Saturday, December 24, 2011

Challenge #40 - No Bake Dessert - Banana Cream Take 2

The banana cream pie I made for Thanksgiving got really good feedback, so thought I would make it again to bring to a Christmas Eve  party, but re-worked to make individual ones that are easy to eat.  I also added a little twist to some of them for those of you that like coconut.
This is the Same the recipe from challenge #34, but slightly tweaked.  This will yield 9 individual treats.
Ingredients Crust:                        Ingredients Filling:  
1-1/2 cups pitted dates                    2 frozen bananas
1 cup almond meal                           1 fresh banana
2 handfuls of raisins                         3-1/2 tbsp raw almond butter
                                                       1 tbsp vanilla extract
Ingredients Optional:
Sliced banana
Shredded unsweetened coconut.

Step #1: Pulse all crust ingredients together and they begin to combine.  When finished, remove from food processor and put into bowl.  Kneed together to form dough ball.  (Photos below, I forgot to take a picture of this last time).
Step #2: Once your dough is formed, you want to press dough into a non-stick cupcake pan on the bottom and around the sides.
Step #3: Freeze for at least 20 mins.  When time is up, you a knife around edges to help remove them from the cupcake pan.
Step #4: Remove all crust shells and set aside.  Put all filling ingredients in blender and blend.  You can use a bit of almond milk to help facilitate blending.  The first time  I did this, I did not need to use, this time around I used a splash.  I also added cinnamon into the filling.

Step #5: Add banana filling to shells.
Step #6 (if you like coconut, if not skip this step).  I only filled 5 of the shells to start. I then added a bunch of shredded coconut to the filling and blended it again.  I then finished filling the remaining shells (1 is not shown in the above photo).  If you choose to do this, I added some coconut flakes to the top to differentiate the 2 kinds.  Of course you could also add a banana slice, chocolate shavings, sprinkle top with cinnamon...a world of possibilities.
Step #7 - Cover and place freezer to allow the banana filling to get hard.  You will want to remove from freezer for at least 10 mins before serving (think ice cream cake).
Step #8: My husband and I sampled one to make sure they were good before I brought them to this evenings party.  It was yummy!  Below is a photo of a final one with a bite taken out!  Super simple, no baking, and these versions don't require a knife and fork.  I guess if you wanted to make them bite sized, you could use a mini cupcake pan instead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Challenge #39 - Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (Vegan)

This one was a pretty big challenge since I am really much more familiar with cooking and not baking.  .  It has taken me a few tries, but here is what I have come up with.  A few people had the batch I made the other night, and everyone liked them (people that eat with no restrictions).  So I took this as a good sign!  Some wanted more chocolate, some wanted less, so I leave it to you how much you want to add or omit.  The muffins were yummy.  They still need perfecting though.  A friend of mine who is a baker had some thoughts, so this is still a work in progress!  If you try this and make some adjustments, please let me know what you did and how it worked out!
Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins (or 6 large muffins)
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking soda (aluminum free)
1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 dropper of stevia (can use only packets or liquid)
3 packets of stevia
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
70% dark chocolate chunks  (If you want these to be 100% vegan, use vegan carob chips or omit)

Step #1: Mix pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil & stevia in a bowl.
 Step #2: Mix buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, & sea salt.
Step #3: Mix wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients.  Add in almond milk and continue to stir until batter is smooth.
Step #4: Half or quarter chocolate chunks and add to mix.  You can see in the photo below on the right is the cut chunks and the original size on the left.
Step #5: Use some coconut oil to grease cupcake tray. (My tray was also non-stick) and fill with batter.

Step #6: Bake on 350 for 30-35 minutes.  Check after 30 with toothpick.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean.
Step #7: Remove from oven and let cool.  Remove muffins from tray when cool.
Step #8: Enjoy delicious and healthy muffins.  Photo below of one of the muffins cut open.  The chips melt in beautifully.  Feel free to adjust spices and chocolate to your own preferences.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Challenge #38 - Sweet Potato Scallion Pancakes

Two old favorites, potato pancakes and scallion pancakes.  Make way for sweet potato scallion pancakes.
2 baked sweet potatoes
4 scallions diced
1/3 cup quinoa flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
Garlic salt to taste (optional)
1 tbsp butter (or whatever you like to use)

Step #1: Peel and cube baked sweet potatoes.
Step #2: Mash sweet potatoes and add diced scallions
Step #3: Mix together and add quinoa flour.  I did not add the entire 1/3 cup to start, you will want to do the same so you can check the consistency.  You can check by turning spoon upside down.  Mixture will stick and not fall off.  See photo below.
Step #4: When you have a good consistency, form patties. It's a little messy- but it's worth it, I promise!
Step #5: Melt butter in pan and add patties.  Once golden brown on bottom, flip and brown other side.
Step #6: Serve and enjoy.  My husband really liked these as well.  I will definitely be making these again in the future.  We both like them crispy, but you can brown them as much as you like.

Challenge #37 - Mock Risotto

One of my most favorite dishes is risotto!  Though I occasionally still have it, I really try to stick to millet, quinoa, & buckwheat.  So I have reworked the classic to be made with millet.  The recipe below is for mushroom/asparagus risotto, but you could do a primavera or whatever you like.

1 cup millet (uncooked)
1-1/2 cups mushroom broth
1/2 cup water
Half bunch of asparagus - chopped to about 1/2" pieces
Mixed mushrooms (I bought a pre-sliced blend, shiitake, baby bella, & I think oyster)
1 shallot - diced
1 spring rosemary
1 tbsp butter (or whatever you want to saute in)
Sea Salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional)

Step #1: Melt butter in pan with rosemary sprig. Once melted, add in diced shallots, asparagus, & mushrooms.  When cooked through and tender, remove from pan.

Step #2: Add millet to pan.
Step #3: Add about half broth to pan and stir.  As millet begins to soak up broth, add remainder of broth.
Step #4: When all broth has been soaked up, remove sprig of rosemary and add veggies.  Stir together to let flavors blend.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Step #5: Serve and enjoy!
This also works well as a leftover.  I added some to a small pot to heat with a splash of broth so it would not dry out.  Very delicious the following day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Challenge #36 - Quinoa salad

I wanted to make something simple that would give me a few meals for lunch during the week... Quinoa salad.  Also, since 1 cup quinoa  uncooked is 3 times the amount cooked, this is great if you are on a tight budget.
1 cup uncooked quinoa pre-washed ( I used red, but the black or white would be fine too)
1 cup veggie broth (yeast free)
1 cup water
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 scallion
1 box frozen artichokes (can use jarred or canned)
1/2 lemon
Sea Salt

Step #1: Add one cup of quinoa to 1 cup veggie broth, 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Once liquid is boiling, bring to simmer until quinoa is tender.  If you have never made quinoa before, the grain opens and you see the germ ringlet when it is cooked.  See photo below.  1 cup uncook ed yields about 3 cups cooked.

Uncooked red quinoa

Quinoa coking, almost done
Close up quinoa cooked, you can see the ringlets
Step #2: Dice veggies and throw in bowl while quinoa is cooking.
Veggies diced up
Step #3: Cook frozen artichoke according to package (this is what I had, canned or jarred is fine)
Artichoke cooking

Step #4: When quinoa cools, add to veggies along with artichoke hearts.  Add lemon and salt to taste.  Mix and enjoy!  You can really add any combination of veggies you wish.
Quinoa Salad

Challenge #35 - Quick and Easy

I came home one night and wanted to make something quick and super easy - so here's what I came up with... Vegetable Soba Soup inspired by Undo soup.  Please note, not all soba noodles are 100% buckwheat, please read packages carefully if you are gluten intolerant.  I'm ok if there is  little bit of wheat in them.  I just discovered this the other day.

Soba Noodles (1/2 package)
1 cup vegetable brooth
1 cup water
Few splashes nama shoya (raw soy sauce) - optional
1 carrot shredded
Steamed broccoli
2 sheets un-toasted Nori sheets (can used toasted if desired)

Step #1: Bring veggie broth & water to boil(can adjust quantity as needed).  Add soba noodles when boiling and cook until tender, about a 4-8 mins depending on what brand you buy.
Step #2: While  noodles are going, shred 1 carrot, crumbled up nori sheets and add to large bowl along with steamed broccoli.  (I usually have steamed broccoli in the fridge already)

Step #3: Add soba noodles and broth to bowl with veggies.  Add in a few splashes to nama shoyu and stir.

Step #4: Enjoy!  Simple and fast.  Perfect for a cold winter day.  Of course you can add whatever vegetables you want.  If you eat meat, you can throw in left over chicken or beef.