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.

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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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Easter Dinner Plus

I tend to over-cook on holidays. Growing up, our holidays were so focused on food that I feel like my children will be missing something if I don’t have a feast for them every holiday. So, Easter.

Brunch Menu:
Deviled eggs
bacon
sausage links
poppy-seed muffins
fruit and juice

Dinner Menu:
Roast Pork
mashed potatoes
carrots
potato salad
spinach salad
green beans
lemon meringue pie

This is what I planned for my family. Me, husband, two girls. Four people.  I was the only one to eat the roast on Sunday. Apparently, I should have assumed that my children would prefer left-over chili-mac to a roast dinner. The dreams of sitting down to a well laid table with flowers and candles and children in their frilly Easter dresses was dashed. The reality being children gobbling up chili-mac surrounded by pastel colored tin foil candy wrappers. And my husband sitting in his chair in the living room, eating only potato salad and sausages. That seems to be the way holidays go in our house. If I really cared I would force my family to change, but if they are happy, I’ll leave it alone.

I might have got a bit carried away, but, BUT I learned something! I put two small roasts in the crock pot and I have three different meals. After I had my roast dinner, I put the left over meat in Ziploc bag and stuck it in the fridge. The next day I took out the bag and kneaded the meat until it was shredded. I love to use a mixer to shred chicken when it is hot, but this was even easier. You just need more time. So, after I smooshed the meat around the bag I took out half and warmed it up with BBQ sauce (recipe below) and served pulled pork sandwiches. The other half I warmed up with salsa verde (Herdez brand) and made pork tacos. And tonight my family can decide if they want BBQ or tacos. I love left overs.

I did make a change to my menu; I made a chocolate chess pie instead of the lemon meringue. I wanted something a little easier, with fewer steps. Here are a couple of recipes so people like me might actually read this post.

 

Sonny’s BBQ Sauce
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (scant)
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or less for the kids
Several dashes liquid smoke

Whisk it all together and heat on the stove if you want.

Chocolate Chess Pie

½ cup margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup cocoa
3 eggs
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
Unbaked 9” pie shell

Cream margarine and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Turn into pie shell and bake at 325º for about 45 minutes or until firm. Let cool before serving. If it is still warm at serving time add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This pie is also yummy the next day just out of the fridge. It is chocolate pie, it’s just good.

 

When I came up with the BBQ sauce recipe Sonny’s wasn’t selling their sauce except at their restaurants. When we lived in Florida we went to Sonny’s quite often and we always had sauce packets in the fridge. BBQ isn’t so popular in Idaho. We have a couple of places that we like to go, but (even though it’s a chain) I miss Sonny’s. Now I see that you can buy their sauce on Amazon, but I like the recipe I use. I really don’t feel compelled to spend $17 on BBQ sauce. If you have never been to a Sonny’s, the sauce is sweet, a little tangy and a little spicy, but mostly sweet. I like it that way. We once went to BBQ in Alabama and there was no sugar in their sauce; tomato base with mustard, vinegar and no sugar. No thank you. Yes, I am from the Northwest and no, I don’t know anything about barbecue, but I know what I like. (And that wasn’t it!)

The chocolate chess pie recipe is from my mom. You can leave out the cocoa and have a plain chess pie, which I love covered in fresh blackberry or raspberry syrup. THE taste of summer! Better make a note of that and make some chess pie and berry syrup in a few months. I love summer.

Can I Give Up SWEETS? Um, no.

The thinnest I have been as an adult was during my vegan experiment. However, my hair was also falling out, so perhaps I wasn’t doing it quite right. Last night I was thinking that I should make another vegan effort. The thing is, I don’t think that meat is a problem for me. I don’t have the passion for saving animals. That sounds heartless, but I like to eat meat. I know where it comes from. I ate vegan just for health reasons. Pretty sure skinless chicken breasts aren’t making me fat. Yes, I gave up meat and all animal edibles, but I also gave up sweets and alcohol.

So here I am again, facing my problem, my addiction, my passion: sugar. As I am writing this I have two tabs waiting for me to click them. The Minimalist Baker is calling me! Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies! AND Easy Raw Vegan Brownies! I want to make them so much and they are vegan! Doesn’t that count for something? Am I over-thinking this whole eating thing? No, I don’t think I am.

Not over-thinking, but thinking the wrong way. I have a problem with eating sweets until they are gone. I can’t make a pan of brownies and eat one. I am greedy. Ooh, that is an ugly word! It’s true though, I don’t want to share my sweets. I want the first cookie out of the oven and I want the last one too. So, what do I do?

Either, 1. give up all sweets (will work for a time, but not a permanent solution), 2. make healthier sweets (better, as long as I don’t eat the whole recipe, negating the healthy part) 3. make small batch recipes (again, I still have to pay attention. I got into trouble with “single serving” desserts. I ate a mug cake that was almost 700 calories. That is still less than Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but as I will never eat that cheesecake…um…did I have a point?) 4. give sweets away (I can’t eat the sweets if they are not in my house). (My apologies to any grammarians reading this post.) New Plan! I will implement all of these ideas.

I need to have sweet-free days. A dessert break, that sounds too good. A break from desserts. I know people who don’t eat sweets after every meal, they do exist. Every one has different temptations. I can walk past a slot machine and feel nothing. I cannot walk past a pan of brownies and feel nothing. Even though I know that I can never eat cheesecake, I still like to visit the cheesecakes at the Cheesecake Factory. They look so good in that case. I like to read the descriptions of them in the menu. Focus! How did I get hung up on the Cheesecake Factory? Stop saying cheesecake! Deep breath, drink of water. OK, moving on.

I can make small batch, healthy dessert recipes and give them away. Good idea. Let’s start with pumpkin sugar cookies! To make them a little more healthy, I halved the fat and added more pumpkin. One of my favorite muffin recipes Irresistible Double Chocolate Muffins, doesn’t have any added fat and uses pumpkin instead. I also used more whole wheat flour. Pretty sure I could use all WW pastry flour, but my kids might not eat them. Next objective: smaller batch, well 20 is a pretty small batch for cookies. Plus I am making these on Monday so that I can take most of them to Bible study Tuesday morning! I think that sounds pretty good.

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I decided to use a cookie scoop and not get my hands all gooey.

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A flat bottomed bowl works the best for the cinnamon and sugar.

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I  always use parchment paper for easy clean-up.

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A picture of my hand. I always wanted to be a model.

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These would look so much better if I had any talent for photography or a camera. Both would probably be good.     On to the recipe!

Vegan Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

 

Makes: 20 cookies

Adapted from Minimalist Baker Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

 

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter or solid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I like Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (for thickening/binding)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

 

  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Instructions

  1. Add butter or coconut oil, pumpkin and sugars to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer for 1 minute.
  2. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, mix to combine.
  4. Add flours. Mix until incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Freeze dough for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes (or chill overnight), preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  6. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Scoop out heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls (it will be sticky) or use a cookie scoop. Swirl dough in cinnamon sugar to coat and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake on the center rack for 10-14 minutes, depending on how you like your cookies.
  8. Let rest on pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

These stay puffy and are a bit cakey. I’ve only eaten two three, you know for research.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Chocolate Cake

The internet is so great. I searched for “sour milk chocolate cake” and found the exact recipe I used last summer! Whahoo! Now I just have to remember the changes I made, also I am making a link for the next time I lose the recipe. Original Sour Milk Chocolate Cake, from The English Kitchen. This one is not vegan or dairy-free, but it is a start. The fabulous thing is that this recipe can be vegan and chocolate free (for those times I give up chocolate) and still be yummy.

I have to say that the burnt sugar icing is totally a happy accident. The frosting was supposed to be brown sugar icing, but well…you know how sugar and butter melt and merge together, but sugar and coconut oil, well, don’t? I might have had my sugar on the burner too long, but then I remembered a recipe for ice cream that started with caramelized sugar and creamer from Speedbump Kitchen.  I hate to throw out food, it’s like admitting defeat, so when it looked like I might have ruined the frosting I grabbed some So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer and started stirring. I took a little taste and was pleasantly surprised. My oldest daughter told me it was the best frosting I have ever made. Great. Good thing I wrote it down!

Sour Milk Chocolate (Carob) Cake
With Burnt Sugar Frosting

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa or carob powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 banana or 1 large egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup sour non-dairy milk
1 TBS vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  I used spray coconut oil to grease a 7×11 pyrex pan. A 9″ round cake pan would also work.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together the sour milk and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Stir until moistened and then add the coconut oil while stirring (lumps of hardened coconut oil are not ideal). Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed or use a whisk and beat it by hand to offset the calories.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until it tests done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the  oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.  NO need to remove from the pan.

Note – Even if plant-based milk is past date it isn’t really “sour” so I add 1 TBS of vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make up 1 cup of liquid.

Burnt Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk creamer
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt

Melt coconut oil and brown sugar in medium pot. Bring to a bubble and keep stirring. Remove from heat and add creamer and STAND BACK because it will sputter! And the sugar will harden. Whisk the mixture until sugar lumps dissolve. Keep stirring, it will work. And stir some more, until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add more powdered sugar if needed to be a spreadable consistency.

This cake doesn’t really need frosting and the two times I have put frosting on this cake it turned weird the next day. The frosting looked like it had melted in spots, even though I know I waited for the cake to cool before I frosted it. I don’t know. I still tasted great, just didn’t look right. So, only serve it to company right after you frost it or just eat it all yourself. Enjoy!

Sweet and Salty

So, I have this little vegan problem. On the whole, a vegan diet is healthier than the typical American diet. But not all vegan food is “diet” food. I have found two recipes that are tempting me to snack. Vegan Cheez Its from Minimalist Baker and Carob Freezer Fudge from oh she glows. I know that vegan crackers are better for me than potato chips, but I don’t usually eat chips. And carob freezer fudge is better than a candy bar, but I don’t eat candy bars either. So, any weight that I had lost from my vegan experiment is now gone. Oh, well. These snackies are so good, I really don’t care. I’ll have to be sure that I don’t always keep these yummies on hand. Or maybe I’ll just add a little more exercise! Moderation, girl, moderation.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I have a crush on limes. My favorite green thickie is the Key Lime Pie one. It is so tasty, but it doesn’t really taste like key lime pie, just like a yummy lime smoothie. I wanted dessert. Not something healthy, something good. I found a recipe for Key Lime Ice Cream on SouthernLiving.com. I just swapped out a few ingredients and added a couple more and it worked! I think this is the best ice cream I have made. I ate two bowls last night. I want to quickly eat a small lunch just so I can have more ice cream.