My vegan donuts

I’ve been all forlorn because there are now two places in my city that have vegan donut options, but I am essentially too broke to buy them. Everyone I know that’s vegan seems to be posting them on social media, and it made me want donuts SO BAD.

So, I made up my mind to make some of my own.

IMG_3730

I used this recipe for the donuts but substituted the shortening for coconut oil (using 1 1/2 tbsp).

I fried them up, choosing to make them without holes because I thought I might add a filling inside. I used Chloe Coscarelli’s recipe for chocolate ganache as a topping.

IMG_3731

On half of them, I applied some vegan sprinkles from Sweetapolita’s shop.

IMG_3733

On the other half, I used Chloe’s filling frosting in the recipe above (made with half coconut oil and half veggie shortening I’m trying to use up), and separated it into three bowls, colored it with my natural food colorings (red, yellow, green), and then got super frustrated trying to use this icing bag contraption I bought that’s supposed to make it easier to pipe out multiple colors at the same time. I don’t think it was that easy, but it did come out very nice.

IMG_3732

I think next time it’d be better if I fill the insides with the frosting and don’t color it. It got really melty on top because it’s summer and I ended up refrigerating them.

BUT THEY ARE SO GOOD! They helped me wake up early this morning because I knew they were waiting for me, and I was able to get a ton of humane education work done because I was up so unusually early. 🙂

 

Advertisements

Why I’m going to avoid artificial colors from now on. (Update 8/31/17)

 

I have been hearing all sorts of bad things about artificial and synthetic food colors for a long time. I had heard that they were tested on animals at some point, that they’re harmful to our health, that they’re not environmentally friendly, and that they are unnecessary. Yet, I kept seeing products labeled as vegan that had them in them and I assumed I could eat them despite what I believed were rumors. They are in, after all, in some of my favorite mainstream candies that are widely accepted as being accidentally vegan.

Realizing that many people avoid synthetic food colors for the reasons I listed above, I set out to begin to find some alternatives when I cook for other people and for the cookbook I am writing. I was not thinking I would decide to avoid them for the most part until I began to research them more as I was writing this.

However, I discovered some facts that upset me and convinced me otherwise:

Synthetic colors can be present in almost any product in the market, from food and drinks to toothpaste, chewing gum, medications, cosmetics, and even tattoos. They are typically made in a laboratory from petroleum products (Jacobson & Kobylewski, 2010, p. 10) or Coal (FDA, 2007). The petroleum and coal industries are destructive to our environment, and produce products and byproducts that are not exactly considered food!

To identify an artificial food coloring in your foods’ ingredients lists, you must look for the prefixes FD&C, D&C, or Ext. D&C, followed by the name of a color, and a number. Sometimes the artificial color may be listed just as the color and number. These labels mean that these colors have been “certified” by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have been approved by them to be safe for use in food (FDA, 2007). Today, there are nine dyes that are approved to be used in food, and these are (minus the prefixes): Blue 1, Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 (Jacobson & Kobylewski, 2010, p. 10).

However, the FDA does not require certain colorants derived from plants, animals, or minerals, though some are still considered artificial colorants and need to be regulated differently (FDA, 2007). This list includes some unappetizing options for colorings such as carmine and cochineal extract (which are produced using beetles and therefore not vegan), canthaxanthin, Sodium copper chlorophyllin, Toasted partially defatted cooked cottonseed flour, ferrous gluconate and ferrous lactate, synthetic iron oxide, mica, etc. The same list includes ingredients we vegans are more familiar with, such as beets, turmeric, vegetable and fruit juices, spirulina, saffron, paprika, carrot oil, and annatto (FDA, 2015). For more information on these lists you can check them out here.

In order to certify a synthetic colorant’s safety, they are tested on animals. The FDA requires that there are tests on at least two different species of rodents (Jacobson & Kobylewski, 2010, p. 11). That alone may be a reason to avoid these dyes. However, if it does not sway you for whatever reason, know that even scientists are critical of the ways in which animal testing is used and applied in research. In order to test the carcinogenicity of these colorful products effectively, scientists believe that more animals needed to be tested, that the tests need to be performed on pregnant animals and their fetuses, and have a longer duration than the two years they are conducted for at present (Potera, 2010). Personally, I would rather avoid or even encourage a ban these questionably safe products than advocate for more extensive animal testing.

Scientists, medical doctors, nutrition experts, and even psychologists, teachers, parents, and other concerned folks also take issue with some of the research findings of some dyes when the FDA has not. For example,  Potera states, “Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 contain free benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen permitted in low, presumably safe levels” (2010). However, benzidene has also been found to be bound to the chemical structure of the dyes at a greater level than the free benzidene. The tests the FDA does do not consider or identify bound contaminants, only free ones (Potera, 2010). Yellow 5 (also called tartrazine), can cause allergic reactions that can be severe in some people. Tartrazine is now required to be listed by name on food labels, but that isn’t the only concern with this colorant. In a majority of the test-tube and animal experiments for it, this yellow colored dye was shown to damage DNA, which may indicate that it is a carcinogen. Unfortunately, the studies that showed the data was not considered by the FDA (Jacobson & Kobylewski, 2010, p. 11). Furthermore, it has been suggested by researchers that artificial food colorings can increase hyperactivity in children diagnosed with ADHD, as well as children without the diagnosis (Arnold, Lofthouse, & Hurt, 2012).

Some food dyes used today are even banned for use in cosmetics and topical drugs but not food. Red 3 has been banned from these applications by the FDA. It has been shown in animal testing to cause thyroid cancer. Today, five million pounds of Red 3 are present in the food supply (Jacobson & Kobylewski, 2010, p. 10).

It is, as always, up to you to decide what you will tolerate ethically and put into your body. Personally, now that I know that these products are harmful to my health, animals, and the environment, I am going to try to do away with synthetic food colorings as much as I possibly can. I will use natural colors instead.

References

Arnold, L. E., Lofthouse, N., & Hurt, E. (2012). Artificial food colors and attention deficit/hyperactivity symptoms: Conclusions to dye for. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 599-609. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-012-0133-x

Jacobson, M. F., & Kobylewski, S. (2010, September). Color Us Worried. Nutrition Action Health Letter, 37(7), 10-11. Retrieved from Nursing & Allied Health Database.

Potera, C. (2010). Diet and nutrition: The artificial food dye blues. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(10). https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp/118-a428

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2007, December 10). How safe are color additives? Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048951.htm

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2015, May). Summary of color additives for use in the United States in foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. Retrieved August 31, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm115641.htm#table1A

***

For the purposes of the cookbook I am writing, unfortunately, I had bought a bunch of sprinkles that were labeled vegan that used the artificial colors before I did this research. I feel guilty letting them go to waste and so I plan to use them. However, I feel the need to point out that there are naturally colored vegan sprinkles available. Let’s Do Organic… brand makes a fairly easy to find variety. India Tree makes some too, but not all of them are vegan. You will need to look out for ingredients such as confectioner’s glaze or beeswax (made from insects) before buying. Additionally, there is an Etsy store called Naked Sprinkles that makes a beautiful range of vegan and naturally colored sprinkles that  I’m really excited to support in the future!

Since my cookbook is all about creating fun, rainbowy, unicorn-inspired foods, I felt it especially necessary to provide options for creating these beautiful colors without the cruelty, environmental destruction, and health risks involved.

If you are short on time or these are not cost effective for you or difficult to find, there are pre-made natural colors that you can buy as well. India Tree, Color Garden, and Color Kitchen, all make natural and vegan food coloring that you can buy in stores or online.

The following are my alternatives to artificial dyes, using natural ingredients. I recommend that you mix each color in a small glass jar and keep chilled in the fridge until needed to color all sorts of foods, such as smoothies, cakes, donuts, frostings, cookies, etc. Always shake the jar before using as separation will occur. I will be using these dyes I created in many of the recipes in the book I am writing.

*Though I have not included it in the official recipes, you can make orange colored dye by mixing the beet color with the turmeric color until you get a satisfactory shade of orange. It may be easier to mix into the food item you are making rather than in a jar, as the colors appear darker than they will in the food you are mixing them into.

Vegan Friendly Natural Food Dye Recipes

IMG_3692

Red

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder (optional, you could use cornstarch or arrowroot if you do not have it)
  • ¾ tsp beet powder

Yellow

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

Green

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp spirulina powder

Blue

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder
  • ½ tsp butterfly pea tea powder

Purple

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¼ tsp agar agar powder
  • ¼ tsp butterfly pea tea powder
  • ¼ tsp beet powder

IMG_3695Here is a picture of some cookie dough I colored using red, purple, yellow, and green dye I made.

 

New Project! Magic Rainbow Unicorn Party

Hey!

As some readers may or may not know, for the past year I have been studying at the Institute for Humane Education, working towards an M.A. in humane education. Humane education seeks to empower and educate people who can be “solutionaries,” or, people who find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, which often involve human rights, environmental ethics, and animal protection issues. I went into this program to become a better vegan mentor and educator, as well as learn more about human rights.

I am always looking for ways to encourage people to make healthier, sustainable, and less harmful product choices. Of particular concern to me are labor issues, cruelty towards animals, the amount of waste and pollution that is created from any particular product, etc. That being said, our quests to find these types of products and making our own food and other handmade activities should still be FUN!

Fat Unicorn

Not only that but learning about how to be more ethical and healthier consumers does not have to be boring or painful and upsetting. Being equipped with information and resources presented in a non-threatening way can make a big difference for people and their habits.

So, for my master’s thesis, I am working on writing a cookbook/eco-friendly craft/kid’s party book, with a magical unicorn rainbow theme.

Inside the book will be a cute chubby unicorn sharing facts and resources most likely, among other helpful tidbits.

The reason for her chubbiness is simple,  vegans come in all shapes and sizes, and the size of a person, big or small, should not dictate what kind of a role model they are in the vegan movement. So, this unicorn pays tribute to that concept.

Likewise, what people choose to eat, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else, is their choice! If they want to eat sugary cookies, or ice cream, or whatever else, they have that right, whether they do it every day or once in a while for a treat. If you are opposed to treating yourself with food, this probably isn’t for you. (Although there will be foods that are more health-oriented as well).

In the next few days, I’ll be sharing with you the details of the first project I tackled for this project. Making your own natural vegan food dyes!

IMG_3692

In the meantime, check out my new Instagram account associated with the project, @unicorns.eat.vegan.

Have fun this weekend!

xoxo Laura

Vegan Air Fried Chickun and Waffles

IMG_3662

Hey, so I wanted to make a fried chickun and waffles recipe using my air fryer. I based the recipe off of this and this, but made several big tweaks to them. For the chickun, I used Gardein chick’n scallopini, and I didn’t have the Follow Your Heart vegan egg so I used Ener-g and added more ingredients to make it taste better, among some other changes, such as using beer and changing the spices to suit my tastes better. For the waffles, I used less (not gluten free) flour, almond milk yogurt, avocado oil, and changed the method a bit.

It was SO AMAZINGLY GOOD! OMG.

I’m hoping to be back on my blog a lot more now that I’m in a good place with my humane education master’s degree program, so keep a look out for new posts! I know I often say I’ll be posting more frequently and then never end up doing so, but this time I think I mean it!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the chickun:

  • 1 package of Gardein Chick’n Scallopini, slightly defrosted, just enough to be able to cut in half, not enough to be mushy.

Dry mix

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Wet Mix

  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Ener-g Egg Replacer + 4 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp Kala Namak (Indian Black Salt)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan beer

For the waffles:

  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar added
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 small container Kite Hill almond vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Toppings:

  • Maple syrup and vegan butter, as desired

Directions:

  1. Start by making the chickun first. In one bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix together the egg replacer, water, black salt, nutritional yeast, and turmeric.
  3. In another bowl, add the egg replacer mixture into the rest of the ingredients for the wet mix.
  4. Slice each piece of scallopini in half vertically.
  5. Coat the scallopini pieces in the dry mix first, until each piece is coated. Place on a plate or tray.
  6. Add 3 tbsp of the liquid mix into the dry mix. Coat the floury scallopini pieces in the liquid, then place them into the wetted dry mix until covered. Put them back on the tray or plate and place in the fridge while you start preparing the waffles.
  7. Preheat your waffle iron.
  8. Add the apple cider vinegar to the almond milk, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients.
  10. When the almond milk and vinegar is done, pour the mixture into the dry mix, along with the oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir well. The mixture will look clumpy, that’s totally okay.
  11. Place the coated chick’n scallopini into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Heat at 400 degrees 4, for a total of 10 minutes. Check on them and shake the basket after five minutes of cooking. You may need to cook in batches if your air fryer is small like mine is.
  12. While the chickun is cooking, place a good amount (depending on your waffle iron) of batter after spraying the iron with coconut oil. Cook according to the instructions for your waffle iron.
  13. Keep waffles in a pouch of aluminum foil until ready to serve.
  14. Serve with the chickun atop the waffles with maple syrup and vegan butter if you like.

IMG_3661

Bon Appetit, don’t eat your feet!

 

 

The most perfect gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies

IMG_1994

I basically honed my baking skills as a kid by making chocolate chip cookies from an alphabet cookbook for kids. It was the only recipe I used, and they always came out perfect. I thought my mom had thrown out the cookbook, but I recently found it and I had to veganize them and make them gluten free. The result was so perfect I was astonished!

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vegan sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • 6 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk flaxmeal with water in a small cup. Let sit and whisk several times until gelled.
  3. Mix together the sugars, melted Earth Balance or coconut oil, and flax egg.
  4. Stir in flour and baking soda.
  5. Add in chocolate chips.
  6. Form dough into small balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The recipe should make about 24 cookies.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cool and place on a cooling rack shortly after they come out of the oven.
  9. Enjoy ! I know I will!

IMG_1996

 

Hi! A recipe for the best vegan mashed potatoes ever and some soy curls.

Okay, so I’ve been meaning to make mashed potatoes out of cashew cream, and finally did. The results are amazing. I need to share it with you, alongside an air fryer soy curl recipe. Put these two with some green veggies and maybe some cornbread if you want, and you have a whole meal!

img_1535

Mashed potato recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large potatoes of choice, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews, either soaked in water overnight or boiled with water covering them for 15 minutes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh chives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil the cashews if necessary. Allow to cool.
  2. Boil the potatoes in a pot of water (just enough to cover them). I start a timer once the water boils for 15 minutes, and they’re almost always ready for me after that. If you’re not sure, test to make sure a fork can smoothly go into them before you stop boiling them.
  3. Blend the cashews, water, and salt in a blender while the potatoes are cooking. Set aside. You want the cream to be smooth, not chunky, so make sure you blend for long enough to achieve this. I do think it works better when you boil the cashews as opposed to soaking them.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water.
  5. Place back in the pan. Mash together with the vegan margarine and cashew cream.
  6. Fold in the nutritional yeast, chives, and salt and pepper as desired.

Enjoy the delicious creaminess. They taste even better when you reheat them the next day.

For the air fried soy curls, here is what I did:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soy curls soaked in water with vegan chickun broth or veggie broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari, added to the soaking broth
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, also added to the soaking broth
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup gluten free Bisquick mix
  • Seasoning as desired, I sprinkled some cajun seasoning on top before placing them in the air fryer

Directions:

  1. Soak the soy curls for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain (but don’t rinse!)
  3. Coat the soy curls in the oil, then sprinkle on the Bisquick mix.
  4. Stir around a bit until the soy curls are completely coated.
  5. Place in the air fryer for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  6. Enjoy along side the mashed potatoes with your favorite dipping sauces.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful February so far!

Vegan and Gluten Free Pizza Waffles!

This latest invention was so good! It kind of reminded me how I remember Domino’s Pizza’s Cheesy bread used to taste, in terms of its texture. I might need to try duplicating that flavor profile as well…

But here are the pizza waffles.

IMG_1264.JPG

And here is the recipe for them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust mix
  • 1 package yeast (included in the pizza crust mix bag)
  • 2 eggs worth of set egg replacer (I used Ener-g)
  • 1 tbsp salt-free Italian herb blend
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water plus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, preferably without citric acid in the ingredient list
  • 3 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Vegan cheese (I used a mix of Daiya mozzarella and Follow your heart cheddar)
  • Other toppings (such as onions, vegan pepperoni, sliced olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, etc)

Directions:

  1. Pour the gluten free pizza dough flour mix into a large bowl. Mix in the Italian herb blend.
  2. In another large bowl, mix together the yeast and warm water in a large bowl and set aside for five minutes until the yeast dissolves.
  3. Prepare the egg replacer, also let sit while the yeast is dissolving.
  4. Place the oil and egg replacer into the yeast and water and whisk.
  5. Pour the flour mixture into the yeast mixture and stir until well combined and a dough forms.
  6. Cover and let sit for twenty minutes to rise.
  7. Warm up your waffle oven and turn your oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. When the dough is ready, spray the waffle iron with oil and place some dough into the iron…pat down and don’t use too much dough, as I had trouble sometimes flipping over my iron. If that happens, it’s okay, you can still make them, just keep it upright and let it cook inside at a medium temperature for about 4-5 minutes before taking out.
  9. Place your waffles on a greased oven tray.
  10. Make the sauce by mixing together the crushed tomatoes, sugar, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper.
  11. Place some sauce on top of each waffle.
  12. Cove with cheese and desired toppings.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Enjoy the deliciousness!

Air Fryer Experiments

Hi!

As I mentioned in my last post, I bought an air fryer on sale. What is an air fryer, you ask? Well, it’s basically a healthier version of a deep fryer. It fries food with hot air instead of oil.

Personally, I am still figuring out what works and doesn’t work with it and trying to perfect temperatures and cooking times. I have found that using a lot of liquid batter without any kind of dry coating over it does not work so well. It says you can make donuts in it, but I have no clue how that’d work. I have not tried cooking french fries yet, but I really want to, just haven’t yet.

So far I have fried some soy curls using this recipe here. Those came out excellent, I think I cooked them at 350 for about 10 minutes. I also tried defrosting some Gardein chicken scallopini, coating it in watered down Neat egg substitute coated with vegan/gluten free rice crispy-esque cereal. That was okay, but not that exciting even though I had high hopes.

Then, when I botched a bunch of battered cauliflower, I came up with a splendid idea. But I didn’t have any more cauliflower, so I tried it with tofu. It’s supposed to be like coconut coated fried shrimp, but is made with tofu (and someday I need to try it with cauliflower, too!)

fullsizerender

Here is the recipe for it:

Coconut Crusted Air Fried Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vodka or unflavored soda water/seltzer
  • 2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • one bag sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • sweet chili sauce for dipping
  • 1 block tofu, preferably frozen, thawed, then pressed for 20 minutes

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in the water, vodka/soda water until a liquid, medium thickness batter forms. Water it down if necessary to be the desired thickness, but it should stay fairly thick.
  3. Cut tofu into smallish rectangles.
  4. Place some of the sweetened coconut into a dish.
  5. Dip the tofu in the batter, then into the coconut.
  6. Delicately place in the air fryer tray.
  7. Air fry for 10 minutes, 350 degrees F or slightly lower if you don’t want it as browned as I did. May take some experimentation as I believe air fryers can vary quite a bit.
  8. Use sweet chili sauce to dip in, and serve with a generous helping of veggies!

I’m sure I’ll discover some new tips and tricks about air fryers soon!

So check back here for those.

Until then, or until another recipe creation strikes!

Take care! xo

 

“Milking the almonds” and making crackers

almond milk jar.JPG

Have you ever heard the joke about vegans, that says “the most difficult part about being a vegan is waking up at 5 a.m. to milk the almonds”? I have always found it rather funny, although now that I have actually made my own almond milk (!), I find it funnier.

After Christmas, I visited Sur La Table, where I got a really good deal on an appliance I’ve wanted for awhile now, an air fryer (more on that in a later post!) While I was there, I came across a nut milk bag, which had a recipe and procedure on the back. I had to try it. I wondered how hard it would be to make.

Honestly, the hardest part was waiting 24 hours while the raw almonds soaked in water. The rest was a breeze. Basically, you soak a cup of almonds in water, rinse off and drain, then blend the almonds with 2 cups of fresh water for 2 minutes. I also added a half tablespoon of vanilla extract into it, and next time I am going to add some liquid stevia. Then, you take a large bowl and position the bag inside so that you can pour the almond and water mixture into the bag. The almond milk will start to seep through the bag into the bowl. Once the mixture is in the bag, you tighten the drawstring and start squeezing the bag from above. You continue to squeeze until you have gotten as much of the liquid out of the bag as possible.

This leaves you with the rich, creamy almond milk in the bowl, and a bag full of almond pulp. You can place the almond milk in a jar and place it in the fridge (it will separate a bit, but you just need to shake it up before drinking or using in recipes). As far as what to do with the almond pulp, there are so many recipes online for what you can create with it! I ended up making sweet crackers! They’re the best gluten free crackers I have had in a while. I can’t wait to make some that are savory rather than sweet, though!

almond-crackers

Here is the recipe for the crackers:

Ingredients:

  • almond pulp left over from the above almond milk-making description
  • 1 tbsp sugar (a vegan liquid sugar would work well too, such as maple syrup or agave)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vegan butter flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together almond pulp and other ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. On a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet, roll the dough into a ball. You may need to knead it a bit with your hands first.
  4. Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough ball and flatten with your hands a bit. Then roll it out to a thin layer, between 1/8″-1/4.”
  5. Take off one side of the parchment paper, leaving one piece of parchment on the cookie sheet with the rolled out dough on top. This was a challenge for me…I was adapting this from a recipe that didn’t explain this part that clearly and I had to repeat this several times. The dough gets rather soft and sticky, so be careful and patient.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into even squares in a checker pattern. The crackers do not need to have space between them yet. Leave them next to each other as they are. You will be flipping and separating them later. It will be impossible to do at this point.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. It’s possible that you may need to check to see if they are beginning to brown earlier than that. If they are (checking after 10-15 minutes), separate and flip them with a spatula. Bake for another 5-10 additional minutes (or more if necessary…do not let them get too golden or brown).
  8. Voila! Experiment with other flavors, adding spices or herbs, etc. Cinnamon would be a good addition for this recipe.

 

 

Holiday Recap and a Soy Curl Potpie Recipe

I’ve been so busy lately. Between graduate school, taking an improv comedy class, the holidays, my grandmother dying, etc., I’ve barely had time for cooking. I was able to create two Youtube videos in the beginning of the semester, which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIGj10TPGenVBNH6vySDPpw! I hope to make more videos on Youtube in the coming year.

I’ve also been regularly updating my blog’s new(ish) Instagram account, which you can follow @bananacurlvegangirl

If you’re not on Instagram or following along here, I’m going to do a quick photo recap of some of the food I made for the holidays.

For some homemade gifts, I made my famous sour cream and onion kale chips, green tea, goji, and coconut superfood energy bars (adapted from this recipe), vegan and gluten-free marshmallow wreaths, and chocolate peppermint patties from a recipe that’s basically this (not pictured).

 

We had 4 relatives staying with us from Christmas Eve day until yesterday. My aunt and uncle and cousins have a tradition at their house of making appetizers on Christmas eve. So, I made lentil faux chopped liver dip, a spinach and artichoke dip, and we made mini potato latkes because it was also the first night of Hanukkah and my dad celebrates the holiday and loves having latkes. Instead of using eggs, we used the Neat egg for the first time and it worked out really well! There was also a salad made that I was able to eat.

 

For dessert, I had these gluten-free, vegan sugar cookies I made from a recipe on Minimalist Baker. Check the recipe out here.

gf sugar cookies xmas.JPG

For Christmas morning breakfast, everyone else was having bagels. My mom was nice enough to go to a local gluten-free bakery and pick up some vegan and gluten free bagels. I topped them with Kite Hill chive cream cheese, my papaya lox, and capers.

lox-bagels

For my dinner later that day, I made gluten-free, vegan stuffed shells with Kite Hill almond ricotta and pesto. I forgot to take a picture of them. We also had my favorite vegan caesar salad ever, which I also forgot to photograph, but believe there are previous posts on this blog about it.

It was a sweet Christmas! I hope you had a very merry one yourselves! As a thank you for reading, here is a picture of my three cats, that my brother photoshopped for a card.

christmas-cats

However, the best Christmas present is that I have a new recipe! For a soy curl chickun potpie that is soooo good!

WordPress has a new feature here, so I’m going to try to see what happens when I upload a word document of the recipe.

soy-curl-chickun-potpie (link to a downloadable recipe? or something)

Soy Curl Chickun Potpie

Vegan and Gluten-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soy curls
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 6-8 baby carrots chopped into rounds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ cup vegan no-chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain coconut milk
  • 1 no-chicken bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 gluten-free, vegan pie crusts, homemade or store bought

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Soak soy curls, corn, and peas in a bowl with enough warm water to cover. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and drain. Set aside.
  3. Steam potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket for 10 minutes.
  4. Place olive oil, celery, onions, and garlic in a skillet on medium heat and sauté until soft. Add in the soy curls, corn, peas, nutritional yeast, sage, and ¼ cup broth. Mix in the potatoes and carrots. Stir and heat until the soy curls are warm.
  5. To make a gravy for the pie, place the vegan butter and garbanzo flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until crumbly and beginning to brown. Slowly add in the coconut milk, continuing to whisk. You may need to lower the heat. Add the remaining ¼ cup broth and the bouillon cube. Keep whisking until the bouillon melts and the gravy is thick. You can add salt and pepper to taste once you turn off the heat.
  6. Add the gravy into the soy curl and vegetables.
  7. Spoon into a bottom of a pie crust. Place the top of the pie crust as you like it. Make slits in the top to allow steam to escape. You may have some leftover filling that you can eat separately or make into other dishes.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden in color.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  10. Bon Appetit!

Enjoy the new year festivities if I don’t post before then (but I do have several posts lined up!) Happy Holidays from Banana Curl, Vegan Girl!