Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Decluttering: Hitting the Plateau


Shocking to me that I began the process of "minimalizing" my kitchen almost two months ago and that the room where I store my kitchen items is still a very unattractive clutter site.  While there are gaps, piles of useless articles remain to be sorted through.

I think that I have hit a plateau.

My husband has made something like 15 trips to my local favourite thrift shop with loads of stuff that is not too scuffed or unsaleable. 

I have found that my family does not want any of my stuff. (My granddaughters looked blankly at me when I offered a tour of the china that has come down through the generations in our family and could someday be theirs).  My friends have politely not responded, meaning they decline the general offer.  And even the thrift shop has turned away a few items.




Friday, November 20, 2020

Black-ish Forest Vegan Chocolate Protein Pancakes

 Black-ish Forest Vegan Chocolate Pancakes

My dear husband turned 71 today.  I am making him General Tso's tofu for dinner but also wanted to make him a delicious breakfast that would be something different from the usual smoothie and oatmeal. 

It had to be vegan, low in processed sugar, and maybe kind of reflective of a favourite German food.  

I know his favourite birthday cake used to be Black Forest Cake.  Way off his menu these days with his desire to be sugar-free and healthy as he trains to run another half-marathon in the Spring/Summer.

So after reading over a few such chocolate pancake recipes, I made a few modifications and came up with a pancake mix that I can store as the combined dry ingredients in a jar in the fridge, and when we want these lovely pancakes again, I will just scoop out the dry mix and add in the wet mix (almond milk and apple cider vinegar), and cook them up-- easy-peasy! 

So, here is the mix for 4 batches (about 16-24 pancakes):

-1 1/2 cups oat flour (can make by grinding in blender)
-1/2 cup white rice flour
-1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Vega chocolate protein powder
- 1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda

1. With the back of a spoon, press the above ingredients through a sieve into a mixing bowl.
2. Mix or whisk until well combined.  Add in any remnants too large to sieve.
3. Store in a large jar with lid in fridge.

To make one(1) batch of pancakes (4-6 pancakes), take 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of pancake mix from jar and add to small mixing bowl.  Stir in 1/2 cup almond milk until well combined.  Add in 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)
and stir through.   If batter is not the consistency of thick cream (conventional pancake batter) add splashes of milk.until it is.

For  8-12 pancakes, mix together 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons of dry mix and stir in 1 cup+ of almond milk and 1 teaspoon of ACV.

For 12 -18 pancakes  mix together 2 cups + 1 tablespoon of dry mix and add and stir in 1 1/2+ cups of almond milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ACV.

Use all of the dry mix with 2+ cups of almond milk and 2 teaspoons of ACV. 
(Yields 18-24 pancakes).

METHOD:
1. Heat stickfree pan on high medium heat.  Add about a teaspoon of coconut oil and wipe across pan with paper towel.
2. Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter.  Watch edges cook and dry somewhat.  When bubbles appear in middle of pancake, gently but firmly flip (about 2 minutes mark).  Cook for a few seconds and remove to warming pan in low temp. oven or to individual plates.
2. We topped with coconut yogurt, a few stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and thawed dark cherries.  

You might want to use berries, maple syrup, berry- or date-syrup.  

Coconut whip cream and chocolate shavings would make it even more like Black Forest-ish cake.

Please let us know how you like this and what innovations you might make!

If you wanted to make something like a German Chocolate Cake I think this home made marzipan-ish sauce would work well:

               Recipe for healthy, yummy 
                      Marzipan Spread






 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Review of "The Return of A Shadow" by Kunio Yamagishi

                                             
                                          
It seems to me that Kunio Yamagishi may have decided upon a particularly deep emotional challenge for himself as a writer of historical fiction. What if instead of writing about a lonely man who undergoes extreme emotional deprivation and finds true love and/or personal happiness in spite of that deprivation I write about a person who-- like many humans we hear about-- only experiences blurry glimpses of personal happiness through the course of his life. Would those dim hopes be enough to sustain him into natural death in old age? What are the choices in life when all your dreams evaporate? 

 Yes, The Return of A Shadow is possibly the saddest book I have read, or at least in a long time. But beautiful writing, and a likeable protagonist kept me interested and hopeful in the outcome. I believe that older adults, perhaps the age of the protagonist himself, would be most apt to read this book. Why? Because as individuals who have experienced disappointments that we are too old to deny (and which most of us come to terms with) it is refreshing to read about how someone with no strong blood bonds and only peripheral social connections still manages to go about living. While most of us (I don't have any stats but it is likely) have some family connections to which we prescribe "belonging" and perhaps love, there are certainly times when we feel alone and invisible in the world of younger and more powerful people, our own kin included. Are there ways to find meaning, to feel motivated to keep going forward, when we are overwhelmed by feelings of rejection and disenfranchment?

 On a meta-level, I am quite certain that this book recognizably addresses the experiences of Japanese internees and their families in Canada and the United States. When I did a very brief discussion of the book on Facebook, one of my friends dismissed the labeling of the internment centres as "concentration camps,"* a rather jolting term that Yamagishi uses. She assured me that the internees "had homes" and that maybe they had to leave their belongings behind, but that that was what happened during war, implying that the Japanese (and some born in Canada) had to take their lumps like all "foreigners" did. Would she recognize the institutional racism that gives rise to such statements? Possibly reading the book would give her a different perspective. 

The historical research is impressive, and I feel that I learned a lot from this piece of work. 

 * "internment centre for political prisoners of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order." concentration camp | Facts, History, & Definition | Britannica

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Easy Vegan Spicy Pear Butter Recipe


A dear friend had a huge Bosc pear harvest from her tree this year-- 700 pounds!  I was one of the lucky beneficiaries.  This vegan pear butter recipe is the result of a rave on Facebook by one of my friends.  So, looking at several recipes, I have chosen what I think works to produce a silky, yummy, pretty healthy pear spread.  The word "butter" does not mean that real dairy butter is involved (in fact, no fats!)

INGREDIENTS:

5 pounds of fresh Bosc pears, peeled, split, cored, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger*
2 tablespoons dried ground cinnamon**
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup coconut sugar
pinch of salt (optional)

                                                          These are common BOSC pears.
                                                          You can use this recipe for other
                                                             pears, such as Barlett, as well.
                                                          

EASY METHOD:
1. Gather together your ingredients, as well as get out 
  • a stainless steel pot with a lid 
  • a silicone or wooden spoon 
  • a melon-baller (optional) 
  • a peeler
  • a potato masher
  • a stick blender (or you can use a regular blender) 
2. Wash, peel and quarter pears, lengthwise.  Core.  A melon-baller turns out to be a really handy, quick way to core-- pears are especially easy to core when they are ripe.  Level of ripeness is NOT a big deal, though, in making the pear jam.




3. Chop pears roughly and add to the pot on the stove.  Stir and let them cook on medium heat for a few minutes, stirring to keep them from sticking.  When they are starting to break down, mash and stir with the potato masher.

4. Add in the spices.  You can opt to use other spices you prefer, and/or have available.  I would suggest not to use too many unless you are a 'flavour whiz', in which case, go at it!  Other spices might be: Star of anise, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom.  Some of the online recipes had commenters complaining about the domination of spices so I think that less is better.  Try some different combinations of two to see what you like.

5. Add a portion of the water (maybe 1/2) and the orange juice.  Let the pear butter gently bubble and simmer for a while and if it looks like it is drying out, add more water.  The pears I used were enormously juicy, but, on the other hand, you don't want to dry it up, so use your judgement.  Let it simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  Put the lid on and let it 'cook down'.  But keep an eye on it.  Check every so many minutes.  Add a little more water if it is drying up.

6. Add the coconut sugar, and a pinch more spice if you think it is needed.  Add a pinch of salt towards the end of the cooking.

7. When it is cooked down to about 3/4 of what you started with, use an immersion blender stick to make it smooth and creamy, or let it cool a bit and blend up in a regular blender.

ENJOY!  Add the spicy pear butter to top toast, waffles, pancakes, ginger bread.  Stir it into oatmeal, yogurt or your homemade granola! 

NOTES: This is a really friendly recipe for people who don't cook.  Just breathe and enjoy adding your personal touches.  You don't even need to add a sweetener because ripe pears are so naturally sweet, and as you saw above, the amount of fluid you add is pretty much dependent on the juice volume of the pears themselves.  I am going to try making a recipe with only a tablespoon of water or orange juice (or apple cider vinegar) to see how that works out!

Can the butter with the water bath method (google) if you wish, or just put it in a glass jar or other glass container in your fridge (with a tight lid).  

If you have a bunch of other pears left to process, you could always make a delicious vegan fruit kuchen (cake) by substituting pears for the suggested fruit in this recipe here.





















 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Barley Porridge with Dates and Walnuts


Porridge made with barley is not familiar to everyone. This sweet porridge recipe comes from the Sacred Cookbook- Forgotten Healing Recipes of the Ancients. You will find other delicious, little-known old "ethnic" recipes from all over the world in this collection.

Barley Porridge
Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cups organic barley flour
4 cups almond milk, or other milk of choice
sea salt
6 large medjool dates, pitted and chopped
2/3 cups chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons raw honey (other sweetener, like maple syrup, for children under 1 year)

METHOD:

1. Whisk the barley flour in the almond milk over medium heat in a medium size pot. Be sure to bring all the flour into play and stir until smooth and beginning to bubble.
2. Turn the heat down as boil begins and allow the porridge to simmer gently for about 5 minutes. (Watch to prevent burning, whisk if needed)
3. Remove from heat, salt to taste, and spoon porridge into bowls. Add the dates, walnuts and honey as desired. (And our family always adds berries).


4. Enjoy!

Click below for more yummy, nutritious porridge recipes for the porridge fan and the so-far-uncommitted...

 



Sunday, September 6, 2020

Garlic-Ginger Eggplant

This delicious recipe for an Oriental dish, fried Garlic-Ginger Eggplant, is provided by my delightful Facebook friend, Rita Hinds.

Here we go with Rita's recipe for Garlic-Ginger Eggplant:

INGREDIENTS:
1 Eggplant
3 T. fresh ginger
3 T. Fresh garlic
Green chili (I used red pepper flakes)
Scallion onions
3 T. Non GMO Cornstarch
1 tsp. Organic Cane Sugar
Soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
Water

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut up eggplant in bite size pieces(put in bowl) sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Let it sit for 15 minutes(this formula will draw out excess water)
Pour out water/ rinse and pat dry with towel or paper towel.
2. Coat eggplant with cornstarch. This will depend on how much eggplant you have.
3. Fry eggplant until crispy(the cornstarch makes it crispy). Set aside.
4. Sauté onions, garlic, ginger
5. Add soy-sauce and sugar to the pan and then a little water (this will depend how much eggplant you have to cover with the sauce) then add water and some cornstarch together and add to your sauce pan with the ginger, onion and garlic in the sauce pan. Stir until thickened.
6. Pour over your eggplant.
7. Enjoy
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below.


Rita adds:
I have been on my plantbased journey for about 30 years. It has been a very enjoyable journey. Soon after I made the change I went away to school to learn how to help people change their lives for the better using food, herbs, and water therapy.

I have since learned about the study of Nutrigenomics and how nutrition can have not only an impact on your cells but your genes as well. I realize that our genes are the gun but our choices pull the trigger.

It has been such a blessing to help people make changes and experience a positive impact on their bodies. Enjoy this recipe and may you feel joy and happiness as you eat it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Vegan Kuchen with Fresh Fruit Topping


Okay I will get right to the recipe, since that is what I like when I want to bake something. But while the kuchen bakes, please read the story of 'the apricot delivery' below the recipe, okay? Thanks (oh yes, and your comments are gold! I love them-- as most bloggers do-- and ask any questions too!)

VEGAN KUCHEN with FRESH FRUIT TOPPING

1. Sift all the following into a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine well:

2 cups, 250g All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons, 8.87g baking powder
1 teaspoon, 3.4g baking soda
1/3 teaspoon, 1.95g fine sea salt
2/3 cups, 132.57g sugar

2. Mix together the following in a 2-cup measuring cup:

3/4 cup, 184g non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons, 47.02 non-dairy yogurt
1/3 cup, 72.16g coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons, 30g apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons, 9.86g vanilla extract

3. Add the wet ingredients (#2) to the dry ingredients (#1) and use only as many strokes as needed until batter is combined.  Over-stirring can result in a tougher texture.

4. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F./180 degrees C./moderate/4 gas

5. Spoon the batter into a greased or parchment-covered spring form pan (11") or use a similar-sized silicone pan (which I did-- no greasing or parchment required). 

6. Slice up about 1 pound (larger fruits, into halves, quarters or thinner strips (riper fruits need less cutting up).

7. Embed the sliced fruit and/or whole berries in the dough.

8. Optional topping: 2 tablespoons (about 25g) coconut sugar and coconut shreds

9. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool before eating.



10. Use this recipe for any in-season fruit topping that grabs your fancy.  I have tried apricots, blueberries and apples-- they all taste magnificent on the top of this cake.  Mmmm.  Eat with tea or coffee... this is a German-ish coffee cake (the kuchen my mother-in-law made was leavened with yeast).  SEND me a picture of your cake.  If you join Organic Granny Veggie Recipes on Facebook, you can post your picture there!


THE APRICOT STORY
One morning I was out in my front yard doing some weeding when the postal van pulled up.  The postee got out with a Amazon Prime box and said it was for me and that she would leave it at the top of the drive-way, which she did (COVID-19 delivery format).

I thought to myself: "Wow, Amazon is back into their 2-day deliveries!" (I had ordered from them two days before.  During the COVID time there was a huge overseas delay.  Understandable).

So, I hauled the box into the house and used a knife to slice it open.  I was struck by all the stamps, but my brain told me: "Probably a third-party seller".  I am not too curious about that system, so accepted the idea.


But then, when I peaked into the box I was mystified to see egg cartons.  My helpful (but rather dull) brain suggested: "I think these eggs must have been delivered to you by mistake".  My 'other brain' whispered: "I don't think Amazon delivers eggs, do they?".

I gingerly opened the box and saw what looked like brown eggs, but when I opened it wider I saw APRICOTS!!!

The apricots were from the tree of my dear long-time friend, Joey, who lives in the Sunny Okanagan where apricots grow very nicely.   For many years she was the Post Mistress in a small Saskatchewan community called LOVE, close to my brother and sister-in-law's farm, the farm I grew up on.  So, Joey didn't think it was a big deal to send a box of apricots by mail.  I was so touched by her thoughtfulness (still am).  Who but a dear old friend would think to do that?


**Bianca Zapatka's apricot kuchen is the foundation for this recipe.  Thank you!





Monday, July 20, 2020

Vegan Ice Cream and Other Frozen Treats You Can Make Yourself!

Summer is here!  In celebration of all the new vegans everywhere, and in recognition of all those who have been eating vegan for years, here is a summertime roundup of vegan ice cream and other frozen treat recipes that you can make yourself!  I have included a short ingredients list so you can do a scan and see which ones suit for you and/or your family.  Just click on the link and go directly to the recipe.  


Mango-Blackberry Vegan Ice Cream

Ingredients:
 nondairy milk, frozen mango chunks,
 starch, vanilla, maple syrup, ripe avocado, blackberry jam



Blueberry Nicecream on Raspberry Chia Pudding

Ingredients:
Nicecream: frozen blueberries, frozen bananas

Pudding: chia gel, raspberry jam, nondairy milk, maple syrup

Spunky Monkey Ice Cream
Ingredients: chia seeds, frozen banana, cocoa or cacao, 
maple syrup, vanilla, peanut or nut butter

Maple Walnut Cashew Banana Ice Cream Sundae
Ingredients:coconut milk, ripe frozen bananas, raw cashews,
walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate chips


Simple Carob Nicecream

 Ingredients: frozen bananas, dates, carob powder

OTHER FROZEN DIY TREATS
Treats to Make with Frozen Grapes

Luscious Frozen Smoothie Treats

Blue Heaven Pie


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Perfect Oregano Pesto


This is the perfect pesto for anyone who is short on the standard basil and has fresh oregano taking over the yard
  But you could still use basil, or arugula, or your fave other green.

Add the olive oil to your blender 
And then all the other ingredients.  Salt and pepper to your preference  but I suggest you start with a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.  Less is more  right?

Spin up and store in a jar or other container with a lid in the fridge.

Delicious on pasta, crackers, bread, celery sticks, quinoa, wraps. See these 3 high nutrition, gluten-free pasta suggestions HERE

See 7 Things you Can Use Oregano Flowers for HERE



Sunday, June 14, 2020

Endless Greens: Free Bok Choy from Spring to Fall

Baby Bok Choy 

I love bok choy.  During the beginning of the COVID19 period of isolation there was an amazing amount of organic bok choy available in our local grocery and whole food stores.  

Bok choy comes from the cabbage/crucifer/mustard/brassica family, and is a Chinese Cabbage (grown first in Asia), as you might be able to tell from the name.  I guess we mostly see the Cantonese version here-- the Shanghai Bok Choy is a darker green-- the one I think of has broad light green/white stems and lighter green leaves, as in the picture above.  I particularly like the dwarf versions of bok choy, called Baby Bok Choy.  Light, easy to slice and eat, and mild-tasting with lots of delicious leaves.

On Instagram I ran across an account that showed several small chunks of the bases of a bok choy plant sitting in water. When I inquired if they were rooting it to plant, they told me that that don't really wait for roots to form, but that they grow leaves from the old "wound" and after 6-9 days they just pop them into soil and they grow up edible there.

That was worth a try!  So here is what I did and found out:

I copied the folks on IG and just cut those little suckers 2 inches from the end and stuck them in water until they had developed fairly good leaf growth (I'm mostly interested in the tender leaves for eating).
"rooting" the bok choy in water

When the plant had developed a pretty impressive set of new leaves I planted them in my backyard planter (filled with decayed seaweed and sea debris that my husband harvested from a nearby beach, and then topped with a luxurious 18 inches of our compost (kitchen scraps, organic soil, rotted brown matter like leaves).  The grow-box is a former wood box that we removed from beside our fireplace.  It's perfect.  I hardly have to bend at all to 'garden' there.  So far this wonderfully, spongy humus contains the bok choy, some celery that I have started in the same way, and some collard seedlings.  I have glass jars over the smaller plant-lings because something likes to snack on them.
                                                                               

Now, as you can see, they are not "true" to the bok choy image at the top of the page.  But they are covered with tender leaves, big and small, and even have some edible flowers for the mix!  I cut the plant off near soil level and let the roots stay in there to decay (we will see) to offer further organic matter to feed new plants (or the little wood bugs that are so anxiously awaiting each new delivery).

                                                                                
             
Not bad for a plant grown from the 2" heel of a store-bought bok choy, eh?   I keep putting the heels in water and expect to have one or two of these every week or so throughout the summer.  This is the company today's bok choy kept:

                                                                                          
       

I am happy to report that they taste tender, succulent and mild, just like the original bok choy, even if they do not look like grandpa exactly.  The cubes are a recipe called General Tso Tofu from Michelle Blackwood's Healthier Choices site (vegan and gluten-free recipes).  I steamed the bok choy.  The flowers are cutely edible.

Have you ever planted bok choy like this?  Do you think you might give it a try?  

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Oregano-Lemon Balm Vegan Pesto



This year I am intent on using more herbs from my small herb garden in our meals.  

Oregano-- also known as wild marjoram-- lives in a couple of spots in our yard.

In my current favorite reference book--Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte-- the author states that oregano "is used the world over the world over in Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes."  Oregano contains thymol, "a powerful antiseptic when internally or externally... The pleasant aromatic scent... is very lasting.
. In the garden [oregano has] a beneficial effect on nearby plants, improving both growth and flavor." (pg. 102)


 The Ultimate Vegan Meal Prep Course
How To Spend Less Time Cooking, Save $, & Get the Body of Your Dreams


OREGANO-LEMON BALM-WALNUT PESTO

Put the following in a small blender and blend until smooth:  

*1 cup fresh oregano leaves
*1/4 cup walnut parm OR nutritional yeast
*1/4 cup walnuts or hemp seeds
*1 tablespoon olive oil OR water
*2 tablespoons fresh lemon balm leaves
                               OR
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt

You can find other related articles I've written here:



Thursday, May 14, 2020

Kale-Chive Vegan Muffin

Beautiful Kale-Chive Vegan Muffin

This delightful muffin is made with wheat flour (organic all-purpose) in this recipe, but I think it could be made with a gluten-free flour, and also would work with half whole wheat or other half oat flour, half whole wheat.  I can also see it done up as a sort of cake (using spelt flour) and used to mop up olive oil and basalmic vinegar-- a kind of focaccia-soda bread.

It's tasty!  Savory is often the way to go.  Especially as this pandemic plays out for those of us who seemingly can't stop baking muffins and banana bread and cakes.  Savory is a nice change-up to something that seems healthier.

And it goes very nicely with a lunch soup.  Or as a breakfast muffin with some melty vegan cheese on top (or avocado or tomato and fako-bako-- you get the drift).

It makes 10-12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups. 


THE ULTIMATE VEGAN MEAL PREP COURSE
HOW TO SPEND LESS TIME COOKING, SAVE $, AND HAVE THE BODY OF YOUR DREAMS


INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cup (300 ml)         non-dairy milk
1/4 cup    (60 ml)           extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (22 g)        ground flax

Add the above together in a small to medium bowl and stir until combined well.  Set aside.

2 cups (120 g)                organic unbleached flour
2.5 teaspoons (11.25 g)  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered turmeric
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon (3 g)           powdered garlic
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g)        cayenne, ground
1 teaspoon    (5 g)           fennel seed (whole) 

Add the above dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined.

1 cup fresh kale, chopped small
1 cup fresh chives, chopped small

Set the oven for 400-420 degrees Fahrenheit (200 - 220 degrees Celsius).

Get your pans ready.  If you are using metal pans, it is easier to deal with getting the muffins out when you choose to use parchment cups. Otherwise, 'grease up' the cups or use silicone pans.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir to combine until a stiff dough.  Don't stir too long or the resulting muffins will be tough.

Fold in the kale and chives.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Pop into the oven for 20 - 23 minutes.  A toothpick should come out of the muffin, clean.

Let the muffins cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cooling racks.

Other muffins and banana cake recipes made during the COVID19 lockdown:





The Music Stand  Top Gifts for Music Students & Teachers!

 




 
 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Molasses-Maple-Banana Muffins with Dates and Walnuts, Gluten-free, Vegan

Molasses-Maple-Banana Muffins

This most recent muffin is inspired by the molasses cookie, specifically the molasses cookie my grandma used to bake.  It was fragrant, lightly spicy, soft but chewy, and generally had dates and walnuts in it.

The muffins smelled so great when they came out of the oven, but for a few minutes I thought back to the sort of sugar-gritty and oily features of those delicious molasses cookies.  I am pretty sure my grandma used white sugar (and quite a lot of it, I would imagine) and some kind of oil.  These particular muffins are free of any poured oils, and instead of a sweet white or brown sugar I used a mix of molasses and maple syrup and banana to sweeten it.

Would this muffin be a flop?

Then I tasted it it... and

IT WAS / IS DELICIOUS.  It is uncannily like the molasses cookies of my grandma... or my memory of them... except puffier and muffin-y.  

I also use the oat flour and almond flour base of my last batch of muffins on here (the lemon-fruity muffins) so if you used certified gluten-free oats, these muffins are gluten-free.  

And there are no eggs or dairy in this recipe, so these muffins are also vegan.

But above everything else, they are delicious.... try the recipe and see!

So-- TO MAKE 12 LARGE (not Jumbo) MUFFINS:

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup  water
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 cups  almond flour
2 cups  oat flour (I ground my oat flakes up in my vitamix to make flour-- but can be purchased)
1 cup    rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup     maple syrup (not maple-flavoured pancake syrup)
2 riped   mashed bananas
4 tablespoons coconut water, or just plain water or non-dairy milk
1- 2 cups total of chopped dates and walnut pieces
The Music Stand  Top Gifts for Music Students & Teachers!

METHOD:
1. Combine flax seed and water in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
2. Combine and mix together: almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large bowl.  
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 177 degrees Celsius
4. Mix maple syrup, mashed bananas, molasses, and coconut water (or plain water / non-dairy milk) in the medium-sized bowl with flax seed and water.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
6. Mix until well combined.  
7. Gently add in chopped dates and walnuts.
8. Spoon into the muffin cups.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes on rack. Enjoy. These muffins freeze well.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Let's Grow More Food!


Let's grow more food-- my new mantra for this spring and summer!  Yes, today is the last day for the inspirational Home Grown Summit.  I have learned a lot from the many presentations I have watched.  I am looking forward to watching those learnings spin out over the summer and over the years to come.  Go here to sign up for the final day of the Home Grown Summit-- or click on the banner above to take you there, where you will register with your email address and name.  Then you will receive the information to access all of today's presentations, free.  If it is not to your liking, just unsubscribe.  

3 Strategies
 to Simplify Preserving and Storing Your Harvest
 So You Can Enjoy The Fresh Food All Year Long
Free. Online 
 at 10amPDT Tuesday, May 11th.
Just before I typed this I had a really interesting invitation arrive in my email to attend a workshop on preserving my garden food-- a workshop by one of the speakers (Stacey Murphy) I enjoyed very much when I listened to her yesterday.  If you are interested in knowing about several safe and healthy methods for preserving your harvested veggies, you can check out the page to sign up for that HERE.  You also get to download a freebie transcript of the workshop, so that note-taking is not necessary (she does speak with enthusiasm, and pretty fast).  
I plan to have more good resources from the Summit on here as the summer plays on.  Leave a message in the comment section below (your email address will not be published with your comment but I will have it to contact you with what you specifically request) and I can put you on the list to contact when I post other information that might be of value to you in your garden.  Let me know what that might be!

  


Friday, May 8, 2020

Lemon-Berry Vegan, Gluten-Free Muffins

Changing Up the Recipe
These lovely lemon-y gluten-free vegan muffins originate from a perfect blueberry-lemon recipe by my friend, Michelle Blackwood at Healthier Steps.  I had all the ingredients called for in the recipe except for blueberries (but I have a lot of bags of other berries in my freezer).  

This is my second unique muffin recipe in the Covid19 baking season. You can see the recipe for Hemp seed Applesauce muffins here.

The first batch I baked of this recipe were yummy, but because my muffin cups are large, and not the dainty, regular muffin size, instead of a dozen large muffins, I ended up with a dozen muffins that were more like puffy cookies, if you know what I mean.  Muffin tops? It so happens that my hubby and I like a fullsome muffin, one that comes close to popping over the sides, even.  And I know from past recipes, that expanding the recipe x2 usually gives me the muffin we love.

As is often the case, I find a recipe for something that sounds absolutely delicious and what I am looking for, but then discover (1) I don't have all the ingredients, or (2) when I bake up the recipe, I find that I didn't get exactly what I was counting on, or (3) I make an addition or subtraction to the ingredients that changes the recipe's flavour or texture.  When I make enough changes, I publish the recipe and call it my own.  But in this case, Michelle definitely deserves recognition, because her original recipe is gorgeous and perfect.  I am definitely using her recipe as a foundation.

Adds + Subtracts from the original recipe:

The original recipe calls for equal amounts of almond flour, oat flour and rolled oat flakes-- (certified gluten-free if you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive).  I subbed one-half of the oat flakes with coconut shreds.  I personally love a little coconut in my muffins for the sweetness and subtle coconut flavour.  If you don't like it, just go back to using the rolled oats for the full amount.

I used blackberries instead of the original blueberries.  Blackberries are very flavourful and a wonderful match with the lemony 'batter'.  I suggest you find your fave berry and put it in this recipe.

I love love love lemon flavour and so have begun to bake using Simply Organic Lemon Flavor so I find it unnecessary to use lemon peel (zest) to get the lemon-y flavour I'm looking for.  It is made with two ingredients: organic sunflower oil, and organic lemon flavor.  In this recipe, I use the lemon flavor in lieu of the vanilla called for in the original recipe.  See a recipe for lemony Carrot Soup here.

And, as I said before, I doubled the original recipe, so I also added in about 10-15 minutes on the baking time. This muffin has just the right muffin moistness.

So-- TO MAKE 12 LARGE (not Jumbo) MUFFINS:

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INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup  water
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 cups  almond flour
2 cups  oat flour (I ground my oat flakes up in my vitamix to make flour-- but can be purchased)
1 cup    rolled oats (certified gluten-free if needed)
1 cup    coconut shreds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup     maple syrup (not maple-flavoured pancake syrup)
2 riped   mashed bananas
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Simply Organic lemon flavor
2 cups frozen berries, your choice

METHOD:
1. Combine flax seed and water in a medium-size bowl and set aside.
2. Combine and mix together: almond flour, oat flour, rolled oats, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 177 degrees Celsius
4. Mix maple syrup, mashed bananas, lemon juice and lemon flavor in the medium-sized bowl with flax seed and water.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
6. Mix until well combined.  
7. Gently add in berries.
8. Spoon into the muffin cups.
9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes on rack. Enjoy. These muffins freeze well.

You might also enjoy these carrot cake muffins: (click on the image)
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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Hemp Seed-Applesauce Muffins

Delicious, healthy hemp seed and apple sauce muffins! 

These muffins are absolutely delicious.
  And healthy.  Ingredients used include spelt flour, oat flour, hemp seeds (also known as hemp nuts), maple syrup, apple sauce, cinnamon, and other items you likely have in your kitchen for baking: baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Spelt is an ancient grain, and the flour produces a nice, cake-y product.  I used spelt flour to make the chocolate banana cake/bread recipes (my "COVID19 banana bread"), recipes here.  Spelt flour is a whole food but doesn't have the sort of acidic undertones that one gets when baking with whole wheat flour.

I "made" two of the ingredients in my vitamix high speed blender.  You might want to do the same, both to save money and to provide ingredients with no added stuff in them (such as preservatives).  I ground up some regular oat flakes to make oat flour (just used the same amount of flakes as flour called for) and blended up two or three apples to make apple sauce.  I added a dollop of apple cider vinegar (just my choice) to the apple sauce while blending it.

If you appreciate the high omega (read: brain food) balance of hemp seeds and are geared up to do some other recipes using these fantastic little plant-powered seeds, here are two more recipes to check out: one for some fancy little chocolate energy balls and another for a scrumptuous burger:

Hemp Seed-Apple Sauce Muffins

These muffins are a little cinnamon-spicy-- you could add pumpkin pie spice if you wanted to go up the spice kitchen spectrum.  They are quick to make and I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't love them!

Makes: About 9 - 12 muffins depending on your muffin pans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes

Along with the ingredients below, you will need:

*A high speed blender (if you are making your own oat flour and/or apple sauce)
*2 large bowls for mixing
*A large sieve to fit over mixing bowl if possible
*12-cup cupcake/muffin tins (silicone or with parchment paper cup liners)

Assemble all ingredients before starting the process.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsweetened organic apple sauce (can make your own with 2-3 apples)
1/2 cup maple syrup (not maple "flavored" pancake syrup)
3/4 cup plain non-dairy milk, unsweetened
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of whole grain organic spelt flour (look in natural foods section of store)
1 cup of organic oat flour (can make in high speed blender with dry oat flakes)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4-2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup hemp seeds- no shells (or order from Amazon here)
1/3 cup of dried cranberries and dairy-free chocolate chips (or other dried fruit pieces)


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METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C)
Put all wet ingredients into one large bowl and whisk until well combined
Put sieve over the large bowl with wet ingredients in it, like the following:

Put the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in the sieve and work all lumps out, and into the wet ingredients.
Use cutting and folding to gently work the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Don't stir too long but the batter should be fairly smooth like thick cake batter.
Add in hemp nuts, chocolate chips and cranberries, stirring only enough to incorporate them. uniformly.
Spoon the batter into the bake cups (either into the parchment liners or into the silicone cups for the best assurance of not having messy cleanup afterwards.)
Bake for about 22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when poked into a muffin.
Cool for 2 minutes before removing the muffins and cooling completely on the rack.
Store in freezer in container with tight-fitting lid.

**The original recipe was put together by Dreen Burton of Plant-Powered Families and appears as Apple Hemp Muffins in the recipes section on the 8th day of the Food Revolution Summit 2020.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

3 Delicious Vegan/Vegetarian Chocolate Banana Bread Recipes

Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread 

Today when I went online to look at a Facebook page full of yummy vegan recipes for chocolate banana bread, I came across not one, but THREE terrific recipes. I chose the one with the most ingredients in the house to bake, but it is quite likely I will refer back here to try the other two at some point (a good reason to be a food blogger!). Hope you find one of these recipes meets all your criteria for deliciousness and whatever other factors are built in to your baking: budget? ingredients on-hand? allergies? gluten issues?

NEW!!  Just added another version of chocolate banana cake (raspberry-carob or frozen grape-carob) at the bottom of this post!  So-- possibly 4 or 5 recipes to choose from!  Let me know about your variations!

The first chocolate banana bread recipe, the one that I actually baked, is quite likely going to be the easiest one to choose if you have a gluten sensitivity and have oatmeal, almond flour, and cocoa hanging out already in your cupboard.  The list of ingredients also includes: ripe bananas, coconut sugar, baking powder, nondairy milk, coconut oil (or your preferred oil), and either ground flax seed or ground chia seed for the "egg".

pan-de-banana-vegano

The recipe at The Little Kitchen blog also includes a Spanish language translation just under the English recipe.  This cake-y bread takes only 20-30 minutes to bake.  I made it up by using a food processor to mix all the dry stuff together first, and then I added the mashed bananas and other wet ingredients, and processed the whole caboodle for a couple of minutes before putting it into a small silicone breadpan.  I like silicone containers because they are so easy to get the baked item out of-- let it cool and tweek the sides a little, and PRESTO!

#2 Recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread (called Cake in this recipe) is made with maida flour, or regular all purpose wheat flour.  You can tell from the recipe demo in the video that there is a lot of energetic gluten, making for a springier cake than you generally find with the gluten-free flours, such as the oatmeal and almond flour in #1 recipe, above.  I guess it will depend on whether or not you are sensitive to gluten in whether you try this particular recipe.  Take a look.  All the ingredients and baking instructions are nicely listed as the recipe plays out.  This recipe uses a little vinegar and both baking powder and baking soda for leavening.

This is what it looked like when I baked it (trying the raw banana slices on top-- like it!)
Image

                                         and the RECIPE for #2 Chocolate Banana Bread:
You can find the full recipe at hebbarskitchen.com

#3 Recipe is for a Chocolate Banana Bread that touts itself as the BEST!  It looks pretty in this photo, but what does it have that sets it up as a superior recipe?  
Well, this particular recipe is ovo-vegetarian, as the recipe contains 2 eggs.  The other ingredients are pretty much expected in a regular banana bread recipe (it IS a regular banana bread recipe) plus cocoa. For some reason they have used nondairy milk instead of dairy milk.  You can find the recipe at Renana's Kitchen.



Here is the added recipe for the Frozen raspberry or frozen grape chocolate banana cake:
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INGREDIENTS (substitute frozen grapes or blueberries, etc. for what you desire/have on hand)


2 ripe bananas, chopped,

3/4 cup organic cane sugar,

1/4 cup oil,
1 teaspoon vinegar,
1 teaspoon vanilla,
1 1/2 cups spelt flour,
1/4 cup cacao powder,
1/4 cup raw carob powder/flour,
1 teaspoon baking powder,
1/4 teaspoon baking soda,
1/4 teaspoon sea salt,
1/2 cup water (or coconut water)
Chopped walnuts
Frozen raspberries or green grapes (or other berries)
‐----------------------------------
1. Blend bananas and sugar and pour in large bowl.
2. Whisk in oil, vinegar and vanilla until perfect consistency
3. Put sieve on bowl and add flour, cacao, carob, baking powder, baking soda salt, pressing through with no lumps
4. Add in water and quickly stir, cut, fold until smooth like thick cake batter
5. Add walnuts and raspberries (or grapes, etc.)
6. Spoon into loaf pan and bake in 350F oven until inserted toothpick comes out clean-- about 40 minutes
7. Cool completely on rack until totally cool. Cut thick slices to serve

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes