Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Oops, I did it again (and stuffed acorn squash)

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Oh.  Oops.  I said that thing about the writing… you know, that I was going to do it and keep it up and not let so much time go by between postings.

Sigh.  I guess I lied a little bit.

So.  What’s new?  Well, Brian is running and talking (and talking back).  Eighteen months flew by.  Strange, how the middle of the night marathon rocking sessions make it seem like time is going by so slowly, then BAM.  He’s -doing that think that parents don’t mention because they are afraid they will jinx it and make them stop doing that thing.  You know, the quiet, all night thing in their crib…  that thing!  But, anyway.  Moving on.

It’s fall.  Crunchy leaves, chilly nights, unexpectedly warm(ish) afternoons.  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin.  Oh, pumpkin.

Pumpkin and I have a long-standing love-affair.  But, that’s a story for another day.

Today, my story is about a dish that smells supremely fall, looks absolutely fantastic, and tastes delicious.

Eric wanted stuffed peppers for dinner, and I’m not really into the slimy green pepper with meat inside.  Gimme my veggies, please.  I had an acorn squash so I improvised.  So, to end my (latest) blogging hiatus, I present to you:

Apple and Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Serves 2 as a side, 1 as a meal)

Ingredients
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 small mcintosh apple, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, diced
A combination of spices, you choose! (I used ginger, marjoram, garlic, and basil)
Leftover barley (or prepare fresh 1/4 cup barley and 3/4 cup water, simmered 20 minutes and drained)
Olive oil
Protein of choice for a meal- chick peas, gardein chicken strips, tofu

Preheat oven to 350*

1. Rub the inside of the squash with a little olive oil and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, apple, and your choice of spices.
3. Mix the apple mixture with the barley, then spoon it into the squash.
4. Bake squash, covered, for about an hour.  Uncover.
5. Top with cheddar cheese, if desired, and bake another 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve with your protein choice if it’s the main dish.

Brian kept asking for more!

Enjoy!

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Cardamom Orange Scones

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Cardamom, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

In all seriousness, people.  Cardamom and I have a love affair going back years.  I love the smell of it, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy- like a big fluffy sweater right out of the dryer in January.

I’ve used it in everything.  Pancakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, curry, tea, coffee.  If I can make it, I try to add cardamom at least once.

And now for some sad news: I tipped my jar of fairly expensive cardamom right out of the cupboard and it fell to the ground with a SMASH.  Cardamom everywhere.

Confession time:  I cleaned up the mess, but saved some of the cardamom.  Yes, it hit the floor.  And I cooked with it.  Gasp.  Someone call the authorities, I used a spice that fell on my (freshly steam cleaned) floor.

Because I wanted to use it rather than throw it out, I had to come up with something quick.

I chose scones.

Obviously, the lot of you that gasped and muttered and whispered to each other about how “Scones aren’t quick!  That’s crazy!” have never made scones.

Sure, you can make it complicated with heavy cream and cutting butter into the ingredients and blah blah blah.  Ain’t no mama got time for that!  Try this recipe on for size.  If I could come up with this while my toddler napped, then they have to be quick.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top these with a the Rum Icing recipe at the bottom.  If you’re enjoying them for breakfast, skip the icing.  Or don’t.  Your call.

Cardamom Orange Scones (With Rum Icing)

Ingredients (Makes 8 wedges)scones
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (less if you like a more traditional scone)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a little salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold or frozen
1 egg
1/2 cup milk of choice (I use whole)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*

1. Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
2. Using a cheese grater, grate the hard butter into the bowl with the dry ingredients and toss it all together.  Let the butter stay in shreds, it makes everything flaky and delicious.  (Alternatively, cut the cold butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.)
3. Crack the egg into a measuring cup, then measure your milk into it to the 1/2 cup line.  Put your orange extract into the cup and whisk it all together.
4. Pour your wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir until it is all mixed in, then knead briefly until it all comes together.  Sprinkle more flour into the dough if it seems too sticky and unmanageable.
5.  Shape your dough into a thick disk shape, place on a buttered (or otherwise greased) baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges most of the way through the dough, leaving the dough still connected.
6. Bake at 400* for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350* for another 8-10 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top them with this Rum Icing from King Arthur Flour.

Rum Icing
(Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
~1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream

Blend softened butter and sugar, then add rum a tablespoon at a time.  This is pretty thick, so if you prefer an icing for drizzling (I do), thin with heavy cream or milk a little at a time until it’s to your desired consistency.  Or, skip the butter and use 1 tablespoon of milk, adding a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)

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Wow, I suddenly have a toddler.  Tantrums, and picky eating, and independence- oh my!

My sweet little baby went from goo-goo-gaa-gaa to “I want to go outside right now and nothing can stop me, not even this huge thunderstorm that’s currently over our heads!” (Which comes out as “WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” because he is only one and he can’t actually talk like that yet.  But trust me, I got the translation loud and clear.)

So, since I’ve got no advice when it comes to tantrums and hitting and all of that fun stuff, I’ll tackle the one thing I’m good at dealing with.

Picky eating.

I’ve got a husband that thinks vegetables are poison.  Anything that isn’t a slab of beef is a snack.  Breakfast must include more bacon than an army of grown men should need.  It really amuses me that this carnivore married me, the health-conscious vegetarian.

Well, apparently my kiddo that used to eat his meal, then mine, then my husband’s, has decided that he doesn’t want to eat anything.

Until, that is, I made these tasty toddler muffins.  You’ve all seen the toddler muffin recipes all over the internet.  You know, the ones where the second ingredient is brown sugar, then the third is regular sugar.  Yeah, no thanks.  I’m not pumping THAT into my kid.

Disclaimer: I’m not one of those “NO sugar ever” moms, but I don’t see any point in putting sugar in something that’s supposed to be healthy for my kid.  So I limit it as much as possible.  If you give your kid sugar, cool.  The good news is that these muffins are pretty sweet on their own- so you don’t need any!

Naturally Sweet Toddler Muffins (With Veggies!)
(Adapted from Seeking Shade)

Ingredients: (Makes 12 muffins)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 cup of coconut oil (other oil or even butter would work, too)
1/2 cup of no sugar added applesauce
2 jars of baby bananas, or 2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp of salt (optional, but it helps the baking soda work)

Mix and Match additions (pick a few, or all!)
2 carrots, shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup pureed spinach or kale
1 apple, diced small or shredded
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
1 cup strawberries, diced or sliced, fresh or frozen
or any other fruits and veggies you see fit!
(I used carrots, apple, and blueberries this time around.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix your oil, applesauce, and eggs together, then add your mix and match fruits and veggies to the wet ingredient.
4. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, careful not to over mix.  This can cause them to collapse or be tough.
5. Spoon muffin batter into greased muffin tins, fill 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let muffins cool before removing them from the muffin tin.

These can be easily frozen, then popped into the microwave to defrost when you want one.  Or, if you’ve got a teether on your hands, hand them a frozen one to gnaw.  Muffin-cicle!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties

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My kid’s got an adult-sized appetite.  He’s also not into that “baby food”, thank-you-very-much.  Since we followed the baby-led weaning method of introducing foods to him, he has been pretty happy eating whatever I am eating.  In fact, he prefers to nibble off of my plate most of the time.

I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here.  Sweet potatoes.  I use them.  Always.  They are delicious, and so full of good-for-you stuff.  They are also a pretty bright orange color, and nothing makes me happier than pretty colored food.

We needed a quick and easy meal the other night, it was just the two of us and I wasn’t in the mood to spend forever cooking just to have to clean up a kitchen full of dishes.  It was the end of the week, and I didn’t have much left in the fridge.  The day before grocery day is one tough customer!

I hopped around the internet for a while and came across a recipe for Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties.  We love sweet potatoes!  We love quinoa!  We love vegetarian patties!  Score.

I was thrilled with how they came out, they were so tasty, and oh-so-easy.

No photos because, well… you try taking photos of your food before a hungry one-year-old digs in.  Next time.  Maybe.

Sweet Potato Quinoa Patties
Adapted from A House in the Hills

1 large sweet potato, baked or microwaved and skins removed
1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetable broth or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Herbs, spices, flavoring of choice
Salt, pepper
Panko or bread crumbs
Oil or butter for cooking, I used olive oil

1) Prepare quinoa according to package instructions, or use left overs.  I used 1/2 cup dry quinoa and 1 cup of vegetable broth.
2) In a saute pan, cook onions and parsnip in olive oil over medium heat until the onions become slightly translucent.  Add garlic and herbs of choice, I used dried sage and parsley.  Add salt if desired.  I didn’t because I was cooking for Brian.  Stir a minute more.
3) Mash cooked sweet potato in a bowl.
4) Add onions, quinoa, salt, and pepper to the mashed sweet potato.  Stir until well combined.
5) Form the mixture into patties, coat with panko.
6) Cook them in oil or butter, a few minutes per side, until they are crispy and browned.  Serve hot.  I served them over a spinach salad and topped each with a few slices of avocado.

Makes about 6 patties

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Baby food jars.  Holy crap. We have been given enough jarred baby food to last through the zombie apocalypse, and then some.  Jar, upon jar, upon jar.  It’s intense.

Normally, this would be awesome.  Except, we chose to embrace our (read: my) crunchy ways and follow the baby-led weaning method of feeding our little piggy.  This means no mush, no purees, goop, and no spoons.  Just flavor, texture, and fun (messy) times.

We started Brian on solid food at 6 months old, as recommended when following a baby-led weaning method.  He started with avocado, banana, sweet potato, and whatever else he felt like stealing directly from my plate.  We quickly upped the flavor and introduced him to some of our favorite things: curry, stir fry, frittata, pasta.  Here is Brian’s first taste of sushi.  Oh, the delicious possibilities!

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We weren’t so concerned with allergies and we aren’t afraid of flavor, so we just went for it.

But, I digress. Jarred baby food.  What the heck do you do with a ton of jarred baby food? Put it in adult food, of course! I’ve experimented with making banana bread, fruity muffins (with hidden veggies!), omelettes, and cake using the jarred foods.  It works pretty well.  Usually…

Throw part of a jar of sweet potato or carrots into your eggs the next time you scramble them.  Trust me.  it makes them kind of puffy and delicious!  Jarred banana or apple replaces sugar in a recipe fairly well, which makes it easy to give the kiddo some sugar-free treats, which means I get to let him snack guilt-free.  (Mommy guilt.  It’s something special.  Just wait, I’m sure I’ll post about it soon enough.)

I got down and dirty with the experimentation the other night, though.  We wanted gnocchi, but I didn’t have any potatoes.  So I thought I’d try sweet potato gnocchi.  Oops.  No sweet potato either. Earth’s Best to the rescue!!  I threw some jarred sweet potato in with flour, popped in some flavor, stirred, kneaded, rolled, cut, and cooked.  Easy, peasy.  And absolutely delicious.  Nobody would even be able to tell I used jars of baby food to make it.  And the mini-human and husband devoured it.  I call that a win.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
With pesto

3 (4 ounce) jars of sweet potato baby food (Or you can use real mashed sweet potato, I won’t tell!)
2 to 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
1/4 fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and pepper to taste

Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the sweet potato, spices, and cheeses.  Mix well.

Add the flour a little at a time to your liquid.  You want it to form a soft dough that’s not too sticky.  You might not use all of your flour, or you might need more.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface, flour your hands, and grab a chunk of dough.  Roll it out like a little play-doh snake, then chop it into little pillows of gnocchi goodness with a pastry cutter or knife.  I tend to go for about 1/2 an inch per piece, but it’s all about preference.

If you want the classic gnocchi look, press the gnocchi pillow onto the tines of a fork, then roll it up and off of the fork.  This step is not necessary, but it’s fun!  Place the finished gnocchi onto a cookie sheet with a dusting of flour or corn meal.  Continue until you’ve used up all of the dough.

If you’re not ready to cook it, put it in the fridge.  It will last this way for a while but it will dry out so I always try to cook it within 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, boil a large pot of water with some olive oil and salt, if desired. Drop the gnocchi in, boil them in small batches to make sure they don’t stick.  They are done when they float to the top; use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water and drop them into a colander to drain while you finish boiling the rest. Toss with some brown butter or pesto and cheese of choice, serve hot.  Yummy.

Serves 4

Try with Kale-Chickpea Pesto for a healthy boost. (Recipe coming  soon!)

Rustic Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart

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Mmm, pie crust.  Tasty, tasty pie crust.  I loves me some pie crust!  I’ll eat that stuff raw, right off of the counter after I’ve rolled it out.  I’ve been known to snag the extra bits of crust that people usually throw away just to eat them raw.  There’s something awesome about the cold water/flour/butter mixture.  And don’t even get me started on when you get a little grain of salt that tingles on your tongue before you crunch it away.

Okay, I’m weird.  But honestly, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long without a buttery, flaky pie crust.  Especially now that fall has started to show its glorious face.  Sure, I could make a pie crust with vegan butter.  It’s just not really the same.

I decided I had had enough of the “no pie crust” thing and I decided I was going to make one.  The problem was that I didn’t actually have any vegan butter left.  Instead of letting the sadness get me down, I improvised.

Oil, while an acceptable substitute for a pie crust, didn’t really give the same consistency I usually use for my pies.  I’m sure it would have been fine, but I’m picky.  So, I decided to use my experimental crust for my dinner instead.

This tart could be a main meal, it is hearty and protein packed.  It could also be turned into an appetizer by pressing the crust into a muffin tin and making mini pies for people to snag and eat.  Really, it’s one of those recipes that you can do anything with.  And you should.  Go wild.  I did, and see how it worked for me?

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And because I was so excited about the glorious smell of the crust, I forgot to take a picture.  Enjoy one of Brian instead!

Herbed Oil Tart Crust
Makes one crust.  Double recipe if you would like a top crust.

Preheat oven to 375*.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Herbs- I used Rosemary, Marjoram, and Basil because it’s what I grabbed.  Use what you like!
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Cold Water

Combine the flour, salt and herbs in a bowl.  Add the oil and about 4 Tablespoons of water.  Stir it together with a fork, it will be crumbly.  Incorporate all of the liquid, adding a little more water if needed.  You want it to be moist, if it is too dry it crumbles when you try to work with it.

Once the dough is fairly mixed, feel free to mush it around with your hands!  It’s fun to get messy.  Press the dough flat, by hand if you like. I used a rolling pin to roll it just less than 1/4 inch thick.  Place your filling in the center and fold the edges part way over the filling, leaving the top open.  It’s rustic!

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and cut into quarters.  Dig in.

 

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Filling

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • Herbs- I used Marjoram, Parsley, Cumin, and whatever else I had in my cabinet that smelled good
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil

Cut the eggplant into rounds, then quarters.  Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice them into wedges.

Heat the oil, garlic, and spices on medium and add the eggplant and onion.  Let that cook for a while, stirring occasionally.  Be careful with your gorgeous eggplant, don’t mush it.  Once the eggplant is mostly cooked through, add the tomatoes and chickpeas.  Continue cooking until it is just warmed through.

At this point you can do any number of things.  Bake it as a tart using the recipe listed above*, turn it into a soup by adding vegetable broth and simmering, stuff a pita or eat it as it is.  Mmmm.

 

Vegetable Gravy*

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Better than Bouillon (I used vegetable, but you can use the vegetarian chicken or beef one if you’d prefer)
  • Pepper

Make a roux by melting the butter substitute over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir for about a minute making sure the butter and flour combine and you do not burn the flour.

Add the hot water and bouillon and stir or whisk.  Once it thickens to the consistency you like, remove from heat.  Crack some fresh pepper over the top and serve over the Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart.

*If you’d prefer your tart without gravy, you may want to add some moisture to the eggplant and tomatoes while you are cooking them.  I’d suggest adding about 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and letting that cook down a bit before adding to your tart crust.  It’s a little dry without the gravy.

Bread, Bread, Bread

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The one thing I decided I had to do when I became a stay-at-home-mom was to learn to bake bread.  The thought of warm, crusty bread coming out of my own oven, filling my house with the tangy smell of crispy crust and squishy insides, just makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in a blanket of homey-ness.  (It’s a word, I swear.)

I decided to give it a try on my own, no recipe, no nothin’.

It didn’t go so well.  It wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t anything to brag about.  My husband was great about it: “Oh, this would make a good breadsticks recipe.  It would be much better as pizza dough.  It’s good but we could try it for rolls instead of bread…”  He’s a good guy, that’s for sure.

Well, I decided bread wasn’t really the best thing to just “do”, so I started to research.  Tutorials, and yeast, and kneading- oh my!

Then I stumbled upon a super-easy bread recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and I decided to try it.

I tucked Brian in for a nap and dug in!  The bread was set to rise before Brian even woke up from his short rest.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  The best part is, I can refrigerate the dough after the rise (up to two weeks) and just throw it in the oven when I want some delicious, crusty bread to make me happy.

With this recipe under my belt, I’m ready to tackle something more difficult- like rolling up my sleeves and kneading the heck out of some dough.  Not that my infant-lifting muscles really need more of a workout!

Rustic Crusty Bread
from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough (I used 6 cups- I went by look and feel on this one)

In a large bowl mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel but don’t seal the bowl airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered in an airtight container, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife (I have only ever made two loaves out of the batch of dough so I just divide the dough in half to form my first loaf). Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper set on a pizza peel or a rimmed baking sheet turned upside down. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes for room temperature dough; if you have used the dough out of the refrigerator, let it rest for 1 1/2 hours. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
After the dough has rested and is ready to bake, dust the dough lightly with flour, slash the top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough (with the parchment paper) onto the baking stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until well browned, about 24-28 minutes. Cool completely.
If you don’t have a baking stone, try turning a rimmed baking sheet upside down and heating it in the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes prior to baking. When ready to bake, slide the parchment paper with the dough on it directly onto the overturned baking sheet and bake according to the recipe. You can also stretch the rounded dough into an oval and place in a greased loaf pan. Let it rise for 40 minutes if fresh (add an extra hour if the dough has been refrigerated). Bake in the loaf pan in the 450 degree oven, watching the time carefully – check after 20-22 minutes.

Oops! (And Vegan Shortcake.)

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Wow, holy blogging hiatus, Batman!  You know what I’ve learned in the last 4 1/2 months?  Babies. Babies are hardJust when I think I’ve got him figured out, BAM!!  Napping boycott, purple crying, 4 month wakeful period, wonder weeks.

Why didn’t people tell me about these things before I had a baby?  Before I had a baby it was all “Oh, you should have a baby.  They are such blessings.  Babies change your life.  Things will never be the same after you have a baby!”

If by “never be the same” they meant “you’ll never sleep again.” then they were right!

Brian teased me.  He slept like a trooper for a month and a half just after his 10 week mark.  Then BAM, 4 month wakeful period.  Everything was more interesting than sleeping, which led to an overtired baby, which caused some serious screaming matches. (Vicious cycle.)

My dreams of sewing clothes, baking magnificent pies, and keeping my house pristine while he napped away like a little angel quickly faded.  Actually, they didn’t so much fade as they exploded in my face.  Large, loud, depressing fireworks of realization, exactly where my quaint dreams had once rested.

Now that I’ve got a handle on all of that madness, I’ve been a busy little mommy-bee.  I’ve figured out how to get Brian to nap, even if he’s screaming at me so loud that I think my eardrums may burst.  White noise is my friend.  Very loud, very annoying white noise.  I bought The First Years Sounds of Silence White Noise Machine thinking “Eh, it will be good to have.  If nothing else, it has a built in night light and I can hook my iPod up to it.”  Oh my.  Life.Saver.  You have no idea.  I turn it on and stick it next to his head and he stops crying.  Then he stares at the blinking power light and his eyelids slowly. drift. shut.  Then, he lets out a huge sigh, throwing his head to the side.  I think “Oh, nonono.  Don’t wake up.  Take a nap.  Pleeease, take a nap.”

But it is just a final release of the tension he had been holding inside his little body.  Just one final, relaxing reflex before he snoozes.

Nap times are still a crapshoot.  Sometimes I get 20 minutes out of him.  Sometimes 45.  Then there are the glorious (but far too uncommon) hour and a half naps that appear just as I think I’m about to crash for good.  Those naps.  Yes.  Those glorious naps.  Those are the naps that allow me to take out my measuring cups and hope for the best as I try to figure out just how on Earth I can invent a delicious, vegan shortcake.

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Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 6 shortcakes

Preheat the oven to 375*
Grease a baking sheet

1 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 Cup Butter Substitute (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed + 1 1/2 Tablespoon Water
1/3 Cup Dairy Substitute (I used Soymilk)

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Using a pasty cutter, cut the butter substitute into the dry ingredients until it is the size of little peas.

Add the soymilk and flax mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  The dough should be lumpy.

Plop the dough onto your prepared baking sheet.  They look rustic and wonderful.  Don’t worry about shaping them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they just begin to turn a golden brown on top.

Top with a mixture of berries, any kind you like!  I like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar over my berries and let them sit in the fridge to get nice and juicy.

To make it really fancy, throw some Coconut Whipped Cream on top!  One of my baking idols, Pastry Affair, has a great recipe here.

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

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I’ve decided I should stop buying bananas. No, really. Hear me out.

Oh, Vermont. The land of the crazy weather. A week ago we had 2 inches of snow across our yard. No joke, May 26th we woke up to snow blanketing the lawn and weighing the freshly-popped leaves down. The green was having a serious “WTF, Mother Nature?!” moment.

Fast forward to this past weekend. June 2nd. It was a sunny, but far too hot day. As the husband and I toted the kid to the grocery store we were complaining about the 90* weather.

I’m getting to the banana part, really. Just hold on.

As the husband and I hauled the kid and our cart full of groceries from the store- sudden downpour. And by downpour, I mean the sky suddenly opened up and let an entire lake fall onto us. A severe storm ripped through and the 60 MPH straight line winds tore our part of Vermont to pieces. Trees and power lines down everywhere. Our middle-of-nowhere back road was blocked from both directions by massive, old maple trees and downed wires. We ended up having to stay with the in-laws for two days.

I’m finally home! Don’t get me wrong, I love my in-laws. I just love to be home. Brian does not like to be away from home either, so we had a seriously fussy boy on our hands for a few days. The grins I got when we got home!! He knew he was back to his place.

Now, to the part about the bananas. Last week I bought some bananas when I was shopping. I think we ate one of them before we forgot they existed. This happens regularly. We love bananas. They just always go from too-green to too-mushy too-fast.

We dragged ourselves into the house today to find a few too-mushy bananas sitting on the counter. Lucky for the husband, I know what to do with too-mushy bananas.

Banana Bread Muffins.

Or, because I want to eat it too, Vegan Banana Bread Muffins.

Brian began a nap in his swing shortly after getting home. I ran around and did some clean-up and laundry, then let myself get lost in the kitchen for a while. This vegan yumminess was invented during his dozy, constantly making me think he’s waking up nap. Can I get a boo-yah?

 

“I Ain’t Got No Time to Waste” Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins or 12 smaller muffins and one mini loaf

Preheat the oven to 400*muffin

2 Cups flour
½ Cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Bananas, mashed+ 1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce+ ¼ cup water or fruit juice

Grease your muffin cups and loaf pan.
Combine your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine your wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Don’t over mix!

Channeling Bob Ross, now it’s time to make some big decisions. You can get fancy here and add some diced apples, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips- whatever you like! This is your masterpiece.

Once you’ve made your bread your own, fill your muffin cups 2/3 of the way.  If you’ve got the extra, fill your mini loaf pan.

Pop into your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let it cool a bit before taking it out of the pan. You can serve it warm (my favorite!), or let it cool. Top it with some vegan butter substitute, or eat it plain. Or do whatever the heck you want with it. It’s tasty no matter how you shake it.

The muffins will keep for a few days, but I doubt it will last that long.

Happy Eating.