Friday, November 25, 2011

Babycakes success!

Hey everyone! A few days ago I got the much-famed vegan, mostly gluten-and-sugar-free cookbook for desserts and delicacies called Babycakes from the library.  Their bakery in New York City is called Babycakes NYC, and they even have a store in Downtown Disney in Florida! Anyways, I thought that since their recipes are amazingly healthy (no white flour! no refined sugar! nope, not here!), we'd try making them for the family.  The first recipe Mom and I tackled was banana bread.  And boy, was it a-mazing!!

Before I say anything else, I'll give you some pictures.  Half the loaves were plain (pillowly deliciousness!) and half were with chocolate chips for my little sister and dad.  They turned out great!!

Plain.......                                                                     ......and chocolate chip (enjoyed by my little sister)

They were sooo delicious! It was amazing to think that they contained ingredients like garbanzo bean flour, agave, rice milk, coconut oil, xantham gum, and so on! I would highly recommend this recipe...there's no nasty bean aftertaste like in some breads.  I won't recommend this book yet, but we'll be attempting more recipes soon, so I'll let you know the verdict!
For now, here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (gotta be Bob's, no sub)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup rice/almond milk
2 tablespoons of good quality vanilla
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush your loaf pan with oil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, measure in flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and whisk. Add oil, agave nectar, rice milk and vanilla and then mix again. Fold in bananas until nicely distributed.
Pour batter into loaf pan (only halway!) and set in the oven. After 20 minutes, check on the loaf and continue baking until it passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

What a high-fruit, high-greens raw-foodist has for Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
A ton of my friends lately have been asking me what I'll make for Thanksgiving.  Well, I was going to make a big fall-themed feast for myself, but I was really in the mood for lighter dishes last night, and a nice hot soup. 
Sometimes I'll have cooked soup--usually not more than once every two weeks.  My favorite is a Chickpea Wild Rice Veggie Soup by Kahakai Kitchen.  Here's a link to her recipe:
I usually make a couple modifications, such as soaking and sprouting my wild rice instead of cooking it, skipping the potatoes and paprika, cooking my own chickpeas (don't want any BPA :) ) and cutting down the cooking time.  This is a delicious soup, though, and I highly recommend it as a hearty, warm, satisfying vegan soup! Here's the Kahakai Kitchen's picture of the soup.

Speaking of wild rice and chickpeas, though, some of you might not know how to prepare them.  So, for sprouted wild rice (chewy and tastes the same as cooked wild rice!), soak about 1 cup of dry wild rice (make sure it's high-quality) in 4 cups of water for a 2-5 days, changing the soaking water once a day.  I've had wild rice be ready as early as two days; as soon as most of the rice is split open to reveal the whitish inside and it has increased by about x3, it's done.  Make sure you rinse it every day so it doesn't go bad! Sprouted wild rice is delicious in a variety of raw food dishes, and I like it more than cooked wild rice. 

Next--chickpeas! Chickpeas aren't raw, but I enjoy having chickpeas in the fall and winter.  I cook my own, since I don't want any of those BPA chemicals and more that come from can linings! Also, when you soak your own dried chickpeas, you can get rid of the majority of the inhibitors that are on chickpea skins to protect it.  (Look into why soaking nuts before you eat them is good--nuts have the same type of phytic acide on them that makes it harder to absorb nutrients.  It's an ingenious method, really! Plants are amazing!)
Soak however many chickpeas you want in a bowl with x3 as much water overnight, or for at least 8 hours.  Rinse and drain the chickpeas, and boil them in water, then simmer them until they have reached your desired consistency.  Enjoy!

So, for my lighter supper, I made a turkey out of fruit.  Cute, right?!? Everyone loved it!
It's just sliced bananas on the bottom, topped with an orange half.  Then, you make 8 skewers, with grapes on each end and a variety of berries (blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry are nice, though I only had raspberry on hand) in between.  Lay those out and cut half of a pear as the turkey body.  You can add raisins for the eyes, and cut dried fruit (I used mango) for the mouth.  Lastly, I used a goji berry for the wattle. 
I also had a green smoothie for my supper in addition to the turkey.  It was a great Thanksgiving! Everyone enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate Banana Cake!!

It was one of my best friend's birthdays recently, and I celebrated by making a grand, large-scale cake version of chocolate banana brownies she had tried and loved a few months ago.  Here's some pictures!

I was trying to do a cool design with bananas on the top, but I was running out of ripe banana and it ended up looking a little like someone inebriated had made the design.  Oh well, it tasted great!

The oozing delicious frosting from the side...mmm :)

Yep, it was delicious!!
Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Banana Cake (or brownies):
Cake/brownie layers:
2 cups walnuts
2 cups almonds
2 cups dates
2 medium-large RIPE bananas, peeled
1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
2 tbsp. agave or honey or maple syrup

(I know, it's a lot of ingredients.  If you're making brownies, definitely halve the batch--I doubled it so I could have two 9" cake rounds.  If you use a 6" springform pan, you won't need as much.)
Grind the walnuts and almonds as finely as possible in a food processor and transfer to a bowl.  Process the dates, bananas, cacao/cocoa, and agave (don't bother cleaning out the processor) together until they are as smooth as possible (mine still had small chunks of dates, but it's not a big deal once you mix everything together).  Mix the date mixture and nut flours together in the bowl until they're mixed together properly.  Empty half of the cake into a 9" pan (adjust accordingly if using a smaller cake pan) and press down until smooth.  Invert the pan onto a dehydrator sheet.  Repeat with the other half of the dough, and dehydrate both cake rounds at 115 for 2-3 hours, or until firm on the outside.  Carefully flip one round onto a serving tray, frost with frosting, and layer with banana.  Then add the other cake round on top of it, cover with more frosting, and decorate with sliced banana to your heart's content!
Chocolate Banana Frosting
2 ripe bananas
1 tbsp agave
2 tbsp cacao/cocoa powder
A little water to start blender if necessary

Blend all ingredients together, and smother over Chocolate Banana Cake!
This frosting has a thinner texture than some thicker frostings, though it isn't runny.  If you wanted it to be a little thicker, you could add some pitted dates into the blender. 
Enjoy! This cake is rich and delicious.  By the time everyone in my family, plus my friend and some neighbors who came over, had a piece, it was gone.  :) They all loved it! So, enjoy!

Lastly, I just made these this evening.  I made the Peppermint Truffles from Sweet Gratitude, except I didn't use their chocolate coating--I made one of my own.  They WERE very yummy, but they had the texture of a gooey fudge instead of a hard, bitable chocolate.  Whoops! I guess I messed the ratios of coconut oil and agave up, since agave doesn't freeze and coc. oil does. 
Anyways, since my brother hates mint (and bananas! Devil child!) I made some of the chocolates without mint.  But...that was a few days ago.  I reminded him multiple times, in my defense, and I thought he didn't want them anymore. 

So I ate them.  :/
Which got me in hot water with my brother.  Apparently he still wanted them.  So, to make up for it, I made a couple chocolate peanut butter cups!
When they were taken out of the freezer, my family quickly demolished them.  What can I say...we're all nuts fors peanut butter!
I'm quite proud of this recipe, though--the chocolates hardened beautifully and quickly in the freezer.  :) Here's the recipe!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (almost raw)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp agave
2 tbsp peanut butter (try to get organic, no-ingredients-except-peanuts peanut butter)
1 tbsp. plus 1 heaping tbsp. cacao/cocoa powder
1 drop stevia extract (opt.)

Blend all together in a blender.  Make sure to do it quickly, as you don't want the chocolate to harden (coc. oil/agave reaction) before you can get it poured.  Pour the chocolate into your cups (I used a metal mini muffin tray, without paper cups) and place in the freezer.  Freeze for at least 20 minutes, and pop out of the trays.  These have a delicious chocolate flavor with an overtone of peanut butter, and delicately melt in your mouth! Enjoy!
Well, everyone, I'll post some Thanksgiving favorites of mine soon.  Until then, have a fabulous week!