Tag Archives: breakfast

Raw Caramel

DSC_0708 I feel like raw caramel is a bit of a trendy thing to do these days (I’ve seen about ten million recipes for it… I feel like even Lauren Conrad has one…). BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE IT TASTES LIKE SUMMER AND ALL THINGS GOOD. I love caramel. Specifically I love caramel apples. When my sister lived in Vancouver I would always demand to buy a caramel apple from Granville Island… I even forced her to fly one home on a few occasions… All that to say caramel has a special place in my heart.

The best part about this caramel is that there’s no boiling of cups and cups of white sugar! Or maybe the best part is that it tastes awesome… regardless, it’s super easy and made for a wonderful afternoon snack with some cut up apple. The main reason this is considered “raw” is because I used raw almond butter. Of course you can use any nut butter you want, and it can be roasted or salted if that’s what you have (I imagine this to be good with cashew butter).

As you can see in the picture, I had this caramel with apple slices (an organic Pink Lady apple, if you were curious). I imagine it’d be awesome with any other fruit, with chocolate, on toast with jam, in oatmeal or chia pudding in the morning. As I mentioned, it’s refined sugar free… therefore it’s the best kind of snack for any moment in the day.

RAW CARAMEL: (Makes 1/2 cup)

  • 1/3 cups dates, pitted and soaked for 4 hours in water (reserve the soaking water*)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons raw nut butter of choice** (I used almond)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Method:

In food processor, or a high speed blender (I used my handy little magic bullet), blend the soaked and pitted dates, nut butter, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the dates’ soaking water. If it’s too thick, add more of the soaking water.

Notes:*Instead of using the soaking water from the dates, you could alternatively use almond milk. **I’ve seen many recipes that use nut butter AND coconut oil. I imagine that’d be awesome and make it SUPER creamy… as always: feel free to play around!

 

Much love and peace in these stressful days of end-of-semester-madness.

Advertisements

Simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Balls

DSC_0684WHERE DOES TIME GO? I don’t know. But I think it’s better that I don’t…

School really pushed its limits (and my limits) this past month. I’m now on spring break so I’m beyond thankful for that. So to kick it off I made some cute little cookie things. They are the perfect size to just… shove in my mouth while I’m adventuring. They are adapted from Minimalist Baker’s 5 ingredient cookies, but I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (I know… that’s not something you hear often out of my mouth), so I opted for raisins. Big surprise. One could easily add in any kind of mix in: berries, nuts, seeds, chocolate chunks, other dried fruit… anything really.

They are chewy and naturally sweet! The cool thing is that they;re actually really healthy (no refined sugars and only oats and almond meal!) so they could serve as a pre-workout power boost or as breakfast.

Oh, just a side note: I don’t have a food processor, just a handy lil’ magic bullet. This being said, I didn’t process the oats as the Minimalist Baker recipe recommends, therefore the oats were whole in my cookie. I really liked having the whole oats, but it’s a matter of preference (and what tools you have available!). ALSO, if you don’t want then to be balls, just squish them on the cookie sheet before baking to make them more like cookies.

SIMPLE OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE BALLS: (yields 20)

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter of choice
  • 3/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or mix-in of choice)

Method:

Process the dates, banana, and nut butter until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, and salt. Add the date puree to the oats and almond meal and mix until combined. If the mixture is too sticky, add more almond meal or oats one tablespoon at a time.

Add your mix-in of choice and stir until it’s well distributed in the mixture. Cover the bowl and let chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F and grease two cookie sheets (I used coconut oil, but one could also use Earth Balance or grapeseed oil).

Once chilled, spoon out 1 tablespoon balls on to the cookie sheets with about 1 inch in between each ball. Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden and slightly firm (Because there’s no eggs in these babies, they can be as under cooked as you want).

Let cool for a few minutes before transferring to an airtight container for storage… if any are left over after the feast.

EASY-PEASY! Much love as the days quickly transition from winter to spring (even though we got 30cm of snow overnight which covered the freshly uncovered brown grass…).

Coconut Surprise Muffins

 

 

DSC_0598

I did a thing.

School is exhausting. I dance all day and I come home and I’m dead. My brain won’t function well enough to create so I usually make a super simple meal and sit and watch an episode of House of Cards, read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, write, or do some housework. Essentially, I’m saying that I unfortunately haven’t had the mental capacity to invent any new and crazy food things. HOWEVER, I’m simple reinventing the golden nuggets I already have (such as the artichoke salad that’s based on the lentil salad!). Also I’ll admit this was created from some stress baking… Moving on… remember the coconut loaf I made a lifetime ago? The one that is heavenly? Well. I turned them into muffins. And I added a surprise in the middle…

 

DSC_0584

 

 

For Valentines Day, my parents sent me this AWESOME salted almond dark chocolate bar. It’s so decadent and dynamic (not to mention fairtrade and organic!!). Sometimes things are so good you don’t want to taint them; this was not one of those things. I wanted to give this phenomenal chocolate bar a new lease on life – let it stretch it’s legs and do some good in the world. So I plopped a nice fatty chunk in the middle of coconut muffins. BAM.

DSC_0602

I was inspired by this recipe for coconut muffins, but I (of course) mostly based it off my coconut loaf. I didn’t add dates or maple syrup so the coconut dough part isn’t very sweet, but that’s what makes the chocolate stand out… ya’ know? Whoa, epiphany: coconut coffee muffins – using strong coffee or espresso instead of milk alternative. As for an alternative to the surprise in the middle… good dark chocolate just seems to be the best option! Maybe a couple of berries or nuts or dried fruit? of course you could always add chocolate chips. It’s just that chocolate fulfills all desires. 🙂

SURPRISE: check the very bottom for another surprise.

COCONUT SURPRISE MUFFINS: Makes 12 medium sized muffins (15 small)

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 small ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, from a can
  • 1/3 cup milk alternative (I used unsweetened almond-coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup spelt flour (or all purpose)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • scant 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 good quality chocolate bar (I seriously mean GOOD quality)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F and prep a muffin tin with coconut oil, or muffin liners (my muffin tin is oddly small so I also greased some small ramekins).

In a small bowl, mix ground flax and water to make the flax eggs, let sit for 10 mins.

In a large bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, including the thickened flax egg.

In another large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the coconut. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. The batter will be quite thick.

Fill each hole in the muffin tin half way with batter. You’ll most likely have to use your fingers to squish it into the corners a bit. Place a chunk of chocolate in the middle of each muffin and cover with remaining batter. Squish the batter around the edges to make sure the chocolate is well contained (you don’t want it to pop out and burn!)

Cook for 20-25 minutes until the tops are slightly golden, and spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool for 10 minutes. BUT ONLY TEN MINUTES OTHERWISE THE CHOCOLATE WILL NO LONGER BE ALL MOLTEN OR SURPRISING.

Keep in a sealed container. To reheat, pop them in the oven at 200F for a few minutes (or pop into a microwave for a few seconds).

DSC_0385

HELLO AGAIN! Are you truly still reading after seeing the recipe? Cool! Anyway, to further convince you that I’m not creating much these days but simply reinventing, the above photo is of apple muffins. Remember my fruit explosion muffins?? Yep, I made them into apple muffins using 1 1/2 cup fresh apples and 1/2 cup dried apples. I then topped some with cinnamon, some with walnuts, and some with… you guessed it… raisins.

At this time of year, we’re all exhausted and pissed off and DONE WITH EVERYTHING. But remember that there is baking, and love, and coffee, and dreams, and passions. Being productive is difficult, but small steps still move you forward. If anything, let me inspire you to keep on moving. Even if it’s only a single breath.

Brazil Nut Butter

DSC_0248 - Copy

This was a very fun activity! We made our OWN nut butter! My family is addicted to brazil nuts. For good reason. They are high in selenium and vitamin E. They basically prevent cancer! Maybe that’s a bit over the top… but for more info, here’s a simple and informative resource. (I’d also like to thank my wonderful sister for letting us use her AMAZE-BALLS food processor)

We made 3 jars worth, one for my sister, one for my parents, and one for me to go home with (where ever “home” is…). Once it was all said and done, 5 cups of brazil nuts yielded approximately 850g of butter. 3 cups would nicely fill a 500g jar. I’m not sure if it’s possible to OVER process the nuts, but I wouldn’t recommend processing the nuts much longer after they’re turned creamy.

So let’s talk nut butters. They are the bomb, right?! Not only are they perfect on toast with jam or honey, a big spoonful on granola is also a good option. There’s also the option of using it in smoothies as thickener (and a protein boost!). Nut butters also work wonders in dressings for salads, or pasta dishes. Nut butters are also a key ingredient in many vegan baking recipes; they work as a great binder in muffins and loaves and granola bars. They’re also wondrous in dips, and savoury spreads. As we know, each nut has a very different and distinct flavour. Although the flavour is milder in butter form, they all vary. While something like peanut butter has a very potent taster, here the brazil nuts offer a very mild nutty flavour that lend themselves well to act as a base for other flavours. Another benefit, is that brazil nuts are the cheapest bulk, raw nut!

I’ve been lucky enough to indulge in peanut butter, almond butter, pumpkin seed butter, hemp seed butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, walnut butter, hazelnut butter, and of course TAHINI (which is sesame seed butter). I’m not sure where I was going with this train of thought… basically any nut or seed can be turned into a butter to enjoy (and inhale by the spoonful).

To conclude, making your own nut butter is not only satisfying, but it’s also a cheaper alternative and it opens the doors to an infinity of possibilities. Imagine making a cashew-pecan nut butter. DROOL. Or walnut-almond. Or pistachio-cashew. Wow… I’m getting really excited over here… One final idea would be to add flavours such as cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, maple, sea salt, or cocoa. WAIT, what about adding herbs like dill or basil (they’d reduce the shelf life, but imagine cashew-dill butter on a cracker under some guacamole).

DSC_0243

RAW BRAZIL NUT BUTTER: fills one 500 gram jar

  • 3 cups raw brazil nuts

Method:

In a food processor, pulse the nuts 20-40 times. Scrape down the sides with a spatula then let the food processor run for about 2 minutes until the desired consistency is achieved. (The nuts will go through several stages where the nuts turn into a powder then into a sticky crumble, then into a weird ball. Then the oils will come out and finally turn into a wonderfully smooth butter.)

*NOTE: Nut butters are best kept refrigerated up to about 4-6 months.

Pops getting really stoked on the nut butter

Pops getting really stoked on the nut butter

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Sweet child of mine.

Sweet child of mine.

Okay. Who doesn’t like cinnamon buns loaded with raisins and goo?! I had SO much fun making this loaf. The temperature was perfect in my apartment and so the loaf rose like anarchy in V for Vendetta. The dough was HUMONGOUS. I’m quite positive I annoyed my roommates like there was no tomorrow because I kept on squealing like a pig out of excitement for how beautifully the dough was. Wow. I am so proud of it. And I guess it tasted really good too. However, because it got so huge, it didn’t fit into the loaf pan very well, so I chopped off the ends and baked them in a seperate pan as actual cinnamon buns. Although the buns tasted identical as the loaf, they were WAY too doughy to be good cinnamon buns. The recipe is strictly for a loaf. Funny how the way something is presented changes how good it is…

The recipe is originally from here. I made it vegan by simply substituting milk for almond milk, and butter for Soy-free Earth Balance. I also doubled the amount of cinnamon, and used demerera sugar instead of granulated sugar in the cinnamon swirl part. And instead of an egg in the swirl, I just used some melted Earth Balance.

Oh! One last note… I really loaded it with raisins… because I’m a raisin queen and raisins are my life.

CINNAMON RAISIN SWIRL BREAD: (makes one 9×5 loaf)

1.Dough:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one envelope worth)
  • 1 cup warm milk alternative
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance (or vegan butter alternative)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the barely warm milk and water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it’s activated (it’ll look frothy). Sprinkle in the sugar, and salt. Gently mix in the melted butter and raisins. Gradually, add the flour, mixing until the dough comes together. It’ll be a bit stringy at first. If it doesn’t come together, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until it does (too much water and it’ll get all gummy and poop). If the dough is too wet to begin with, sprinkle in more flour until it comes together (again, small amounts at a time. Too much flour and it’ll get all dense).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, until elastic. Grease the inside of a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise until doubled. About 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 1/3 cup demerera brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance, melted

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Punch down the dough before turning it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9×15 inch rectangle and brush the melted Earth balance on top. Evenly sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top. Starting with the shortest end, roll up the dough into a cute little log. Transfer the log into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and press the edges into the corners evenly. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled for another 40-60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. The top will be golden and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from baking pan and let cool before slicing and serving.

Rising baby

Rising baby

DSC_0461

The loaf lasted (longer than expected!!) really well, and I froze a few pieces that toasted up wonderfully. I’ll definitely make two loaves next time and freeze one. All in all, this was a super good recipe. Simple and delectable. Not to mention it was straightforward, with minimal room for error (on my part anyway). I’m just really proud of how well it turned out! I’ve never made a successful yeasty-bread like this!! AH.

Let me know if it turns out well for you too! Also, I image this would be good with walnuts rolled into the swirl. Or subbing dried cherries for raisins (let’s be real, I’ll probably be seen tripling the amount of raisins next time…).

Enjoy the transition into winter with my father’s great advice: “You gotta laugh more.”. Much love.

How I Love Thee: Favorite Formulas

So this week, I’m pretty darned busy (that’s a lie, I’m ALWAYS RIDICULOUSLY BUSY). I just don’t have enough time to post this week so I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite recipes I’ve tried!

1. Breakfast: Orange Pistachio Cinnamon Rolls: These cinnamon rolls are phenomenal. I made them in the summer with my dad and they turned out surprisingly well. We added extra orange juice and zest to the dough and we added LOTS of raisins to the filling (because everything I eat obviously must be packed with raisins…). They were perfect in the morning with a giant coffee (or green tea). And they were also perfect for lunch with a big salad. And again, they were perfect for dinner with a stir-fry and some quinoa…

DSC_0358

(My photo)

2. Lunch: Corn, Avocado, Blueberry, Kale Salad: Seriously simple, tasty and filling. For the dressing, I excluded mint (just because I didn’t have any), the 1/2 avocado, and the shallot (because I didn’t want to use the blender). I ended up chopping the shallot directly into the salad instead and I’m REALLY glad I did. I love shallots.

cornavocadoblueberrykalesalad2

(Photo Credit)

3. Dinner: Soba Noodles with Tahini Sauce: The recipe recommends you eat it chilled, but I’m a fan of it warm and fresh from the pot. I of course added frozen peas, but otherwise I made no changes! It was perfect to have after a long day at school, quick to make and oddly satisfying.

IMG_1616WT

(Photo Credit)

Well. There you go! Three for now, and another three will indubitably follow (Should this be a thing I do often?). I Hope you all have a wonderful week full of love and magic and MOST IMPORTANTLY good food.

Pumpkin & Raisin Biscuits

DSC_0161

 

Wow, wow, wow, wow!! This recipe from Fat Free Vegan is… top notch!! I did ever so slightly alter it by using spelt flour and putting in 1/3 cup of raisins and adding 1/8 cup of pumpkin seeds and I used almond milk instead of soy milk. There isn’t any sugar added so it really lets the pumpkin flavour stand out while the raisins add that slight, slight, slight touch of sweetness. They were easy to make and in making them I felt so much stress melt away… talk about therapeutic baking… Not to mention the heavenly aroma that filled my apartment. These babies are best served warm. They’re also amazing with a drizzle of honey or a smear of coconut oil or a dollop of almond butter.

PUMKIN & RAISIN BISCUITS (Makes 16 large squares or 32 triangles):

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked pureed pumpkin (I used canned)

Method:

Perheat the oven to 425F and lightly grease a baking sheet (I used coconut oil)

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, spices, raisins and pumpkin seeds) making sure the raisins have flour throughout. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until crumbly, do not over mix. Add the almond milk-lemon juice mixture until a soft dough forms, adding more almond milk if the dough doesn’t form a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a little extra flour on top. Pat with your hands, or roll out, the dough until it’s 3/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into the number of biscuits desired.

Place biscuits on greased sheet with the sides slightly touching. Bake 9-11 minutes, until the top is golden. Because the dough had a brownish colour from the pumpkin it may be hard to tell when they’re golden on top. However, when the tops are slightly hard they’re done (and ready to be devoured).

 

DSC_0162