Recipe Review: Strawberry Shortcake

It’s strawberry season here in Ohio – heck, it’s strawberry season just about everywhere in the US – and I’ve been eating more than my share of red, ripe berries lately. But, there are only so many naked berries a girl can throw down, and last night, I couldn’t get the thought of strawberry shortcake out of my head. So…a little Google’ing later, and I found this grain-free, vegan strawberry shortcake recipe from Healthful Pursuit. (Note: Not all of Leanne’s recipes are vegan. In fact, many are not, but she does have quite a few plant-based recipes posted, and those that are not can usually be easily modified.)

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I decided I had to make these shortcakes around 8 pm, and by 830, I was eating a giant plate of berries on top of a fresh-from-the-oven shortcake. Yum!

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As with any recipe, I have to put my own spin on things ūüėČ For this recipe, I omitted the cinnamon and added a splash of vanilla extract instead. I also used coconut oil instead of Earth Balance because that’s what I had on hand. The shortcakes didn’t rise much, but that could have been my old baking powder – or the coconut oil. Regardless, I didn’t mind my more cookie-like shortcakes. The taste was great, and I loved that the recipe is grain free.

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My recipe made four very large shortcake cookies. I ate one and put the other three in the freezer. Ok. I ate one with strawberries, then ate half of one on it’s own, then put the remaining two and half shortbread cookies in the freezer ūüėČ Strawberry season will be with us for a couple more weeks; those remaining shortbreads won’t go to waste! (Although, they might go to my waist. Sigh)

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Recipe alteration ideas: This recipe doesn’t make a very sweet shortbread cookie. It’s not supposed to. The berries and additional topping more than make up for the lack of sweetness in the cookie. But, I couldn’t help thinking these would be great a little sweeter – as more of a true cookie than a shortbread cake. So, I think the next time I make these (Yes; there will be a next time!), I’ll go ahead and add the cinnamon and a little more coconut sugar, then roll the dough into balls and roll the balls into a cinnamon sugar mixture ala snickerdoodles. Or, add a little more sugar and the cinnamon to the batter, then top the unbaked cookies with coconut sugar before baking for a more traditional sugar cookie. These would also be great frosted or as cookies in a cream or ice cream filled cookie sandwich. Yum!

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Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bite

I originally created this recipe as a raw-ish snicker-doodle, but I didn’t quite achieve the flavor for which I was seeking. So, I thought maybe I could call these sugar cookies. But the flavor wasn’t quite right for those either. Undaunted, I kept eating, and, finally, it hit me…They taste just like a cinnamon sugar Pop Tart. Ah…a flavor from my past. A predominate flavor from my past. *sigh* And, thus, Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bites/A Raw-ish Ode to Cinnamon Sugar Pop Tarts (frosted, of course) were born.

Cinnamon Sugar Snack Bites

1 c almond pulp, dehydrated and processed into a fine meal

1/4 c brown rice syrup (or another thick and sticky liquid sweetener)

1/4 c coconut sugar (or other granulated sweetener)

1 TBSP vanilla

1/2 t (or more) cinnamon

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t cream of tarter

Combine everything in a bowl until well incorporated. Scoop into large tablespoons and roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 6 large balls.

Options: I have a ton of options for this one!

Almond pulp: I love that this recipe uses left-over almond meal. I had bags and bags of almond meal in the freezer and was desperate for a way to use it. I thawed it, dehydrated it, and whirled it in the food processor into a fine powder. (You could also do this in a coffee or spice grinder or the dry contain of a blender.) Side note: We tried running the almond meal through the grain mill attachment on the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, even though it says not to, and it got all clogged up. Twice. Sigh. Guess we won’t be doing that again. Boo.

If you don’t have almond pulp, regular almond meal or almond flour will work. If you can’t have/don’t want to use almonds, you can make any nut or seed meal of your choice by grinding some frozen nuts/seeds of your choice in a food processor or coffee/spice grinder.

Brown Rice Syrup: BRS is not grain free, nor is it raw, and it may contain arsenic, so it might not be your sticky sweetener of choice. You need a really thick and sticky sweetener, so whatever works for you is fine: coconut nectar (bonus – it’s raw!) or raw honey (if that’s how your roll) are probably both good choices. A thinner liquid sweetener might work, too: maple syrup, agave, etc.

If you don’t want/can’t use nutritive sweetener, dates are probably your best best. Make a thick date paste by blending soaked dates with little or no water.

Coconut Sugar: Any granulated sugar will work here: raw/turbinado sugar, sucanat, regular granulated (vegan) sugar, brown (vegan) sugar, etc. If you don’t want to/can’t use nutritive sweetener, a little powdered stevia will add a nice touch of extra sweetness to the mix, as will xylitol or erythritol.

Cinnamon: I recently started using ceylon cinnamon, and it’s much stronger than “regular” cinnamon. At least to me.

Vanilla: I recently purchased some vanilla powder, but I didn’t use it in this recipe. If you are using vanilla powder, use sparingly. Vanilla is a background flavor and shouldn’t be noticeable.

Baking Soda/Cream of Tarter: These ingredients might seem a little weird in the recipe, but they really add to the overall flavor. The baking soda gives a nice saltiness and zing to the snack bites, and the cream of tarter provides that little, “Hum…What is that?”

If you want to keep this recipe raw, you can probably substitute salt for the baking soda and a tiny bit of lemon juice for the cream of tarter. (I’m going to try that combo next!)

Balls vs Cookies/No-Bake vs Bake vs Dehydrate: I’m sure these snack bites could easily be flattened into cookies and either baked (at 325 for a few minutes) or dehydrated (until firm on the outside), or the entire batch could be squished into a small, square dish and cut into squares (or pressed into molds or free-formed into bars or….)

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Product Review: Mochi

Mochi? What the heck is Mochi? According to the website Grainaissance (which is the brand I tried):

“Mochi is a nutritious bake-and-serve rice snack made from whole grain brown rice. Mochi is all-natural and without additives, preservatives or colorings. It’s also wheat-free and gluten-free.”

How did I know what Mochi was, and why did I buy it? Honestly, I can’t remember. Ha ha!¬† I remember reading someone’s blog post about eating Mochi, and then I randomly saw it at Whole Foods a few days later. I picked up both the regular and cinnamon raisin flavors and was debating about buying one or both of them when a fellow shopper picked up two packages of the cinnamon raisin. So, being the curious shopper I am, I asked for her opinion. Not only did she give me her opinion on the product, she suggested which flavor to buy, how to cut it, how to cook it, and how to eat it. Score!

According to the website, Mochi can be eaten in a variety of ways, but I went with the standard recipe of cutting the block into squares, baking it according to the directions, and eating the pieces with a little jelly for added sweetness.

Every time I look at these pictures, it makes me laugh. The first thing I thought when I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven was how much the little squares looked like scallops.¬† Ha ha ha. I have no idea where I get seafood from brown rice dessert, but the little dough-ball blowouts remind me of scallop “feet.” I watch too much food TV!

I don’t know that I’d buy this product again, but they tasted pretty good. I loved that they were chewy and crispy at the same time, but since I can only find them in limited locations, and it didn’t sound like they could be frozen, I don’t know if they’re the most practical dessert for me.

Have you ever tried Mochi? How do you eat it?

Almost Raw Black & Tan Cupcakes

Sorry. These are alcohol free. Guinness isn’t vegan anyway ūüėČ

In an attempt to make more gluten-free desserts, I’ve making more raw treats. Well, almost raw. I’m allergic to agave, so my liquid sweetener of choice is maple syrup. (I just bought two pints at Sam’s yesterday.) And, I don’t have any raw cocoa powder for my chocolate treats, so that’s not raw either. See…almost raw desserts!

This is what I came up with last weekend.

Black & Tan Cupcake

I thought I was¬†going to make a blondie¬†inspired by Amber’s 5 Minute, Single-Serve Raw Vegan Blondie.¬†But after I made it, I wanted chocolate. So much for the blondie. Chocolate sprinkles didn’t quite work (they wouldn’t stick), so I opted for chocolate frosting. I’m so glad I opted for chocolate frosting.

Almost Raw Black & Tan Cupcakes

Cupcakes

1/2 c raw pecans

1/4 c raw almonds

1/2 c dates

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp (or less) salt

Blend ingredients in a food processor or blender. (You may need to blend nuts and dates separately.) Mixture will be course but should stay together when pressed. Press mixture into 4 regular cupcake molds (or 8 small molds or 2 large molds).

Chocolate Frosting

1/4 c cashews

1/4 c non-dairy milk

1/4 c cocoa powder

2 TBSP maple syrup

dash salt

Combine everything in a food processor or blender until smooth. Spread evenly over cupcakes. Sprinkle with crushed chocolate pieces. (I finely chopped a couple of pieces of Endangered Spieces chocolate bar in my Magic Bullet.)

Remove cupcakes from metal mold or leave cupcakes in silicone molds and place  in a covered container and refrigerate or freeze until firm. Store in freezer for firmest texture. (Cupcakes thaw in a few minutes.)

Good Enough to Eat!

The next time I make these, I’ll make them in mini molds. Half of a regular sized cupcake was plenty, and a whole one almost gave me the sugar shakes, but mmm¬†mmm mmm…worth every bite!

I’m submitting this recipe to Cara’s Valentine’s Day¬†Bake Off at Fork and Beans, Ricki’s Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at SSGF, and Cybele’s Allergy Friendly¬†Fridays at Alergen-Free¬†Cuisine.

Recipe Review: Happy Herbivore’s Cinnamon Buns

Christmas morning I was determined to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. So I did. And they were delicious!

HH Cinnamon Roll

This was the first time I’ve ever made homemade cinnamon rolls, having only made the tube kind before, (All those trans fats from back in the day are still haunting my hips me.) so I’m really glad they turned out well!

I made Happy Herbivore’s¬†Whole Wheat, Fat Free Vegan Cinnamon Buns¬†(You can find this recipe online or in The Happy Herbivore Cookbook); I¬†did have to make a few alterations, including using only 2 cups of flour instead of¬†2.5¬†(the dough was already pretty dry with the 2 cups, so adding that additional 1/2 cup would have made the dough WAY too dry), and using 5 tsp of almond milk in the glaze instead of 1 (1 didn’t even touch the 1 cup of powdered sugar). (I also added a dab of vanilla). I didn’t mind making the alterations because the final product was so delicious.

HH Cinnamon Rolls swimming in glaze

I ended up with 7 giant rolls instead of 6 as the recipe indicated, but that’s fine with me! After Mr. M and I each ate cinnamon rolls until we were in sugar comas (I call them rolls, but Mr. M and Lindsay both call them buns – interesting), I ended up freezing the left-overs in individual portions for one of those I-need-sugar mornings.

Cookie Bake-Down Part 1: The Snickerdoodle

Must. Stop. Baking.

I just posted this as my status. Because it’s true. I have to stop baking. It’s getting a little out of hand. I can’t even count how many dozen cookies I’ve baked in the last two weeks. I can tell you, however, that I’ve run out of people to give cookies to, so I either need to move onto differed baked goods or make more friends!

In my non-stop baking frenzy, I’ve made a couple of different recipes of a couple of different cookie flavors. I didn’t initial plan on doing this; it just kind of happened. But, it meant more cookies I HAD to taste test, so I kept up the trend. (What? You don’t want¬†me giving away bad cookies, do you?! Ha!)

Today’s Cookie Bake-Down is the Snickerdoodle. I actually ended up making three different snickerdoodle recipes, but the last one has a holiday flavor kick.

The first snickerdoodle I made was from Oh She Glows.

Yes. Those are my finger dents. Ha ha ha!

Angela’s recipe calls for cinnamon in the batter, which I’d never done before, and, honestly, it wasn’t my favorite. The texture was crunchier than I expected, and the flavor was a little off. My co-workers seemed to like this one; they ate all of the samples I brought to a meeting.

OSG Snickerdoodles

The second cookie came from Chocolate Covered Katie.

CCK Snickerdoodle

 
 
These were so good, I couldn’t stop eating them. I was able to only eat one each day (they’re great right from the freezer!), but that meant I had to make another batch for work. (You don’t expect me to give away cookies that haven’t been taste tested first, do you? Ha!)
 
I’ve actually made these cookies a few times in the last two weeks. The latest time was tonight. Even Mr. M ate two. And a half. He snagged the other half of mine when I sat it on the kitchen counter for later. Good thing I have about 20 more!I did make a couple of adjustments. Aside from doubling the batch so I could make more cookies at one time, I also used French vanilla Silk coffee creamer instead of the non-dairy milk that’s suggested. I also added a little more vanilla than the recipe calls for – I just splash it in. (Is there such a thing as too much vanilla?!)
 
Finally, inspired by CCk’s¬†recipe, I switched the coffee creamer for coconut egg nog and traded the melted Earth Balance for melted coconut oil. Delicious!

Egg Nog Snickerdoodle made with coconut oil

 
I also made a batch of these with melted Earth Balance before I remembered I wanted to try the coconut oil. They turned out good, too, but my preference is the coconut oil. 

Egg Nog Snickerdoodle with Earth Balance

 For both egg nog cookies, I rolled the cookie ball in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I think the nutmeg on the outside brought out the nutmeg from the coconut nog on the inside. Total yumminess.

 
 
 
 

One & Half Minute Microwave Oatmeal Cakes

I finally got around to trying a gluten-free version of my Holiday Nog Cupcakes, and what resulted was more like a baked oatmeal than a cupcake. (But if you wait for it to cool and add some frosting, you might be all set!)

I cooked my oatmeal cakes in two, small ramekins, but you could easily make yours in one, larger container. If you let it sit a few minutes, it easily turns out if you spray the dish first with some non-stick cooking spray. I was too anxious to dig in, so  I just ate mine with a spoon from their cooking containers. (And yes, I burnt my tongue. Painful. But worth it!)

Holiday Nog Microwave Oatmeal Cakes

1/4 c oat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

dash cinnamon

double dash nutmeg

half dash salt

1 TBSP sugar

2 pks stevia

1 TBSP flax meal (or chia meal)

1/4 c soy nog

1 heaping TBSP pumpkin puree

Mix dry together. Add wet. Microwave 1 1/2 – 2 minutes on high. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Turn out on a plate or eat in container.

Optional topping: 2 TBSP pumpkin puree mixed with 1 TBSP maple syrup. Warm for 15 Р30 seconds. Add a splash of soy nog if you want it more pourable.

Microwave Oat Cakes

I’m sorry the measurements for the seasonings aren’t very accurate, but I didn’t really measure. If you use cinnamon as the control ingredient, I used half as much salt as cinnamon, and double the amount of nutmeg as cinnamon.

These little cakes make a great, quick breakfast or a quick evening snack. Or lunch. Or dinner.¬†Whenever ūüėČ

Easy as (Pumpkin) Pie Steel Cut Oats

The weather here in Northwest Ohio has been wet. We’ve had rain, rain, and more rain. (And a little snow!) My favorite weather personality said we’ve had the wettest fall in history. I don’t doubt it!¬†I’ve been drinking tea like a mad hatter woman; I don’t remember the last time I haven’t had socks on my feet (OK, I take them off to shower, but I keep them on for everything else!), and my heated mattress pad has been running nonstop.¬†

When the weather is wet, and cold, and windy, all I want to eat is a warm glob of something. Yup. That’s right. A warm glob. Enter — oatmeal. Hearty. Warm. And globular. Perfect.

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

1/2 c steel-cut oats (aka Irish Oats)

2 c water

dash salt

1 c non-dairy milk

1/4 c pumpkin puree

2 TBSP maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)

2 pkts stevia (or about 2 TBSP sugar) – optional

1-2 tsp each cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice

Place oats and water in a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 15 minutes. Carefully remove bowl from microwave. Add remaining ingredients (pumpkin puree, seasonings, maple syrup, non-dairy milk) and stir to combine. Return to the microwave and cook another 5 minutes on high. Oats should be tender and creamy.

Allow oats to cool a bit before eating. If you want them to have extra globbiness, allow to cool significantly before eating.

Serves 2 (or one really hungry Veggie V!)

I didn’t run the NI on this breakfast-for-dinner, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 300 cals¬†per servings because that’s what my standard steel-cut oats come in at.

A spoonful of oats helps chase the rain away.

Vegan MoFo Day 20: Pumpkin Pie Omega Blast Balls

I’ve been slacking on my Vegan MOFO¬†duties. My apologies. Sometimes life gets in the way of my blog ūüėČ

To make up for it, I’m sharing a delicious and nutritious treat – Pumpkin Pie Omega Blast Balls!

I tried these out on my coworkers, and they received¬†rave reviews. Well, except for the name. I personally like the “omega blast balls” moniker, but my omni¬†friends are a little put off by it. I tried calling them pumpkin fudge balls, but again, that was a no go. Apparently, most people don’t like to eat food with the word “ball” in the title. Ha ha ha! Luckily, I didn’t just get criticism, I also got a few suggested, and one of them is a winner – pumpkin truffles. But, I feel like I should roll the Pumpkin Truffles in cinnamon sugar. Which kind of defeats the healthiness. A little. So I think I’m going to go with the omega blast ball extension when I share with you guys, and the truffles tag when I share with the rest of the world – cinnamon sugar included.

Pumpkin Pie Omega Blast Balls

1/2 c oat flour

1/2 c flax meal (I use golden flax)

1/2 c rolled oats

1 TBSP chia seeds

1/2 c pumpkin puree

2 TBSP maple syrup

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Add all ingredients. Mix to combine. Roll into balls. Store in refrigerator.

I get 10-12 medium-sized balls from this amount of mix.

Pumpkin Pie Omega Blast Balls

You may want to add additional sweetener. I think stevia would work well with the maple syrup. I also got a couple of suggestions to add more spice. You can decide ūüėČ

I’m sharing this recipe with the awesome readers of…

SSGF’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (note – not every post is vegan)

DDD’s Wellness Weekends (Check out my featured recipe from last week while you’re there!)

Cybele Pascal’s Allergy Friendly Fridays (note – not all posts are vegan)

It’s a Block Party’s Delicious Dishes (note – most posts are not vegan)