Sunday, April 20, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups

Step One:  Put some mini paper cup holders into a small freezer friendly container. Use some if you care mini baking cups as molds for your peanut butter cups! These work excellent for this purpose as they are just the right size and are made of parchment paper so there is no sticking at all.

Step Two.  Melt together semi sweet chocolate chips with peanut butter and vegan margarine. I love cocoa camino the best! I measured out about 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine. Melt and stir together.

Two vegan margarines I like are either Earth Balance or Becel! Use the peanut butter of your choice! I have had a life long love of creamy smooth Kraft peanut butter! I recently discovered Earth Balance Creamy coconut peanut butter! Any peanut butter you love will do here. Crunchy would also be nice I'm sure!  

Step Three.  Spoon equal amounts of melted chocolate mixture into each mini paper cup holder. Let cool slightly - a few minutes or so.  I am a big peanut butter lover so these fit my need perfectly as it is used TWICE in this recipe!! So now get out the peanut butter one more time.  Using a little plastic baggie works great for this part. Snip a piece off the corner and squeeze little swirls on top of each of  your slightly cooled peanut butter cups. It will sink a lil but make sure to do enough of swirl so a lil sticks up. Top with one cheerio pressing down slightly.  Put in freezer till firm.  Enjoy!  These are best eaten straight out of freezer as they don't have enough hydrogenated fat to stay super firm for long at room temperature! That makes them super healthy - right? 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Herbivore's Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This is one of the recipes that put Lindsay S. Nixon  "on the map as a vegan blogger"! I took out one of her cookbooks from the Edmonton Public Library and thought it looked interesting! I love simple and good! These definitely fit the bill on both counts! She has an awesome collection of cookbooks on the market as well as a very informative blog! The recipe for the carrot cake cupcake can be found here!

I followed it almost exactly: I added two extra tabblespoons mango/peach juice cause I thought batter looked a little thick but that's always an issue in baking! It makes a difference what brand of flour you are using and how you measure etc.! I did not have whole wheat pastry flour so I just  substituted 3/4 cup white organic flour and 3/4 cup regular organic whole wheat flour. It worked out perfectly! Very good muffin - you don't miss the oil at all - moist and lots of flavor! Taste good iced or not! I tried them both ways. The maple icing is easy to make and adds a nice touch if you enjoy sweet topping.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Potato & Broccoli Strata

Stratas are the best thing to happen to vegetables! You can't go wrong with any combination I'm sure. This one involved organic red potatoes in the starring role supported by broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini and onion! A super easy white sauce boosted with a scoop of nutritional yeast brings it all together! Precook all your veggies, make up a white sauce and have fun layering in whatever pan you like and put in the oven for a good 45 minutes at about 375.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best Berry Muffin

1 1/2 organic unbleached white flour (OR 1 cup white plus 1/2 cup whole-wheat)
1/2 cup *white sugar*
1/4 cup organic brown sugar ("our compliments" from Sobey's is excellent)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tbsp. tapioca starch

1/4 cup spectrum organic canola oil or olive oil (OR 2 tbsp. oil plus 2 tbsp. applesauce)
1/2 cup plus 2 - 4 soy milk 
1/4 cup mango/peach juice (Happy Planet)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup berries (Earthbound Organic frozen berries are amazing  - especially their cherries) 

Mix first six ingredients together really well. In fact sifting is best. Whisk wet ingredients together with a fork. Using as few strokes as possible incorporate the wet and dry! Fold in berries gently (I used frozen berries and roll them in extra sugar before adding to batter). This seems to help reduce the amount of berry juice bleeding into the batter. Use non stick paper liners or spray muffin cups.

Use about 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. batter per muffin. I sprinkled with some more organic brown sugar on top - the our compliments brand is perfect as it's very coarse. Bake for about 20-22 minutes at 375 or 400 depending on how hot your oven is and whether your muffin tin is dark or light and whether you make 8 or 10!  You could also do 375 for first 15 minutes and 400 for the last 5 minutes. Makes 8-10 muffins.

*If you are looking for an inexpensive and easily available brand of white sugar for baking Redpath brand is vegan*!  It's also made from sugarcane which these days is a better choice than sugar beets as apparently sugar beets used in rogers sugar are genetically modified!

Made them again without sugar topping! They do look prettier with the sparkly tops!

Taming Your Cough and Sciatica Relief!

My daughter posted this information on her facebook and I'm reposting it for the benefit of anyone going through my blog.  It's not a recipe for food but a recipe for relief so hope it helps some else in need! Her pain was greatly eased by both these oils when nothing else seemed to work. Her words in quotation marks below!

"They're not exactly Chanel #5, but these potent smelling oils do the trick. The White Flower oil has been the ONLY thing that has been able to tame my cough (going on 2+ weeks) and the Kwan Loong oil has helped my pesky sciatica (a new 'treat' this past week). Both available at T&T supermarket in the 'pharmacy'."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

3 Bean Chili Empanadas

I am revisitng some of my own past recipes. Originally I posted about empanadas in November of 2009. I cannot believe it's been that long! Anyhow these are worth a second look because they are truly outstanding and great to tuck in the freezer for a day when you'd rather be looking through pinterest :)  I love pinterest! It never ceases to amaze me how much collective creativity there is out there!!  Long live Pinterest! And 3 Bean Chili Empanadas :)

Bread Dough for Empanadas:

1 cup organic unbleached white flour
I cup organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2/3 cup soy milk (use original flavor)

Measure flour, baking powder, salt and chili powder into a bowl. Cut in margarine thoroughly. Blend with fork or rub through with both hands until it's all mixed in very well. Add 1/3 cup of the milk. Continue adding the remainder at about the rate of 1 tablespoon at a time until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.

Gather dough into ball. Divide into 12 equal pieces. With the aid of a rolling pin make circles approximately 5" in diameter. If you want them all to be the same exact size (I do) roughly roll out your circles and then press them to fit into a round plastic lid. I used the lid from a two cup round ziploc container -- it's the perfect size for this empanada and you will achieve cloned specimens -- which is the look you are going for! You can of course also roll out the dough and use a 5" cutter but I find my method is easier and you're not constantly rolling and re-rolling which in my mind is more work plus the more you roll the tougher your dough gets. Nevertheless, this is a method that is shown in many cookbooks so who am I to say it's not right! You choose how to get your perfect circles. Anyhow the next step is to put in about 2 tablespoons of filling. Don't go crazy and overfill or you'll have troubles making a proper seal. Pinch closed, sealing edges well. Put on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes.

3 Bean Chili Filling:

Make any kind of chili filling you love!  I made a 3 bean chili using black bean, garbanzo and white navy beans. I used most of the ingredients in my original Veggie Prairie Girl chili but I did not include tofu this time as I went with extra beans instead. For empanadas it's best to chop all the veggies into equal size pieces as much as possible and always grate the carrot. I prefer the grated carrot as I find it gives a nicer mellow carrot flavor that way. Otherwise I find the carrot flavor can overpower some of the other veggies. It's difficult to find a truly beautiful flavored carrot these days - at least that's my experience! Best carrots are those obtained from small alberta vegetable farms but that is not always possible in dead of winter for me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chickpea Potato Spinach Hash

I am always looking for new ways to feature my favorite legume "the chickpea"! It truly is the most versatile bean in the legume family. From hummus to falafel to socca this bean keeps me coming back for more. I'm a bit picky about the taste and texture of chickpeas - I know I should be cooking them from scratch but there was a good sale on organic Eden chickpeas and I stocked up! They are a stellar company and their cans are BPA free so I feel pretty good about using them. I still don't find them soft enough so I like dishes where they can kind of stew around a bit and soak up a little extra flavor whilst they soften up! This dish does just that.

And yes I do slip off all the chickpea skins! If you have a nice kitchen window that looks outside onto a tree that has cute little birdie visitors it's not so bad at all (I am very fortunate to have such a view)!  I'm not worried about losing a little fiber either - I eat a ton of vegetables and oat bran! So peel or don't - it's up to you! Tastes better sans the peel though!

I have made this particular dish with and without rice! Both ways are delicious though lately I am a big fan of the taste of rice in casserole style dishes! I have also put all ingredients into pan at once which is the method I used in photo above. If you prefer a little chunkier style hash use steps below. If you don't mind more mashed hash do it all at one time.

Step #1 - Get a bag of great organic potatoes. I recommend these. They were available at my local safeway store.

Step #2 - Scrub and peel about  8 of these as organic potatoes are generally not that large. Dice and put in deep fry pan. Add at least 2 cups of spring water to start. Put on the heat and let water start boiling. Turn to simmer.

Step #3 - Add about 1 cup of chickpeas with skins slipped off!

Step #4 - Add your favorite spices. I always like a little chili powder, garlic powder, curry, pepper, salt and a few teaspoons of my favorite organic veggie bouillon powder. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your water level to avoid potato starch taking over the bottom of your pan!

Step #5 -  Add 300 gm of frozen chopped spinach. This year I am crazy about the taste of  EarthBound cut organic spinach! Seriously they should win an award for best ever frozen spinach! So much flavor! Let everything simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Then add 1 cup of cooked rice if you like (I used Basmanti today).  Let it simmer until potatoes are done to your liking. Add water as needed throughout this process to keep mixture from sticking to your pan.

#6 - Check often and stir and adjust seasonings as required. I added another couple teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon , No Chicken Base and some paul bragg liquid amino acid.