Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Cherry Crisp: sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan

I whipped this out quickly on Sunday for a little get together with some in from out of town friends. Bonus: one of them is a new vegan, too, so we had lots to chat about! I love the challenge of making recipes with less or no sugar, if only to see if they'll turn out. This definitely did work out, it definitely tastes "wholesome" and you actually taste the fruit rather than all the sugar. That's fine with me. Another Bonus: that means I can eat it for breakfast. Huzzah.

evidence of crisp as breakfast food
I had a brainstorm while making this about my grandma's peach cobbler and if I could veganize it and take out all or some of the sugar. So that is definitely in the works!

Apple Cherry Crisp: easily vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free
heavily adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

3 large apples, peeled and sliced*
1 pint cherry preserves (choose any jam flavor you like, can be sugar-free)
juice of 1 lemon (~2 T.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 T. cornstarch (or arrowroot)

*I originally chopped the apples on the chunky side and left the peel on, in the future I will peel and slice as I think it will have a better overall tooth-feel. Although certainly do what feels good to your taste!

Crisp Topping:
1 c. flour (I used barley flour, can easily use gluten-free)
1 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. oil (healthy oil such as light olive oil, sunflower or coconut)
1 tsp.vanilla
2-4 T. maple syrup, honey or agave to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine fruit filling ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. Preferably set this mixture aside for an hour to macerate and get the juices flowing, although not necessary.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add oil, vanilla and sweetener and stir until combined.

In an 8x8 pan add fruit mixture and cover with the topping mixture. Bake for ~45 minutes. Serve with vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream.

before popping in the oven

Monday, September 17, 2012

You should try these!

Here are a few tried and true recipes that you should all try. They are all tested by a vegan and a non-vegan eater and are all deliciously approved.

this has nothing to do with trying new recipes. just a cat, at the farmer's market, taking a snooze.

Vegan Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili ~ Earthy, nutty, filling and easy to make! Next time I will try doing a light roast or saute on the sweet p's to give them more depth of flavor. I also added a can of diced green chilis.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese ~ Okay, so this one isn't tested and approved by two people, just me. No need for a parm substitute if you are eating cheese! But I think this stuff is indispensible and I have made it with both sesame seeds as the recipe states and walnuts. I actually like the walnuts better (even though I am not a walnut fan usually), and am going to try it with hemp seeds next time.

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie ~ Oh my. This was incredible. I made it as my birthday treat, but given that we also had 7 layer dip two ways, none of us were all that interested in dessert. It does have sugar, but look! A no-sugar version with dates to sweeten! I am going to try this one next on a non-birthday-treat day.

Vegan Mac and Cheese ~ I've tried a few versions now, and I really like this one the best. Definitely change up the seasonings until it tastes right. It sometimes feels too sweet for me, in which case I use less roasted red pepper and add lots of savory seasonings. Pepper, if you're feeling peppery, for example :)

Hot Cocoa Fudge Babies ~ Which are very very delicious and which I refuse to call by their given name. I refuse to call any food a baby of any kind. I have thus renamed them POWERBALLS. Sounds a lot stronger, huh? They will knock the socks off you and you will be better for it. I've made several of my own adaptations, coming soon.

And lastly, Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon atop Roast Sweet Potatoes ~ Long name, sounds all fancy, but really it's good old-fashioned comfort food. Think a baked potato topped with chili, only a sweet potato topped with a tangy, creamy, beany, spinach sauce. On the menu this week and I can't wait.

Now go! Cook! Make healthy things to ingest and you will feel great!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What I'm eating lately

A few of the tasty things I've been making and enjoying lately, all vegan. Loving the way eating fresh and healthy makes me feel!

 Pancakes for breakfast with blueberry sauce, using this pancake recipe.

 Lentil Sloppy Joes with homemade gherkins (sweet for him, dill for me) were outstanding!

Dude, Tom. Get off the counter, that's where the clean dishes go!

Ratatouille, done just like in the movie! It was so, SO good. I let mine hang out in a warm oven accidentally for 2 hours after it was all cooked (didn't have time to eat it after taking it out of the oven, so I put it back in on "warm" to keep it warm for when I was ready) and Hello! It got all caramelized and amazingly reduced. I liked it even better that way than when I took a bit when first pulling it out of the oven.

Vegan 7 layer dip, birthday style! (Oh man, now I'm thinking about this. Watch it, you can thank me later!) I just whipped this up, so next time I will definitely write down the recipe and make a post. I thought at first that it wouldn't satisfy the way the traditional dip always did, but happily, I was wrong. This was totally birthday-worthy!

Technically, that is a cutting board. Also not a good place for a cat!

 Tomatoes, sauced, mainly from the garden. I used this method.

Everbody's favorite: homemade, fermented, raw, gluten-free Sriracha! Fermenting as we speak for a few days and then ready for my family to inhale :) I'm working on a green jalapeno/serrano version which is also in the cupboard doing its thing, and if it goes well I'll post about that soon!

Seriously?! Always Tomming around, aren't ya?

Almond butter, homemade. I made mine un-raw by toasting the nuts in the oven a bit. And then I added salt. (Julia, remember that little girl on Letterman years ago? What did she say, 'Sometimes I like to put cucumbers on it'? =P)

That's my guy Tom. Too big to fit anywhere =)

I'll leave you with this, last night's sunset. Just as if angels had painted it.

DIY Shampoo: with castile soap and baking soda

It's been a while since I've posted and I thought I'd do a quick DIY for those of you who are interested in going a bit more natural with your products! I've joined the ranks of those who are going "No 'Poo" or "Sorta 'Poo" (for example, here and here and here), and haven't used commercial shampoo in almost a year. Do read those blogs for great info on why, how and what to expect when ditching shampoo!

I've tried a lot of variations, and this is the recipe I am currently using. It takes a little getting used to, and your hair may feel "crunchy" or dry when you get out of the shower. Depending on your hair's natural state, you can use a little coconut oil on the ends, a leave-in natural brand conditioner, or do a rinse in the shower of 1 T. apple cider vinegar to 1 c. water (best done in a spray bottle). Also, I rarely measure when I make it for myself, so definitely use these proportions as a jumping off point.

This recipe is quite thin or runny. Though I haven't tested it yet, I added 1 tsp. xantham gum (inspired by the recipe found here) to my next batch and will update after I next shampoo!

DIY Shampoo

1/3 c castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's)
1/3-2/3 c water (depending on how soapy you want it, I tend toward the lower end)
2 t. baking soda
1tsp. coconut oil, melted
5-15 drops essential oil, if desired

In an old shampoo bottle combine baking soda and castile soap, shaking to combine.

 Then add the rest of the ingredients and shake.

Voila, you have homemade shampoo!

finished product in use!