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baking, cooking, and other adventures

Tuesdays With Dorie: Granola Energy Bars January 13, 2015

This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is from Baking Chez Moi, it is the Granola Energy Bars.  This recipe came at a great time for me because I am actually trying to eat pretty healthy right now.  I did have to modify the recipe slightly because I wanted it to be vegan and then we had an incident with the Brown Rice Syrup.

I used the nuts and seeds that the recipe called for: pumpkin seeds raw, sunflower seeds raw and slivered almonds raw.  For the dried fruit I stuck with stuff that I like: dried cranberries and golden raisins, and used unsweetened coconut.  When I opened my Brown Rice Syrup it looked okay and then I smelled it and it smelled off.  I have a tendency to smell stuff to check to make sure it is okay.  Well when I looked closer, I noticed that there was small specks of mold growing in it.  I ended up throwing out the Brown Rice Syrup and I used Golden Syrup instead.  I also used coconut oil instead of the butter, hence vegan 🙂

The recipe actually came together really easy.  The hard part was waiting the 3 hours for it to cool in the pan before I could sample the bars.  Once they had cooled, I cut them, and sampled them. Then my youngest Bogarted my piece, like she usually does with food.  The granola bars and awesome.  I love the crunch and the slight sweetness.  I do eat them over the sink because they tend to make a mess, but a plate can also solve this problem.  I will definitely be making these again.

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Day 29 and 30 & Tuesdays With Dorie: French Bread September 30, 2014

My days tend to run into each other, and I then I forget what is going on.

Currently, I am the only person in the household that has not succumbed to Hand, Foot, and Mouth.  Emma caught it at her second day of Mother’s Day Out and then proceeded to pass it around the house.  I am pretty sure that I haven’t gotten it because of my life in food service. I have been trained to wash my hands ALL the time, and surprisingly that is the one thing they say that will prevent you from getting it.

I would also like to confess that we went away for the weekend, without the kids and dogs, and I failed.

I have a new found respect for all vegans because now I know what you must struggle thru while traveling to find some place to eat with vegan options. Especially, when you are in the middle of the country.  I guess then you just plan ahead and bring snacks and meals with you.  I did not plan ahead and after sitting in a car for 5 hours and not having anything to eat since the night before (it was 1 pm by then), I caved.

I apologize now, sorry.

When I got home I went straight back to eating Vegan.  You know what, it was a good lesson to learn because I have figured out how to fuel my body.  Surprisingly, I really like the way I feel and my body looks when I am eating Vegan.  So, for the most part I will probably stick to a plant based diet/lifestyle.

Now, back to some yummy things that I made when I got back home.

Yesterday morning, I wanted something that reminded me of fall. Since we were up in the mountains it was cool and perfect, leaves weren’t falling yet.  I got back home and it was a bit humid, warmer, and just not pleasant.  I wanted something to remind me of the nice fall weather in the mountains.  So I made the Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch.  I tried to make them as pancakes for the girls, but they didn’t turn out right.  Granted, they still ate them but they were a little gummy.  Then I threw them in the waffle maker, I only have a Belgium Waffle Maker, and of course they wouldn’t crisp up.  So for these you definitely just want a regular waffle maker.  They did work nicely toasted in the toaster the next day.

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Earlier this afternoon, I made the Chewy Coconut Date Bars from Isa Does It.  They turned out really good, but I think I needed to bake them just a bit longer.  They are currently individually wrapped in plastic and hanging out in the fridge.  I am sure these are going to end up being my breakfast for the next few days.  They would be perfect with a cup of coffee.  I am also planning to make the Chewy Peanut-Chocolate Chip Bars later this week.100_4112

Last but definitely not least is the French Bread that I made a couple of weeks back from Baking With Julia.  Oh, French Bread with your perfect ingredients of Water, Salt, Yeast, and Flour.  I alluded to my original problem and why I was a day late baking these, but lets revisit my quest for compressed yeast.

The last time that I bought compressed yeast was about a year ago, and I froze the left overs.  I knew that there was no way that the yeast was still alive, but I still had to wait 24 hours for it to defrost in the fridge before I could test it. Which involves sugar and a bit of water.  While I waited, I decided to take the girls with me to the last place I bought it.  I have both girls in tow, 1 year old and a 3 year old, of course I didn’t grab a cart so I am carrying one and holding the others hand. We get to where it would be and I see a sign for it, but no product.  I ask an employee, who brings another one over, and explain what I am looking for. He informs me that he has never seen it before, and I tell him that last time I saw it was a year ago.  So it looks like they don’t carry it anymore.

I did do some research and found a conversion factor to figure out how much active dry yeast I needed.  Which was 3 tsp (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast to the 0.6 oz compressed yeast. So, I just had to wait a day to figure out if the yeast was alive.  While I was waiting, I ended up with a day with no kids. How this happened, I have no idea.  I ended up swinging by a store I had never been to and talked to a nice gentleman that informed me that they didn’t carry it and he hasn’t seen it in any local grocery stores in awhile.  Oh well, I guess I will just go home and test the yeast….

it was DEAD.  Back to where I started with no compressed yeast and my conversion factor.  I guess I wasted 24 hours when I could have had the bread made and then entry posted on the blog.  Lesson learned…use what you have.

The bread turned out great, but my knives sucked for slashing the bread.  Even the REALLY sharp ones didn’t work well.  Guess I need a razor blade for next time 🙂

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I am still planning to make some Boston Cream Donuts soon, so stay tuned for those, even though it won’t be Vegan MoFo anymore.

 

Vegan Days 18 – 20 September 21, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 12:57 pm
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Day 18

I am still living off of the Potato and Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo. It is going to last me a few more days 🙂

I did happen to go into the freezer and take out just ONE Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffin. Do you know how hard it is to only grab one. I was actually very surprised with my self control.

Earlier in the week I was suppose to make French Bread for Tuesdays with Dorie, but I was having some issues finding compressed yeast.  Well I never found it so I ended up making the bread today. I will post more about it on day 23, since rules state that I need to actually post on a Tuesday.  But let me just say, the bread is VEGAN and yummy.

Day 19

YAY, the husband is home. He actually came in late on Day 18, but to celebrate I made Sinfully Wholesome Waffles (Isa Does It) for breakfast.  They made everyone’s tummies very happy.

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Side note because I like to put a buttered flavored product on my waffles, I have found that I really like the flavor of Earth Balances Soy Garden Buttery Spread.  Which is funny because I don’t really like the flavor of soy that much.  I stopped using soy milk in baked goods just because of that.  But I find that I prefer this spread over the Vegan Buttery Sticks and the Original Buttery Spread.  I guess you find things that surprise you every day.

Day 20

Mike turns to me and asks if I am making anything special for dinner, or have anything planned.  I have been exhausted the past few days and I think one of the girls got me sick.  So I have been stuck in that limbo phase of not being full blown sick, but you know it is coming and you are just fall down tired.  Needless to say, I spent most of the day asleep when I wasn’t entertaining the girls.

I turned to Mike and informed him that there were Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers (Vegan with a Vengeance)  in the freezer and that would just be fine with me.  So, we defrosted them a bit in the microwave and them slapped them into a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 1 hour.  They turned out great and I was informed that if I wanted to make that again that I could.  It makes me feel good when I get approval on Vegan meals from the family, and I think Mike appreciates it that he is not doing the cooking.

I am finding being Vegan getting easier and easier each day. I really don’t crave non-vegan items.  But I am interested in trying the Vegan Pizza at Z-Pizza, so that might happen for my last week.

Oh, I will get to visit a Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant next week too.  So I am looking forward to trying some new things that I haven’t had 🙂

More than likely I am going to extend this vegan adventure into October and try to stick with it the best that I can.

 

Days 8-10 Vegan September 11, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Dinner,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 3:23 pm
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Not too much has happened in the past few days.  I have made a few items and I am making a good amount of stuff tonight for dinner (Day 11), but I will post about that when it is complete.

Day 8

I made the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna from Veganomicon and I add the Almasan on top.  It was very good and the husband actually like it.

Do you know how hard it is for me to get him to eat tofu?

VERY

I tricked him once in the form of a chocolate pie.  He really liked the pie, but he wasn’t too happy with me when I told him there was tofu in it after the fact.  HAHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh).

The Almasan was AWESOME!!! I could totally imagine putting that on top of popcorn.

With regard to the lasagna I used a little less spinach because I was having some issues fitting everything into the baking dish.  I thought I was going to have a drip mess in the oven so I baked it on a sheet pan, but surprisingly it didn’t drip at all.  I was EXTREMELY surprised because that lasagna was essentially over the top of the rim of the baking dish.  I did add sautéed onions to the marinara sauce along with some fresh basil.  I think next time I am going to sauté the spinach up with some garlic and season it with salt and pepper.  I would also give that same treatment to the mushrooms (which I had 20 oz instead of 16oz).  Essentially giving everything layers of flavor so that it isn’t too bland.

Oh yeah, and I love garlic so you can never have too much.

Day 9

IMG_4796You know how you have those days where you just NEED some carbs.  You don’t just want it, you NEED it.  Well that was me on Day 9.  I knew that Mike (the husband) wasn’t going to eat Coconut French Toast (Isa Does It).  It has nothing to do with flavor, he is fine with that. He doesn’t like the texture of coconut.  Since the Coconut French Toast is dipped in batter and then unsweetened shredded coconut, I knew it was a no go for him.  I made half the recipe because I knew I couldn’t eat 6 pieces of bread.  I used my leftover Whole Wheat French Bread that I made last week, and it turned out fantastic.  At first I was skeptical because I always put sugar in my French Toast batter and this one doesn’t have any. I decided to go with it just to see what happens.  The French Toast was rich from cooking it in coconut oil, so I didn’t need to put the usual vegan butter on top.  I just drizzled it with a little bit of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar and the sweetness was perfect.  I threw some frozen berries on the plate for some color.

I some how was able to do this with the girls playing in the other room.  But the peace didn’t last long when I heard Emma say, “Uh-oh” and then come into the kitchen looking for a cloth.  I walked into the living room and she had dropped her drink on the floor and it busted open.  So I had to clean that out of the carpet. Funny thing was my 1 year old came over to the carpet after I had cleaned it and tried to lick the floor like one of the dogs.

Crazy children 🙂

Day 10

Not too much has happened. My knees have been bothering me, and that is just because I am not a runner and I am training for a 5k.  I made it to the gym and I have gradually knocked off a minute from my average mile time in a week.  But trust me it isn’t close to being fast at all, progress is progress so I will take it. I haven’t been keeping up with the 21 day fix workouts this time around, but I have been sticking to my diet (lifestyle eating change).

I started making the Grasshopper Pie in Vegan Pie In The Sky so that we could have it for dessert on day 11 (today).  I am very excited for this pie, and I also thank my husband everyday that he bought me a Vitamix because it really helps with making pies and sauces with nuts (cashews).

Eating Vegan has been going very well, and I am surprised by the variety that I have been able to include in my diet.  My omnivore diet was not as varied.  I decided to step on the scale and just see if anything has happened because it has been hard for me to loose a couple of pounds lately.  I usually gain muscle and don’t lose weight at all or it is just slow going.  I always see results with regard to measurements just not on the scale.  So yeah, I lost 2 lbs in a week just changing to a Vegan diet.

 

Puffy Pillow Pancakes September 7, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 10:12 pm
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Saturday morning I made the Puffy Pillow Pancakes from Isa Does It. Everyone in the family LOVED them, and Emma requested Mickey and Minnie ones.  Thank heaven that we have a pancake pen.  It always comes in handy and I find I make less of a mess when I use one to shape pancakes.

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Vegan Coconut Yogurt and Granola September 24, 2013

Filed under: Breakfast,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:02 am
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My first shot at making Yogurt in our dehydrator and I am making Vegan Coconut Milk Yogurt. The process was actually very simple and I used multiple sources (Waking Up Vegan, Vegan Guinea Pig, Vegan Cookbook Aficionado, and Excalibur Dehydrator – NOT VEGAN, used to figure out how to use dehydrator) to come up with a recipe.

For the Coconut Milk in the recipe I ended up using the big carton in the refrigerated section at the grocery store, well it worked but it had no flavor. So I advise you to use the canned coconut milk that has the least amount of ingredients added to it. You will get a better flavor. Also, I might have to experiment with the amount of Agar Powder because I used 1.5 tsp and it was WAY too much. It thickened just a little too much, more like the consistence of a jello. I think next time I will use 1 tsp and see what happens.

The Granola recipe is actually one of my favorites and it is from Alton Brown. It is very simple, happens to be Vegan, and is VERY tasty.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

32 oz Coconut Milk (4 cups)
1.5 tsp agar powder (should have used 1 tsp)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup coconut milk yogurt w/ active cultures

Sterilize jars and lids that you will be storing the yogurt in.

In a large pot whisk the agar powder into 2 cups of coconut milk until dissolved.
Heat the pot of coconut milk over low to medium heat until the temperature reaches 180 to 190 F. Remove from the heat and cool to 115 F/46 C.
Add in 1 cup of yogurt and sugar to cooled milk.
Pour mixture into containers and cover. Incubate in the dehydrator at 115 F/46 C for 5 hours.
Do not disturb, bump, open door or move while yogurt is incubating. When finished, refrigerate. Before serving, add flavors or fresh fruit.

Granola
Source: Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown, page 264

Ingredients
10 oz Rolled Oats
4.5 oz Slivered almonds
5 oz Raw Cashews
1.5 oz Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
3 oz Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Kosher Salt
3 oz Maple Syrup
2 oz Vegetable Oil (I used Coconut Oil – melted)
4 oz Raisins or other dried fruit (I omitted these)

1) Heat oven to 250 F.
2) Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
3) Measure the syrup and oil into a plunger cup. Add to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
4) Transfer the mixture to a half sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
5) Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl and cool for 30 minutes. Add the raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.

 

Banana Bread September 11, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,Quick Breads,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 8:00 pm
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My daughter LOVES bananas for some reason she has trouble saying banana which I imagine most two year olds would. I finally figured out her name for bananas awhile back and it just strikes me as funny. She calls it a me me. I always try to say banana so that she will eventually try to use the word, but sometimes I slip up and say me me.

Every once in awhile she decides that bananas aren’t a snack she wants and then I forget we have them. Recently, I have probably made banana bread every other week. I actually had the idea to take a picture of the bread from the other week. Which probably doesn’t matter because it looks like I will be making banana bread again in a couple of days. Funny thing about the bread, the first day I make it she will be all about eating the banana bread and then the next day wants nothing to do with it. I guess that is the life of a two year old.

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I use the Lowfat Banana Bread recipe in Veganomicon and then I add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of walnuts to the recipe depending on how nutty I want to be that day. To make the bread pretty, I sprinkled sparkling/decorating sugar on top, sugar in the raw would work perfectly fine too.