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Posts Tagged ‘Novel Eats’

For some reason every time I have a lot of writing to do for school I find it utterly imperative that I go and bake something. Like, right that minute. I have absolutely no idea why. In fact, even now, when I should be doing some mandatory reading, I am here, typing up this blog post instead. Strange.

Anyway, about 9:42 yesterday morning, when I was supposed to be writing an essay, I found myself scouring my cabinets for flours. I keep a random supply of gluten-free baking essentials in my kitchen, but it’s been awhile since they’ve been replenished. I was a wee bit short of the necessary flours to create Isa and Terry’s suggested gluten-free flour blend from VCIYCJ, so I winged it and hoped for the best.

My only complaint about these cookies is that they could have been just a tad sweeter, but that was my fault as I refrained from using as much sugar as I probably should have. Otherwise, they were damn tasty!

In my never ending battle to make desserts healthy, I am always looking for a way to sub out some of the necessary butter or oil that undoubtedly accompanies baked goods. While bananas and applesauce are good subs for cakes and waffles, they make cookies, well, kind of suck. If you wanted something light and fluffy you’d make angel food cake – not a cookie. So I’ve now come to the conclusion that, if you want to make your cookie healthier, you just have to leave out some of the oil. So I did. I usually add some soy milk or water just to ensure there’s enough wet ingredients to handle the dry, but today I whisked some ground flaxseed together with some hot water because I was wary of my cookies crumbling apart before reaching my mouth (GF stuff doesn’t always stay together very well without xanthan gum).

I’m sure the missing oil accounts for a little bit of taste deficiency, but not enough to notice really. I think the best part about these cookies was the texture. They were slightly chewy on the onset but had a satisfying crunchiness to them in the end. And the best part is I only used two tablespoons of oil (for 17 cookies or something like that)! The picture doesn’t honestly convey the texture of these cookies so you’ll just have to trust me, or go make your own.

So, here’s the scoop:

Flour mixture (based off VCIYCJ):

  • 1/3 C quinoa flour
  • ¼ C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown rice flour
  • 3 T potato starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 T white rice flour (added at the end because it appeared too moist)

Recipe (adapted from Novel Eats):

  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • ¼ C agave or honey
  • 1½ t vanilla
  • ½ t molasses
  • 2 t ground flaxseed pre-whisked with 2 T hot water
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 C flour (or GF flour mixture above)
  • ¼ C chocolate chips
  • ¼ C white chocolate chips*

Method:

  • Preheat the ole oven to 350.
  • Line a couple cookie sheets with a Silpat mat or baking parchment.
  • Whisk together brown sugar through the canola oil.
  • Mix together baking powder through flour and then add to wet ingredients.
  • Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Fold in chocolate and white chocolate chips.
  • Spoon out little dollops of dough onto prepared cookie sheets an inch or so apart (a wet spoon helps here).
  • Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Let cool.
  • Eat.

*Note: I’m not entirely sure the white chocolate chips were gluten-free, so be sure to check before buying and baking.

P.S. These are best just a few minutes out of the oven. If you’re eating them the next day, toss them in the toaster oven for a bit to get them warm and slightly crunchy again.

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Sorry about that.  In trying to balance my schedule between Middle Earth, Italy and lost passwords I have totally neglected you.  But it gets worse.  Or better.  Or maybe just different….

The other day Samantha from Novels Eats invited me to take part in a thing called Lunch.  It’s a website for reviews of this, that and whatever floats your boat.  And there are different “communities,” like Vegan Living, Green Living, Bakers and Pastry Lovers, etc. that you can join.  You can rate and comment on others’ reviews, and people can follow you and you can follow them (in a non-stalker sort of way).  I think it’s pretty dandy, so I’ve been posting reviews on it instead of here (they’ve been all product reviews).  You should come on over and take a gander at it and join in if you feel so obliged to share you knowledge of what works and just  how well.

Oh, it’s not relegated to food by the way, as the name might lead you to assume.

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The vegan club evidently has a strict “all or nothing” policy and since I do not fall into this “all” category I am evidently not vegan.  At all.  Not even an inkling.  Assolutamente niente.  At least not as far as some vegans are concerned.  For some odd reason I had it in my head that people who care about the earth, about animal cruelty, etc, you know – vegan people, were kind, considerate, understanding, and accepting.  For it seems to me they were/ are people who have seen the larger picture and thus live in somewhat of an, I dare say it, enlightened state.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I never thought they were all miniature Buddhas running around smiling at everyone, but at least smiling a little.  And I never thought them to be so critical and exacting a demographic as a few of its members are now pointed out to me to be.

There’s this nice vegan lady in New York City who likes to cook and blog about it.  I read her blog quite often (as you should too as she does a damn fine job).  Well lately she’s taken to posting some “how-to” sort of posts for people interested in/ currently making the transition to the big V who need some help and encouragement.  Which is splendid because some people are frightened at first as they think their whole gastronomic world is coming to a screeching halt.  Well, the other day she posted a “How Vegan Are You?” post which simply discussed some of the not blatantly obvious un-vegan items, such as white sugar, honey, shoes, etc.  Ok.  Fine.  So at the end of the post she asks “How vegan are you?” and invites you to comment.  I commented.  A couple other people commented.  I went to sleep.  Went to school the next day.  And just after dinner I retook my seat in front of my PC and thought I’d go have a look-see and find out what other people had to say.  &*^$((@%($()#)  Evidently during the interim from when I placed my comment and coming back again she received a whole rash of comments, mainly between a couple people, that weren’t exactly of the peaceful disposition I thought vegans would, in general, have; at least in regard to veganism and others interested in it.

These comments were rude, chiding, spiteful, mean, and quite frankly unacceptable.  It’s one thing to voice your opinion, as everyone is entitled to one, but it’s a whole other ball of wax to open fire on someone, especially one of your own.

I’m not typing this all out to point fingers or get the last word.  I’m typing this because this sort of elitist “all or nothing” attitude towards veganism is likely something that scares people away from it.  While it would be grand if we all just stopped eating meat one day, it would at least make a difference if lots of people just cut some of it out of their diet.  You know, a penny saved is a penny earned sort of thing – a steak not eaten is a cow that’s alive and water and grain that’s not being wasted and kids in remote countries that get to eat now…  We shouldn’t all get carried away with trivial issues like one’s definition of veganism versus another, or one’s reasons for living vegan are better than somebody else’s, or that you shouldn’t label yourself a vegan if you happen to have one piece of clothing in your apartment that wasn’t made in an animal friendly fashion.

When I decided to be a vegan it was on a whim.  It was because I’d been playing around with the idea of vegetarianism and stinking Google posted a PETA ad on my screen one day that I happened to click on.  Two words for you: factory farming.  Yuck!  So I changed my lifestyle, for the most part.  I didn’t go into veganism with an all or nothing attitude and I still don’t see it that way.  I don’t think anything is ever black and white and certainly not something that has such a profound impact on your life and its quality.  To each their own is all I think anyone can ask for something such as this.

So, if you’re out there and you’re considering hugging a cow versus cutting one, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.  Don’t feel like you have to follow a strict code of conduct.  Do what you feel is right for your life and your values.  And ignore those inconsiderate nincompoops who tell you it’s their way or the highway; they don’t represent the whole of the vegan community.

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So I’ve been doing a fair amount of baking lately… ok, maybe fair isn’t quite accurate.  I’ve been doing a somewhat excessive amount of baking lately, at least compared to the rate of what normally goes in and out of my oven.  School starts next Monday and I think I’m feeling my freedom slipping away.  Soon I’ll have no time to bake, or blog, or breath.  I’ll merely be struggling every day to absorb more Italian (which has definitely slipped my mind of late) and read all the other 15 books I’ve been assigned this term.  **sigh**

IMG_2085Anyway, while we were visiting family in WI I happened to see a recipe in a magazine for parsnip bread, my interest was piqued.  Of course it wasn’t vegan, but never mind that.  I awoke one morning shortly after we returned and decided to take a go at my own version, which included pumpkin and cranberries, but a sudden whim caused me to be desirous of a gluten-free version.  So, I hopped on over to the Gluten-Free Goddess to borrow a flour concoction that would hopefully do for the autumn muffins dancing around in my head.  I think they turned out quite well.  They’re dark because of the buckwheat but one should not judge a muffin by its cover.  I didn’t really follow her recipe to a T, or really much at all, but if you would like to know what I did holler at me and I’ll relay it to you.  I’d type it out now but I’m feeling a bit lazy.

chocochipcookies

On my next endeavor I made these chocolate chip cookies, which I thought were quite superb even in spite of their cake-like consistency, which was entirely my fault.  In my ever going battle to make bad things not so bad for you I shucked half the oil and added applesauce and subbed in some wheat flour, which is likely the reason for their fluffy demeanor.

I also made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which turned out much OatmealChocChipbetter then their cakey predecessor (I didn’t use the applesauce).  The recipe for these came out of none other than one of the most superb cookbooks of all time, ok maybe not all time but at least in my time – Veganomicon.  Isa and Terry are actually at it again by the way.  Soon your cookie jar will be invaded by what I’m entirely positive will be some splendifferous cookies.

Recently I became the owner of an ice cream maker (I ❤ Craigslist)!!!  My life is now complete…  My first batch of ice cream was chocolate, with some strawberries mixed in towards the end.  I kind of wanted to make something vanilla-ie but since I bought chocolate soy milk on a whim I had to figure out something with which I could do ChoIceCreamwith it.  I think it turned out very well, I just have 2 pints of it to eat now.  The recipe also came out of Veganomicon but if you google around you’re sure to finds tons of free vegan ice cream recipes.  This one was comprised of coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, tofu, etc.  If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with the free recipes there’s quite a few ice cream cookbooks running amuck out there, buy one.

Though I’m told the following item resembles a cow pattie I’m still quite proud of it.  I guess a parent can’t tell IceCreamSandwichwhen their child is ugly… same goes for cooking.  The oatmeal cookie and the chocolate ice cream happened to come to fruition on the same day, so I thought it best to combine them.  If you’ve never compiled an ice cream sandwich before it’s actually a bit harder then you would imagine to make it look “pretty.”  My version obviously needs a makeover judging from the supposed “cow pattie” resemblance.  Practice makes perfect I guess.

And last, but by no means least, I made cinnamon rolls last night (because I thought I needed to cram one last sweet and fattening goodie into my less than accommodating fridge).  So how do vegan cinnamon rolls taste anyway?  Freaking awesome!  These cinnamonrolls2were so damn good.  Non-vegans would never have an inkling of suspicion that these were of the animal friendly variety.  Novel Eats also has a chocolate version, which I didn’t make but judging by how delicious the cinnamon ones were they are most definitely heavenly.  I’m thinking next of making them with a strawberry compote and chocolate shavings.  Oh, note to self: let rolls cool prior to applying icing.

Alrighty then.  As you can see, I have a fair amount of sugary calories to burn off, I must to the pavement (which means running in case that was in some way unclear).  Tootles!

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So I’ve been out of pocket for a few days it seems.  Ok, like 10 or 15 days.  I had a really important week of appointments in Hawaii, and one cannot blame me for not blogging during these really important appointments.  I had to meet with the beach a couple times, Senor Frog, and a few (too many) mai tais.  By the end of all these really hectic appointments I was so frazzled I was fighting thin air.

A few days ago I overcame a really crucial milestone in any vegan’s life – I made vegan mac and cheese.  AND IT WAS AWESOME!  Maybe I just haven’t had mac and cheese in a long time, but I’ve been pretty disappointed with other vegan versions of it that I’ve tried previously so I was pretty stoked when this one came out tasting superb.

I also added some buffalo flavored tofu that I ALSO made myself.  Yeah, I rock.  Well, I guess the woman who originally created the recipe rocks, I’m just a cheap imitation.  I found the Flavorvegan blog the other day when searching for buffalo tofu recipes.  Check her out sometime.  I’ve only tried the two recipes previously mentioned here but they were spectacular, though I would recommend adding some cayenne to the buffalo sauce – it wasn’t quite spicy enough for my liking (but my taste buds apparently don’t work as well as most peoples’).

Yesterday I attempted to make espresso cheesecake.  Instead I got “weak cup of coffee” cheesecake.  My sole source for the espresso flavor was espresso itself, which evidently was not enough.  I’m assuming you need coffee flavoring or some kind of coffee liqueur to make the taste strong enough.  On top of the weak taste my chocolate chips seemed to huddle together in certain spots and thus were not proportionally placed espressocheesecakethroughout the cheesecake.  Some days you should just stay out of the kitchen I guess. The base recipe for this cheesecake is definitely a keeper however, just make sure you know what you’re doing when you try to modify it.  I always use this recipe or this one when I attempt to make vegan cheesecake.

I did make a shortbread crust which I got from this lovely lady.  I usually sub applesauce for oil when I bake to decrease the fat content in whatever it is that I’m baking.  I’ve never tried doing this with vegan butter before.  Well, it appears to have worked, though I can’t attest to what it would have tasted like if I had made it with all butter.  I made a mini cheesecake in a rectangular pan so the crust is up around all the sides, in case you noticed that in the picture.

Lets see, what else can I prattle on about….  I recently became the owner of a brand new set of P90X workout DVD’s.  I also, coincidentally, became the owner of some sore muscles.  I’m not normally one for workout DVD’s as I usually get bored 5 minutes into it and turn it off.  I bought some pilates DVD’s years ago and just a month or so ago finally removed the shrink wrap from all the discs.  P90X is different though.  There’s 12 different workouts and they are far from boring.  Most of the workouts are about an hour long but the time flies by before you know it.  These things retail for about $120, but I would recommend perusing Craigslist or Ebay to find them cheaper (that’s what I did as my money tree is not fairing very well at the moment).  If you actually do the straight 90 day workout plan they suggest make sure you eat right and don’t over-strain yourself.  The DVD package comes with a workout plan and nutrition guide, so read it before you dive right into 90 days of intense workouts.

Ok, I think that does it.  I need to go study for mio corso d’italiano.  Arrivederci!

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