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!

Spirulina Smoothie

The Loch Ness Monster Green Thickie from greenthickies.com is one of my favorite smoothies. I thought it would be horrible, I mean reading the ingredients did not make me want to try it. However, I had some spirulina powder that I needed to ingest somehow and this was a recipe from a trusted blogger. Now I find myself craving this smoothie. This morning I was craving one, but I like use fresh spinach and this thickie doesn’t call for extra greens. Luckily I was out of spinach. Perfect! Now, I would have never come up with this recipe on my own. Even though I have all these ingredients in my pantry I would not think of putting them all in a smoothie, but somehow it works.

Spirulina is one of those super foods that you buy just for the health benefits. I don’t think anyone ever said they loved the tasted of algae. When I was a little girl my grandpa took blue green algae. He didn’t put it in a smoothie or anything. As far as I know he just mixed with water and slugged it down. It was one of the highlights of trips to their funky house on the Oregon coast and one of the memories I cherish of him. He would pretend that the green slime turned him into a monster and then he would chase my sister and I around the house while we giggled and shrieked with excitement. He was such a great grandpa. I will gladly drink this smoothie in his honor.

 

2 cups coconut/almond milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup peaches
2 bananas
juice 1 lemon
1 tablespoon spirulina powder 
 Blend the milk, oats, raisins, coconut and sunflower seeds until smooth. Add fruit, juice and spirulina powder and blend again. Makes two servings.
Drink it down and pretend it turns you into a swamp monster. Chase your kids/dog/cat/husband/roommate around the house.

Berry Protein Smoothie

Most mornings I have a smoothie for breakfast. It’s pretty easy to rack up the calories, but a little more difficult to blend up protein. Obviously, whey is not an option. I have tried Sunwarrior protein powder, it is a little chalky and after I bought the chocolate flavor, I discovered I don’t care for things sweetened with stevia. I am saving up to buy the unflavored powder. This recipe uses hemp protein powder.

  • 2 cups Almond Breeze, Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Dates
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1/4 cup organic Hemp Protein
  • 2 cups Strawberries, frozen
  • 1 cup Blueberries, frozen
  • juice of one lime or 1/2 lemon

I always blend my oats, dates and almonds with the milk first. Then I add the other ingredients and blend again. This makes 2 servings.

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my protein and calcium intake. I should hide the calorie counter because I don’t think calories are created equal. I don’t want to make food choices based solely on calorie count. Anyway, I haven’t found a better way to add more protein to my diet.

So, is this why my hair is falling out?

Eating vegan this summer was great for weight loss, energy and over health. I actually like salad now. When my aunt was visiting she asked how I was getting enough protein. Protein? I eat nuts, seeds and beans everyday. I was sure that was fine. But…On an (I thought) unrelated note my hair has been falling out. Now, I have thick hair and have always had little wads of hair in the drain after my showers. The last few months I have had handfuls of hair come out when I shampoo and more fall out when I comb and brush my hair. I wasn’t really worried, but now I can feel a difference in the circumference of my ponytail. My hair is thinning. There are many reasons for hair loss. Physical trauma is one. I haven’t been in a car crash or had any other trauma. Stress. Hmm, well having my husband gone all summer was a bit stressful. Aging is another reason for thinning hair. I refuse to age, so that can’t be it. Also, not getting enough protein can cause your body to shut down hair growth. Well, how much protein am I supposed to be consuming? Turns out a lot! Using several protein calculators and charts from several websites, I found that I should be taking in any where from 65-90 grams of protein daily. How many grams of protein in a 1/4 cup of almonds? 6 grams. 6? So my smoothie that I thought had me covered nutrition wise was lacking a bit. So, what do I do now? Yesterday I added hemp powder to my smoothie. It didn’t change the taste too much, but it did make it feel like I added sawdust. I needed a drink of water to wash my smoothie down. Today I added Sunwarrior brown rice protein powder and it was good. No bad taste, no gritty or sawdusty feeling and 16 grams of protein! 16! Plus the 6 grams from my almonds. 22 grams of protein for breakfast is not a bad way to start my day. Wait, this makes two smoothies so that’s only 11 grams of protein. Tomorrow I’ll make it with two scoops of protein powder and see how that goes.  This is harder than I thought it would be. I better find some more supper-foods. Quinoa, you’re on the list! Now I just have to figure out how to get the rest of the protein I need and hope that in 6-9 months my hair is back to healthy!

Haystacks – Chili Salad

HaystacksA while ago I made a big pot of chili. Now, I could eat bowls of chili for days, but sometimes a little change is nice. My mom used to make haystacks because it was a quick and easy meal. The best chili is simmered for hours, but the chili on top of the haystacks can be made in half an hour. Just throw your chili ingredients into the pot and bring to a simmer. Or better yet, use leftover chili. Use your favorite traditional recipe or try this vegan chili recipe.
There isn’t really a recipe for haystacks, more like instructions.
Ingredients:
Chili
tortilla chips
lettuce, chopped or shredded
cheese (Daiya cheddar shreds, at our house)
sour cream (Tofutti for us)
avocado
salsa
olives
Instructions:
Cover a plate with tortilla chips (I like to crumble mine), cover with cheese. Spoon hot chili over the chips, cover with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado, olives, any other toppings you like. It is up to you how closely your haystack resembles a salad or nachos.

This is an easy idea to adapt to any special diet. Use vegan chili, and dairy-free cheese and sour cream for a filling vegan dinner. Use dairy products and meaty chili for the omnivores or any combination that works for you.

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.

Vodka Pasta Sauce

I have passed over the Rachael Ray You-Won’t-Be-Single-For-Long Vodka Cream Pasta for years. Vodka? Why? Is wine not good enough for you? After my kids ate their bow ties and marinara I wanted something a little more grown up. I don’t know why I didn’t look at my Rachael Ray cookbook, but the computer was on so I searched for Vodka Pasta. The Pioneer Woman came up. I like her stuff. It isn’t dairy-free or vegan or anything, but it’s good and easily adapted. Then I searched for dairy free vodka pasta and putting a couple of recipes together made Dairy Free Vodka Pasta. I was pleasantly surprised. Why had I waited to make this sauce? Maybe it’s because I’m more apt to use vodka in a tincture or facial product than in my food. That being the case I might not make this pasta often, but if I’m cooking for myself or maybe for two I’ll pull this recipe out.