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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Banana Spelt Bread (100% Whole Grain)


This is a 100% organic, whole grain loaf of Spelt flour banana bread, Dearies! I baked this loaf for my Paula who often writes me with questions and/or helpful commentary. And in reference to helpful commentary, Ms. Paula recently got me thinking about this grain called 'Spelt' of which she is quite fond. Are you familiar with it, Dearies? If not, here is some info I pulled from Wikipedia:

Spelt (Triticum spelta) is a hexaploid species of wheat. Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and has found a new market as a health food.
Spelt has a complex history. It is a wheat species known from genetic evidence to have originated as a hybrid of a domesticated tetraploid wheat such as emmer wheat and the wild goat-grass Aegilops Tauschii. This hybridisation must have taken place in the Near East because this is where Ae. tauschii grows, and it must have taken place prior to the appearance of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum, a hexaploid free-threshing derivative of spelt) in the archeological record c. 8,000 years ago. Genetic evidence shows that spelt wheat can also arise as the result of hybridisation of bread wheat and emmer wheat.

If that all sounds a bit intense, Dearies, just know that Spelt is most likely a natural combination of Emmer Wheat and Wild Goat Grass. And, unlike the three major strains of wheat grown these days, Spelt does not have quite as long a history of being cultivated by man to a point where the gluten and other proteins have changed due to crop selection and other forms of genetic manipulation. Hence the gluten and other aspects of spelt are a bit more gentle and natural to some extent.


Oh, and, by the way, this banana bread is not just a worthy whole grain loaf. It is quite possibly the best banana bread I've ever made-moist, flavorful, and satisfying. Hence Spelt makes going whole grain quite easy, my lovelies. I hope you will give spelt a try if you haven't already...

-Here's the recipe-

1 3/4 Cups Organic, Whole Grain Spelt Flour
3/4 Cup Turbinado or White Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp. Sea Salt
2 Organic Bananas
3/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. Soy Milk*
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
1 Tsp. Red Wine or Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp. Oats
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
Dash of Sea Salt
1 3/4 Tbsp. Earth Balance or Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a bread pan with greased parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly and create a well in the center. Mush the bananas through your hands allowing the mush to fall into the well. Then also add the milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix very gently till homogeneous. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the oven on the middle rack while noting the time.

Now, place all of the topping ingredients in a small bowl and mix till thoroughly combined. Once the bread has baked for 18-19 minutes, gently pull it out of the oven and evenly sprinkle the topping over the loaf (it will still be a bit wet). Bake for another 40-45 minutes or until done in the middle.

Cool and enjoy with peanut butter or cream cheese!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Vegan Pastry Dough


This is a recipe that I've wanted to veganize for a while, Dearies. The original vegetarian recipe called "Enchanting Dough" was just so amazing and easy that I felt I just had to make this for my vegan lovelies.

It took me a while to get to this recipe on 'my list' of things to make that come from my own mind as well as other blogs and talented elves. My tardiness was mostly due to the fact that I'm trying to use less A.P. flour, but the truth of the matter is that 'the list' is a force to be dealt with, Dearies. I know you all have one-a force to be dealt with it is (smile)!

Here's the recipe:

*2 Cups All Purpose Flour
*Dash of Salt
*1 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (2 Sticks/16 Tbsp.)
*1/2 Cup WildWood Organic Soy Yogurt
*2 Tbsp. Cold Water

In a bowl, stir together flour and salt. Using a pasty blender or your hands, cut cold earth balance into flour until your mixture looks like a course meal with some pea sized pieces. Mix the water into the yogurt and add to the flour mixture. Mix gently till you get a nice dough.

Form the dough into a ball. On a floury surface, roll into an 18 by 9 inch rectangle. Take the ends and fold the dough crosswise into thirds forming a 6 by 9 inch rectangle. *Fold the dough into thirds again from the other side (to your right, so that you have a small square or even ball like shape). Wrap dough and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
*Folding dough into thirds simply means pulling one end towards the center and then pulling the other end's two corners towards the center and on top of the first fold. This creates layers, which in turn traps air and creates flakiness...

For pockets, cut the dough in half after chilling. Roll each half on a floured surface into a 12 inch square. Cut into 6 squares (or use a cutter for circles) and put about 3/4 tbsp. of filling in the center of each . Pull the ends toward each other to form whatever shape you like. Crimp the edges together with the end of a fork and brush with soy milk.

Bake on parchment paper at 390 for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 375 and bake for 12-15 more minutes or until golden.

p.s. We stuffed our pockets with pinto beans & Galaxy Jalapeno Jack Cheese and dipped them in the above salsa. Yum!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mexican Style Beluga Lentils

beluga lentils (TexMex Style)

Hello Dearies!

I hope that all of my wonderful lovelies are doing well. And, on that note, I just wanted to let you all know that things in the hollow are settling down a bit and becoming much more hollow-like again;-), which is quite a relief. Phew...!

I still haven't made anything marvelous or decadent yet, but I did make these beluga lentils the other day. The little container full of these black beauties was in my cabinet since my mother's last visit. She often drives down to visit with a carload of dry, organic goodies from The Dekalb Farmer's Market in Atlanta. Have you been there, Dearies? It's an amazing place-one writer with The NY Times wrote an article about the market, where he claimed there is nothing quite like it in the U.S.

Anyway, point is that I realized I neglect so many of the dried beans and legumes that my Mom lovingly gifts us, so I decided to go ahead and stew some. I didn't expect more than a healthful, wholesome meal. However, I ended up with a protein and spice mixture so scrumptious that I smacked my own rear and screamed 'Yee Haw!!!'.

I'm just kidding. I didn't do that. I'm not even a country music fan. The lentil meal was quite nice though, Dearies (smile).

Here's the recipe:

1 Cup Beluga Lentils (Rinsed)
3 3/4-4 Cups Water
1 Tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 Vegetable Bouillon
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tsp. Cumin
3/4 Tsp. Paprika
1/8 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/8 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Black Pepper and Hot Sauce to taste*

Place water, lentils, bay leaf, and bouillon in a saute pan and bring to a boil. Stir. Allow to boil hard for about 45 seconds to a minute. Turn the heat down to where it will keep the lentils at a low simmer and place a lid on the pan at an angle, so that steam can escape. Allow to simmer on low heat, stirring intermittently, for about 20-25 minutes. Once the lentils start to look plump and done, add the vinegar, dry spices, pepper, and hot sauce. Mix and remove from the heat.
*Hot sauce really adds something special to mix-it with the cumin is just wonderful!

Salt to taste and enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, or with just some slaw as pictured.

Yum Yum!

p.s. These are called 'Mexican', as Cauldron Boy says they taste like really good Mexican food?!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bonbons, Basil, & New Year's Promises!

DateSunflowerSeedBonbons 2re

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Oh, my lovelies, we have all entered into another 365 mystical days here on middle earth. In the realm of men, this usually involves some promises to ourselves. Many call these promises resolutions. They are often naughty habits we are certainly not going to do anymore or enchanting actions we will begin to take for the betterment of ourselves and maybe even the ones we love.

I have quite a few of these resolutions. Some are quite serious. For example, I have promised myself that I will no longer underestimate myself and, for that matter, others. You know, I'm just not going to allow myself to act like a naughty witch and be disappointed in myself later. I think you all know what I'm talking about here:-)

Most of my promises are culinary and health related though. I'll spare you all of them, but, as you may know, I have a little issue with sweets. I love them-any kind, anywhere. So I really need to make sure that we concentrate on having mostly wholesome sweets around the house and ready for work lunches. Hence regularly making healthful, wholesome sweets is one of my culinary resolutions for 2011.

One sweet that has really helped me are these bonbons I found on one of my favorite blogs. I'm reposting them due to how much they have aided me in controlling myself and also because I tweaked the recipe to include a less expensive, super healthful protein as well as high fiber, starchy oatmeal. The flavors have also been adjusted a bit to include chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange juice. They are just delicious, and I can't eat anything for at least 3-4 hours when I've had about two of them. They are just satisfying and really amazing!

Here's the recipe:
1 Packed Cup of Dates (Deglet Nour)
3/4 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds (Toasted)
1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1 Tbsp. Raw Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup*
1 Tbsp. Orange Juice
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
For Rolling: Cocoa, Coconut, Sesame Seeds, Powdered Sugar, Crushed Pistachio, Etc...
*Honey substituted for either of the sweeteners above will cause for a somewhat greasy ball, so beware...

Place sunflower seeds in a dry pan and toast on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a food processor, place the oatmeal and whirl for about 8-10 seconds. Add cooled sunflower seeds and whirl till the seeds and oatmeal become a fine meal. Then add the dates, cocoa, cinnamon, agave, and vanilla. Whirl till the dates are broken down and everything is very well mixed-this was about 20 seconds for me. You will notice the mixture is dry and not quite coming together. Measure out 1 Tbsp. of orange juice and whirl about half of it into the mix. See if the mixture comes together. If not, add the other half tbsp.

Wet your hands slightly with water before rolling (orange blossom or rose water are really nice, but regular water is fine too). Take a piece of the sticky dough and roll into balls that are about the size of a quarter or a bit larger if you like. After being rolled, immediately toss each ball in cocoa or your desired coating.
p.s. If you are tossing in cocoa or powdered sugar, be sure to tap off the excess powder! One can inhale it...

On a gardening note, Dearies, I want to show off that I am successfully achieving one of my goals, which is to eat more local and out of my own yard. Which brings me to the Cluckfrey's Vegan Chicken sandwich we ate today. It was delicious. Most importantly though was that the lettuce, basil, and even the avocado came out of my own front yard. Aren't you proud of me, my lovelies?!

I hope so, and I hope that all of my best elves and even trolls are able to achieve their goals/resolutions for this year of 2011!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day & A Witchy V-Day Pie!

This post is for my Matt's Blog Hop over at FaveDiets Blog. Matt likes to compile recipes that are healthier versions of so many of our favorite comfort foods. Whether they be lower in fat & sugar or higher in fiber & nutrient content, Matt is all over recipes that help the waist line while fulfilling our natural human cravings for the foods we associate with comfort and deliciousness.

So I made this lovely Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. Predictably, it's just what a witch would make on Valentine's Day. I'm fully aware of this, Dearies (smile). However, it really is such a delicious and healthful way to use that last can of pumpkin you've had sitting in your cupboard since this last holiday season. A very February-like way to use it at that, my Lovelies!

Here's the recipe:

First, make your easy Oat & Pecan Gluten-Free Crust, push it into a 10 inch tart pan, and stick it in the fridge till you're ready to pour your filling into it.

Second, melt 3/4 cup of dark chocolate over a double boiler on low heat. While it's melting mix the following in another bowl:
1 15 oz. Can Organic Pumpkin
2/3 Cup Turbinado Sugar
1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
2 Organic Eggs
2/3 Cup Organic 2% Milk
1/2 Tsp. Fresh Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/8 Tsp. Cloves
1/8 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Real Vanilla Extract

Place pumpkin in a mixing bowl with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Mix. Then add the sugar, eggs, milk, & vanilla. Whisk until smooth and add the melted chocolate while continuing to whisk till uniform in color. Pour into chilled crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven & allow to cool on a wire rack for at least three hours. Then chill. Serve with whipped cream, berries, or whatever you like!

**Oh, and be sure to enter my contest on the post below, Dearies. The prize is a $65 gift certificate to The CSN Stores. The drawing for the winner will be this coming Friday the 18th, so comment on that post now for a chance to win!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spicie Foodie 2010 Roundup (Special Edition)!

Nancy's Round Up

*Tonight is your last chance to send Nancy over at Spicie Foodie what you feel is your best recipe or creation for 2010. Click here to get over to Spicie Foodie and be part of the fun. Instructions and everything you need are all in the post. It's too easy, so don't miss out, Dearies!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars


Oh Dearies! I hope you all had a nice, relaxing holiday weekend.

One highlight of our holiday was an enchanting batch of organic pumpkin cheese bars. They were so delicious that the whole pan was gone in less than 24 hours. Plus, they are almost too easy to make. Your food processor will do most of the work for you;-)

Here is the recipe:

-Pumpkin Cheese Bars-

1 Cup Organic A.P. Flour
1 Cup Raw Pecans
2 Packets Instant Oatmeal*
1/3 Cup Turbinado Sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 Cup Organic, Unsalted Butter (1 Stick)
*I used two individual sized packets of Publix brand organic instant oatmeal.

Pumpkin Cheese Filling:
1 15 oz Can Organic Pumpkin Puree
2/3 of an 8 oz Pack of Neufchatel cheese**
2 Organic Eggs
3/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. Turbinado Sugar
2 Tbsp. Agave Syrup
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
**If you are unfamiliar with Neufchatel, it is a lot like cream cheese but with about 30% less fat. It is located right next to the cream cheese in your grocer's cooler!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease an 8 by 8 by 2 1/2 inch square Pyrex baking dish.

For the crust, place the flour, sugar & butter in the food processor and pulse for about 7-10 seconds. Then add the pecans and 1 pack of oatmeal. Pulse till the mixture starts to come together and look moist. Add the other pack of oatmeal-just pulse it in for about 4-5 seconds. Push 2/3 of the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish (put the other 1/3 on a plate in the fridge) and place in the oven. Allow to bake for about 11 minutes. Remove and cool for at least 5 minutes before adding the filling. By the way, do not wash the processor. Just move to the next step below...

For the filling, place all of the filling ingredients in the food processor and spin till smooth. Pour into the crust once it has cooled for at least 5 minutes. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Then pull the dish out and sprinkle with the other 1/3 of the crust. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the top looks shiny and the middle looks about the same as the sides in terms of texture and lift.

Allow to cool for at least 2-3 hours.