Friday, February 22, 2013

Date-Sweetened Apple Bake

This is another one of my go-to recipes. Whenever I'm getting tired of oatmeal or tofu scramble for breakfast, this is always a good replacement. It's mildly sweet, a perfect way to start the day (of course, if you want to eat straight up apple pie filling first thing in the morning, you can add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup). This also works as a dessert, if you'd like. However you eat it, I'm sure the hint of autumn will be a nice pick-me-up during this never-ending winter.

Date-Sweetened Apple Bake
  • 1 apple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 tablespoons raisins, optional
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash of cloves, allspice, and nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider, apple juice, or water
1) Preheat oven to 375°. Spray with cooking spray or lightly oil a small oven-safe dish (mine is 380ml or 2/3 cup). 

2) In a small sauce pan, combine dates and water, and cook over medium heat for several minutes, until dates are soft and beginning to break apart.

3) In a food processor, blend together the dates and cooking water until smooth. Add salt and spices and completely combine. 

4) Combine apple pieces, nuts, and raisins in a small bowl. Add date mixture and mix until the apples are completely covered. Evenly pour cider over apples.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until apples are soft. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Post-Valentine's Day Crepes with Nutella

I had meant to post this on February 15th, when I made these crepes, but I never got around to it. I'm not much of a Valentine's Day person. I neither love nor hate it; for me, it really just seems like any other day, only with a better excuse for eating large quantities of chocolate (shout out to my lovely mother for buying me a chocolate bar on Thursday!). My Valentine's Day consisted of chocolate, a seitan roast, and a Lost marathon. Not too bad in my opinion! 

But the next day, I decided to make something sort of Valentine's-ish, and made some crepes. Actually, these crepes are really Ployes, which are a type of pancake. It comes as a pancake flour mix (the only ingredients are buckwheat flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and salt), sort of like much healthier version of Bisquick. To make the pancakes, all you do is mix in some water (no eggs or milk required!), and cook in a pan for a minute or two. It's almost ridiculous how simple they are to make. You don't even need to flip them while cooking! They're surprisingly low in calories, with three 5" pancakes equaling only 95 calores. Ployes are fantastic, not just for dessert, but for dinner too. I often serve them with curry dishes, as they soak up the flavors so well.  Anyway, to make the crepes, I added just a tiny bit of sugar to the batter, cooked them, and served them with raspberry jelly and some vegan Nutella, which I made using this delicious recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie (actually, I used a mix of pecans and cashews because, let's be honest, no one just happens to have hazelnuts on hand). Ployes are made by a local company and probably can't be found outside of New England, but if you ever happen to come across some, I'd really recommend buying a bag (or order it online here).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

20 Minute Chili

This chili is one of my go-to recipes whenever I'm short on time. It's literally one of the easiest meals to make, and only uses one pot. Plus, chili is always fantastic on a cold day (especially when you're buried under several feet of snow from the most recent winter storm...). If you handle spicy food well, feel free to add more chili powder, but I don't use very much. 

20 Minute Chili
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (petite diced tomatoes work well here!)
  • 2 15oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (kidney, pinto, navy, cannelloni, etc.)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until peppers and onions are soft. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Single-Layer Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Well, if you live in New England or know someone who does, then you may have heard about Winter Storm Nemo. Apparently we're supposed to get more snow this weekend than we've had in the past several years combined. It's been snowing all day and is really quite beautiful out. However, it's supposed to be windy later, and wind + snow = losing electricity, so I'm not too excited for this. In the meantime, I'm charging all of my electronics and I'm about to take what may be my last shower for a while. Woohoo.

I actually made this chocolate cake a few weeks ago, but I've been saving it for Valentine's Day, so I could be like every other food blogger in the world and post a chocolate cake recipe this week. But really, this cake is fantastic. You could double it and coat it with some chocolate frosting for an incredibly chocolate dessert. I, however, was in the mood for something lighter, so I made a single layer and covered it with a gooey strawberry sauce. No matter how you choose to serve it, it will be sure to satisfy that chocolate craving. 

Single-Layer Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce

Chocolate Cake
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or a combination of AP and white whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil or other mild-tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a round 9-inch cake pan.

2) In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.

3) In a medium bowl, mix together remaining ingredients.

4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined.

5) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

6) Place on wire rack and let cool completely.

Strawberry Topping
  • 1 1/4 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or other liquid sweetener 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) Using a potato masher, mash strawberries until no whole berries remain (there should still be some chunks though)

2) Combine berries, syrup, and vanilla in a small saucepan. 

3) Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly (keep it at a slow boil).

4) Remove from heat and let cool before spreading on (completely cooled) cake.

Optional: Decorate cake with ground walnuts or coconut flakes. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Single-Serving Pancakes

I almost let another full week go by without posting anything here, but thankfully these fantastic pancakes I made this morning prevented that. I really don't know what's gotten into me. I promise I won't let my lack of blogging go on for much longer!

Anyway, this recipe is really pretty superb. As in, I would it eat every day if I could. Keep in mind though, this is not a particularly low-calorie food, especially if you're like me and you like to drown your pancakes in maple syrup. They brown a little better if you include the oil, but they won't taste drastically different if you substitute it for more nondairy milk. I served mine with syrup (of course!), strawberries, and a mixture of ground up walnuts and flaxseeds (which has a surprisingly good flavor?). 

Single-Serving Pancakes
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons flour (white whole wheat, all-purpose, or a combination of both)
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar or stevia sugar substitute 
  • 1/2 tsp Ener-g egg replacer (if you absolutely hate Ener-g, you can leave it out, but it's really much better if you use it)
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other mild-tasting oil (or more nondairy milk for a lower fat version)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • drop of almond extract

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add liquids and whisk until combined. Pour batter onto a greased non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat for several minutes, until bubbles appear. Flip and cook for several more minutes, until both sides are a nice shade of golden brown.