Tag Archives: bread

Homemade Pita Bread

021

As much as I love baking bread, I admit that I let my bread baking skills slack off majorly the last few years after my kids were born… I guess I felt that I didn’t have the time to bake fresh bread with a newborn… then I found another excuse when the toddler age stuck. But don’t fool yourself like I did. All you really need to make some kind of awesome homemade bread is a few minutes here and there.  The actual hands-on action (especially for loaves) is surprisingly minimal and you will find that fresh bread is worth the extra effort. Also, not only is homemade bread made to order & delicious, I personally feel a sense of real accomplishment serving and eating bread that I baked!  I am hereby swear I am going to bake more bread!!

I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a bread hook, which is totally worth investing in. I use mine often, mainly for making bread dough, pizza dough, cake batter and cookies. Mine was a gift from my husband (thank you, Steven!)… And no, I’m not one of those women who get offended getting kitchen items as gifts – in fact, they are among my favorite gifts to receive because I truly love to create things in the kitchen! If you don’t have a bread mixer, you will have to knead the dough by hand… but don’t frown just yet – and I speak from experience – this makes for some killer arm toning!!

Somehow, this was my first time making homemade pita pockets. I was so pleased at how simple and delicious these were! I think now that my family knows I can make these, I’m in real trouble! Next time, I’m definitely going to mix in some whole wheat flour to make them a little less white-bready tasting. We are usually whole wheat/mixed grain people over here… with occasional local sourdough 🙂

I mistakenly poked holes into the pitas with a fork before baking… Oops. I think I was remembering when we made pita-pizzas at a bakery where I used to work, not pita-pockets. My holes caused the dough to not poof out completely, so I ended up having to cut the insides of my pitas apart with a knife (which still worked fine… they all came apart easily). Anyway, you live and you learn, right?! So, unless you are trying to make pita-pizzas, don’t poke the dough with a fork!!

023

Oh, and please don’t let the long instructions below deceive you! Sometimes I have a tendency to over-explain things! It’s really quite simple! I should mention that my kids were dying to help roll out the dough into pitas! If you don’t want little hands helping, you better set them up with some playdough and let them make their own “pitas” 😉

HOMEMADE PITA POCKETS

  •  2  1/4 tsp of jarred yeast – I used Fleishmans  (1 envelope of quick rising yeast should be the same amount)
  • 1  1/2 cup very warm water, plus extra for warming the mixing bowl*
  • > 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached bread flour, but next time I will be using whole wheat flour for half of this amount)
  • 1  1/4 tsp salt

* First warm up your bread bowl by letting it sit full of hot water. Now, pour 1 cup of very hot water into a large measuring cup and then add cold water to fill it up to the 1  1/2 cup mark. Sometimes I have to dump some water out to add more hot or cold water until the temperature is “just right”, which to me means you can stick your finger in it, it feels pretty hot, but it’s not going to burn you. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If it’s too cold, the yeast wont grow.

1) Dont forget to dump your bowl-warming water before you add your measured water!!  Now, pour in your measured water and sugar.  Stir.  Add yeast. Wait 2-3 minutes. Your yeast should start to look frothy/foamy. That means you did it right!! YAY!  (If nothing happens after several minutes, your water was either too hot or cold or your yeast is dead. Try again!)

014

Foamy looking areas means you are good to go!

2) Add about half your flour and add the salt and turn on the mixer. Then gradually add the last half of the flour as it begins to mix. It may look sticky or dry, but just let it mix around a minute to come together. (At first, mine looked sticky but then it came together well and I didn’t have to add any more flour or water.) Let it mix 5- 6 minutes on medium speed. I like to turn up the speed a little faster at the end for about a minute. The dough should be smooth and elasticky… A good dough feels a little sticky but comes out of the bowl pretty cleanly. It shouldnt be acting like gum! It should feel more like soft warm slightly sticky play dough! 🙂

016

Here is my finished dough ball. Nice and soft.

3) Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (I did this right in my mixing bowl, pictured below.) Let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size. This took my dough about 45 minutes. The dough is ready when you poke it and the indention remains. If it bounces back out, give it a little more time. It may take an hour or more if your kitchen is cold!

017

I picked up my dough, oiled the bowl and then put the dough back in there, covered, to rise.

4) Punch it down and roll it out like a rope so you can cut it into 10-12 pieces. I made 12 but my pitas were pretty small. Form balls with the dough. Sit the balls on a floured surface, cover with towel and let rise another 10 minutes. (Bakers tip: shaping the balls can be very quick if you take a dough ball in your dominant hand and roll it in circles against a wooden cutting board, pulling it tighter with your curved fingers as you go. Once you get good, you will be rolling dough balls in both hands at once!)

019

Separating the dough and rolling it into balls…

5) Preheat oven to 500 and place your oven rack on the lowest setting. (It also helps to pre-heat your baking sheet). I hear you can also use a cast-iron skillet for this to add extra iron. I may try that next time.

6) Roll out each dough ball into circles about 5 – 6″ across and 1/4″ thick.

020

Rolling the balls out into pitas…

7) Bake 4-5 minutes until they are puffy. Smash down with spatula. Flip and bake them 2 more minutes. Smash again if necessary. Repeat until all are baked.

022

Ta-Da! The finished pitas!

Stuff them, use them for dipping… whatever you wish! These should freeze well (in a freezer bag) up to 1 month. They last about 1 week fresh.

025

First we served these right from the oven with some baba ganoush and cucumber slices.

NOTE: They are AMAZING if you lightly brown them up on a cast iron skillet in a tiny bit of olive oil… We did that (pictured below) and cut them into triangles for dipping into baba ganoush with some shredded and sliced vegetables. You could also serve these pita triangles with hummus. Mmmm! I never knew pita making was so easy! I will probably be making these for my family several times a month!

039

Homemade pitas make for a seriously impressive and scrumptious appetizer… or sandwich!

Advertisements

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

My kids are just like me – they can’t resist a good scone or muffin!  And it sure comes to our advantage that I enjoy baking so much… We’d be spending a fortune if all the baked goods that we consumed on a regular basis were store bought… hmmm…. yeah, I think maybe owning a bakery would be a good idea!  I am my own ideal customer 🙂

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

The first time I made these scones, I used a boxed egg replacer.  They turned out so perfect, that I have just stuck with this recipe ever since… I would love to try these sometime using a flax egg, but I just haven’t wanted to change a thing!

  • 1 “Egg” (I like to use Ener-G-Egg Replacer for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter (aka Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • cinnamon/sugar mixture for sprinkling (optional but recommended)

1) In a small bowl, make 1 “egg” with egg replacer & set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

3) In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture using a fork.  You want it to be crumbly, like bread crumbs or slightly larger like pea sized crumbles.

4) Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and strawberries.

5)  Mix the soymilk with the egg and whisk well.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix by turning and kneading the dough until it is all mixed and there are no large clumps of flour. You may be tempted to use a tad more liquid but I assure you it won’t be necessary if you keep kneading the dough and flipping it.  (If you feel it absolutely necessary to add more liquid I urge you to only add an additional tablespoon where needed or your dough will end up sticky.)

6)  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten on a lightly-floured surface.  Pat dough down gently until its about < 1 ” high and cut into 8-10 pieces, obscure shapes or triangles, whatever pleases your eye.  Place the pieces on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I like to make mine in zig-zags 🙂

Getting the dough ready to flatten out and cut my shapes. I decided to go for 8 this time around...I think the cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them pretty.

8 mostly triangle-ish shapes

The cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them even yummier... is that possible?

7) Bake about 15 minutes until tops are just starting to turn golden.  (Watch the bottoms for they tend to brown faster than the tops.) Cool on a wire rack.  Devour.

Voila! Stack them as you please (or just eat them)!

Homemade Pizza, Vegan Style

Who doesn’t love pizza?  There is something very satisfying about making a delicious homemade pizza, made to order.  Some people think that when you go vegan, you  have to give up pizza, but that is simply untrue. After all, all a vegan really does is replace the animal ingredients with plant-based ones.  It’s easy… and most of the time it is better for you!  In fact, when I became vegan, I also discovered that I really enjoy a pizza loaded with veggies without cheese at all!

But, there are definetly times when I feel like eating a cheesy pizza… & when I do, I like to use either Follow your Heart brand Vegan Gourmet mozzarella or Daiya mozarella. My husband prefers the flavor of the vegan gourmet, but I think both are just delicious!  (You may want to note that the daiya “cheese” is a gluten & dairy & soy free cheese… And also, it does tend to melt better on a quick cooking time, (such as this 12 minute pizza), which is probably why our local pizza shop offers the Daiya cheese on the vegan pizzas rather than the other brand.)

delicious daiya "cheese"

So, when Im in a pinch for a quick dinner this is my go-to crust.  It doesnt require any real rising time, which means by the time you blend the dough up, you can practically slap it right onto your pizza pan, top it with sauce, veggies & cheese and bake it for 10-14 minutes… so this can definetly be an under 30 min meal from start to finish 🙂

 Your Vegan Neighbor’s Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

(makes one large crust)

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp yeast (I use a kind that I buy in a jar in the flour aisle of Kroger, Fleishmans bread machine yeast)
  • 2/3 cup hot water + enough olive oil to meet the 3/4 cup mark on my measuring cup

(If you are unfamiliar with using yeast, you should note that water that is too hot will kill the yeast.  You do not want to use boiling water.  In fact, I usually stick in my finger to see if it is a good temperature.  It should be tolerable to the finger – it shouldn’t burn you, but it should feel hot!)

1) Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Mix dry ingredients in the food processor.  Pour the hot water/oil in through the feed tube and let the dough form a ball.   Process for about 40 seconds, then transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl or a floured surface.

3) Let rest for several minutes while you prepare your toppings, then punch it down & roll it /stretch it out to fit your pan. If it doesnt want to stretch as big as you want, just let it rest another minute, and if it gets too thin & starts to tear anywhere, just pinch it back together.

4) Add sauce, toppings & bake for 10-14 minutes until cheese is melty or crust is golden brown.

making the doughball

Here is my dough ball after resting about 10 minutes while I chopped all my veggies!

It is good with cheese or just plain and loaded with veggies!

Misc pizza tips: I use a pizza pan with holes in the bottom.  I think that helps the pizza cook more evenly.  I also give my pan a quick spray w/non-stick cooking spray to ensure that my pizza doesn’t get stuck!  When my pizza is about to go in the oven, I think that drizzling a little olive oil all around the edges of the crust gives the pizza a fantastic end result!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Homemade Pizza Sauce

Whisk together the following ingredients and spread on prepared crust! This makes enough for 2 pizzas.  (You can also freeze half for another time!)

  • 1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can of water (use tomatoe paste can)
  • generous splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • < 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3/4 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 dry – I have a big rosemary bush so I almost always use fresh rosemary!)

Some of my favorite toppings are chopped broccoli, onion, cubed tofu, black olives, spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts… You’d really be surprised at what your kids might eat when it’s cooked into a delicious pizza! The Yves brand soy pepperoni is pretty good but my kids think it’s a little too spicy for them. And sometimes we just go for a plain pineapple & cheese pizza 🙂  Mmmmm!  I think I’m ready for another slice…

Look! There's a piece of broccoli going in with that bite!

Taking a cautious bite of fresh baked (& little hot) pizza!

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

When someone asks me what I would do if I had all the money and time in the world… several things come to mind.  First off, I love being a mom.  Trying to teach my kids how to be good people is the most important job in the world to me. But that is a job that will never go away, regardless of time or money!  So… next up is helping animals – I am extremely passionate about animals. I love rescuing animals (all 4 of my current pets were rescued) & teaching others to respect and love animals, and I love to show people how many ways there are to help animals, like eating vegan (hence my blog). I would love to operate an animal shelter and rescue/foster animals that need help.  Another thing I love and completely lose myself in is producing art, but it seems (at the moment) I have less time for that now that I am chasing down two little kids!  And last, but certainly not least,  I LOVE to bake!  Cookies, muffins, scones, bread… I definitely feel I am more of a “baker” than a “chef”.  And not only does my baking come from the heart, but it also helps (in a small but important way) bring my love of animals to the table – no pun intended!! I love to produce yummy things from the oven and simultaneously introduce people to the joys of baking without using animals as ingredients 🙂

That being said, I would love to share with you one of my most favorite breakfast scones recipe. No one can deny the goodness of the combination of bananas and chocolate.  (And yes, you can easily find vegan chocolate chips – and I’m not talking about carob chips, which I personally don’t care for.)

Here's one of my favorite kinds of vegan chocolate chips! These chocolate chips are tiny, cute & delicious!

I also find that using part whole wheat pastry flour gives a fluffy end result that wouldn’t turn out the same if you used only white flour. Mmmm. I just pulled mine out of the oven and they smell so good I can barely wait for them to cool for 5 minutes!!

Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1  1/2 cups chopped bananas (or about 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • <1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 6-7 Tbsp soymilk
  • capful of cider apple vinegar (about >1 tsp)

1) Mix both flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder in a large bowl.  Mix well.

2) Cut in 1/3 cup canola oil with a fork and crumble well to eliminate all balls of oil.  Start with a fork and then use your hands if you wish.

3) Mix in the fruit / chocolate chips

4) In measuring cup, measure the maple syrup, soymilk & vinegar.  The liquids should measure (total) just at 3/4 cup. Whisk them together well, then pour the liquids into the dry mix and fold until it is just mixed.  It may take a minute, just keep folding it over and over from all directions until all the flour is mixed in and no big patches of flour are present.  The batter will be thick.

Measuring out the liquids... be sure to whisk it together well before adding it to the bowl!

5)  Scoop by using a 1/2 cup measuring cup onto a parchment covered baking sheet.  When I do it this way, I get 7 scones.  Press them down slightly in the middle  (they will spread a little tiny bit in the oven).

6)  Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes until bottoms & sides are lightly browned.

Bake until golden brown & yummy looking!

If you ask me, nothing goes better with a delicious chocolate chip scone than some delicious coffee in a Cookie Monster mug!

Variations: You can replace the chocolate chips with nuts, or add nuts to the batter as well.  You could also use strawberries instead of bananas, though I have never done that with this recipe.  I have another recipe I prefer for strawberry/chocolate chip scones with walnuts, which I will probably share another time!

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Some days, we all need something we love to give us some comfort or to give us relaxation. Maybe for you its wrapping up in your favorite super snuggly blanket and watching a movie… maybe it’s something warm, like a really great cup of coffee or tea… or maybe it’s reading a good book with a glass of wine.  With all the hurry and running around that life throws at us on a daily basis, we all need to feel taken care of sometimes (yes, all of us, whether or not we want to admit it).  One thing that does it for me is eating some good-old comfort food.

We all have our list of favorite comfort foods, and one of mine is (simply)… biscuits. I love biscuits because they are so versatile. You can make a breakfast biscuit by layering it with veggie cheese and “soysage” or fakin’ bacon.  You can stuff it with tofu scramble. You can serve it up with gravy.  You can serve it up with some grits & tempeh, or you can just eat it all by itself with some jam.   A good biscuit can multi-task as well as some of us parents 😉

These biscuits are my current favorites.  Sometimes I add garlic, veggie cheese and oregano to the batter when I know I will be eating them with tempeh, soysage or making a tofu scramble.  Other times I like to leave that stuff out so I can spread them with my favorite jelly.  Busy morning?… Heat up some tofu-chicken (I suggest Gardein vegan chicken tenders) for a yummy quick faux chicken-breakfast-biscuit (cheese optional) that you can eat on the run (even in the car). The biscuit-ilities are endless!

~Old-School Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits~

  • 1  1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • heaping 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  3/4 tsp sugar (omit if making the garlic & cheese biscuits)
  • > 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
  • 2 Tbsp soy margarine, chilled and chopped into bits
  • > 3/4 cup soymilk
  • < 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

If making garlic & cheese biscuits, add to dry ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • (set aside to add in last) 1/2 cup vegan cheddar cheese, chopped (I prefer follow your heart vegan gourmet cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Cut in the shortening and margarine with a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Whisk together the soymilk & lemon juice (this makes “buttermilk”).  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Next, add the vinegar.  Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquids. Gently fold together – don’t overmix! (At this point, add cheese if using.)

With floured hands, consolidate the dough into a ball (if it feels too sticky, give it a light dusting of flour) and move the dough ball onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and flatten gently into a big round circle until about 1/2″ – 2/3″ thick.  Use the rim of a glass or a biscuit cutter and make 9-12 biscuits, depending on how thick you have them.  (I usually shoot for 9 biscuits that are about 2″across.)  Place them in the center of a baking sheet with the sides just touching.  Bake 12 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown. If desired, you can brown the tops lightly under the broiler.

Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits with Grits & Tempeh Bacon... this dish should be called "the southern delight!"

( I included these biscuits in the category “childs play” because my little girl LOVES to help stamp out the biscuits with a round cookie cutter!)

Today's Tempeh & Grits made a "flower"... sometimes we eat the "tempeh graveyard" - that's when we put vertical tempeh pieces in the grits like gravestones... Aww man, maybe I should have shared that idea before Halloween! Oh well!

Cinnamon Rolls

When I think of Halloween, I think of fall… pumpkins… having fun… dressing up (more fun)… and let’s face it – SUGAR!!  If you have kids (or are a big kid at heart), you’ve probably been pretty busy lately going to pumpkin patches and Halloween parades.  For Halloween this year, I’ve decided to share with you my most recent, most favorite, most-sugary, non-candy, yummy homemade treat… a.k.a cinnamon rolls!

I have warm fuzzy memories of eating cinnamon rolls throughout my life… There’s the Pillsbury ones I used to eat as a kid that you popped right out of the refrigerated tube & baked… & there’s the ready-made, full-of-preservatives boxed kind (that sit on store shelves for days before being eaten)… sadly(?), neither are vegan – which I have decided is probably a good thing! If you are vegan, you probably know it is practically impossible to find a vegan cinnamon roll, let alone a freshly baked one.

Once upon a time, there was a vegan bakery here in Athens (the Green Scene Baking Company) that made some out-of-this-world delicious vegan cinnamon rolls, baked fresh on the weekends, but the Green Scene sadly closed a few years ago when the owner decided to move to New York 😦 We miss you, Green Scene!

I definitely have a love affair with sugar, and I have dreamed of making cinnamon rolls for what seems like FOREVER. I’ve long ago book-marked all my cinnamon roll recipes in my books, but still kept putting off making them.  I guess they just seemed like too much work or time.  Well, let me just say, there is definitely something to be said for homemade cinnamon rolls.  For one thing, they do take some effort (kneading the dough… and being patient while the dough rises), but that effort turns into the most delicious treat that you simply cannot replicate from a can. Personally, I think rolling & cutting the cinnamon log is fun!  I was practically drooling from the anticipation of eventually eating one!

So, make these yummies and pat yourself on the back (or tummy) for doing some actual work!  I promise you, these babies are so much better than store-bought rolls or tubes. They are worth the extra effort!  If you have a mixer with a bread hook, let it do most of the work for you!  If not, get those arm muscles ready to knead some dough!

~Cinnamon Rolls~

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pack yeast (or 2  1/4 tsp if you are using yeast from a jar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2  1/2 –  3 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts, like pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup softened earth balance (or other soy margarine)
  • a little raw sugar to sprinkle on top before rolling the dough

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • < 2 Tbsp almond or soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

RITA’s TIP: I like to let my mixing bowl sit with some hot water in it to warm it up first. Just don’t forget to dump it out before starting your recipe!

First, make the dough:

Heat the water, soymilk & sugar in a small saucepan until warm.  If it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast – if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t grow, so think like Goldilocks and make sure it’s just right! Put in the dough-mixer bowl. (I have a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a bread hook attachment.)  Add the yeast and wait until its bubbly/foamy looking, so you know the yeast is “alive”.  Add the oil, cinnamon, salt and 2  1/2 cups flour.  Mix (using bread/dough hook) until it’s not sticking to the sides, adding more flour as necessary.  If you do not have a mixer with a bread hook, you will have to knead this by hand!  Knead for 5-7 minutes until dough is nice and smooth.  (Don’t skimp on the minutes here – the kneading process is vital (no pun intended) to making the gluten activated in the dough.) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Make the filling by mixing the filling ingredients together while the dough is rising and set it aside.  After dough has risen, punch it down and then let it rest about 10 minutes. Then roll out the dough into a large rectangle (try to shoot for a large rectangle, 12″ x 18″).

Spread the filling evenly over the dough and give it a little (or a generous) sprinkle of raw sugar. Next, carefully roll the dough as tight as you can into a big log, pinching it closed when you get to the end (spread a little water on the edge to help seal it shut).

Cut the log into 12 rolls.  I like to cut it in half and then cut each half into 6 even pieces.  They should roughly be 1″ thick.

Arrange them, slightly spaced out, on either a baking sheet or a 9 x 13″ pan.  As you can see, I first used a round baking dish but the rolls got too big and were popping out as they were baking, so I would recommend not using a small round pan. Give them a little room to rise and cover them loosely with plastic wrap or a towel*.  Let the rolls rise for another 30-40 minutes until almost doubled.

* At this point, if you tightly wrap the prepared rolls, you can put them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  When ready to bake them, take them out of the fridge & let them come to room temp for about 30 minutes and then wait until they double in size before baking.

The rolls looked good in this pan until they grew more in the oven and were popping out!

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped.  Let the rolls cool for about 5 minutes – in the meantime, prepare the icing by mixing ingredients together well with a fork in a small bowl. Drizzle the icing on the warm cinnamon rolls and ENJOY!

This is after baking...See how they are all popping up and out of the pan?! I would recommend using a different pan with more room for them to grow! This is before I put icing on them.

The end result - a stunningly delicious homemade cinnamon roll!

P.S. I came up with this recipe after reviewing several other cinnamon roll recipes, taking & giving here and there… I have only made these once, so feel free (as always) to comment and give me some feedback!  I decided to only make these on special occasions or when I have guests because there is no excuse to eat 2-3 cinnamon rolls a day by oneself!  Not to mention, my kids tried to eat one for every meal!

Zucchini Muffins

If you have trouble getting your kid to eat zucchini, look no further!  These light fluffy muffins are packed with zucchini, yet they are moist & delicious (and they also happen to be gluten-free*)! They are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.   I really like the flavor that using sucanat adds, but if you have trouble finding sucanat, regular light brown sugar will do.

* 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).

I have been experimenting with some gluten-free cooking lately, which was inspired by one of my sisters, who is also soy free (be on the look out for my gluten & soy-free pumpkin pie around the holidays)!  I love learning about different kinds of baking… its all science really. Sometimes your experiment ends with a truly amazing result… sometimes it doesnt turn out like you hoped.  Thats when you try a different ingredient, a different flour… one tiny change in a recipe can take it to an entirely different place.  I love baking more than any other kind of cooking!

~Zucchini Muffins~

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk… Stick with almond milk if you are making a soy-free muffin)
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2  1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or use half oil, half applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup packed sucanat**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spray/grease muffin tin.  In a small/medium bowl, whisk the milk & flax well.  Add the vinegar, mix, and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Add the canola oil, brown sugar & vanilla to the milk mixture.  Make a well in the center of the flour bowl & pour in the liquid mixture.  Stir to combine then fold in the zucchini.

Fill muffin cups and cook 25-28 minutes, until tops are firm and knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out free of batter.  Since spelt flour is tender, let the muffins cool for about 15-20 minutes in the muffin pan before transferring  to a wire rack to cool completely, to avoid the tops breaking off.

You’d never know these were gluten-free muffins!

** Sucanat is made by simply crushing the sugar cane to squeeze out the juice, heating it until it’s a rich syrup and aerating it by hand-paddling to create a porous granule.  It hasn’t been separated, blended, refined or filtered. It has a distinct molasses flavor that enhances many foods.  You can use sucanat as a 1-for-1 replacement for refined brown sugar.  It is found with the other brown sugars in the grocery store/health food supermarket.