A “Basic” Brownie Recipe

Posted on May 31, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I come from the line of thinking that you should never make things from a box: Either make it yourself, or buy it from someone who made it themselves. Things just taste better that way, don’t they?

Last night, I had a brownie attack. Don’t we all get those? I used to swear by a recipe like this one by Rachael Ray.I love the tag: “We can’t believe people are still using boxed mixes!” However, since then my “basic” has become anything but. Of course, there’s the gluten thing; I’ve also steered away from using eggs in baked goods for personal reasons. And, while I’m at it, I usually figure why not take out the dairy and make them vegan just in case? In case of what? I have no clue either. But that’s my line of thinking. And so I made brownies as “basic” as I could. And you know what? They turned out darn good. And because they were vegan, I got to lick the pan 😉

Basic Allergen-Friendly Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup GF flour mix
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk(water in a pinch)
  • 1 flax egg(1 tablespoon flaxmeal gelled in 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 oz chopped dark chocolate, or 6 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a big bowl, sift together the first five ingredients. Melt the non-hydrogenated margarine and add in the olive oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, flax egg, and extract. Pour into the dry mixture and mix until incorporated. Fold in the dark chocolate and pour into an 8×8 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When you’re living with allergens, life isn’t simple. Good thing these brownies are. And tasty!

I’m ashamed to say this was store bought vanilla bean coconut milk ice cream. When you get used to the home-churned stuff, it just feels naughty coming from a carton. Regardless, this was soooo good. Isn’t this how every weekend should be? 3-days long and full of brownie sundaes? I think so.

You could use 3 ounces of fancy chocolate for the recipe. Or you could use vegan baking chips and save the good stuff for yourself to eat straight. I think you can guessed what I chose.

And a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and sea salt tasted good after all that chocolate. Sometimes, you just need to detox.

After all that baking/microwaving, I did not feel like much for breakfast this morning. I really wanted a big cake donut and to call it a day but that wasn’t happening. Thankfully, I found this chocolate chip muffin from Gluten Free Life to eat with some earth balance. Just like my brownies, you’d never guess this was gluten-free! And so many chocolate chips. Yum 🙂

Anything exciting on tap for Memorial Day? I had a pool party in store but apparently it’s been rain checked since the pool won’t heat up 😦 Alas, we have a grill, we have neighbors, I’m sure we’ll find some way to spice up Memorial day.

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Mean Miles And Extra Special Blondies

Posted on May 23, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

And here I thought a party at the Museum of Science’s skyline suite what special, I had no idea the blondies I’d be cooking up today.

Endangered Species Milk Chocolate With Peanut Butter

Endangered Species Milk Chocolate With Peanut Butter

Endangered Species chocolate = amazing pre-running fuel. The milk chocolate with a hint of peanut butter let me down the first time I had it, but now I feel like I get that hint–really subtle hint.

10 Miles

10 Miles

I had fun kind of running around the town and found a new route I liked that came across a reservoir. And it just so happened to be an even number of miles! I love it when that works out. And then I was stahvin’ for a good lunch.

Sweet Potato With BBQ Beans, Tofu, And Mighty Maple

Sweet Potato With BBQ Beans, Tofu, And Mighty Maple

Finishing off a jar of Mighty Maple is always tragic; at least it’s redeemed when it’s in a killer way. A sweet potato with BBQ baked beans, raw tofu chunks, and a scoop of the good stuff. Um, yum. Am I blessed to love the texture of raw, soft tofu or what?

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

This afternoon snack was missing something…

365 Creamy PB

365 Creamy PB

Perfect. Who says you need to eat the peanut butter on the apple? They taste fine separate 😀

Tonight, we’re having guests over. I wanted to recreate this recipe. The result was nothing more than “special”, extra “special”. It’s gluten-free and vegan. There are specks of vanilla bean in the batter. And it just tastes damn good. How could it not(with 2 sticks of earth balance)?

Extra Special Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 cup all-purpose GF baking blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum(optional)
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste(or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Recipe: Extra Special Blondies

Preheat your oven to 350 and let the margarine sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before working with it. Cream the margarine and the sugar in a large bowl. Sift in all ingredients from flour to xanthan gum(if using). Add the liquids and vanilla paste and mix thoroughly with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Add the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Press into an 8×8 baking pan and bake for35-40 minutes or until the center is set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before slicing. Makes 12 servings.

Now are those fattening, err… “special”, or what?

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Get Me Out Of The Kitchen

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I could have sworn I wrote a post like this before. Regardless, even if I didn’t name it this, it’s a common problem I have: I get in the kitchen and you can’t get me out of there.

Roasting Potatoes

Roasting Potatoes

Sun Tea

Sun Tea

When I got home from my run, I showered and immediately had 4 projects going in the kitchen at once. 2 of them were rather simple. I started making half-caf sun tea using 7 tea bags and some room temperature water. That I’ll refrigerate later and sweet with stevia and lemon to serve as iced tea. And I threw some potatoes in the oven to bake because I like to always have a few fully baked potatoes lying around to throw into a hash. Speaking of hash…

Home Fries And Rosemary

Home Fries And Rosemary

I threw 2 previously baked potatoes, some red onion, rosemary and EVOO in a pan to cook into home fries for lunch. I’ve been assured that, while these aren’t currently as good as some of my favorite restaurants’, it just takes time and practice.

Vanilla Cashew Cream

Vanilla Cashew Cream

And while I had that on the stove, in the blender I threw together the ingredients for raw chocolate chip ice cream. At this point, it was like a thick and frothy vanilla milkshake I could have just drank there. But I resisted because lunch was ready.

Home Fries, Veggie Burger, Gingerade Kombucha

Home Fries, Veggie Burger, Gingerade Kombucha

For protein, I had a Wildwood shitake veggie burger alongside the home fries and a gingerade kombucha to wash it all down and rehydrate.

Home Fries With Red Onion And Rosemary

Home Fries With Red Onion And Rosemary

Again, not as good as when I get it at Nick’s or Garden Grill, but getting better. The red onion and sea salt are really key for the flavor. I can’t wait to try this again with part sweet potato.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

10 Miles

10 Miles

Before my run I ate a piece of microwave vegan chocolate fudge and that powered me through 9 laps of the neighborhood. I definitely did not feel fast today but after 3 days of outdoor running on hills I guess that’s to be expected.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

I snacked on an apple a little later on in the afternoon after I cleaned up all my messes(a food processor is not the same as a blender when it comes to liquids). Eventually, my cashew mixture had chilled…

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup amber agave
  • 1/4 cup vanilla bean infused sugar
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs

In a blender, puree the first 4 ingredients until they are fully mixed. Store this liquid in a container in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. Once ready, pour into ice cream maker and work to manufacturer’s directions. Add the cacao nibs 5 minutes before being done. Eat immediately or keep in a tight container in the freezer.

This was so fun to make! I can’t wait to make quarts and quarts of ice cream this Summer. I let this sit in the freezer for a bit but I think the texture was actually better right after being churned. It definitely had a cashew flavor, but not in a bad way. This would be better with an actual vanilla bean but my way costs considerably less. Did I mention it was delicious? Let’s just pretend the cashews have no calories.

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Raw Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

…What? Was I supposed to have only one bowl? Yeah, not happening. While I could try to make some excuse that this is raw and that somehow makes it healthier, ice cream is ice cream. I will say that this is a really fun way besides oatmeal to get in some NUTrition.

Baked Beans, Broccoli And Turnip In Soy Sauce

Baked Beans, Broccoli And Turnip In Soy Sauce

My dinner was boring compared to that. I really wanted to keep eating raw: raw salmon, that is. But as much as I love rural America for its honey, I do not love it for its lack of Whole Foods and cheap sushi bars. I told myself if I wasn’t going to feel ethical eating that fish, I should just be happy eating beans. And I am. Seriously, buy 365 baked beans. They will change your opinion on canned goods.

Favorite raw vegetable? I don’t like many vegetables raw but baby carrots I don’t mind. Here’s a note: raw turnip does not taste all that good. Keep that in mind.

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Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I had a sobering thought on my run today. I hate “veganism”. “What? But I love all my vegan meals and recipes.” That was my next thought. But I kept going back and realizing I really do hate the label, “vegan”.

So then I asked myself “Why?”

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

*Note: I did not eat this today, or any meat. The only non-vegan things I had were a yogurt at breakfast and brownie made with eggs in the afternoon*

Frankly, I’ve known too many people going vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain things for “health”, things like cholesterol and animal fats. And then once a year–probably on their birthday–, they’d have a big juicy steak. “Once and a while won’t kill”. Well of course it’s not going to kill you; but no one can say the same for the cow.

I think there are a lot of ways you can be healthy without strapping on the vegetarian label and shunning things out of your life. That’s not why I eat vegan at the meals and times I do. Rather, it’s to bring certain nutrients in.

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

My lunch wasn’t healthy because of the absence of animal products; it was healthy because of the abundance of plant-based foods. That, to me, is what veganism is all about: The emphasis of a plant based diet. As much as I’d love to think that way 24/7, I’ll undoubtedly slip up sometime and look at something for being “dairy-free” or “free of animal by products”. What I really wish I could see 100% of the time is how something is free of nothing, but full of nutrition.

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Of course, allergens play a role in this, too. But I would count those as a separate case. A lactose-intolerant person would eat coconut milk ice cream for a very different reason than a vegan. I’m–well–I’m neither. But I love how this tastes and feels, and do try to avoid dairy to some extent for better digestion.

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

And the brownie was likewise free of dairy and gluten(an allergen I do take care to avoid).

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Desserts in general, though, I would say get a pass on ever being “healthy”. No matter how you cut it(a fudge joke), my microwave vegan chocolate fudge and microwave vegan peanut butter fudge are full of sugar. That doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor, either, or that you shouldn’t make them 😉

9 Miles

9 Miles

That fueled me to run around my neighborhood 8 times for a total of 9 miles. Perhaps my legume love isn’t such a terribly beneficial thing since I needed to make a pit stop into the bathroom after lap 6. At least I was close to home and didn’t go on a road run like I was thinking.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Afterwards I refueled with my lunch posted earlier, and when that wasn’t enough I added an apple. Later on, at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of baby carrots to eat in the car(or the walk out of the store). If you went through a list of the allergens raw fruits and veggies are “free of”, we’d be here all day; it’s better to think of all the nutrition they’re “full of” in my mind. And tonight was “full of” recipes:

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • salt to taste

Cut the ends off of a sweet potato. Slice all the way through horizontally. With the cut side down, make strips 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut those again lengthwise to make into “fry” shapes. Repeat with the other 1/2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the fries and EVOO to the pan and massage with your hands until completely covered. Preheat an oven to 350 and bake for 60 minutes. Season to taste.

Vegan BBQ Bean Poutine

Ingredients

  • 1 serving sweet potato fries
  • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ beans
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella style Daiya
  • 2 strips tempeh bacon(optional)
  • 3 pieces fresh basil

Cook the sweet potato fries according to directions. Pile on a plate, and add on top the BBQ beans. Heat in the microwave through for about 2 minutes. Add on the Daiya and heat another 30 seconds to melt. If using, cook the tempeh bacon through until crispy according to manufacturer’s directions. Cut into small pieces and crumble on top. Garnish with basil.

Organic Pickles

Organic Pickles

Served with a side of organic pickles. Such a simple and delicious meal for one(I’m the only one home tonight). What are you full of today? I would have to say that I’m full of beans!! and also joy that I got so much on my to-do list done. The only thing I hope for this weekend to be “free of” is stress before my last final, because that’s been giving me plenty of that.

If you enjoyed my What Would You Do moment, the actual show is on at 9pm tonight on ABC so watch that!

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My Summer In Recipes

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

All throughout the year, I’ve had a tiny list of a few recipes I’d like to try. Well, when I realized I was home and had the whole Summer before me, that list kind of… exploded. Thanks to all of your suggestions and more, here is what I hope to make and bake over the next few months.

Wow. I better get cooking, right? Thankfully, I have.

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Microwave Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup no-stir peanut butter*(smart balance recommended)
  • 3/4 cup natural vegan butter substitute(earth balance recommended)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

In a bowl, microwave the vegan butter until melted. Add in the peanut butter and stir until fully incorporated. The mixture should be a thick liquid at this point. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla while slowly adding the milk as needed. Once all the ingredients have been mixed together, pour into a shallow square pan. Keep in the fridge loosely covered for at least 12-24 hours before cutting into.

*If the peanut butter is not solid at room temperature, the recipe will not set properly

**The powder is recommended because the alcohol in the vanilla extract will hinder the setting process somewhat

Good thing I’ve been running too…

14 Miles

14 Miles

I hoped to run 14 miles today, but honestly I did not know that I would. I put myself out on the road, and after the first few miles things just felt good. At 6.5 miles, when I could have cut it short, I knew I had it in me to keep going and going and made it all in under 2 hours. Wahoo! I was excited, and ready to eat a good meal for lunch.

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea Salad

Ah, nothing feels more refreshing than a Summer salad. I dressed spinach in this dressing and then mixed together chickpeas, golden raisins, raw cheddar, and a little maple syrup. The maple and sea salt really draw out the flavor in the cheddar to the point where it is too good for words. Have you been following your salads for salad a day?

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegan GF Chocolate Cupcake

Dessert was the 2 things I’ve been holding in my head all day: A piece of vegan peanut butter fudge and a Sweet Utopia vegan GF chocolate cupcake. The fudge isn’t quite set to where I’d like it, but I couldn’t help digging in with a spoon; the flavor is dead on. This plus Tivoed Bobby Flay made for a perfect afternoon. Do you think I could get into a fudge throwdown with him?

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

Oatmeal With 365 Crunchy

I also had for the 2nd day in a row a bowl of oatmeal with 365 crunchy. What can I say? I’m obsessed. I like the crunch, but so often pre-flavored nut butters are smooth. So now that I’m on a 365 kick, I expect to be crunching away!

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Plus an organic apple for a good serving of fruit before dinner.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli, Basmati Rice With Coconut And Lime

For dinner I tried out this recipe.

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

Sweet Chili Tofu With Broccoli

I think I’ve got you matched here, Whole Foods. This was pretty fantastic. Sure, it wasn’t fried. But the flavor was nice and spicy. For the rice, we just cooked it normally and then drizzled with coconut milk and lime zest at the end. Magnifique! So simple and yet rich and flavorful.

What recipes do you hope to make this Summer? Or maybe you shouldn’t tell me because then my list will grow longer…

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What’s Fudge Without The Butter?

Posted on May 3, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Still delicious. Still sinful. Still fudge.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Yesterday, at home, I was feeling ambitious: I’m going to make fudge. But what is fudge by its definition? As wikipedia told me, it’s fundamentally sugar, milk, and butter. No chocolate?! Well, not at it’s core. Those are the 3 ingredients that “make fudge”. Penuche is made with brown sugar. And chocolate fudge is made with the addition of cocoa powder. But what if you don’t want milk, or cream, or butter? And what if you’re a lazy bastard without a candy thermometer and only have the microwave at your disposal? Well, that’s when you need Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Microwave Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips(e.g. Trader Joe’s) OR 8.5oz sweetened dark chocolate
  • 4oz natural vegan butter substitute(e.g. Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

In the microwave or over a double-broiler, melt together the chocolate chips and butter substitute. Take care not to burn the chocolate. Once fully incorporated, sift in the powdered sugar and pour in the non-dairy milk. Stir until fully incorporated. Pour into a small, square pan about 6 inches by 6 inches. Drop on the counter a few time to remove any air pockets and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

I’m sorry; this was just too easy. I’m a little scared for every part of my body affected by sugar that this delicious dessert can be made so quickly and simply. I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk as the liquid, and the flavor could not have came out cleaner. Maybe vegan penuche will be next? The possibilities are endless! Now go make a pan and have another slice because it’s cholesterol free and no animals were affected in the process of your sinful, sinful treat.

Endangered Species Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Endangered Species Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

I also indulged in 6 squares my favorite chocolate bar smothered in vanilla agave sweetened 365 peanut butter. Uhhh, does anyone remember when I mentioned opening this jar? Because it’s half gone. I don’t think I’ve gone through a jar of nut butter this fast before, and it’s a store brand! I think that speaks to the magic of 365.

Nature's Path Peanut Choco' Granola Bar

Nature's Path Peanut Choco' Granola Bar

And when I woke up, this wrapper of a Nature’s Path Peanut Choco’ Chewy Granola bar looked pretty guilty(i.e. I ate it during Brothers & Sisters). I expected to be sore and tired after yesterday. I certainly was tired and enjoyed the sleep. But when I woke up at 7:40, I really just felt like running–no timing, no pressure. Just running.

8 Miles In 71:56

8 Miles In 71:56

I went for an easy and slow 8 miles in the gym. Despite the heat and the humidity, the entire thing was made 10 times more pleasant with The Today Show and Betty White. Will you be watching her on SNL? I definitely will be! By which I mean I’ll be watching it on the internet the next day, but still, enthusiastically.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Vanilla Yogurt With Peanut Sunspires, Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Vanilla Yogurt With Peanut Sunspires, Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

I have a problem: Once I get on a flavor or flavor pairing, I can not stop obsessing about it until the next craving. Hence the abundance of chocolate and peanuts in this post. At least those are foods that’ll fuel you well. A vegan chocolate peanut butter fudge batch next? Oh, somebody turn my brain off.

Since I’ve already asked and know if ya’ll like fudge, what are you having for lunch today? I’m super excited for mine, because it’s fried and already prepared 😀 It’s the little things in life…

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