Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Mousse...and some news

LinkYes, this is the last slice of Deanna's French Silk Pie that my husband made me for my b-day dinner.
This pie doesn't need any topping, but man this mousse made for a tasty-just-came-home-from-a-long-day treat!

This mousse is easy.

This mousse is vegan.

This mousse also has only 3 ingredients!

Not sure what is with me lately with wanting to use as little as possible ingredient wise. I'm in kind of a quick and easy phase as I get ready for a new phase in my life. I have hesitated sharing this news here on the food blog. Mainly since I have four times as many readers here as my personal blog, mostly read by my MIL and my Mom! But more people somehow makes the news more "real". So here goes:

My husband, David, and I are about to become foster parents! When we have the kiddos (yes that is plural :) at home I will share more. We are hoping this situation develops into an adoption as well. We are so excited and blessed and terrified!

Thus, my desire to streamline my recipes and use minimal ingredients- at least for now :) We have been crazy busy, preparing, filling out paperwork, shopping consignment sales with super serious moms who were consignment pros. We were not. We were the couple who was asking other parents, "About how old is your kid? 4? Ok, well when did they start using their own potty?" :) Sortof kidding. We did get strange looks from people who overheard our obviously naive and inexperienced conversations! But most were extremely helpful.

Back to the mousse... The pics do not represent how yummy and easy this is. Really, you just have to have remembered to put a can of coconut milk in the fridge a couple hours before you want to make it. Also, I used my not-so-great mini food processor because I was lazy and didn't want to move the mound of dishes in front of the Vitamix. If you use a Vitamix or Blendtec, this will be much smoother and creamy.

Quick Peanut Butter Mousse

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (can also use almond butter or sun butter for a peanut free options)
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (that rises to the top from a refrigerated can of coconut milk)
  • 1-2 dates, or to taste
Method
  • Blend all in a food processor or high powered blender until smooth.
  • You can refrigerate for parfaits or use right away for a snack or a pie topping- if filling a whole pie I would at least 4x the recipe :)
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bragging on My husband

My husband surprised me with a wonderful elaborate meal for two yesterday and I thought he deserved some bragging on :) He went through my starred items in my Gmail Reader to get some ideas. Had I known he was doing that- I wouldn't have been so obnoxious about dropping "hints" for the past month! (Side note- he didn't know this yet, but I had began organizing my favorite blog recipes using Velvet Aroma- if you haven't checked this out yet you must! I like it much better than Google Reader.) For dinner he made me fried okra using this formula along with these other tasty items:Not a super great pic, but this "cheesy" chicken (made with tahini) from Heather Eats Almond Butter was Ah.Ma.Zing. He did make it with Earth Balance instead of butter, but it was still hearty and tasty. He also made his own tahini, roasting some raw sesame seeds I had! I still can't get over that he did all of that.
And last but not least, he had already planned to make this vegan/ soy-free French Silk Pie from the Mommy Bowl even before I dropped a not-so-subtle hint ;) I was quite proud he pulled off this whole pie with no help- the consistency was perfect!He used this crust from the Spunky Coconut and made it in my lovely new tart pan purchased from my sister-in-law's garage sale.
We also topped off the slices of pie with this raw avocado ice cream from Pure 2 Raw for a yummy grasshopper flavor.

I was in heaven. Does anyone else love eating in more than eating out like I do? Well, I love it more when I don't have to cook anything myself :) Just feels better eating something you made and knew all of the ingredients for, ya know?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I like to make my own birthday cake. Tuesday was my birthday. I slept in, doddled with my breakfast while rifling through my many blogs I follow. And I stumbled upon a recipe for a freezer cake and thought "I will make myself an ice cream treat to celebrate with my husband!" I know making your own cake doesn't sound like something you would want to be doing for your birthday, but for me it was extremely relaxing and rewarding (and I'm really picky, so I'm really the only cake maker who knows exactly what I want:). Also, he is planning a fun time for us on Saturday to really celebrate and I have made requests for what he can make for us then.

I made this cake from a couple of other blogger's posts, with only minor changes. It was really quick and easy to make. I'm also hoping the husband makes me this recipe from The Mommy Bowl soon...hint, hint :)

Raw Almond Joy Ice Cream Birthay Cake with Brownie Cookies

Also, if anyone is wondering why I have been MIA, I hope to explain in the next week or so...be looking for an exciting post, Eryn

Monday, August 15, 2011

Three Ingredient Bubble Gum Ice Cream


Ah, the days of going to Baskin Robbins and looking through 31 different flavors, only to end up choosing bubble gum ice cream every time :) I would suck on each piece of pink bubble gum and set aside to chew after I savored my ice cream. Then I would chew a massive wad of gum only to be spit out 10 minutes later because apparently gum that has sat in processed commercial ice cream for months doesn't taste too good for long!

I was not intending for this raw banana watermelon frozen treat to be bubble gum flavored; however, when both my husband and I tasted it, we both thought it tasted a lot like bubble gum. So there you have it. If you try it out on your kids let me know... after all, they are the true taste connoisseurs!

Bubble Gum Ice Cream

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
  • 2 frozen ripe bananas
  • 3 cups watermelon, chopped into chunks, de-seeded and frozen
  • 10-15 spearmint leaves (optional, but enhances the bubble-gummy flavor)
Method
  • The night before, freeze the watermelon and bananas- chopping them into chunks first for easier processing.
  • When ready to eat the ice cream, simply put all ingredients into a high powered blender and puree. (This will also work in a food processor- but will have to process with the s-blade in 2-3 batches)
  • Serve immediately
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Frying Okra. . . and other things, too!



Growing up in the south, you get your fair share of fried things. Fried okra, pickles, zucchini, green tomatoes, jalapenos, jalapenos wrapped in cheese, fried cheese for that matter......well, you get the idea. I'm sure the list goes on an on!

With the height of fryable veggie season upon us, like okra, green tomatoes, and zucchini, I have decided to share my healthier way to fry up some southern goodness. This is more of a formula than a recipe. Traditional Southern frying usually involves milk, or buttermilk, enriched and bleached white flour, bread crumbs, sometimes egg, and a large deep fryer filled with oil/ lard and trans-fats. Not my cup of tea.

For me and mine, I usually use the formula below for frying things. For successful frying, I have found that "double dipping" is key to having a good fried outer coating that doesn't fall apart when in the skillet (well, really quadruple dipping- see four bowls below). I have also found that making a nice mess in your kitchen (and on your hands!) produces wonderful results:

(bowls, from bottom to top: almond milk, almond flour with potato starch, almond milk, homemade rice bread crumbs)

This formula does not use any animal products, and also uses a shallow-fry technique. So no need for eggs or a deep fryer here. Which is nice when you don't have one or either laying around :)

Pumpkin's Healthier Frying Formula
Ingredients
  • some hearty vegetable (I think okra or green tomatoes are best, but try pickles, zucchini, asparagus, anything you think you would like fried, and let's face it that list could get pretty long :)
  • a bowl of non-dairy milk
  • a bowl of fine flour + starch (eg: finely ground rice, almond flour or coconut flour mixed with a starch like tapioca, arrowroot, corn, or potato) the proportions should be about 2 parts fine flour to 1 part starch
  • another bowl of non-dairy milk
  • a bowl of bread crumbs (can be from a healthy store bought bread or bread you made yourself and let sit out overnight to harden a bit) or a courser ground flour (like almond meal- not flour, or corn meal)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: onion and garlic powder to taste
  • coconut or grapeseed oil
Method
  • First, cut the vegetables you are using and lay out onto a cutting board and sprinkle with salt an pepper while you prepare everything else.
  • Line up four separate bowls in a row on your counter where you have enough room. Milk bowl first, then fine flour + starch bowl, then another milk bowl, then bread crumbs or course flour bowl. Lightly salt and pepper the flower and crumb bowls. And if desired, add a bit of onion or garlic powder to the same bowls. Taste the flour mixture and crumb mixture to see if it's salty and seasoned well before going to the next step.
  • Dip the chopped vegetables one at a time in all four bowls, using a fork (in this order: milk, flour, milk, crumbs). Set aside all on a plate until you are ready to start frying.
  • Once you are nearing the end of your battering, you can go ahead and heat a large pan with 2 Tbsp of oil of choice, or enough to cover the pan (grapeseed or coconut work best). This will be for the first batch, but you may or may not need to add more oil the more batches you do- this will depend on how much oil your batter soaks up after the first batch.
  • When the oil is nice and hot, place some of the battered veggies in the pan, being sure to not crowd the pan. You should only need about 2-3 minutes per "side" of each vegetable until it gets nice and golden brown.
  • Remove onto another plate, and add more oil if needed to cover the pan before going on to the next batch.
Tips
  • If you are not using store bought milk (like homemade almond milk, for example), you may want to add a thickener, like Xanthan gum or Guar gum to the milk bowls that will help your flours bind better together since there is no egg in this recipe/ formula.
  • Also, you can salt and pepper the milk bowls for extra flavor. I usually just line up all the bowls and sprinkle pinches of salt down the line.
  • I usually only put about 1/16-1/8 tsp of both onion and garlic powders to the two non-milk bowls- depending on how big a batch I'm making.
  • This formula is meant to be messed with/ altered. I never make fried things the same way twice, because I never have the same flours on hand. I have used everything from homemade ground sprouted rice to coconut/ sorghum flour blend for bowl number 2, and everything from stale corn bread to coarsely chopped nuts for bowl number 4. Please, make this formula your own! It is quite hard to mess up frying things this way. My husband can do it this way, and quite well :)
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Happy Frying!
Eryn Jones

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Almond Blondies


Have you ever tried to healthify a favorite cook book or family recipe? My mother-in-law makes some tasty blond brownies. The first Christmas I was in the family she made all of her daughters/daughters-in-laws a family cookbook of her most used recipes. I cherish that little cook book! However, half the ingredients list for the blond brownie recipe were either allergens or no-no ingredients in our house.

Yesterday, I was craving a blondie so I decided to use a "regular" recipe and see if it works with just a couple healthy changes. I took out the grains and swapped them for high-protien almond flour. I made some substitutions for the eggs, coconut (or palm) sugar for brown sugar, coconut oil instead of butter, and so on. We also had a ton of cherries that needed to be used up, and what could be wrong with a chocolate-cherry-almond combo? Absolutely nothing :) These blondies are both grain-free and vegan. We think these turned out great and hope you like them too!

Chocolate Cherry Almond Blondies

Yields" 9 blondie barsIngredients
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp chia seed meal
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, sifted (to strain out bigger granules)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I sometimes use Enjoy Life, which does contain some cane sugar, or I make my own)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cherries
Method
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk all dry ingredients together- first seven ingredients, almond meal flour through sifted coconut sugar. (You can make your own almond flour from blanched almonds you purchase at the store, a cheaper option than buying it online. The kind of "flour" you buy at the store is usually meal/flour. However, I have also had some success using Bob's Almond meal/flour as long as I sift it first before measuring. To make your own, simply grind the blanched almonds about 1/3 cup at a time in a coffee grinder or high powered blender. Then sift and measure.)
  • In separate bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla and almond extracts. Then add these ingredients to the dry.
  • Then stir in the chopped cherries and chocolate chunks or chips.
  • Press into a greased 8" x 8" glass pan.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 F, or until toothpick comes out clean.

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Happy Blondie Making,
Eryn
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