Monthly Archives: April 2012

Spelt Scones

I’ve been doing a good bit of baking lately.  My sister (who is GF) recently had her first baby, so I have made her these scones a multitude of different ways… with raspberries, strawberry-walnut, and banana-walnut.    These scones are very versatile and I have found that practically any fruit works wonderfully!  I really enjoyed them when I used 1 cup of bananas and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips 🙂  I can truly say I dont think anyone would know that these are gluten free*.  And the best part about using non-gluten flour is that you dont really have to worry about overmixing!  These scones are lightly sweetened with agave nectar & are so light it is almost as if they fell right out of the sky. I love them!

* Spelt flour is a good subsitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though some people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt. In that case, you should try replacing the flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

Spelt Scones

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (i use the amber kind)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 heaping measuring cup of fresh or frozen fruit of choice
  • > 1/2 chopped nuts (optional)

1- Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the spelt flour, baking powder and salt.

2- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, measure the oil, agave nectar and vanilla and whisk together until fully combined.  Add to the dry mixture.  Stir in the hot water, then gently fold in the fruit and nuts, if using. (If I recall , the first time I made these I questioned the appearance of the batter… too mushy? not enough?… but I’m telling you, they will turn out beautiful.)

3- Sccop the batter (I like to use my 1/3 cup) onto the baking sheet.  If you make them smaller you can actually make 12.  However, I found I prefer the size of the scones when I make 7-8 (making each one < 1/3 cup). You may lightly brush the tops with oil, if desired.

Bake for 17-20 minutes until golden.   Once they begin to turn golden, I usually peek under a scone to check how dark the bottom is to decide when to pull them out! Let cool slightly and then devour!

Ahh.. a satisfyingly simple strawberry gluten free scone!

 

Inner Jam Oat Bran Muffins

I think everyone needs to have a good bran muffin recipe around.  I really like these good-for-you muffins… They are delicious and they also give you some extra fiber.  But the best part?… you wouldn’t think of them as being “healthy” muffins. The sweetness of the jelly totally takes over 🙂  My kids LOVE these (& me too)!

Inner Jam Oat Bran Muffins

  • 1 flax egg (2 Tbsp ground flax + 6 Tbsp water)
  • 2 cups oat bran
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use unbleached flour)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cup soymilk (i like to use almond milk in these
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup or a little more fruit jam (fruit sweetened preferred over sugar)

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly grease the muffin tins.  You can either make 12 or 16 muffins.

Mix up the flax egg and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the oat bran, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the flax egg, milk, and oil.  Stir in the walnuts. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

Fill the muffin cups less than half full with batter.  Put a big dollop of jelly in the center of each cup.  Add more batter until the jelly is concealed and fill all muffin cups equally. Bake about 16-20 minutes.  Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Fill a little less than half way

Add a fair amount of jelly in the center

Fill muffin tins equally and conceal the jelly

Voila... time to enjoy your inner jam, my friends

To be or Not to Be… Vegan

Ever wonder why or how someone came to choose a vegan lifestyle? Check out my personal story at To Be Or Not To Be… Vegan

Agave Glazed Carrots, 2 ways

Personally, I am always looking for new exciting ways to eat veggies… And I am always looking for new and exciting ways to get my kids to eat their veggies!  I am a bone fide veggie lover, but I was not always thus!  In fact, I remember frowning at many a plate of veggies as a child (a.k.a. pretty much all of them).  My turning vegan (or even vegetarian) probably dumbfounded my parents!

Tonight I am tackling ways to eat carrots.  Lets see.. my kids are fond of carrot juice, pot roasted carrots (basically seasoned with olive oil, tamari and sage), plain carrots with hummus, carrot cake (obviously), and… well, that may sum it up.  I guess I should be happy that they eat carrots at all, but it never hurts to keep trying new ways… for everything, all the time 🙂

Carrots are pretty abundant at the farmers market right now.  I love to use fresh local carrots, or organic store-bought.  The deer usually make our garden into their own personal feasting grounds once things start to sprout, so we haven’t planted much yet this year.  In fact, this upcoming weekend I am planning on doing lots of planting and deer proofing our garden.

This first agave-glazed carrot recipe is simple and sweet.  It’s super fast, delicious, and kid approved.

Agave-Glazed Carrots 

  • 1 lb carrots (about 8 medium)
  • 1 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  •  2 Tbsp soy margarine

Put carrots in a pot with just enough water to cover them.  Boil until fork tender.  Drain.  Add margarine & agave to the pot and stir together until glaze forms, then add carrots.  Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon if desired!

(Pssst! These carrots are also really yummy if you use maple syrup instead of agave nectar and add some dill!)

Balsamic-Agave Roasted Carrots

This method took about 45-60 minutes but the end result was delicious. It has a little more of a “grown up” flavor, if you will. My kids didn’t go for these so much. Oh well. You gotta try everything once! 

  • 1 lb carrots (about 8 medium carrots)
  • 1 turnip (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  • olive oil for coating pan, as needed

** For another option, replace the agave nectar with 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and add 1 tsp each fresh chopped rosemary and sage.

Preheat oven to 425.  Peel and uniformly cut carrots and turnip, if using. Whisk together the vinegar and agave.  Oil up your roasting pan and arrange the veggies on a single layer.  Put about 2/3 of your mix on the veggies. Roast for 25 minutes. Pull out of oven, add the remaining agave/vinegar and toss.  Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until tender!

I love roasted vegetables!  If you haven’t already, you should try these maple roasted parsnips! Roasting any kind of root vegetable makes a great side dish for any season! 

 

Happy Day-Before Easter!

I have fond memories of Easter growing up…. (besides going to church) I remember waking up and seeing my wicker basket, in line with my 3 sisters baskets (mine was the one with the pink bow with flowers on it) on the bench in front of the fireplace, totally full of all kinds of deliciousness!  Yes, I feel that my parents seriously  went all out for Easter (thanks guys!). My favorite candies were the big Reces Eggs, but of coarse there were also Peeps, little chocolate eggs, jelly beans galore and who could forget the BIG SOLID CHOCOLATE  BUNNY!  Yes, I still celebrate my vegan Easter the same way – with lots of chocolate!

A vegan easter requires a bit of extra planning, however.  Unfortunately, if you want the really good stuff, you will most likely have to order online… and early.  I was lucky to find several small basket-stuffing goodies at the local Earthfare, but you can only go so far with lollipops, gummy bunnies, Mambas and Starburst jellybeans, unless you want to go for a basket full of full size chocolate bars.  (Hmmm… I could live with that!)  So my #1 rule is: You have to order chocolate early. (Geez, I guess I’m a little late in letting you know… sorry! I’ll remind you earlier next year!)  You should note that most of the small individually wrapped chocolates that are easter-basket friendly go first.  #2 – You’ve got to find a place close enough to get the chocolate shipped to you with reasonable shipping charges and without it melting.  Many of the best sites I saw with lots of variety were based in California, and unless I wanted to overnight it to Georgia (for $30), I wouldn’t guarantee it would make it here before melting, so just remember: the closer you find the chocolate the better.  Especially if its warm in your area. And pay the extra $5 for the ice pack/box to guarantee a safe arrival! It’s worth it.

You can just type in “vegan easter candy” into your browser to find many sites offering vegan chocolate and gelatin-free candies.

Here is a great list of basket-fillers fit for vegans that you can find almost anywhere! Vegan Candy

Here is another fun site The Natural Candy Store

This is where we ordered most chocolates from this year! Amandas Own (which is based in Ohio).

And another great store in West Virginia Rose City Chocolates

I really wanted to have made something to share for an Easter recipe, but I just feel like I lost track of time this week!  Sorry! We were planning on leaving the Easter bunny a carrot tonight, but maybe I will end up making him some carrot cake instead!

Today is Saturday and the first day of this years Farmers Market. It was great to see all the smiling faces and fresh produce and wonderful live bluegrass music!  We ended up bringing home some homemade soap (from our soap-making friend who sells wonderful soaps and candles Songbird Soap), and zucchini, kale, collards and tomatoes from various local farms.  I can’t wait to see what we end up making with all our veggies!  I just know this is gonna be a great summer.

“Tow’mater” Soup with Grilled Cheese

For a fun night of Cars watching and good eats, check out this weeks Dinner and a Movie… featuring Disneys ‘Cars’ and one of my favorite comfort food combinations, “Mater” Soup with Grilled Cheese!   Enjoy!