Friday, June 28, 2013

Vegan Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

It's been quite a gruesome couple of weeks, and it won't end until the middle of July.  I work and am attending school, but it just so happens that the final week for school and the end of my lease is up at the same time.  So, I have to pack and move the same time that final papers are due.  Yikes!
I never realized it before, but being in the kitchen, playing a video on my laptop and just cooking is becoming my go to relaxation time (since cleaning or organizing has NEVER stuck as a "relaxing" habit).  I guess it's the act of creating something that you know will get immediate results (happy reactions from people.... hopefully) that makes it fun.  Since these next couple of weeks are going to be my last with my roommate, I thought I'd cook her favorite meal for her (she hates cooking) and a treat for dessert.  She decided on tuna melt on naan bread (she claims I make the best), and I decided vegan cookie dough balls, which can be eaten as they are OR blended into some banana soft serve for cookie dough soft serve!!!! YUM!

There are a LOT of recipes for vegan raw cookie dough balls out there.  But~ I thought I'd try my hand using ingredients that I had on hand, since I had to clean out the food in the fridge and pantry anyway.

*You can tweak the ingredients a bit to your liking, if you prefer cashews instead of almonds, but I would suggest a more bland nut as opposed to slightly bitter nuts like walnuts.
*Also, if you wanted it to be nut free, I'm sure you can use more oats and some medjool dates, pulsed in a food processor until broken down to form a paste, but you'd have to experiment with that
*You could probably also omit the choco chips and add raisins instead, adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to make an oatmeal cookie ball
*if you added some molasses (maybe half molasses, half syrup?) with some spices, the mixture would become gingerbread OR molasses cookie balls.
*I'm sure you can also use almond paste, marzipan if you wished to make an italian cookie flavor.
Have fun!  Experiment!  and let me know what you create!

Vegan Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
makes 12-20 balls, depending on how big you roll the dough

1 c almond flour (what I did was take almonds and blend it in a blender until flour consistency) OR 1 c raw cashews, blended until like flour
1/3 c + 1 generous Tbsp quick cooking oats
3 Tbsp maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, or rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c chocolate chips IF using mini chips, 1/3-1/2 c if using regular sized chips
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

1.  blend nuts into flour (do not over blend, as it will become butter), then pulse in oats until course.
2.  mix syrup, vanilla, salt and coconut (if using) into dry mixture.  stir in chocolate chips.
3.  prepare a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper and place rolled dough balls onto tray/plate.  freeze for 30 minutes, and if you like, place into an air tight plastic container for later consumption.  I'm assuming they should keep for at least a week or two, but they've never lasted that long in my house so....

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pistachio Banana Soft Serve

Does anyone else have fond memories of their parents taking them to Baskin Robbins as a child?  Unfortunately, my mother would only allow me to get either Rainbow Sherbet or Pistachio.  I don't know why... I guess she thought both were far less fattening and better for you than the other decadent flavors.  Regardless of my restrictions, I grew to love Pistachio, and am glad to report the success of a vegan banana soft serve version.  Perfect for those warm, summery days.

Pistachio Banana Soft Serve
serves 1

1/4 c shelled, salted pistachios
1/4 tsp almond extract*
1/2 tsp vanilla extract*
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or 1 piece of maple sugar)
1 frozen banana
1/3-1/2 c nondairy milk
*make sure that your extracts are gluten free if you have an intolerance.

1.  pulse pistachios in food processor until some pieces are chunks and others are like fine crumbs.
2.  add remaining ingredients, blitz until well incorporated, and EAT!

This is SO good, I may have to make another one tomorrow. :)  I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bits and Bobs Stir Fry

This week, my dinner idea was a failure.  I've been finding more and more foods that I find difficult to digest, so when a recipe called for thawed, shelled Edamame (soy beans), I just went with it.  Oh, did I pay for it.  The recipe didn't say to cook it, so I didn't.  Never again.

So I had to come up with something with left over veggies sitting in the fridge.  Mushrooms, zucchini, half a red onion.... those blasted edamame.  There was only one solution: Stir Fry!
I got creative and used nuts for texture and some raisins for a sweet surprise.  It turned out much better than I thought.  You can experiment with your own levels.  That's the great thing about stir fry and cooking, it's about having fun!

Bits and Bobs Stir Fry
serves 2 or 1 very hungry vegan

1 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 in. squares (or to your liking)
half a small red onion, sliced thin
10-12 oz of mushrooms, halved or quartered
5-6 oz of shelled edamame, steamed or microwaved (follow package instructions)
1 suggested serving of Daiya cheese (optional, but I find the creaminess adds a lot)
1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
1/4 c raisins (optional)

1.  Prep all the veggies and ingredients.  The stir frying bit comes together pretty fast.
2.  Pour/spray some oil into a skillet (or just throw a couple Tbsp of water if you prefer) on med-high and fry up the onions until translucent.  Then add the mushrooms, cooking until just softened.  Season here, with salt and pepper.
3.  Add zucchini, edamame, nutritional yeast, and almonds.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, just until cheese is beginning to melt, and transfer to a plate/bowl.
4.  Add raisins.  Enjoy!

I find that eating this dish with something tart, like pickles, adds punch, as the vinegar revives your tastebuds in between bites (although the sweet, crunchy, savory mix really doesn't let your tastebuds get bored). :)
Try mixing and matching other veggies: green/red peppers, eggplant, squash (I would omit the raisins, unless you like sweet dishes), and roots like potatoes or yams for more starch.  Play with your food!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Quick "Raw" Oatmeal Cookie Dough

I remember when I was back in college, a friend of mine was doing a fast called the Daniel fast.  She was only allowed to consume fruits, veggies, beans and nuts.  I think that was the moment I was introduced to my current vegan diet for the first time.
Well, she came walking down the hall with this bowl of "cereal", but it looked like oatmeal and cookie dough mixed together.  Once she gave me the recipe, I remember eating that thing everyday for weeks and weeks on end!  almost ten years later, it is still one of my favorite go-to's for when I want a healthy cookie for breakfast. :)
Thanks Michelle for sharing this discovery with me!

"Raw" Oatmeal Cookie Dough 
*gluten free (if using certified gluten free oats)
*nut free (if substituting with sunflower seed butter)

1 ripe banana
1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or any other butter you prefer)
1/4-1/2 c of quick or regular rolled oats (depending on how chunky or thick you like it; you can add    more if you prefer)
couple pinches of raisins
1-2 Tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)

1.  Mash the banana well to form a nice paste, then mix in the peanut butter.
2.  Throw remaining ingredients in, mix well and devour!

~I like to eat my bowl of dough drowned in soy milk like scotch porridge is eaten.  I love it that way, it's just like eating cookie dough and milk!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Easy After Party Egg Rolls

My band played a show last night and it was great.  With old friends and new friends hanging out and having a good time, what more could be better?  Well, if you have to get up early the next day, you don't want to go to the store the night before and I was tired!  But since I'm a vegan, I have to make everything from scratch, especially if you want to save some money.  So looking at my pantry, I tried to satisfy my chinese food craving (but didn't want to suffer the calories) and created the following.  I never thought I'd be able to create some thing this tasty but there you go.  Necessity really is the mother of invention.
I had watched an episode of Unique Eats where one of the food trucks in Portland made dumplings that were stuffed with American comfort food favorites, like the hamburger.  So, using the vegan veggie patties that were in the freezer, the rice egg roll wrappers I hadn't used in FOREVER, and some random veggies in the fridge, I created the following.

*Note: these are gluten free because I use large vietnamese rice paper wrappers (you could find them nowadays in Asian sections of grocery stores), but if you only have wheat on hand, It won't matter.  you'll just have to cook them a little longer in the pan.
**If you have non-vegan guests, just use regular hamburger!  That's the beauty of this recipe, you can adapt it to the consumer's desire. :)
***Also, if you have any vegan (or regular) cheese, try putting it in!
****If you don't have Ginger and Orange Marmalade, using plain Orange Marmalade is fine.

Easy (lazy) Egg Rolls
serves 2 as appetizers OR 1 large meal

3 veggie patties, thawed and cut into 1/2 in. strips
6 rice wrappers
3 cabbage leaves, de-veined and julienned
1 small-medium carrot, julienned
1/4 c thinly sliced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)

1 Tbsp ginger & orange marmalade (I used St. Dalfour's)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce OR tamari OR Bragg's Liquid Aminos

utensils needed:
2 plates
1 pie pan or a wide & shallow dish

1.  Pour very hot water into pie pan.  get an assembly line arranged for fast assembly.
2.  Dip a rice wrapper into the water.  let it sit for about 1-2 min. until it gets soft.
Carefully spread onto a plate, and about 1/3 way up from the bottom of the wrapper (closest to you) stack the pattie and veggies up nice and tight.
Then gently, but tightly, fold the bottom flap over the stack, tuck the sides in, and roll it up. place finished egg roll on a clean plate.  Try not to let the egg rolls touch; rice wrappers tend to stick easily.
3.  Repeat for the rest.
4.  In a skillet or saucepan on med-high, pour or spray some oil in pan, and fry up the egg rolls on each side (about 2 min. each)
5.  Make the dipping sauce, and enjoy!

I have to say, the dipping sauce was a surprise.  I didn't think it would be so good!  Yum!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gluten Free Gingerbread Pancakes

I've been training for a half marathon, which means after I do a long run, I'm hungry ALL THE TIME!  I'm also told that you have to up your caloric & carb intake like crazy.  2000 calories and 60% of my meals to be carbs.  Well, today was one of those days where I needed the carbs, but I also wanted something.... molasses-y.  So, I found 2 recipes and spliced them to fit my needs, pancakes for 1 person.  :)  Necessity is the mother of invention.  Here it is!

*NOTE 1:  most gluten free mixes and recipes call for ingredients that are potato or white rice flour based which are very similar to white bread while others utilize a lot of oats and not oats are gluten free.  That's the reason why I really like Tammy Credicott's recipes because she uses seed flours, like Teff, to make whole grain gluten free goods.
That being said, please overlook the fact that the recipe does call for quite a bit of ingredients.  I promise that if you do a lot of gluten free baking, then having these flours in store is awesome, as it will produce great pancakes, waffles, scones, biscuits, etc.  I highly recommend her book for perusal.
*NOTE 2: if you have difficulty finding some of these flours, Bob's Red Mill sells all of them, and you can purchase them easily online.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Pancakes
(inspired by Tammy Credicott and Erin McKenna's recipes)
serves 1

scant 1 Tbsp teff flour
1/3 c sorghum flour
1 1/2 Tbsp potato starch
scant 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
small pinch of cardamom
small pinch of nutmeg
small pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp ginger
1/3 c nondairy milk mixed with
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegan oil)
1 Tbsp molasses (I like blackstrap)
1/4 c warm water
crushed pecans (optional)

1.  mix dry ingredients together and mix well, removing clumps.
2. begin heating a griddle or a skillet.
3. mix nondairy milk and vinegar together, set aside.  mix wet ingredients together, including milk and pour into dry ingredients.  DON'T over mix.  Stir just enough so most clumps are removed.
4. ladle out 4 pancakes on a griddle or skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on med/med-high heat (depending on burner) on each side.
5.  to serve, sprinkle nuts on (if you like) and pour maple syrup over, with a side of eggs & brekkie meat or the vegan alternatives.  Enjoy!