Friday, May 30, 2014

Power Seed Crackers


Ever since I decided that I wanted to try making more of our staple food from home (such as bread, granola, almond milk, etc.), crackers have been one of my favorite foods to experiment making from scratch. Since I made Whole Wheat Rosemary Wheat Thins, I've realized that crackers aren't as hard to make as I had thought. I love being able to change the seasonings and it's also a perk that I know exactly what went into each little crunchy morsel. 

Whole Wheat Rosemary Wheat Thins

Lately I've seen a lot of recipes for crackers made only with seeds and water so I decided to try some out. I didn't want my crackers to be made up entirely of larger seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but wanted the base to be something with a finer texture. Ground flaxseed for the win!

The best thing about these crackers is that you don't have to roll out a stiff dough with a rolling pin, but instead get to use your hands to spread out the seed mixture. There is also no oil or butter in these and they are held together entirely with water!


Power Seed Crackers
(Makes about 50 crackers)

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped (careful, it "jumps" everywhere!)
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flax, chia, sunflower and pepita seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the 1 cup of water and spices.
  4. Pour the spiced water mixture into the bowl with the seeds and use a spoon to stir until combined.
  5. Dump the seed mixture onto your baking sheet and use your hands to push down the mixture and spread it to be about 1/4-1/8 of an inch thick. My mixture spread all the way to the edges of my baking sheet.
  6. Score the dough with a knife into whatever shape you like.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until dry and firm. (It depends on how thick/thin you made them)
  8. Break the crackers apart and let cool.









Eat Consciously,

Faith

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WIAW: Good eats amidst all the craziness.

Can I just share how crazy my life is right now? Brett and I just got back from a week vacation on Saturday and are currently trying to pack up our entire apartment and move everything into storage by tonight. We also have to have bags packed for a 1-week work trip to West Palm Beach and a 5-week trip to China! Our schedule is insane...and somehow we like it that way. 

It's still surreal that we're leaving Orlando. We're really going to miss this state, but we're so excited for the adventure that living in New York City is sure to bring!

Notice the horchata on the bench! 


My life for the next two months:
May 29 - June 6: West Palm Beach
June 9 - July 15: China!
July 15 - July 21: New York City (we're flying straight from China to NYC to find our apartment!)
July 21 - August 1: Flying to Orlando, driving up a U-haul to New York and moving in

Thankfully amidst all the craziness I've still be able to create some delicious food in the kitchen, which is always a stress reliever for me. 

Breakfast: Homemade Cashew and Almond Cherry "Yogurt" with homemade granola and a banana


Morning Snack: a Fried Plantain in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt. 



Lunch: A big ol' salad with spinach, tomato, cucumber, carrots and Gingerly dressing...


...with a side of Rosemary Power Seed Crackers and Avocado Hummus (recipes coming soon!)


If you're looking for a way to get more fiber and healthy fats in your life, these crackers would be perfect. I'll post this recipe on Friday, so check back!

Afternoon Snacks: A nibble of this, a nibble of that, as I experimented in the kitchen...
and broke kitchen appliances... (seriously?!)

I may have forgotten to pit a few of my dates...whoops!

Almond Date Chocolate Chip Cookies!
There are only 6 ingredients in these bad boys and they don't have contain any sugar, dairy or gluten. 


Dinner: A bowl of some this amazing Butternut Squash Soup with some more crackers.


Seriously check out this recipe!! This soup is so flavorful and is made with 1 butternut squash, a sweet potato, carrots, an apple, an onion and some veggie broth, water and spices. It's one of my favorite recipes I've made so far!

It was Brett and my good friend's birthday this past week so we had her and her husband over for some birthday dessert. I was trying to make vegan brownies (and of course decided to experiment a little) and accidentally made an amazing Vegan Chocolate Cake! It's made with whole wheat flour, olive oil and I used only agave to sweeten it. And when you top it off with some Easy Fudge Sauce it's so decadent. 

Dessert: A slice of Vegan Chocolate Cake with Easy Fudge Sauce for icing 




And that's it: a full day of what I ate. Hope you got some new recipe ideas! Check out Jenn's blog Peas and Crayons to see what other people are eating.


Eat Consciously,

Faith




Monday, May 26, 2014

Easy Fried Plantains


Right now my house slightly in chaos. Brett and I are packing up all of our belonging while trying to sell somethings in the process. We are also traveling to West Palm Beach for a week the day after we move out of our house. Then right after we get back from that West Palm we are going to China for five weeks! We have so many different trips we're trying to pack for in addition to moving that it's hard to keep things straight in my head. 

One thing that has made the packing process less painful is that I've been taking frequent breaks throughout the day to cook delicious food...like fried plantains! Seriously, yesterday when I was minutes away from finishing up the laundry, I stopped to fry some plantains. I just got hit with intense hunger so decided to run with it. Laundry can wait.

I've eaten fried plantains a lot when overseas and I've even bought plantains a few times in hopes that I'd do something with them, but never did. I was never sure when they were ripe or when I should bake them verses fry them. I saw a little recipe card at the grocery store the other day for Fried Plantains and decided to give it another go. The recipe said to look for black plantains when you are going to fry them. That means they are overly ripe and sweet, but still hold their shape. 


It only takes three ingredients to make this delicious snack: a plantain, coconut oil and sea salt. You can serves these as a side with dinner or eat them as a snack. The plantains themselves are sweet and then you get little hints of salty with the sea salt. Addicting I tell ya!


Fried Plantains
(Serves 1-2)

Ingredients:
  • 1 plantain, black 
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • sea salt (optional, but so good!)
Directions:
  1. Peel and slice your plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat. 
  3. Fry the plantains on one side for about 4 minutes until browned. Flip them over and fry about 4 minutes more.
  4. Pour them onto a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess oil and sprinkle with sea salt.






Eat Consciously,

Faith

Friday, May 23, 2014

Amazing Butternut Squash Soup!


I don't know if it's possible to tell you how easy, delicious and healthy this soup is, but I'm going to try. Other than salt, pepper and water there are only 8 ingredients involved in making this soup and they are are so stinkin' good for you. Let me share with you the star ingredients involved in this recipe:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potato
Carrots 
Apple
Onion

Amazing right? When most people think of soups made solely with vegetable (and in this case a fruit!) they think of bland and watery. Let me tell you that that is the opposite of how I'd describe this soup. It's thick, full of flavor and filling. Your mouth can't decide if it's sweet or savory and keeps begging for another bite. 

I haven't made many soups in my day, but the more I try out different recipes and experiment withe them, they are becoming less intimidating. I love that I can make a big ol' batch and freeze some for a quick meal later in the week. Soups are also so versatile. You can easily switch up the spices and veggies of one recipe and come out with a new soup that is completely different, yet delicious. 

Yep, I think I'm on a soup kick. 


Can I also just share with you that the night I made this soup I had five guys in my cave of an apartment trying to get a humongous executive desk out of our guest bedroom, through our teeny, tiny hall and out the back door? It was craziness but they did it! And it also just shows how easy this soup is to make, because the chaos around me wasn't a problem at all. 

Butternut Squash Soup
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 20 oz.), cut in half and seeded.
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 5-6 cups water (depending on how thick you like your soups)
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • Pepper to taste
  • Optional: pepitas for garnish

Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Poke holes in your sweet potato and place it along with the cut and seeded butternut squash on a baking tray. Place them in the oven for about an hour until they are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  3. While they are roasting, sauté the carrots, onion and garlic in a large sauce pan over medium heat until the onions are soft. 
  4. Add in the apple chunks, vegetable broth and water, reduce the heat to low and let it sit until your squash and potato are done roasting.
  5. Once the squash and potato are done, remove them from the oven and when they are cool enough to handle peel off the skin of the potato and roughly chop it up. Then scoop out the flesh of the squash and place everything in the pot with the carrots and apple.
  6. Bring the soup to a boil and then let everything simmer for about 30 minutes.
  7. Using an immersion blender (or by carefully pouring sections into a blender like I did), blend everything until smooth. Let the soup cook until it's as thick as you like. Add in more water if you want it a little thinner. You can't go wrong!
  8. Now for the salt. I know it sounds like a lot, but it really makes the soup. Start by adding 2 teaspoons and add more if you desire. I used about three teaspoons. Also add in the garam masala and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  9. Serve warm with some fresh bread and a salad or just enjoy it solo!

Notes: If you like a sweeter soup you can leave out the garam masala, but I think it really adds so much depth to the soup.

Adapted from High Infatuation.

Start by roasting the squash and potato in a 400 degree oven for about an hour.

While the squash and potato are roasting, sauté the carrots, onion and garlic until the onion is soft.
Then add in the apple, vegetable broth and water and let it sit. 

Once the squash and potato are fork tender, remove the skin of the sweet potato.

Place the flesh of the squash and the potato into the pot with the carrot and apple mixture. 
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let everything cook for 30 minutes.
Blend with an immersion blender and then add in the spices.

Top with pepitas and enjoy!


Eat Consciously,

Faith












Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding


I know the name of this recipe is a mouthful, but I couldn't choose which key ingredient to leave out. The pumpkin makes this pudding so moist and the subtle spice of cinnamon and the chewiness of the raisins are in every mouthful. This bread pudding is healthy enough for breakfast (at least in the VanderMolen household) and was perfect for brunch on Brett's Birthday. We absolutely looooved my Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls so I thought this would be a fun twist on similar ingredients.

I've mentioned a few times that Brett and I are moving to NYC soon, so I've slowly been trying to clean out our freezer. I don't even know who put all that food in our freezer, but it needs to be eaten. One large item in there was a loaf of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread. We love that stuff, but go through it slowly, so I still had a good chunk frozen. 


I saw a recipe for a pumpkin bread pudding that included cinnamon and raisins and I thought it would be perfect to use our cinnamon raisin bread for a similar dish. I've never made bread pudding before, but it's really simple. If you've ever baked anything, you can make bread pudding. It's mainly just dry and wet ingredients mixed together and baked to perfection. Simple and delicious.


Pumpkin Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups (about 10 slices) Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread (or other brand)
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the Cinnamon Pecans:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 2-3 shakes of cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray 6 ramekins with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Rip up the bread into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl
  3. Place all the ingredients from almond milk to nutmeg in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread slices and stir well to combine. Let it sit for about ten minutes to allow the bread to soak up the liquid.
  5. Give the bread mixture one last mix and then evenly divide it among the 6 ramekins. 
  6. Bake the bread pudding for 40 minutes until the top of the bread is starting to get firm.
  7. About 5 minutes before the bread pudding is done prepare the cinnamon pecans by stirring the pecans, sweetener and cinnamon together in a bowl. Spread evenly across a lightly sprayed baking dish and place in the oven for 5 minutes to toast. 
  8. To serve, sprinkle the cinnamon pecans evenly on top of the individual bread puddings and dig in!
Notes: This is perfectly sweet for me, but if you want it sweeter for a dessert you can increase the agave nectar in the pumpkin mixture to 1/2 cup.

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan.


Rip up the slices of bread into bite size pieces and place them in a large bowl.

Blend up all the wet ingredients, from almond milk to nutmeg, until smooth.

Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread, stir to combine, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Divide among the 6 ramekins.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes and then top with the cinnamon pecans.

Dig in!


Eat Consciously,

Faith

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Shortcake: Perfect for a Mother's Day picnic!


I know you're probably thinking I'm confused about my holidays with the red, white and blue theme in the picture, but I did indeed make this Strawberry Coconut Shortcake recipe for Mother's Day last week. And man, it turned out great! 

I had been wanting to experiment with coconut oil and biscuits for a while, but I didn't know if savory dinner biscuits made with coconut oil would work. When I had to make a dessert for Mother's Day I jumped on the opportunity to try out strawberry shortcake with coconut oil. Paired with Coconut Milk Whipped Cream and sweetened strawberries it became an amazing combination perfect for a family picnic outside. 


The biscuits were moist and sweet and gave off the most amazing smell as they baked in the oven. They flattened out more than I thought while they were baking, but were still thick enough to slice and had lots of surface area to layer on tons of strawberries and whipped cream. 

I wasn't sure what my non-vegan family would think about the Coconut Milk Whipped Cream, but everybody loved it and keep reaching for more. That's when I know something I make is a winner. 


This recipe is perfect for spring and summer and will wow your friends. They'll never guess it's dairy free! 

Strawberry Coconut Shortcake
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:
  • 2 pints strawberries, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (+ more for dusting)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, chilled
  • 1 cup almond milk + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 recipe Coconut Milk Whipped Cream
Directions:
  1. In a bowl mix together the strawberries, lemon juice an sugar and set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut in chilled coconut oil until you get a course meal. Make sure there are no coconut oil chunks bigger than pea size.
  5. Pour in 1 cup of almond milk and stir to combine. 
  6. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and pour the dough onto the flour. If it's still to sticky, sprinkle more flour on top and continue to turn and add flour until you can handle it.
  7. Press the dough down until its about 1 1/2 inches thick. Use a biscuit cutter or a cup to cut out circular biscuits. Cut out as many biscuits as possible and then gather up the scraps, reform the dough and repeat until you get 8 (6 is fine too) biscuits. Brush the tops lightly with more almond milk and then place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake the biscuits for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops are starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  9. To serve, slice the cooled shortcakes in half, spoon strawberries on the bottom half of the biscuit, cover with the top half of the biscuit and dollop Coconut Milk Whipped Cream on top.
  10. Enjoy!
Notes: Adapted from Martha Stewart.


In a large bowl stir together the chopped strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients for the shortcake.

Add in the chilled coconut oil.

Cut in the oil with two knives or a pastry cutter.

Add in the almond milk and stir until dough forms.

Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and add more flour if it's too sticky.

Flatten the dough until it's about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Cut out 6-8 biscuits.

Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Brush with almond milk.

Bake for about 25 minute until the tops begin to turn golden brown.

Let the cool on a wire rack.


Assemble your Strawberry Coconut Shortcake and dig in!

Eat Consciously,

Faith