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 tbsp.natura 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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

GF Chocolate Banana Muffin

I really should just call my blog "Muffin Mama" cause seems that's my passion! I just don't get tired of any variation of muffin - endless love for making and eating them.  I also don't tire of soup of any kind and I'm just checking out a lovely recipe using basmati rice and carrots to put on tonight's supper table.

There is a fine line between muffins and cupcakes and I'd say this one could go either way! I just want to feel healthy eating them so I'll just say it's a muffin :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Applesauce Oat Muffins GF

Put following into a large mixing bowl:

1 cup quick oats
1 cup soy milk + 1 tbsp. vinegar
3 tbsp. agave syrup

Stir and let sit while you prepare the eggy flax mixture:

1 tbsp. golden flaxseed
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. olive oil

Stir and let rest while you sift together the dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. almond flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. tapioca flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Grate one of the following:

an apple
a carrot
a small zucchini

Mix into 1/2 cup applesauce.

Mix eggy flax, oatmeal and applesauce mixture together. Stir in your dry ingredients. Divide between 12 muffin cups (lined with paper cups or sprayed with oil).  Use about 1/4 cup batter each. Bake at 375 for about 20-22 minutes. Drizzle with a small amount of icing glaze (icing sugar plus water) and sprinkle with cinnamon. I did not have any icing sugar in the house so if you have a magic bullet it's easy to make a small quantity from any white sugar you have. The nice thing about making your own is that there is no added cornstarch like there is in commercial icing sugar.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Red Lentil Soup Thai Style

olive oil - 1 tbsp
1/2 cup onion - chopped fine
1/4 cup parsley - chopped fine
2 white button mushrooms (large), chopped fine
2 carrots - sliced thin rounds
1 small potato- diced tiny pieces
1/4 cup cabbage - chopped fine
spices - curry, chili, garlic, ginger

1/2 cup dry red lentils, washed
spring water to cover.
2 tbsp. basil tomato pasta sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water

salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste

Amazing how far two large button mushrooms go when finely diced. 

Saute the onions, add mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, parsley, potato and spices.  After about 5 minutes add some water to cover.  Steam another 5-10 minutes. Add the dry lentils and 2 tbsp. pasta sauce and enough water to cover plus about another cup or so. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it and add more water if required. Once lentils are tender add the 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water - simmer on low for another 10 minutes.

I found a great little cube container at Babies R Us to freeze excess tomato pasta sauce and coconut milk in.  I never use the whole container of each so this is very handy to have on hand.  Once cubes are frozen - remove and place in plastic bag or other container and you can have it freed up to make more. Easy to wash container and I was happy that the tomato sauce does not stain this at all!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Toll House Style

Fit for a prince - Prince Nico that is!  His Royal Highness requested these tonight at 9 p.m. The loyal subjects' payment for completing this late night task was a: Mema, Mema - I L-o-v-e You!! You had to hear the dramatic flair he added to the whole statement but needless to say it made me smile and made it all worthwhile.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegan Becel margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 - 8 tbsp. soy milk or cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips (camino)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add 6 tbsp. soy milk and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add extra soy milk if it seems to dry. Stir in chocolate chips  Use 2-3 tbsp. of dough for each cookie and place onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.