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 March 24th, 2013
Categories: Entrees
Tags: ,,,,

It's been awhile since I have been able to post. I hope life has been good to you 🙂 It feels great to finally start reclaiming my life back after what seems like forever. Where have I been you ask? I have been helping close family members (yep, plural) battle serious illness. It's during this time you find out what you are really made of. I found out that my sense of humor never takes a vacation and that it might be my best weapon against the illness monster. The monster tried very hard to bring us all down... We didn't let it win. We aren't out of the clear yet so my postings will be a little sporadic, but as each week gets better and better I will be working on more recipes and posts.

This week's recipe is about simplicity. Time is precious. Now go hug your spouse, your partner, your kids, your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your dogs, your cat, your iguana... you get the idea. Tell them you love them right now. Great, now back to the recipe. This is one of those recipes that you don't even have to get out of your jammies to make. We all have those days. This is about minimal time investment with a huge, delicious return. That sounds good right? Yep it sure is. So make this in the morning, after you have slept in, had your cup of coffee, and are functioning well enough to use a knife. Put it in your crockpot or slow cooker and just hours later you will have some amazing comfort food. This can be served with just about anything. I like mine with a baked potato or alongside rice with a kale salad. Let's see...you could stuff it into a pita, roll it into a wrap, or eat it straight up...Did I mention it's versatile? It also makes great leftovers. Over the long cooking hours the tempeh absorbs the bbq sauce, releasing it as you bite into the perfect juicy and meaty texture. It's easy, simple, comforting, delicious and most of all pretty healthy. My favorite combination 🙂 Peace and good health to you and yours.

Vegan BBQ Tempeh

BBQ Tempeh - Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of tempeh, 8 oz each, I used plain soy tempeh
  • 16-18 ounces of barbecue sauce, pick something healthy and tasty, mine was agave sweetened
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of water

Directions:

Turn your crockpot on high. Cut the tempeh into 3/4" cubes. I cut it lengthwise into 3 longs strips and then cut those strips into 9 equal pieces. Place tempeh and sliced onion into the crockpot. Add barbecue sauce and water. Stir gently with a wooden or silicone spoon. Place lid on crockpot and let cook for 5-7 hours on high. You can stir occasionally, but it's not really needed. Serves 4-5.

Vegan BBQ Tempeh

Vegan Tempeh - Barbecue Crockpot