Holiday Baking! And…GO!

GF DF Chocolate Cream Pie

Crust:
Adapted from Minimalist Baker

3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
3/4 cup  raw almonds
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar, plus more to taste
3-4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Filling:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 tablespoons cocoa powder* (depending on taste)
3 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk**
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vegan butter, dairy-free margarine

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Blend all ingredients in blender, except coconut oil, to a fine crumb. Gradually add coconut oil while blending. I used all 4 tablespoons and my crust was a little too wet. Add oil until the crumbs can hold together. Pat crust into pie plate, cover the bottom of plate and go up the sides as much as you can. Bake for 15 minutes then raise oven temperature to 375° and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until lightly browned. Let crust cool on wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

In a large sauce pan whisk all the dry ingredients together. Mix egg yolks and milk together and gradually add to the pan while whisking. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and add in vanilla and vegan butter. Pour into pie crust, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve topped with coconut whip.

*I used 4 tablespoon of cocoa this year to make the pie a little more kid friendly. 6 tablespoons of cocoa makes a rich, dark pie, a little more suitable for grownups.

**As with any custard/pudding the fat content of the milk that you use matters. I had half a can of coconut milk left over in the fridge that I used. I made up the rest of the three cups with a coconut almond blend. Just be sure to use unsweetened milk or the pie will be too sweet.

For some reason my husband doesn’t think that chocolate pie is Christmas-y. Chocolate was a regular at our house for holiday dinners. Then again we rarely had apple pie for holidays. My mom made fabulous apple pie, but it was an every day dessert, not fancy enough for holiday feasts. We always had pumpkin and pecan pie and then a chocolate pie or pumpkin cake roll or my Aunt Bonnie’s French Cherry Pie. (I’m still working on making that one dairy free!) I saw a Thanksgiving post on FB that showed three pies for six people. My first thought was that is not near enough pie, but my friend was thinking that was too much pie. Only three pies for six people? All families are different. Our family is a bit food centric, sweet centric to be more specific and we like it that way.

I’m not going to the store!

How did this happen? I only have about 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance in the fridge. Do I not know that it is Thanksgiving? My sweet husband needs butter to inject the turkey and I need butter for the stuffing, not to mention all the other things that “just need a little bit of butter”. Not to worry. I have coconut milk, coconut oil and a few pantry items needed to make vegan butter.
I used to make butter all the time, but then I got lazy and we moved closer to Fred Meyer, where they carry Earth Balance. It doesn’t take too long to make vegan butter, neither is it too difficult. The clean up after making butter is the most tedious part. Right now my kids are playing in a sink full of warm soapy water and greasy measuring cups. I’m quite sure that the cups and my children will need to be washed when they are done playing.
This is one of the first recipes I posted a few years ago. At the time Earth Balance was still a little tricky to find everywhere. It’s still a great recipe to have for those times when you run out of butter or the store is closed or you want something that just tastes a little better. My husband is still amazed that I can make something so close to butter in our kitchen. Here is the original post Can’t have Thanksgiving without BUTTER.10007488_10202338683121303_2497104984883312772_n

Here is the recipe just a little updated:

Vegan Butter

  • 1 cup+2 Tbsp+2 tsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not the kind in a can)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups+1 Tbsp+1 tsp coconut oil, measured after melted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or any other liquid oil)
  • 1 tablespoon+1 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  1.  Measure coconut milk, add apple cider vinegar and salt and whisk together . Let sit while working on rest of recipe.
  2.  Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it’s barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. (There are still some chunks in mine, but they get blended up. I just don’t want the oil to be too warm.) Pour coconut and olive oil into processor or blender.
  3. Add the liquid lecithin, sprinkle the xanthan gum over oils and process until well blended. Pour in the coconut milk mixture and process 2 minutes in food processor or 30 seconds in high powered blender. It will thicken up to the consistency of heavy cream.
  4. Place silicone mold on a cookie sheet. Measure ½ cup at a time and pour into mold, I use a mini loaf pan that is just right. It makes it much easier to use in baking if you measure before you mold.
  5.  Pop the pan in freezer.
  6. After they are hard take the cubes out of the mold and wrap in plastic wrap.

I usually keep my butter in the freezer and just have one or two sticks in the fridge. You can’t leave this butter out like dairy butter, but it will melt easily on toast or warm rolls.

This recipe is based on the recipes I found here.  www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/veganbutters/veganbutter  There is no way I could have come up with this concept on my own. Mattie is a bit of a genius! If you want learn more about butter and vegan butter, read this article. Again, I have to thank the vegans for improving my quality of life. THANK YOU!

 

Mexican Veggie Soup

I bought my first package of “Veggie Ground”…um…meat? product?…fake hamburger. Yves Veggie Cuisine. I am not a fan of soy. I remember reading several papers about the dangers of soy years ago and I stopped using soy milk. Ask me what those papers were specifically warning against and I will give you a vague answer, possibly involving hormones. Anyway, I was scared enough to not buy another half-gallon of soy milk. But some things, like Tofutti cream cheese taste better to me than other brands I’ve tried. Moderation! Plus, I’m a bit stumped coming up with vegan protein. I can’t seem to eat enough nuts and seeds to get enough protein. And yes, I have read the blogs about people not needing as much protein as “guidelines” tell us we need, but when my hair starts falling out, I’m eating more protein.

I started making this soup a couple of years ago with ground beef. My sweetie loves it! Not sure how the no beef version will go over.  I love it! And if I’m cooking, that’s what matters. It is a great way to get my kids to eat veggies. For some reason I can put just about anything in soup and they will eat it. Unless they have decided that they no longer like soup. In which case, I just give up.

Mexican Veggie Soup

  • 1 package of veggie meat crumbles or 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced or shredded, what ever you prefer
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or beef broth)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups baby spinach

If you are using beef, brown it first then on to the next step. Saute “meat”, onion, celery and bell pepper in a little olive oil. When the onion is transparent add carrots, crushed tomatoes, broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes. About 10 minutes before serving stir in the green beans. Right before serving stir in spinach. There have been times that I wanted the spinach just wilted so I filled my bowl with greens and then poured hot soup over the top. OR if my children are being picky I’ll chop the spinach and let it simmer for a couple of minutes in the soup. Greens can be a personal thing.

 

Old Country Comfort Food

Sausage Meatballs and Sauerkraut

  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour (or all-purpose if not GF)
  • 1 quart sauerkraut**

Bring sauerkraut to a boil in a wide pan. Mix sausage, eggs, onion, rice and flour all together. (I use my hands, pretty squishy, but it seems to work the best). Make a well in the sauerkraut for each meatball (4-6). Form meat mixture into balls*. Put each meatball into a separate cavity and lower heat. Simmer covered for about an hour.

Serve with green beans topped with fresh grated nutmeg and appelmoes (applesauce).

*They will not be firm! These are not like Italian meatballs that can be made and put on a cookie sheet. Pretty much, get a handful of the mix and plop it into the sauerkraut.
**I bought Saverne Artisanal Kraut in Garlic and Dill flavor. Two, one pound bags will get a quart of sauerkraut. As in any recipe the ingredients will change the recipe. You can make this with Jimmy Dean sausage and Vlasic sauerkraut. That would not be my recommendation, but it would work. The Saverne Kraut was pretty yummy. The garlic and dill weren’t too strong, in fact I might add garlic and dill to the recipe next time.
This picture only has half the amount of sauerkraut called for in the recipe. It should cover at least half of your meatballs, but if I took the picture that way you wouldn’t be able to see the meatballs.

Where do our comfort foods come from? We all have different comfort foods that depend on where your family came from or where you grew up.  Perhaps there is an emotion or memory tied to a certain food. Today I’m making “Meatballs and Kraut” or Pork Sausage Meatballs and Sauerkraut. I didn’t particularly care for this dish when I was a small child, but as I got older I began to crave it. It was one of the recipes I learned as teenager. I remember a small cooking disaster when my sister and I burnt the sauerkraut. That was bad. Don’t do that. The smell will haunt you (and your kitchen).

When I was little we would buy a 4-H hog and have it butchered by a German butcher. Not that my mother was looking for a German butcher, the best local butcher just happened to be German. Anyway, the sausage he made was not too spicy, but was very garlicky and it was perfect for these meatballs.

I want this recipe to be from my great-grandmother. Something her mother made on cold rainy days in the Netherlands. It could be from my Dutch family. BUT if my mom was alive and I asked her about it, she might say “Oh, I got that from a Better Homes and Garden’s magazine”. Either way, this is my perfect winter comfort food.

My husband also loves Meatballs and Kraut. He says the meatballs remind him of boudin; a definite comfort food for Louisianans.  He likes to add a little spice to his and that is fine with me. It’s pretty amazing that this Northern European style meal can comfort a Dutch Oregonian and a Japanese Louisianan. Ah, food, you surprise me again.

 

Lunchbox “Cowboy” Cookies

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Gluten Free Peanut Butter Ranger Cookies

  • ½ cup margarine (dairy-free)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats (gluten free)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups rice crispies (gluten free)
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips (optional)

Cream together margarine, sugars and peanut butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix soda, baking powder, salt, oats and coconut.  Gently stir in crispies and chocolate chips. Chill dough for at least 1 hour (overnight would be better). Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on pan and then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 4 doz.

I am in so much trouble with these cookies. I would eat these until I am sick. I have to put them into a secure container as soon as they are cool. I’ve already eaten four, before they were actually cool. I must remember I made these to put in my daughter’s lunch, not eat (all of them) myself.

This recipe has been modified quite a bit. It started out as a recipe that my mom’s friend got from a bakery in Sun Valley. They were called ranger cookies. I halved the recipe and added peanut butter to them. Then I wanted to make them gluten free so I changed just about everything from the original recipe. Then I added chocolate chips, because my daughter wanted chocolate chip cookies. That is often the way recipes work at our house. Pretty sure my mom’s friend would not recognize these cookies as being the offspring of her recipe. I guess adding the chocolate chips makes these more like cowboy cookies. Whatever you want to call them, they are delicious!

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I had to put the cookies in bags inside the canister so that I don’t eat them all. These are reserved for school lunches only. Seriously, I can’t stop eating them!

GF DF Brownies

GF DF Brownies

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup DF chocolate chips
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup GF flour blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Melt coconut oil and chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl.  Stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix well, until smooth. Add GF flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold flour in, until just incorporated. Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. Bake for 25- 30 minutes at 350°.

 

So, I made these for my little GF girl to have in her lunch. BUT, they smell so amazing! AND they are brownies. I really don’t know it I can resist them. She can’t eat the whole pan. They will be stale before she could eat all of them. Right?

These brownies are pretty fragile. I can’t seem to get the first one out of the pan without some damage. I have been sending them to school, but I prefer them in a dairy free brownie sundae!

Not a good photo. I’m working on it.

Mini Donut Break

 

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It is fall break here and at our house any school break is a reason to make donuts. This time I had two requests from the children. The eldest asked for gluten free and the youngest asked for “no pumpkin”. But it is FALL! Fine, no pumpkin. I wanted to have spice donuts, but after I put hemp protein powder in these babies, I decided that chocolate would be better. My kids are pretty good at eating what I give them, but green donuts aren’t terribly appetizing. So a couple of tablespoons of cocoa and these donuts were perfectly chocolate. These are so good! I’m still so new to gluten free baking. I haven’t even begun to figure it out. These actually turned out. They were light and so tender. I was trying to find a substitute for rye flour and in a list I saw hemp flour. AND since gluten free products benefit from protein added to them I thought “hemp protein powder”. It worked. I am so happy.

GF DF Chocolate Donuts

  • ½ cup GF flour blend (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • ¼ cup hemp protein powder (Manitoba Harvest)
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg OR dash pumpkin pie spice
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (or carob powder)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  •  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Stir egg, milk, and vanilla together. Add wet into dry ingredients. Stir in melted coconut oil. Preheat oven to 400° while the batter rests. Fill greased donut (or muffin) pan 1/3 full. Bake for 6-10 minutes (depending on pan size, 6 min. is perfect for mini donuts). Cool on wire rack and shake in*/sprinkle on powdered sugar. Makes about 18-24 mini donuts.

I have tried filling the donut pan using a spoon because I think it will be easier or less wasteful or something, but using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with the corner snipped is the best way to fill the pan.

*My girls love to cover the donuts in tons of sugar. Put 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a (food safe) paper bag. Gently toss 1-3 donuts in the bag at a time. These donuts are fragile and one or two have been lost to overzealous sugar shaking.

 

Raco? Taco Rice

I was thinking of calling this Mexican dirty rice or taco rice. The “raco” name was suggested by my eight year old. My DH went further to suggest that we open a raco truck. Hmm, yeah that isn’t happening. I was craving taco meat and rice and tortilla chips; raco was born. I guess this is like hamburger helper, although I can’t remember ever eating hamburger helper.  I have no idea how I got through college without eating hamburger helper, but as I was dealing with chronic headaches and food allergies at the time, I just never bought the stuff.

Raco

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • 2 Tbsp, Taco Seasoning (Azure Market, GF and no weird stuff)
  • 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (Natural Value Organic)
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, rinsed, stems removed

Brown the ground beef, season with taco seasoning. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add cooked rice and pour tomatoes over all. Cook until bubbly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Top with cilantro leaves and serve with tortilla chips.

Probably best to serve this with a green salad, this isn’t really the healthiest recipe, not veggie packed or anything. Still, it’s easy and yummy and probably not at all original. Oh, well. I mostly wanted to write down the recipe for the next time I make it.

GF DF Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Coco-nutty Chocolate Muffins

Makes 6 Jumbo muffins or 12 regular muffins

  • 3/4 cup GF flour blend (I used Montana Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix, it is mostly oat flour)
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seeds (remove and set aside 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein powder (like Manitoba Harvest Pro50)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

 

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut/almond milk (any dairy-free milk)
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon old-fashioned molasses
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional toppings:

  • sliced almonds
  • coconut chips (big flakes)

 

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners.

Pour vinegar and dairy-free milk into small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

Mix that tablespoon of flax seed meal (you took out of the 3/4 cup) and mix with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside

Combine first 8 ingredients through chocolate chips in large mixing bowl.

Stir together pumpkin puree, sugar, molasses, vanilla, flax mixture (egg replacer) and milk/vinegar mixture in a small(ish) mixing bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry. Gently stir until combined. Divide batter into muffin tin. (I use a measuring cup.) Top with sliced almonds and coconut chips (optional).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean (hard to avoid chocolate chips though).

Almond Joy Muffin

 

I have a problem with Almond Joy Granola (minimalist baker). Every time I make it, I must eat it until it is gone. I have one bowl for breakfast and another one for afternoon snack and one more before I go to bed. My children may get one bowl, if they are quick. Favorite granola, hands down! Now,we also have our favorite chocolate muffins, but they have whole wheat flour and wheat germ and I am trying so hard to keep my child gluten free. So, what if we substitute ground almonds for the wheat germ and add in coconut because coconut goes with chocolate and almonds? I’m thinking these could be the next favorite muffins. (wrote this before muffins were actually made)

(written after muffins made and eaten) These taste nothing like the Almond Joy Granola or the candy bar (from what I remember). These muffins are super chocolaty with coconut and almond accents. I’ll probably try again for a more pronounced coconut flavored muffin, but for now I’m happy with chocolate!

I made these muffins last night. After they had been baking half an hour, I turned off the oven and left them in there overnight. This morning I served my (wary) children, each half a muffin. One picked the coconut off of the top and left the rest crumbled on her plate. My other child didn’t leave a crumb. So a mixed review. I thought they were yummy. Gluten free, dairy free,vegan, high fiber, what is not to love? I’m thinking I’ll have another one for snack. Is it snack time?

Is It? Is It Here? FALL!

I clearly remember the first time I found that I liked Fall. It was my freshman year of college. School didn’t start until the end of September, so for the first time in my life I could see Autumn coming. I wasn’t dreading the beginning of school. I enjoyed the weather getting cooler and the leaves changing. Plus, after school began I felt pretty collegiate walking around campus under the canopy of colorful foliage. Now, holy cow, people are going crazy over fall. Were people always crazy about fall, but because we didn’t have Pinterest we didn’t know? I like pumpkin, but get a grip! Pumpkin doesn’t have to be in everything! So, I’m gonna share some pumpkin recipes. Just kidding, no really I am. Only my favorite one though. I found I don’t care for savory pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pasties? I found a whole page of savory pumpkin recipes from the Huffington Post, go ahead knock yourself out. This recipe is from Grandma Velma. She wasn’t really my grandma. My dad called her Aunt Velma, but she wasn’t his aunt either. Grandma Velma was vaguely related to us. Her family and my grandparents came out to Oregon from Arkansas about the same time. She was a character. She sewed quilts and watched soap operas all day. I have five quilts in my closet she made, plus an afghan and we were barely related! Just imagine how many quilts her actual grandchildren have! She was a great, old-fashioned, Southern gramma. And a great cook.

Pumpkin Cake Roll-From Grandma Velma

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter (like earth balance)

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a jelly roll pan and line with wax or parchment paper.

Beat eggs on high for 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients, fold into pumpkin mixture. pour batter into prepared pan. Top with nuts.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lay out a tea towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

When the cake is done carefully turn it out onto the sugar covered tea towel. remove the paper from the back of the cake. Roll the cake in the towel and let it cool.

Beat all the filling ingredients together until smooth.

Slowly and carefully unroll the cake. Smooth the filling over entire cake and roll again (with out the towel).

Chill and slice to serve.

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