Monthly Archives: February 2013

Apple Rosemary Scones

Since we have a seriously enormous rosemary bush growing in our front yard, I am always wondering what I can make that includes this delicious aromatic herb. Our rosemary bush is so large, in fact,  that it is now blooming in age with beautiful purple flowers. We use rosemary regularly in pastas, sauces & in general cooking… sometimes we even place a bunch of stalks of rosemary in a jar of water to freshen up the room, but… in a scone?  I admit I was a bit hesitant to try this combination (which you can guess means made my kids extremely hesitant to try it!), but, how will you know if something is for you or not unless you give it a try, right?!  Once again, an important lesson I try to teach my kids daily comes out through baking! (One more reason to love the kitchen!)

010

Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh rosemary?!

Warning: The wonderful aroma of these scones will fill up your house and make your tummy growl! These scones are perfect for spring or fall. They are light & crispy on the outside, & soft on the inside. I think they are best served warm. Add butter if you like.  If your kids are anything like mine, they love to help in the kitchen  – so send them out to help pick the rosemary… or perhaps even the apples, if you are so lucky!!

Tip: If you make big scones, you can heat them up the next day in your toaster oven, carefully cut the scone in half horizontally and add a soysage patty to make a mini biscuit-sandwich! Can you say “Wow?!” Oh sorry!… I didn’t realize your mouth was full! Mmmmmmmmmm………….. Delicious!

012

Apple Rosemary Scones

  • 1  1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed gently
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1  1/2 cups diced sweet red apples (about 3 small apples)
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 Tbsp dried & crushed)
  • a little sugar for sprinkling (raw sugar or brown sugar)

1) Preheat oven to 375. Mix the milk and vinegar in a large measuring cup. Set aside.

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the shortening in clumps, mixing in well with a pastry cutter, a fork or your hands. Break it up until it is in little pea like crumbles. Add the rosemary and apples.

3) Mix the oil and vanilla into the milk/vinegar mixture. Create a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the liquid into the center. Mix until it is all just moistened, flipping and folding the batter this way and that, trying not to overmix.  A few dry-looking spots are okay.

4) Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop & drop the scones onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  You should get 12-16 scones, depending on the size you scoop them. Sprinkle the tops with some sugar, then bake 18-22 minutes until the tops & sides are lightly browned. Transfer to cooling rack to cool and enjoy warm! Devour!

011

Apples + Rosemary = Heaven (who knew?!)

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake #2 (the yellow sponge cake version)

I don’t know if its pre-spring fever or what, but I have definitely been pretty busy the last few days… chasing the kids around the house & yard, playing with play-dough, water-painting, going on walks, trying out the new sports equipment that they got for their birthdays, etc. (We had a superhero themed birthday party this year, which I will post about later!) And on top of all the normal “busy mom” activities, I just completed a commissioned portrait. You may not remember I mentioned I was an artist… my art kinda got put on hold after I had kids. One of my resolutions this year was to start doing art again, so needless to say, I was thrilled when a great opportunity to draw a portrait came my way.  Hopefully it is the first of many to come!

Time is just flying and I can’t believe my little girl will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I guess now is the time to really make sure we “live in the moment” and enjoy the last few months of sleeping late and doing what we want all day!! Which leads me to…

112

Saturday-morning Strawberry Shortcakes! I definitely have fond memories of eating strawberry shortcakes when I was a kid. (And, no, this isn’t deja vu… I posted a scrumptious strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe a while back).  Anyway, when I was a kid, we usually ate the round spongy yellow cakes with the concave center for filling with strawberries and whipped cream.  My family must have loved them because I never ate strawberry shortcakes on a biscuit until I was an adult! (If you haven’t tried my shortcake biscuits, click the link above and take a look! They are deeeeelicious!)

My husband also grew up on the yellow sponge-cake shortcakes… So, with a carton of organic strawberries calling to me in the fridge and a can of soy whip in the door, I knew it was time to try to make some vegan strawberry shortcake “sponge-cake”… and I knew the kids wouldn’t complain!

Honestly, I usually try not to make things that require a lot of sugar, but on occasion, I will allow my kids to indulge on this kind of special breakfast/dessert.  I also look at it this way: #1) I know exactly what’s in it #2) The ingredients are as simple & as natural as I can buy them… unbleached flour, raw sugar, etc.) #3) it’s not a fried donut or some kind of fast food, and #4) it contains real fruit, which we always buy organic.

Fresh strawberries are probably only one of the fruits found at your local Farmers Market. Our market starts up in March… and I can barely wait! I love supporting the local community and farmers! You can also make this with blueberries and it is just as good!

115

This is close enough to “the real thing” for me! YUM!

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake (yellow “sponge” cake version)
(makes 9 squares)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg replacer “egg” (I used Ener-G-Egg Replacer where 1  1/2 tsp egg replacer powder + 2 Tbsp water = 1 egg)
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • strawberry “sauce”  (optional)

1) Mix all ingredients together.

2) Pour into a greased 8 x 8″ pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes until a knife inserted in center comes out cleanly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

3) Cut into 9 squares. When assembling the shortcakes, cut each square in half  horizontally. Layer your shortcake as desired, alternating the cake, strawberries, whipped cream, and strawberry “sauce” if desired. Devour!

I especially find that if I mention the possibility of a special weekend breakfast in trade for good behavior during the week, the kids try a little harder to be good (though I admit, when I do this, I have to remind them by saying “shortcakes” a few times a day when they start to misbehave!) And it also doesnt help that I’m a bit of a pushover for sweets! 🙂

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Grits

065

I suppose if living in the south means I have to like grits, then, well, I have no problem with that!  Grits can really hold their own! They can be breakfast (a giant bowl of grits served with a side of toast is a filling & delicious meal) OR they can sit on the sidelines alongside a tofu scramble or biscuits & soysage.   If your kids like broccoli and cheese rice, you have got to try this recipe!!!

If you don’t have nutritional yeast in your pantry yet, it’s time to break down and go buy some! You wont regret it! It’s delicious! I regularly put it on pasta, popcorn & tofu, just to name a few things. Red Star is a popular brand.  Check  your nearest health food store!

I can’t believe that I had never thought of this delicious & easy addition to traditional grits! Adding broccoli not only increases the deliciousness, but adds tons of nutrients and makes the desire to add cheese obsolete! I used to melt soy cheese into my grits, but I can honestly say, THIS is the way I’m eating my grits from now on! It’s healthier and it tastes better! Win-Win! 🙂

Vegan Broccoli “Cheese” Grits

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn grits (yellow or white) (please note: cornmeal is not the same thing as grits)
  • anywhere from 1/2 – 1 cup chopped broccoli (I like to use 1 cup)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-4 tsp olive oil or soy margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1 – Combine the water and broccoli in a non-stick saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2- Remove from heat and stir in grits with a long-handled wooden spoon. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

3- Stir well, add remaining ingredients and mix. Devour!

062

I enjoyed my grits with some buttered toast & “eggplant” bacon. (Note: the eggplant “bacon”
did NOT turn out as expected! Maybe its just not for me. Or maybe I made it wrong. Next time I’m using my good old reliable tempeh bacon or Smartbacon!)

I saw some new “faux shrimp” recently at the grocery store. It was NOT vegan… It contained egg or something. (It may have been the Yves brand?) It was alongside even more “faux seafood”, which I thought was pretty cool.  If you are vegetarian, you could even make “shrimp & grits”, which is one grit dish I have never had… Honestly, it doesn’t sound very appealing to me… but neither did pineapple on pizza, which is one of my favorite things! (If you ask me, the grocery stores are doing a pretty good job overall keeping up with us vegans! Of course health food stores are still the best places to find what you are looking for, but I was very happy with all the vegan-friendly additions to the natural food section/produce department in the our recently revamped Kroger.)

Man, I wish that all these faux meats were around back when I first went vegetarian! In today’s world, there is really no reason to eat meat! They make being a vegetarian so easy! And more and more stuff is becoming vegan, by demand! Being vegan takes a little more effort – but hey, that’s where I come in, right?!

African Sweet Potato Soup

110

Mmmm… I really love soup, especially when its cold outside! This is the first time I made this African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black Eyed Peas and Beans and it turned out so delicious! This soup is also gluten free, and makes a great hearty bowl if you are having company.  This could easily be a New Years dish since it contains black eyed peas… Perhaps next time I make this, I may try adding in some greens!

(I slightly altered the recipe below from the original one here @ the gluten-free goddess. The original recipe also includes jalapeno and cilantro. The jalapeno I decided to leave out because my kids don’t usually care for spicy foods, and the cilantro I left out because I didn’t have any! I also used a white onion instead of a red one. What can I say?…. It still tasted absolutely great!)

I was pleased that my kids tried and (more or less) liked this soup.  My son scooped his bowl clean… I think he could sense that it contained peanut butter (hahaha) which is one of his favorite foods! My daughter wasn’t as big of a fan, but she did finish her bowl for me.  I am a sucker for peanuty soups… especially ones like this. It makes about 4 adult servings. We served ours with a side of coconut jasmine rice, which the kids always love! It would also be great with some cornbread. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

African Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste – hot or mild, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 14-0z can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot water (to equal 1 cup) I recommend using chunky peanut butter to give it a little  extra texture and crunch in the soup.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red hot pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 big lime
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or agave nectar), to taste
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to mix the pol with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2) Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

3) Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat. Keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

4) Stir in the lime juice and sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if you please!

111

This delicious soup is packed with flavor AND protein!

P.S. This soup could easily make a ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.  That was kinda my original plan. My kids love hearing about different places in the world (in this case, Africa) and how different people live  and how our lifestyles are alike or different.  It makes for a great educational conversation!  However, somehow on this night we got sidetracked &  we never got around to putting in the movie!