Posted by Noelle on January 24th, 2015
Categories: Breakfasts, Desserts
Tags: ,,,,,

My dear friends, it has been way too long since I have been able to post. Life has been challenging and I needed to take some time to gather up my strength and more importantly heal. Things are getting better, slowly, but we are definitely getting there. It is a huge lesson to realize that most things are out of our control, and also to be reminded that some things are. This year has forced me to step back and focus on my own health. I had been having crappy digestive issues, and am still battling daily with it. So I started digging much deeper into nutrition and trying to figure out how to heal this sensitive gut. This led me to an elimination diet... right before Thanksgiving. I know, totally insane! I somehow managed not to kill any innocent people during this time, I will chalk that up to a miracle. I learned a lot from doing the diet. I learned that corn really messes up my stomach and gluten does even worse things. Sigh. I have determined that I can have soy in moderation, but I am still experimenting with it, so it may be temporary. So let's start with corn.... corn made me spend a ton of time in the loo (sorry TMI) for almost 2 weeks. Yay what fun. Gluten, the sworn enemy of many, I thought I was going to be fine with... wrong!

I had planned for weeks what my first gluten treat was going to be... Stuffing (hey it was the holidays)! I bought a frozen loaf of organic whole grain bread, thawed it, and cut it gingerly into cubes... Salivating the whole time. It got mixed oh so thoughtfully with sauteed onions and celery, etc, and baked lovingly until the top was just crunchy and the interior moist. I savored every single bite. Then weirdly, not more than an hour later my ears started to clog up and be painful. What?!?! Then the dizziness with a foggy head (although it's debatable whether that is normal for me), then a long headache followed by laying in bed the entire night with immense stomach pain. Sharp stomach pain. Then me and the toilet did our dance. It was so bad, that I haven't had a bite of gluten since (at least not knowingly). I did subsequently rule out the yeast as it did occur to me that it could have been an offender. So as a vegan who needs to eat both gluten and corn free (and for a long while soy free), it has been interesting trying to find recipes that are satisfying and tasty. This recipe is a life saver and is also low in sugar, we'll get into that another time. Truly one of the first recipes that made my want to cry tears of joy for eating something that felt normal and slightly indulgent. Sometimes we all just want to feel normal. Seems like a simple thing, but for way too many, not that easy a thing to feel at all.

These are divine with a hot mug of tea, and perfect for a snowy day. This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars. The changes I made were to drastically reduce the sugar and to make maple the superstar. You can find the original recipe here: Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars. I really appreciate that there are so many wonderful sites out there that provide hope and healthy options for all. Sending you all a hug and hoping that life has been kind to you and yours.

Vegan Salted Maple Bars

Salted Maple Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients:

  • flax egg mixture (1 TBS + 1 tsp ground flax mixed with 4 TBS water)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS coconut oil, softened
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 TBS maple extract, try to find a natural one
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour in the food processor
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS mini chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper allowing paper to come up the sides for easy removal later. Spray the paper with non-stick spray after it is in place.

Make the flax egg by mixing the ground flax with water, stirring well, and set aside. Place the coconut oil jar (with lid on tightly) in a bowl with hot water for a couple minutes to help soften the oil. You want it softened but not melted. In a large bowl add the softened coconut oil and the coconut sugar. Use an electric mixer to cream the oil and sugar together until there are no lumps of oil left. Next, add the flax egg and maple extract, beat with the mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add baking soda and salt, and beat again to combine.

Add the oat flour, oats, and almond flour to the bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients into the wet, take your time with this. The batter will be very thick. If needed, you can add a teaspoon of water if it seems too dry. Stir in the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, making sure they get distributed evenly. Scoop the mixture into the pan. Wet your hands with water and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, making sure to get into the corners. Wet your hands as needed to keep mixture from sticking. Smooth out the top as best you can and try to make sure the layer is even. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on the top and gently press into batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and slice into approx 15 bars. Store these in the fridge or freezer if you need them to last more than a few days. Enjoy!

Salted Maple Toffee Bars Vegan

Vegan Maple Toffee Oatmeal Bars

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Posted by Noelle on August 4th, 2013
Categories: Desserts
Tags: ,,,,

Strawberries are the definition of summer. They are plump, sweet, and juicy and packed full of bright strawberry flavor, it's like sunshine for your mouth :-) They are great in so many different things. When I bring them home, I try to get them quickly hulled, and quartered to macerate in the fridge. The remainder get added to oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, etc until I find myself stopping yet again at the local farm for my bright red fix. Even the extra-ripe (ok, damaged and/or squishy), strawberries can get blended with banana, and at extra special times, peanut butter, then frozen into lickable dog treats. Your dog thinks you should go make that right now... Even though the season for these beautiful red gems is short, they spread an immense amount of long-lasting happiness. I love happy food. Strawberries and shortcake are the quintessential summer dessert around here. This recipe is really easy, cooks quickly, and is refined sugar-free. Yay! The shortcake itself is kissed with vanilla and just divine topped with the macerated strawberries and a large dollop of vegan whipped cream. But I must confess, the cake would also be heavenly topped with fresh peaches, sauteed plums, or even mixed berries. It's a not-too-sweet base that let's the fruit be the shining star. So let's celebrate summer and go spread some strawberry happiness!

Vegan Strawberry & Vanilla Shortcake

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

Macerated Strawberries:

  • 1 quart of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar, more or less depending on the sweetness of the strawberries
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp good balsamic vinegar, optional
  • a couple pinches of salt

Vanilla Shortcake:

  • 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
  • 2 TBS warm water
  • 1-1/2 cup of organic white flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted... you could use unrefined, but it will add a coconut flavor

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. While oven is preheating, mix strawberries, agave, vinegar (if using), and salt together in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Grease a 9" square or round cake pan. In a small bowl, whisk the egg replacer and water together. Set Aside. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. In another small bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Add the wet into the dry, add the egg replacer mixture. Stir until well combined. Pour and spoon mixture into the pan. Spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 14-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan. To serve, put a slice of shortbread on a plate or bowl and add the macerated strawberries. If you like, top that with coconut whipped cream or your favorite vanilla vegan ice cream. Enjoy!

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry & Vanilla Shortcake

Vegan Strawberries & Vanilla Shortcake

Posted by Noelle on May 20th, 2013
Categories: Sides
Tags: ,,,

This recipe is completely inspired by my first, but hopefully not last, visit to Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia. The hubs and I were celebrating our veganversary and wanted to go somewhere special. Special does not begin to describe Vedge. From the minute I walked in, my vegan heart skipped a beat. As we were ushered past the vegan bar and into the main dining room, the ambiance and decor came together like magic. Minimalist in it's style, yet warm from the ample glowing ceiling lights, with every detail of this historic building thoughtfully restored... all with a neutral palette which quickly draws your eye to the gorgeous food on the tables. That is the real star of this place. We sit down and are given the menu and the day's "dirt list" which is the daily farm-to-table special collection of vegetables. We quickly order beer and begin the hard task of figuring out what food to order. Kung pao cauliflower with peanuts, black vinegar, and cilantro or asparagus & garlic mustard soup w/ preserved lemon and pepitas? How about both. So the food arrives and we dig in. Food orgasms begin. Sorry but seriously, those vegetables were that good. So we order two more plates of veggies. Brussels sprouts, shaved and grilled with smoked mustard arrives. We moan our way through it, savoring every delectable bite. It dawns on me that I have never had vegetables coaxed to such beautiful perfection before. It makes me want to cry tears of joy. I need to take a moment... Needless to say there were many more plates of food and of course dessert, which will require a whole post on it's own. I left Vedge so impressed and so inspired. The hubs and I set out to create our own version of those Brussels sprouts that would be quick, simple, and easy... but still taste special. And here you have it. This truly feels gourmet. It would be a great side dish to impress dinner guests with, or to make the foodie in you sing... or to just celebrate this gift of life. Peace!

Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

Smoky Mustard & Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/8 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 1 TBS tahini
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Brussels Sprouts:

  • 1 lb or more Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS canola oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (depending on what saltiness you like)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Preheat a grill with a cast iron skillet or pan over medium heat. Next, make the mustard sauce. Pull all ingredients except the water into a bowl and whisk rapidly until combined. Slowly add water while whisking until the mixture becomes a thick creamy sauce. Add more water if needed to help thin it out a bit.

In a large bowl toss the Brussels sprouts with the canola oil, salt & pepper. Once grill and pan are heated, add sprout mixture and cook stirring and tossing frequently for 3 - 5 minutes or until the sprouts just start to get browned on the edges. Be careful not to overcook, you still want them to have some texture. Pile them neatly onto a serving platter and drizzle with mustard sauce and more fresh cracked black pepper. Makes 4 generous sides.