iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Vegan Baking Butter

butter3

I never thought I’d be the kind of person who would make her own butter.  When there are countless varieties available at the store with a range of prices to fit any sized pocket, there really isn’t any justification for making your own except for the thrill.  Or if you owned your own cow and wanted to get back to the basics.  Mooo. 🙂

Our house is now vegan.  And not quite by choice. The hubby has found that dairy prompts headaches so we’ve given it up in house.  Going shopping for dairy alternatives felt odd since I found myself looking for a “vegan” label.  I’m not vegan. I’m definitely a vegetarian (and have been for over half my life), but I can quite happily drink milk and eat toasted cheese sandwiches. Eating vegan was inseparable in my mind with “being” vegan.  I almost felt like I had to cut my hair and invest in a new, hip wardrobe so that when people saw me they’d say “ah, I bet she’s vegan”.

In a lot of ways, I am vegan.  I try not to buy chemicals that are tested on animals and I am a vegetarian because of my love of animals.  I’m not quite sure how my idea of vegan became a lifestyle that fit a type of person, but it had.  So I felt a bit like an imposter buying my vegan and gluten free food.  I felt like someone would point me out and say “she’s a fake!” and I’d have to shuffle away in shame with my basket of almond milk and daiya cheese.

But here I am, making my own vegan butter.  butter2

And loving it. 🙂

I found myself seeking out a recipe when I found my trip to Whole Foods cut off and hence my source of Buttery Sticks.  I didn’t trust plain margarine for anything and my only alternative was to buy the sticks at a huge markup.  So I went cheap and looked around online for ideas.

I found this recipe on Vegan Baking and after finding a jar of soy lecithin in my local health foods store, I whipped up a batch in less than 10 minutes.  I then went on and made more batches to freeze for future use.  It’s easy, tastes “clean” and bakes up really well.  I even made it to go in hubby’s Victoria Sponge birthday cake with great success!  (It makes a yummy frosting and whips well.)

butterI did adapt it slightly from the original recipe. I use slightly less soy lecithin since I find the taste a bit overpowering.  I double the recipe each time I make it since I find that it stores well in the freezer and you get more in one go.  I also just use a silicone muffin pan to make my rounds of butter since it’s the only silicone pan I have on hand and it works really well (they just pop right out once frozen).

Please see the original post here for all of the interesting details about vegan butter.  It’s very informative and made me more confident about making my own.  In all honesty, though, it’s one of the easiest things to make.  I’ve yet to have it fail on me and I’ve tweaked the amounts of oil, salt and even soy milk with no ill effects.  It really is fool-proof. 🙂

Vegan Baking Butter (Coconut Oil Based)

Ingredients

1/2 cup soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup refined coconut oil, melted but not hot
2 tbsp vegetable oil (you can use other oils such as olive, canola, etc)
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Directions

  1. Mix soy milk, salt and vinegar and let sit about 10 min to thicken/curdle.
  2. In a food processor, add oils and process for about 30 seconds, or until blended.  Add milk mixture, soy lecithin and xanthan gum.  Process again until mixture if thoroughly mixed (it will thicken to like a pudding texture).
  3. Scoop butter into a silicone mold.  Freeze for 10 minutes, pop out and store in an airtight bag or container.  I freeze mine but you can keep it in the fridge for a softer consistency (but it will still be solid).


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Scratched Lenses

“Merry Christmas!” says a smiling face as I take my packet I bought for a good friend. The carefully chosen doll was weighed against the other items in the shop and had won out by a cuteness factor of ten.  It was so cute, I was tempted to keep it myself.  🙂 My startled gaze creates an odd juxtaposition with the presents in my arms.  While I obviously had Christmas on the mind, I didn’t seem to have wholly absorbed the fact that Christmas was, in fact, only 2 days away.  Mind and body or even mind and mind do not always align.

Camera360_2014_12_23_052954_jpgWe’re spending our holidays at my in-laws in a country not my own.  Everything is lovely, familiar and new.  We’ve visited a few times now, but this is the first time where I’ve felt confident about going out on my own and exploring the town.  The winding roads that dead-end, the narrow sidewalks and magically appearing cars around corners no longer frighten me like the times past.  Striding down the street purposefully made me feel more like I was at home than most anything else.

Camera360_2014_12_23_053533_jpgJet-lag means tiredness and odd wake-up times, but it also means a giant hammer striking against your fragile self-esteem.  Inadequacies are hard things to ignore when your rose tinted glasses are scratched blind.

But they’re so much easier to deal with when you’re able to breathe and take them off for a bit.  The world is full of bumps and slight dips but nature and people have a way of filling them in with color, life and novelty.  When we’re running about our day-to-day lives we miss the details.  The things we do notice, ripped up roads, piles of leaves and broken verges are usually taken with a cringe, a frown and a general air of obstruction.  What ought to be beautiful, our own lives, are relegated to the mundane and chore-list of life.

And the only thing I can do is remind myself to lift the scratched lenses from my eyes.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074327_jpgAnd finally see.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074123_jpgIf only for a bit.


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Joyful Cookies

cookies

I struggled this morning to find the right words for this post. My sentences came out sounding a bit trite and overused like  I was part zen master and part overenthusiastic store clerk in my attempts to sound pithy, witty.  In a lot of ways, I was self-editing with a vengeance I wouldn’t wish upon my least favorite authors.

So, you’re getting just me.  🙂 A bit clumsy.  A bit rambling and not at all witty. (And not a cookie recipe in sight.) I’m the person who thinks of comebacks a day later and force those around me to hear them just so I can have my moment to shine (belatedly and not at all when it counted, but still shine).

This year has been equal parts wonderful and horrible. We’ve had to restructure our lives, our finances and in some ways, our friends to make each day fit together into some kind of crazy puzzle picture of normality.  But we’re building the puzzle slowly and together and for that, it’s been one very happy year.  Those horrible days will slowly turn into laughs and while I don’t know what’s ahead for us, the good days are captured and displayed on our walls, our phones and memories to help get us through.

As they say, “Turn that frown upside down.”

Oscar Wilde would be proud.  😉

Here’s to sharing your cookie days with someone you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!