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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

IMG_1742I live in a house where Dog = God (Or so the little ones like to think)! So, when I started baking all those (non doggie) cookies recently, I felt 6 eyes closely observing me disapprovingly. Since their treat jar was actually running low, I decided to bake them something too.

When deciding the flavor, it was an easy choice. Just the mention of ‘peanut’ in the house and you have 3 fur balls already in the kitchen before you can say ‘butter’! I decided on peanut butter and molasses treats with some leftover rye flour. I really like rye flour, it has a special ‘countryish’ taste I enjoy, plus it’s really healthy for you, with lots of iron, B6 and magnesium. Same with the molasses, I actually take a tablespoon of molasses a day to keep my iron levels good. 

The trick with dog treats, especially if you make a big batch, is to leave them overnight in the oven (off!), so they have time to really dry out and therefore,  keep for a rather long time in the treat jar (not that they will actually last if your household is anything like mine!). I made them bone shaped this time, but plan to make some Halloween shaped ones soon!

Ingredients (for two dozen bone cookies)

IMG_1754– 2 cups rye flour
– 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
– 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
– 1/2 cup cool water + more if needed

Heat oven to 300F (150C)

In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients with a wooden spoon, really working into the peanut butter. Once the peanut butter is well incorporated check if the dough holds together, if not, add a few more teaspoons of water. The dough will be quite dense, but sticky enough to hold together in a ball.

Place the dough on a clean, floured surface and roll out to about 1/4inch thickness. With the cookie cutter of choice, cut out your cookies and place on a prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20minutes. Then turn off the oven, but leave the cookies inside. I leave them overnight to make sure they are nice and dry. Store in a sealed cookie jar. 

These are very good treats to practice the ‘leave it’ trick! Because of the strong peanut smell, they are almost impossible to resist! Only miss pit bull Hope managed to master this skill and to even pose for a picture! So, let’s keep that in mind before judging these amazing dogs!

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100% Rock ‘n’ Roll Pit Bull APPROVED!

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VEGAN FRENCH TOAST!!! 

IMG_1642This might be the coolest cookbook EVER! I have been waiting a while for it and finally, it arrived! Natalie Slater’s Bake and Destroy is addictive, and totally kooky! Her wit and punk – rock attitude really shines through the totally decadent and imaginative recipes that get you drooling just by looking at the gorgeous pictures. Her writing style definitely puts a smile on your face and maybe even gets a few chuckles. Choose from Taco Lasagna, Nacho Cupcakes and Spaghetti Cake with Grandma Sharon’s Hater-Proof Sauce! Total insanity! 

I have a total peanut butter addiction, the Elvis sandwich being one of my all time favorite snacks, so when I saw the Honky Tonk French Toast – aka Elvis French Toast – I went totally bananas! 

First of all, I LOVE french toast. But I have never made them, and since becoming vegan, it has become a little tough to find good french toast in vegan restaurants. So, another reason I freaked out when I saw this recipe!

Like all of Slater’s recipes, this isn’t your average french toast, it uses banana bread! PEANUT BUTTER banana bread. The banana bread was so light and fluffy I swear nobody could have guessed it was vegan! It was hard not to eat it all straight out of the oven. So my first suggestion is to; make 2 banana breads while you are at it, one for your 5 o’clock tea and one for french toast the next day!

The only change I made to the recipe is that I found my loaf needed more like 60-70minutes to be fully baked instead of the suggested 40-IMG_165250. It made a super fluffy inside with a nice crust. I let my slices dry and this morning I made banana bread for brunch. Total craziness! It was amazing!

The bread gets soaked in a mixture of peanut butter, soy milk, vanilla and cinnamon. It soaks in this divine creaminess for 10mins and then you bake them off for 30minutes, until crispy. Let me tell you, they were not only crispy and moist inside, but totally mind-blowing! I might still be high from all that peanut butter.

Hubby and I are already looking at what wacky recipe we will try next so, don’t go far!

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VEGAN MOFO DAY 11

It seemed I missed the memo that fall is HERE. I woke up this morning to snow topped mountains. What a rude awakening! Where did the summer go??? Obviously, by missing the memo, I also thought I would be in the mood for green smoothie breakfasts this week, so I stocked up on a bunch of bananas. WRONG. There is not one part of me that wants a cold breakfast. I need comforting heat and spices (not to mention a FIREPLACE – if I had one!). So, I put my ripe bananas to great use. BANANA BREAD! Yes; again!

This time, I made it unlike I make it for ‘dessert’. I made it healthier, so it would be an acceptable and nourishing breakfast. Instead of white flour, I made it with 3/4 whole wheat flour, and instead of white sugar, I used brown. I also only used about 1/2 of the sugar that I put in my dessert recipe. I don’t want my banana breakfast bread to give me a sugar high! Then, when I was deciding what to add for a change, I roasted up some chopped walnuts and chestnuts and added those. It turned out WONDERFUL. Extremely fragrant, as I seasoned it with a mix of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg; and light. I love how it remained moist, yet dry enough to eat with your hands. It easily crumbled apart and had a super airy texture. A definite winner in this weather!

My mom actually smelled it in the elevator and came to ask if she could have some!

Breakfast Banana Bread – whole wheat, brown sugar, walnuts, chestnuts, soy milk, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg…

This is the recipe.

Ingredients

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven at 180C (350F)

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Mix in the wet ingredients into the dry. Whisk until smooth. Add in the chopped nuts. Pour into a prepared baking pan and bake for 50-60minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee (decaf for me!).

ENJOY!

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Some Decadence!

VEGAN MOFO DAY 6

Yesterday I was having cravings for chocolate and pears. So I decided to make some sort of pear pie. Then I realized I had some SUPER ripe bananas which needed to be used, so I invented a fusion banana bread with pear chunks inside and covered it all with chocolate ganache. I can tell you, it didn’t let me down! Pear chunks are a definite YES in cakes.

Fusion Banana Bread with Pear Chunks and Chocolate Ganache – flour, sugar, bananas, pears, chocolate chips, coconut milk…

The recipe is just my usual banana bread without the spices and chocolate chips (which you COULD add for extra chocolatiness!)

Ingredients

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pears, pealed and diced


Preheat oven at 180C (350F) and prepare your cake pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients and incorporate into the dry mixture until smooth. Gently add in the pear chunks. Pour into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean (about 45mins).

Let cool and cover with Chloe Coscarelli’s chocolate ganache. 

DIVE IN!

Even if this is mostly a food blog, and I try to keep it positive and keep animal issues out of it; some things really irritate me and I feel like they need to be shared in order to spread the word. I got an email today from the Animals Asia Foundation which I really love. We actually sponsor 2 little bears there, Edga and Amelie. Both which were rescued from years and years of abuse and torture in bear bile farms. If you don’t know about bear bile farming I highly recommend you read into it, it is one of the most horrific human practices in terms of animal abuse, and I think that Animals Asia are really doing a great job rescuing these bears and giving them a nice life in parks where they can actually run around and be bears, instead of being caged up in a cell so tight they cannot even turn around (without mentioning the excruciating pain they must go through every time their bile gets extracted). 

Anyways, the email basically said that after all the hard work developing the sanctuary and making it the great place it is today, the foundation has now been asked to LEAVE the premises! Apparently the Ministry of Defense thinks the land will be of better use as commercial land housing tourist parks and hotels… 

Here is the email:

Dear,
We’ve had some shocking news. After working so hard over so many years to build a world-class sanctuary for the bears rescued from Vietnam’s bile farms, we are being asked to leave.

On Friday 5 October, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) informed Animals Asia that the Ministry of Defence had issued an order to evict the entire sanctuary operation and its 104 rescued bears. There is no justification for this.

It’s believed the park director, Do Dinh Tien, lobbied the Ministry of Defence to evict Animals Asia, so he can hand the land to Truong Giang Tam Dao Joint Stock Company, of which his daughter is part-owner. The company intends to build commercial property including a tourist park and hotels.

The closure would see 104 bears that have been rescued from the bile industry evicted, 77 local Vietnamese staff made unemployed, and financial losses to Animals Asia of more than US$2 million.

After years of trauma from being locked up in small cages and milked for their bile, our bears are now enjoying dens, enclosures and friends to play with. These bears will be forced to return to cages to be relocated. This will have a major negative impact on their mental and physical well-being. It is likely to take at least two years to establish a new centre with outdoor enclosures.

What we’re doing

We’re fighting this eviction notice every step of the way, appealing directly to the Vietnamese authorities, enlisting help from the international community, the media and other NGOs. But most of all we need your help.

How ridiculous is this!?!

You can get more info on their website.

They have now started an online petition which is why I wanted to share this on here. Please help the bears keep their homes, and sign the online petition.

Thanks everyone! You might want to bake that banana bread right about now! I promise, it brightens the mood. 

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Fall Comfort

VEGAN MOFO DAY 3

Today was the perfect fall day! I bought a bag of small local apples at the market the other day, so apple pie was definitely called for. I wanted to try a new twist to my usual pie crust, making it a little healthier. I didn’t have whole wheat pastry flour, so I just used normal whole wheat flour and blended it with all purpose flour. The result was actually perfect! The crust was light and flakey, with a nice crunch.  The filling was a simple apple, brown sugar and cinnamon mix. The only sad thing is that I had to wait until it was quite cool to unmold it, but I prefer eating my pies warm. So I would need to unmold it and then reheat the pie a bit.

Mini Seasonal Apple Pie with Whole Wheat Flour

Ingredients

Whole Wheat Crust (enough for 2mini tarts)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon cold water


Apple Filling

4 small market apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup soy milk for brushing
1 drizzle lemon juice

I prepared the dough for the crust over lunch so it had time to cool in the fridge. Because I worked with such a little amount, it only took me about 5 minutes to prepare. First, I mixed all the dry ingredients well and then added in the margarine, which I mashed down with a fork. This works similarly to a pastry cutter. You want to make sure the dough is very crumbly, but you should still be able to kneed it into a nice ball (if needed add a little cold water). Wrap it up tight into a plastic wrapper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). 

In a medium bowl, mix in the apples, cinnamon, lemon juice and brown sugar. Set aside.

Take out the ball of dough and place on a lightly flowered parchment paper. Roll it out until you have a nice thin layer (max 5mm). Use a small bowl and cut out 4 circles (you might need to re-ball and re-roll the dough). Fill the bottom of the 2 mini pie pans, making sure you press the dough down very well. Use a fork to poke a few holes on the bottom. 

Fill the pans very liberally with the apple filing, pressing the apples down well (remember that they will cook down). Use the remaining 2 dough circles to cover the pies. Seal the sides very well and crimp with a knife. Use a sharp knife to cut in a few vapor vents on the top. 

Mix the soy milk with a few drizzles of lemon juice in a small bowl and let curdle. Brush it over the pies and sprinkle with sugar.  

Place in oven and bake for 35minutes. When done place on a wire rack and let cool. Unmold by holding the pies upside down in your hands.

ENJOY!

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Just as I was starting to think about light and healthy meals in preparation for bikini season, I found myself indulging in these babies last night! Trust me, they are SO WORTH IT! So drop the Wii Fit and get to your KitchenAids!

I started making these in the late afternoon and they were ready by midnight. They aren’t particularly complicated to make; just quite time consuming. Remember that you need to initially allow the dough to rise for about 2hours and then again for another hour once you made the rolls . This is the perfect recipe to whip out your kitchen robots for. I don’t know about you, but mine has seriously been gathering dust lately. I find that most of my baking doesn’t call for its use. I glazed my rolls with a simple sugar icing, but you can also spread some rich cream ‘cheeze’ frosting on them, for a creamier, and even more indulging finish. 

This recipe makes about 8 large size rolls. We ate 2 and froze the rest. Then you can just unfreeze them on the counter for about 10-12hours so they also rise back up, and cook them normally.

Ingredients (dough)

5 cups all purpose flour
1 packet active dry yeast  
3 tablespoons Red Mill egg replacer 
9 tablespoons cool water 

1/3 cup margarine
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup granulated brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients (filling)

1.5 cup granulated brown sugar 
3/4 cup margarine
2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup crushed hazelnuts

Ingredients (sugar icing)

1 cup powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons margarine
1 flask vanilla extract (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons soy milk

Ingredients (cream ‘cheeze’ frosting)

3/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

First thing you need to do is add half the flour (2.5cups) and the yeast to your kitchen mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment mix on low until well combined. 

In a small saucepan over low heat warm up the margarine, milk, sugar and salt. Whisk well until everything has melted and combined. Slowly pour this over the flour mixture and turn on the kitchen robot on low speed. Mix until well combined.

Using a hand mixer mix the egg replacer and water at high speed until thick and foamy. Add to the flour mix and run on high for a few minutes. Stop halfway to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead in the rest of the flour for about 5minutes. The resulting dough should be soft and elastic. It should feel humid but not stick to your fingers (correct with extra water or extra flour if needed).

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. The ball will easily double in size while rising. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm area to rise for 2hours. I like putting my dough in the oven for this time (off!).

Once the dough is nice and puffy, punch it back down. Place the dough on a floured surface and cover with a towel for 10minutes. 

Prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients until you get a nice uniform cream. 

Roll out the dough until it is about 1cm high. This should make a square of about 15inches. Spread the filling evenly all over the dough. Roll the square of dough into a log and pinch the ends to seal. Slice the log into your desired roll sizes, anything from 8-10rolls. Remember that the rolls will rise a little more still.

Place the rolls on an oven sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise for 1hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F . Brush the roll dough with soy milk (use this to seal the end of the roll well). Bake for 30minutes, until golden brown.

A few minutes before rolls are finished cooking, prepare the sugar icing by combining all the ingredients well. When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the icing and serve warm.

If instead you choose to make these with the cream cheeze frosting  just beat all the frosting ingredients together once the rolls are almost done and spread a generous amount on the warm rolls.

ENJOY!


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I am back on my mission! 

These cookies were again from Isa’s book,  Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I promise, I will change cookbook next time! I was just too tempted to try making Gingerbread cookies when I found some cookies cutters in my pantry. Again, this was my first time making gingerbread cookies, as they are not too popular here, but I used to eat a lot of them when I lived in NYC.  Needless to say, they had some pretty divine cookies to measure up to.

I was a little skeptical while making the batter that they would taste good. I never actually thought the ginger taste was ACTUALLY ginger! I am not a huge fan of powdered ginger, but I trusted Isa and finished the recipe. I added a little more cinnamon than was called for, because I am a cinnamon junkie. Surprisingly, the smell of the dough wasn’t anything like the smell of the baked cookie. Which is strange. The baked cookies smelled divine and didnt remind me of the powdered ginger.

If you are interested in trying these cookies, which I think you should, it is also good to keep in mind that the dough has to be refrigerated one hour before you can flatten it and make the forms. It is therefore best to start making the dough early so you have enough time, and on a full stomach. I found the dough very easy to work with and to make my forms. There were no gingerbread decapitations or casualties; so all is good.

Yes, you can say that I am part of the minimalistic Gingerbread Man movement. I like them nice and simple. I think they are cuter that way, compared to cluttered with icing.

These cookies are now also part of my top faves. They were nice and crunchy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. The taste was exactly how I remembered my NYC cookies. So it was an absolute success. The only issue I see with these cookies is that you can get tired of eating them, unlike some of the previous, more common cookies. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to agree, I made twelve cookies for 5pm and by 9pm, one was left (I had only one!). So it is safe to say he enjoyed them!

ENJOY!


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