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.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coconut Milk


Trying to find a substitute milk with no sulfites, no carrageenan, no xantham gum, etc can be difficult. And that brought me to the following:

Vita-Mix Coconut Milk recipe

Or

Coconut Milk recipe that's similar but involves a little cooking

Making this in the Vita-Mix will heat it up - it only takes 2 minutes on high to get warm and this recipe calls for 3 minutes.

I used unsweetened coconut flakes from Let's Do... Organic since they contain no sulfites. Also used a fine mesh strainer and sifted the mixture with a spoon to get the liquid through. The leftover pulp has no flavor to speak of. Whether or not that gets used is a recipe for another day.

If you prefer your milk sweet, you can add pitted dates or sugar of your choice.

This will have a slightly thicker texture than the store variety. The aroma and flavor are excellent.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Variations on a Theme - Ice Cream-ish


I woke up thinking about raspberry, dark chocolate mini-ice cream cakes. But, and that's a big but, what did we actually have in the house? No fresh raspberries. Only one banana and it was ripe - not banana bread worthy. Some frozen fruits. And dark chocolate chips - Yes!

Popped the banana and an 8 oz bag of frozen cherries into the Vita-Mix dry container and blended that until smooth. Blending speed was on the low side - I never got to the halfway mark. This mixture required tamping. This should be easily accomplished in a food processor. If the cherries still had some chunks, I think that would add nicely to the texture.

Gave this a taste - great flavor, sorbet consistency. It would probably make a nice sorbet on its own. Avocado is another good base to play with later for sorbet recipes.

Scraped it into a bowl and stirred that with 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 cups almond meal. Spooned into 24 mini muffin cups. There was a bit leftover - which I ate because this raw dough is one you can safely consume.

They're currently in the dehydrator at 125 degrees and will be there for many hours before I can flip them, pop them out of the molds and keep dehydrating for many more hours. Time from start to dehydrator - about 10 minutes.

Other flavors I want to play with:
Apples and cinnamon - with a banana, applesauce base and chunks of apple, or maybe avocado instead of banana.
Raspberries and dark chocolate - fresh fruit rather than frozen, though frozen has the advantage of hanging around longer and therefore being more readily available when the whim strikes.
Blueberries and spinach - yep, sneaking in vegetables for this one.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Banana-Blueberry Pan-Muffins


The last of our bananas hit "banana bread" stage, so something had to be done with them. I'd read recipes in the past (on FB somewhere) using banana as the basis for pancakes. And so...

Equipment needed:
Medium or Large Bowl, Spoon, 1 cup Measuring cup, Mini-Muffin Molds, Dehydrator (or maybe Oven)

Ingredients
4 small, overly ripe Bananas
2 cups Flour (I used Almond Meal)
6 oz Blueberries (I used fresh)

Peel the bananas and put them in the bowl. Mash them with the spoon. Add flour and mix well. Carefully stir in the blueberries.

Spoon into the mini-muffin molds and tamp carefully. This will be wet and sticky. Fills ~28 molds.

Place the filled molds on the dehydrator rack, set the temperature to 125 degrees, and go about your business - take a nap, read a book, etc. - for about 6 hours.

The plan is to get the top of these muffins dry enough to flip them out of the muffin molds. It might take 8-10 hours given how wet this is. I flipped them at 5 hours because it was time to sleep, and I wanted them out of the molds for the longer part of the dehydrating process. However they were wet enough that they came out a little misshapen and stuck to the rack a bit when I checked them in the morning. I flipped them again so the wetter side was up.

Dehydrate another 10 hours or so (overnight is the best time for me to do this.) Place in the fridge to get a chewier texture.


I love how the blueberries pop in my mouth when eating these. A really nice burst of flavor.

There are certain things in my kitchen that I love to work with and a dehydrator is one of those. I've made dog treats in the cheaper circle-shaped ones previously. To use one of those for these recipes, either get silicone molds that the size and shape fits in them, or the dough can be spread out on the silicone sheets that fit inside the dehydrator. There are silicone ice cube molds that may be okay for baking. Some have really cool shapes too. Candy molds are good to check for this as well.

What's in my kitchen is a 9 rack, square Excalibur dehydrator. It's on the pricey side (like my beloved Vita-Mix). There are smaller, cheaper, square or rectangular dehydrators out there as well.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pasta Salad Dressing


I made a bunch of quinoa pasta and some Bacon-ish Bits this weekend, and my wonderful wife cut up carrots, zucchini, and celery. The pasta got a coating of pesto to help it not clump together (which it still does but not quite as badly) before going into the fridge.

Throwing together all of these great ingredients called out for a creamier topping to make it a more cohesive pasta salad. It helps that our two avocados were showing signs of "eat me now!"

Equipment needed:
1 Large Bowl, 1 Spoon or Fork, 1 Cutting Board, 1 Knife, 1/4 cup Measuring Cup

2 Avocados
1 Lemon ice cube (previously squeezed and frozen in ice cube trays)
1/4 cup (or less) Pesto (we get dairy-free pesto - read below for other ideas and a nut-free option)
Salt to taste

Cut and peel the avocados, put those in the bowl. Add pesto and lemon cube. Stir until creamy and lemon cube has melted. You may want to add the pesto in stages to achieve the desired consistency. Salt as needed, or add whatever spices take your fancy.

The amount of pesto will change both the texture and the taste. This can also be used as a salad dressing with you controlling the consistency.

If you don't have a dairy-free pesto available, you can make your own, or add what's missing to the above individually.

So, say you decide you want a spinach pesto to go with your avocado for a pasta salad dressing. I recommend using a blender and putting in:

Avocado, spinach, onion, garlic, pepper, pine nuts or walnuts (optional), lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. The other main ingredient is olive oil. Since the avocado could take the place of an oil, you can add olive oil as needed for texture. Optionally or in addition to, you can add vinegar for some tang in your dressing. (Future recipe posted here? Quite possibly)

Monday, March 6, 2017

IHTMoTI Cookies


I have too many of these ingredients, so I think I should do something with them: Filberts (Hazelnuts), and Dates.

I need a liquid for the base. In the fridge is a half full bottle of (flat) Ginger Brew which is a spiced ginger ale with actual ginger in the ingredient list. There's just over a cup left and that goes into the Vita-Mix (liquid container as the dry container was just used to make nut meat and is soaking in the sink.)

Add 1 cup filberts, step back, look at it sideways, add a second cup of filberts. Blend. The Vita-Mix handles that fairly well, so another cup of filberts goes in (3 cups total). Blend, tamp, blend, tamp. Okay, a little too many nuts for the amount of liquid in the wet container. But it looks blended enough.

Put that mix into a large bowl. There are some whole filberts, but I'm moving on with them as is.

Pit and add dates. I added five to previous recipes, but I'm feeling sugar-generous: six dates, pitted, spread apart, and dumped into the bowl - making sure the pits go in the trash and the dates go in the bowl. Easier to screw up than one might think.

These would be better blended in the Vita-Mix, but that's not an option at this point. Probably would work well in a food processor, but I haven't used it yet and don't want to figure it out tonight. I try a spoon and get some pieces of the dates mixed in. Giving up, I dig a hand in and squeezed the mixture through my fingers over, and over, and over.

There's a half package of mini-dark-chocolate chips in the fridge, so those go in next. The mixture is looser than I would like for something that needs to bind together. I toss some chia seeds on top (without measuring - about 2 tablespoons) and stir everything together.

Technically the chia seeds need time to gel and become a binder. Since I'm putting these in the dehydrator, I think they'll have enough time to bind without going in the fridge. Fill mini-muffin molds and tamp down hard to compress the dough into shape. This filled about 44 molds. While spooning, I noticed there are some larger pieces of dates as well as the whole filberts. Should make some of these interesting to eat.

Dehydrating at 125 degrees for about 6 hours - long enough for them to form a bit of a dry crust on top and hold together when a sample is popped out of the mold (and eaten, of course.) Then flip the mold over and pop them out directly onto the rack. Continue dehydrating another 9-10 hours.

These turned out really, really good.

And that's a look into my cooking/creating process. Combining whatever's handy and seeing what happens has been my style all my life. It's the main reason my parents decided against getting me a chemistry set. They were (rightly) concerned I might blow up the house.

Ingredients
1 cup Ginger Brew
3 cups Filberts
6 Dates
2 tbls Chia Seeds
1/2 pkg Mini-Chocolate Chips

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cini-Bars


Like the Mini-Bars but no chocolate and less sugar.

Equipment needed: one Medium to Large Bowl, two 1/2 cup Measuring Cups, two tablespoon Measuring Spoons, one Large Spoon and one Small Spoon, one Silicone Mold (Mini-Muffin or other), Dehydrator or Oven

In a bowl:

1/2 cup Raw Almond Butter
1 tbl Ground Cinnamon

Stir until well mixed. The dual spoons help in cleaning one off with the other during this process.

Add:

1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds

Stir until well mixed. Taste and decide if you want sugar. I found the taste good - without sugar - as a more savory treat.

Optional add:

1 tbl Sugar

Taste and decide if you want more sugar.

Spoon into silicone mini-muffin molds and tamp down. Fills ~16 molds.

I tried to just put these in the refrigerator, but the dry ingredients (cinnamon and sugar) reduced the sticky factor and they never quite set. It's possible using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup would negate the need for baking.

Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 90 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator for several hours. Pop out of the molds and serve.

See the Mini-Bars recipe for more information on alternatives to dehydrating.

These will need to be kept in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mini-Bars


Driving home from work, thinking about the palm kernel oil in the snack bars I had been buying, and I came up with the following combination of ingredients. I wanted dark chocolate/raspberry, but had to go with what was in the house. Still turned out very tasty.

Equipment needed: one Medium to Large Bowl, two 1/4 cup and one 1/2 cup Measuring Cups, one Large Spoon and one Small Spoon, one Silicone Mold (Mini-Muffin or other), optional Dehydrator or Oven

In a bowl:

1/4 cup Raw Almond Butter
1/4 cup Apricot Jam

Stir until well mixed. The dual spoons help in cleaning one off with the other during this process.

Add:

1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (sweetened)

Stir until well mixed. If you're not a huge chocolate fan, 1/2 cup will be fine.

Spoon into silicone mini-muffin molds and tamp down. Fills ~21 molds. Dehydrate on 125 deg for 90 minutes, then place in the refrigerator for several hours. Pop out of the molds and serve.

If you don't have a dehydrator and want to heat them up, try baking at 150 degrees or set the oven on warm if it has that setting.

The dehydrator/oven bit might not be needed. If you really need them to not be sticky, then maybe dehydrate/bake for longer to reduce that aspect of them. They turned out to be a little sticky. Heating them up also softened the seeds a little. Next batch will go straight to the refrigerator, and I'll see how they turn out.

These will need to be kept in the refrigerator.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Bacon-ish Bits


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

Equipment needed:
1/2 cup measuring cup, covered bowl, baking dish with sides (9"x13" or thereabouts), spatula or spoon, oven, optional strainer

In the bowl:

12 oz raw, shelled, unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1 cup low (or reduced) sodium Tamari
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Tamari is a wheat-free version of soy sauce. If you're avoiding soy but not sulfites, use 1 1/2 cups of balsamic vinegar as the liquid. Or use whatever marinade you like.

Either stir the contents of the bowl with a spoon or cover and shake them. Be sure no seeds are stuck above the liquid. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours - overnight might be best.

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees

Rough strain the liquid - 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 the remaining contents into the baking dish.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Almond Date Cookies - Part II


For those who wish to have different flavors and perhaps a bit less fiber in their cookies, this is a triple batch of the Almond Date Cookies recipe with some slight alterations.

In the Vita-Mix or blender:
15 pitted dates
3 cups water
1/4 cup chia seeds

Blend until well mixed. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (A departure from the original. This will keep the temperature constant throughout the baking process)

Add:
5-6 cups of almond meal (can be nut-free with something like quinoa flour)

Stir often and see if the batter is thick enough after 5 cups. If not, add the 6th.

Scoop 2 cups of the mixture into a second bowl and add 2 tsps of ground cinnamon. Stir well. Spread this out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake 25 minutes before flipping and baking another 25 minutes.

Scoop 2 cups of the mixture into a second bowl and add 1 1/2 tsps of ground ginger. Stir well. Spread this out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake 25 minutes before flipping and baking another 25 minutes.

The rest can be baked as is, or add your own desired flavor - like maybe 1/2 bag of chocolate chips.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Almond Date Cookies


A friend at work gave me some dates from his cousin's farm (www.sundateusa.com), so I came home and made a quick batch of cookies.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the dry container, large bowl, 1 cup and 1/4 cup measuring cups, fork or spoon for stirring, spatula, cookie sheet, parchment paper, oven, and a knife for scoring (optional)

In the Vita-Mix:
5 pitted dates
1 cup water

Blend until the dates are liquified. Using a blender and having small chunks of dates is fine, too. Pour this into the bowl. Add:

2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup chia seeds

Stir until well mixed. Place in the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to gel. I think I only gave it 15 minutes. I usually allow an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place parchment paper on the cookie sheet and empty the contents of the bowl in the middle. Spread into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. Score with a knife to the desired size for each cookie.

Bake for 25 minutes. Flip and remove the parchment paper. If you're feeling lucky, use an oven glove, get under the cookies on the parchment paper and flip that onto the cookie sheet. If you're not feeling lucky, use a second cookie sheet. I did the oven glove trick and it went well. The rectangle is fairly small and that makes it easier to maneuver.

Separate along the score lines. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.

Your baking time may vary depending on your oven, the thickness of the cookies, etc. I apparently didn't get the thickness even throughout and some baked faster than others.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cherry Smoothie


There are ways to make delicious food and successfully hide the fact it contains vegetables. I like to use spinach because the taste is mild enough to hide easily. The color, on the other hand, is strong and needs another strong color to counter it. My two favorite color hiders are blueberries and dark sweet cherries.

For this recipe, a Vita-Mix is your best bet. If you don't have one, you might try soaking the cashews (or seeds) overnight to make them easier to blend.

Equipment needed: Vita-Mix with the liquid container

In the Vita-Mix:
1 pkg frozen dark sweet cherries (10 oz)
1/2 pkg frozen spinach (5 oz)
3 pitted dates
1/2 pkg cashews (6 oz)
[For a Nut-Free version, substitute 3 oz sunflower seeds and 3 oz pumpkin seeds for the cashews]

Add enough water to cover everything. For a thinner smoothie, add more water. If you like them thick, add less.

Blend on high until smooth.

Basically, this is a cashew milk smoothie base - cashews, dates, water. We're just skipping the part where we make it into milk.

I accidentally bought roasted and unsalted cashews recently. I usually get raw. The roasted cashews add an interesting depth of flavor to this smoothie. I'm a fan of strong flavors and like odd combinations, so I suggest you use raw, unsalted cashews.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

No-Bake Chocolate Banana Pudding


For this recipe, I went without the usual Vita-Mix/Food Processor component though they can definitely be used to get a smoother consistency.


Equipment Needed:
1 Large Bowl, 1/3 Measuring Cup, 1/4 Tsp, Large Fork or Potato Masher, Whisk, Knife, and Cutting Board


Mash together in the large bowl:

1 avocado
2 very ripe bananas
1 single serving applesauce (4 oz)

It helps to start with the fork or potato masher and then move to the whisk to try and get it smoother. Doing this by hand will probably mean having small chunks of avocado. They will turn color before this is ready to eat.

Gently whisk in:

1/3 cup chia seeds
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsps baking chocolate powder
1/2 pkg sweetened dark chocolate chips (~5 oz)

The 1/4 tsp can be used for both the salt and the powdered chocolate. It means 16 dips into the powdered chocolate though, so feel free to add a 1 tsp measure to the list of equipment needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

The start of this recipe came from a no-bake chia pudding recipe found online. If I can find it again, I will add the link.

The chocolate powder is helpful in changing the color of this recipe to something that actually looks edible. :-)

Another option is to go with a strong colored fruit instead of the powdered chocolate and chocolate chips - like blueberry.