Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Vegan Banana Bread Pudding Crumb Cake that Happened by Accident (eat cake, ice foot, get better. . . a running nemesis strikes and honesty about the past catching up to you)

 
This is a happy accident cake. During our major snow storm this weekend, an incredible urge to bake using bananas overcame me. I have scads of recipes for banana this and banana that--mostly in bread or muffin form. Then there is my other favorite form: cake. I'm a little behind on my recipe "trying"'--that is, I cut recipes out, stuff them in a folder and wait for a moment when I'm not lassoing training a puppy, to try and file them into my very stuffed three-ring binders. Well. Whatever. I just remembered cutting a recipe out, banana something and crumbs were involved. It actually was supposed to be a coffee cake--you know, something you'd have for breakfast. Does this cake here look anything like a coffee cake? My eyes say no. But, my curiosity said, Well, there goes two perfectly over-ripened bananas into a cake that didn't quite come out a cake. . . until my first bite and I was like, whoa--what just happened here? DID I JUST ACCIDENTALLY CREATE A VEGAN BREAD PUDDING. (Which I will admit has been missing from my life since our pre-vegan days. No regrets, just some taste buds that have food pang memories working.) And there it is.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pistachio Cardamom Shortbread Cookies (perfectly "crumbly". . . for this winter slump)

Sometimes a really good cookie can rescue me from a really bad day. We woke to bitterly cold winds, temperatures in the single digits--and only expected to climb to the teens--and a layer of new snow on the ground. (At least we don't have a hundred inches of snow, things could be so much worse)--I shouldn't complain. Then there was a rambunctious puppy under foot whose only desire in this world involves chasing, running, and gnawing. Little can be done to keep her "down" and quiet other than wearing her out with games of indoor hide and seek and little short trips outside. I was desperate for a break and thought she would find her chew-bone more exciting than my leg, arm, kneecap or hip--so I began pulling together the ingredients for this amazing shortbread cookie. I love, LOVE, love these.
I whipped these up in no time, before my second cup of coffee, even! They were almost too easy. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Vegan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Extra Chocolate Chips (and a smidgen of hazelnut flour I had left over from a "flour-buying" spree: Love. These.)

I took our food pantry completely apart one afternoon. I re-sorted, re-arranged and basically brought some sanity into the kitchen. In my journey to creating a much neater, more organized life, I discovered I had amassed four different flours (aside from your basic all-purpose and bread flour). So really, I had like eight flours on hand (plus two gigantic bags of slivered almonds!) Why? I remember having this really crazy notion in November (when we all have visions of a "Jimmy Stewart" kind of holiday): "Wouldn't it be great to make ALL kinds of cookies this Christmas with ALL kinds of different flours!?" That'd really UP my cookie baking game!. . . And then the really busy time of December and reality of life/puppy raising set in and here I was in January staring at four bags of flours I had no idea what to do with. The hazelnut flour spoke to me the most. I was NOT going to let this bag perish. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Been too Quiet. . . But I Like it That Way (knitting/sewing over food right now and a Frankie moment)

It's difficult blogging during these winter months. So much of what keeps my attention lately has little to do with food, but more to do with keeping busy, not focusing too much on the news and generally taking a hibernation approach to life. This weekend DH and I ventured out "quickly" on a short jaunt that ended up taking up half the day and him saying to me when we got home, "This shopping stuff is exhausting and sucks the life right out of me." Really? Welcome to my world, sweetie. Someone must run the household. Someone else must go to work. I really try not to drag him along when there is shopping to be done, but this go around, he actually wanted to see a gadget "in person" at the Big Electronics store, so I indulged his wish and out the door we went. We wear hats, glasses and plenty of hideaway outer wear to keep most people from approaching us. We wish a sign could dangle from around our necks reading, Caution: Introverts Entering, No Interaction Required! Amazon is our most favorite place to shop, if truth be told. But that requires a delivery person to bound up to our door and creates another whole set of anxiety (aside from the Jehovah people--omg, don't get me started). But I am completely off track in what I was originally going to talk about.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vegan Spice Cookies with Chocolate and Zesty Citrus Glaze (How the "Problem" of Christmas Gets Solved)

The miracle of Christmas for me isn't what you might imagine it would be. The real miracle is that I make it through the C-R-A-Z-Y. This is my second round of cookie baking. The first round of cookie-palooza went out in boxes and packages. I love doing this and it sort of makes me happy--for a bit. Then there is the second needed push I have for that little extra that I set aside for just us--and when I find it, I know it. I found it in this cookie. For what it's worth, I am thrilled I took a little extra time to "find" just the perfect, newest cookie recipe to try. Thrilled because this cookie--filled with warm cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and then chocolate!, and citrus--met all my criteria for a superb trifecta of delicious and solved the problem of blah-Christmas-cookie-baking doldrums. (And kept me from going nuts chasing a five month old Pyrenees puppy out from under the Christmas tree for the one hundredth time. . .Gahhhh!)  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup with Extra Noodles: Hold the Chicken (Windy City for Windy Sisters and. . . Calling Major Tom)

I was fortunate to have not gotten ill on my short trip back home to visit my sister. At least I have that to be thankful for. Who knew you could get the flu AND have the flu shot, too? Why go through the trouble fear and doubt of getting the damn shot if a month and a half later, you're so sick you can barely muster enough strength to roll yourself over in bed. Why?! I'll take my chances! 

So Sunday afternoon, after calling my doc in the morning and demanding asking for some antibiotics, something--anything!, I took every bit of my zapped energy and got the ingredients on the counter, and into the soup pot, simmering. (Because who else is going to cook for us: Frankie?! as DH and I were both feeling the effects of this 'flu-creep" beginning to take its toll.)

My veganized Chicken Noodle Soup sort of came together based upon what I could reach without falling over. So there's a little bit of everything in here. But without it all: the seasonings, garlic, onions, cabbage, mushrooms and barley, I don't think you'd have much of a soup. And when you think about it, the "old school" chicken noodle soup I remember didn't really have too much in it other than LOTS of noodles and a wee-bit of chicken. So. Here's where the beans came in. Then the barley. Then the turmeric added a beautiful, earthy and almost curry-ish-ness to the soup without it turning into curry. The turmeric color added to the soup made it even more delicious in appearance. It's a keeper in terms of soups. We both loved it and better yet, this recipe makes enough for the next night, too. Because seriously, I wasn't cooking much in this condition.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Vegan Jelly Donut Muffins with Multi-Grain Goodness (baking through "Ovenly" while puppy-dancing. . . finally ran a 5k race and I didn't fall: Yay!)

The other day, DH and I were discussing our earliest food memories. Mine centered around my grandmother's homemade grape jelly. DH said one of his were these huge cinnamon twist doughnuts from a local bakery where he grew up. Then I added, Oh yeah, well, we had doughnuts, too--my favorite always had jelly inside and pink icing. Then there was the debate of whether or not having a food memory not tied to a homemade item constituted a food memory. Then we both sat there fighting off the urge to once again abandon all rational thought and have doughnuts for dinner. 
*I seem to have a running theme here lately with the doughnut obsession. I know not where it comes from, I just know that it is. 
After our conversation about doughnuts had run its course, I finally decided to bake something along the lines of said food stuffs, and turned to adapting a recipe for Jelly Doughnut Muffins from Ovenly. (Oh how I wish all cookbooks were this crave-worthy--more in a second on this.) I had some adjustments to make to go vegan with these, plus I wanted to up the health factor a bit--so I subbed in some spelt flour (my all-time favorite multi-grain baking flour hands down--except it usually does better for me when combined with AP flour), and omitted the eggs. . . obviously. Muffins are one of the most forgiving baking items you could manage. As I soon discovered once again during one of my "some-timers" moments.

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