Saturday, November 25, 2017

Cookie Recipe Milk


I made an oat/cashew milk as a base for smoothies. The extra went into the fridge. The next day, I made cookies using that milk. It was on the thick side, so drinking it as a milk would probably not be the best option. The cookies developed a nice crispiness to them, and the flavor was great. I didn’t measure while making those cookies - that recipe will be for another day.

The original recipe came from the Vita-Mix site and one other, I think. Check the Vegan Milk label for more posts on vegan milk, and those recipe links.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with the liquid container, 1 cup Measuring Cup

1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
6 cups Water
6 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
5 pitted Dates

Put it all in the blender and blend on the highest speed for 3 minutes. Store in the fridge. This will thicken up some after a few hours.

Because the Vita-Mix actually cooks the oats in that 3 minutes, a food processor or regular blender probably won’t do the trick. It may be as easy as blending it and then simmering it on the stove to get the oats cooked if you don’t have a Vita-Mix handy. I think one of the recipes I found online had a stovetop method. That link should be in an earlier vegan milk post.

If you want a thinner milk, that may require a nut milk bag to remove some of the nut pulp.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cashew Cream Sauce


Basic recipe:

1 Zucchini - peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 tbl chopped Garlic
1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 oz raw, unsalted Cashews
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Put everything in the blender/food processor and blend until smooth.

This misses being strictly vegan because of the nutritional yeast. It’s probably easiest to make in a Vita-mix. The onion and garlic measurements are approximations, and there’s no need to chop them into small pieces as the blender/food processor can do that for you. If you’re comfortable with putting in a couple of garlic cloves and two or three slices of onion, that should be fine.

If you don’t care about color, you can leave the skin on the zucchini. Turns it a bit green. Without the peel, it winds up yellow - closer to the color of the nutritional yeast.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sweet Potato, Chocolate Chip Cookies


These are great for Halloween as they bake up orange. I bought a mondo (~2.5 pound) garnet sweet potato and it made over 100 cookies in 2 batches. This recipe is for one batch.

1 Garnet Sweet Potato (~1.25 pounds)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup Water
1 cup Brown Rice Flour
1 pkg Chocolate Chips

I used the Vita-Mix with the dry container. This much sweet potato filled it. Put the applesauce in first to make it easier to blend. Use the water to rinse out any remaining applesauce from the measuring cup or the jar if it's at the end. Add that to the blender/food processor. Peel the sweet potato, cut into chunks and add to the blender. Blend on high until it's a thick liquid.

Pour in a bowl. Stir in the flour and chips.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees

Drop spoonfuls of batter in cookie shapes on a cookie sheet. Shape them with the spoon and tamp them down a little. These will not spread or flatten. I used parchment paper on the cookie sheet, but it was a right pain to get it off after flipping these. I'm trying out a cake recipe now and spread a little olive oil in the pan. We'll see if that helps with the sticking issue.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Flip. Bake for 30 more minutes. Let cool.

When flipping, it might help to use a turner to loosen the cookies first. It gets a bit tricky using the dual cookie sheet method to flip them when they're individual cookies. Have to clamp down fairly hard and be fast on the turn so they don't fall out. Or just flip them individually with the turner.

This batter is moister than previous recipes. The texture is more of a sweet potato patty than a cookie, but they're quite popular as is. If you want more of a cookie texture, add another cup of flour.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No-Egg Salad


This recipe idea originated here: Isa Chandra's Tofu Frittata

Replacing the tamari/soy sauce was easy enough. How to replace the tofu took more thought. Technically this recipe is not Vegan because of the yeast. It depends on your personal viewpoint on yeast. Also Dijon mustard might be problematic for some people. I suggest using another mustard that works for you if need be, or leave it out completely.

Equipment needed: Blender or Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Food Processor, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, ¼ cup Measuring Cup, ¼ tsp Measuring Spoon, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Small Bowl with Lid, Larger Bowl with Lid, Knife, Cutting Board, Tamper (optional), Peeler (optional)

¼ cup Walnuts or raw Sunflower Seeds
~¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Soak the nuts/seeds in the ACV overnight in the fridge. The ACV should cover the nuts/seeds. Use the small bowl with lid or a coffee cup with some sort of cover.

1 Zucchini
1 cup cooked Brown Rice

Drain the nuts and put them in the blender/food processor with the rice and the zucchini (chopped to make it easier to blend). This may require tamping. This can be anywhere from a coarse blend (more textures) to a smoother mixture (possible sandwich spread) depending on your preference. If using sunflower seeds, they can be added later for more texture or put in the blender. For a smoother texture, add avocado to the blender. The following ingredients might need bumped up if adding avocado.

Empty blender into the larger bowl.

3 tbl Nutritional Yeast
½ tsp Dijon Mustard (or just do a small squirt)
¼ tsp Turmeric
Diced Onion
Diced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. Let sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cinnamon Apple Oat Bars


I made a similar bar with raspberries and dark chocolate chips that was a huge hit with my tasting crew. I won't post that recipe yet as it's not ready for prime time. It will be similar to the following, after I adjust it - the coconut shreds didn't add to the flavor, but they added quite a bit to the saturated fat content. I also tried it with blueberries but I didn't have enough blueberries on hand for what I really wanted to do and I added flour which turned out to be a big mistake. Those are currently in the dehydrator to see if they'll work as crackers. Really thick crackers.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Food Processor, Knife, Cutting Board, Bowl, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1/2 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, Spoon, 2 Cookie Sheets, Parchment Paper, Oven, Turner, (optional) Pizza Cutter

I bought some silicone baking sheets to use instead of the parchment paper. One day I'll wash them and start using them. They would've been great for this recipe as the dough stuck to the paper. I imagine the silicone would peel off easier.

Preheat the oven to 350℉

Wet Ingredients:
2 Zucchini (about 7" long)
1 jar (24 oz) Applesauce
1/2 cup Water

In the blender, dump the entire jar of applesauce. Add the 1/2 cup of water to the jar to get the rest of the applesauce out, and pour that in the blender too. I washed the zucchini instead of peeling them this time around. Do whatever feels best for you. Cut off the ends and chop them into manageable chunks before adding them to the blender. Work up to high speed and liquefy the lot.

This filled the Vita-Mix dry container. Pour half or so into the bowl, if needed.

Semi-Wet Ingredient:
1/2 cup raw Almond Butter

Add the almond butter to the remaining mixture in the blender. Blend until well-mixed. Pour this into the bowl. Use a spatula to scrape out the blender.

Dry Ingredients:
4 tbl Cinnamon
3 cups gluten-free Rolled Oats

Stir in the dry ingredients - I used the spatula for this as it helps with scraping the sides of the bowl while stirring. I first added the cinnamon to be sure it was well mixed, and then added the oats. The color may not be appealing - it will bake up much prettier. The mixture will be wet - not really like dough. The oats will absorb a lot of liquid while baking.

Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper (or silicone baking sheet). Pour the mixture down the middle of the sheet. Use the spatula to spread it out as evenly as possible. My oven likes to crisp the edges, so I shoved the outside edges back a little bit to make them thicker. That worked well.

Bake for 30 minutes. Take the second cookie sheet and place it upside down on top of the first one. Flip as one unit. Remove the first cookie sheet. If possible, remove the parchment paper. If it sticks too much, leave it on. Bake for another 30 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper if it's still on. Cut into squares or bars. Slide the turner under the bars to unstick them from the cookie sheet. This might be easier to unstick first and then cut - not sure. Take the first cookie sheet and place it upside down on top of the second one. Flip as one unit. Remove the second cookie sheet. Lower the oven temp to 250℉ and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Friday, September 22, 2017

More 222 Cookie Variations


I’ve started waking up thinking about baking cookies. The ingredients swirl in my brain as the fog of sleep slowly dissipates.

My first shot at baking cookies while also feeding the hordes of animals and getting ready for work, I did without the blender - more minimalist. It went well. The hardest part was mashing the bananas because they were still at the ripe stage and not the banana bread side of mushiness.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Stir together in a bowl: 2 bananas, 1 cup (8 oz) applesauce

Add in: 1 cup coconut shreds, 2 tbl chocolate powder, 1 cup almond flour, 1 pkg chocolate chips

Bake as usual: parchment paper on a cookie sheet and either as cookies or as a big rectangle. These I did as cookies, the next bit I did as a big rectangle.

Baking time was about 15 minutes on each side.

So the previous thought about blending in air is really not necessary. It might make a difference when trying to make cupcakes, but that’s further down the baking road.


The next time, I wanted to do oats and seeds as my base for dry ingredients. That requires the blender - Vita-mix with the dry container works well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In the blender: 1 cup rolled oats; 1 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds; 1 cup coconut shreds; 3 tbl chocolate powder

Coarse blend is fine, though I prefer it to be on the finer side. Scrape this into a bowl.

Back to the blender: 2 bananas, 1 cup (8 oz) applesauce

Combine this with the dry ingredients and add 1 pkg chocolate chips. Pascha has a bittersweet dark chocolate chip that is 85% cacao. That was perfect for these cookies to keep the sweetness in check. Not tasting the coconut as much with these though, so I might scale back the oats and seeds next time to get more coconut flavor in there.

Bake as usual…


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Onion Rings - Proof of Concept


I’ve been pondering buttermilk and batter, and here’s where my mind went with it…

1/2 cup Rolled Oats
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

This works best in a Vita-Mix, using the liquid container. It takes 3 minutes to cook oats in the Vita-Mix on high speed. Adding all of the above to the container, work up to the highest speed.

At the 2 minute mark, add:

1/2 cup Raw, Shelled, Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Raw, Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds

This will be thick, but still able to spin in the blender. Stop at 3 minutes and empty the mixture into a bowl.

Using a cast iron pan (or other frying pan), add 1/4” of olive oil. Turn on the stove at a low heat. Let the oil get hot.

Disclaimer: I’ve never made onion rings before. Or fried chicken, or anything remotely like this.

Dipping the onion ring into the batter probably works best with a fork or ice pick. I used my fingers.

The first set lost the batter when I turned them. For the second set, I let them cook awhile before attempting to flip them with tongs. The batter stayed on the onion.

Pull out when brown and place on paper towels.

The best ones had the center of the onion - the ratio of onion to batter leaned more towards onion. As a proof of concept attempt, it went well and tasted really good.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Oatmeal To-Go


I’m stretching the idea that you don’t need a binder to make cookies. This is a very simple recipe. The basics are 1 tbl cinnamon and 1/2 cup applesauce to every 1 cup of dry ingredient. In this case, I had open bags of almond flour and hazelnut flour, so I used both.

I think this could become a granola if I crumbled it and stuck it in the dehydrator for a day or so.

Equipment needed: Bowl, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Spoon, Cookie Sheet, Oven, and optional: Parchment Paper, 2nd Cookie Sheet, and Knife

2 cups Flour (I did 1 each of Almond Flour and Hazelnut Flour)
2 cups Rolled Oats
2 cups Applesauce
4 tbls Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. If you put in the dry ingredients first, you can use the same measuring cup for everything.

There are the two basic ways to go for baking. The first is to make individual cookies, and the second is to make bars. This time, I did bars.


Cookies:
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper will help them not stick and will make clean up easier. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Shape these into cookies as best as possible. They will not flatten or spread.

Bake for 20 minutes. Flip. This can be accomplished by using a turner and individually flipping each cookie directly onto the cookie sheet while slowly removing the parchment paper. Or you can take a second cookie sheet, turn it upside down on top of the cookies, flip the whole lot, and peel off the parchment paper.

Move around as needed - our oven doesn’t bake evenly and I find the edge cookies need to be swapped with the middle ones. Bake another 20 minutes.


Bars:
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spoon this mixture into the middle of the cookie sheet and spread it to become one large rectangle. Because there is no binder, the spreading has to be on the gentle side. I used the spoon to pat it down and spread it out.

Bake 20 minutes. Flip using another cookie sheet. Peel off the parchment paper. Score into squares or other desired shape. Bake another 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool. The middles will continue baking as they are cooling.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bacon-ish Bits, Part II


For use as a salad or pasta topper, or as a snack

I tried these with balsamic vinegar (contains sulfites). These came out caramelized and very tasty.
Tip: Do not breathe in when opening the oven door while baking a strong vinegar ingredient. Your lungs will thank you for holding your breath. 

First baconish bits recipe

Here’s today’s shot at it without soy and without sulfites, and straying from a baconish flavor…

Equipment needed:
Blender, 1/2 cup Measuring Cup, 1/2 tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Bowl with Lid, Baking Dish (9"x13" or thereabouts), Spatula or Spoon, Oven

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
~1/2 cup diced Red Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 tbl Salt (optional)
1/2 tbl Black Pepper
1 tbl Oregano
1 tbl Thyme
1 tbl Basil

Blend the above ingredients. It will probably be frothy and separate rather easily. Pour into the bowl.

Raw, shelled, unsalted Sunflower Seeds that can be covered in the mixture: ~1 1/2 to 2 cups

Add sunflower seeds and stir in as you go. Be sure the seeds are covered in the liquid. Cover, shake gently, and place in the fridge to soak. I soaked these about 8 hours and they absorbed nearly all of the liquid, so straining was not required.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees

Rough strain the liquid if needed - this can be done by holding the lid against the top of the bowl but not quite sealed so the liquid can drain out or by using a strainer. You don't have to get it all, just most. Pour/scrape the remaining contents into the baking dish. This may be an inch or so deep.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. These are done when they're crispy, but not burnt.

Coconut, Chocolate Chip Cookies


Seriously, seriously, not low fat. Really, really delicious. Must love coconut.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Blender or Food Processor, Cutting Board, Knife, one or two 1 cup Measuring Cup(s), one 1 Tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Bowl, Spatula, Spoon, one or two Cookie Sheet(s), Parchment Paper (optional), Turner, Oven

2 Avocados
1 cup Water 6 pitted Dates
2 tbl Coconut Nectar (Amber)

Put all of these in the blender and blend; work up to a higher speed to macerate the dates as much as possible with your equipment. Blend more at a medium speed to allow the mixture to build up some air.

The coconut nectar is optional. The dates can be replaced with other fruits that are lower in sugar and/or easier to blend if desired. That will change the flavor, of course.

2 cups Almond Meal
1 cup Unsulfured Unsweetened Coconut Shreds or Flakes
1 pkg Dark Chocolate Chips

Put these dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. You can either measure these first before using the 1 cup for the water above, or you can wipe out the measuring cup before doing this part. One less dish to wash.

The brand that we use for the coconut is Edwards and Sons Let’s Do Organic.

If you want a different flavor than chocolate, change the dates in the blender portion of this recipe to whatever fruit for the flavor you want.

Scrape the wet mixture into the bowl and stir gently.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. The parchment paper will help them not stick and will make clean up easier. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Shape these into cookies as best as possible. They will not flatten or spread.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Flip. This can be accomplished by using a turner and individually flipping each cookie directly onto the cookie sheet while slowly removing the parchment paper. Or you can take a second cookie sheet, turn it upside down on top of the cookies, flip the whole lot, and peel off the parchment paper.

Move around as needed - our oven doesn’t bake evenly and I find the edge cookies need to be swapped with the middle ones. Bake another 20 minutes. Makes ~43 cookies.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Raspberry Whipped Yogurt


When making raspberry, dark chocolate chip cookies recently - well yesterday - I pulled out about 3/4 cup of the liquid and put it in the fridge as it reminded me of whipped yogurt. That has been confirmed by my wife who isn't into whipped yogurt. So here's how to make vegan whipped yogurt (apparently).

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Blender, Spatula, Cutting Board, Knife, Bowl with Lid

2 Bananas
1 Avocado
1 pkg Frozen Raspberries

Blend the bananas until liquified. Add the avocado while the blender is still blending - this avocado was on its last legs so it was on the squishier side of avocado life. If your blender doesn't have a convenient hole in the middle of the lid, you may have to do some start/stop action.

Slowly add the frozen raspberries. Slowly because it will freeze and become hard to blend if you go too fast. But that could mean you're making frozen yogurt instead of the fridge kind. If that's more your speed, have a tamper handy to keep the blender blending.

Raspberries tend to have a bitter edge and that helps give it the yogurt taste. Pretty sure other fruits would work well, but they may not have that same yogurt bitterness. Fresh fruits would work and also speed up the process.

Once it's well-blended, scrape the mixture into a bowl and pop it in the fridge - after an appropriate amount of tasting, of course.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

222 Variations


Here are a few ideas for changing things up:

1. Substitute avocado for the applesauce
2. Add fruit
3. Substitute gluten-free rolled oats for some of the almond flour
4. Substitute a different flour - like rice or hazelnut
5. Substitute dates for the bananas

Blueberry cookies:
I was out of applesauce but I had an avocado on the hairy edge of 'out the door.' So I put the 2 bananas and the avocado in the blender. After those were liquified, I slowly added about half a package of frozen blueberries.

In the bowl, I stirred together the 2 cups of almond flour and the remaining blueberries. Then I added the mixture from the blender and gently stirred that in. This was a wetter mixture and required slightly more baking time. Not a lot more - we're talking 5-10 minutes per side.

Raspberry - Dark Chocolate Chip cookies:
I went back to the 2 bananas and 2 applesauce containers (8 oz). After that was liquified, I slowly added a whole package of frozen raspberries. This made enough liquid that I felt it called for more dry ingredients.

I had 1 cup of almond flour left, and added 2 cups of gluten-free rolled oats and 1 package of dark chocolate chips to it. Stirred those together before adding the liquid and gently stirring that in. Time was a consideration, so I plopped this into the middle of the cookie sheet and spread it to become one large rectangle.

This required more baking time as well. I scored it after I flipped the whole thing onto another cookie sheet.

Chocolate - Dark Chocolate Chip cookies:
If you're not a fan of banana, you can use dates. This time, I bumped up the applesauce content to be sure there was enough liquid: 12 oz of applesauce and 6 pitted dates in the blender.

In a bowl went 1 cup of hazelnut flour, 1 cup gf rolled oats, 3 tablespoons dark chocolate powder, and 1/2 package of mini-chocolate chips. I stirred those together first and then scraped in the liquid from the blender.

About 25 minutes on each side at 350 degrees for these too.

All of these recipes make about 25 cookies, or as I like to think of them - decadent breakfast bars.

So play with your cookies. Have fun.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

222 Cookies


Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or Blender, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, Bowl, Spoon, Parchment Paper (optional), and a Cookie Sheet

2 Bananas
2 single-serve Applesauce (8 oz total)
2 cups Almond Meal (or nut-free flour of your choice)
1/2 pkg Chocolate Chips (dark chocolate mini-chips this time)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Blend the bananas and applesauce, working up to a higher speed to build a bit of air into the mixture.

In the bowl, stir together the flour and chocolate chips. Scrape the blender mixture into a bowl, and stir gently.

Spoon onto a cookie sheet and tamp down a bit to make into a cookie shape. These will not flatten though they may rise a little. The more air you can hold in the mixture, the more bread-like the result will be. Putting parchment paper under the cookies will help prevent sticking.

Bake 15 minutes. Flip each cookie, rearranging as needed if some are darker than others. I found the right and left edge cookies were baking faster even with the convection on. Bake another 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool. The middles will continue baking as they are cooling.

I was inspired by the chocolate eclairs on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off and wanted something similar. Not up to a replacement for choux pastry - yet. 😋

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Squash the Carrot Cookies


People give me food and I make cookies out of it. This time, it was chubby carrots fresh from the garden. This is how it went down:

Number one: set the oven for 350 degrees and forget to turn on the convection. Not my brightest move.

10 small, but chubby carrots
3 small (6”) yellow squash
1 cup water
8 oz applesauce
2 tbl cinnamon

I put the 2 single serving applesauce contents into the Vita-Mix dry container. I thought I should not add the cinnamon now because it would increase the dryness. I needed this part to be more wet, so, of course, I added it anyway. Yep. That’s how I roll.

I washed the veggies and peeled the carrots. I kept eyeing the yellow squash and thinking that should go in first as it’s wetter. Nope. Sliced the carrots and put those in half at a time. This needed to be tamped to get it going. Then it needed the water. 1 cup to get this to blend and seriously macerate the carrots.

The container was full, so I poured half into a bowl before peeling, slicing, and adding the squash. That’s wetter - did I mention that bit? - so it blended beautifully. This mixture got stirred in with the rest in the bowl.

Next time: put the cinnamon in after the blending is done, and add the wetter vegetable first.

I grabbed the largest measuring cup from the drawer and added ingredients to the bowl. A cup of this and a cup of that, only this wasn’t the one cup measuring cup so…

3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 cups almond meal (or nut-free flour of your choice)
1 pkg dark chocolate chips

I wanted to put in more than 3 cups of almond meal. The mixture was wetter than I normally work with since I had to add water because I don’t listen to myself. However, 3 cups was the end of the currently opened bag of almond meal, so 3 cups is what it got.

Using my now standard baking method: Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Well, however thick it gets when it reaches the edges of the sheet. If you have a bit more ambition, or sense, put this on two sheets.

Score with the spatula using a sawing action to slide the chips and seeds to the side. This works much better when it’s only one chunky item in the way. Having two sets of seeds and the chocolate chips meant there were edges that needed a little pat down after the scoring was done.

Bake it for about 1 hour. Had I remembered the convection switch, this might have been a shorter amount of time or at least a more even baking process. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. Remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another hour.

In reality, the edges cooked faster than the middle (next time use the convection switch), the flipping bit threw some small cookie pieces off the edge (next time use two sheets, or less water and therefore less dough), 
The parchment paper didn’t peel easily (next time follow the directions from before about baking more before trying to remove the paper).

In the end, these turned out really good. Satisfying with a mellow sweetness, and then you get a burst of dark chocolate chip. So it’s veggies, nuts and seeds which are protein and good fats, applesauce for the fruit, rolled oats for the grain, and dark chocolate chips for the dessert.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sweet Zucchini Cookies


This is the sweet recipe version from the gigantic zucchini from my boss’ garden.

Equipment needed:

Vita-Mix with the Dry Container and Tamper, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Medium or Large Bowl, Knife (and other items for dealing with zucchini), Parchment Paper, and 2 Cookie Sheets

Ingredients:
3 cups Almond Meal (or other gluten-free/nut-free flour)
2 large bananas: ~1 cup when liquified
9 oz Zucchini (washed but not peeled)
2 tbl Cocoa Powder
1/2 package Dark Chocolate Chips

More flavor options:
Substitute applesauce for the banana (1 cup) and cinnamon for the cocoa powder.
Substitute ginger for the cocoa powder. Either banana or applesauce works.
Chocolate chips are optional.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In the Vita-Mix: blend the 2 bananas until liquified. Add the zucchini and blend again. This probably requires tamping. Once this is fairly well blended, turn up the speed and allow the mixture to expand with air - about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Scrape this into the bowl. Add the flour. Stir gently - so as not to lose the air - until well blended. I used the spatula for this. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Score with the spatula. Use a sawing action to make the chocolate chips move aside.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another 20 minutes. Watch these carefully, they bake up fairly fast. Allow to cool, though eating it fresh from the oven is a good thing.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Savory Zucchini Bars


A lot of my recipes grow out of a desire to use something I have on hand. This time it was two somethings.

1. My boss gave me a gigantic zucchini from her garden - a good 18" long at least.
2. I found this new Teriyaki Jackfruit and, in a fit of optimism, I bought 3 packages with the idea of using them on salad. They are not my idea of salad topper - in their defense, they are not marketed as a salad topper. I tried using one with pasta, but it was too spicy and the texture wasn't working for me. These have soy sauce, so they contain both soy and wheat.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the Dry Container and Tamper, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, Large Bowl, Knife (and other items for dealing with zucchini), Parchment Paper, and 2 Cookie Sheets

Ingredients:
2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Raw, Unsalted, Shelled, Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Raw, Unsalted, Pumpkin Seeds
2 packages Teriyaki Jackfruit
          [To make this both soy- and wheat-free,
            try using 1 cup of marinade instead]
13 oz Zucchini (washed but not peeled)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In the Vita-Mix: layer the oats and seeds as follows - 1 cup oats, 1 cup seeds, 1 cup oats, 1 cup seeds, and then coarse grind them. This layering of dry/wet ingredients should help limit caking

Scrape this coarse ground mixture into the large bowl. No need to get all of it out of the Vita-Mix yet.

In the Vita-Mix: blend the 2 packages of jackfruit. Add the zucchini and blend again. This probably requires tamping. Open the lid to be sure you have blended in the zucchini fairly well.

Scrape this into the large bowl. Stir the resulting mixture until well blended. I used the spatula for this.

Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the large bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Score with the spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another 40 minutes. Allow to cool, though eating it fresh from the oven is a good thing.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tinkering with Sweet Potatoes


I recently tried making potato and sweet potato chips - first batch were meh; second batch not yet on the horizon. What I discovered is that potatoes are quite wet when blended; sweet potatoes are slightly less so, but still more wet than I expected. I bought a couple more sweet potatoes to make the second attempt but decided that I wanted sweet instead of savory this time.

Sweet Potato, Oat, Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the dry container and tamper, knife, peeler, cutting board, large bowl, 1 cup measuring cup, spatula, cookie sheet, mini-muffin molds, small spoon, and oven

In the Vita-Mix:
1 Banana
2 Peeled, Washed Sweet Potatoes - cut into small-ish pieces
5 Pitted Dates

Blend and tamp until well blended. This might take stages of adding ingredients and blending. Scrape this into the bowl. Add:

1 cup Almond Meal (or a nut-free flour like brown rice)
1 cup gluten-free Rolled Oats
1/2 package Dark Chocolate Chips

The amount of flour/oats depends on the size of the sweet potatoes. 1 cup of each should be fairly close to what works for most pairs of sweet potatoes. Stir until well mixed. The spatula works well for this.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Fill mini-muffin molds using the small spoon - tamp until compressed and flat on top. Filled 47 molds.

Bake for 75-85 minutes. Flip and pop out of the muffin molds. Bake for another 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Your baking time may vary depending on your oven.

These remind me of sweet potato pancakes (with bonus chocolate chips!)


Monday, May 1, 2017

Throwing Stuff Together


I didn't stop to measure much this weekend, so I don't have "recipes". What I do have is what I threw together, and what I experimented with.

All measurements are approximate:

Round 1:
1 tbl ground ginger
1 cup coarse ground walnuts
1 cup coarse ground cashews
1/4 cup chia seeds
6 pitted dates
2 cups water
Almond meal - sufficient to make a dough (2-3 cups?)

Round 2:
2 tbl baking chocolate
1 package dark chocolate chips
1 package frozen cherries
1 banana
6 pitted dates
2 cups water
Gluten-free rolled oats - sufficient to make a more liquid dough as the oats need to absorb the moisture while cooking (2-3 cups?)

Round 3:
After making coconut milk:
Medium pyrex bowl of coconut pulp
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup low sodium tamari (contains soy)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
This needs time in the fridge to gel as much as possible


Except for the coconut milk, I blended everything as needed in the Vita-Mix with the dry container. These all went into the dehydrator at 105 degrees for a long time (~16 hours).

The first set makes ginger cookies. Spread flat on dehydrator sheets and cut after flipping.

The second - breakfast bars for the sweet tooth. Spooned into mini-muffin molds and rectangular candy molds. The remaining bit was spread out flat on a dehydrator sheet and cut after flipping. The candy molds were flipped and emptied after about 7 hours. They were not very cooperative in the process. The mini-muffin molds were flipped and emptied after about 14 hours. That went fairly well.

The third is my second shot at what to do with the leftover coconut pulp from making coconut milk. My first shot at it was ice cream and that became an inedible ice cube - not enough fat or whipping in of air. The texture is somewhat like popcorn chips. It's a little on the dry, powdery side of things for my liking.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Nut-Free Oatmeal To Go


Building off the Banana-based Muffins, this is a nut-free version that is more along the lines of a breakfast bar.

Two sets of ingredients below for two different flavors.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with Dry Container or Food Processor, Spatula, Large Bowl, Dehydrator

Raspberry - Dark Chocolate

5 Bananas
1 package frozen Raspberries
1 package Dark Chocolate Chips
3 cups coarse ground Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
1 cup coarse ground (raw, unsalted, shelled) Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

In the Vita-Mix dry container, grind the rolled oats and the sunflower seeds. It helps to grind when combining a wet ingredient (seeds) with a balancing dry ingredient (oats.) Use the spatula to scrape this into the bowl.

Next in the Vita-Mix dry container, blend the bananas with the package of frozen raspberries. Probably best to blend the bananas first until they liquify. This might require some tamping as the raspberries may freeze into a bit of a mass. Scrape this into the bowl.

Stir in the package of dark chocolate chips and the whole rolled oats. You can use the spatula to stir which will also help with scraping the sides of the bowl as you stir.

Place half the mixture in the middle of a dehydrator silicon sheet and spread to an even depth. This should fill 2 sheets approximately 12" square.

Dehydrate at 125° for about 5-6 hours. Flip directly onto the dehydrator grate, score into squares, and continue dehydrating for another 5-6 hours or until they reach the desired texture. Spreading the squares apart will help them gain a crispier edge.

When peeling off the silicon sheet, some mixture may cling to the sheet. If you like little crispy bits, put this sheet back in the dehydrator.

I was asked about the calories for this bar, so I did the calculations from the raw ingredients.

40 ~2.5" Square Bars: Nutrition Information per bar:

                                 measure*                %**
Calories                      103.8
Calories From Fat       37.4
Total Fat                        4.4                      6.6
Saturated Fat                2.8                      9.3
Trans Fat                       0.0                      0.0
Cholesterol                    0.0                      0.0
Sodium                           0.1                      0.0
Total Carbohydrate     16.1                     5.6
Dietary Fiber                 2.8                     11.4
Sugars                            6.3
Protein                           2.6

Vitamin A                                                 0.3
Vitamin C                                                 3.8
Calcium                                                    0.9
Iron                                                          10.7
Potassium                   64.4                      1.9

* g/mg/calories
** percent of daily value - 2000 calorie


Apple Cinnamon

3 Bananas
2 single serve (4 oz @) Applesauce
2 tbl Ground Cinnamon
2 cups coarse ground Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
2 cups coarse ground (raw, unsalted, shelled) Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

In the Vita-Mix dry container, grind the rolled oats and the sunflower seeds. It helps to grind when combining a wet ingredient (seeds) with a balancing dry ingredient (oats.) Use the spatula to scrape this into the bowl.

Next in the Vita-Mix dry container, blend the bananas with the applesauce and cinnamon until it liquifies. Scrape this into the bowl.

Stir in the whole rolled oats. You can use the spatula to stir which will also help with scraping the sides of the bowl as you stir.

Place half the mixture in the middle of a dehydrator silicon sheet and spread to an even depth. This should fill 2 sheets approximately 10" square.

Dehydrate at 105° for about 5-6 hours. Flip directly onto the dehydrator grate, score into squares, and continue dehydrating for another 5-6 hours or until they reach the desired texture. Spreading the squares apart will help them gain a crispier edge.

When peeling off the silicon sheet, some mixture may cling to the sheet. If you like little crispy bits, put this sheet back in the dehydrator.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oat Milk


Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the wet container, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tablespoon Measuring Spoon (optional)

Ingredients:
1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
5 cups Water
2 Pitted Dates
1 tbl Cocoa Powder (optional)

The Coconut Milk recipe calls for 1 cup flakes to 2 cups water, so this started with 1 cup rolled oats and 2 cups water in the Vita-Mix. Blend on high for 3 minutes. This becomes a very thin oatmeal. Good to know for making oatmeal in the future.

Add 3 cups of water to make it more of a milk texture and the 2 pitted dates for a sweetener.
Blend on high for about 20-30 seconds to get the dates totally mixed in.

Since this made a lot more milk than I had planned for, I poured half into a container, then added the cocoa powder to the other half and blended that in. Nice to have both in the house.

This doesn't require straining like the coconut milk. I tried to, but it passed through the strainer with ease. One less step is always welcome.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Banana-based Mini-Muffins


I once saw a meme that was a pancake recipe using bananas as the base ingredient. Unfortunately, that meme didn't credit the origin of the recipe.

These were very popular with my taste testers at work. Because they are sweet, adding something on the bitter side to balance that out might be very nice - like cocoa nibs or chopped up/ground hazelnuts.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the Dry Container or a Food Processor, 1 cup Measuring Cup, Bowl, Spatula, Spoon, optional Scissors, Dehydrator or Oven

Ingredients
5 Medium Bananas
1 pkg Frozen Blueberries
1 pkg Dark Chocolate Chips
2 cups Flour

In a food processor or Vita-Mix with the dry container, blend the bananas until creamy and the mixture rises with added air. Add ½ package frozen blueberries and blend until well mixed. This may need a little tamping to get started.

Pour this mixture into the bowl. The spatula helps get as much out as you can. Stir in ½ package frozen blueberries, 1 package dark chocolate chips, and 2 cups flour (I used almond meal - next time I plan on grinding 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats with 1 cup sunflower seeds instead.) I used the spatula to stir as the blueberries and chocolate chips wanted to stick to the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if the mixture seems too runny. It should clump.

Spoon into mini-muffin molds and tamp down. This filled 46 molds.

Dehydrate at 125° for about 10 hours. Take a knife around the edges of the molds to release any muffins stuck at the top edge. Flip the muffins directly onto the dehydrator grate. You may need to pop the bottom of each mold to get them out. Continue dehydrating for another 3 or 4 hours.

If you don't have confidence in the flip, use a second dehydrator grate on top to make a mini-muffin mold sandwich and then flip it all before removing the mold.

This can probably be baked at a low temp - like 200° - but I don’t know for how long offhand. Experimenting with time can be fun as you have to pop one out and eat it to test it each time you check.

These can also be placed in the freezer after dehydrating/baking to become mini-ice cream cakes.

If you don’t have molds, you can shape them however you like - cookies, bars, etc.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Carrot Chips or Carrot Wafers


This is a dehydrator recipe and I'm not certain if it can be done in the oven.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the dry container or Food Processor, Vegetable Peeler, Cutting Board, Knife, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1/4 tsp Measuring Spoon, 1 tbl Measuring Spoon, and Dehydrator

Ingredients
1 cup coconut water
2 tbls chia seeds
4 carrots
1/4 tsp salt

Peel, rinse, and chop carrots into ~1" pieces - just to make them easier to blend. Put those in the Vita-Mix dry container. Add the coconut water, chia seeds, and salt. Blend very well.

I actually started with the coconut water and chia seeds, then added the carrots one at a time, blending in between each, to be sure of the number I wanted to put in there. When the blending became harder to do and the mixture was somewhat thick, I stopped adding carrots.

Because I wasn't sure how this would turn out, I did the next step two different ways.

1. Pour mixture into rectangular candy molds, filling each between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the top. Once done dehydrating, these will be fairly thin. Shake gently to settle into flat shapes. This "filled" 24 molds.

2. Pour remaining mixture in the middle of a pendaflex/silicone sheet that fits your dehydrator. Spread out towards the edges, then shake gently to settle into flat shape. You may need to nudge it back a little from the edge. This created a semi-square 13"x13" shape.

Dehydrate at 125 degrees for about 10 hours. If you don't sleep through the middle of this time, you can try flipping them halfway through to get the color roughly the same on each side. I made these at night and pulled them as is in the morning.

If you're a raw purist, drop the temperature to 105 degrees or less and dehydrate longer.

The first way made rectangular chips about 1/8" thick. Some broke in two coming out of the mold. Some had holes in the middle. It's entirely possible that filling the molds to the top would have prevented that, but the chips would also be a bit thicker.

The second made a beautiful, very thin wafer (with some holes.) Interestingly, my wife who prefers crackers liked the chips, and I - the cupcake monster - preferred the wafer. It reminded me very strongly of the Italian pizelles our downstairs neighbor used to make starting at 4 in the morning. Ah the culinary memories...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dog Food - Renal Care, Not Vegetarian


We tried a new renal diet for our eldest dog and the results were underwhelming. His blood work showed no improvement, and he needed his anal glands expressed for the first time in his 14+ years of life. That renal diet contained so much rice - it was listed as dry weight so the actual amount in the food once it was cooked was even more. We've gotten his stool back to normal and hopefully that means his glands will be fine.

He's on lamb, and we found out that boiling lamb removes some of the phosphorous. The old thinking was lower the protein. The new thinking is get a better balance between calcium and phosphorous and maybe lower the protein.

Disclaimer: We're not veterinarians nor nutritionists. We also have not had him on this diet long enough to see how well it does for his kidneys. I'll report back once we get there.

We start with the Honest Kitchen Preference base. For 1 day of food for a roughly 15 pound dog, we add 6 oz of boiling water to 1.8 ounces of HK Preference. Allow that to absorb the water for at least 3 minutes. Add 2.5 ounces of the boiled lamb (more on that below). We feed him 3-4 times a day, 2 main meals and 1-2 snacks. He was having some issues with his stomach being too empty prior to getting breakfast, so he definitely gets a snack right before bed.

For the 2 main meals, he also gets 1/4 tsp psyllium, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salmon oil, and 1/4 pill of InflamAway HA which is a glucosamine/chondroitin with extra anti-inflammatory herbs.

For the boiled lamb, we get 2 pounds of ground lamb from the grocery store. That's roughly a 1 week supply of meat for him.

Take a small stock pot and fill it halfway with water. Roll the lamb into meatballs about 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. They will shrink some. Put them in the water one at a time. Having the water in the pot will help them not stick together. Bring the water to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally to break up what forms on top and unstick any meatballs at the bottom. Lower heat as needed to maintain the rolling boil without boiling over. Boil for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse.

He likes this well enough though he has trained us to add some treat sprinkles on top sometimes. Once he gets started, he finishes his meal.