Monday, January 6, 2020

Our Family's Favorite Carrot Cake Veganized!!

Our favorite carrot cake for years has been our modified version of "Sam's Famous Carrot Cake" from allrecipes dot com. I've managed to veganize it by eliminating the eggs and buttermilk, and it is fantastic!! Double the recipe for a layered cake. Next time I'll use oat flour to make the cake gluten-free. This uses a sifter; it may be fine without one. Click HERE for frosting recipe.

9" cake pan lined with parchment paper
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F

Ingredients in sections this time according to steps of preparation:

In medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white wheat this time)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt

For egg substitute, mix together:
1. 5 T ground flax seed
3 T water

For buttermilk substitute:
5 T soy milk
2 tsp lemon juice
(can sub white or apple cider vinegar)
Stir together and let sit for 5-10 min to curdle

In large bowl, beat together:

the egg and buttermilk substitutes above
6 T light olive oil
3/4 cup of sugar (ideally natural, unbleached sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract

THEN add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl to the large bowl and mix well.

In medium bowl, stir together:

1 cup shredded carrots (about 2), lightly coated with lemon juice
1/2 cup organic shredded coconut*
1/2 cup raisins*soaked in 2 T of warmed orange juice
1/2 cup pecan pieces
4 oz crushed pineapple, drained

Fold the fruit/veggie/nut mixture into batter

*Warm about 2 T of orange juice and soak raisins in it for a few minutes. You can do this at the beginning of the recipe, too, for plumper raisins.

If your coconut is dried out too much, add 1-2 more T of oj and soak the coconut in that, too. Start with the raisins, first, though.

Fruit, veggie, nut mixture.
The colors are beautiful!
The photo doesn't do it justice :(
Pour the batter into lined cake pan
Bake in pre-heated oven for 35 minutes
Check doneness by testing with toothpick poked in center of cake comes out clean
Remove from oven (turn oven off *cough*)
Let it cool completely before removing cake from pan
Line pan with parchment paper
(this helps to remove cake easily)

Get a cutie to sing Happy Birthday to you

Coconut Whipped Cream and Frosting

One batch yields about 3/4-1 cup, enough to top one 9" cake round.
If making a 2-layered cake, I would triple this recipe.
Instead of powdered sugar, which is mostly cornstarch, I grind granulated sugar into a powder.

This is a hybrid of two recipes from:
unconventionalbaker dot com 
godairyfree dot org

1 can (approx 14 oz) full-fat coconut milk (not the kind you drink from a carton)
2 T natural sugar ground into powder (I used a Bullet)
(If using powdered sugar, use no more than 3 T. Otherwise too much could make the frosting into a glaze)
1/4-1/2 tsp powdered vanilla (or 1/2 - 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)

Lemon zest to sprinkle on top
1/4 - 1. 5 tsp Dr. Oetker Whip It Thickener/Stabilizer (Not needed if just making a whipped cream, but if you want the cream thicker to use as a frosting, then use it. Link to it HERE.

-Chill can in refrigerator right-side-up. This usually puts the liquid on the bottom and cream on top.
-Turn can upside down and open the bottom. Pour out and discard liquid.
-Scoop cream into mixing bowl. Beat about 1 minute.
-Add in sugar and vanilla. Beat on low to incorporate.
-If needed, add thickener. Beat until combined.
-Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. It will thicken more as it chills

I promise that's not rust on the zester.
It's that color because I use it to zest turmeric, too.

Chill right-side up.
Open upside-down.
Pour liquid out (discard liquid)

That's about 3 T granulated sugar before and after.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

This Blog's Vegan Recipe List and Links

At-a-glance recipes I most-often use:
(will be updated as I add recipes to the blog)

Avocado Chocolate Pudding
Baked Potato w Beans and Cheese Sauce
Banana Bread
Beans, Greens, & Grains
Blanching (broccoli example)
Carrot Cake
Cheese Sauce
Chocolate Cream Pie (link fixed)
Frosting/Whipped Cream
Lentil Loaf
Baked Potato with Cheese Sauce
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Mashed Yams/Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple
Oatmeal (mush-free)
Potato Soup
Stew: garbanzo beans, carrots
Stew: potatoes, peas, artichoke hearts
"Tuna Fish" Salad (mock)

Kitchen Snippets
Daughter's art-class assignment
was to make a color wheel.
She chose the rainbow of colors plant foods provide.
{Tangent: Have you heard the advice to "eat the rainbow?"
By eating a variety of colorful plant foods, you will get a
variety of phytonutrients both known and unknown}

Friday, November 29, 2019

Conversion Chart Discrepancies

I just discovered while posting my cheese sauce recipe that the conversion charts I've been using to make the recipes metric-compatible aren't true-to-experience at least for the dry measurements. For example, as I convert from cups and tablespoons to grams, the grams are way higher from these charts than what my kitchen scale shows I'm actually using. Ugh  I'm going to have to go through recipes and indicate if they have been "verified by my kitchen scale" or not. I also mentioned this on the conversion chart I've posted on the sidebar. {Sorry, Marie!!}
Photo credit: Hannah Hooper, LadyGrouplove

Monday, November 18, 2019

Baked Potato with Vegan Cheese Sauce

Simple, yummy, filling, nutritious, high-fiber, guilt-free meal. Baked potato with chili beans, blanched broccoli, vegan bacon, and plant-based cheese sauce (link HERE).

-Wash potatoes. Place in 350 F oven. Cook for about 75 min. (There's probably a quicker way that I haven't learned, yet).
-Open can of chili beans, pour into small sauce pan, and heat over medium heat
-Cut rinsed broccoli into bite-size pieces and blanch (click HERE) in boiling water for 2 min. Drain.
-If using vegan bacon, follow directions. (Mine needed to be thawed, then cooked for 2 min each side on pan
-Slice skin off from top of potato. Mash the inside. Pour on hot beans with its own sauce, then top with cheese sauce, broccoli, and vegan bacon...or whatever toppings you are craving :)

Bacon tastes good because of the salt and fat (and sugar) combination
our tastebuds crave (pig meat doesn't taste good without those things).
As I was cooking this plant-based version, my husband and son
came in a said it smelled like bacon. They liked the vegan bacon.
It's good in a sandwich. It doesn't have the same texture
as pig bacon. When I knew how much the young pigs suffer,
it was easy to give up pig bacon. Additionally, pig bacon is a
Class-1 carcinogen...bad news for our body, the pig's body,
as well as the environmental damage from animal agriculture.

Vegan Cheese Sauce for Mac-n-Cheese, Nachos, Potatoes, Veggies, Enchiladas, Fondu, etc

Updated 11-29-19: This is the version I like the most and tastes more like cheese sauce than the original recipe. (I took a screenshot of the original and posted it at the end). Changes made: I halved the recipe, included more seasonings, increased salt, and reduced cornstarch ratios. This is super-yummy. I made nachos last night: corn chips, this cheese sauce, chili beans, salsa, green onions...they all loved it!

Gluten-free, nut-free, fat-free, non-dairy, good fiber, nutritious.
This makes at least 3 cups and is around 455 calories for all 3 cups!
(1 c oats = 300 cal, 1/4 c nut'l yst flks = 70 cal, 1 T cornstarch = 35 cal, 6 oz bell pep = 50 cal)
Compare this to dairy cheddar cheese sauce: 1,320 calories for 3 cups (plus saturated fat, high sodium, casein, and other undesirable content like hormones, pus, blood. It also has no fiber.)

Equipment needed: high-speed blender is optimum (although others have used a regular blender/processor then heated mixture in pan on stove)

Ingredients: (conversion verified with my kitchen scale)
1 cup (95 g) rolled oats
1/4 cup (19 g) nutritional yeast flakes 
1 T (9 g) cornstarch
2 tsp (5 g) onion powder
2 tsp (10 g) salt {2 may be too salty. Try 1.5 next time. 1 tsp not enough imo}
1/2 tsp (? g) garlic powder
1/4 tsp (? g) smoked paprika
1/4 tsp (? g) curry powder
6 oz. (150 g) Roasted Red Bell Peppers in water (from jar)
1/2 T (7.5 mL) lemon juice
1/8 tsp (0.88 mL) liquid smoke
2 cups (0.5 L) warm water (I microwaved it for 1:40 minutes)

(If you have a larger jar of roasted bell peppers like I did, measure out 6 oz and include liquid, just enough to cover the peppers).
-Put all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender with the ability to cook food
-Blend on high for about 2 min 45 sec (if your water is cold, blending will take a lot longer)
 - - Stop blending once the sauce begins thickening and motor changes noise. It will continue to thicken as it cools
-Transfer to a large container that can hold at least 3 cups

To re-heat:
Jill suggests to put the desired amount in a microwavable container and put 2-3 tablespoons of water or plant milk on top. Don't stir it in, just let it sit right over the cheese sauce so the top doesn't over-heat and get gummy.  Example reheat time: 1/4 cup sauce for 1 min at 80% power. Stir after heating.

Nachos: I added chili powder to the cheese sauce
So goooood!
Cheesy pasta- Yum!
 Oats, roasted bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes,
corn starch, water, liquid smoke, lemon juice,
onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt,
pepper, curry powder, happy cow

To thin for mac-n-cheese, I added plant milk
but didn't stir until after heating in microwave

Something else I didn't know:
Consuming dairy can increase breast cancer risk as much as 50% (link). There's also an increased risk of prostate cancer as well as a possible connection to Type 1 diabetes (link).
The good news:
We do not need animal milk to survive. Our health is better without dairy. (And the cows and planet are better off without the dairy industry).

This is a screenshot of the original blogpost of Jill's
original recipe. It's a good foundation to use and
customize. It's really thick, which might be good
if you are going to slice and reheat it in a sandwich
or quesadilla (I haven't tried either, yet). I mostly
use it as a sauce. I figured if I'm going to keep
thinning it anyway, I might as well not make it so
thick to begin with. I may even reduce the cornstarch
more down to 3/4 T.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna

"Amazing" is what I wrote on the recipe page, p. 202. This is my daughter's favorite, and I made it for her as her last meal before leaving to study abroad. It has also become a Thanksgiving dinner tradition with family all helping to chop the many veggies. It's gluten-free if you use brown-rice pasta noodles. You can double the recipe or halve it (see photo towards end with dish sizes). And the left-overs are extra-yummy. :) There is more prep-work for this meal, that's why I save it for special occasions. It's so worth it, though! If you make the smallest version, the prep-work isn't too much. Bonus: you don't need to pre-cook the noodles.

Have you seen the life-saving documentary, Forks Over Knives? Fire-fighter and athlete Rip Esselstyn is in it showing how a whole-foods plant-based (wfpb) diet improved the health of his fellow firefighters and can be flavorful at the same time. This recipe is from his book, The Engine 2 Diet. I've been enjoying many of his recipes. His father is Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., famous heart surgeon who shifted his focus to reversing and preventing heart disease, proving heart disease need not exist at all when following a wfpb diet.

Ingredients: (conversions not verified by my kitchen scale, yet)
1 medium sweet potato or yam, cooked and mashed
8 oz (127 g) frozen spinach, thawed, drained/squeezed (see photo towards bottom)
8 oz  (127 g) firm tofu, pressed, diced

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 head garlic, all cloves pressed or chopped
4 oz (113 g) mushrooms sliced

1/2 head of broccoli, chopped (I should have seen how many cups that is. See photo)
1 medium carrot, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 can [4about 5 oz (142 g) worth] corn, drained (can save liquid for cooking veggies)

1/4 tsp (1.2 g) cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp (2.3 g) basil
1/2 tsp (2.3 g) oregano
1/2 tsp (2.3 g) rosemary

1.5-2 jars pasta sauce [each jar at least 25.5 oz (722 g, 780 mL)] (may not need a full 2)
1 package (12 oz, 340 g) of whole-grain lasagna noodles (can use brown-rice noodles for gf)

1/2 c (113 g) raw cashews, ground (via blender, processor, or crushed in bag with hammer)

9 x 13 inch (23 cm x 33 cm) oven-safe dish
Aluminum foil to cover
L-R/T-B: yam/sweet potato, drained spinach, pressed and
diced tofu, onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli,
corn, red bell pepper, spices, ground cashews.
Not pictured: whole grain or brown-rice lasagna noodles,
jars of pasta sauce.
-Do-ahead: Make sure the sweet potato is cooked (boil whole until soft, about 30 min, when knife can easily be inserted) and mashed, the frozen spinach is thawed and liquid squeezed out,* and the tofu is pressed and diced. *I tried fresh spinach, but the water content made the lasagna extra runny once cooked.
-Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C, gas mark 6)
-Sauté the onion, garlic, and mushrooms until onions are limp and mushrooms give up liquid, then place them in large bowl (reserve any mushroom liquid in the sauté pan)
-Sauté broccoli and carrot for 5 min. Add to same bowl.
-Sauté pepper and corn until just beginning to soften. Add to bowl.
-Add the tofu and spice to bowl. Gently stir and combine.

To assemble: (see the following 3 photos)
-Cover bottom of 9x13 in. dish with a layer a sauce. Add a layer of noodles, then cover the noodles with another layer of sauce. The liquid from the sauce will cook the noodles in the oven.
-Spread the veggies over the sauced noodles, add a layer of noodles then more sauce.
-Add the spinach on top (I have to use my fingers to pull it apart)
-Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potato (plop it on then spread thin)
-Add another layer of sauce, then noodles, then sauce. Make sure the top layer of sauce covers the noodles so the noodles soften. The original recipe calls for one 25 oz jar, but that just didn't seem enough. That's why I list 1.5 to 2 jars of sauce in the ingredients. You may not need the full 2.
-Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes
-Remove foil, add cashews, return to oven for 10 min.
-Remove from oven and let sit for 15 min before serving

Put thawed frozen-spinach in a cloth and squeeze
out liquid. Discard liquid.
8x8 in. (20x20 cm) cook 35 min/10 min
9x13 in. (23x33 cm) cook 40 min/10 min
11.5x17 in. (29x43 cm) cook 45 min/15 min

💚Happy Thanksliving! 💚