An Allergen-Friendly Birthday: Blueberry Grunt

This weekend we’re celebrating my roommate’s birthday.  But, we’re an allergen-sensitive duo.  Between the two of us, we need food that is gluten, dairy, egg, cruelty (yes, I’m allergic to cruelty), soy, and peanut-free.  At the same time, as two first-year grad students in a new town, I want to give my roommate a taste of her native Nova Scotia for her birthday away from home.

So here goes!

Allergen-friendly Blueberry Grunt:

For this stove-top dessert, the hardest part is finding a soy-free all purpose gluten-free flour, but thanks to the careful eye of my mother, we found some! Thanks Mom!

After that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.  Heat 4 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries in a heavy-bottomed or cast iron pot with 1 cup water (less if frozen fruit) and bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup agave syrup) and the juice from one lemon.  Let simmer 15-20 mins until the blueberries are cooked down and ooey gooey good.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, stir together 1.5 cups flour, the zest of the lemon, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tsp baking powder.  With a fork, mix in 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk.  Then plop the dumplings into the skillet full of blueberry sauce.

Cover with a tight lid and simmer over medium heat 10-15 mins until the dumplings are puffy and test done with a toothpick.  Serve hot in a bowl with cold almond yogurt or ice cream.

Happy birthday to my Canadian co-denizen!!   

Even Easier Applesauce (Re-post for Apple Season)

I posted an easy slow-cooker applesauce back in January, but I think it’s worth re-posting right now with the Autumn apple harvest starting to pick up again. I know I’m not the only one out there who will be feeling that sweet sweet apple love, so keep this slow-cooked, hands-free method in mind next time you’re wondering how to best use all those delicious apples!

Even Easier Applesauce I’m about to make some breakfast muffins for next week, but while I’m waiting for my applesauce to cool, I thought I’d post my applesauce recipe.  This is the absolute, no question, hands-down easiest method to make applesauce I’ve ever used.  Yes, applesauce is not difficult to make as it is, but what if you could find a recipe that you simply combined all the ingredients, walked away and when you came back the apples had even mushed themselves? … Read More

via Oh! So Much Tasty!

Buckwheat Zucchini Bread

A few days ago, I went out to my garden and found my first fruit of the season/ever!! This year is my first attempt at a full-fledged organic vegetable garden, and my hard work is starting to pay off!  So far I’ve gotten a couple rounds of rainbow chard, but this zucchini is the first thing I ever grew that I was able to physically pluck off the vine, take right upstairs to my kitchen, and be inspired by!

Zucchini is a super flexible veg, and zucchini bread is one of my favorite ways to use it!  Zucchini has it’s own sweetness, so it’s great to use in breakfast breads, pancakes, and muffins as well as other more traditional, savory options.  I’ve updated the classic recipe by cutting out the oil, upping the spices, and adding buckwheat flour for a whole grain rif.  For a vegan version of this veggie-packed bread, I’ve used egg substitutes, and it’s come out just as good!

Buckwheat Zucchini Bread: (yields 1 loaf)

Buckwheat Zucchini Bread in its most tempting state – oven fresh and piping hot

Equipment:

  • 2 medium and 1 large mixing bowls, cheese grater, 1 8×4 bread pan, cooling rack, dry measuring cups and spoons, silicone spatula, paper towel, flour sifter, oven
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large zucchini (should yield about 2 cups grated)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or other fruit-based oil substitute
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown vegan sugar (white works fine too, but brown adds to the richness)
  • 2 healthy heaping tsp cinnamon (if I actually measured this out correctly, it would probably be closer to 3 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or golden raisins (optional)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Grease and flour the bread pan, set aside.
  2. Grate the zucchini into a small bowl with the cheese grater (I like to use the larger grate because you can see the green flecks of the skin after it cooks that way).  Do NOT press or strain the zucchini – it is a huge source of moisture for this dense, fudgey, super-soft bread!!
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (buckwheat flour, AP flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt) together in one bowl.  I usually give another extra pinch of cinnamon here for good luck 🙂
  4. In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, applesauce, sugar, and vanilla until all are well-combined.  Add dry ingredients to the wet, and stir to make a dough.  Add the shredded zucchini to the dough, and mix in well.  The dry dough should turn into a wet batter from the zucchini’s moisture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan.  Bake 50-75 mins, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  The bake time will vary depending on the quality (moistness) and quantity of zucchini shreds.  Let stand on a cooling rack at least 20 mins before serving.  Recommended way to maximize enjoyment: Serve a warmed, thick slice with melted butter and/or a touch of raw honey (aka the perfect breakfast).

    Trying to hurry and take a picture so I can eat it already!

  6. ENJOY!!

Kitchen Sink No-Bakes

I’ve seen claims about “healthy no-bake cookies” on the interwebs that have a worse ingredients list than this one, but I’m not so sure this constitutes a healthy recipe.  When making these little guys, just keep your portions small if you’re concerned about the calories.

The italicized ingredients below are all “optional,” in that you can use whatever you want, but you do want to use something to replace them.  This time around, I added sunflower seeds, whole cashews, whole almonds, raisins, and pumpkin seeds to my “everything but the kitchen sink” bars, but you can add whatever you have on hand (the more variety the better! Dark chocolate chunks, dried cranberries/cherries/blueberries, crunched up pretzels would all be good.).  If you’re not going to store these for longer than a day or so, then you could even dice up an apple, squeeze a little lemon on top, and throw some fresh fruit in these bars!  Be creative!

Kitchen Sink No-Bakes:

I know it's carbs, fats, and sugar - but that's from oats, nuts, and honey... healthy? Idk. Delicious? Absolutely!

Equipment:

  • Sheet pan (or whatever flat storage container with a lid you want to keep them in), medium bowl, gallon plastic bag, spatula, measuring spoon, measuring cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Nutella
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 2+ Tbsp milk (as needed)
  • 1 cup instant/quick oats, toasted
  • 2 cups cinnamon Life cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 whole cashews and/or almonds
  • 1-2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Mix together the honey, peanut butter, Nutella, and 2 Tbsp milk in the medium bowl with the spatula.  In the large plastic bag, crush your Life cereal and add the other dry ingredients. Give em a good shake so they’re all mixed together.
  2. Add the dry to the sticky about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it’s gets well-incorporated with your spatula.  Add milk as needed to keep it a little moist and sticky.
  3. Form little logs or balls with the mixture.  Chill on a baking sheet (or in your storage container) about 30 mins before serving.  Keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
  4. ENJOY!!

Puffy Vegan Sugar Cookies

Baking is not one of my favorite activities.  It takes a lot of planning, and unlike throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot, if I’m missing just one ingredient then my baking adventure is over before it even got a chance to start.

But!  In my on-going quest to eat as environmentally friendly as possible, there is one vice I didn’t have the ability to kick – until now: Cookies.  A cookie is my favorite way to end a meal.  They’re portable, dunkable, and are available in oh so many varieties of deliciousness!  However, I also am on tight money and time budgets, and tracking down fair-trade vanilla extract takes a lot of what I don’t have.  So, after considerable trial and error, I’ve found a recipe that requires the bare minimum of perishable ingredients (meaning I can buy a lot at once and it can sit in my pantry until I need it).  The only exceptions are the (soy)milk and lemon juice.

These cookies are very light and fluffy and can be a great place to start customizing your own perfect pantry-friendly dessert! I plan on adding ingredients like cocoa powder, instant coffee, citrus zest or dried fruit to this basic cookie recipe in the future.

Vegan Sugar Cookies: (yields 24 large cookies)

Vegan Sugar Cookies

 

Equipment:

  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment (or electric hand mixer – sorry, but these cookies just don’t come out the same when they’re not really well whipped), metal spatula, silicone spatula, measuring spoons, solid and liquid measuring cups, cookie sheet, Silpat (or greased parchment paper), large platter or cooling rack, oven

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (yeah, I didn’t say they were good for you)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup of milk or soy milk
  • The juice from one lemon (at least 1-2 Tbsp)
  • Raw sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F. Use the mixer to cream together the sugar and shortening on medium high.  Add the lemon juice to the (soy)milk (this makes a buttermilk substitute that let’s us go totally vegan with this eggless, butterless recipe).  Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add the lemon/milk mixture.
  2. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to the mixer.  Further reduce the mixer speed to low and add the AP flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the batter reaches a cake-batter like consistency (this batter is very sticky, but should look light almost like a meringue).
  3. Place your Silpat or greased parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Drop six generous spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
  4. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time on an upper rack for 10 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the sheet while still hot and let cool completely before eating.
  5. ENJOY!!

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Even Easier Applesauce

I’m about to make some breakfast muffins for next week, but while I’m waiting for my applesauce to cool, I thought I’d post my applesauce recipe.  This is the absolute, no question, hands-down easiest method to make applesauce I’ve ever used.  Yes, applesauce is not difficult to make as it is, but what if you could find a recipe that you simply combined all the ingredients, walked away and when you came back the apples had even mushed themselves??

Well…

Even Easier Applesauce:

Even Easier Applesauce

Equipment:

  • Slow-cooker, paring knife (and/or apple corer-slicer), a solid and a liquid measuring cup, measuring spoon, cutting board

Ingredients: (This recipe makes about 3-4 cups prepared applesauce.  If you’d like to make more/less, you can multiply up/down and these proportions will still work.)

  • 8 apples, cored, peeled, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup lemon water*
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

1) Add all ingredients to a cool slow cooker.  Cook on High for 3-4 hours. Allow applesauce to cool to room temperature.

2) ENJOY!!

What to Drink? Water with lemon

*I like to add some acid to my applesauce to brighten up the flavor.  This time around, I happened to have left-over grapefruit juice from my Broiled Cinnamon Grapefruit, so I added about 4 Tbsp of the grapefruit juice to 1 cup of water.  Any acidic juice you have on hand would work!

Note: Your applesauce will likely be darker than mine pictured above.  The slow-cooker tends to produce a rich, sweet, brown applesauce.  This was a quick batch that I cut down the cook time on and hand-mashed because I want to go ahead and get these muffins made!