Naughty Baking day… yeah, that’s weird…

So, I care a lot about what foods I offer to my friends and family.  And I care what I offer to my husband too.

And so, I send a lot of time researching and trying out/ creating/ experimenting with a variety of recipes that are:

  • Nut free
  • Dairy free
  • Sugar free
  • Gluten free
  • Egg free
  • general vegan

 

And then sometimes I just need to pull out my old cookbook from before I met all of these amazing people who have food restrictions and bake.

I won’t bother with posting recipes because you can just do a search on standard recipes from Betty Crocker, Joy of Cooking, or one of those women’s Community group cook books that are full of crazy classic recipes!

Today I used BUTTER! EGGS!  WHITE FLOUR! PEANUT BUTTER! BROWN SUGAR! ICING SUGAR! GROUND ALMONDS!!

And as soon as I’m done putting everything away, I’ll be doing a full cleaning of all surfaces and tools and utensils to make sure they are all cleaned up before I start my batches of Conscientious Baking for our annual gathering this coming weekend.

I’ll still label things as I cannot limit everything, but I can make things clear and safe!

Peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies

 

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Shortbread crescents

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Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

 

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Cabbage roll casserole…rolls right off the tongue!

Party-time!

”Tis the season for potlucks and I’m trying to find simple and healthy ideas and this one is a variation on one of my go-to slow cooker recipes.

Cabbage “roll” casserole

In the bottom of a slow cooker, layer:

¾ cup quinoa

¾ cup dry lentils ( rinsed-I used red)

1.5 bags of pre-grated coleslaw mix or about 4 cups

1 large can stewed tomatoes

In a fry pan, sauté

one chopped onion and

4-5 mushrooms in

butter/oil of your choice.

Flavour with oregano and basil -to taste-I used 1 tsp each, dry.

Add that to the slow cooker, mixing with the tomatoes a bit but don’t fuss.

Add enough water to full halfway and turn on low.

Cook for 6 ish hours.

Scoop out and enjoy/ transfer to a serving tray that can be reheated or take your slow cooker to the party!

What? More kitchen time?!?

Heading out tonight for a rum tasting party and wanted to contribute something subtle to counter the amount of rum I’ll be ingesting 🤗

Off I went to the grocery store…

So a bag of chicago mix popcorn will start, but I then found some pumpernickel, yum! But I’m not in the mood for the standard spinach dipping sauce tonight.

Veggie pate experiment time!

IT is chilling now in the fridge, but I think it’s gentle flavour will work tonight!

I divided it into two blocks, so I’ll have more for other gatherings in the near future!

 

 

 

Lentil vegetable spread/pate

1 cup lentils, rinse and sort. Let drain.

Into a sauce pan:

1 onion chopped finely

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

Sauté on medium low heat until onions are translucent. Add lentils and enough water to cover by 2cm or so. Simmer on medium -low heat until lentils are pretty much cooked-about 20 minutes.

Add:

2 carrots grated

½ cup grated cabbage

Continue to cook until everything is tender. Another 10-15 minutes.

Purée. You can use an immersion blender or food processor-it’s hot so be careful!

Add:

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper to taste-any other spices that inspire you!

Pour into a tray/pan lined with wax paper and chill.

And that’s that!

Crazy vegan baking experiments Day 2

yesterday’s marshmallow fluff was intended to be more like fudge. I think I would need to either use more maple syrup or cook it to a higher temp to achieve that – future experimentation !

I had dropped out about 24 blobs of the fluffy onto wax paper hoping it would possibly harder if I put it into the freezer…

 Looks great but is still sticky to touch.

Today, I melted some organic bittersweet chocolate chips in hopes of maybe creating a chocolate – but the fluff is too soft.

So now I have decided to try to create a cookie base to maybe slide the blobs onto and maybe get a bit more chocolate on them, or just enjoy a great tasting but sticky mess!

Chick pea orange spice cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¾ cup chick pea flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger powder

mix dry ingredients then add:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tablespoons orange juice

Mix and roll into a log about 3 cm in diameter  and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Slice into 24 discs and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

bake 6-8 minutes at 325 degrees F.

 

Let cool on rack and flip over to place the fluffy blobs onto the bottom of each cookie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final look is super cute, but they will stay frozen until I serve them and they will be slightly messy.

So whoever is coming to my place in the next few weeks will get a chance to try these!

 

 

Vegan Dessert time

Why vegan? No reason.

I’m an omnivore with vegetarian tendencies but with many friends who have more limited diets.

So I like to play.

And after I finished up with bridal clients ( days jobs), I was able to have some fun in the kitchen today!

Here are today’s adventures without further ado!

1st-avocado chocolate mousse:

4 ripe avocado-peeled and pitted

¼-½ cup cocoa

¼-⅓ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla

Put it all into a big mixing bowl and puree it until it’s all mixed. Start with the minimum for the cocoa and syrup.

Give it a taste and add more cocoa or maple syrup if you like!

2-Maple Marshmallow Fluff

Chickpea juice from 1 can of precooked chickpeas ( approx 1 cup)

Approx 3/4-1 cup maple syrup

Heat the maple syrup without stirring, in a heavy saucepan (with room for it to bubble up ) until it hits 260degrees on a candy thermometer or forms a soft ball when a tiny bit is dropped in cold water.

While this is reaching its happy place, beat the chick pea juice on high speed into a stiff-peaked meringue.

Continue beating and pour the maple syrup in a slow stream, into the meringue. Continue to beat it until it’s either turned into fudge ( which was the original plan) or becomes and amazing marshmallow fluff!

Part 3- peel clementines, or chop bananas, berries, or any other fruit and have ready to add in!

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Assembly- use 4 awesome bowls/wine glasses/anything that will show the layers!

Option 1- mousse then fluff, add fruit on top.

Option 2-fluff, then mousse the fruit.

Option 3- fluff, mousse, then marble the two; top with fruit.

Pics of that laters!

Capturing moments

ON this morning’s walkabout, I was thinking, as I often do, about how beautiful the trees, the clouds, the sky, etc. can be when we have the time to appreciate it.

And I took some photos on my phone as I often do.

Then I started to think about how photographers, videographers, and anyone who takes the time to document those real moments in their lives, either for they own future appreciation or to share with others, are blessed in our present world.

We can easily capture gorgeous images, momentous images, subtle and delicate images that represent the moment of their taking, our mood at that time and help us hold on to those precious moments for future revisiting.

My mind then wandered to two other shots I shared this week of my 15/16 year old self as a blonde.  and I wondered at that young person, who was also a creative soul, doing crazy fun things and having great friends to support her on that journey.

Thanks and gratitude were strong today.

Here are some of those shots I was mentioning – I took them for me, but if you enjoy them as well, cool.

Plus, I know you want to see this one…

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Spiralling around again

Growing up, I recall my parents hosting a “wine and cheese” party in the first house I grew up in. I think it might have been as my father was getting into local politics, but I was probably around 10 so I’ll go with what my perception of it was.

I do not recall being around for the soirée itself, but I was around for the preparations and I was imprinted with the “hostess” energies from that moment onwards.

When we moved to the house I spent my teen years in, it took me a few years, but once I was in high school, I started hosting my own parties…theme parties at that!

-Toga party- because I loved playing with fabric and wanted an excuse to create a draped gown;

-50’s party so that I could make up a beautiful dress pattern I had found, and I got to make my BFF a poosdle skirt

-60’s in Paris party – I had found another cool pattern and made this amazing black Audrey Hepburn type two piece top and skirt, and a faux stained glass wall piece depicting the Eiffel Tower.

And my high school  friends were so awesome, they came in costume and we had a blast- at least that’s what I recall.

My grandmother also contributed to that imprinting as we usually went to see my grandfather and her every Sunday; there were classic items always on the menu- butterscotch pie, cream puffs, meat pie, baked beans, and various squares and cookies.

It was comforting, it was tradition, it was good.

In the intervening years, depending on where I was living and what my life was like at the time, I have continued to enjoy hosting and offering a safe and funny place for people to sit, chat, meet new folks, and reconnect with old friends, etc.

And about 4 years ago, my anxiety started to get worse, and I had to start looking at ways to reduce my stress. While hosting events and parties was still fun, it was part of a larger picture of “too much”, and I started to cut back.

Retiring from organizing official events was the first step, and when we had to move into the ” interim apartment”, we hosted one party there and then shifted away from it.

This past weekend, we celebrated with friends in our new apartment-one in which my husband has been exercising a joyful amount of decorating savvy, and I get my own studio/room!

So, we cleaned, hung photos and art pieces, prepped food and one friend commented in advance, “don’t go nuts!”….

too late…

And it was nice. I still need to make sure I do not resume the ” Too much” inclinations of my youth, I am happy to have spiralled back to a place of healthy hosting.