Category Archives: baking

Banana Blueberry Muffins

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Some of the easiest kinds of recipes to make gluten-free are those that contain plenty of bananas.  The bananas add sweetness, moisture and serve as a binder in the recipe.  I saw a recipe on My New Roots for a banana bread that was vegan and low in sweeteners, but it wasn’t gluten-free.  I decided to adapt the recipe by substituting some flours for the regular flour and also by adding a few extras.  I also keep forgetting to buy a bread pan, so I made them into muffins.

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Here is my version of the recipe.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almond milk
6 T coconut oil, in liquid form
6 T maple syrup
1 T vanilla
2 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (my bananas were small, so I needed about 8!)
1 cup of gluten-free bisquit baking mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand, the regular all purpose blend should also work)
2/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1 t pumpkin pie spice blend (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.)
1 t xantham gum
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup of sliced almonds (I think chopped walnuts or pecans would be better!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry and mix until well combined. Then stir in the blueberries and almonds. Pile high in muffin cups. Bake for about 30 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 large muffins.

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Party Food!

One of the reasons I love to cook and bake is because I can share what I’ve made with people.  If you are in a similar dietary situation to me, you’ve probably come across the same endless questions and comments from people, like “What DO you eat?,” “Not being able to eat xx must be so difficult,” “I wouldn’t be able to live without xx, I couldn’t do what you do.”  I’ve found the best way to respond to these situations is with delicious food (in addition to keeping a blog to showcase what it is exactly that I eat).  Also, often being the only gluten-free and vegan person in the room means that if you want to eat something, you will have to bring it yourself.  The holiday season brings with it many events centred around food, and for me that means making lots and lots of food.  I absolutely love it, although there are times when I wish I could show up to an event and not have to worry about what food is going to be there and whether or not I can eat it.

I hosted a holiday party in December, and kind of forgot to blog about it until now!

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This picture shows most of what I made for that party, although there were a few dips and snacks that wouldn’t fit on this table (tomatillo salsa, anyone?).  In the top left, I’ve got some caramel corn, from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  I love Colleen’s recipes, and this was the best vegan baking book I ever had before going gluten-free.  Unfortunately, most recipes are not gluten-free, but if you are not gluten-free, I can’t recommend this book enough!  Beside the popcorn are mini cupcakes.  I used the gluten-free vanilla cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I filled them with raspberry jam and topped them with a butter cream icing.  Under the cupcakes, I sliced up some Aidan’s gluten-free baguette and toasted it in the oven.  Beside that, I made some white bean and artichoke dip from Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan! On the right side of the table, I have some chips, crackers (including Mary’s) and hummus, topped with Sriracha.

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At the center of the table is the item I was most proud of: vegan cheese!  I mentioned a while ago that I had picked up a copy of Artisan Vegan Cheese, an amazing new book full of vegan cheese recipes.  It wasn’t until recently that I got the chance to try out the recipes.  Many of the recipes involve quite a bit of planning as the recipes may take several weeks from start to finish.  Most of this time does not actually involve doing anything, so they are not too difficult.  I decided to make camembert, gouda and a soft chevre, rolled in cilantro and pepper.  They were so amazing and I can’t wait to make more!

Another party I went to was a Superbowl party.  My friends and I have an annual tradition of making large amounts of food and watching the game together.  This year, I made some buffalo tofu wings, which I usually only save for making on this day, mostly due to the frying, then cooking in hot sauce and vegan butter…..  Here is a recipe that is pretty similar to what I do.  I made two blocks of tofu into wings, and they were all gone by the end of the game.

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I also wanted to make something more sweet, so I jumped on the cookie dough hummus bandwagon.   I didn’t think it could possibly be as good as the internet was telling me, but I tried it out anyway.  I tried Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Cookie Dough Dip recipe, and for dipping, I made Allyson Kramer’s Graham Cracker recipe.  Unfortunately, I don’t think cookie dough dip is for me.  I added the full amount of sugar and I still felt like it needed to be sweeter.  I first attempted the graham cracker recipe, forgetting to include the xantham gum.  Let’s just say I now know that the recipe needs the gum for it to work.  My second batch with the gum turned out pretty tasty, although my crackers were somewhere in between crackers and gingerbread cookies.  I had some cookie dough dip left over, so I made it into cookies.  I baked them at about 350 for 15 minutes.  I think I prefer my cookie dough this way. However, there are many glowing reviews for the dip recipe, so I might be in the minority on this one.  If you are intrigued to try it yourself, I say go for it!

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Blueberry Squares!

My favourite book over the past few months has been by far Dreena Burton’s Let Them Eat Vegan!: 200 Deliciously Satisfying Plant-Powered Recipes for the Whole Family.  I have been making all of the veggie burger recipes in the book, and they are great!  The burgers are healthy, often inexpensive and easy to make, and they taste great.  I recently made the Blueberry Oat Squares, and they are by far the best blueberry squares I’ve ever had!  Full disclosure, I had made some other blueberry squares using a recipe I found online earlier this week, and they were the worst ones I have ever had.  They called for mashed banana mixed in with the blueberries, which sounds good, but when it baked it turned the banana into a terrible concentrated banana mush.  So I’ve been on both extremes of the blueberry square taste spectrum this week.  It has been a pretty wild ride, but I’m happy to say I’ve landed on the good side of the taste spectrum with this recipe.

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They are vegan, and have a gluten-free option if you can tolerate oats.  As a bonus, there is no white sugar to be found, just maple syrup.  Seriously delicious.  Every recipe in this book has been a winner!

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Adventures in Bread Making

My first job was working in a bakery in a grocery store.  I used to love making breads, proofing the dough and cooking them until they were golden brown and I could hear a hollow sound when I tapped on the bottom.  Although I used to be pretty good at making wheat and gluten filled breads, gluten-free breads follow slightly different techniques, which I admittedly do not know as much as I wish I did about them.

A while ago I got the book Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread, by Jennifer Katzinger.  I skimmed through the book, and was very excited about the techniques and ingredients she uses in the book.  The flours are nutritious and whole grain, there is no white sugar to be found, and minimal gums are used in the recipes.  Unfortunately, there are still not nearly as many vegan and gluten-free cookbooks as there are vegan, or just gluten-free.  So when I found what seemed to be the first gluten-free and vegan bread book, I couldn’t wait to make my own bread, instead of relying on the gross, over-priced, freezer burnt frozen blocks from the grocery store.

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I couldn’t decide which bread to make first, so I went with the first recipe in the book, the Country Batard bread.  I was surprised at the baking time and temperature for this bread.  The recipe called for 2 hours at 400+ degrees Celsius.  I assumed that this was due to the loaf being more of a wet-style batter due to being gluten-free.  I was wrong! I took the loaf out a bit early, but it was still a dense, burnt brick.  I had to throw it out and looked into some reviews online.  Apparently, the author’s oven wasn’t working properly while she came up with the recipes.  I also discovered that the recipes use instant yeast, instead of regular, which was never explicitly indicated in the recipe.  She had published an errata, which is four pages long!  I tried out the recipe, with the changes, and it actually turned out pretty well.  Still, it is kind of crazy that someone could publish a cookbook without trying to reproduce the recipes elsewhere, or getting some testers involved.  I’ll be trying some other recipes from the book in the weeks to come, so hopefully they turn out a bit better than my first attempt.

(The soup in the picture above is a lentil and carrot puree with red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, ginger, cumin, silken tofu, soy milk and veggie broth cooked and blended together with some sriracha for good measure)

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Mail and Treats!

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Man, I love getting mail. Even if it is stuff I bought myself. The bottom two cookbooks are books I’ve been meaning to get for a while. An entire book devoted to vegan cheeses? Ok. Also, the top two are India travel books. Oh that’s right, I’M GOING TO INDIA FOR 4 MONTHS. I’ll be sure to update my blog whenever possible with culinary delights to tickle your senses.

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I’m spending this long weekend at a friend’s cottage and felt the need to make treats! I made pumpkin chocolate chunk bars and brownies! I’m also making some salad rolls, a huge vat of peanut sauce for recreating the buddha bowl from Fresh, and some pancakes. It should be a delicious time!

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Grape Crumble Cake

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Recipe from the Welcoming Kitchen, but instead of blueberries, I used coronation grapes. It is pretty delicious, and doesn’t go stale right away like a lot of gluten-free baked goods.

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Dinner

Mashed potatoes with mushroom and onion gravy, a tofu loaf with gluten-free stuffing and biscuits from the Welcoming Kitchen. The biscuits were so easy to make and turned out really well. So far, after the chocolate chip cookies and now the biscuits, this book is awesome!

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Cookies!

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Thanks to Greg for making up these treats! He decided to double the chocolate chips, which is always a great idea. The cookies are made with oat flour, something I haven’t really used much, but should start using more often. The oats made these cookies chewy and not crumbly, like gluten-free cookies can sometimes be.

So far, this is the only recipe I/Greg has made from one of my newest cookbooks, “Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes. I honestly haven’t had a chance to look through many of the recipes yet. However, if the cookies are any indication as to how delicious the rest of the recipes are, this book is sure to be a winner!

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Chocolate Pumpkin Donuts

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Since I went gluten-free, I haven’t had much luck finding a gluten-free donut recipe. I was happy to see that the latest issue of Veg News had a recipe for chocolate pumpkin donuts. The original recipe was for fried donuts, but I baked mine and added a but more moisture to the batter to compensate for that. The end result was pretty awesome. They reminded me chocolate timbits, something that I haven’t had in years. This issue of Veg News should still be out if you are looking for an awesome donut recipe!

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