Recently I've been enjoying trying out vegan treats, such as the vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. Not only delicious, but no animal products. I've saved quite a bit of vegan recipes lately, and have even been taking regular recipes such as macaroni and cheese and turning them into vegan/gluten-free dishes. They are so delicious, and I don't have any guilty feelings when I eat them. I'm not saying if you eat these products you are by any means a bad person. All I am saying is that recently I've been really interested in veganism instead of being a pescatarian. I hate the labels I do. Really, what I see my diet turning into is vegan with fish products sometimes. I can give up cheese, eggs, milk-chocolate (of course), butter, and I can give up fish, but... I do love my red dragon rolls, salmon terriyaki, and white tuna sashimi when I go for sushi. If I choose to treat myself to fish I will.
I'm not saying I am doing it right at this moment, but I am trying to transition myself into it. I have been doing research, and I have tried certain vegan recipes that have showed me that vegan eating is just as good as non-vegan eating. Recently introducing "meat" products into my diet has been a nice change as well. I can now make "chicken", "turkey" and "bacon" sandwiches, that taste 97% like the real thing, so what is there to lose in choosing the fake over the real product? I don't feel guilty, I feel healthier, and I feel better about myself, and I think that's important.
Vegan Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Recipe taken from here
Now, whenever I read blog-rolls about Snickerdoodles, I always hear about how when they were younger their grandmother always had a plate of Snickerdoodles sitting on the kitchen/counter table. Well, my grandma didn't. I hadn't even heard of these delicious cookies until last year when I started at looking at blogs. I have to admit, I feel a little left out. No, really, what I feel is cheated. Cinnamon + sugar? How can I not feel cheated? I feel like all these children, had smiles spread across their faces, tongues poking out to lick the morsels of fallen sugar crystals and I missed out on that. It makes me sad. But, it's why I have to make them for myself, to make up for it right? And it is also why, when I have children, I will make it for them, and make it for their children, and so on. I mean, you need to spread the cinnamon love. But, I don't blame grandma. She always had the cupboards stashed with Peak Freans, which are to this day some of my all time favourite cookies, it may be for the memories that I get when I eat them it may not be, but I love them.
These were so tasty! I love seeing cinnamon speckled all through out whatever I'm eating, I just find it so pretty. They were just as tasty as the first batch of vegan cupcakes I made, but I have to admit the cinnamon topped them for me! I'm loving these simple ingredient swap outs for something equally delicious with no remorse attached. Yum.
Carob Chip Cranberry Almond Butter
Recipe inspired by here
A couple of weeks ago I made the most perfect nut-butter; peanut butter. I loved it, and have been enjoying it on ample things, and have enjoyed mixing it with other foods. I love topping it on my oatmeal, eating it with my fruit, having it in sandwiches, slabbed on toast, in my smoothies, etc... just good. I had recently seen recipes for many different type of nut butters, one of which attracted me very much was almond butter.
I didn't follow one recipe in particular, I looked at a couple different recipes just to get the basics down, can't remember which and came up with a recipe for myself, that would suit my tastes. (but I am posting a recipe so you guys can see the steps here). Before this I hadn't experienced almond butter... well that's not technically true. A couple years ago my mom had a friend who was very into organic and raw foods, and had introduced her to this Rice Krispy square using almond butter and all this healthy stuff. At the time I absolutely hated the thing, I thought it was awful. All these healthy ingredients instead of my sinful marshmallows? Why would I choose health > sweets? It's how I used to think. Man, I was such a naive ignorant person. I would jump in front of a bus (okay maybe not...) instead of those sugar-packed snacks now. I love them, and personally find them tastier than the food I used to eat.
This almond butter was simply decadent. The carob chips at such a nice "dark chocolate" feel to it, where the cranberries enhance the cocoa flavour with its sweetness. It is so nice spread on a piece of freshly baked toast or swirled around in your oatmeal. I love it, and cannot wait to play around with the recipe some more, perhaps next time even throwing in some pistachios and coconut, oh yum!
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1/2 cup carob chips
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp coconut butter
Place 2 cups of raw, whole almonds into a food processor. Process for about 15 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute or as necessary. It is a long process, but you don’t want to stop until you have released all the oils in the almonds and the mixture is very smooth and buttery! This took me a good 14-15 minutes.
Just before your almond butter is ready, add the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp of coconut oil to a small pot. Melt on low. You want to remove the pot from heat when there are still some chocolate chip clumps remaining. Don’t worry they will melt as you stir the mixture. I always take it off the heat a bit early to avoid burning the chocolate.
Add the melted chocolate to the almond butter (still in the processor) and process for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add your kosher salt to taste and process more. Scoop into a container and store in the fridge. Makes 1 & 1/4 cups, 20 one-tbsp servings, or enough to fill a 250 ml jar. Refrigerate.
*Note that the almond butter firms up in the fridge. Allow it to sit at room temperature to soften before using.Carob Chip Cranberry Almond Butter Graham Crackers
Recipe adapted from here
On Angela's blog at Oh She Glows, she recently posted a recipe for peanut butter graham crackers. As much as I love peanut butter, I wanted to take it to the next step and try making it with my almond butter. Let me just say that I love graham crackers. They're just the perfect "cracker" really are they crackers or cookies? To me they are cookies... but I guess when I"m eating them I consider them crackers since I usually end up having more than two... regardless. I love them, they're sweet, with a touch of spice and you can do so much with them. They can be made into crusts, tarts, cookies, on oatmeal, in oatmeal, s'mores, graham crackers (HA!), and so much more.
These graham crackers were definitely heightened and taken to the next level. Whether you're making them into peanut butter and jam sandwiches as Angela did, and I had to try it out, as s'mores, or just eating them alone they are perfect. They are hard, with a nice bite and a nice kick of spice with some aftermath of chocolate. I love them. Then you get a sweet taste on your palette from the turbinado sugar that is sprinkled on top! Oh they were pure bliss.
I have to admit... this is kind of a weird thing to say but... I've never had a peanut butter and jam sandwich. It always freaked me out. I remember once, one of my friends was eating a peanut butter and jam wrap, oh I just about freaked. First off, wraps just, ew, they stick to the top of your palette and are just gross. Then you mix jam and peanut butter? Weird. However, after having tried the mixture the other day I am absolutely hooked. Oh my goodness, I can't believe I had never experienced this medley of flavours until this week. I'm sick, I am. But I love it, I've been using that combination in many ways, as you will soon see! As for now, here is the adapted recipe for the beautiful vegan graham crackers.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp coconut sap
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- 3 tbsp carob chip cranberry almond butter
- 2 tbsp amaretto agave syrup
- 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
- Modified flax egg (1/2 tbsp ground flax + 1 tbsp warm water, mixed)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat.In a small bowl or cup mix together the modified flax egg: 1/2 tbsp ground flax and 1 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes so it can gel up.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and make sure everything is combined very well. In a small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients, including the flax egg, but give the flax egg a good stir before mixing it in. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well with a spoon and then set the spoon aside and get in there with your hands and squeeze the dough together with your fingers. Try to just mix it until combined and avoid over mixing it.
Form the dough into a ball and place it on a very lightly floured counter. Be sure not to use too much flour or it will dry out the dough. Separate the dough into two equal balls and roll out each separately. Lightly flour a rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough until you have a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick. The dough cracks quite a bit (this was true for all trials that I did), so try not to roll it too thin or it will fall apart. I also find that the more I work with the dough, the less it cracks. Once your dough is rolled out you can use cookie cutters, a pizza slicer/pastry slicer, or even a knife to cut the shapes you want.
Now pull away the scrap dough around the edges and set aside. Using a flat spatula/pancake flipper, carefully slide it underneath each cracker and place the cracker onto the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Grab your scrap dough and roll it out and repeat the cookie cutting process. Place onto baking sheet. Grab a fork and pierce each cracker a few times so it has air holes.
Sprinkle with turbinado sugar (or coarse sugar/white sugar) and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees half way through the baking time. There is no need to flip the crackers during baking. The amount of time you have to bake will depend on how thick they are. The crackers should be slightly firm when coming out of the oven. They are much better crisp than chewy, so err on the side of cooking longer, but keep a watchful eye on them.
Allow the crackers to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes. They will firm up quite a bit as they cool. Enjoy plain, with nut butter and jam, or make s’mores! They are highly versatile and absolutely addicting.
Makes about 18-24 medium sized crackers.