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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Miso Glazed Eggplant – A fitting end to an experiment

duskSeptember has been a good month.  I’m starting to feel like I can really love September, if the looming threat of snow and cold weather wasn’t apparent in every brown leaf scattered across my doormat.

I’ve been able to get in a lot of great runs so far this month and while I’ve yet to topple the 5 mile mark (I do get really close with 4.5 mile jaunts), I’m not worried about breaking or setting any records.  The random surprise deer spotting, the (sometimes) invigorating music beating away each stride and the crisp air cooling my breath make running one of my favorite ways to unwind.  The spectacular summer evenings are also a good reason why I am an evening runner.  🙂

dorayakiThe whole “what can we eat?” question is also starting to become clear.  Here’s what we think we’ll stick by until further notice (or headaches get worse, whichever comes first).

  1. Gluten is “okay” IF (and that’s a huge, Kilimanjaro, IF) we only have it rarely and in small doses.  Pizza one night a month is fine.  Sandwiches and other gluten items from restaurants once a month or so is “okay”.  I know that large doses of gluten sets my tummy aching and even small doses make me crave like I’m going to have twins for days afterward.  I’d rather not crave or ache so we’re keeping the gluten to “special” times (aka restaurant trips where non-gluten items are hard to come by or that piece of cake begging to be eaten). Our house, though, is gluten free.  And you know what?  That’s actually just fine with me. 🙂
  2. Soy is “fine”.  Neither of us saw any reaction to soy, so it’s back on the menu!
  3. Dairy is “okay”.  My hypothesis about feeling blue once eating dairy didn’t pan out the other times I’ve had it, so I’m bringing it back in.  We’re not chugging it down like we used to (now we get through 1/2 a gallon of almond milk a week vs the gallon of milk), but we’re having things like yogurt or the odd slice of cheese here and there. We don’t really react to it, but I’d like to keep it in moderation.
  4. Chocolate is “OUT”.  We’re going to give it one more test later this month, but the hubby’s had a “test” day twice now and both times have landed him with 3 day migraines.  😥 That seems pretty definitive to me, but chocolate is the hubby’s first love and it’s hard to give up.  Personally, I don’t react at all except to the craving the sugar inspires.  It’s fine with me if we do give it up, but it does make baking non-chocolate goodies a bit harder. I didn’t quite realize how much chocolate based food there is out there.  We tried to go to a local coffee shop to have an iced drink and NONE of the options were without chocolate.  :/ Still, I’m managing to bake yummies for us that fit all of our diet needs.

This little experiment is about to come to a close and I’m so glad we did it.  Our menus are more varied (I made delicious gluten free dorayaki for dessert the other day) and we’re actually eating and buying better balanced food (like the miso glazed eggplant below).  I’m especially happy to see the hubby getting more “normal” headaches from time to time (like stress, dust, etc), than the repeated migraines.  People might think we’re crazy, but at least our lives are happier for it.

misoeggplantWe don’t have a lot planned this month, but that’s okay. I’m soaking up as much cool air as I can before the weather turns and scarves come out.  It’s also pie season soon, so I’ll be brushing up on my gluten free crust making!  🙂

Miso Glazed Eggplant

(Note: Recipe is adapted from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning.  All of the ingredients I used in this recipe were gluten free and it came out beautifully.)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large eggplant or 4 Japanese eggplants

Directions

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Cut eggplant into 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.  Quarter each slice.
  3. Turn on oven broiler.  Move rack close to the top of the oven.
  4. Place eggplant cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Brush half of the glaze over eggplant and place in oven.  Broil for about 5-10 minutes until it begins to brown.  Watch closely as it might burn.
  6. Turn eggplant slices over and brush with the remaining glaze.  Broil for about 10 minutes, again, watching carefully so as not to burn.  Once nicely browned, take out the pan and serve eggplant with rice.


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Mediterranean Tabbouleh Hummus Dip – Gluten Free

Blue cupcakes, curely wurleys and jammie dodgers.

Throw in a trivia game, big screens and a lot of people and we’re talking Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere!

What did you think?

I liked Capaldi.  Obviously, I’ll have to see more to get an idea of how he’ll develop, but in all, his performance was what kept me watching.  The rest of it?  Not sure I really cared an awful lot. :/ I really wanted to see more Capaldi and less of everyone else, even though there were some really funny scenes (Strax’s fall and Jenny’s posing scenes got a big laugh out of our group).

This was definitely an episode that was FOR the audience.  It spoke directly to us and it wasn’t ashamed to do so.  We were Clara as she  watched this new (older) man who was “not our boyfriend” anymore dash about and act so much differently and yet familiarly like the “old” Doctor (the phone call scene was well done and sweet).  It told us that we need to accept change, to help and be there for others as they go through change and that relationships aren’t just one dimensional.

It told us to re-evaluate who we are and to question our expectations.

I quite liked that. 🙂 It was refreshing, maybe a bit preachy at times, but very much befitting a first episode.

And the intro sequence.  Can we just say it was fantastic? 😀 I LOVE the intro and while the original black and white intros are still the best, in my book, this one was right up there as one of my top intros.  SO much better than the time tunnel effect.  Blah!

I took this wonderful recipe from Joanne’s website to the party and it was delicious!  I changed it up a tad by using quinoa instead of the bulgur and I omitted the mint (not keen on mint) and swapped out half the lemon for half a lime. 🙂 It was a fast and really pretty dish to bring to the party and one of the healthiest items at the table!

hummus

Bring on the Doctor!  I think we’re ready to see how he stands up to the Daleks. 🙂

Mediterranean Tabbouleh Hummus Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water with a dash of salt
  • 12 oz container of regular hummus (Joanne uses Pacific but I used Lilly’s)
  • 12 oz container of roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped parsley
  • 2 roma tomatoes, deseeded

Directions

  1. Add water, salt, and quinoa to a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook about 15 mintues (or however long your packet says).  Set aside and let cool (I popped mine in the fridge to speed up the process).
  2. Mix together chopped parsely, juices, tomatoes and quinoa.
  3. In a serving dish (about the size of an 8×8 pan), layer regular hummus, half the tabbouleh, the roasted red pepper hummus and then the rest of the tabbouleh.  Serve with your choice of chip.