Perfect Vegan Pancakes

standard August 28, 2010 Leave a response

Dinners this week were each a big cooking FAIL. Except maybe the polenta pizza. The husband did not like it but the company we had over did – so maybe a half-success?

This is the first Saturday in a while where I have not had plans all day. And I was craving pancakes, so after my run, green monster, and shower, I made something I knew would come out right!

I’ve made these pancakes 4 or 5 times and they are EASY and PERFECT each time. This morning I contemplated mixing up a batch of the dry ingredients so next time I can just add the almond milk and go. These definitely made me feel better after my unsuccessful attempts at food during the week.

Buckwheat Pancakes with Berries (and Chocolate!)

Adapted from Vegetarian Times, May-June 2010

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c buckwheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3 T sucanat
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 c almond milk (or any non-dairy milk) + an extra Tbsp or two
  • coconut oil for cooking
  • Toppings of choice

Steps:

  1. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and coat evenly with coconut oil.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Add almond milk 1/2 cup at a time. Once batter is mixed you may need to whisk in another tablespoon if it is still too thick.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet/griddle. Add any mix-ins of choice (I recommend blueberries, the husband recommends chocolate chips).
  5. Flip when ready. Cook about another minute and plate. Top with desired toppings.

The combination of the buckwheat and the fruit is delicious.  Especially when eaten outside. 🙂

Now it’s time for meal planning for next week and then an attempt at buckwheat granola bars!

Snack Time

standard May 25, 2010 Leave a response

Finding a good granola or protein bar can be kind of tricky when you’re only eating natural, unprocessed foods. A few weeks ago when we ran out of Luna bars and Zone bars, I decided to make some myself. I was a little skeptical, but they came out awesome! The recipe made 16 bars and we’re out already so I made another batch this weekend, along with a second recipe to provide some variety.

First up:

Peanut Butter Cranberry Go-Bars

Lightly adapted from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c oat bran
  • 3 T flax seed
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 c almond milk
  • 1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T warm water
  • 1/2 c agave nectar or honey
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon

Steps:

  1. Line a 9×13″ pan with plastic wrap and coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients (through cranberries).
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, flax egg, agave, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.
  3. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture and beat until completely blended. Scrape dough into prepared pan and, with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, smooth to fill pan completely and evenly (dough will be really sticky). Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 300. Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic. Cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16 bars, each 1 1/2 inches wide. Place bars about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  6. Wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy grab-and-go. Store bars in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

Second bar:

Fruit and Nut Bars

Lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c whole nuts, toasted & coarsely chopped – I mixed peanuts, almonds, and cashews together
  • 1/2 c dried fruit, coarsely chopped – I used cranberries, raisins, and cherries
  • 2 c high fiber cereal (original recipe calls for 1 c cereal similar to Kashi GoLean and 1 c puffed rice cereal, but I had some Nature’s Valley Blueberry Cinnamon that I used)
  • 1 T Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c sucanat
  • 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T wheat bran
  • Pinch of salt

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Prepare an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray and parchment paper ( the original recipe does not say to do this and mine stuck like crazy!)
  2. Combine nuts, fruit, and cereal in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Combine Earth Balance, sucanat, and agave in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring with a spatula. As soon as the sugar mixture comes to a full boil and the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla, wheat bran, and salt. Pour sugar syrup over the cereal mixture and stir everything together. Make sure the nuts, fruits, and cereals are evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into the pan and press mixture into pan as firmly as possible.
  5. Bake 20 minutes for chewy bars or 30 minutes for crispier bars. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and divide into 8 bars with a sharp knife. You may have to chill the bars to firm them up before cutting.
  6. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container or freeze.

You Have to Try This!

standard March 23, 2010 1 response

Oh my goodness. Everything I made last week was AMAZING. I highly recommend you go get a copy of Giada’s Kitchen and try out whatever looks good to you. It was all delicious! Here is what I made from her cookbook last week:

  • Olive Oil Muffins
  • Tomato Soup with Rosemary – this recipe made enough for me to freeze two bags for future weeks. So simple – just heat 2 cans of diced tomatoes with sautéed onion, carrot, and garlic, some chicken stock and a can of cannellini beans ( I had navy beans on hand that I used.) Puree in a blender and then return to simmer with some rosemary and basil to meld all the flavors.
  • Amaretto-Raspberry Smoothie
  • Spiced Americano – steep allspice and cinnamon in simple syrup made with stevia and add it to the espresso and water. This paired well with the coffee cake below for Saturday’s breakfast.
  • Cantaloupe, Red Onion, and Walnut Salad – since strawberries are in season, I substituted them for the cantaloupe and added some celery. I’m still eating this for lunch this week, it was that good!
  • Turkey Osso Bucco with Broiled Zucchini and Potatoes with Parmesan Crust – these were two separate recipes that I made together. The side that is supposed to go with the osso bucco is a parsley salad that I knew the husband would not enjoy, and since potatoes are his favorite food, I figured  I could get him to eat zucchini as well. I don’t plan on making these two dishes together in the future but they were both delicious on their own.
  • Asparagus Lasagna – since traditional lasagna is kind of heavy when it’s warm outside, this is the perfect alternative. There is no red sauce, just a simple sun-dried tomato pesto layered with the asparagus and ricotta. I’m trying to cook with seasonal foods and this is the month for asparagus, so we’re trying to enjoy it while we can.

Asparagus Lasagna

  • Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas – I didn’t follow this recipe too literally. I dumped in random veggies I needed to use up and substituted the fontina for monterey jack and the rest of the ricotta from the lasagna. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but it worked!
  • Herbed Chicken with Spring Vegetables – BEST DINNER YET! And so simple! Season chicken with thyme, parsley, garlic, and a little red pepper. Sear in a skillet to brown and then bake in the oven until cooked. Saute carrots, snap peas, onion, and mushrooms in a little bit of unsalted butter until tender but still slightly crisp. Serve over chicken. This dish smelled heavenly when I was making it, and thankfully it came out tasting just as good as it smelled. I just might have to make it again this week.
  • Almond, Apricot, and Pine Nut Coffee Cake – I made this for breakfast on Saturday but had to substitute the all-purpose flour for spelt flour and the sugar for sucanat. The molasses in the sucanat turned it a beautiful shade of golden brown. This was the first time I used spelt flour in something and it came out tasting great, so I was excited!

Apricot Coffee Cake

There are definitely plenty more recipes in this book that need to be made, so I will be revisiting it sometime this summer. Thankfully, most recipes are either pretty healthy or are easy to substitute, so it wasn’t too challenging to eat well this week.

Whole Wheat Bread

For those of you wondering about my weekly bake-fest, you’re in luck.  On top of making three loaves of bread for the next few weeks, and the coffee cake for breakfast, I made THE BEST COOKIES EVER. At least the best clean-eating cookies.  You can substitute the almond butter if you would like. I made a batch with the almond butter and then a  second batch with peanut butter that were just as good, but I definitely would try to stick to the original recipe, at least the first time you try them.

Almond-Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Clean Eating, March-April 2010

Ingredients:

  • 1 c pure almond butter
  • 3/4 c sucanat
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Don’t skip this step! I learned from experience – the molasses in sucanat is very sticky when it is baked.)
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Spoon on to parchment-lined baking sheet, giving plenty of room in between each cookie. They will spread out quite a bit when they bake.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will still be soft but they are done. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes so they can firm up before transferring to cooling rack or plate. This recipe should make between 20-24 cookies.