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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Gluten Free Lemon Chia seed muffins

lemonpoppy

Some things about elimination diets that you should know:

  • You might find that you haven’t eliminated enough.  *sighs*  We’re 7 weeks into our elimination diet and the hubby has added soy and chocolate to his list.  The headaches, while not worse, aren’t really better so we’re taking out a few more possible culprits.  It was always a possibility that dairy and gluten weren’t the sole offenders, but it’s even more restrictive with the addition of soy.  Chocolate is easy to spot (although a LOT more painful to give up – bye, bye chocolate chip cookies!), but soy is sneakier (especially if you’re wanting to eat out).  Still, we’re fighting the good fight and it’s another 2 weeks before we start to reintroduce foods slowly to see how we react.
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Fight-O!

  • Everyone will think you’re crazy and they’ll ALL tell you (or give you “the look”). o_O Some might even make tasteless jokes about not being able to eat anything and starving to death.  Ha.  Ha.  Others might give you their horror stories of not eating such and such or give you dietary advice. In fact, be prepared to be looked at like wierdos for trying to do something about your health.  Only those that have gone through it are supportive about your endeavors and everyone else will continue to ask you if you can eat cake when you’ve expressly said no.  Again.

Then there are the wait staff who ask you if it’s a “real allergy” or if it’s, and here they trail off.  As if it’s something they can’t even bring themselves to mention.  Personal choice.  Diet.  Fad.  Or, in other words, just weird.  Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I’d like to think that it doesn’t really matter whether I’m “actually” allergic or doing this for my own good – the food should be prepared with the utmost care.   So far we’ve explained that we’re trying to determine if we are allergic and everyone smiles and walks away with our order.  Call me paranoid, but I don’t trust those smiles.

zsofi

Eating on the wild side.

  • Food will become a joy again.  You’ll get yourself out of that cooking rut of recipes and suddenly you’re making quinoa with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes or gluten free moussaka for dinner and loving every nutritious bite.  Food hasn’t been this varied since I overhauled my diet years ago to combat my cholesterol.   I’m cooking a LOT more than I used to, but it’s all been so delicious and we’ve both enjoyed our meals.  I feel so much more freedom now than before.  And that’s odd because you’d think it’d be the opposite.  You know, like how everyone keeps reminding me.  🙄

lemonpoppy2

Here’s a recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins I made today.  They have a great crumb, they’re moist and the chia seeds do an excellent job of subbing for poppy.  We didn’t notice a difference and we loved them paired with the bright lemon.

I used a homemade flour blend that consisted of:

  • 700 g Brown Rice Flour
  • 250 g Potato starch
  • 50 g Tapioca starch

The blend worked really well in this recipe, but go ahead and try any gluten free flour you have on hand.

Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

(Notes:  Some measurements are in grams since I found it easier to do my tweaking with the weights rather than with tablespoons.  Original recipe was for Orange Poppy seed mini muffins in the William-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book.  I tweaked it so much that it hardly resembles the original.)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 280 g gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup splenda
  • 25 g vegan butter + 65 g applesauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended.  Add sugars, butter, applesauce, and milk and stir until mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Pour dry into the liquids bowl and mix carefully – when dry is almost incorporated into the wet, add chia seeds and mix until incorporated.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin, bake for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a cooling rack and drizzle with icing made from powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Cool and munch.  🙂

 

 


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Happy Anniversary! You fool…

April isn’t my favorite month. Even though the flowers start to pop out of the cold ground and the sun begins to thaw frozen joints, April is fickle.  Temps fluctuate like hot flashes during menopause and the rain creeps up on you from behind a bright sun.  It’s not the worst month (February gets that honor), but it isn’t all that.

It starts off with fun and games – I pulled a prank on both my parents with a “look what we bought!” pic of a random car.  They both fell hard and my mother even tried zooming in the pic I had text to see the odd sticker on the bumper.  Little did I know that my “April fool’s!” was a bit too spot on.

I was really excited about our upcoming 10th anniversary.  We had a cabin rented, a hot tub awaiting us and a LOT of food packed for a four day break.  I couldn’t wait to sit cuddled on the couch in front of the large screen tv and watching the latest Sherlock episode.  We had been holding back from watching it for our trip.  The cabin promised secluded trails and we both liked the idea of being away from it all.

Except the gods of April had other plans. 😦

Those plans didn’t involve a warm log cabin with heaping plates of warm saag.  They didn’t include Cary Grant movies or long dips in the hot tub.   Instead, they involved a two day stay in a town we never heard of, a broken timing belt, and a damaged engine with a freak snow storm tossed in for fun.  Ha. Ha.

Happy Anniversary!

hotelWe tried to make the best of it as we waited for the bad news from the mechanic.  There was a thrift store within walking distance of our hotel where we picked up some cheap paperbacks.  The fried cheesecake was also helping.  Just a bit.  😉

dessertSo after a nail-biting hour trip back home in a car with only 3 cylinders and no trip and no hot tub, I do get the chance to say:  I got a new car for my anniversary!
Course,  that statement comes with a few caveats:  a new car means a dead, old car.  A new car means a new monthly bill and a new car means bye, bye house down-payment.

Well, they do say that April is a time of change and renewal.  I just didn’t think it took it so seriously.

priusMeet Luna!  Our new Prius C.  I wasn’t sure about the purchase at the time, but now I love her.  Enough to actually name her!  We picked Luna as a name due to her “moonglow” special coloring.  It’s actually just sparkly white, but we thought Luna fit her.  Our old car still needs fixing or trading, but at least we can tackle that when the whirlwind that was April settles down.

May, however, is looking up!  Starting it off with a huge plate of millionaire bars certainly doesn’t hurt.  These were all the rage the last time we went to visit England and I had wanted to try out the recipe, but was scared off by the ingredients.  While the 4 sticks of butter is still so scary I try not to think about it, the small 1 inch square pieces and sharing most of them with coworkers makes them a bit better.

Course, hearing that these were the best my hubby has ever eaten made them an instant winner!  🙂

millionaireThe recipe involved homemade caramel and shortbread.  Sounds daunting, right?  Actually, it was really easy.  This was one of the easiest bars I’ve ever made, even if it did involve three steps.  Just mix, pour and set.  They were so soft yet firm, sweet yet mild and so delicious that I put this on my “must repeat” list of desserts.

You can find multiple versions of the same recipe all over the web.  I used this one with great success:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.  The only changes I made was to use half semi-sweet chocolate and half dark chocolate in the top layer.  This gave the layer more weight without adding more sweetness.

In like a lamb and out like a lion?  They’re not kidding!  Still, with April showers we do get May flowers, so hopefully we’ll get some brilliant blooms.  It’s my favorite month, after all. 🙂