Snack bars revisited – this time with Millet!

31 01 2012

Do other people who blog about the food they make ever feel like “hey, sometimes I wanna revisit stuff I made a while ago and I don’t wanna feel bad about that”?

I made these ages ago and I really loved how complex the flavour was, you were hit with sweetness and bitterness from the agave and the coffee, the molasses adds a nice depth of flavour and then… THEN you taste some chocolate. It’s like a diversity party in your mouth.

Last time I made these with less sauce and with amaranth. It was different this time but it was a good kind of different. (Let’s revisit the diversity party idea, again.)

Millet Snack Bars

1 cup coffee

3 Tbsp molasses

3 Tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 cups puffed millet

1/2 cup almonds, chopped or slivered

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup dried cranberries

Prepare a 9″ x 9″ pan, either greasing it or lining it with parchment paper. I normally go with greasing the pan because folding parchment paper is a lot like work.

Chop pecans and almonds, then place in a large bowl – I didn’t toast like I did last time. Measure all other dry ingredients (except cocoa powder) into the bowl with chopped nuts: puffed millet, unsweetened coconut, and cranberries.

Heat coffee in a saucepan on medium-high heat in order reduce. You want to have roughly 1/3 cup coffee after reducing. Remove from heat and add molasses, honey, vanilla, cocoa, and peanut butter, stirring until mixed.

Pour coffee-peanut-butter mixture over millet-nuts-n-coconut mixture, stir until all the dry ingredients are lightly coated.

Scoop mixture from saucepan into 9″ x 9″ pan, pressing bar mixture firmly into pan. Place in fridge or freezer and allow to set for at least an hour before cutting into bars and trasferring to an air tight container and storing in the fridge.

Beware: these do not travel well because they have to stay cold, but they are delicious and totally worth having to keep them at home and never share them with your work colleagues. Totally worth it.





Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf… with some pecans

21 01 2012

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This is another modified creation from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.  First, I thought putting pecans on the top before baking would look pretty and taste delicious.  I was wrong, the pecans got a little overdone and, although I enjoyed picking them off and eating them, this would have had better presentation without burnt pecans on top.

The original recipe called for pumpkin, but I used butternut squash instead.

It also called for a lot more sugar, which I replaced with less sugar and some protein powder.

The end result is, perhaps a little dry, but totally delicious.  Spreading applesauce on each slice helps with any moisture issues without adding any fat.  Genius.

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Butternut Squash ‘n Banana Loaf

2 cups flour (I used a combination of spelt and buckwheat)

1/2 cup protein powder (no protein supplements? just add 1/2 cup extra flour)

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups puréed butternut squash

1 banana

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp stevia powder

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat over to 350ºF.  Lightly oil a large loaf pan and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, protein, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.

In a blender or food processor, blend squash, banana, oil, water vanilla, sugar, and stevia together until smooth.

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just mixed.  Fold chopped pecans into batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

 

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Peanut Pasta with Tempeh and Chard

19 01 2012

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I decided to try something new with my photos.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I bought some chard, swiss chard.  Actually “some” is an understatement, I bought 3 bundles for 1 girl to consume in 6 days – that’s probably a lot of chard, swiss chard.  But I like a challenge and I’m committed to eating my greens.

I think 2012 is going to be the year of the library for me.  I think I’ve already checked out 30 books this year, and The Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook is one of them.  This recipe very nearly came from the book, but in the end the book just inspired it.

I didn’t have brown rice pasta spirals so I used whole wheat macaroni.

I didn’t want this to be a pasta dish with veggies, I wanted a veggie dish with some pasta.

I didn’t have broccoli so I used swiss chard.

I didn’t have carrots and I couldn’t find anything to replace them.

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I’m happy to say that I was pleased with the results and continue to be pleased with the left overs.

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Peanut Pasta with Tempeh and Chard

3 Tbsp sesame oil, divided

1 (225 g) pkg tempeh, crumbled

4 – 5 cups swiss chard, chpped

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 cup uncooked pasta of your choice, cooked

3 Tbsp natural peanut butter

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp Braggs or tamari

1 Tbsp agave nectar

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

1 tsp chili flakes

sesame seeds, for garnish

Get your pasta cooked.  While your pasta is cooking, get all your veggies chopped and ready to go.

Heat 1 to 2 Tbsp sesame oil in non-stick frying pan over high heat.  Fry the tempeh until slightly crispy, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chopped swiss chard and stir, cooking for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Add red pepper and remove from heat.

In a blender, food processor, or a bowl armed with a whisk, combine peanut butter, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, water, soy sauce, agave nectar, vinegar, chili flakes, and ginger.  Blend, whiz, or whisk until completely combined.

Mix all three parts together: pasta + veggies + peanut sauce.

Portion into bowls or onto plates and garnish with sesame seeds – if you’re feeling fancy tonight.  Otherwise, devour in the same manner you devour all delicious creations.

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Magic Balls

14 10 2011

And by Magic Balls, I mean they’re vegan, meat-ish, and tasty.

I made these a day ahead so that I could test drive them before actually serving to guests.  And by test drive, I mean that I put some on a plate and made SO eat them first.  He liked them, therefore they passed the test.

Sautéed and ready to go, these magic balls waited over night in the fridge, before being baked to perfection in the oven.  And then smothered in mushroom gravy (recipe to come).  You gotta love a dish that allows you to make it ahead.  As an aside, I basically made everything for my Thanks Giving dinner in the days before the actual dinner.  The day I hosted my feast, I showed up home at 5:15 from a really long bike ride, turned on the over, had a quick shower (during which time the oven got hot), put everything in the oven, got ready, and ZAMMO! dinner was ready in a flash.  Then, once dinner was out of the oven, I jammed the pumpkin filling into my pre-made crust and got that thing baking while we were eating.

Honestly, I felt like Martha Stewart for how organized I was and how smoothly everything went.

Walnut Tofu Balls

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/2 cups oats

1 cup raw walnuts, whole or in pieces

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp ground sage

2 tsp cumin

dash cayenne pepper

1/2 cup wheat germ

2 Tbsp arrowroot powder

1 pkg firm tofu (280 g)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Grab your food processor.  Combine garlic, oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, and dry spices in the food processor.  Whizz around until mixture is medium-fine.

Add wheat germ and arrowroot flour, and pulse a few times to blend.

Add the tofu and blend.  Gradually add 1 tablespoon of oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Blend just long enough to evenly distribute the ingredients, then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Form the mixture into balls, links, or patties and brown them in a sauté pan over medium heat in the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil.  Drain on paper towels.  Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes,.

*Recipe originally from The Veganopolis Cookbook by David Stowell and George Black





Heavenly Mushroom Pâté

12 10 2011

It doesn’t matter who you are or what kind of diet you follow, unless you have a nut allergy or aversion, you will think this pâté is divine.

I first prepared this last Christmas for a small dinner party.  And then I prepared it again.  And again for Christmas dinner.  And then again for new years.  And then one more time for SO’s birthday in January.  After that, I’d had enough heaven to last me until this week.  Needing a little refill, I made myself a batch of heaven and enjoyed it on warm, crusty bread slices.

An absolute crowd pleaser, but the kind of dish that you could happily eat by yourself.  In one sitting.  Before making a second batch.

Heavenly Mushroom Pâté

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup of onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

15 brown, white or shiitake mushrooms (or 3 – 5 portobello mushrooms)

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried sage

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce or Braggs

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cups walnuts, toasted

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent.

Add mushrooms, then cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and cook for 5 minutes more to reduce the mushroom liquid in the pan.

Add thyme, sage, nutritional yeast, Tamari/Braggs and vinegar, stir to combine.  Cook for 1 minute and turn off heat.

Transfer mushroom mixture to a food processor and add toasted walnuts and freshly ground pepper.  Pulse until mixtures becomes a creamy pâté.

Taste and add more seasoning, if necessary.

Serve at room temperature and devour with crackers or bread.





Pretty good almond pâté

10 10 2011

This Thanks Giving I made three kinds of dips/spreads.  I’m showing you this one first because, although it’s good, it’s less good than the pumpkin hummus and EVERYTHING pales in comparison to mushroom pâté.  This pâté has some texture, it’s not smoother than smooth, and it works.  It’s a colourful spread, thanks to the carrots and the parsley and the flavours are fresh.

For those of you who are coming off a Thanks Giving weekend binge, this pâté is high in protein, mineral and vitamin rich, easy to digest and awesome fuel for people leading active, healthy lifestyles.

I’ll be enjoying the leftovers of this pâté in sandwiches and wraps!

Almond Pâté

1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight in cold water

2 carrots peeled

1/2 cup celery

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup scallions (or red onions)

Lemon juice to taste (1 – 2 Tbsp)

Salt and pepper to taste

Get out your food processor.  Or do what I did and get out your neighbours food processor.  (Thanks Art!)

This is where is get really, really complicated…

Drain the almond and whizz them around in the food processor until they’re chopped into small pieces.  Add everything else and whizz it around until everything is combined.  Don’t forget to scrape down the sides a couple of times, ensuring that everything get turned into bits and gets blended together.

This tastes best fresh (FRESH!) but it will keep in the fridge for 3 – 4 days in a sealed container.





Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3 10 2011

I had bananas that were going brown and a craving for oatmeal raisin cookies. That’s right, I like oatmeal raisin cookies and I’m proud of it.

My Aunty Dee used to make these wicked amazing oatmeal cookies and, despite her best efforts, my mom could never them quite right. I’m pretty certain that the key ingredients were love and fat. This recipe has lots of love, no fat, nor does it include eggs or sugar. Well, no refined sugar, there’s only a little bit of maple syrup.

Having shared these with a picky SO, a yoga instructor, a kettlebell instructor, a nurse, and a 2-year old, I feel pretty confident that these cookies are a taste sensation that will rock you nation. These cookies are chewy and subtly sweet, with a nutty crunch.

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup soy milk

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2 ripe bananas

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 cup toasted walnuts

1 cups raisins

Preheat over to 325ºF. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Measure oats, soy milk, and vanilla together into a mixing bowl. Set this aside and let the oats soak in some of the milk and vanilla for 5 minutes or more.

Mix bananas and maple syrup into oat mixture. Once the sweetness has been combined with the oats. stir in flour, baking powder, and vanilla. Lastly, stir in your toasted walnuts and raisins.

In 1 or 2 tablespoon balls, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets and squish them down a little bit – they won’t spread out in the oven.

Bake for 14 minutes.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Or allow to cool before devouring straight from the cookie sheet.