Hi! I'm taking a little break and it might take me a few days to reply to comments and emails. I'll be back soon! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hang Loose Buns, Baked

These are my breakfast buns, duuude. I have had one of these for breakfast every morning for like yeeears. They're toootally cool buns, maaaan. They're easy to make, they don't require a whole lot of effort on my end, there's no kneading-dough-on-a-floured-surface mess to clean up, and they're made with wholesome ingredients. Toootally aaawesome, duuude.

Dense and whole grainy goodness

Hang Loose Buns

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 cup water, warm
3/4 cup brown rice milk, warm
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl stir together the flours, oat bran, flax seeds, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the water, milk, and oil and stir with a large spoon until a smooth dough forms. It should only take a few stirs, dude. At this point you'll think it looks way too soft, but the oat bran and the flax seeds are going to be quite thirsty and they will drink up some of the liquid while the dough rises. The dough shouldn't be soupy, but it will be fairly soft. If it is soupy add a bit more flour. Cover and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Take a nap and chillax, man.

2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take chunks of dough and shape them into balls. How many? Whatever, dude. I get nine or ten buns out of one batch, but if you want big monster-buns you can shape them into bigger balls. Place the dough balls on the baking sheet as you shape them and brush the tops and sides with a little bit of rice milk. Let them rise for 30 minutes.*

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the buns look toasty brown. Remove from the oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooooling rack.

Serve warm and preferably, toasted.

For best results:

* I don't proof my yeast because it doesn't have enough time to lose its potency in this house. I bake something with yeast two or three times a week. But if your yeast is old and you suspect it might not be active anymore then go ahead and proof it.

* Do you have a meat thermometer? It was one of the best investments I've ever made, because I make sure all liquids that I use in yeast breads are perfectly warm (110 degrees F) which makes the yeast happy. And the thermometer is totally cool about not having anything to do with meat. No worries, duuude.

* Placing the baking sheet on the stove top as the oven preheats and the buns rise also makes the yeast happy.

* Sometimes I like adding two tablespoons of vital wheat gluten along with the flours, for a change. It makes them a bit chewier but I think I prefer them without the extra gluten.

* These buns aren't all that at room temperature, but they're totally righteous straight out of the oven or sliced in half and toastily toasted.

All puns intended. I'm not stoned. I just had a tofu scramble and you know how soy makes me all dopey! Why so relaxed? Because Halloweegan starts next Friday and there will be plenty crazy going on then! Whoooo!!! I mean, aaawesome, duuude.

I'm starting a new blog feature called Blog-Love. From now on I will randomly choose one of my favorite blogs and I will tell you a little bit about them at the end of each post. This week's Blog-Love goes out to Susan @ Kittens Gone Lentil! When Susan isn't cooking up vegan deliciousness and making cookbooks look irresistible, she's off being a super-vet and saving kitties with her magical powers! Susan is a true cat hero! She always ends her food posts with a perfect dessert: a very sweet "Cute Kitty Photo of the Post." Check out Susan's blog!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins and Gingery Apple Quinoa

UPDATE: I recently updated this recipe to make it super "appley" and extra nutty. Check it out here!

It's time for another SOS Kitchen Challenge entry! This month's (very season-friendly) ingredient is the juicy and versatile forbidden fruit! Bananas! Oh no, wait... *looks up this month's ingredient* Apples! Ricki and Kim have chosen apples for this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge!

What to make? What to make? I wanted to make something with an apple and cinnamon combo - that's all I knew! After much internal debating, I decided to go with Apple Cinnamon Muffins with a crunchy, nutty topping. The original idea was to make them with oat bran, and the first batch did indeedy have oat bran.

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Airhead Apple Cinnamon Muffins.
It was so hard to get a decent picture of this muffin! Son of a batch!

The second batch? Nope. Mr. Wing-It and I were having a FRIENDS marathon, and I was making these muffins while we were watching The One With Ross' Tan. Not a good idea because I am not a good multi-tasker! I totally forgot to add the oat bran to the second batch, so when I was going to pour the batter into the muffin pan it was way too runny. Soup muffins? No, thanks. So I added another 1/4 cup of flour which was oddly enough the amount of bran that I left out. *I has the dumbz*

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Crunchy nutty topping

I did remember the oat bran for the third batch - I'm not totally dumb, just a little bit occasionally. Here's the Airhead version with no bran, and the bran variation is below... maybe... if I remember...

UPDATE: I recently updated this recipe to make it super "appley" and extra nutty. Check it out here!

Airhead Apple Cinnamon Muffins With Nutty Topping

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown rice milk*
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp almond extract, optional
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch squares

For the topping:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp maple syrup, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and lightly spray each one with cooking spray.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, flax seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, turmeric, and salt. (Thanks for the heads up about the baking powder, Applescosity!)

3. In a small size mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, almond extract, and brown sugar.

4. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients, throw in the diced apple and gently fold until all ingredients are just incorporated. The batter should be fairly thick, but not dry and crumbly. You can add a tablespoon or two of milk if it looks crumbly. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each three-quarter full or all the way full if you like big muffin tops.

5. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts evenly on each muffin top and gingerly press the nutty bits down just a little so that they won't fall off the muffins after they're baked. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle all over the muffin tops. I like to drizzle the tops with just a few drops of maple syrup to get them nice and glossy, but that's totally optional. Just use a measuring spoon to gently drizzle the maple syrup all over the nutty tops. One teaspoon per three muffins is plenty.

6. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 6 muffins.

Non-airhead variation: Replace 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of ground oat bran. They will need a few more minutes in the oven, about 25 to 28 minutes.


* I used my homemade brown rice milk for this, but you can use any type of milk.

* I like using golden flax seeds for light colored baked goods, but you can definitely use regular flax seeds instead.

* I make my own brown sugar by mixing 1 cup of ground turbinado sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses.

Airhead Apple Muffins with Nutty Topping
Turmeric gives them a lovely golden color

Muffin Top
My favorite muffin top! Via icanhascheezburger.com

For the savory part of the challenge, I went with a Gingery Granny Smith Quinoa With Slivered Almonds.
Granny Smith Quinoa
Granny Smith Quinoa with Veganomicon BBQ Tofu splurge

Gingery Granny Smith Quinoa With Slivered Almonds

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch squares
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp slivered or sliced almonds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup water
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes or until soft. Stir in the mushrooms and the apple and saute two more minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for just about 30 seconds.

2. Add the parsley salt, black pepper, ginger, almonds, and quinoa. Add the water and stir in the mustard. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and fluffy. If the quinoa is still crunchy you can add more water and simmer it for a few more minutes. Serves 2.


* If you want it to be really appley you can use a whole apple. One half is plenty for my wimpy taste buds. And if ginger scares you, you can start with 1/4 tsp which makes it way milder.

* The slivered almonds give this dish a nice crunch, but you can skip them if you're not into finding crunchy bits in your quinoa.

This recipe also makes a great Acorn Squash stuffing! It's enough to fill two halves.

Granny Smith Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well, that's all the appley news I have. In other news, I've been working on some Halloweegan goodies and I'm getting all worked up here! Is it October yet? Only a few more days! Are you planning on getting a little crazy for Halloweegan this year? :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aerolatte Fun and Smart School Time Recipes

Have you downloaded your free copy of Smart School Time Recipes yet? I have! It has been fun going through the e-cookbook and discovering new bloggers through the recipes that they contributed to the project. Check out the recipes I have tried so far:

Alisa's Speedy Wheat Hamburger Buns. Alisa is the creative, hard-working mastermind behind this awesome communal cookbook. These buns were fluffy and speedy indeedy! The good kind of fluffy though, not the Wonder Bread kind of fluffy that disappears in your hand if you squeeze it hard enough. That's just wrong! These are fluffy *and* bready! *WIN* :)

Alisa's Speedy Wheat Hamburger Buns

Hannah's Maple Cinnamon Glazed Almonds. Don't be scared of all the cinnamon, it seems like it's going to be a lot but it's just the perfect amount. No need to have your dentist on speed-dial either, they're just sweet enough but not too sweet. Fine print: these almonds are very addictive! I dare you not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!
Hannah's Maple Cinnamon Glazed Almonds

And here come Katie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins. Oh yea. These things are tasteh! Elvis would definitely approve. The recipe calls for an egg, but I used a flax egg and it worked like a charm. I made mini muffins, because I can. It's easier to just pop'em like candy that way! :D

Katie's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Oh, you noticed that cup of coffee that I very nonchalantly placed in the background there? That is my super foamy coffee made with my super duper Aerolatte! Watch me make lots of foam with my cool gadget:

Can't see the video? You can watch it on my flickr. See how I don't whip the milk in a mug, and instead I do it in a little glass measuring cup? That's because when I first whipped it in my precious Luke's mug the pesky thing scratched off some of the finish! *sadface*

Mr. Wing-It bought me the Stainless-Steel Deluxe Edition Aerolatte for Christmas, which comes with a spiffy stand, but there is also an Aerolatte To Go that comes with a handy case to take to work in your purse... or man bag... or backpack... or fanny pack. Hey, it's cool, I'm not the fashion police! :D
My super Aerolatte

The milk that the Aerolatte whipped so beautifully is brown rice milk, and it also works with millet milk, white rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, and even almond milk. The almond milk doesn't get quite as foamy, and the foamiest of them all is the soy milk. I only whip it for about 20 seconds because dipping my nose in foam as I drink my coffee is no fun, but if you like dipping your nose in your coffee, whipping it longer makes more foamy goodness. A few of you swell readers requested a recipe for brown rice milk and millet milk, and because I am such a diligent blogger...

Brown Rice Milk (makes just over 1 quart)

To cook the rice:
1 cup water
1/3 cup brown rice, raw
1/4 cup cashews, raw

To make the milk:
4 cups water
pinch of salt
sugar to taste (optional)

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in the rice and the cashews and cook covered over low heat for 45 to 55 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

2. Transfer the cooked rice and cashews into a blender, add the water and salt and liquefy until smooth. Let the blender run for a couple of minutes until you don't see any big chunky bits of rice or nut. If you want to sweeten it, add sugar by the teaspoon and blend until you're pleased with the sweetness.

3. Strain the milk into a pitcher using a fine mesh strainer. If you're going to be drinking this straight up, you might want to strain it through a layered cheesecloth. I use it for baking and to make yummy lattes, so a fine mesh strainer does the job for me.

Notes: If you want to leave out the cashews that's OK, but the milk won't be as rich and it won't get all whippy with the Aerolatte. For millet milk, swap the raw rice for raw millet and keep an eye on it after 35 minutes of simmering. I have yet to try quinoa milk, as Vegyogini so cleverly suggested, but I'll let you know how that goes when I try it. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blendtec Fun! (And Peanut Butter Cups!)

**(This is an old post from 2010!! I have no idea why blogger decided to show it as a new 2014 post. Sorry about the mix-up!)**

Warning: I'm a little loopy and stuffy-nosey as I type this. There might be some nonsensical stuff goin' on here. Please ignore! :)

I am so spoiled! Mr. Wing-It wanted to buy me an end-of-our-exhausting-travels present and after much research he decided to buy me a Blendtec! YAY! Do I have the bestest husband or what?! A Blendtec! I am one of the cool kids now! :D

Blendtec Peanut Butter
Perfectly smooth peanut butter

Doesn't that peanut butter look perfect?! My first attempt at making peanut butter with my new toy was kind of a disaster. The end result wasn't really peanut butter, it was more like a peanut paste. Odd. It was my fault because I added some maple syrup to the peanuts before they were *completely* butterized (yeah, that's a word now) and the peanut paste never became smooth. That's cool, I used the peanut paste to make peanut butter blondies (same recipe as the almond butter blondies but with peanut butter... or paste) and they were grrrreat!

Wanna see my Blendtec in action, turning roasted peanuts into peanut butter? Watch this video! Don't ask me why I decided to end it with a curtsey though. Too much Austen, I guess! :P

Awesome stuff! Can't see the video? It's OK, don't feel left out, you can watch it on flickr.

*EDIT: The video is one minute and thirteen seconds, but the actual peanut butter making process took longer! Roughly about eight minutes, including all the stirring that happened in between cycles.

One pound of roasted peanuts made about nine ounces of peanut butter, and I turned some of it into peanut butter cups! These are nonconformist cups, because the filling is not the traditional one made with powdered sugar, this one is gooey and it's made with maple syrup.

Take it off!

Nonconformist Peanut Butter Cups (makes 12 mini cups)

2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt (or more if you like it sweet *and* salty)
2 tbsp ground almonds
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

(You will also need 12 candy cups or mini cupcake liners)

1. In a small mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well and thoroughly stir in the salt and the ground almonds. Set aside.

2. In a dry glass bowl, microwave the chocolate chips on medium power for 45 seconds. Stir the chips around a bit and microwave again, on medium power for 30 more seconds. Stir and repeat until the chippers are completely melted.

3. Separate your candy cups or mini cupcake liners and use a butter knife (or any small knife with a rounded point) to coat the bottoms and sides of all the cups with the melted chocolate. A generous layer is best to keep the peanut butter cups from breaking. Freeze for five minutes or until the chocolate is hard and solid. *

4. Fill each cup with the peanut butter filling, but don't fill them all the way up to the top, leave a couple of millimeters for the chocolate topping. The filling should be quite sticky.

5. Top all the little cuppies with the rest of the melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate so that all the cups are nice and brown on top. You might need to reheat the chocolate if it's not soft anymore. Just 30 seconds in the microwave on medium power should do it. Freeze or refrigerate the cuppies until firm. I froze mine because I *wanted* them right away! :D

* I placed the cups in a mini muffin pan so they would have a nice even shape, but that's just my OCD talking.

Gooey Peanut Butter Filling
Nonconformist gooey filling

A few pictures of the peanut-butter-cup-making process:

Peanut butter cups - bottom layer
This is the bottom chocolate layer, already cold.

Peanut butter cups - filling
Peanut butter filling. Sorry about the awful picture.

Peanut butter cups - top layer
Chocolate topping with a swirly top

My new toy also makes super smooth hummus! Although the first time I used it to make hummus it was also a disaster. That's what I get for trying to follow the recipe that came with the recipe book! I forgot to wing it! :D

Blendtec Hummus
Perfectly smooth hummus. Yes, I eat hummus with potato chips.

The Blendtec is fairly easy to clean, which is always a plus! I use a long brush to wash it and unless I make something super sticky (like peanut butter!) cleaning it is no big deal. This thing has some serious power, and it gets very loud! Not loud enough for me to complain about it, especially because it doesn't need to run very long to destroy whatever you throw in there. And it makes smooth smoothies, unlike my old rinky-dink blender that made chunkies instead. And I have made elebenty batches of dairy-free milk. Oat milk, white rice milk, brown rice milk, millet milk...

Millet Milk
Millet milk. I don't drink plain milk of any kind. This picture is a sham!

And as if I weren't spoiled enough, the mailman just delivered an awesome package from Alisa of One Frugal Foodie (and Go Dairy Free!) Oh yes, Alisa had an awesome giveaway and I was the lucky winner of four cookbooks! Four!! The contents of my bounty: My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Brunch, The Urban Vegan, and Ani's Raw Food Kitchen! Whoooo! Thank you again, Alisa! I am psyched!!

Don't be jealous, you can also have an awesome new cookbook, and the best thing is that you can have it right now! Alisa has created an amazing eCookbook with 125 recipes and over 100 photos - all donated by lots of stellar food bloggers and cookbook authors! Oh yeah, and it's free! This communal gem is called Smart School Time Recipes: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults and you can download it here! Not all the recipes are vegan, but most recipes can be veganized these days. I will be doing a cookbook spotlight for this awesomeness very soon! :)

PS: Is anybody interested in a millet milk post/recipe, complete with creamy aerolatte foam and all? Or maybe a brown rice milk? Or both? :)