Keto Cream Shake

24 Jul

This Keto Cream Shake has helped us tremendously on our Keto journey. One of us here needs help GAINING weight on KETO and the intake of any extra fats and protein in the form of this drink has eased consumption of “more.” One of us also needs more fats to feel satiety after meals which this drink happily offers.

Keto Cream Shake

Keto Cream Shake

Based on our ice cream recipe, this makes a perfect Keto Cream Shake!

10 servings (over 1/4 c per serving: 187 kcal, 18.6g fats, 3.8g protein, 1.6g carbs)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 whole eggs (if you haven’t tried raw eggs yet, it is delicious!)
  • 3 T vanilla whey protein (we use Jay Robb’s)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • additions, around 3 T:
    • sweetener to taste depending on the sweetness of your protein powder (we’ve added NO sweetener to 1/4 c Swerve/erythritol/xylitol and have preferred it plain)
    • cacao powder
    • berries
    • your choice of flavourings.

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Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar.
  2. Blend well with immersion blender.
  3. (Or place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.)
  4. Serve and enjoy the creaminess.

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Air Fried BBQ Chicken Skin

18 Jul

Don’t like Pork Rinds? Try chicken skins instead! These are crispy and oh-so-juicy at the same time.

Air Fried Chicken Skins

A Ketoevangelist Coach mentioned eating chicken skins from a whole chicken. I decided to try it ASAP with my air fryer. This is so simple and delicious!

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  1. Skin a whole chicken. (I then make chicken broth using the whole chicken but that’s for another post.)
  2. Rub the spices of your choice onto the raw chicken skin. (I used this BBQ rub.)
  3. Place in an air-fryer for 6 to 10 minutes, watching closely so that these don’t burn.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Enjoy these crispy treats.

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Holy Chicharrón: Delicious Air Fried BBQ Pork Rinds in 3 minutes!

2 Jul

Holy Chicharrón! My son and I discovered we can air fry our own pork rinds in 3 minutes!

Chicharrones

Ingredients:

  • microwaveable pork rinds pellets

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Method:

  1. Dump a handful of pork rind pellets in the air fryer.
  2. Cook at 400F for about 3 minutes. You’ll hear them popping after a minute and stop. Check on them around this time to make sure all the pellets have cooked.
  3. Add your choice of spices!
  4. ENJOY!

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My son loves BBQ spices on his pork rinds. Mix together the following:

  • 2T Swerve or other sweetener
  • 2T smoked paprika
  • 2T sea salt
  • 1 1/2 T pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste

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If you have a 3 oz bag of store bought plain salted pork rinds, add 1 – 2T of this mix into the bag and shake to distribute the spices. For home fried, sprinkle the spices on to freshly air fried pork rinds and mix well. You may have to add a little more salt to taste. Enjoy!

Keto Fat Bomb: Sweet and Creamy Avocado Mash

29 Jun

Avocado will always be a sweet fruit to me. Wish I had a sexier photo for this one… but all I wanted to do was to eat it all up.  Growing up, this used to be one of my favourite foods: simply mashed up avocado, sweetener, and heavy cream.  Now that I have embraced the Keto Way of Eating, I can now enjoy all these fats again!

Avocado

Sweet and Creamy Avocado Mash (1 serving)

This is such an easy and quick fat bomb! 3 ingredients, 3 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole avocado
  • 1 Tbsp Swerve, erythritol, or xylitol, or more to taste
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp heavy cream, to taste

Method:

  1. Mash all the ingredients together with a fork.
  2. Taste and add more sweetener or cream.
  3. Enjoy!

Note:

This serving has 4.4 g of NET carbs, 4.3 g of protein, and 43.3 g of fats. I did not add the sweetener to this recipe’s nutrition facts as erythritol/swerve/xylitol are not real sugars and our bodies lack the ability to break them down. Because of this, we can safely NOT include their sugar alcohol amount in our overall carbohydrate count.

 

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Keto Fat Bomb: Lechon Kawali Chips (Crispy Filipino Pork Belly Chips)

26 Jun

I have been looking for a savory fat bomb idea for days when I crave more fat than usual. Pork belly is just perfect with 15 g of fat, 3 g of protein, and 0g of carbs per ounce serving. They only had slices when I visited my grocery last time… so I decided to make pork belly “chips.”

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Lechon Kawali Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pork belly slices, cut into 1″ squares
  • 2 c water
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

And, an additional at a later stage:

  • 1 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients, except 1 tsp sea salt, in a pan. Make sure the water covers most of the belly.
  2. Bring to a boil for 45 minutes until the pieces are soft and tender.
  3. You should not have very much liquid left and what should remain is liquid fat.
  4. Drain the meat. (I keep the liquid for frying other foods.)
  5. When cooled, rub the boiled pork belly with the remaining sea salt. Place in the refrigerator to air dry for an hour or two until you are ready to fry them.
  6. Follow the instructions for your air fryer and cook the pieces of cooked pork belly at 400F for 8 minutes. Turn half-way, if you wish. I didn’t bother. OR deep fry them using the fat saved from earlier. (I prefer air frying as that diminishes the amount of smell in my kitchen.)

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Serve:

Serve the crispy chips with coconut vinegar. If you have time, add crushed garlic to your coconut vinegar… yummy!

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Next time, I’ll try and make a Keto Lechon Sauce Dip for these chips!

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Enjoy!

 

Salty & Sweet Buttery Bark

21 Jun

Do you love the tastes of Salty and Sweet together? Do you prefer Semi-Hard Chocolate Barks to Super-Hard ones? Do you like Buttery Foods? Then this is for you!

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Salty & Sweet Buttery Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c cacao butter chunks (3 1/2 oz or 100 g)*
  • 1/4 c raw cacao powder (1 oz)**
  • 2 1/2 T Swerve Granular (2 T if you want it less sweet and more of a “dark” chocolate ~ but warning, Salty Sweet is awesome!)
  • 2 T butter (I used KerryGold unsalted… yum!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used flavouring here without alcohol, but extract is just fine too)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 c crushed almonds

*You can use coconut oil instead, but cacao butter tastes so much better!

**You can use cocoa powder instead of cacao powder. You can also use around 4 1/2 oz (125 g) of unsweetened chocolate instead of the cacao butter and cacao powder, but it won’t quite taste the same.

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Method:

  1. Place all ingredients, except nuts, in order into a pan over low heat.
  2. When melted, mix to incorporate well.
  3. Place wax paper/parchment paper/clear film in a container.
  4. Sprinkle most of the nuts onto the prepared container.
  5. Pour in the chocolate mixture.
  6. Spread well so the mixture is even.
  7. Top with the rest of the nuts.
  8. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. You can also keep these in the freezer, but it’s perfectly buttery out of the fridge.
  9. Enjoy.

We love this at our house! Hope you do too!

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NOTE:

Erythritol, which is also the main ingredient in Swerve, is a sugar alcohol. It is not a real sugar and our bodies lack the ability to break it down. Because of this, we can safely NOT include the sugar alcohol amount in our overall carbohydrate count. The net carbs in this recipe without Swerve or Erythritol would be around 2 g.


With Swerve

With erythritol

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Raw Eggs and Cream Keto Ice Cream (Churned/Whipped/Simply Frozen)

20 Jun

We have been using Stevia for a while now but we recently discovered Swerve… and WOW. We love Swerve. What’s the first thing I made? Keto Ice Cream! And it was a hit!

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This keto ice cream:

  1. uses WHOLE EGGS because we want to eat eggs whole (or maybe I’m just too lazy to separate them),
  2. doesn’t require an ice cream maker (What? Take it out of storage?),
  3. is versatile:
    1. for the lazy Mama, this recipe can be prepared in 5 minutes with minimal washing up,
    2. for the more discriminating palate, it can be made into a wonderful soft serve ice cream in just 3 hours.

Raw Eggs and Cream Keto Ice Cream

10 servings (per serving: 203 kcal, 17g fats, 2g protein, 4g carbs with erythritol/ 12g carbs with Swerve)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2/3 c Swerve confectioners or erythritol, or to taste (I’d urge you to start out with 1/4 c and test as you increase the sweetness. I’d like to think I can decrease the amount of sweeteners myself, but we find 2/3 c works best with raw cacao powder. Much less is needed if you add vanilla whey protein. Note: Swerve has a higher carb content than plain erythritol)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 T raw cacao powder, for chocolate ice cream OR 3 T vanilla whey protein (like Jay Robb’s),  for vanilla ice cream

 

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Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar.
  2. Blend well with immersion blender.
  3. (Or place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.)
  4. At this point, you can do three things: simply freeze it directly in the mason jar, put it in an ice cream machine, or whip it up to make soft serve ice cream.

 

Ice Cream 5

Version 1: Simply Freeze

Cover mason jar with a lid and freeze. You can either choose to mix it every hour to make sure it freezes well or just leave it to freeze. Either way, defrost for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This ice cream will taste like regular ice cream.

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Version 2: Ice Cream Machine

Place mixture in an ice cream machine to churn until done. Enjoy now or freeze and eat later. Defrost for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This ice cream will taste most like regular ice cream.

Version 3: Soft Serve

Whip the mixture until airy and slightly stiff. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours. Serve during this time period for a homemade soft serve ice cream.

Ice Cream 2

(NOTE: You can freeze the rest if there are leftovers, but it won’t taste as wonderfully as the soft serve, the simply frozen, or the ice cream machine versions.)

Our Favourites in Order?

  1. Soft Serve (i.e. whipped, then frozen for only 3 to 4 hours)
  2. Simply Freeze or Ice Cream Machine (just remember to defrost 10 minutes before serving)
  3. Soft Serve leftover that was frozen for longer than 4 hours (This is the least favourite of the group, but it is still delicious. Just remember to defrost 15 to 20 minutes. )

Enjoy!

NOTE:

Erythritol, which is also the main ingredient in Swerve, is a sugar alcohol. It is not a real sugar and our bodies lack the ability to break it down. Because of this, we can safely NOT include the sugar alcohol amount in our overall carbohydrate count. The net carbs in this recipe without Swerve or Erythritol would be around 1.8 g.

Ice Cream 6

Prosciutto Parcels Filled with Spinach and Ricotta

8 Jun

This is basically lasagna without the pasta: a big hit with the boys at my house.

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Spinach and Prosciutto Parcels

(8 appetizer servings or 4 main course servings)

Rolls:

  • 6 oz prosciutto slices

Lay the slices flat in two overlapping rows on a piece of wax paper.

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Filling:

  • 15 oz ricotta
  • 10 oz spinach (frozen, thawed and drained well)
  • 1 c grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I would suggest not too much salt as the prosciutto and cheese are already salty)

Mix together the filling ingredients in a bowl.

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Place the filling on the middle section of the prosciutto slices. Now roll like you would a sushi roll, making sure that the seams are intact.

With the seam on the bottom, slice the rolls into 8 pieces.

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Assembly:

  • 2 c marinara sauce (get a low carb one, like the Rao Marinara)
  • 1 c grated mozzarella
  • a handful of Parmesan cheese

Place half of the tomato sauce on a dish. Place the prosciutto parcels on top of the sauce. Top these with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

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Bake at 350F for about 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.

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Garnish with basil and serve.

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The following nutritional values are based on whole fat dairy products and a Prego marinara sauce. You can lower the carb content even further than what it states below if you use the Rao brand.

 

Keto Pancakes: Duck Eggs and Cream Cheese

4 Jun

Cream Cheese Eggs pancakes

Franken Foods and Supplements Anyone?

I told a friend last night that I was tired of Franken Vegan Foods and Supplements. My son would ask me at almost every meal to verify what was on his plate, “Mama, is this REAL or FAKE?” For some reason, I always felt a pang in my heart when I answered that I was serving Vegan butter, Vegan cheese, Gluten Hot Dogs, and Gluten meat. I didn’t want to admit that they were “FAKE.”

Yes, you can do Vegan without all that FAKE foods but we also had to take supplements for optimal health. B12 for one. ALL Vegans NEED to take that stuff because Vegan foods don’t supply this essential vitamin. And iron, zinc, vitamin D? Lacking in the Vegan diet too. And as I discovered from bloodwork through the years, lacking in complete protein too. Fuhget it! I want REAL foods to heal my body!

Duck Eggs

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One of our new favourite foods is DUCK EGGS. Did you know 4 eggs have 2100 IU Vitamin D and 1888 IU Vitamin A? I love it simply fried. But my boys love it in Keto Pancakes.

Duck Egg and Cream Cheese Pancakes

There are a lot of recipes out there for pancakes using eggs and cream cheese. The recipe is basically 1 chicken egg to 1 oz of cream cheese, but we have found that the best flavour is actually 2 duck eggs to 3 oz of cream cheese!

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Ingredients per serving:

  • 2 duck eggs
  • 3 oz cream cheese

Pureé together the eggs and cream cheese in a blender.  I grease my pan with bacon fat* and cook the pancakes as usual. Then, top with whipped cream and serve with a small handful of strawberries per person.

 

*If you use 2 Tbspns of tallow instead, you would be adding 500 IU Vitamin D to your meal.

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Turkey Breakfast “Quesadillas”

2 Jun

Here’s a fun test: Vegan vs Keto.

Which do you think is a healthier meal?

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On the left, we have a Vegan meal: baked fries, gluten hot dogs on a whole wheat bun, and sweet coleslaw. On the right, we have a Keto meal: sardines, asparagus in lemon butter, olives, and tomatoes.

Now let’s compare a whole day’s meal:

On a Vegan diet:

On a Keto diet:

  • breakfast ~ Eggs, No Sugar Bacon, and Avocado;
  • lunch ~ Sardines, Asparagus in Lemon Butter, Olives, and Tomatoes; and,
  • dinner ~ Grilled Lamb and a Big Salad with a Mayonnaise Dressing.

Which is healthier? LOW FAT HIGH CARBS or LOW CARB HIGH FATS? Check out this video here for some answers. 

So we don’t need all that carbohydrates after all?

If you are like me, you are just beginning to figure out that of the three macro-nutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates), our bodies DO NOT require a lot of CARBOHYDRATES. Check out this video here for why that is.

Moderate Proteins and High Fats for Breakfast

We just discovered ourselves that our bodies were struggling after 8 solid years on a Low Fat High Carbohydrate Vegan diet. In search for a better diet for our family, we have switched to a Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein, and High Fat Keto diet. Our moods have changed, our cravings have changed, we don’t feel “hangry” pangs, there are less aches and pains, our skin is better, and the list goes on.

Turkey Quesadillas

So what did we have for breakfast today? These yummy “quesadillas” that my son just loves.

Turkey Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • no sugar turkey deli meat
  • your choice of cheese
  • salsa
  • green onions
  • avocado
  • eggs
  • sour cream

Place grated cheese and green onions inside the turkey slices, fold over, and bake at 350F for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese melts.

While the turkey quesadillas are cooking, fry some eggs and slice some avocados. Now it’s time to plate breakfast. Top the quesadillas with salsa and green onions. Serve with eggs, avocado, and sour cream (optional). ENJOY!

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For a Paleo option: instead of cheese, place scrambled eggs inside the turkey slices instead.

Just in case you see me at the grocery store…

29 Apr

We have made a decision to look into other sources of protein for our family’s health.

What have I been up to?

Raw Cultured Butter

Raw Cottage Cheese

Raw Greek Yoghurt and Whey

Sourdough Breads

Homemade Mayo with Raw Eggs

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Local Fish

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Bone Broths

And making bone meal to give back to the earth.

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Whole30

We are resetting our bodies this month. No sugar. No alcohol. No grains. No legumes. No dairy. No additives. No artificial anything. No junk.

After that…

Who knows? We have been researching extensively on different variations of the Paleo/Keto diet, but most specifically the work of Tim Noaks and The Banting Diet. Once we figure it out, then I can refocus on what Mama in the Kitchen will be all about. Till then… thank you for your kindness and patience as we figure it all out.

Vegan Chocolate Protein Truffles

19 Jan

I recently decided to go on a SLOW CARB HIGH PROTEIN VEG regimen in hopes of gaining some muscles and increasing my athleticism. I’m only on my second week and have already seen amazing results. I thought I was eating enough protein on my 80:10:10 Vegan Diet, but maybe not. These last few days have shown me how favorably my body is responding to my new diet changes and it is making me think that my individual constitution may just require more than 10% protein. In short, I am loving what these new Slow Carb High Protein meals are doing for me.

Chocolate Protein Truffles (Makes around 12 pieces)

Today, I missed chocolate. I wanted to make sure my snack was high in protein too and, thus, Chocolate Protein Truffles. These have almonds, cashews, coconut, cacao, maca, flax, pea protein, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, and stevia. Enjoy!

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Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 scoop Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Protein Powder Nutritional Booster
  • 1 1/2 T flax seed meal
  • 1/2 T maca
  • 1 T cacao powder
  • 1 T stevia powder

Mix into the dry ingredients by hand:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 – 5 oz (or 8 – 10 T) nut butter, depending on consistency add more if needed so that your truffle balls are just moist enough (I used my homemade almond-cashew -coconut butter)

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Mix well until crumbly. Test by rolling one into a ball. Is it too dry? If so, add a little more nut butter. You don’t want it too moist so that it is too soft. Roll into 12 balls. Sift some cacao powder into a bowl and roll the balls in the powder.

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Refrigerate and enjoy.

Satisfyingly Simple Sweet Potato Soup in the Instant Pot

9 Dec

I have been travelling recently and returned home quite sick and tired of overly processed and seasoned restaurant food. I just wanted something healthy, simple, and pure. Having just been researching more about the Okinawan Diet, I bought a bag of sweet potatoes and wanted water-dense food or in other words: soup. This is so easy to do with the help of my Instant Pot.

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Place all in the Instant Pot in order:

  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4# sweet potato, peeled and chopped in big chunks (I had a mix of Asian and orange sweet potatoes. Wish I had more purple ones!)
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 c water

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Set for 10 minutes. When done, allow the pressure to come down naturally or do a quick release. Then, add:

  • 4 tsp sea salt

Purée with an immersion blender. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, or seeds and serve with your choice of condiments (nutritional yeast, Bragg’s Amino, etc). Or enjoy this satisfyingly simple sweet potato soup as is.

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Easy and Quick Instant Pot Vegan/Vegetarian Locro de Papa (Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Soup)

7 Dec

I was 6 weeks pregnant when I visited the Galapagos Islands and the only soup that made me feel better from first trimester nausea and altitude change was Locro de Papa. Since then, I have enjoyed making it at home. My husband enjoys at least 4 bowls of this soup each time I cook it. My son has learned to LOVE this soup too and we all look forward to Fall when I start cooking soups again after a Summer break.

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This year, I decided to make my life much simpler and adapt most of my recipes for the Instant Pot. It saves so much of my time! I don’t have to sauté or sweat the vegetables and I don’t have to be on standby in my kitchen to watch anything by the stove. Instead, I load up the Instant Pot, set it, and find some extra time for myself. The best thing is the soups come out tasting just as good. Win-Win!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Vegan/Vegetarian Locro de Papa: Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Soup (8 servings)

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Place in Instant Pot in order:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3# Russet Potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 c water or veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 c your choice of milk, I used Rice Milk here but have used Soy before. The color and consistency will be different according to the milk you use. The former will be thinner and more translucent in color, while the latter will be thicker and more opaque. The taste doesn’t change that drastically, but it’s prettier with a more opaque milk – but we are trying to avoid Soy.

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Set on manual for 10 minutes. When done, you can allow the pressure to come down naturally or do a quick release. Mash the potatoes well and add to melt:

  • 6 oz your choice of cheese: vegetarians can use queso fresco, while vegans can use a mozzarella type of vegan cheese
  • 2 t sea salt

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Garnish with:

  • lots of avocados
  • cilantro or scallions (I didn’t have either for the photos… but boy would that have looked beautiful)

Enjoy!

Easy and Quick Coleslaw

6 Dec

We’ve been traveling for a week and eating more processed foods than usual. I returned home feeling a little more bloated than usual. On our first day home, my husband and I wanted a big salad each for dinner. Surprisingly, so did our son. He asked specifically for coleslaw. So coleslaw is what he got. This recipe is easy and quick.

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Place in a bowl and mix together:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Then, add and whisk in:

  • 1/4 c Vegan mayonnaise

Mix well and add this dressing to 1 package of coleslaw mix. Allow flavors to blend before serving. This is especially yummy with homemade Vegan hot dogs!

Vegan Thanksgiving Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie

24 Nov

I love experimenting in the kitchen. I especially love experimenting when I host a dinner at my house. Sometimes it is daunting because I want to impress my visitors, but at the same time, the suspense of succeeding/failing at a recipe makes it even more exciting when you can share the journey with other people.

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Tonight’s excitement was my Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie! I cooked Thanksgiving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 6 people today. Everything was pretty much planned and I knew my recipes would be just perfect. So, I decided I needed a surprise for myself. I’ve made many Apple Pies before. Many were good, but I wanted to try something different: boiling the apples. I thought boiling might take away the flavors of the apples, but it didn’t. In fact, I think this Apple Pie was THE BEST Apple Pie I’ve ever baked. Everyone raved about this pie and asked for seconds.

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Vegan Thanksgiving Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie (one 9″ pie)

Crust:

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Work in:

  • 1/4 c coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

When the mixture looks like crumbs and the oil/butter is distributed evenly, add

  • 1/4 c cold water

Mix well and form into a ball. Roll out to form a circle and place carefully on to a pie shell. Prick and bake at 400F for 10 minutes.

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Filling:

Bring a pot to boil, add:

  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

Simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. It will look like mush. Drain well, saving 1/4 c of the apple water and discarding the rest. Mix the 1/4 c apple water with:

  • 2 T arrowroot powder

Simmer until thickened. Take off heat and add while whisking:

  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Add in the cooked apples and cranberries. Mix well and pour into the pie shell.

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Crumb Topping:

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Work in:

  • 4 T coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

The mixture is done when it looks like crumbs and the oil/butter is distributed evenly. Crumble the topping over the apple filling. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.

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ENJOY and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Sweet Potato Soup

19 Nov

My good friend Barni, the Sexy Chef, recently posted her recipe for Purple Yam Soup and I fell in love with the deep purple color. I knew I wanted to make some ASAP.

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I went to my local Asian shop and found only the frozen purple yams. I bought it and returned home to discover that it contained Blue and Red dyes. Needless to say, I didn’t want to cook it for my family.

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This week, I found purple sweet potato at my local health food store. It was organic too!

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I adapted Barni’s recipe to fit my lifestyle: I wanted to do yoga while dinner was cooking. So, I just put everything in the Instant Pot and used the immersion blender when it was done. Voilà! Comfort food at its greatest!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Yam Soup (adapted from Barni’s recipe, serves 8)

Place all of the following in the instant pot (Really! There’s no need to “sauté” the onions, ginger, and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients. All the veggies turn to mush while cooking for this long in the pressure cooker anyway.):

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 T ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds purple yam or sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c coconut flakes (or substitute with 2 c of coconut/cashew/other vegan milk: simply lessen the amount of water by 2 c and add in the milk after the cooking is done. Just heat the soup for 5 minutes until desired temperature is reached before serving. I have people over right now who have different sensitivities to different vegan milks, therefore opted to using raw coconut flakes to minimize any allergies for anyone. The soup was still delicious.)
  • 8 tsp vegetable bouillon paste, optional (I used Better Than Bouillon’s Vegan No Chicken Base)
  • 8 c water

Set to manual for 15 minutes. Do your yoga and come back when you are done. Purée the soup using an immersion blender. Garnish with:

  • lots of cilantro (this is a MUST! Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it adds so much to the flavors)

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Nourishing for my eyes and body: this is a very easy and simple soup to brighten your early evenings and warm up your cold winter nights.  This soup reminds me of being with my mother: beautiful and comforting. I am so lucky she’s here today to share this soup with me.

Vegan Char Siu Bao 素叉烧包

24 Oct

Oh these are so delicious! I usually don’t enjoy recipes that take more than an hour, but these are worth it!

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Vegan Char Siu Bao

The Filling

Make 2 recipes of the Vegan Char Siu. After roasting the Seitan, chop them into small pieces and place back into the marinade. Make sure all the pieces are coated well.

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The Bread Dough

This takes a couple of hours but you can refrigerate it after the dough rises until you are ready to proceed.

Place in a bowl:

  • 1 c warm water
  • 3 Tbs Sucanat or other cane sugar

Dissolve sugar and add:

  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Stir lightly and leave for 10 minutes until bubbly. Then add:

  • 2 Tbs grapeseed oil

Mix well and add slowly until incorporated and no longer sticky. You may not need all of the flour:

  • 3 c all purpose flour

OR

  • 2 c all purpose flour and 3/4 – 1 c tapioca starch (I’ve tried using 1/3 whole wheat flour in this dough but my family DOES NOT like it. Whole wheat makes it very dense and a darker brown. Using tapioca starch makes this dough less white flour but does not change the color nor make it denser. In fact, tapioca starch creates even thinner buns.)

Knead until smooth and soft. Grease bowl and dough. Leave for 3 hours to rise. Punch down. At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough if you are not using it immediately. When ready to use, punch down again. Sprinkle flour on your work area. Place dough on your area and flatten it. Place in the centre of the dough:

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Gather up the edges and enclose the baking powder. Seal and knead until well incorporated. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Flatten each piece into a circle and make sure the edges are thinner than at the centre.

Start filling each round with 2 Tbsp of the Vegan Char Siu. Make sure you get some marinade too. Gather up the edges and place on pieces of parchment paper.

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When 12 buns are filled, immediately steam them for 12 minutes. While they are steaming, work on the rest of the buns.

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I wish I had better photos of these Vegan Char Siu Bao after steaming but every time I make them, they are quickly devoured and there is little time for artistic photos. Here’s a photo of one while I take a break from chowing down. Don’t these look delicious?

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If you ever have some leftovers, just refrigerate them until you are ready to serve and simply steam again until hot.

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Enjoy!

Vegan Char Siu 素叉烧

24 Oct

Growing up in Hong Kong was just a gastronomic delight. Of all the foods available there, I probably miss Dim Sum the most. I rarely visit, but when I do, I don’t usually eat my childhood favorite foods because of the meat content. A month ago, I wanted to eat something that reminded me of my younger days and decided to create Vegan Char Siu Bao. First, I made Vegan Char Siu with beans and gluten and then I wrapped it in Chinese bread dough to make Vegan Char Siu Bao. I have made it a couple of times since then and have loved each bite.

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Vegan Char Siu (Makes 1 pound)

This is a flavored Seitan Vegan alternative to the traditional Pork. Place the following ingredients in a food processor with a sharp blade:

  • generous 2/3 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 2 Tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs black bean sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pinch white pepper

Process all together, then add:

  • 1/2 c water

Process together. Then, change the blade to a dough blade. Now add:

  • 1 c vital wheat gluten
  • 3 T tapioca starch

Process until the dough combines and keep processing to knead for a minute or two until smooth. Now form into big sausages and wrap in foil. Sometimes I divide it into 4 sausages, but I’ve also made 2 big ones too. Both work.

Steam for 1 hour. If you have an Instant Pot, you can steam it for around 12 minutes. While the Seitan is cooking, make the marinade.

Char Siu Marinade (enough for 1 pound of Seitan)

Mix all together in a bowl:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup or your choice of sweetener
  • 2 Tbs brandy or Chinese rice wine
  • 2 Tbs black bean sauce
  • 4 Tbs Hoisin sauce

When the Seitan is done cooking, unwrap it and allow to cool.  Place the Seitan in the marinade overnight.

The next day, take the Seitan out of the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Roast the Seitan at 450F for 10 minutes on each side. If you want a crispier skin, you can roast for an additional 10 minutes each side.

Slice and serve with the reserved marinade over rice.

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Alternative: you can also use this marinade with 1# cooked and drained kidney beans for a bean version to Char Siu. Simmer all together for a few minutes and serve over rice.

Both the Seitan and the beans can be used in my Vegan Char Siu Bao, but my family much prefers the Seitan because it adds a texture that the beans do not.

Enjoy!

 

Quick and Easy Egg-less Salad

10 Oct

So quick and easy!

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Place in food processor:

  • 1 3/4 c cooked chickpeas, drained

Pulse to process until you have a chunky texture. Place in a bowl and add in:

  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 5 T Vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp black lava salt or sea salt, whichever you have in the pantry but my friend Tanya suggests that the former adds a complexity of tastes to the salad. I agree!
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika or plain, again whichever you have
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp turmeric, to taste (more gives the salad a yellower tinge)

Mix well to incorporate well.

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Enjoy in a sandwich, over potatoes, inside green lettuce wraps, and more!

The Unpredictably Perfect Vegan Chocolate Pecan Praline

8 Oct

This post is for days when an exact recipe won’t do, when you don’t feel like being predictable, and when you want to play in the kitchen.

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I haven’t eaten Praline Pecans in years. I have cooked them before but with egg whites and butter. I’ve also wanted to buy them many times since turning Vegan (8 years now!) but the ingredients invariably list butter, egg, cream, and/or corn syrup, and I’d put the package back on the shelf.  I decided it was time to make my own Vegan version using better ingredients.

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The Unpredictably Perfect Vegan Chocolate Pecan Praline

I brought out:

  • 16 oz pecans

I lay them flat on a prepared cookie sheet (with a Silpat mat) and toasted them slightly for 5 – 7 minutes at 350F. Then, I poured them in a big bowl and added:

  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil

I stirred well to coat evenly, then added:

  • enough maple syrup to slightly coat the pecans (I added around 4 Tbsp, but start with 2 Tbsp and keep adding by Tbsp until you think you have added enough)

I stirred again to coat the pecans evenly, then added:

  • Sucanat, to taste (I added around 1/2 c, but start with 1/4 c and keep adding by tablespoonful until it is just sweet enough)
  • sea salt, to taste (I added around 2 tsp, but keep tasting as you add by the 1/4 tsp)

I stirred to incorporate well. You want to make sure the sugar is sticking to the pecans. If not, you need more maple syrup. Now for the chocolate.*  I added to the bowl:

  • half a bag of Vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (around 5 oz, but add whatever amount you want)

I stirred one last time to incorporate everything. Taste. Is it sweet enough? Is it just salty enough? Then, I poured it out on the prepared baking sheet, making sure it was in one layer, and baked at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant, toasted, and the chocolate chips slightly melted. I took it out of the oven and allowed it to cool. Place in the refrigerator if you can’t wait.

*NOTE: at this stage, you can bake the pecans without the added chocolate chips. After baking, you can then drizzle melted chocolate in fancy patterns over the cooled pecans. The result will be even prettier Pralines but the thought of more washing up put me off this step. It probably would have been worth it though.

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When cooled, dig in. WOW. This was delicious!

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I’ve been nibbling on these Chocolate Pecan Pralines since yesterday. I left a plate out for my husband to try and he finished them off too. I love it when he enjoys my food!

Juicy Vegan Kidney Bean Burgers

2 Oct

I’ve been experimenting with different types of bean burgers lately: black, chickpea, and kidney beans but my family loves my kidney bean burger the best. My son took a few bites of his burger the other night and looked in amazement, “Mama! These taste just like REAL burgers!” With all the condiments and fixings, a Vegan Burger can look, smell, and taste like the real thing.

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Juicy Vegan Bean Burgers (6 Burgers)

Sauté in a pan with a little water:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

When translucent and fragrant, take off heat and cool. Place in food processor with:

  • 1 c spinach leaves, packed
  • 6 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 3/4 c cooked brown rice

Process until smooth. Place all of this mixture in a bowl with:

  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds (optional or more)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3/4 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 3/4 c quick or rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp mustard powder
  • 3 Tbs Braggs Amino or soy sauce

Mix together well. Divide into 6 portions and pan fry the burgers at least 5 minutes on each side on a non-stick or well oiled pan over medium heat until browned.

This burger will be on the wet side and hard to handle at this stage because we don’t want solid rock burgers here, but soft and juicy ones. When both sides have been browned, place in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes or until your desired texture. These burgers will hold well ONLY AFTER they bake in the oven.

To Serve

Serve your juicy patties with your favorite condiments and fixings. We love:

  • whole wheat burger buns – shape into round burger buns instead of hot dog buns
  • lettuce or more spinach
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • your choice of cheese
  • mayo
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • and more!

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These burgers are really popular at my house. Hope you enjoy them too!

Got Vegan Chocolate Oat Bars, Will Travel!

1 Oct

When we travel long distances, I usually carry fruits and some food with me. This past year, we have started our journeys in the early morning, so I have prepared many different types of breakfast bars. Some were crunchy and some were sweet. Some had dry cereal in it and most had some type of chocolate. I also made a very plain bread-type oat bar and topped it with jam. Here are some of the bars I’ve made and packaged in the last few months:

My family prefers the lighter, crunchier, and drier oat bars, while I tend to prefer the denser, chewier, and more moist ones. So here are two recipes for Chocolate Oat Bars: one crunchy with double chocolate and coconut, and one chewy with bananas and peanut butter. Both are addicting.

Crunchy Double Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

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Heat in a small pot over a low flame:

  • 2 oz cacao butter

When melted, add in:

  • 1/4 c maple syrup or your choice of liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set aside. In a bowl, mix together about 2 1/2 c your choice of dry ingredients. My family loves this mix:

  • 1 3/4 c quick oats
  • 1/3 c semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips (if your family prefers a sweeter bar, increase the chocolate chips and decrease the amount of oats OR add tablespoons of Sucanat, to taste)
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Place a parchment paper on an 8 x 8″ pan (very important because otherwise the bar will stick to the pan even if it is greased). Place the mixed ingredients into the pan and pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Turn over carefully onto another sheet of parchment paper and bake for another 20 minutes. You want to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked and dry. When cooled, place in the refrigerator till it hardens. Slice into 8 pieces. Package or place in a container. It will last longer in the refrigerator, but will do well stored in the pantry for a week as well.

Chewy Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

Vegan Granola Bars

Mash in a bowl with a fork:

  • 2 large bananas, about 11 oz

Add in and mix to incorporate well:

  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Now add in about 3 c your choice of dry ingredients and mix well. I love this mix:

  • 2 T flax seed meal
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c your choice of chocolate: cacao nibs, dark chocolate or semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c chopped dates
  • 2 c rolled oats

Place in a greased (use coconut oil or other oil) 8 x 8″ pan. Pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until browned. Cool and place in refrigerator until it is easier to handle. Slice into 8 portions. Store in the refrigerator for a week.

Now that you have two kinds of bars, you’re ready to travel anywhere!

Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin and Apple Cider

20 Sep

Fall is my favorite season. I’ve been cooking apples and pumpkins galore. Here are some photos of our meals these past few days:

Apple and Red Cabbage

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Vegan Apple Crumble Pie

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Nutmeg Spiced Pumpkin with Vegan Thyme Butter

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Sweet Curried Pumpkin Empanaditas with Mango Chutney

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Last night, my family pleaded: “No more pumpkin!” They didn’t like pumpkin to begin with. Really. Not even Pumpkin Doughnuts. I thought I could get them to like it but I was mistaken. So, this morning, I enjoyed the last bit of pumpkin by myself. It was delicious.

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Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin and Apple Cider (Serves 2)

The night (or at least 30 minutes) before you want to enjoy this drink, mix together in a blender:

  • 2 1/2 oz apple cider
  • 2 1/2 oz pumpkin puree
  • 5 oz thin coconut milk (If it’s hot in your kitchen, put a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The coconut milk will separate into two parts: thick cream on top and liquid in the bottom. You want to take the cream out and reserve it for later in this recipe. You will be using the thinner liquid here.)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • big pinches of each: nutmeg, ginger, cloves, sea salt

Allow flavors to blend.

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To Serve

You can either drink this Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin Apple Cider hot or cold. Either way, top it with:

  • dollops of thick coconut cream, whisked slightly with a fork (the reserved solid from the coconut milk can above)
  • a drizzle of maple syrup
  • a pinch of cinnamon

 

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Enjoy!

Psst, Pass the Pignoli-Free Vegan Pesto Pasta Please!

17 Sep

No pine nuts here. My son says he doesn’t feel well after eating them. So, why not substitute with our go-to sub for anything nutty: sunflower seeds? Also, no olive oil here. I’m using avocados instead.

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Pignoli-Free Pesto

Put all the ingredients in a food processor:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds, soaked a couple of hours to soften
  • 2 c mix of basil and spinach leaves, packed in
  • 2 medium small avocados

Blend well until smooth. Add the following to taste:

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

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The Pasta

Cook 16oz of your choice of pasta. Save some pasta water before draining. Add the pesto to the pasta and mix well. Add pasta water to thin the sauce, only if needed.

Note: Raw Vegans, you can use zucchini or kelp noodles instead.

To Serve

At the table, serve with extra:

  • nutritional yeast or your choice of cheese
  • coarse sea salt

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My husband happily eats this Pesto Pasta as is. My son needs more of a cheesy taste. I prefer to sprinkle some coarse sea salt over my pasta and mix it in. The extra salt deepens and enriches the flavors of the Pesto. Enjoy!

Pearls in Our Vegan Strawberry Milkshakes

11 Sep

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I didn’t set out to make Strawberry Milkshakes. I just didn’t know what to do with all the tapioca pearls I had cooked for my Taho, a Filipino version of the Chinese dessert called 豆腐花 or DouFuHua or DouFuFa. Basically, Taho is tofu pudding (like silky tofu) in a sweet syrup topped with tapioca pearls. I loved Taho and DouFuFa growing up and still do. I don’t know if it’s an acquired taste, but my family did not enjoy it at all. Oh well… maybe I’ll have them try it again another day.

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Not wanting the Pearls to go to waste, I decided to make an American Milkshake and mix in the prepared Tapioca Pearls. Voilà! A mix of East and West that the boys couldn’t resist: a Bubble Milkshake! 

Gingered Sweet Syrup

Place in a pot:

  • 1 c coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 c water

Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and add:

  • juice squeezed from 2 Tbsp minced ginger

Set aside.

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The Pearls

I only had small tapioca pearls in my kitchen, but if you can get Boba Black Tapioca Pearls then they would be perfect for this recipe. Cook about 1/2 c pearls in 4 or 5 c simmering water until just cooked but not mushy. The time will depend on the size of pearls, around 8 to 25 minutes. When almost done and you can see just a small speck of white dots in their centres, drain, and rinse with cold water. They should be perfectly cooked, round in shape, and not mushy. Once cooled, add to the Gingered Sweet Syrup. You can store them in the syrup for a few days.

Pearls in Our Vegan Strawberry Milkshakes (Serves 2)

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender:

  • 2 c your choice of milk, I used Rice milk today
  • 2 c fresh strawberries, feel free to adapt this recipe and use another berry or fruit
  • 16 oz frozen bananas or 2 c Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Purée until smooth. Place in glasses and add in as many Pearls and Syrup as you want. Enjoy!

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Creamy and Rich Vegan Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

10 Sep

Fresh out of college during my omnivore years, I worked in the city and one of my favorite lunches of all time was Curried Chicken Salad. This wonderful blend of salty, sweet, and spicy creaminess was a sublime contrast to my boring plastic work desk. I could eat tubs of this stuff and pretend to be in La La Land.

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Recently, we visited my in-laws and I noticed that my husband ate four chicken salad sandwiches in a matter of a few days. I guess he loves that stuff too. So, it’s been on my mind to create a Vegan version that both he and I would love.

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Success! This Curried Chickpea Salad is just delicious with its complex mix of textures and flavors. This makes a tremendously creamy and rich sandwich that I could probably eat everyday.

Cray-Cray for Curried Chickpea Salad

Mix all together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c Vegan mayonnaise (substitute mashed avocado with lemon juice if you want to stay away from mayo)
  • 1/4 c mango chutney
  • 1 Tbsp curry, or to taste
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Add in:

  • 4 c cooked and drained chickpeas (mash some of the chickpeas so that you get a thicker salad texture)
  • 1/3 c chopped celery
  • 1/3 c chopped scallions
  • 1/3 c cranberries or raisins
  • 1/3 c roasted walnuts, optional

Mix well together and allow flavors to blend for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

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Creamy and Rich Vegan Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

We have tried this salad mix with whole wheat bread, white bread, hamburger buns, and brioche buns.  Hands down, nothing compares to this winning combination: Curried Chickpea Salad with BRIOCHE BUNS! 

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  • whole wheat bread is too dense for this salad and the subtleties of each flavor are lost. If you insist on whole wheat bread, then I would suggest an open sandwich.
  • white bread is better than whole wheat bread, but not by much.
  • whole wheat hamburger bun is better than either former breads, but the full flavors of the salad does not shine.
  • on a brioche bun… it is AMAZING! The blend of flavors are highlighted throughout each bite. Did I tell you yet that I could eat this for lunch everyday? Try it on my Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns or Vegan Ensaymada.

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I thought I was cray-cray for my Curried Chickpea Salad, but eating it on a Sweet Brioche Bun is dreamy. Gotta go. My La La Land lunch is calling…

Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns

10 Sep

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I have been baking Vegan Ensaymadas this past week and wondered if I could ease the process by using my bread machine. Good news… it works! This method takes 3 1/2 hours instead of 9 hours.

Easy Bread Machine Whole Wheat Brioche Buns

Put all the following ingredients in order in your bread machine:

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 3 Tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 9 Tbsp water
  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, you need for a buttery taste. If you want to substitute an oil, I would suggest Coconut Oil. This would naturally give your brioche a more coconut flavor, instead of a buttery one. Your choice.
  • 9 Tbsp Sucanat, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour*
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour*
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast

*I wanted this recipe to be hardier than the light and fluffy Ensaymadas from my previous post: less of a pastry and more of a bread. If you want to create the more fluffier, softer, and lighter Ensaymadas, use unbleached all purpose flour or spelt or whole wheat pastry flour.

Set to dough stage. When done, take the dough out and divide it into 12 portions.

Making the Buns

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To Make Brioche in Brioche Molds:

  • follow this recipe here after the 3 hour rising period. However, allow the brioche to rest uncovered for only 45 – 60 minutes before baking.

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To Make Easy Brioche Buns:

  • roll each of the 12 portions into a ball
  • place on a prepared baking sheet (greased or lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper)
  • flatten into a bun
  • allow to rest uncovered for 45 – 60 minutes
  • bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until golden brown
  • if the under side of the buns are too soft, you can turn the buns over and bake for another 10 minutes. This should crisp all sides of the buns well.

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These whole wheat brioche buns are sweeter, softer, and fluffier than ordinary hamburger or hot dog buns, but hardier than the Vegan Ensaymadas I made earlier. These are perfect for sandwiches with fillings that tend to fall out easily, like Sloppy Joes. I also used them for Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches and Vegan Burgers last night.

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Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas

9 Sep

When I worked in the restaurant industry, I was asked to be the Pastry Sous Chef at a well-known restaurant. I was excited at the prospect and my future as a Chef, but I turned it down. I couldn’t justify feeding and serving people dishes high in fat, sugar, and calories anymore. I wanted to feed people foods that helped them become healthy, not unhealthy. Uncertainly, I left the restaurant and started my own personal chef business dedicated to people who had health issues. It has been years since I ran my personal chef business and family life consumes my time now, but my view of food has not changed and has, in fact, become more focused on health as I have become a mother.

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After years of Raw Veganism, I am recently getting back into Cooked Food and have discovered that I still enjoy both cooking and baking (not to mention eating). This past week, I wanted to recreate the Filipino Ensaymada. In high school, our house would smell of these freshly baked Brioche Buns every week. They require hours of time in the kitchen along with sticks of butter, egg yolks galore, loads of white sugar, and more than a handful of cheese. My mother’s recipe creates a golden pastry that is truly decadent and mouth-watering. However, I wanted to create a healthier version using whole-foods and plant-based ingredients for my family. I looked through the dozen Ensaymada recipes in my kitchen and found Pat Limjuco Dayrit’s to have the least amount of sugar, eggs, and butter. I decided it was a good place to start. Thank you Ms. Dayrit! I made changes to your recipe and it worked for this Vegan Mama in the Kitchen!

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Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas (Makes 12 buns)

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 tsp yeast

Let stand for 10 minutes. Mix in:

  • 1 c flour: unbleached all purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry flour

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size. In a mixer, cream together:

  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, you need this buttery taste. If you want to substitute an oil, I would suggest Coconut Oil. This would naturally give your Ensaymada a more coconut flavor, instead of a buttery one. Your choice.
  • 9 Tbsp coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener

Then add  1/4 c at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, this egg substitute mixture:

  • 3 Tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 9 Tbsp water (I grind my own brown flax seeds. It’s probably more aesthetically pleasing to use golden flax and to grind it better than I did. You’ll see the whole flax seeds in my dough below.)

Change the mixer attachment to the dough hook and add:

  • the flour mixture from above

When well incorporated, add in little by little:

  • 2 c flour, all purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry flour

Allow machine to knead well, around 5 minutes. No need for extra butter. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 3 hours until doubled in size again.

Divide into 12 portions. Now, grease with Vegan butter or coconut oil:

  • working area
  • rolling pin
  • a long wooden stick, optional

Greasing your tools allows you to work with the dough easily and ensures that your dough doesn’t stick to them. Roll each portion of dough into a thin circle. At this point, you can add the following optional fillings to the dough in small amounts. I choose NOT to add anything to the dough, but if you want to, go right ahead. I love it when recipes are personalized:

  • Vegan butter
  • coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • grated Vegan cheese, if you like
  • other non-traditional fillings could include jam or chocolate shavings or even Nutella, if you will

Carefully roll the dough around the stick. If you don’t have a stick, simply roll it into a very thin and tight mini jelly roll.

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Push the dough off the stick (if using) and coil into a tight circular shape inside a well-greased fluted brioche mold. My molds are about 4 inches in diameter. Allow these rolls to rest and double in size again for 4 hours.

Place molds on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven at 350F for around 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure they are baked through because baking with flax seeds requires a slightly longer baking time. You can place a piece of foil on the tops of the Ensaymadas so that they don’t burn while their bases bake longer. You can also use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread: 180 – 190F is good. Take them out of the oven when ready.

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When cool enough to handle, brush with a small amount of Vegan butter and dip the tops in sugar immediately. I use organic cane sugar for looks here but you can go ahead and use coconut sugar too.

vegan-ensaymadas

These buns will last a few days if stored in a ziplock bag. I keep them in their molds until I’m ready to serve them, at which time I take them out of the mold and pop them into the toaster oven to bake for about 10 minutes until crisp all over. Serve these plain or with jam.

vegan-ensaymadas-3

These Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas were a hit at our house. Light, puffy, soft, and not at all heavy and doughy like you would expect whole grain breads to be. If you are looking for a healthier sweet bread to serve your family, then I would suggest you try it. They taste wonderful with jam. Tomorrow I think I’ll dip my bun in hot chocolate.

 UPDATE: I have been able to cut down this recipe from 9 hours to 3 1/2 hours by using the bread machine. Check it out here: Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns.

The Easiest and Creamiest Slow Cooker Vegan Filipino Champorado

3 Sep

My son recently read a children’s book about Filipino food. At bedtime last night, he asked if I could make Champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge, for breakfast today. Why not? I would love to eat some too. I grew up eating Champorado and always LOVED it.

Vegan Champorado 1

Now, I wanted my Vegan Champorado to be:

  • easy to make –> brought out the slow cooker because who has time these days to stir a pot for 45 minutes?
  • whole foods plant based –> sweet brown rice and almond milk
  • low in fat –> no added oils or butter or coconut cream
  • super creamy though –> I would use my little secret to make a Vegan “condensed” milk
  • just sweet enough –> taste test!

Vegan Champorado 3

 

The Easiest and Creamiest Slow Cooker Vegan Filipino Champorado (Sweet Chocolate Rice Porridge) Serves 4

The night before, place the following ingredients in a slow cooker (no need to grease the pot) and whisk well until incorporated:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c cacao powder
  • 1/2 c your choice of sweetener, I used coconut sugar
  • 4 c your choice of milk, I used almond

Then add:

  • 1 c sweet brown rice

Mix and set for 8-10 hours on LOW. When it is done the next day, mix well and add:

  • 1/4 c your choice of sweetener, I used coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c to 1 c your choice of milk, I used almond (depending on the consistency you want: for thicker add less milk and for thinner add more)

Serve with Vegan “Condensed Milk” or “Thick Cream”

My secret are frozen bananas! In a high speed blender, purée together:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 c your choice of milk, I used almond

Vegan Champorado 5

Garnishes (optional)

  • more coconut sugar or your choice of sweetener
  • cinnamon, optional

Vegan Champorado 6

Now mix it all up and ENJOY!

Vegan Champorado 7

Filipinos love the contrast of sweet and salty and Champorado is traditionally served with tuyo (dried fish). I grew up eating it with bacon crumbles too. I didn’t have tempeh bacon or another Vegan option on hand, but let me know if you try something salty with it. We enjoyed it as is.