Up for a game of tag?

Who doesn’t love a game of tag at 8:00 in the morning? We’ll I’m still in my jammies and I’m playing with  Mary Ann at mypenandme.

The Rules

1. Post the rules.

2. Answer the questions the tagger listed for me.

3. Create (or reuse) 11 questions for those I tag.

4. Tag 11 people.

5. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

My questions from Mary Ann to answer are:

1.  What types of things do you do for inspiration?

I am inspired my many things but being in nature is most inspiring to me. I love the colors and textures and sights and sounds of being outdoors and use that inspiration in my various cooking and crafting ventures.

2.  Who is your favourite artist or recording artist?

This is really tough because I love so many bands, I guess it really depends on my mood. But if I had to pick one I would say Mates of State is my favorite band.

3.  Who is your favourite poet or writer?

Another tough one, I would have to say Wally Lamb is one of my favorite authors. I always drop everything when he has a new book come out, which isn’t very often.

4.  What animal do you most associate yourself with?

As much as I wish it wasn’t true, I’d have to say a cat. I’m a tad bit lazy, I like attention, I like to sleep a lot and I have been known to curl up on the floor in a patch of sunlight now and again.

5.  Name one of your goals in life.

I would love to have a positive impact on at least one other human being.

6.  What is your favourite meal?

I love breakfast, so probably a huge stack of pancakes with fruit and maple syrup!

7.  What would you like to tell the world?

I would love the tell the world that we all need to just relax and stop trying to outdo one another. We are all here doing the best we can, let’s respect and celebrate our differences and bring each other up not knock each other down.

Now I get to tag 11 other people and ask them these questions! So here are my questions:

1. What do you miss most about being a child?

2. What do you like most about your best friend?

3. If you were the star of your own reality television show what would it be called?

4. What do you like most about the city you live in?

5. If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?

6. What movie or book has changed your life?

7. If you had a whole day to spend any way you wanted, what would you do?

And here are the bloggers I am tagging!

Will Cook For Food

What Will I Cook Today?

The Vegan’s Husband

The Veg Mom

No Gluten, Yes Vegan!

Stick to Your Greens!

Create it Yourself

Food with Malvi

The Vegan Pact

Eating Grand Rapids

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Wild Rice Salad with Rosemary Garlic Biscuits

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I love this salad because it reminds me of Thanksgiving stuffing. This a wonderful hearty salad that can be served alone or on a bed of salad greens and served with extra dressing. This recipe makes about 6 main dish servings and is great for leftovers the next day.

Wild Rice Salad

3/4 cup uncooked wild rice

3/4 cup uncooked brown rice

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

4 celery stalks thinly sliced

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup shelled pistachios

3/4 cup dried cranberries or currents

Dressing of your choice, about 1 cup (I used this Maple Vinaigrette from Edible Perspective)

Maple Vinaigrette

  • 6 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Blend on high until well combined.
  2. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

First rinse the two types of rice together and transfer to a large pot. Add a little salt and about 4-1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce to simmer. The rice should cook for about 40 minutes but check it periodically to make sure the water has not evaporated. Once the rice is cooked put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours.

When you are ready to eat add the apple, nuts, celery and cranberries and the dressing. Mix well to get everything coated. You can eat the salad now or continue to refrigerate it for a few more hours.

Rosemary Garlic Biscuits

dry ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

add to a skillet:

2-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

mix in:

2 Tbsp. vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)

3/4 cup soured milk (add 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to 3/4 cup of non-dairy milk and stir)

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat combine olive oil, garlic, pepper and rosemary. Keep mixture on the heat for about 1 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

Add the margarine to the flour mixture breaking it up into small pieces using a fork or your fingers. Stir in the oil mixture and then the soured milk. You should have a fairly wet dough.

Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet by large spoonfuls, you should get six nice sized biscuits. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Biscuit recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.

Banana Flax Waffles

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Okay people, summer is coming to an end here and we need to start thinking about the new school year. You know that time of year when your children want to be fed at unthinkably early hours of the day, yep that time. In anticipation I made a huge batch of waffles this morning and promptly put them in the freezer. Hopefully I can avoid the need to run around in a panic when breakfast can no longer be the leisurely affair it tends to be in the summer months. This should be enough to help with the transition until I can get back into the swing of things, I hope. So do yourself a favor and make some waffles and give yourself one less thing to worry about when the craziness begins.

This recipe will yield about 8 large waffles. These are wonderful topped with a little almond butter and banana slices, berries or just plain syrup. I baked them a little on the lighter side so when they are toasted they won’t get too dark.

Banana Flax Waffles

dry ingredients:

2-1/2 cups spelt flour

1 cup buckwheat or oat flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1-1/2 tsp. salt

wet ingredients:

1/2 cup ground flax seed

2 cups hot water

2 cups non-dairy milk

1 large ripe banana, sliced (or 2 smaller bananas)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

In a blender mix the flax and hot water for about 45 seconds or so. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.

Make your waffles!

Oh and just as a side note, apparently I have finally grown a pair!

Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Sandwich

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I think this qualifies as more of an idea than a recipe but it is a great sandwich to have ready at the end of a hot (so very hot!) day. First cut off the top third of a round loaf of bread (I use the peasant loaf from Trader Joe’s) and hollow out the bottom and top (the leftover “innards” of the bread is perfect for making croutons), it should look something like this:

Then fill it up with yummy things you like, mine was a layer of pesto, a layer of roasted eggplant, a layer of roasted zucchini and squash, another layer of roasted eggplant, a layer of of few cups of salad greens, then I sprinkled the whole deal with some balsamic vinegar. On the top portion of the bread I spread a layer of olive tapenade and a layer of roasted bell peppers. It should look something like this when it is stuffed:

The sandwich should be very full and you should compress the layers down as you go. Carefully replace the top portion of the bread and wrap the sandwich in a few layers of plastic wrap. Refrigerate the sandwich for several hours with a heavy weight on top, like a cast iron skillet. When you are ready to eat very carefully slice into 6 or 8 wedges.

Blueberry Quinoa Cornbread

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For the past several months I have been eating some version or another of a breakfast bread, this is the latest variety and I think I may stick with this one for a while. On top I add a smattering of nut butter, sliced banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds, the perfect breakfast. Now, I have no clue how readily available quinoa flakes are in the rest of the world because I live a mere 15 minutes drive away from the Bob’s Red Mill store where every grain known to man can be purchased in any quantity. The original recipe calls for cooked quinoa so that is another option (if using, reduce to 1/2 cup cooked) but I love quinoa flakes because they practically disappear when baked into something so I can avoid the “does this have quinoa in it?” question that I will often get from my daughter (aka the quinoa police) when I am trying to smuggle whole grains into baked goods.

Blueberry Quinoa Cornbread

wet ingredients:

2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

6 Tbsp. warm water

1 smallish banana

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

3 Tbsp. agave nectar or pure maple syrup

dry ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup quinoa flakes (or 1/2 cup cooked quinoa)

1/2 cup buckwheat or oat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

top with:

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

combine flax and water in a blender or food processor and blend for about 1 minute, add remaining wet ingredients and process until smooth.

combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, add wet mixture from the blender and mix until just combined.

pour batter into a prepared 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet or round cake pan and top with the blueberries. Allow batter to sit for about 5 minutes before putting in the oven. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Recipe adapted from Quinoa Blue Cornbread recipe in Color Me Vegan

Baked Quinoa and Kale Burgers (vegan and gluten-free)

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I think we can all agree that quinoa is awesome, right? Pair it with it’s pal kale and you’ve got a match made in heaven. I have eaten more than my fair share of veggie burgers and this is hands down one of my absolute favorites. It is adapted from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way (this is a must have book for veggie burger lovers).  The pistachios are of course optional but give these such a pleasing salty crunch. In addition to serving these as a traditional burger, you know like on a bun, I also love making smaller versions of them and serving them on top of  a salad with a little agave mustard dressing. Fantastic.

Baked Quinoa and Kale Burgers

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 bunch kale, deveined and roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. flax meal

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. warm water

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

3-4 Tbsp. brown rice flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Salt and pepper to taste

dash of nutmeg

First make your quinoa:

Rinse the quinoa well (I won’t even bother explaining my method because it is extremely convoluted), then add 2 cups water and quinoa to a pot to cook. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

For the kale:

You can either steam the kale or saute it for a few minutes until wilted. Set the cooked kale in a strainer until it is cool enough to handle. Once the kale has cooled slightly squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can either using your hands or a dishrag. Once you have done this you should have a nice little lump of kale about the size of your fist. Finely chop this (the kale, not your fist) and set aside.

Make your egg:

I find this version of a flax egg to work wonders for all types of veggie burgers. Combine the flax meal, cornstarch, oil and water together in a small bowl and whisk until combined, set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until lightly browned, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the quinoa, chopped kale, pistachios, flour, baking powder and seasonings to the onions and mix until combined. Fold in the flax egg mixture making sure it gets fully incorporated.

Form your burgers, you should get about 6-8 depending on the size, and place them on a prepared baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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Remember the game telephone that many of us used to play as kids? You know, you start out with something like “Niki is totally awesome” and by the time everyone has whispered it to their neighbor it gets back to you and it’s “Niki is a smelly opossum”, or something like that. Anyway, baking can be like a game of telephone, someone starts out with a perfectly good recipe, then someone tweaks it a bit, then someone tweaks that a bit and next thing you know it is something totally different but delicious just the same. A while ago I found this recipe on Birds and Baking (which was adapted from this version) and wanted to switch it up a bit (I finally found some vegan white chocolate chips that were just screaming to be in a cookie!) and to make it vegan, and oh my word these are spectacular cookies. So please try any of these versions, but do your self a favor and make some of these cookies.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Cherries

dry ingredients:

1 cup oat flour (or all purpose or whole wheat pastry)

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

wet ingredients:

1/2 cup vegan margarine (I use soy-free Earth Balance)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup organic sugar

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp. ground flax seed whisked with 3 Tbsp. warm water)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

mix in:

1-1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the margarine and sugars until fluffy, add in the flax egg and the vanilla and continue to beat until blended. Add in the dry ingredients mixing until just combined and stir in the oats, chips, and cherries.

Transfer dough in Tbsp. size rounds to a prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

 

Triple Berry Maple Cake

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What a delicious way to use up all those berries! This recipe was inspired by a muffin recipe in the Flying Apron baking book and is super easy to make. This cake is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and can be dressed up with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a scoop of coconut ice cream or left as is. Super delicious.

Triple Berry Maple Cake

dry ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup sweet rice flour (or just more brown rice flour)

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1-1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. salt

wet ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup pure maple syrup (or a half and half mixture with agave nectar)

top with:

1 cup of mixed berries

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, set aside.

Combine wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl or large measuring cup, whisking until well combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and whisk until thoroughly mixed.

Pour batter into a prepared 9 inch round cake pan and artfully top with berries.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Check your cake after 30 minutes and if it is not done yet by checking with a toothpick cover it with some foil while it continues to bake if it is getting too brown.

Agave Roasted Almond Butter and an Inspiring Blog Award!

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Wondering what these two things have in common? Well, I have them both and I want to share them with you! A little bit ago Emma at Emma’s Life Unravel nominated me for an Inspiring Blog Award! I am so glad to share a little bit about myself and to also nominate some fellow bloggers for this award. Oh, and a recipe for some nut butter too…

http://emma1988paris.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/inspiring-blog-award.jpg

The rules for the “Inspiring Blog Award”:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Tell 7 things about you that will not come up in your blog entries.
  3. Pass this on to 15 other bloggers that you find inspiring.

Firstly, thank you so much for the nomination Emma, it is so wonderful to know that not only at least one person is actually occasionally reading my blog but enjoying it too, that makes it all worthwhile.

Next here are 7 things about me that aren’t immediately obvious or the least bit inspiring:
1. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t complete at least a Sudoku and a crossword puzzle and sometimes I even do the Jumble.

2. I almost exclusively watch and read non-fiction. I have seen hundreds (thousands?) of documentary films and love a great memoir more than just about anything.

3. I am 38 years old but I don’t feel a day over…well actually, I pretty much feel 38.

4. I take all the pictures for my blog with an old funky point and shoot camera. Luckily it has a weird macro setting that works pretty well which is why all my photos are close-ups, everything else turns out blurry.

5. I have never really traveled anywhere, English is the only language I speak and I have absolutely no special talents or skills to speak of (seriously, I can’t even whistle!)

6. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds is one of my absolute favorite Cd’s.  I don’t see how anyone with a heart could not love it.

7. Contrary to popular belief, watched pots do if fact sometimes boil, I’ve seen it happen.

Now the fun part! The following bloggers have all inspired me in one way or another; for being crafty, for showing that healthy food can be good food, for sharing their journeys, for sharing their wisdom or for just being regular people with stuff to say.

1. Gabrielle Whitney

2. Boy and the Rabbit

3. Elle’s Vegan Food Diary

4. Healthy Kitschy Kitchen

5. Emily Cooks Vegan

6. Bites of Happiness

7. Will Cook for Food

8. Awesome. Vegan. Blog.

9. Make Great

10. Vegan Sparkles

Okay, so I only had 10 blogs to share but I only just recently discovered my “reader” and figured out that is where the blogs I’m following are to be read, yeah I’m a little slow…

So this recipe is quick and easy, the only special equipment you need is a food processor.

Agave Roasted Almond Butter

2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup raw cashews

3-4 Tbsp. agave nectar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. light vegetable oil (only if needed)

In a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not foil or wax paper!) spread the nuts in a single layer. Pour agave nectar over the nuts and mix until all the nuts are covered then spread them into a single layer again. Roast in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let the nuts cool for about 5 minutes and then add them to the bowl of your food processor. Process until smooth, this should take about 10 minutes or so of processing. You will need to stop and scrape down the side a few times. If the mixture is not drippy after 10 or so minutes add a tsp. of oil and continue to process, that should do the trick. When you have reached a consistency you like, add the salt and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer to a container and store at room temperature.

Cherry Almond Muffins (vegan and gluten-free)

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I must say I am having a lot of fun experimenting with gluten free baking. I came up with this recipe a few days ago and initially made them without the cherries and they disappeared oh so quickly. I though I would make a second batch and add some cherries and coconut this time just to jazz them up a bit. These hold together really well and are dense but still moist and ever so slightly sweet, perfect for breakfast.

Cherry Almond Muffins

dry ingredients:

1-1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup ground flax seed

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

wet ingredients:

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup apricot puree*

fold in:

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine wet ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisking well.

Add the wet to the dry, mixing until combined then fold in the cherries and coconut.

Divide batter evenly among a prepared 12 cup muffin pan. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

* I happen to have some leftover apricot puree but I’m sure applesauce or any fruit preserves would make a decent alternative. If you want to make some apricot puree put 1 cup dried apricots in a small bowl, pour 1-1/2 cups boiling water over the apricots, cover and let them sit for about 2 hours. Reserve about 3 Tablespoons for the liquid and drain the rest. Add the apricots, reserved liquid, a Tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp. of agave nectar or maple syrup and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.