Monthly Archives: January 2013

Nan’s Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Back when Mr18’s dad was almost 18, he lived with a family in a cabin in the mountains.  Nan’s the matriarch of this family and came up with this recipe for healthy and wholesome wheat bread.  Since she was baking for a rather large brood, that now included another, her original recipe resulted in 7 loaves!  That’s more baking than I’ve ever tackled!  I adjusted the recipe for the number of loaf pans I own–2.  And now that I’m watching my fat intake, I’ve reduced the oil in that recipe by half.  It was still so moist and yummy, I’m gonna try to reduce it by half again the next time I bake, because freshly baked bread warm from the oven is so, so tempting.

yum

This recipe calls for a few ingredients that you may not have on hand, but could be substituted (soy and spelt flours) by using unbleached flour, or are in small enough amounts (nutritional yeast) that they could be left out all together.  The spelt and soy increase the protein content and nutritional yeast adds B vitamins.  All can be found at a natural foods market, and I’ve seen both flours at my regular grocery.

ingredients

  • 1 pkg dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup oil (I plan to try this recipe with just 2 TBSP next time.  Oil’s job in a yeast bread is to keep a moist crumb.)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup soy flour
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups unbleached flour plus more to knead

Whisk yeast into 1/4 cup of the warm water.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to proof–become bubbly.

proof yeast

Place yeast, salt, molasses, honey, oil, the rest of the warm water into the bowl of a mixer and combine.

mix yeast and wet ingredients

Add soy, spelt, nutritional yeast, and whole wheat flour.  Mix to combine, scraping down sides as needed.

add dry except unbleached flour

Switch to a dough hook and add unbleached flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough starts to climb the beater.  I was baking on a rainy day, and needed to add an additional 1/2 cup.

add unbleached til dough climbs beater

Turn the sticky dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Have extra flour at the ready so you won’t need to un-gummy your hands to get more if you need it.

turn out onto floured board

Knead for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

knead until smooth

Place the dough ball into a greased bowl, turning the ball once to grease the top.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise until it’s doubled in size.  I was doing laundry at the same time, and placed the bowl on top of the dryer.

place in greased bowl

This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  You’ll know it’s doubled when you poke the dough with your finger and the indentation stays.

let rise til double

Turn the dough out onto the floured surface again, divide into two equal-ish pieces.  Knead each half for just long enough to squeeze out air bubbles and form into loaves.  Place each loaf in a greased (I use a cooking spray) loaf pan, cover with the kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled again.  About 30 minutes.

divide knead and place in greased pans

Preheat oven to 350F.  When loaves are doubled, bake them at 350F for 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 325F and bake for another 30-35 minutes.

let loaves rise til double

Remove from the oven and place pans on wire racks.

Baked

When pans are just cool enough to touch, turn the bread out onto the racks to cool completely.

release from pans to cool

Rub a bit of butter or butter substitute over the top of each loaf to keep the crust tender.

lightly butter tops

Of course, I can’t ever let them cool completely.  I have to slice into one and savor the warm yeasty wonderfulness that is homemade bread.  (Don’t look at my uneven, slanted slicing.)

slice

Beautiful texture, healthy and yummy.  Yeast breads take a bit of time, mostly waiting for dough to rise, but aren’t difficult.  I did my laundry, cleaned and made a soup for dinner while dough was rising, and then finally baking.  Give it a try one of these weekends!  So yummy with soup, toasted with peanut butter or lingonberry jam, or just all by itself!  Homemade bread doesn’t last long around here!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dinner, food gifts, lunch, recipe, snack, Vegetarian

Vegan Enchiladas

Today I was scrounging around for lunch and found a bunch of related leftovers: a bit of Spanish rice, a cup or so of cooked plain rice, half a lentil burger, less than a serving of black bean soup, a tiny bit of sauteed onions, mushrooms and green chiles.  I grabbed a couple tortillas, combined all the little bits of this and that and thought I’d whip up a couple burritoes.  As the mixture was heating in the microwave, something said enchiladas.  A clear picture of enchiladas appeared in my head.  I stopped the microwave, we had leftover “turkey” burgers for lunch instead and enchiladas for dinner!

yum1

So scrounge around in your fridge for leftovers or make some beans and rice and you’re well on your way!

ingredients

  • 2 cups (or so) filling:  beans, rice, tomatoes, peppers, corn…..
  • 8 corn tortillas

For the enchilada sauce: (based on a recipe from The Happy Herbivore)

  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 TBSP chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder and my sauce was HOT!  You may want to start with one TBSP and add more if you want it hotter!)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups No Chicken broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 TBSP tomato paste
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F and spray an enchilada or other baking pan large enough to hold 8 enchiladas.  Set aside filling and tortillas for now.

Whisk flour, cocoa and spices in a pan without turning on the heat.

dry ingredients in pan

Add 1/4 cup of broth and whisk into a smooth paste.

whisk into a paste

Slowly whisk in the rest of the broth and water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and add tomato paste.

add broth

Reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce has the thickness of tomato soup.  Remove from heat and add salt if needed.

add tomato paste

Set up an assembly line for your enchiladas with the sauce, tortillas, filling and  pan.  I also included leftover “cheesy sauce.”

set up assembly

Dip each tortilla in sauce, place in the pan and roll.  Place edges down.

dip in sauce stuff and roll

Continue rolling until you run out of filling.  Spoon a bit more enchilada sauce over the tops, making sure tortillas are sauced all the way to the edges of the pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

spoon additional sauce

While enchiladas bake (they smell sooooo yummy!), dice a tomato, shred some lettuce, chop a few scallions and tear up some cilantro.  Serve up a couple enchiladas with a schmear of cheesy sauce, and topped with the tomato, lettuce, scallions and cilantro.

yum2

OMG my sauce was HOT!  It was well flavored and super-yummy, but wow.  It was perfect for Michael, lover of all things hot-hot-hot, but for me, I’m cutting back on the chili powder or using a milder chili powder next time.  Leave it alone if you’re in the hot camp with Michael.  🙂

2 Comments

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

Louise’s Black Bean Soup

I’m so lucky!  We have friends we stay with fairly often on the Front Range, whether they’re home or not!  We like it best of course, if they’re there.  We dedicate our visits to what we call “chill and swill;” essentially hanging out, eating, visiting galleries, wineries, and breweries, laughing, and generally enjoying each others’ company.  Louise ALWAYS makes yummy meals for us, and now that we’re vegan, she planned a vegan feast that included this yum-yum-yummy soup from Busy Cooks.  What a great friend, right?!

yum3

Chop a few things, open a few cans and you have soup….pretty much, anyway!  🙂

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup veggie broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15 0z) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped  (The recipe sez green, Louise likes red, so pick whichever color you like!)
  • 14 oz (1 3/4 cup) No Chicken Broth (or veggie broth or real chicken broth if you’re not vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained  (I like the extra flavor you get from “fire-roasted” tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Saute onion and garlic in veggie broth  in a large pot until onions are translucent, about 2-4 minutes.

saute onion and garlic

Open one can of beans, drain and rinse and then mash until they’re the consistency of refried beans.

mash beans

Scoop them into the pot along with the other (drained and rinsed) can of beans, corn, tomatoes, broth, bell pepper and seasonings.

add all to the pot

Stir,  cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.

boil then simmer

Remove the bay leaf and serve with whatever toppings you like.  I topped with cilantro and a pinch of red pepper flake.  Avocado, green onions, sour cream, cheese and crumbled tortilla chips come to mind.

yum2

Add a couple pieces of bread or a tortilla or two and you’ve got dinner!  We opened a bottle of Tempranillo to pair with the soup–perfect.  A brown ale would be yummy, too.

yum1

This low-fat, vegan soup comes together quickly enough for a weeknight, and is hearty enough to satisfy the carnivores in your house.  Louise also served up an exquisite carrot-chipotle soup.  The weather has me in a soup mood, so I’m thinking it won’t be long for that soup to be blogged as well!

1 Comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, Potluck, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Vegan Cheesy Sauce

I’m vegan for health reasons, and mostly I have no cravings from my former way of eating.  But sometimes, sometimes I want cheese on something.  I want that melty smoothness that can bring the other flavors in a dish all together.  Take for instance, one of my fall and winter favs: Stuffed Squash.  To make it low fat, I sprayed the cut edges of the squash with cooking spray rather than using butter.  I think it’d be OK without cheese, but I found this cool recipe in my current go-to cookbook, The Happy Herbivore.  A melty smooth cheesy sauce with no dairy at all.  How yummy and cheesy-licious does this sauce look on my stuffed squash?  What about flavor?  Not cheese exactly, but yummy and satisfying in a cheesy sort of way.

yum1

I had all the ingredients on hand (Hurray!)

ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk  (I used unsweetened almond milk.)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast  (Find in the bulk food area of a health food market.)
  • 2 TBSP yellow miso  (I had white miso.  Find this near the dairy section.)
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 tsp granulated onion powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika  (Smoked paprika would give you a smoky cheese sauce–mmmm!)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

This is so quick and easy you’ll have cheese sauce in no time!  Place all ingredients in a small pan over medium heat.

all in the pan

Whisk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir frequently until it thickens.

whisk together

Spoon over whatever you want; this yummy stuffed squash, perhaps.  This is the place in the recipe where the squash get stuffed, cheesed, and then baked for an additional 15 minutes.

spoon over filling

The sauce browns and I added a bit more before topping with a bit of cilantro–excellent flavor addition!

yum2

One of the most fun things about being vegan after being not vegan for over 50 years, is experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.  I don’t feel like I’m on a “diet” because the food is sooo satisfying.

yum3

Usually diets make me feel like I’m being punished.  Being vegan makes me feel pampered, happy and healthy.  I highly recommend vegan food, even for just a couple of days a week.  Really!  Yummy!!!

1 Comment

Filed under Books, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, recipe, Vegetarian

Greens and Garbanzos Pasta Salad

There I was.  On the treadmill watching Food Network.  Kind of ironic, exercising while watching people prepare and eat lots of yummy foods.  Especially so with the abundance of butter, cheese, eggs and meat being served up whilst I have become vegan.  Giada to the rescue!  I caught a “Meat-free Monday” episode!  Yay!  Giada was making this pasta salad to serve cold or room temperature at a block party.  Her version uses oil to saute and is served with cheese, but I’m here to tell ya, totally yummy without either!  Michael thinks it’s as good as the house favorite goulash; high praise indeed!

yum1

Head out to your garden or local produce section for a big ol’ bunch of greens and a few other things:

ingredients

  • 1 pound of small pasta  (I used whole wheat “gnocchi”)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Swiss chard, about 2 bunches  (I used rainbow chard, because it’s pretty!)
  • 12 oz spinach, either baby spinach in a package or leaf spinach  (Remove stems if spinach is large)
  • 1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed, reserving pasta water.

The pretty stems of chard are tough, so remove them after you wash each leaf.  To do this, fold the leaf in half and tear the stem off.

remove chard stem

Add some veggie broth to a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat.  Rough chop chard leaves and spinach.  Add to the pan along with the garlic.  Saute to wilt, adding more veggie broth as needed.

saute greens and garlic

Add tomatoes and garbanzos.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add tomatoes and garbanzos

Reduce heat to low.  Add pasta, lemon zest and juice.

add pasta and zest

Stir to combine, adding pasta water to thin as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mix with pasta water and lemon juice

Dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

yum2

Warm, comfort food-esque, healthy, fat-free, vegan and yummy!  Meaty garbanzos, savory greens and brightly acidic tomatoes, brightened further with lemon.  I made a “parmesan” from 1/3 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast whirred up in a food processor to sprinkle over the top.  Just the thing.  Yum-yum-yummy hot, especially with it being so cold outside.  I’ve sampled a few bites of cold pasta, while waiting for a portion to reheat for lunch the next day.  Yum!  This pasta salad will be super yummy served cold when summer gets here.

yum3

I confess to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time underwhelmed with the prospect of going vegan.  Not any more!  I’m finding lots and lots of yummy recipes like this that can be easily adapted.  I feel happier, healthier, have more energy and (!) I’m losing weight.  I hope you’ll follow along on my yummy vegan journey.

Leave a comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Michael and I moved into the new year as vegans.  Fat-free vegans.  When our friends find out they ask us, “What can you EAT?”  The answer is LOTS of stuff, including treats like these yummy, yummy cookies based on the recipe for Chocolate Chunk Cookies in the Engine 2 Diet book. Best fresh from the oven while the chips are all melty and gooey.

yum1

There are some ingredients I hadn’t had in my pantry before, but were easy enough to find at my local natural foods store.

ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 2 TBSP flaxseed meal mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup plus 4 TBSP brown sugar, packed
  • 1 TBSP egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Using an electric mixer, mix banana, flaxseed with water, and sugar together.

mix flax sugar banana

Add the egg replacer mixed with water and vanilla.  Mix until combined.

add egg replacer and vanilla

Mix flour, oats, soda, and salt in a container.

mix dry ingredients

Add dry ingredients to the wet about 1 cup at a time, mixing well each time.

add dry to wet

Mix until you have a wet batter.

batter

Stir in the chocolate chips.

stir in chips

Place by rounded tablespoons on prepared cookie sheets.  I like to use a cookie scoop to keep cookies uniform.

place on prepared pans

Bake 10-12 minutes until firm.  Cool on wire racks.

cool on racks

Enjoy the cake-y melty yumminess!  You’ll be thinking you’re cheating on your low-fat diet.

yum2

They really are good, and good for you!  Lots of fiber, very low fat.  There is sugar, so eating piles of them is still not an option if you’re watching what you eat.  But, yum!  Quite a treat.

yum3

The recipe made about 3 dozen cookies.  I’m keeping them in a ziploc bag in the fridge and zapping one in the microwave when I want that fresh-from-the-oven gooey goodness.

Leave a comment

Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, recipe, snack

Micah’s Cookie Bars

It’s been over a year now.  My favorite coffee shop, run by my favorite baristas/owners/friends went out of business; a victim of the economy and the all-too-close corporate coffee shop in the grocery store next door.  There were so many things to love at The Coffee Studio, including the creative coffee drinks (New drinks created as specials every week!), the burritos, the banter, and the pastries.  Each baker at The Studio put her own unique twist on THE Cookie Bars.  I talked this recipe out of Micah, barista and head cookie bar maker at the time, while she still had it in her head, just before The Studio closed. It was originally adapted from the Toll House recipe by Dawn, one of the original owners.  Once you have one, you’ll be wanting their ooey-gooey yumminess all the time.  This is the way a proper cookie bar SHOULD be.

Gather up  a few things that are probably already in your kitchen:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • about 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • caramel or butterscotch sauce
  • chocolate and butterscotch chips, around 1/4-1/2 cup each
  • chocolate syrup (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, soften the butter.  I let mine get melty–not a big problem, but the recipe works a bit better if the butter is just soft.  Mix in the brown sugar.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.

Press about two thirds to three quarters of the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 8×11″ pan.  (Reserve the rest of the mixture for the topping.)  Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and pour caramel (or butterscotch) sauce (about 1/2 cup) over the top of the cookie crust, followed by nuts and chips.

Crumble remaining mixture over the top and drizzle with chocolate syrup (if you want–but really, if you’ve gone this far, why not?!).  Bake for 15 more minutes.

Let cool and cut into the cookie size you prefer.  The Coffee Studio made them big like this:

These are so, so yummy with a cup of coffee.  Can you say decadent breakfast anyone?!  C’mon, you deserve a treat; they do have oatmeal in them…  😉

When I made these, Michael set his down on the couch next to him.  No sooner had the plate touched the couch, this happened:

This is Pookie’s alter ego, Mr. Naughty Pants.  Michael was able to thwart the cookie thief before his cookie bar had kitty cooties on it.  Whew!  (For more kitty fun and fabulous recipes, check out  A Full Measure of Happiness.  Lauren’s cat, Henry, and Pook are similarly evil   devious   playful, as well as handsome.)

Did you notice how easy these cookie bars are?  Are you already out in your kitchen making them?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

slideshow

2 Comments

Filed under comfort food, dessert, food gifts, Food memories, recipe, snack