Monday, September 27, 2010

Blueberry Double Bran Muffins


Dry Ingredients
1 cup unbleached organic white flour
1/4 cup organic white sugar
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup organic oatbran
1/4 cup all-bran cereal (dry)
1 tablespoon golden ground flaxseed
2 teaspoon organic baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup EdenSoy - Original Unsweetened
soy milk beverage
1/4 cup organic canola oil
1/4 cup organic agave syrup
3 tablespoons orange-mango Kiju juice

Berries
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
 (thawed and drained)
Just before folding into your batter:
Sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of flour and
bit of white sugar - toss gently to coat all
berries.

Streusel Topping
2 tablespoons camino cuisine brown sugar
2 tablespoons organic unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon earth balance margarine (organic whipped)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Measure wet ingredients together in a 2 cup measuring cup --  then pour onto top of dry and fold together gently using as few strokes as possible. Let batter sit for about 5 minutes - the oatbran and bran cereal will expand somewhat thickening the batter a little.  If it still seems a little too thin at this point add another 2-4 tablespoons of flour. Fold in the thawed, drained and floured berries 1/3 cup  at a time.  I sprinkled the blueberries 1/3 cup at a time spread evenly over the top of the batter so they would be well distributed and not sink into one location exclusively.

One quarter cup batter per muffin will give you one dozen.  Sprinkle with streusel mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 mintues.  If you don't eat them all the first day -- freeze them -- they'll stay a lot fresher that way.  When you want one -- thaw out slightly -- pop in the toaster oven at 225 for about 5 minutes and they'll taste fresh baked again.

*Blueberry Double Bran Muffins:  a original recipe created by Veggie Prairie Girl*

Monday, September 20, 2010

Molasses Latte: No caffeine or Carrageenan!


Somewhere I stumbled across an article on carrageenan and promptly freaked out.  I also realized how many places I've noticed it listed as an ingredient --  including my well loved Silk Soy Milk!  This is what it said:

"Carrageenan is about as wholesome as monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is extracted from rice, and can equally be considered natural." 

If you want to read the article in it's entirety click here! It's written by Robert Cohen.  If you're hungry for more just throw carrageenan into your search engine and you'll be reading for days. I've had a nagging suspicion for a while that it might not be the best ingredient for me and I  noticed it particularly after eating soy ice cream.  Perhaps because I ate too much of it at one sitting?  And I'm thinking that there is probably more carrageenan used as a thickener in a serving of soy ice cream than in soy milk and maybe that's why I would notice it more after the ice cream. The results were gastro related and recently my daughter realized that she had the same problems after soy milk.  I put two and two together and realized that the carrageenan was a common thread and it is almost exclusively used by EVERY soy milk producer out there.  Do your own search and you'll see it's very difficult to find any non-dairy milk made without it.  Even Almond Breeze is using it as a thickener. 

So last night I hustled myself over to Planet Organic as there isn't a store in Edmonton that has a larger selection of non-dairy drinks to peruse. I wanted a substitute immediately as I was down to my last few drops of precious Silk Milk. The only one I could find that met all the criteria I was looking for (gluten free was top priority as well) was the unsweetened Westsoy.  I was impressed to see ONLY two ingredients on the label:  reverse osmosis purified water and organic soybeans. Even more impressive would be if I made my own milk -- and it might just have to get to that point one day but not this week! I've read a few articles on making your own almond milk and it seems relatively straightforward -- just a matter of buying fresh almonds and trying it out.  One other commercial brand that I have researched and plan to continue to stock up on is Natura.  I phoned them this afternoon and they assured me it contained no gluten, carrageenan, msg and/or any components thereof (I was concerned about the natural flavors listed on the carton).  It's a canadian product (made in Quebec) and is available at Costco  (great if you have a membership or know somebody that does and will pick you up a few cases).  If you need to use it in large quantities or wish to put some on an emergency shelf it's a very good price at $1.50 per 946ml carton.

And check this:  the Westsoy I purchased has 12g of protein per serving as opposed to only 6g of protein in silk milk (and I'm sure that is the average for all of them).  So putting two and two together -- there has to be a lot more of something else in the other ones to fall that short of the amount of protein.  Too many fillers or more water.  Certainly something to think about. It might seem more expensive at first glance ($3.69 for 1L) but when you consider all the facts you are most definitely getting more food value for your dollar and a whole lot less of some things you might not want!


My monday morning breakfast (pictured above) featured my newly coveted Westsoy, heated gently in a pot on the stove, and to which I added one teaspoon of Wholesome Molasses. Please -- never heat soy milk in a microwave -- it does something to the flavor that is in a simple word - "yucky"!  My on the stovetop method resulted in an enjoyable hot drink that had a definite coffee-like flavor.  I added my GF pumpkin muffin (recipe coming soon -- a bit of a sunken treasure but I'll try again - regardless it was one of my best failures ever!), an organic banana and one perfect organic Medjool Date! If you have never tried Medjool Dates I highly recommend you give them a try!  I'm feeding them to my grandson in place of candy! We're doing our best to severely limit his intake of sugar-laden evils.  He loves the dates so it's all good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cauliflower & Daiya Cheese Soup



Even though summer is not officially over -- I think unofficially it's pretty well a done deal on the prairies here in Alberta.  So officially it's soup season full throttle ahead for me.   Nothing cheers up a crisp, fall-like day as much as a warm, tasty bowl of homemade soup.  I'm so glad I have the time to indulge in such things because omg the canned soups are tasting even less appealing than ever. My daughter was feeling like a classic bowl of campbell's tomato soup last week but unfortunately it was a huge letdown -- somebody changed the recipe and/or the ingredients and it's not good! She was a real trooper to even eat it -- I tasted a bit that was left in the pot and it was barely palatable! 

Well I was shopping at Wal-mart yesterday and believe it or not I got a head of cauliflower for $1! Talk about a bargain and since it's not a vegetable that's on the high pesticide list I thought it would be great to use as the basis for a huge pot of soup.  Anyhow back to my soup and the daiya cheese!  I picked up a small package from Earth's General Store (cheddar flavor) and I have to say it is a huge improvement over the italian blend flavor that I had ordered from Daiya last December.  I do love that you can grate it and store it in the freezer until needed. It is easy to use straight from the freezer.  And a little goes a long way -- I only used 1/2 cup for this soup and I thought that amount was just right. See how I freeze my cheese -- I don't want it touching the plastic container directly so I line it with eco-friendly wax paper. It might be over-kill but makes me feel better about storing it long term in plastic.



Ingredients

1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced finely
2 tablespoons olive oil

5 russet potatoes, diced
1 head cauliflower
2 teaspoons veggie broth powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
4-6 cups water

2 tablespoons white rice flour (stoneground)
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter (Nativa)
2 cups original flavor soy milk (Natura)

1/2 cup grated daiya (cheddar flavor)

1/2 bag of frozen broccoli (optional)
 (steamed separately and stirred through last)

Directions:

Saute the first three ingredients in the olive oil until softened.  Add about 4 cups water initially -- add more while cooking if necessary. Add your potatoes, cauliflower and spices/salt.  When cooked to your satisfaction mix the next three ingredients together (flour/peanut butter/soy milk) and stir into your pot. Add the 1/2 cup grated cheese. Simmer your soup until it thickens and cheese is melted.  Add broccoli if you decide to use it -- I did as I was feeling the need for some greens but of course it's perfectly tasty without it.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Banana-Almond Muffins


I've been craving muffins again and love creating new versions of old favorites. Muffins have got to be one of the easiest recipes to fool around with and personalize to your own taste. I'd hazard to guess there must be several thousand awesome muffin recipes already out there and several thousand new versions left to create. I decided to make a very low but not entirely gluten-free muffin. I had bought a package of JK fine grain almond flour from Planet Organic recently and was interested in trying it out. I'm a huge almond fan so in addition to the almond flour I also added some freshly ground almonds. They are very moist and of course slightly denser than the average full-flour muffin but I'm loving them so I'll be making them again soon!
p.s. I used tamari flavored almonds so if you see that there is no salt added to this recipe that's why! I suggest adding a bit of salt if you are using unsalted ground almonds.

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup JK fine grain almond flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tbsp. ground golden flax
3/4 cup soy milk
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup organic canola oil

Mix dry ingredients from sugar to cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Blend the flax, milk, banana and canola oil together on high speed for about a minute or so.  Stir wet and dry together using fold and turn technique.

Using 1/4 cup measure divide equally into your prepared muffin tin (I am using If you Care liners again as they have been reformulated and are working perfectly - thank goodness).  Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes. Makes 11 muffins.  Good freezer item -- when thawed they are still nice and moist.
p.s. try to buy Cuisine Camino brown sugar -- the flavor is unbeatable and I love the fact that it's organic, fair trade and Canadian.

*Banana-Almond Muffins - original recipe created by Veggie Prairie Girl*