Monthly Archives: January 2010

Making granola.

With so many dietary restrictions, it’s not always easy to find cereal we can both eat. I have a particularly hard time because I can’t have any nuts or sunflower seeds. We have usually eaten Kashi GoLean Crunch, but since Al is avoiding wheat it is no longer an option for him. That’s why I decided to make my own granola for once. I’ve done it before, but it’s been a while. I am often a bit skeptical because many recipes use a lot of oil, but not this one! It still has some sugar, of course, but it’s not really that sweet.

I started out with this recipe from David Leibovitz (originally Nigella Lawson’s), but made some changes to the actual content to make it nut-free. I halved it, and used oats, shredded unsweetened coconut, sesame seeds, some chia seeds and brown sugar (not very much). I added ginger (a full tsp) and cinnamon. For the wet ingredients, I used oil and apple sauce as directed, but I added a little bit extra of the brown rice syrup instead of the honey.

I baked it at 300F for 3×10 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to avoid burning. Once it was nice and toasty, I mixed in dried cranberries, raisins, and some chopped caramelized ginger. It’s a really lovely, not too sweet, crunchy granola. I think I could have added even more ground ginger for an extra zing, will try that next time!

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A simple bento.

As will be apparent from my lack of updates, term has begun and I am quite busy. I do cook interesting things every so often still, but usually at a time of day when it is impossible to take proper pictures. Natural light is key.. At least today I made a relatively photogenic lunch, so here’s a bento box at last.

There is leftover brown basmati rice, a tofu lentil burger (homemade) sandwiched with some mango chutney, some slices of cucumber, and finally a cupcake mold filled with low-fat ricotta, some blueberries and a bit of honey. It was quite satisfying!

Gluten-free vegan “grown-up” mac and cheese.

I was determined not to let our dietary restrictions get in the way of my craving for mac and cheese (a rare thing), so I didn’t… I usually make mac and cheese (the dairy kind) with butternut squash this way, to get some color and extra vegetables. It really brightens up the cheese sauce. I am pleased to say that this tastes nothing like soy milk (not generally a fan…)

Gluten-free vegan “grown-up” mac and cheese, step by step (didn’t measure much)

Make rice pasta (I had rotini).

Cook half a small butternut squash (halved) in the microwave, about 7 minutes.

Make a white sauce as follows:

  • 1.5 T Earth Balance
  • 1.5 T olive oil
  • 2.5 T Mochiko rice flour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • unsweetened soy milk
  • nutmeg, salt, pepper

Melt the butter and oil, squeeze garlic gloves into it. Add rice flour and stir to a paste. Start adding soy milk slowly until you get a thick, white sauce.

Mash the butternut squash and add to the sauce. Also add a handful of nutritional yeast and check the seasoning.

Add the cooked pasta and two chopped scallions, stir. Enjoy!

Lime pie.

I just made this pie, with gluten free ginger snaps, and it was amazingly delicious and simple. Highly recommended!

We are going to try to eat gluten free for a couple of weeks and see if we notice any difference. I read this article yesterday which made me think. It seems like there are a lot of un-diagnosed gluten intolerant people in this world and that it is quite common to be both gluten and lactose intolerant at once. Gluten intolerance may be the underlying cause of a lot of other health problems, so it’ll be interesting to see if avoiding it makes any difference for  us.

Gluten free baking will be a bit of a challenge… Gluten free bread is quite odd, and often uses eggs as a binder, which I don’t eat. So I don’t think there will be that many baked goods during this experiment. But that lime pie sure did satisfy my sweet tooth!

Impossible pumpkin pie.

I recently featured a riff on a cookie recipe from the blog FatFree Vegan, and what do you know, here I have made another of the lovely Susan V’s creations. While her recipes are not always actually fat free, she cooks without adding any fat in the form of oil, butter etc. Her food is also, of course, vegan, and even occasionally gluten free. What is left then, you may ask? And could it possibly taste good?

The answer to the first question depends (in this case, mainly pureed pumpkin), and the answer to the second question is that it does. I saw this recipe  for crustless pumpkin pie in her archives a while back, I think around Thanksgiving, and was instantly intrigued. I never got around to making it, because I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. I still actually don’t have a bunch of them in the house, so I made some changes.

The original recipe can be found here. I totally fudged the measurements as I very roughly translated them to metric, but nothing went wrong.. I didn’t have egg replacer around, or corn starch, so I used 2 relatively heaped tbsp of potato starch to replace both, and dropped the water. I also only had pumpkin pie mix, not plain pumpkin puree, so I cut most of the sugar and spices. It turned out well all the same and is almost simpler than the original… And practically healthy!

Impossible pumpkin pie

  • 3 dl soy milk (I only had sweetened Silk. It’s not called vanilla but it definitely tastes like it)
  • 2 heaped tbsp potato starch
  • 0.5 tbsp ap flour (meaning my spin is not entirely gluten free)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 dl pumpkin pie mix
  • 1 dl rice flour (I used Mochiko sweet rice flour which is what I had around)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 dl brown sugar
  • seasoning? I added a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Whisk the soy milk, starch and vanilla well. Add pumpkin and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix it all very well. The original recipe is made in a blender, which sounds like a great idea, I just don’t have one.. Check the seasoning, adjust to taste.

Pour into a buttered and floured pan. It should be round, I just didn’t have one… So mine doesn’t quite look like pumpkin pie. But it tasted like it! Bake for about 60 mins at 350F. Chill properly before attempting to cut it.

It will magically form a crust and be custardy in the middle — very very good and almost healthy 🙂

A healthy green and purple bowl.

Fresh, a well-known Toronto vegetarian restaurant (with three locations), made its name with its wholesome and delicious rice bowls. They serve up a wide selection of bowls of brown rice with different healthy toppings (curries, vegetables..). They are certainly lovely, but I personally think that they are so simple to make at home that it is almost a shame to pay for them… This is my homemade version — a nice and quick vegan dinner.  They can be done any which way you like, with whatever you have in the fridge.

I used a mix of brown and purple rice mostly for aesthetic purposes, although purple rice is also very healthy (while it may have less fiber, purple/dark blue foods contain anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants). Even with just about 1/4 purple rice, the color is intense and pretty. Purple rice can be expensive and difficult to find, so it’s not a bad idea to dilute it in this way (I bought it cheap in my local Korean supermarket, but I have struggled to find it before, and I have never seen it in Norway).

As toppings I used steamed broccoli, edamame and avocado. The edamame provides protein (achieving protein complementarity along with the rice), and the avocado has healthy fats, so this makes for a very wholesome, and tasty, vegan meal.

To give some flavor, I made a tahini miso sauce/dressing as follows:

  • 1 scant tbsp miso
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • water
  • orange juice
  • pepper

Mix miso and tahini. Thin progressively with water and orange juice to achieve desired taste and texture. Add only 1-2 tsp at the time and stir. The texture will change from rough and grainy to runny and smooth. Add pepper. Pour over the bowl.