Tag Archives: Recipes

The VegFest and Recipe Request

Greetings! Back in November I interviewed the founder of Wholesome Creations and mentioned that she was also organizing a healthy living festival. Well, the details are out and I want to share them with you! The Connecticut Vegetarian and Healthy Living Festival is taking place at the Connecticut Convention Center from April 28-29, 2012. It will bring together people who want to live a healthy lifestyle with exhibitors and professionals who can help them achieve their goals. Whether you live in the area or not, there are ways in which you can participate. Below are a few ideas:

1. Save the Date! The festival will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford from April 28-29, 2012. There is no entrance fee (wow!) except for a non-perishable vegan/vegetarian food item to donate to food banks and shelters. What a wonderful way to encourage event attendance and help those who rely on the generosity of others for their meals. You can stay up-to-date on the details of the event by visiting the web site, ctvegfest.org, following @ctvegfest on twitter, and joining the CT VegFest group on Facebook.

2. Participate! The CTVegFest is looking for people who are willing to volunteer – a little bit or a lot – to help make this event a success. Fill out the volunteer form on the web site to explore your options, or join the meeting on February 8, 6pm, at the Holiday Inn Express on Brainard Road in Hartford.

3. Share Recipes that are Great! A vegan (no animal-derived ingredients used) cookbook is being produced as a fundraiser for the festival, and we have been asked for our favorite recipes to be included. You can submit your dish online – I just shared a recipe for Golden Raisin and Apple Stuffing.

The CTVegFest is shaping up to be a great event. As more information becomes available I’ll share it, and I hope to see you there!

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Thankful for Oatmeal Bread

As you can probably tell from previous posts, I am a fan of oatmeal. However, this food never rated high on my list until quite recently. I grew up eating toast with butter and jam so when I found out I had sensitivities to yeast and cane sugar I needed a new breakfast habit. My friend, MaryAnn, knew of my dilemma and scoured her recipe files for a yeast-free, sugar-free bread. The next day a fresh loaf was waiting for me along with the recipe. It is really tasty plain as well as toasted with butter and sugar-free jam, plus it has the health benefits of the oats. Since then I have made this bread a number of times and always think back in gratitude to that day I found the prepared loaf waiting for me. It is really comforting to have the support of others when trying something new and challenging like revamping one’s diet. I hope that you enjoy making this bread too, and if you feel thankful for something while baking it, all the better!

Oatmeal Bread* Ingredients:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs honey
1 1/2 tbs butter, softened
2 cups milk (any type)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine all dry ingredients, then mix in butter with a fork.
3. Add milk and honey until well combined.
4. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. Make a cross-cross with a knife on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

*Other options include: adding nuts, seeds, raisins, herbs or spices; using different flour types like spelt; substituting yogurt or seltzer water for the milk for a lighter consistency; and substituting canola oil for butter.

Couscous with Cherries and Almonds

I really like couscous because it cooks very quickly and is quite versatile, which are two criteria I look for in a weeknight side dish. The third criteria, of course, is that it tastes great. So this couscous is an all-around winner!

The original recipe is from Cooking Light and a slight modification makes it cane sugar free. The trick is to find dried fruit that is sweetened with fruit juice concentrate. Below is the recipe:
Ingredients: 1 cup water; pinch of salt, 1 cup couscous; 1/3 cup dried cherries sweetened with fruit juice concentrate; 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil; 1/4 cup slice almonds
Directions: Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the couscous and cherries. Cover and remove from heat. After five minutes, remove cover, fluff couscous with a fork, and stir in the olive oil and almonds. Serve with your favorite meal!
Note: dried fruit sweetened with juice concentrate can be found at a health foods store – the cherries I buy are “apple juice infused.”
Another note: other fruits and nuts work well in this dish – use pistachios or strawberries as alternatives.

MIL and FIL’s Garlic and Shrimp Pasta

Last night, my husband and I whipped up this delicious dish. What a great way to start the weekend! It’s a version of the classic agilo e olio, or garlic and oil, pasta dish. I first had this dinner at my MIL and FIL’s house around the holidays and liked it so much I asked them how to make it. It is quickly becoming a classic in our household! This is a great way to enjoy pasta if you are sensitive to tomato sauce. Instead of the shrimp and peas, you could add chicken and broccoli – or something else! If you have other variation ideas, please share them by commenting below. (And five points goes to whomever can correctly identify what MIL and FIL stands for!)

Ingredients (for two-person meal): 2/3 lb spaghetti; 4 garlic cloves, chopped; 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; 14 large and frozen shrimp, deveined, peeled and raw; 1 cup organic peas, frozen

Fill the pasta pot with water. As the water reaches a boiling temperature, chop the garlic cloves and mix most of them into the 1/4 cup of oil. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package. As the spaghetti cooks, heat a small frying pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté the remaining garlic in the pan, then add the shrimp and heat until cooked (shrimp will turn pink). When there are two minutes left for the pasta to cook, add the peas to the water. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and peas, then add back into the empty pasta pot. Stir in the garlic and oil mixture, then add the garlic and shrimp sauté. Add in the reserved pasta water until it reaches your desired liquid amount. Have a wonderful dinner!

I am also sharing this recipe with Everyday Sisters and Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

Chocolate Banana Cake

I first tried this recipe on New Year’s Eve because I wanted to enjoy a restaurant-quality dessert. This cake exceeded our expectations as we rang in the new year! I took out all of the cane sugar; the modified cake is sweetened with honey and the frosting has grain sweetened chocolate chips. When you have a spare afternoon, try this recipe and enjoy the results, along with impressing everyone who shares it with you!

Chocolate Banana Cake:

1 1/3 cups honey
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

8 ounces grain-sweetened chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Chocolate Banana Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan. Set aside. 

In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together honey, eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, frost with the Ganache.

Ganache: Place the chocolate chips in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. When Ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft and fluffy. Then spread the frosting on top of the cake.

Sources: Joy of Baking and Rodmell, Jane. Best Summer Weekends Cookbook. Cottage Life Books. Toronto: 2004.

I am also sharing this recipe with Something Swanky, Joy of Desserts, Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Cybele Pascal Allergen-Free Cuisine.

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

These cookies are simply delicious, and there is not one speck of cane sugar inside! I changed the recipe on the back of the Toll House chocolate chip package and the result is a batch of delightful, cake-like treats!

Mix Dry and Set Aside: 1 1/4 cups white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt

Mix Until Creamy: 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, 9/16 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup honey, 2 tsp vanilla extract

Add to Creamy Mixture: 2 eggs

Then Add to Creamy Mixture: the dry mix (noted above)

Then Stir In: 1 bag grain-sweetened chocolate chips ( I like Sunspire brand)

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes.

Enjoy!

I am also sharing this recipe with Everyday Sisters, Something Swanky, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, The Lady Behind the Curtain, Joy of Desserts and on my Facebook page.