve immediately.
(inspired by recipe at Rabbit and Wolves site)

OTHER DELICIOUS BAKED TOFU RECIPES:

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

5 Vegan Chinese Dishes

These five delicious vegan -- plant-based, no-animal-products-involved, you-make-yourself-- recipes are probably strike a familiar chord for you and quite possibly their non-plant-based form had a place on your "comfort foods" list before you decided to "go vegan".

Remember Dim Sum?  Well, you can get together with your vegan friends and enjoy that joyous experience again!

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) Happiness and Prosperity!

 

1. SEA-VEGGIE ROLLS (or rolled salad)
 Mmmm-- these veggie rolls might not fit into your "Chinese food" box/idea, but it is one wonderful way to capitalize on all the raw greens that could potentially go into the salad course of a vegan Chinese meal, and includes the sea vegetable (nori) that is pretty common in many traditional Chinese and other Asian meals.  Check out the instructions for putting this awesome wrap together at Raw Foods For Truth .  (Go for the recipe, stay to browse all their other salivatory images like this one.)


2. VEGAN WONTON SOUP
Who doesn't love the taste and mouth textures of Wonton Soup?  But are those won ton noodles vegan when they are advertised as "vegetarian"?  Hmm.  How about make everything-- noodles and soup-- from scratch with a simple noodle recipe and a mouth-watering soup?  The soup is impressive, Darling!  Your wontons will be winners!  And all done with such kindness, thanks to the recipe (and images) at Spoons Of Flavor.com

3. SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER

There are any number of chop-suey-style recipes you can adapt to your vegan feast, but this sweet and sour cauliflower image (and recipe) from Kirbie's Cravings website really caught my eye.

4. VEGAN BATTERED CAULIFLOWER DIPPED IN VEGAN HONEY-SESAME-GARLIC SAUCE

 Happy Chinese New Year, darling!

Doesn't this delightful image (recipe and image from MARY'S TEST KITCHEN website) take you back to those wonderful meals that were more than the backstory to a great romance or family gathering?  And there are other delicious similar recipes at the same great site.  (Caution: There are many alluring images of Honey Garlic Cauliflower recipes online, but most of them include eggs to bake on the sauce-- no, no, darling!  Give those little chickens a chance and eat plant-strong!)

5. DESSERT: VEGAN 'EGG' TART
Here is a great video tutorial on making the yummy 'egg' tart (without any eggs) from East Meets West 

I agree that the pie shells have a sort of scary complexity for those of us who have NEVER been great pastry chefs.  However, if you watch this a few times you will pick up the tips and with a little confidence and the right instruction, you will be able to make this incredibly flakey VEGAN pastry.  Anyone who loved the traditional egg tarts will be sooooo grateful for this addition to your vegan feast! (YT Etiquette: If you do make the tarts, please be sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to enjoy more of this chef's great instructional videos)


However, I also find that fresh lychee fruit can't be beat for the perfect light dessert after a great vegan Chinese meal. 

 
Image credit: Apartment Therapy
If you have any questions or comments, please post below!  If you try any of these recipes and want to post your pictures, I would be happy to do so on this page... just let me know in the Comments section below!

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) Happiness and Prosperity!


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookies- Vegan, Oil-Free

These delicious chocolate chip cookies have chickpeas in them! And walnuts!  They are very tasty and healthy, with good Omega oils and proteins.  The cookies are soft inside and crunchy on the outside! The chocolate chips are, of course, a bonus!

INGREDIENTS & Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C or gas mark 4).  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.



2. Put the following together in a medium mixing bowl and stir until combined:
  • 1 1/4 C. (180 g) pastry flour
  • 1 tsp.     (15 g)  baking powder
  • 1 tsp.     (15 g) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp.  (4 g)  Salt
3. Put the following together into a food processor and blend until smooth:
  • 1 1/2 C. (246 g) cooked chickpeas or 1 can (15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 C.    (120 ml) Nondairy Milk
  • 2 tsp. (30 g)   Vanilla or Almond Extract (I used Almond)
  • 1 C. (225 g) packed Brown Sugar


4. Mix in the wet mixture from the food processor with the dry items in the bowl.  Then mix in:

  • 1 C. Chocolate Chips
  • 1 C. Walnut Pieces
5. Place in 1 1/2 Tablespoon scoops on the sheet and into the oven for 15- 17 minutes.  Do NOT over-bake.  Cool and enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2019

The NEW Canada Food Guide: Cultural Dilemma to Life With Less Meat?

The Canada Food Guide was developed during World War II when there were disruptions to the general lifestyle and economy and it was felt that there needed to be some sort of "rules list" to ensure for a healthy populace.  The Depression that followed World War I with crop failures and stock market plunges and job scarcity no doubt had some input into the formation of the 1942 Food Rules.

If you grew up, like I did, in the Prairies in the 50s and 60s, you might not be unfamiliar with the following sort of plate (meatloaf=protein, potatoes and corn=vegetables-- there was likely a slice or two of bread and butter on a side plate, and maybe some canned peas or such, and likely a dessert that contained the necessary dairy and maybe some raisins to represent fruit.  If you were a kid, a glass of milk was generally served at the same meal if your parents were intent on "building your bones".):
Perhaps you see the same plate on your table today.  I am not criticizing (here).  This was pretty much the dictate of the 1942 Food Rules.  If you ate a "hearty" breakfast at home once a week, it likely looked a little like the following:
And again, maybe this is standard weekly fare for you to this day.  Perhaps you are new to Canada and this represents the wonderful benefits of living in this abundantly food-ed country.  I must admit that this picture does make me salivate even though I have not eaten bacon and eggs for quite a while and probably will not again.  Note the glass of orange juice-- in the old Food Rules, juice was a legit substitute for a piece of fruit.  No more.  Nor is milk considered an appropriate beverage in meeting the new guidelines.  Plain old WATER is the suggested beverage in the latest Health Guide.


                   THE MEAT CULTURE
I will assume you have not been living under a log and know all the arguments for eating animal products-- meat, eggs, poultry, fish, dairy, and other animal excretions.

The eating of animal products seems pretty well embedded as one of the bonuses of being a dominant species on this planet.  We have placed ourselves at the "top of the Food Chain" and have piles of rationals and explanations for the eating of other species and the drinking of their milks.

I am pretty sure that there are large components of every language and ethnic group on the planet with a vociferous plan for maintaining their dominant, traditional, social and cultural ties to eating meat.

On the other hand, there is also a growing groundswell of agreement that factory farming, factory fishing, ocean pollution, massive cuts of rain forests for ranching, climate change, and a prodigious ongoing appetite for animal foods is destroying not only the other species on Earth, but are is doing us any health or social benefits, either, but is ,indeed, also contributing to individual and collective human poor health and vitality.  Some of the world's longest-living people eat no or little meat or animal products.  (See the The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest)

What about the Hunter-Gatherer argument, that global indigenous peoples have lived by hunting animals and gathering wild herbs and fruits, and that this lifestyle has afforded both healthfulness and natural balance?  Apart from the vegan argument for the same respect for not eating all/any sentient beings (living creatures who experience sensation and emotion), there is a bit of a skew in seeing that there are in fact enough wild "food" animals for all the people of the world to hunt and eat without the further depleting of entire species, as already happens with the more global open season on sea animals, for example.  Where is the balance?  Read about this indigenous scholar's decision to go vegan and the cultural factors that figured into her choice.

So, yes, meat-eating is heavily upheld by many as a positive, traditional, and therefore culturally inviolate way of life.  On the other hand, like the indigenous scholar above, many peoples with a strong culture and tradition around eating animal products have 'come out' and are embracing a plant-strong lifestyle.  I think the Canadian Food Guide 2019 carries a proactive vision that will be echoed and enlarged by more and more Canadians and global citizens as the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and diet are recognized.  I commit to providing delicious, healthy recipes here that reflect the intent of the Food Guide.  If you are interested in following me on Facebook, I post recipes there about three times a week at Organic Granny Veggie Recipes group.  I like to include a lot of recipes that are similar to the 'meaty' comfort recipes people miss or look for when they transition into a plant strong diet.  I also like to include a Monday Mock Meat recipe, a Tuesday Tofu recipe, and a Wednesday Wellness recipe, all plant-strong, and mostly low fat and often gluten-free.  JOIN US!

Learn How To Set Up A Vegan Diet For Weight Loss, Building Muscle, Healthy Eating, Meal Planning & Vegan Bodybuilding

          THE VEGGIE COUNTER-CULTURE
Vegans are a counter-culture in Canada, and likely in most world ethnic cultures today.  As a long-time Adventist Christian, I have had the opportunity to mix with vegetarians and vegans on a regular weekly basis over the past 25 years, and since my husband was an Adventist prior to that, we have been vegetarian-flexitarian-vegan for probably about 45 years.  By flexitarian I mean to say that we have gone back to meat-eating at various times in our past, but have resolutely returned to a plant-strong diet, and now I believe that we are fixed there because we definitely enjoy vegan food and find the concept of killing and eating animals to be very troubling in a country that is rife with other forms of protein (the main reason that meat-eaters have claimed that they eat meat is because of the protein factor, in my experience).  BUT-- I am still regularly directly and subtly challenged by non-vegans about the inadequacy of my diet and other things, such as how "politically-correct" veganism is, and how they can never see themselves giving up meat for various reasons.  The 2019 Food Guide might appear to be a Vegan cultural switchover to meat-eaters, but so far, the counter-culture is still Vegan.

If you are curious about how/why some meat eaters made the transition, here are some "testimonies" on video by some of prominent vegan physicians, and some recipe books by members of  various ethnic/national/religious groups who recognize the delights of a vegan diet (or, at least, of a vegan recipe that is patterned on their traditional food treats).  Enjoy!

  Dr. Michael Greger talks about his daily public service (videos and blogs at NutritionFacts.org) dedicated to his Grandmother who inspired him to become vegan and a lifestyle physician.  
Dr. Cauldwell Esselstyn, Jr. talks about his work with patients with breast cancer and how he became tired of 'losing' patients regardless of what 'medical interventions' were introduced... the reason he is so passionate about medicine today is because of the science-based evidence that food (plant-strong) can reverse disease.
From a Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) conference:What Dr. Neal Barnard and other vegan doctors eat during the day!

ETHNIC/INTERNATIONAL VEGAN RECIPE BOOKS

Friday, January 18, 2019

5 Recipes for Veggie Chick'n Nuggets

ChickPea Nuggets (recipe #1 Below)
Chicken Nuggets were a huge treat back in the day when they first emerged at the famous fast food joint.  They seem to have continued as a favourite snack, especially for children.  So, how nice for all of us that there is a kinder, healthier, and, I think, tastier vegan/vegetarian alternative.

If you go to Pinterest, you will find that there are MANY veggie versions of chick'n nuggets, with main ingredients ranging from chick peas to jackfruit to pumpkin to jackfruit and several other versatile plants.  Some people seem intent on replicating the original chicken-like texture and flavour in their nuggets, while many of the other recipe creators simply look for new ways to create a savoury chunk of yumminess with the capability of holding together for a dip.

If you have fond memories of the nugget, and/or your child or other loved one has a craving, one of the following recipes will satisfy I am pretty darn sure.  If you are looking for another creative recipe for Meat-free Monday/Meatless Monday, the same is true.

1. ChickPea Nuggets (as in the picture above).  This recipe uses actual chickpeas, canned or home-cooked.  In the picture above, you see that the baked batter on the nugget is maybe a little paler than you would expect-- that is because I used ground Soda Crackers as my coating.  Looks pale, but is a nice light battering and something a lot of folks have on hand.  Otherwise, these nuggets taste not unlike falafal, if you are familiar with the lovely Middle Eastern savory chickpea balls.  Indeed, these particular nuggets make a great insert into wraps with lots of fresh salad greens, some red pepper slices, tomato, and a lovely Lemon-Sesame Dressing.  But they are also super-great as a dippable Nugget.  The original delightful recipe for these ChickPea Nuggets can be found HERE at Vegan Heaven.

2. Cauliflower Chick'n Nuggets
The recipe for these mouth-watering looking morsels can be found HERE at the Healthier Steps site.  They are vegan and gluten-free, so a healthy match for anyone who is looking for those criteria.  What I appreciate about this recipe is that it uses a shorter list of ingredients than many of the nugget recipes.  If you have cauliflower florets and a few other ingredients on hand, you have the makings of a great, quickly-put-together snack!
3. Actual VEGGIE Nuggets
The following video is an example of not being so much hung-up on the "chick'n" part of the nuggets but really digging the little dip-worthy nuggets for themselves.  As you can see in the video, an egg is used in the recipe (the actual recipe is right under the video HERE) but you can sub with a tablespoon or two of chia or flax seed added to the blender/processor, or you can use one of the many egg-substitutes available commercially.  Definitely worth a try!  
4. Tofu Chick'n Popcorn Nuggets


This recipe (shown just above) offers a pretty good take-off on the more common commercial vegan small-sized nuggets, or "popcorn".  The real benefit of using tofu is that it is a high plant protein binder with the same gripping quality as egg would add to your recipe.  Be sure to use ORGANIC, NON-GMO Tofu though.  You don't want to be suffering from the chemicals that go with GMO agro-industrial growing, and the ORGANIC labeling is generally the way to ensure that you don't have a GMO product.  In fact, be sure to buy ORGANIC-grown and NON-GMO in general.  Grow your own if you have the opportunity.  You can find this recipe HERE at the Under A Lemon Tree site.

5. Gourmet No-Chicken Nuggets

This final recipe is definitely the more time-consuming and ingredient-diverse of the nugget recipes listed above, but has a very good response from people who have made and eaten it.  I don't think it is a mistake that the website's name is Connoisseur us Veg-- pretty witty if you say it aloud and think about it.  So, yes, the recipe not only contains chickpeas, but also artichoke heart, red wine vinegar, and liquid smoke.  The nuggets are also both breaded and coated.  I am thinking that these are the nuggets that you serve to an adult dinnah pawtay and not to your kiddos at lunchtime! hehe.  They sure do look luscious and I am sure the gourmet vegan chefs out there are drooling to try these!  Find the recipe HERE.
Gourmet No-Chicken Nuggets (see above)

3 Fun Things To Do With Grandkids in Edmonton, Alberta

3 Fun Things To Do With Grandkids in Edmonton, Alberta
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