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I just made this cake today (see pics in previous post) and it is ridiculously quick and easy.   If you are vegan or being careful with what you eat, you will love it.  It isn’t a typical cake flavor, not sickenly sweet like most cakes.  I would think of it as a sort of short bread cake, less sweet, but still delicious.  It has the consistency of cake and smells delectable while baking.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsps cider vinegar
1 Tbs vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F.   Prepare one round cake pan or pie plate by lightly oiling it and dusting with flour.

Mix the first five (dry) ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Combine the remaining (wet) ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and whisk in half the wet mixture.  Once that is well-combined, pour the remaining wet mixture in and stir until it is a batter.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes, being sure not to undercook.  Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake.  Cake is done when toothpick is clean.  This cake is gooey in the middle if not well baked (and not a good gooey).

Once removed from oven, let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then top with fruit of your choice.  I used strawberry halves and dusted the entire top with raw sugar.

This recipe is adapted from the Maple Syrup World website.

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UNTIL A FEW MINUTES AGO, kale was totally alien to me.   I’ve been wanting to try it, but wasn’t sure what to do with it.  But my Aunt Karen has sent me down the right path — I copied the way she and my Uncle Bob prepare their kale and it’s great!   

Now that I’ve eaten it, I really like the flavor of kale, to me it tastes a lot like a broccoli/cabbage combo.   The leaves are firm when you chew them, like cabbage, maybe a bit more firm.    So here’s your Meatless Monday recipe from me (and Karen and Bob):

Boil the leaves of the kale in shallow water, until they are bright green.  I only made one serving and I used about six leaves.  Since I used purple kale it was hard to cook by color, so I went by smell.  When I started smelling the kale and it was softer to a fork pierce, I drained the water off.  In the meantime, I was sauteing red and green bell peppers in some olive oil.  Once the kale was ready, I cut the leaves into smaller pieces and tossed them into the bell peppers, still on the stove.    I know I won’t have any problems just eating kale steamed or boiled, on its own.  And I’m glad I finally tried it!!   

(Oh!  Forgot to say, Karen drizzles hers with vinegar — I had mine without and it was just great)

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MY VERY FIRST HEALTHY muffin recipe!   I’m happy with these results, the muffin texture is good, the taste is slightly sweet but not too sweet.  The raisins and oatmeal add a nice chewy feel while you eat.  Here’s the recipe:

Healthy Morning Muffins

3/4 c. oatmeal

1/3 c. oil

1 c. vanilla almond milk (or your fav milk, but this adds some sweetness)

1/2 c. raisins

1 egg

1 c. shredded carrots

1/3 c. honey

3/4 c. wheat flour

1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. nutmeg

Mix the first 7 ingredients, and set aside for 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine the flours, nutmeg and baking soda.  Preheat the oven to 425F, line a muffin tin with cups for 12 muffins.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture in, stirring to moisten.  Batter will be lumpy.  Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full, and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.  Mine took 15 minutes.  At the 10 minute mark, I sprinkled evaporated cane sugar on the tops of them, lightly, then continued baking. 

I had enough batter left when my cups were full to make two more muffins, so I decided to try a “cake in a mug.”  I spooned the batter into a favorite mug, then microwaved on high for two minutes.  It worked perfectly!  This would be so cute for a breakfast, to microwave a mug for each guest or to bake the batter in oven-safe mugs. 

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THIS IS MY VERSION OF Jamie Oliver’s Cool Mexican Bean Wrap recipe in my previous post.  I changed a few things, since I like to experiment.  Here are the ingredients:

olive oil

1/2 large white onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic

pinch of chili powder

1 T.  tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatoes or 1 c. chopped fresh tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

1/2 can black beans

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

2 Romaine lettuce leaves per serving, spines cut level with leaf

Saute the onion in olive oil, along with the garlic and chili powder.  Add the tomato sauce, beans, and tomatoes.  Cook 10 minutes.  In another pan, saute the sliced peppers in olive oil until soft, puree in blender with 1/2 can of black beans.  Put the beans and 1/2 of the peppers into a blender to make bean spread.   Put the rest of the peppers into the pan of the tomato mixture.  

Take the bean spread and line the inside of the romaine leaves with it, fill with tomato bean filling, and fold over.  I served mine with some sliced cucumbers and black bean chips.  These weren’t exactly “wraps” — I had to eat them with a fork, but I wanted to try the lettuce instead of flour tortillas.  All of the flavors were mui bueno and would easily satisfy a craving for Mexican food.

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HERE ARE SOME REALLY GOOD looking recipes from Jamie Oliver for Meatless Monday: 

Carrots Thyme Cumin & Orange Butter

Cool Mexican Bean Wraps 

Creamy Asparagus Soup with a Poached Egg  

My rule of thumb when reading Jamie’s recipes in metric measurements is to substitute the word “some” for any measurement I don’t understand.  In other words, 800g of asparagus?  Some asparagus.   I mean we’re all cooks here, just go get some asparagus!   

Let me know if you cook any of these.

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I AM GOING TO TRY TO cook all of these in the next two weeks:

Lentil Soup 

Barley Veg Soup 

I love barley in soup!

Both recipes above are from the About.com Vegetarian Food page.

A crockpot soup recipe:

Cuban Black Bean Soup  

Wow, this soup looks good!

Jamaican Red Bean Stew

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