Archive for August, 2011

Quirky cookie dough, anyone?

I am still in disbelief as to what I have just made.  Let me just prep you a little. Do not peek below until you have read this. I have not lost it. I know I eat some things that may be considered  wierd  alternative  okay, wierd……  I am alright with that. Honestly. However, this one, quite frankly, takes the biscuit. I mean cookie (dough). And it works, it really does!

I am crediting this to this blog right here but there seem to be plenty of other versions of this recipe flying around.SO! That said….I give you…….drum roll…..

Hummous Cookie Dough Dip (Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip)

I know!  Read on! This is utterly ridiculous, and delicious. I am all of a flurry, I tell ya!  All you need is a food processor. I used my mini chopper. (I honestly do not have shares in Kenwood, but I cannot live without my little £18 mini chopper.)

Ingredients for your dairy free-gluten-free-refined-sugar-free-egg-free-white-flour-free-fibre-packed-Bvitamin-fullcookie dough dip

  • 2 cups of chickpeas (about one can, well rinsed)
  • 1/4 +  1/8 cup peanut butter (Whole Earth do a version with no added salt or sugar)
  • 1  1/2 Tablespoons almond or soy milk
  • 6 Tablespoons  honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, 

Instructions:

  • Blend everything except the chocolate chips in your food processor.

It will be easier if you put the honey/milk/peanut butter in first, with about half a cup of the chickpeas. Blend to a smooth paste and then add the rest of the beans in two batches.

  • Add your chocolate chips. Serve with apple wedges, and feel smug joyful for all things plant-ey!  🙂

Notes:

  1. There is a second version to this: With a small tweak, you can bake them as cookies! See below.*
  2. You honestly don’t get the chickpea flavour, because of the sweetness of the honey/syrup, and the earthy peanut butter flavour.
  3. Isaac (2) is at the age of loving to dip things. This a great sweet variation for toddlers to dip into, and you could leave out the chocolate chips. You wouldn’t need to sweeten it as much either. It’s our adulterated adults palates in the West that crave the very sweet flavours in recipes.
  4. I have added dark chocolate chips, even though I normally don’t use regular chocolate or sugars. I just don’t get on with it of late, and I find when I eat it, all my old cravings return, so I am happy to stay away from it. When I found this recipe I decided to make an exception. It is, after all, garbanzo bean cookie dough, and I felt I could cut  some slack 🙂
  5. If you have a Millie’s Cookies love affair, you may not be satisfied with these. Though I suspect that if you have a very sweet tooth, you will be reading other recipe blogs, not this one  🙂  Unless you simply read this because you love me. In which case, thank you, and I (probably) love you too.

Version 2: Cookies!

  • Follow all instructions above, but add 3 tablespoons of a flour of your choice (I used brown rice flour, no reason)  The texture should be like a soft dough like in this photo. Mine was a little runnier, but it still worked fine. Chickpeas are a good binder- no egg required
  • Use a 1/8 cup to scoop dough onto greased parchment paper.
  • Flatten gently
  • Place into a pre-heated oven  180 C  for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Leave for a few minutes on tray, then transfer to a rack, leave to cool.
  • An important note: DO NOT use honey if you plan to bake your dough, it will burn underneath, barely in the oven. Use maple syrup or agave nectar….or…if you are thinking “What is her ridiculous obsession with not using a bit of sugar, it’s no worse than syrup?”…well..you may well be right; go ahead and use a dry sugar if you prefer. I just do it my preferred way and make suggestions, ’tis all.

    Sigh...

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I won something!… Peas and Thank You….

Cool! And something that really tickled me aswell. I won a book…..which is already on a best sellers list in the US (apparantly) And yes, it’s a recipe book….a plantified one! It’s written by the author of the food blog Peas and Thank You, Sarah Matheny, who (for some reason) has a bit of a pea thing going on, and calls herself Mama Pea. That aside, she is pretty funny, and her whole family follow a 100% plant-based diet  a.k.a vegan . (Why does that word sound so scary when I say it?)

Here is the link for her book,  Peas and Thank you: Simple Meatless Dishes the Whole Family will Love. A very bold assertation! It will be my (literal) pleasure to try and test. I already tried her sauce which has now become known as Mmmm Sauce, and oooh, it’s good! (Nutritional yeast required. Have you got yourself any yet?)

Watch this space for Peas and Thank You recipes, when my book eventually arrives.

Overnight Oats

Okay, okay….you can’t technically call this a recipe….I am busy today. This is easy, and as versatile as you have ingredients. Oats have TWO types of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is not found in all plant foods, and it kind of “soaks up” LDL cholesterol (the stuff you don’t want).

Constipation is not an appealing topic, but neither is having it, and worse still is cancer of the colon. High fibre intake is one of the greatest protectors against cancer of the colon, as is a low (or no) consumption of meat, particularly of the red, and processed kinds. There is NO fibre in animal foods. There is fibre EVERYWHERE in the (unprocessed) plant world. Eat less meat, eat more plants!

Overnight Oats

  • Leave your rolled oats in soak overnight. You just want to barely cover them. You can soak in milk, but I soak in water, and then add milk the next morning
  • The next morning, add your “milk” or yoghurt of choice. I never have cows milk, for plenty of reasons, but let’s say, for one, I don’t like all the phlegm it produces in my throat. Gross. I cannot even write the word phlegm without having a shudder. ….dairy is very mucous producing. I’ll leave mine for the baby calves; that’s just my personal view on it.
  • Oh. Forgot to say…..Warm up, if desired. I eat it like this usually, except on freezing days, I might have some regular porridge.
  • Add fresh fruit of your choice: banana works well here.…(Fresh fruit is full of fibre too, of course)
  • Add your dried fruit of choice: chopped prunes, dates, figs, raisins, apricots, coconut flakes (there is also plenty of fibre here)
  • Add nuts/seeds of your choice: you know…..brazil nuts, hazelnuts, flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, etcetera…..
  • Add sweetener of choice: date paste, honey, maple syrup, and so on.. The idea is to add plenty of sweetness with dried fruits, banana etc so that you don’t have to load it with sweetener, but of course, you have to enjoy it.
  • Add any extras that do not fit into the above categories.  Some people add a spoonfull of nut butters, dark chocolate chips, powdered supplements, bee pollen, I’ve heard of almost everything!

Here is mine one day, with a dodgy looking centrepiece of date paste. I am no under illusion that this looks nice. It was delicious however….

 

 

 

 

 

My family are home. Until next time!

 

Cumin Lentil Pate

3 (of the many) fantastic reasons to eat lentils.

  • Gram for gram, more protein than beef. And you get some good cattle karma points in addition 🙂  They have three times as much protein when eaten raw (sprouted).
  • Full of fibre, but practically free from fats: in other words, they fill you up, not out.  🙂
  • Rich in folate which helps the breakdown of homocysteine. This is an amino acid which damages artery walls and is associated with heart disease. Happily, the body automatically breaks it down into two benign compounds, but it can only be broken down in the presence of certain nutrients, notably B6, and folate.

Plus, they are cheap, cute, green and make you feel all Mediterranean when you eat them.  This pate is made with canned green lentils for laziness’  convenience’ sake. It’s salty, and full of cumin, just how I like it. You could reduce or eliminate the salt for a great weaning dip/spread.

Important note: While I love food, I am no foodie.I have only made this once, and shared it with my friend, and it received two Seals of Approval (well, four, if you count our little ones, which of course, we do) However, all I did was throw some stuff into the mini chopper until I liked the taste. I have no idea, for example, if the olive oil adds anything in terms of flavour or texture; I don’t really know why I added balsamic and lemon juice….I just tossed it all in with a smile. So if you don’t have all the ingredients, just play around with fat/ saltiness/ herbs/ spices etc until you like the flavour and texture.

Cumin Lentil Pate

  • 2 cups of cooked green lentils (equals one can, rinsed well)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Serve with any of the following:

  • raw vegetables
  • oatcakes
  • green wraps
  • crusty wholegrain bread with roasted peppers on top
  • In a wholewheat pitta bread with salad and sprouts

    Oh, the greyness... 😦

On a sad note: cooked, pureed lentils look an unappetising grey. I never knew that until today, and I was pretty gutted. Like a mushroom pate, only more insipid looking. However, it tastes great. I assure you. Cross my heart and hope to die  live a long and healthy, abundant life. With plenty of lentils, of course.

Cinnamon and Walnut-encrusted Bananas

I can, in fact, confirm, that these are heavenly. This recipe is brought to you from SaraFae from Addicted To Veggies  (follow the link for her original recipe) She posts vegan recipe three times a week with beautiful photos, plus, she is fun to read). If you already have date paste to hand, (which I conveniently did) these take ten minutes. Of course, you could use maple syrup or honey instead.

Are you ready for some wholesome deliciousness? Then let’s begin! These quantities are for 2 medium bananas.

  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar*

*(she used a larger quantity, of “coconut crystals” or coconut palm sugar. I have no idea where you get it, and no doubt it costs a fortune. Whether you use sugar here, and how much you use, is down to personal taste, but it really needs little or none, especially if you use a syrup to coat the slices, which is far sweeter than date paste)

Blitz to a crumb in the mini chopper, or alternatively, use a ziploc bag and a rolling pin and smash to smithereens.

Then take:

  • 2 teaspoons date paste  (or maple syrup/honey/liquid sweetener)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons of water

Mix well and toss in 2 medium bananas, sliced,  until all slices are coated in the wet mixture.

Coat your wet banana slices in the walnut crumb. You now have four choices:

  •  Eat now
  • Freeze for about an hour and a half. This is a gorgeous ice-creamy treat.
  • Dehydrate for approximately 2 hours until the outer crumb is a little crunchier. The fruit sugars are slightly more concentrated, and of course, they come out warm. A recipe for a heavenly mouthful, quite frankly.
  • (similar) use your oven as a dehydrator by putting it on it’s very lowest setting, with the door ajar, and follow dehydrating instructions as above. I thinkthe coolest AGA oven would work for this too.

Ready for dehydrating. Some more were in the freezer.

They did not last long enough.I was genuinely sad when we finished eating them. (Does that make me sad? ) A definite keeper!

By the way:

  • I ran out of walnut crumb, because the bananas were massive, so I did some in unsweetened dessicated coconut. Absolutely gorgeous. (In fact, one of my go-to sweet treats is banana slices dipped in dessicated coconut. Yum)
  • I tried both the freezer versions and the dehydrator, and both were fantastic.
  • SarahFae did a chocolate dipping sauce to go with it, made out of healthy plant ingredients  🙂  Here is that link for her recipe again if you are interested , if even to see beautiful food photos. Seems like a great sofa treat with someone you love.

Please try this, somebody, pleeeease! Love thyself, but deprive not thyself either.  Plant-lovingly yours.

Poor photo. But delicious.

Avocado: Nature’s Nurturing Butter

How do I love thee? How could I possibly count the ways???

I remember first trying avocado at school when I was seven. It was relatively new to the UK, and we were told we had to be very careful with this fruit because it was fatty, and high in cholesterol. Fast-forward to twenty years later in Spain, when the pediatric nurse asked me what Amelia’s favourite weaning foods were. “She loves avocado…” I began, only to pause at her horrified-but-trying-to-look-professional face. “Well you want to be careful with that…it’s VERY high in cholesterol” she cautioned.

Thankfully it is now well accepted that there are a glorious array of Good Things (including the fats) in avocados. A few facts.

  • The highest concentration of carotenoids are in the dark green flesh just under the skin.
  • Because of the oleic acid (also found richly in olives and their oil)avocado helps the absorption of the fat-soluble carotenoids lyocpene and beta-carotene from 200-400% !! . Add it to your salads, clearly.
  • High in fibre (about 8 grams per cup or medium avocado) Hello happy colon.
  • Has a spectacular array of natural anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
  • High in Vitamin C, E, and has more potassium than bananas. Potassium is incredible for balancing sodium levels in our body and helps blood pressure in that regard.

Eat:

  • On salad in chunks
  • Whizzed up with fresh orange, lemon or lime juice as a dressing. Even whizz up the whole citrus fruit with the avocado for extra fibre, it works really well.
  • Spread on wholewheat toast or your choice of wholesome crackers
  • Home made guacamole from the very simple avocad0+fork, to any permutation of the following additions: salt, lime juice, lemon juice, chopped tomato, spring onion, garlic, chopped bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro.
  • Mash on wholewheat pasta. My kids beg for this like it’s some kind of delicacy (cute!) It is really delicious. Sprinkle with not-parmesan: Ground up nutritional yeast and salt. For more details see my cheezy popcorn post.
  • Chocolate frosting. I’m not kidding. This is scarily good. Avocado has a very neutral taste which works well in sweet or savoury (if you read Culinary Uses in the wikipedia article, it is so interesting to see the ways it is eaten around the world)  You need to balance the cocoa and sweetener exactly right, and then you would never guess! I will post a recipe sometime or you can search online.

Every time I open a bright green avocado I feel like I am looking at Gods edible emeralds, and such a beautiful and delicious fruit is also so amazing for our health. Good heavens! It’s a triple no-brainer. Eat more avocados!

A photo, and a quote

Just got back from camping in Snowdonia, surrounded by babbling brooks (outside our tent in fact) grazing sheep (ditto), rolling hills, , a crystal-clear lake and enough greenery to satisfy the heart to the uttermost depths.

Ate quite a few planty-foods too. Mainly, cosy food like campfire-roasted corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, roasted bananas; nothing fancy, but OH so good, and all the better for the smoky (bordering-on-burnt) taste! Not forgetting those warm-ya-cockles herbal teas on a cold morning, and delicious salads sitting by said crystal clear lake, in between paddles. I can highly recommend Bala Lake, especially this campsite.

No recipe because I haven’t been shopping properly yet. But in keeping with our camping trip, you know….living closer to nature, the simple life etcetera etcetera may I furnish you with one of my favourite gardening quotes.

Many people say growing your own veggies is cheaper. I am not altogether sure that is always true (though it can be). To be sure, it is cleaner and greener (as long as you are not using pesticide sprays!) This quote sums it up for me, quite simply, perfectly.

The true value of a garden lies,

not in its economic output,
 

but in entertainment,

therapy,

exercise,

education,

contribution to environmental quality,

nutrition,

convenience,

and sheer connectedness with the earth.

 

In other words, all things that are priceless.
 
(Allan Shepherd)

Thank you Allan, and thank you Earth!

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