Posts tagged ‘Baking’

Vegan Eating: Day Six

I continue to kick some vegan-eating arse, causing me to feel self-righteous in the most pretentious way possible!  I made oatmeal for hubby this morning using cow’s milk which, I must admit, created quite the creamy bowl of oats, but I’d still prefer almond milk in my own.  Pat on the ol’ back for my vegan-eating self!

For breakfast this morning, I had one of my Banana Date scones warmed in the toaster oven with some cherry jam and a sliced orange.

These scones taste “healthy”, which is a good thing I assure you!  Not like cardboard at all.

I went grocery shopping yesterday and bought more trail mix.  I think this might be cheaper than the stuff I get at Bulk Barn, and a bit fresher to boot.

I like to mingle with raisins and cranberries

With a clementine in some artsy fartsy lighting…

I call this piece, “Dawn of a New Snack”

For lunch, I finished off the last of the Curried Lentil and Apricot soup, thus completing my Journey of 1,000 Lentils (how this week has felt!).

I had the soup along with another scone toasted with, um, NON-vegan margarine.  I had to relent!  I know there is whey in regular Becel margarine, but I just really, really, really wanted some margarine on my scone.  Is that too much to ask?  Plus I had already broken the DO NOT EAT REGULAR MARGARINE FOR YOU ARE A VEGAN rule by using it in the Sweet Potato Casserole I prepared for dinner.  I was going to buy vegan margarine at the grocery store yesterday, but we have a huge tub of regular margarine to use up and, well, I am just too frugal to have two types of margarine in my fridge, ok?  (Am I sounding as defensive as I feel?)

Indeed, we shall feast on Sweet Potato Casserole for dinner tonight using, of course, Oh She Glow’s vegan recipe.  What would I do without Oh She Glows as a constant source of inspiration?

I was feeling uber-confident in my culinary skills because I didn’t even use a measuring cup to make this!  This confidence was ultimately misguided, as I think I used too much margarine.  Maybe it was karma biting me in the arse for using non-vegan margarine?  Something tells me that the vegan karma gods are too nice for that, though.

Pre-baked

Finally, I show you the requisite picture of me and/or Henry (this time you get both!)

I really don’t like my hair in this photo, but at least my face colour matches my neck colour.

Also, Henry is very cute.  He has nice hair AND matching face/neck colour.

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Ok, this is a bit off topic, but I was wondering: do you drink tap water? We use a Brita water filter and it is grossly overdue for a change, so I’ve been drinking tap water in the meantime.  Even though the taste is a bit metallic, I don’t mind tap water at all and would just go back to using it full-time if it weren’t for my husband and his delicate taste buds.  I know most households use Brita or bottled water for their daily consumption and I was wondering if this was really necessary.  Canadian and U.S. tap water is thoroughly cleaned and tested constantly.  When we were kids, we all drank tap water!  None of this Jennifer Aniston Smart water or imported Fijian water for us!  And we turned out fine (kind of).  Do you think filtered water is even necessary? Do you honestly hate the taste of tap water or do you think that the need to filter water/buy bottled is a creation of clever marketing companies?

This is your thought-provoking question for this Friday afternoon!

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February 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm 17 comments

Vegan Eating: Days Four and Five

Whereas on Tuesday I was like “I MISS CHEESE”, today I’m all like “I COULD DO THIS FOREVER”.  I think the change is that I feel pretty wonderful and my digestive system is pumping along like a charm!  I never noticed any problems with my digestion before, but now that I have seen how smoothly things can be, er, processed, I think this vegan thing could be for me.  Of course, I will still eat the occasional slice of cheesy pizza and if I am ever so lucky to visit Paris again, you know I will be chowing as many buttery croissants as possible.  But for now, at this point, I am loving the veganism.

For breakfast this morning, I had a toasted thin bun spread with almond butter and a sliced orange.

For morning snacks, I’ve been relying on this tropical trail mix I picked up at the Bulk Barn.

Lunch today was more lentils.  I discovered even more of the Vegan Walnut Lentil Pile stored at the back of the fridge.  Perhaps it is reproducing?  I don’t mind.  This stuff tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing!  Albeit, protein-filled, mushy-textured stuffing.

I heated it up and spread it on yet another toasted thin burger and topped it with sliced tomato and ground pepper.

I decided to bake this afternoon and opted to use up the brown bananas in my freezer (frugal tip:  when you have rotting bananas, throw them in the freezer and use for future baking purposes.  Brown bananas are perfect for baking since they are so flavourful).  I perused the index of Veganomicon looking for banana recipes and came across one for Banana Date Scones.

Pre-baked

This recipe appealed to me because of the following ingredients:  flax meal, whole wheat flour, bananas, dates, and walnuts.  The recipe calls for brown rice syrup, but I used corn syrup instead (I think maple syrup would work too!).  I LOVE scones.  I think they are the love children of biscuits and muffins, encompassing the best qualities of each.  They are delicious for breakfast, with tea, accompanying soup or stew, or on their own.  I like it when people pronounce them “skawns” even though I pronounce them “scowns” (rhymes with bones!).  Regular scones can be quite heavy with butter and cream, so the vegan version is much healthier.  In conclusion, you can’t go wrong with scones!

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In other news, here is a picture of my cheap haircut.

Ugh, my face colour doesn’t match my neck colour!!!

You can see how it doesn’t look quite even there at the bottom, even though it was freshly blow dried.  It’s longer than I wanted, too.  As I have quickly learned, there are certain things you cannot be frugal with including hair-cuts, coffee, and ketchup (my hubby refuses anything but Heinz!  What a brand snob, I know).

I’ll let you know if I come across any others…

February 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm 15 comments

Vegan Eating: Day One

Given that it was Super Bowl Sunday and a certain someone decided to buy all of my favourite cheese-flavoured snacks (including Smart Food and Doritos!), I am proud to say that I made it through Day One of my experiment with veganism!  I am so glad I made that Edamame Black Bean salad on Friday because I’ve been having it for lunches (I even finished it off for breakfast today!).

I added spinach to bulk it up!

While I stuck to spaghetti with tomato sauce and veggie ground round, Hubby partook in his annual tradition of barbecuing chicken wings in anticipation for the evening’s sporting event.  Did I mention we live in Canada?

View through the window because no way was I going outside yesterday!

I knew that I needed to prepare myself with vegan snacks or else the temptation to eat artificially-flavoured cheese products would ultimately overcome me, so I decided to bake the Maple Walnut cookies from the awesome cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance.  I don’t feel right copying down the recipe here, but if you click the link you will find that someone else did it for me 🙂

I’ve had this cookbook for years and have always wanted to try this recipe, but I never owned Maple Extract.  I was at the Bulk Barn last week and saw it for about $3 so I bought it without blinking an eye.  It smells delicious!  Has anyone ever thought about making maple-scented perfume?  It could be called Canadiana and the bottle could be covered in a little plaid shirt like a lumber jack.  Instant best seller, no?

As I am wont to do, these cookies were slightly under-baked, i.e. totally chewy and delicious.  I froze half the batch and put out the rest for a few people that stopped by and they were polished off by the end of the night.  I think I had four altogether.

So we shall see how Day Two pans out.  Of course I will keep you posted!

Henry says that the hand-knit “Storm Trooper” toque is the look for Spring 2011

February 7, 2011 at 9:59 am 12 comments

Sleep would be nice, but muffins will suffice!

I write to you from Exhaustion Headquarters where our CEO, Mr. Henry, had me up EVERY.  SINGLE.  HOUR.  OF.  THE.  NIGHT.

I don’t think I have ever seen every hour of the nighttime clock before, so maybe I should be thankful to Mr. H for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity?  Let’s go with that (and let us pray it really is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity!).

He will rob you of sleep and sanity using his overwhelming power of cuteness!

If this is what normal parenthood is all about, I am really surprised my parents decided to have me, a second child, after my brother.  And to think that if I lived in America, I’d have to go back to work in a couple of weeks!  Oh my.

But enough venting on the blog.  You don’t need to hear it.  That’s what husbands are for!  Today I would like to share with you a recipe for Date muffins!  I picked up a bag of dates on sale at Bulk Barn but they aren’t the soft and chewy Medjool dates that are delicious to eat on their own.  These are the cheapo, tough dates that are sticky and hard.  They must be used for baking purposes!

I chose this recipe because it called for a lot of oat bran rather than just flour.  Oat bran contains a lot of fibre and lowers bad cholesterol, so I figured that would help counteract all of the sugar!

DELECTABLE DATE MUFFINS

Makes 10 big muffins

(Muffins with dates, not muffins you take on dates.  Unless you really want to).

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup hot water

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 egg

1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cups oat bran

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sour milk or buttermilk (I use one cup of regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice added)

1.  Mix dates, hot water, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and lemon juice in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer until thickened.

2.  Measure remaining brown sugar, egg, oil, and date filling into one bowl.  Beat vigorously until smooth and then add bran.

3.  Add flour, baking soda, and then milk.  Stir only enough to moisten the throughout.

4.  Spoon into muffin cups and let stand for 3 minutes.  This is the runniest muffin batter I have ever made!

5.  Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Two muffins are missing.  Wherever could they be?

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So I’ve been doing a pretty good job living the frugal lifestyle lately.  This is mostly aided by the fact that:

1.  I rarely leave my house because it is January and ccccccold outside.

2.  We only have one car.

3.  I don’t gots nowhere to be!

It’s only been a month since Christmas (seems longer, eh?), but I am kind of coveting this book that recently went on sale:

Reasons Why I Want This Book:

1.  Kris Carr has a rare form of cancer that she documented in the movie Crazy Sexy Cancer.  She is a charming, free spirit who has used nutritious food as a way to fight her illness, both physically and psychologically.

2.  She is the inspiration behind Angela’s famous Green Monster!

3.  I think it would be a fun, inspiring read that can help spice up my own Green Monsters and maybe help me make some healthier choices (she says while sipping her second cup of coffee!).

Reasons Why I Don’t Want This Book:

1.  I’m afraid it’s just another book about veganism (Nothing against veganism, but there are plenty of books on this topic already!).

2.  She is not a doctor.  (However, the awesome doctor, Dean Ornish, writes the foreword.)

3.  She champions a 21 day cleanse.  I am not a fan of cleanses or detox diets and even the idea of them creeps me out a bit.

4.  Do I really want to spend my precious dollars to support the billion-dollar diet industry?!!?

 

I guess I will hold off until I see it in the bookstore (when I leave my house; possibly by 2012?).  That will let me flip through it and then make my decision.  If you have read this book, can you let me know what you think?  Until then, I will continue drinking my (much beloved) coffee and eating my sugar-laden date muffins!

January 21, 2011 at 10:07 am 14 comments

Post-Doritos Productivity

Last night, after writing the post about having no time and Henry doesn’t sleep much and WAAAAAHHHHH…he fell asleep.

In fact, it was the first time since his birth that he was asleep for the night and I was still awake!  How else to celebrate?  By eating half a bag of Jalapeno Popper-flavoured Doritos, of course.  I don’t even like Jalapeno Poppers all that much!

Of course, trying to fall asleep soon after proved to be problematic.  For one, I was stuffed.  For two, I was stuffed full of chemically-laden corn chips.  I eventually fell asleep, but I vowed to myself that I would eat much healthier the next day.  Not only that, but I’d eat real food.

For breakfast, I had some cut up pineapple, grapes, and banana, with a bit of plain non-fat yogurt and a few squares of Shredded Wheat on top.  For lunch, I had a garden salad.  Then I decided to get creative.  Today’s creativity brought to you “Henry napping” 😉

We have a bunch of bananas kicking around so I wanted to make some banana bread.  Most of the recipes I have aren’t very healthy.  I have one that calls for chocolate chips and mayonnaise for heaven’s sake! (It is really delicious, as you could probably deduce on your own).  But I opted to make HEALTHY banana bread.  This means chocolate chips and mayonnaise have nothing to do with it.

I adapted this recipe by making a few changes:

– 1/2 cup of sugar instead of Splenda (I am anti-artificial sweetener)

– 3 bananas instead of 5

– 1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream

– 1 egg instead of 2 teaspoons of egg white

Ok, I can explain this picture.  I painted my finger nails for the first time in months and wanted to showcase the goods!  I have been feeling dowdy for, oh, 2 months and 8 days or thereabouts, and nail polish really gave me a pick-me-up!  Behind my ever-so-vain hand, is the banana bread batter patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures of my hand and to start stirring.

A slice of the finished product:

It is not nearly as good as my chocolate banana bread, but this bread won’t take you one step closer to cardiac arrest, y’know?

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Henry continued to nap once I was finished with the banana bread, so I set my sights towards dinner.  I wanted to make something using a lot of vegetables.  I contemplated veggie pot pie, but I made that fairly recently.  A quick look through my Moosewood Cookbook brought me to this recipe for Curried Spinach Pea Soup.  I wasn’t going to write down the recipe for you folks because of copyright issues and such, but I see that someone else did it for me!

I followed this recipe pretty much to a T.  I was impressed by all of the spices it calls for!  It’s not too often I wield my little jar of cardamom, I will tell you that!  This recipe calls for a lot of chopping — 4 cups of potato, 4 cups of onion, and 8 cloves of garlic — but other than that, and the large ingredient list, it is really easy.  I ended up taking a boat load of pictures because, as stated before, Henry was asleep!  I was feeling adventurous!

I used full-fat coconut milk instead of the reduced-fat it calls for.  (Can I renege my statement about being one step further away from cardiac arrest?)

Spinach:  Not Just For Green Monsters

Peas!  I was surprised to find out how much protein there is in peas.

When cutting up the onion, I kept a piece of bread in my mouth to prevent crying.  It semi-worked.  Do you have a tip for preventing crying while cutting onions?

I love the part of a recipe when it basically says “Mix everything up!”.

Blended and ready to go!

So I’ve not only made dinner for tonight, but I’ve also completed my daily blog entry and it’s only 1:57 pm.  Hurrah!

January 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm 7 comments

Walnut Raisin No-Knead Bread

Like most other citizens of the world, I love baked goods.  Specifically, I am a fan of donuts, croissants, danishes, and bread.  I also love cookies and cake, but DCDB (Donuts Croissants Danishes and Bread!) take the cake (pun!).  The very best croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life can be purchased at Jules Patisserie on Mount Pleasant Road here in Toronto.  I have been to Paris twice, yet the chocolate almond croissant from Jules is singlehandedly the best thing I have ever consumed.  I used to live within walking distance of this bakery and made it a habit to go there every Saturday morning to buy one each for me and Husband.  A couple of months before we moved, I stopped going because I was trying to be healthy.  Big mistake!  HUGE!  Words to the wise:  When one lives within walking distance of the best croissants in the world, it is advisable to take advantage of the close proximity.

We all have regrets, rights?

I am telling you this story to clearly convey my LOVE of baked goods.  I’ve never tried making croissants, donuts or danishes before because 1) I don’t have a deep fryer and 2) handling pastry is a scary prospect, but I have attempted baking loaves of bread on many occasions.  Making yeast breads is tough, though!  It’s so hard to get them to rise.  But there is one fool-proof way to make a successful loaf of bread all on your own.  The key words, my friends, are NO KNEAD.

Perhaps you are familiar with the No-Knead bread recipe that was popularized by Mark Bittman in the New York Times in 2006.  If you aren’t, I recommend you read the linked article.  It could possibly change your life.  After reading that article, read this one.  It’s the one I read earlier this week on the Huffington Post app, most likely while breast-feeding in the middle of the night!  I liked how the author said she starts making it before going out on Friday night, and it’s ready by late Saturday morning.  Something about that little routine really appealed to me, so I decided to start my own loaf last night!

A little delirious by exhaustion; a little excited by imminent complex carbohydrates

It was truly a perfect night for bread baking, as we were dumped with a load of snow.  It turned the sky orange, which is the single best thing about winter.

Winter out my Window

The ingredients are so simple and so frugal!  A recipe after my own heart.

3 cups of flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 2/3 cups water

Cornmeal or more flour as needed

I followed the directions closely, but made a couple of substitutions.  I don’t have kosher salt, so I just used regular.  It calls for Thompson raisins and I just used regular raisins.  Maybe they are Thompson raisins?  I have no clue.  I am not brand savvy when it comes to my shriveled grapes!  It also says to bake it in a dutch oven or Le Creuset.  Too rich for my blood, so I just used a casserole dish.  I never covered it because Husband broke the glass lid years ago, so I just never covered it.

I like how the recipe describes the dough as soft and ugly.  I don’t know if I am just a carb fiend, but I have never seen an ugly dough!  All dough is beautiful and should be accepted exactly as it is.

You complete me

I left my non-ugly dough to rise overnight for 12 hours which – might I add – was one of those nights where the baby doesn’t want to sleep much.  Oy with the poodles already!  By the time I was ready to stick this in the oven, I was anxious to get my carb on.

And get my carb on I did

This bread is stunning.  It is crisp and crunchy on the outside, and so soft and doughy on the inside.  The walnuts and raisins are the perfect addition of salty and sweet.  If you bought this loaf in a bakery, you’d easily pay $4 or $5.  By my somewhat inaccurate calculations, I would place the cost of materials at under $1.  As I lay in bed last night, in between “Henry eruptions”, I thought of other combinations you could use in place of the walnuts and raisins.  You could try dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds and chunks of dried apricot.  I am excited by the possibilities.

Warning:  This bread is addictive.  Consider yourself warned.

January 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm 2 comments

Loaf

There is something about this kind of weather that makes me just want to loaf around.  Of course, having a six-week old and being on maternity leave helps achieve this pursuit, but news stories like these are a welcome reminder that from December to March, you are best off at home with a cup of steaming *insert hot beverage of choice* in your hands.

I also think that loafing around is best achieved with actual loaf!

Pumpkin Loaf half eaten.  Or, as an optimist would say, half not-eaten

I pulled myself up by my boot straps yesterday (boot straps = yoga pants) and managed to bake a pumpkin loaf.  Sweet breads are really easy to make and  I think this took me between 5 and 10 minutes to put together and another 45 minutes to bake.  Yesterday was The Day of the Loaf because Lynn brought over some of her insanely delicious lemon poppy seed loaf.  I would have taken a picture of it but I think there are only 3 crumbs of it left.

It is a gorgeous day outside, but the Internet has notified me that it’s -10 Celsius out there.  Yikes!  Since I rarely step outside of my house these days, I am no longer acclimatized to these frigid Canadian temperatures.  I am like a member of the Jamaican bobsled team!

Except with much less fashion sense.

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I had some cooked brown rice leftover from my Florentine Rice Bake so I decided to have it for breakfast.  In the summer, I enjoyed having cooked barley for breakfast, so I figured that rice would be along the same lines.  Plus it is very frugal.  Ah, the magic word!

Since rice on its own is very – how should I say this? – not very tasty, I spruced it up by topping it with plain yogurt, raspberries, blueberries, honey and cinnamon.  I was starving when I ate this, coming off a marathon nursing session with one hungry and growing little boy, so I wolfed it down.  I am pretty sure I liked it, though.  By the way, how bizarro is it to eat fresh blueberries and raspberries in December?  No wonder our world is melting!

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GOALS FOR TODAY:

1.  Shower.  This is more of a challenge than you realize!

2.  Go to the library and pick up the 57 books I have on hold.  This is a slight exaggeration, maybe.

3.  Post on my blog.  Done and….almost done!

4.  Wrap two Christmas gifts

5.  Make Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili for dinner.  Perhaps the most far-reaching yet satisfying goal on the list!

I will let you know how I fare in tomorrow’s post.  Have a great hump day!

December 15, 2010 at 9:54 am 6 comments


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Welcome!

What happens when you love to eat healthy (and some unhealthy!) food, love to live frugally, and love to write? You start a food blog, of course. Of course!

Eating well and living frugally does not always come easy, but Lord help me, I am trying! This blog will detail my endeavor to live the best life possible. This will include pictures of my cats, odes to almond butter, and the general miscellany that makes up my life. Enjoy!

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