Tuesday, May 15, 2012

loaded oat bran

I don't know about you, but I am extremely against bland things.  That goes for oatmeal and oat bran!  In order to spice it up a bit, I decided to create what I fondly call "loaded oat bran".  Believe me, if you dress up your oat bran like this, you and your kids will be looking forward to breakfast!

What you need...
1/3 cup oat bran
1 cup water

1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 scant tsp nutmeg
2 tsp Zulka (or cane sugar or brown sugar)
1 to 2 tbsp pecans chopped
1/4 cup lite coconut milk
1 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut

What to do...
After making the oat bran (oat bran & water), add in the rest of the ingredients and mix.  It's so simple and super tasty!  I guarantee you will never go back to boring oat bran again!

Note: You can use oatmeal in place of the oat bran if you prefer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

soul food

Being a photographer and a food blogger (and, let's be honest, having way to many blogs for any one person...hehe) I thought I'd share something with you all that doesn't have anything to do with food.  I know, you're probably thinking, where's the recipe?  Where's the food! But let me just say, this may not be about tangible food, but it is about soul food

A photographer friend of mine was featured on a blog called "Let the Kids Dress Themselves" and I was checking out her post on there when I noticed that they were asking for submissions for the Thursday Technique post focused on "giving back". 

I decided to submit and I was chosen to be featured along with several other great photographers explaining how they "give back".  I'm not going to say much more than that about the blog post because I highly encourage you to check it out.  Read through the stories of these photographers and how they "give back" to their community - it will seriously touch your heart! 

What about you?  Do you use the talents and gifts that you have to give back?  Do you bake for others?  Invite others over for a meal to try out the latest recipes you've found online?  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

vegan dark chocolate chip cookies

Looking for a tasty, naturally sweetened dessert that's low calorie too?  Well, you are in luck!  This cookie tastes delicious and, due to the inclusion of dates, is exceptionally moist!  Oh, and did I mention that they are also gluten free? It only takes a few minutes to whip up these babies and you're set with dessert for the week.

What you need...
10 dates
2 tbsp water

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp light coconut milk

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (I'd suggest making your own so they will be truly vegan - no dairy.  Check out this awesome blog on how to make your own chocolate!)

Turn on the oven to 375°
Take the dates and blend them in a food processor for about 30 seconds.  Add the water at this point and mix again, it will make a type of thick "date paste".  Scrap this out and keep to the side (it'll be about 1/3 cup). 

After cleaning out the food processor (and drying it) process the oats and baking soda until they resemble fine crumbs.  Then add in the oil, coconut milk, and dates.  At this point, if you like sweeter cookies feel free to add in 1 to 2 tbsp of Agave or Zulka (cane sugar). 

Process all this (you may want to use the "pulse" button).  It will become dough like pretty quickly.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips or other desired add-ins (listed below).

Shape the cookies and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes.

There are a lot of options for add-ins to these cookies, these are just a few:

*2 tbsp White chocolate chips & 1 tbsp Macadamia Nuts
*2 tbsp Dried Cherries or Cranberries
*2 tbsp Almonds or Pecans

These additions will slightly change the nutrition info.

Friday, May 4, 2012

pecan spice cake

My parents have pretty much demanded that I put up this recipe (adapted from Betty Crocker) for my spice cake, so here it is - by popular demand of my parents ;)

What you need...
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

1 1/4 cups butter milk (or 1 cup milk & 1 tbsp lemon juice)

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (hardened in fridge)
2 eggs
1 cup Zulka (or cane sugar or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Bundt pan

Turn on the oven to 350°
Spray with canola or grease (with butter) the bundt pan and then lightly dust with flour.  Shift the flower around and dump the extra.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  If you need to "make" buttermilk do so at this time by combining the milk and lemon juice together and let it sit.

Take the butter, coconut oil, and sugar and beat in a mixer (or with a hand mixer) until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.  

Alternately add the dry mixture and then the milk, beating well after each addition until all the ingredients are mixed in.  Now add in the pecans and stir.  Then, pour into the floured bundt pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  You can tell that the cake is done when the sides and top start to brown and when you stick either a thin knife or toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Once the cake is completely cooled, turn upside down onto a plate and top with your icing of choice.  I'd suggest my Lemon Pulp Icing - tangy, but a perfect compliment to the cake!

Well, Mom & Dad, here it is - hope you enjoy it!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

lemon pops

Last in the line of luscious lemon treats: lemon pops!  This is the easiest way to 'deal with' your extra lemon juice.  They are also a tasty treat when the weather turns hot. 

 What you need...
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoons Zulka (or other cane sugar)*

Popsicle forms

*Feel free to use Agave syrup in place of a crystallized sugar.

Combine ingredients in a bowl, stir until sugar is dissolved (it will be faster with Agave).  Taste test to make sure it's sweet enough. 

Pour into Popsicle forms, place in freezer, and enjoy once they are frozen.

This is a great, super-low calorie dessert!  The calorie amount will only vary based on the amount of sweetener you use! 

Enjoy this tart and tasty treat!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

lemon pulp icing

I know, I know... I said it was going to be lemon "week" but I've actually turned it into two weeks because I had such a massive amount of lemon juice to deal with (along with a pretty hectic work schedule last week).   I have two more recipes to tickle your taste buds with - but watch out, these are not for the faint of heart when it comes to taste!  Pucker up, because these lemon treats will leave you speechless!

Tart, sweet, but oh so yummy.  This Lemon Pulp Icing is one of my new favorites!  You don't have to have the pulp to make it, but the mellow taste of it really works well for the icing.  

What you need...
1/4 cup Lemon Pulp*

3 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla

*Substitute lemon juice for the pulp if you don't have it.  Adjust the amount of juice per your taste for tartness.

Put the powdered sugar in a bowl large enough to hold it.  Create a well in the middle of the powdered sugar and add the lemon pulp and then vanilla.

Slowly add in water, small bits at a time (a few teaspoons at a time) and stir with a spoon.  Keep adding the water until all of the powdered sugar is moist.  When it is all mixed in, there will probably still be clumps of powdered sugar.  I used a whisk at this point to mix up the remaining powdered sugar until the entire mixture was smooth.

Use the icing over lots of baked goods! It tastes delicious and will be a great addition to almost anything.  Take a look at my suggestions below.

*Sugar cookies coated in Lemon Pulp Icing
*Pecan Spice Cake drizzled with Lemon Pulp Icing (pictured below)
*Use on pancakes or my Whole Wheat, Bran, and Pecan Waffles