Friday, March 2, 2012

Almond Meal Crackers with Sesame Pepper Spread

I said I was going to use the left over almond meal (from the Almond Milk post 3 days ago) to make something...

Crackers! Plus a spread.

I had about 1 1/4 cup of almond meal left over.

Mix the almond meal with:
1 tbsp garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper, thyme, poppy seeds...
what ever you may fancy.

I also added chia seeds to the mix, as the "egg".
To do this, mix 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 5 tbsp of water and leave in the fridge ~15 min.
Flatten/roll the spread in a tray. Make cuts for how big you want the crackers.

I put this in the oven at 300 degrees for close to an hour. 

Once the crackers are done they should be somewhat crispy.
If you want them crispier then lower the oven temperature to 150 degrees and leave it in for a few more hours.
I personally think that's a waste of energy and am fine with an hour of crisping.


Now for the spread, which can be done while you're waiting for the crackers to crisp up.

1 red pepper, 1/2 c sunflower seeds, 7 jalapeƱo slices, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 can cannellini beans,
 1/2 tbsp ginger, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp hemp protein powder (optional), 1 tsp sea salt

Put all of those ingredients into a food processor and mix away.
Then spread it on your almond meal crackers....duh.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocolate Tofu Mousse Cake

To celebrate my 30 days of being vegan I made myself a cake!

Tofu? In a cake? Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but who cares when it tastes great. And I don't have to feel bad about fulfilling my chocolate addiction.  My next challenge should probably be a month without chocolate, now that would be a tough one.

3/4 c Oats, 1/2 c Flour (I use spelt), 1/4 c Applesauce, 1 tsp Baking powder, 1 c Water

These are the ingredients for the crust.  I wanted to the crust to be as calorie/fat free as possible so instead of using 1 1/4 cup flour, I grinded up oats.  I also replaced oil with applesauce, but you could definitely use coconut oil or vegetable oil instead. Instead of 1 cup of water you could use 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup milk.

Pour the crust into a pan. I used a springform pan, but that's not necessary.

Bake the crust in an UNpreheated oven at 420 degrees for about 20-25 min.

In the meantime you can prepare the mousse ingredients.

1 package firm tofu, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp almond milk, pinch of salt, 3/4 truvia, 1 tsp vanilla.

The almond milk is from yesterday's post :)
This is also my first time using truvia, decided to buy it instead of agave syrup.  It's a natural sugar alcohol with zero calories and doesn't affect blood sugar levels.  Plus, you only need a pinch of it to sweeten foods.

Melt the chocolate chips. Add to broken up tofu and the rest of the ingredients.

I just melted the chocolate chips in the microwave by using 30 second intervals with mixing in-between.

By now your crust should be done and out of the oven, so spread your mousse on top.

Sweet. Now stick it in the fridge to harden up.
I left mine in overnight. (That's what he said?)

Next day.

Cut yourself a piece of healthy mousse.

Feel free to top with coconut flakes, chocolate chips, powdered sugar, etc.  I didn't feel like getting fancy.
Honestly, the only healthy tasting part about this was the crust...but then again, I didn't use oil.
I could easily eat a bowl of the mousse, but then that may defeat the purpose of it being healthy right?

If I make this for a crowd I'd use a regular pie crust and then surprise people when they find out that the main ingredient is tofu.

Credit goes to ChocolateCoveredKatie for the mousse part.  I adapted her recipe by cutting out some chocolate chips and adding more cocoa powder to lower the calorie count.

8 servings = 180 calories/slice
16 servings = 90 calories/slice

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Almond Milk (Vegan Day 29)

I meant to post more vegan recipes in the past couple of weeks....the whole challenge has been surprisingly easy.  I don't even crave meat (okay maybe once or twice I craved a burger).  It's more of a social burden having others feel obligated to cater to my needs, although I fully appreciate the curtesies.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of my 30 day vegan challenge.  I'm debating whether or not to continue the whole vegan thing but I don't have much reason to...

I should have eaten more vegetables this month.  Instead, I have to admit that for a week or so, peanut butter and dairy-free chocolate were a not-so-healthy staple to my diet.  However, this had a direct relationship to lack of exercise, and these go hand-in-hand, whether I'm vegan or not.  On the bright side, my skin looked a bit fresher and I never lacked energy.

As a result, I am influenced into cooking/baking more dairy-free and meat-free meals.  And unless there's loads of sugar in the food, this generally means healthier meals.

So without further ado, I present how to make one of the most important vegan staples I've had in my diet...the ever-versatile and helpful almond milk!

Soak a cup of raw almonds overnight in water.

Add soaked almonds + 2 dates (for sweetness!) + 1tsp vanilla to a blender.

Add 4-6 cups of water.  Add another cup or so if you prefer more watery almond milk or are poor and need to stretch out the most bang for your buck.  I used 5 cups.

Place a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over a strainer over a bowl and pour the milk into the cloth.
Wring that milk out.

Pour the milk from the bowl into a pretty pitcher. This is only 1/3 of the amount I made.

Yay I made almond milk!

This is called "almond meal".  It's the leftover almond that didn't get strained with the water. 

This is a little time-consuming, but I believe it is less expensive than constantly buying almond milk.
I'll soon be posting a recipe that uses the almond meal because I can't have that go to waste!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chia Pancakes with Coconut Cream (Vegan Day 2)

Happy February! Where it's almost 60 degrees outside. Amazing.
So all of the recipes I'll be posting this month will be vegan.

This morning I started my day with some pancakes....chia style!
Chia seeds are extremely rich in omega 3-fatty acids (important for heart and cholesterol health, and even weight-loss).  They provide antioxidants, energy, and no added taste, making them extremely versatile in recipes.

Ingredients for Chia Pancakes: 1 1/4 c spelt flour, 1/2 c oat flour, 1/4 c chia seeds, 3 tsp baking powder, 2 cups almond milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp canola oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, coconut oil (for frying pan).

Buying oat flour is a waste of money.
I made my own by blending a little more than 1/2 c of dry oats in the Magic Bullet.

Ground up oats = oat flour.

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Okay...I had to get it out.

Mix all of the dry ingredients very, very well.
It works better if you wear your favorite plaid pjs too.

Mix all of the wet ingredients.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix, and let sit for a few minutes before spooning onto pan.
Don't use a spoon, like I did, use a fork to mix. 

Add a little bit of coconut oil on a heated pan and then some pancake batter.

Now, while I was making pancakes, I multi-tasked with the coconut cream.

Left this can of unshaken coconut milk opened in the fridge overnight.

The "cream" will rise to the top.

Scoop out the solid cream part. Mmm.

Add an additional tsp of vanilla.
Mix really, really well.

This is how much cream I stopped out...about 1/3 of the can
Probably could have gotten more if it were out for 2 nights.

I was NOT ready to take these pictures.
As soon as I topped the pancakes with coconut cream, it started melting.

Coconut cream waterfall.

Lopsided. Kinda looks like cookies!

Made 9 pancakes.
One is missing, aka in my belly.

I topped my serving with some shredded coconut.

I forgot to show the inside of the pancake.
Luckily I had about two bites left before I remembered!

Nice and spongy.  Really, really filling (after 3 pancakes).  My mom put strawberry jelly on hers, and then took it on-the-go.  I still have 5 more pancakes left so it's good to know that I can top them with anything....chocolate syrup? peanut butter and jelly? banana cream? more coconut cream?

I was really craving blueberries in these though, this morning.  Get in season already, blueberries!

Adapted from Dreena's Vegan Recipes.