Friday, April 17, 2009

Sweet Snackin'

A few weeks ago, I pre-ordered the new BabyCakes cookbook, so you bet when I saw this recipe for blueberry muffins on the Food Network website by Erin McKenna of BabyCakes Bakery, I just had to try it. The only changes I made were substituting 1/2 c. of the GF All-Purpose flour with millet flour and using only 1/2 t. of cinnamon. I got so excited watching these bake becasue the tops puffed up a little bit (some even had nice muffin tops!) and got really golden. The muffins tasted great- not too sweet and the agave nectar really added a nice caramel-y flavor. However, only the tops and bottoms of the muffins held together- the middles just crumbled as soon as I started eating one! My family and I agreed that more xanthan gum (maybe another 1/2 t.?) needed to be used, but other than that this was one good muffins recipe! I'm now even more excited for the arrival of my cookbook in a few weeks.

I used up all of my organic peanut butter from Costco last week and my dad wasn't going again for awhile, so I had to get some from the grocery store in the meantime. Unfrotunately, the only natural peanut butter at the store I was at was Smucker's, so I grabbed that. I tried a little and realized how, compared to the organic peanut butter I had been eating for months, this kind just didn't taste like peanuts. To use some of it up, I made some trail mix bars based on the recipe on the lid of the peanut butter jar and they turned out pretty well! The only ingredient that needed to be veganized was the honey and since I made a few other changes, I'll share the recipe:

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars:

1 1/2 c. puffed rice cereal
1 1/2 c. oats (I used GF oats)
1/2 c. raisins
1/4 c. dried cherries/cranberries
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
2 T. pecans, chopped
1/4 c. seeded pumpkin seeds (I left these out since I didn't have any on hand)
1/2 c. brown rice syrup/agave nectar (I used a mix of both)
3 T. sugar
1 c. all-natural peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Grease a 9x9 pan. Mix together the puffed rice, oats, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the brown rice syrup/agave nectar with the sugar until it boils. Boil for one minute. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well. Press into the grease pan and let cool. Makes 12-16 bars.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Big Ol' Bowl of VEGGIES!

The ratatouille from Gluten-Free Vegan is sooooo delicious and filling, yet I just can't get enough! My mom loves it as well, so I've been making as much of it as I can to freeze for later, but it never lasts too long. It's full of eggplant, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, zucchinis, and fresh basil from my herb garden! I just made some simple soft polenta with salt, pepper, and nooch to go with the ratatouille and it was really good. However, I think I'll made some pan-fried polenta next time I serve it because I think the contrast in textures will be better.

Any of you remember my family's new holiday I mentioned a year ago? Well, "Spring Day" actu
ally happened the first Sunday of this Spring (March 22) this year! I didn't get any pictures of the food but you aren't missing much- the food wasn't that exciting to look at, but it was good! I made the Chopped Salad from Sublime's cookbook again, and my family had burgers and quesadillas while I had a veggie burger and filled my quesadilla with refried beans. For dessert, I ran to the store and got some soy ice cream for my mom and me, dairy ice cream for my family, and a bunch of sundae toppings for a sundae bar! Also, my mom was so sweet and surprised us all that morning with a "Spring Day basket" (instead of an Easter basket) filled with candy, including some vegan candy from Trader Joe's! Even though I have no pictures, I just thought I'd let you all know that we officially do have a new holiday to celebrate in our family :)

Speaking of my herb garden, here's a picture of it all grown-up: