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31  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Whole Wheat Cookies (Sugar Free) on: August 23, 2011 08:21:44 AM


I decided to try the Green Market Baking Book's (which I am in LOVE with) Graham Crackers.  As I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, I played around with the recipe.  The result was something more akin to a whole wheat shortbread cookie than graham crackers.  I'm not complaining--they are delicious!

Whole Wheat Cookies (Sugar Free)

Ingredients:
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*1 cup butter or margarine, cold, cut into slices
*1/2 cup brown rice syrup
*1/4 cup maple syrup
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1.  Mix together, with a pastry blender, the dry ingredients and the butter.  When the dough resembles a coarse meal, it is done.
2.  Mix together the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mixture.  Mix until a ball forms (I ended up using my hands).
3.  Place the ball of dough between two sheets of wax or parchment paper and roll it out until it is 1/2 inch (or 1.25 cm) thick.  Place it in the fridge (still between the sheets of wax or parchment paper) for 45-60 minutes.
4.  After the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5.  Divide the dough in half.  Take one half and roll it out (I did this between wax paper, but this step could be done on a floured surface) until it is 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in thickness.  The recipe originally called for the dough to be rolled out to a thickness of 1/8 inch, so if you want a crisper (more cracker like) texture, go for that.
6.  Cut the dough with cookie cutters (I used canape cutters) or with a knife.  Poke with a fork, if desired.
7.  Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
8.  Repeat steps 5-7 for the remaining dough.
10.  Cook for 15 minutes.
11.  Allow to cool and then ENJOY.


32  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Waffles and Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream" on: July 27, 2011 06:48:35 PM


Waffles are good, no?  This week I discovered that banana and peanut butter "ice cream" on waffles is freakin' delish.  The "ice cream" is really banana soft serve.  For the post that (I believe) introduced the foodie blog world to this delight, see this: http://www.choosingraw.com/this-post-will-change-your-life/

RECIPES!
Whole Grain Waffles
This recipe is adapted from the Green Market Baking Book (which I LOVE).

Ingredients:
*1 cup spelt flour
*1 cup kamut flour
*2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
*1 teaspoon of baking soda
*pinch of salt
*3 eggs (beaten)
*1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
*2 cups milk with 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
*1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Directions
1. Heat up your waffle iron.
2.  Combine the milk and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes.
3.  Combine the dry ingredients, mixing well.
4.  Mix together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, and milk/vinegar combo.
5.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry.
6.  Whisk the batter.
7.  Pour the batter onto the waffle iron and cook.

These can be wrapped individually and frozen.  To reheat, just pop 'em in the toaster (that's what I did with the ones in these pictures).


Peanut Butter Banana Soft-Serve
Ingredients:
*Two frozen bananas (peeled and cut into chunks BEFORE freezing)
*A good dollop of natural smooth peanut butter (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
*Milk as needed (I used skim)

Directions:
1.  Place the bananas in a food processor.
2.  Turn on the food processor and let the nanners process for about 30 seconds.
3.  Add in peanut butter and process (if you KNOW your machine needs milk to make this recipe work, add it now).
4.  If your banana-PB mix is not all smooth and creamy, add a bit of milk and process.  Add more milk is needed (I need to add about 1 tablespoon of milk in total with my machine).
5.  If your mix is a bit chunky, break down the banana hunks with a knife (food processor turned OFF!) and then process some more.  It should be creamy and smooth.
**Apparently, this recipe can be done without adding liquid, but my machine does not cooperate that way.
6.  Top the waffles with the PB Banana Soft Serve and eat.
**You can eat it as is or top it with some chia seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts, etc.


33  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Monochromatic Curio Shelf on: July 04, 2011 02:14:31 PM

Teaser shot

Whilst perusing the local Sally Ann, I came across this gem just begging to come home with me. Naturally, I obliged.


Slather in white paint:


Add in my doodads:


A very happy crafter!
34  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Golden Cupcakes with Super Dark Chocolate-Coconut Topping (Sugar-Free) on: June 14, 2011 06:03:17 PM


These bad boys were heavily inspired by the Peach and Nectarine Upside-Down Cake from the Green Market Baking Book.
http://www.amazon.ca/Green-Market-Baking-Book-Delicious/dp/1402759975
So, I didn't use peaches or nectarine, thus these cupcakes are deemed "golden."  If I had the fruit on hand I am sure I would have actually followed the recipe.  I will not write out the original recipe, but will share my version.  The cupcakes are sweet, but not overly so.  If you are not used to a reduced/no-sugar diet and are expecting these to taste like those grocery-store pound cakes with buttercreme icing you will be disappointed.  However, if you want a yummy yet still pretty-healthy treat and are used to desserts without tonnes of sugar I think (and hope) you will enjoy these.

Golden Cupcakes: (Makes 10)
1 1/2 cups of flour (I used a mixture of quinoa, kamut, and all-purpose flour which made these more hearty.)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (This can be omitted; it doesn't really affect the taste.)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of plain yogurt

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (for extra fun, do this without realizing there is a hunk of cookie dough on the bottom of the oven and proceed to fill the kitchen with smoke).  Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) in a medium-sized bowl.
3.  In a separate (larger) bowl, beat together the brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and ginger.  I just used a whisk.
4.  Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each one.
5.  Stir in the yogurt.
6.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, stirring well.
7.  Scoop the batter into the muffin liners and bake for 13-15 minutes.  The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
8.  Allow to cool before applying the topping.

Super Dark Chocolate-Coconut Topping:
2 bars (2 ounces) of unsweetened baking chocolate (I used Baker's)
1/3-1/2 cup of milk (I used skim)
3 scoops  (3/32 tsp) of Stevia powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2/3 cup shredded (fine texture) unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons hulled hemp seeds
garnish (optional--I used chia seeds and hulled hemp seeds).

**This is a very dark chocolate topping, add more agave nectar to sweeten it up some.

Directions:
1.  Place the chocolate and half the milk in a microwavable bowl and cook for 1 minute on high (or until the chocolate is melted).
2.  Beat the mixture until smooth, adding the rest of the milk. 
3.  Add in the stevia, agave nectar, almond extract, coconut, and hemp.  Stir until everything is well-mixed.
4. Spread on cooled cupcakes, sprinkling with garnishes if desired.
5.  Eat.

For more pictures and links, hop on over to my blog:
http://positiveponderings.blogspot.com/2011/06/golden-cupcakes-with-super-dark.html
35  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Shelf from Old Cassette Holder on: May 31, 2011 07:41:58 PM

(Teaser Picture)

This is a craft that I did a while back (like, two months). 

First, I found a Napa Valley Box Company cassette holder for $2.00 at my favourite thrift store (which is now no longer...sadness). 
This is how she looked:

With nails, glue, paint, varnish, and hooks, this resulted:



36  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Chocolatey Energy Fudge on: April 11, 2011 08:09:07 AM

Here's my version of Nutty Buttery Raw Vegan Fudge from Bitt Of Raw (http://www.bittofraw.com/2011/02/nutty-buttery-raw-vegan-fudge.html).  I was first introduced to this recipe from Oh She Glows Vegan Recipe Link Love http://ohsheglows.com/2011/03/19/recipe-link-love-march-19/ ) which always has me doing a ton of bookmarking!  I made my version with what I had on hand, so it is different from the original fudge recipe.  Plus, I microwaved the coconut oil and used roasted almond butter so it's not really raw either.  I decided that I couldn't really call it "Nutty Buttery Raw Vegan Fudge" so I came up with "Chocolately Energy Fudge."  The name definitely fits--one piece of this gives me a boost of power to fuel my workouts. 

Ingredients
1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup carob powder
1 cup agave nectar (I used a darker nectar this time, and while it is yummy, I prefer the lighter variety.)
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons psyllium husk
2 tablepoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
Hulled hemp seeds (optional)
Directions
1.  Melt the coconut oil in the microwave.
2.  Stir all the ingredients (except the hemp seeds) together until smooth.
3.  Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle the hulled hemp seeds on top.
4.  Freeze for 1 hour.
5.  Cut into pieces.
6.  Store in the freezer.  It melts at room temp, so I enjoy these straight from the cold depths of the freezer.
37  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Sugar Free Apple Pie-Lets on: April 02, 2011 11:11:28 AM


Browsing through Sugar-Free Cooking with Stevia, I came across their apple pie recipe.  I adapted it to make these yummy mini pies (or, as I have dubbed them: pie-lets).  The amount of shortening/butter/margarine makes these definitely a "sometimes" treat...
Ingredients: (makes about three pie-lets)

Filling:
3-4 apples peeled and chopped
2/8 tsp of powdered stevia extract
1 1/2 Tbsp of spelt flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of sea salt

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Place apples in the bowl and toss to coat evenly.

Crust:
2 cups spelt flour (I experimented with a few batches, and find that spelt flour works best over kamut, whole wheat flour would work as well as all-purpose flour)
Dash of salt
2/3 cup of shortening/margarine/butter
4-6 Tbsp of cold water

Stir together flour and salt and a mixing bowl.  Cut in shortening/margarine/butter (I used my fingers as our pastry cutter is missing) until crumbly.  Slowly add the water 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough is firm enough to shape with your hands.

Assembling the Pie-Lets:
1.  Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Take a chunk of the pie dough (a ball about 1 3/4 to 2 inches in diametre) and smoosh it out flat on the parchment paper until it is about 2/16th of an inch thick.
3.  Place some of the apple mixture on top of the dough.
4.  Cover the apples with more dough, sealing at the edges.  I find it easiest to use small pieces of dough to cover the apples in sections and the smooth over the cracks with my fingers.
5.  Poke some ventilation holes in the top with a fork.
6.  Bake for 20 minutes, allow to cool at least 10 minutes before transferring to a plate.  I used a spatula as they are a bit delicate (though if you made them smaller, they would likely be sturdier).
7.  These can be enjoyed hot, or cool.

38  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Sugar-Free Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes! on: March 28, 2011 06:49:45 AM


Here's a stevia-sweetened cupcake I made...so yummy and HEALTHY!
OH, I forgot to add that baked goods with stevia in them taste better the next day...the flavours mellow and blend, or something!

Ingredients (Makes about 7 large cupcakes)
1/2 cup kamut flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
5/8 teaspoons of stevia (20/32 teaspoons, meaning 20 scoops from my bottle)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons psyllium husk
2 tablespoons of ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil (coconut oil or cocoa butter would have worked nicely)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
6 flax eggs (here's how to)

Directions
1.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
2.  In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients.
3.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry and combine well.
4. Spoon into a lined muffin tin.
5. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (about 12-15 minutes).
6.  Allow to cool and frost!

Frosting
3/4 cup-1c up almond butter
10 dates (pitted)
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 avocados
1 banana
Hulled hemp seeds (optional)

Directions
Combine the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Spread on the cupcakes, and sprinkle with hulled hemp if desired.


These are VERY yummy!!!  If you try them, please let me know your thoughts!  They keep well in the fridge for a few days (I think I ate mine within 4 days, so I can't vouch for any longer than that).
39  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Revamped Shelf--Vintage Treasure on: March 13, 2011 12:49:09 PM
A few weeks ago I had a hankerin' to redo a shelf, preferably wooden.  It also had to have compartments and be large enough to hold some of my trinkets and do-dads.  Ebay was the answer.  I found the following shelf for under $20 (shipping included).  Now, that's more that I would normally spend on such an item, but I had a VISION.

After:


I don't know why it isn't rotated...

Before:


When I received this bad boy, step number one was to lightly sand it.  I then painted three coats of blue (each coat differed slightly) acrylic paint.  After that I sanded it again to age/distress it.  To seal it I kicked it old school, using white glue.For the background, I glued some lovely scrapbook paper (I got a book of wonderful sheets for $3 at the thrift store last week) over the red flockiness.



C and C welcome!
40  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Healthy Spiced Pumpkin Pudding Cake on: March 07, 2011 08:21:48 PM




Healthy Spiced Pumpkin Pudding Cake
(Can be easily made into regular cake with longer cooking time, I’d suggest at least an additional 15 minutes.)
Adapted from Rebar’s Pumpkin Millet Muffins
 
Instructions

* 3 flax eggs (instructions here: http://www.ehow.com/how_2280938_substitute-flax-seed-eggs-baking.html)
* 1 ½ cup pumpkin purée
* ½ cup rolled oats
*1/2 cup hulled hemp
* 1 ¾ cups of flour (I used a mixture of spelt, kamut, and a dash of quinoa)
* ¼ cup pistachios (raw)
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
* ½ teaspoon of salt (I used sea salt)
* 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon (I think I will up this next time)
* Dash of nutmeg
* 3 teaspoons of ginger (I think I will up this next time)
* 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
* 1 cup milk and 1 tsp of vinegar, let stand for 5 minutes
            OR 1 cup non-dairy milk
* 1/2  oil (I used a mixture of coconut and veggie oils)
* ¾ cup maple syrup
* 3 squares of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, chopped
Topping:
            Cashew Frosting and shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Combine the flax eggs, pumpkin purée, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, oats, and hemp seeds in a large bowl.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.
4.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients.
5.  Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
6.  Cook for 45 minutes.  If you want a firmer cake, cook longer, until a toothpick in the centre comes out clean.
7.  Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes and remove from the pan.  Allow it another hour of cooling time.
8.  Spread the top with Cashew Frosting, sprinkle with unsweetened coconut, and cut into slices.  It can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer inside a ziplock freezer bag.

Cashew Frosting:
 Ingredients
* 2 cups raw cashews
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* ¼ cup agave nectar
* Dash of nutmeg
* 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon of ginger
* ¼ cup of water (add more as/if needed)
* 7 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
* 6 scoops of powdered stevia extract (6/32 of a teaspoon, I used Now Food’s brand)

Directions
1. Process the cashews and water in a food processor.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
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