“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.

 

 

Advertisements

Cake Batter Everything

IMG_7573

Thanks to this recipe for cake batter butter, I discovered that vegan butter extract exists, and started going a little overboard making all things cake batter.

Then I decided to make a raspberry cake batter smoothie.

IMG_7523

It’s basically two cups nondairy milk, a scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Vega Essentials), 1/3 cup frozen raspberries, one banana, 1/2 tsp vegan butter extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. I also added in some vegan sprinkles, So Delicious coco whip to make it creamier (about 1/3 cup in the smoothie, and more for the topping), and drank it out of a fun straw. If you make the nut butter, you can also add a tablespoon or two into the blender.

Enjoy!

PS: If you like vegan, gluten free, soy free, and protein packed waffles, check out the new Fitquick birthday cake flavor…I haven’t tried it yet but I love their stuff and can’t wait until I can!

 

Italian Rainbow Cookies Veganized

During Christmas, I had this bad habit of being at the grocery store and looking at the ingredients of the Italian Christmas cookies hoping some of them would be vegan. Not a chance. I’ve been craving these all season.

After Christmas, I looked up some recipes for this type of cookie. I wasn’t sure what they would actually be called, but it was easy enough to find. I found this recipe, which I knew I could veganize with the magic vegan ingredient, aquafaba.

I was so worried I’d really mess up making these a lot earlier on. The parts I thought would fail were not as difficult as I thought. The hardest part was cutting it after I put the chocolate on top, which ended up crumbling a bit and making it not as pretty as I would have liked. The recipe makes it sound much more complicated and some of the steps are needlessly complicated, so I’m re-writing the recipe in the way I did it with the vegan substitutions.

This recipe also required making vegan almond paste (with aquafaba as well!)

That is the first step to making these babies.

Vegan Aquafaba Almond Paste

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups blanched almonds
  • 1.5 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water/brine from a can)
  • 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend the almonds until smooth and pasty.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, aquafaba, extract, and salt.
  3. Process again until smooth and dough-like (it should form into a big ball).
  4. You may need to scrape the sides down frequently throughout the process.
  5. When finished, set aside 3/4 cup for your Italian Rainbow cookies. You can save the leftovers, it’s super yummy!

IMG_6595

Veganized Italian Rainbow Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons Earth Balance sticks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond paste (recipe above)
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • 12 tablespoons aquafaba
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • food coloring method of choice (red and green)
  • 15 oz Apricot Jam (not the kind with clumpy pieces in it, you want it to be smooth)
  • 10 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place parchment paper on three jelly roll pans or rimmed cookie sheets and spray parchment with cooking oil.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl, place the almond paste and 3/4 cup with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix on the medium speed setting until crumbly.
  4. Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces and place into the the mixture while beating together until all the Earth Balance is in there and the batter is smooth.
  5. Sift 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Add into the mixer slowly and continue to mix until combined. Do not over mix.
  6. In a large metal bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, place the 12 tablespoons of aquafaba. Whip until foamy. Slowly add in the 2 tablespoons of sugar while continuing to whip on the highest setting. Stop when you have created firm peaks (if you take out the whisks from the meringue, and place them upside down, it will not drip down).
  7. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Place the batter evenly into 3 bowls. 1 bowl keep plain, and then add green and red to the other two bowls.
  9. Transfer the batters onto their respective cookie sheets one at a time with a wet rubber spatula . My sheets were too big to be able to spread out the batter entirely, so I tried my best to make the most even shaped rectangles on each cookie sheet so they’d match up when layered together after baking.  Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll cut the edges so they’re prettier when it’s all assembled anyhow. Just worry about making relatively even thickness rectangles for now.
  10. Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the pans around in the oven so that one pan is not on the bottom rack the whole time, and bake for another 4-6 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
  11. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on top of the red layer.
  13. Cut any excess parchment paper from around the white layer. Holding the bottom of the cookie with both hands, carefully line up and flip the white layer onto the red.
  14. Spread another layer of jam. Repeat step 13 with the green layer, but do not place anymore jam on top.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap. Place a clean cookie sheet on top to press down the layers. Place something heavy and even (like two cans on either side) on top of that, and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
  16. Take off the cans, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, trim the uneven sides into a clean rectangle shape. Let sit for a moment or a few.
  17. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.
  18. Spread over the top layer and sides with a spatula.
  19. Allow to set, and then cut into smalls squares.
  20. Place in a container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Enjoy! I know I certainly will!

 

 

Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

IMG_4640

French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juice (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles) for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipe I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

IMG_3930

The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

IMG_4638

The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

IMG_3932

in the oven almost done

IMG_3937

out of the oven

IMG_3935

close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!

Vegan Mofo Day 10-Worldly Wednesday-Curry Chickpea Salad with Apples and Almonds

photo 3photo 5
This is one of the simplest, easiest, and delicious recipes I like to make. It also has a good amount of turmeric in it, which I have been hearing so much of the benefits of recently. Pairing the almonds with the chickpeas gives it a firmer texture and the apples give it a nice crunch. It’s really good in a wrap or some sprouted rye bread as a sandwich, or even as a topping for a salad.

photo 4

Ingredients:

photo 1

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 chopped apple of choice

Directions:

  1. Place the chickpeas and almonds in a food processor and chop thoroughly. The almonds give the chickpeas a more chicken like texture.
  2. Transfer the chickpeas and almonds into a large bowl (bigger is better, I used a bowl that was too small at first that caused some overflow.
  3. Add the vegenaise, curry powder, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and stir well, until the ingredients are all combined.
  4. Fold in the chopped apple.
  5. Serve in a wrap with lettuce, in regular sandwich bread, or on top of a salad.

photo 2

180x180_g1-1

 

Vegan New England Style “Lobstah” salad made from hearts of palm and 7 days of new smoothie recipes to share!

Hello everybody, 

I did this thing this past week that I was going to blog about. Unfortunately I got a new laptop and when I transferred all the pictures I had  from my phone to my laptop, (including the ones I needed to make the blog entry) some of them got lost in the shuffle. I tried a new smoothie recipe every day of the week, and wanted to talk about them. Instead, lacking pictures, I will post the links to the recipes I used at the end of this entry.

I do however have a picture for the recipe I am about to share!

Growing up in the New England area of the East Coast United States, lobster salads have always been a thing. They’re also usually kind of a big treat. Today I was inspired by that, and wanted to make a vegan version. This is truly “lobstah” as Bostonians and Rhode Islanders would say, but is free from any cruelty towards the real sea creatures.

I used hearts of palm as the main “meat,” and some sun-dried tomatoes as well to give color, flavor, and texture. There is a mix of seafood-y spices, lemon juice, and other seasonings, and the mix of vegenaise and vegan sour cream makes a delightfully creamy dressing for it.

New England Vegan Hearts of Palm “Lobstah” Salad

Image

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans salad chopped hearts of palm, drained, placed in a food processor and pulsed a few times to further chop them
  • 1/2 cup julienned cut sun dried tomatoes (the kind that comes in a bag, not packed in oil. I’d actually recommend soaking these in warm water for an hour or until a bit softer prior to including them in the salad because I didn’t and some were chewier and a bit tough when I ate them…soaking would solve that problem, but is probably optional)
  • 1 tsp kelp granules
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (use less if placing on top of greens instead of on bread)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (I used tofutti)

Directions:

  1. Place chopped, drained, and processed hearts of palm in a mixing bowl or other large container.
  2. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir.
  3. Add spices and take a spoon to mix them into the chopped hearts of palm and sun-dried tomatoes. Make sure they are evenly coated.
  4. Add lemon juice, vegenaise, and sour cream and stir. 
  5. Serve in a bun with some crunchy lettuce, or on top of salad greens with whatever other toppings you desire.
  6. Enjoy!

 

So there is that! Now as promised, here is the list and links to the smoothies I made each day last week:

  1. Raspberry Lime Zinger from Oh She Glows *Second place in my favorites!
  2. Pumpkin Chai from The Sweet Life
  3. Key Lime Pie Green Smoothie from Healthful Pursuit
  4. Pina Colada Smoothie from Foodie with Family
  5. Orange Creamsicle Smoothie (also from The Sweet Life) *My favorite one I tried!
  6. Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie from The Healthy Family and Home
  7. Chamomile Strawberry Quinoa Smoothie from Apron and Sneakers *Runner up for favorite 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday! Aloha salad, holiday pie, green smoothies, galore!

Hello!

I was sick this week with a pretty exhausting cold. I’m feeling much better now, though. Since my exhaustion and my lung congestion made it difficult for me to work out, I decided I was going to try and eat much better than usual and eat more fruits and veggies than normally (even though on average I get at least 10 servings a day or so) and so I finally gave in and tried some green smoothies. I think I’m going to be better about eating more fruits and veggies (Including green smoothies) from now on even though I’m not sick, because… duh. I also ate a lot of Amy’s No Chicken Noodle soup, which was awesome.

The first one was a banana-less kale based “Green monster” one here

Image

I had to add a lot of extra water because it came out way too thick. Also, I gagged several times still, and it sort of tasted like a salad dressing or something to me, oops. But I thought it was decent at first, since I had never had one before, that is, until I tried the Caramel Apple Green Smoothie from the recipes here. That one is by far much tastier. I used almond butter instead of sunbutter though. I don’t have a picture of that one, though.

Image

Next was the Holiday Pie from The Vegan Stoner Cookbook. It’s basically tofu and non dairy milk blended together, mushrooms and garlic cooked in soy sauce, prepared stuffing, and I decided to use the optional tofu hot dogs on top. I also dipped it in cranberry sauce. It was quite delicious.

Image

I rate this recipe 4 good bananas, one bad! (It just didn’t have the total wow! factor of 5 good ones, but I like it)

Image

Then there is this salad I made tonight!

Aloha Salad with Tiki Tempeh.

Image

So good, and made me think of fond memories from the Summer. I didn’t think bananas would be so tasty and add such a great texture contrast to this but it was definitely the best part for sure! Everything tastes so good, though! I also majorly splurged on a small amount of macadamia nuts which are so yummy, and added reduced fat dried coconut. The dressing is creamy and super tasty, the tempeh has great flavor, and all the fruits along with the spinach and cole slaw mix are wonderful together.

This has to be rated 5 good bananas!Image

I’m hoping this upcoming week I’ll have time to write some more fun entries besides just on Friday, but we’ll see what my life has in store from me. Until then take care and eat yummy foods!