A Fresh Dille

bananas for babycakes.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on February 28, 2011

After our last trip to Babycakes, my sister and I were waiting all week for the bananas to brown so we could recreate their delicious banana bread. I have yet to purchase the book, as I am trying to make it through my other vegan cookbooks first, but that didn’t stop me from searching for the recipe online. Erin, the Babycakes genius, shared her favorite recipe on the bakery’s blog, however, the books recipe varied slightly. Referring to another favorite banana bread recipe, the Veganomicon Lower Fat Banana Bread, I decided to go with the recipe with more flour (the books version), so we could have a larger loaf with more banana. Instead of Gluten Free flour, we used Organic Spelt, which meant we left out the xanthan gum since it wasn’t needed. I also used coconut milk yogurt instead of the milk, and only used 1/3 cup instead of the recommended 2/3. I am more drawn to a denser banana loaf than a cake-y texture, so I was in favor of using coconut oil (in the babycakes recipe) instead of unsweetened applesauce (in the Veganomicon recipe) to lower the fat. We figured there was enough fruit in the mix, considering we used 4 large bananas to get the 1 and 1/2 cups of mashed banana.

After impatiently waiting by the stove to remove the heavenly smelling loaf, I had to wait twenty more minutes to flip it out of the pan. Those were difficult moments.

Once the first bite hit my mouth, I was perfectly satisfied. The texture and taste were ideal, everything I imagine banana bread to be.

The vegan chocolate chips really bring it to a whole other level. You should make it. I would recommend the cookbook on the banana recipe alone. But, if you aren’t sold yet, try the banana bread from the blog or the the book recipe.

As the loaf dwindles, I savor each piece, but am anxious about what tasty treat to make next. Spelt flour continues to impress me, but I am interested in trying some new flours soon. This recipe using Kamut flour looks amazing.

you have a favorite flour? I am not gluten-free, obviously since I use spelt flour, but I am more and more interested in gluten-free flours like coconut, garbanzo, etc. I’d love a suggestion of what type to try next.

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veganomicon & nut butter love.

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on October 6, 2010

I just can’t help myself. Maybe it is because I spent all summer out of the kitchen, but baking is reigning supreme over my recent days. Today it was this beauty.

Banana Bread is such a comfort food. Still working on the bag of vegan chocolate chips, this became a walnut, dried cherry, and chocolate chip Banana Bread. Instead of Amanda’s delicious Blissful Banana Bread that I made (and loved) before, I went with a classic favorite from Veganomicon. If you want to find the recipe and are without the wonderful cookbook, check out The Baking Bird post here where Kylie also raves about the recipe. I am pretty sure I remember VeggieGirl being a fan as well. Always opting for more banana than less, I went with three incredibly ripe ones on my counter top. The recipe differs from Amanda’s because it incorporates applesauce to lower the fat, but you can’t tell because it still has 1/4 cup oil. For my flour, I used Whole Wheat Pastry until I ran out. Luckily, I had some lingering quick oats to make up the last 1/2 cup of dry ingredients.

So really, make this Lower Fat Banana Bread recipe. I promise you will love it. If you are like me and prefer to have a moist (ick, I know it isn’t a choice word) loaf, only cook it for 45 minutes and use 3 small to medium-sized bananas. Oh, and please don’t forget about the molasses. Not only do they add some warmth and unique flavor, but they provide much-needed calicium, iron, and other grand nutrients (read about it here).

With the Veganomicon cookbook open and some already cooked chickpeas in the fridge, I turned to the Chickpea Cutlets page and whipped up a batch uber-quick. Here is a photo of them formed, but before I pressed them down to form cutlets with my palms.

Although the recipe claims to make four cutlets, I always end up with more. The only thing I swapped up from the original was using our fresh rosemary instead of the dried thyme that was called for.

I swear these aren’t baked goods. Apparently V thought they were tasty with peanut butter, but I wouldn’t recommend it. They are a savory snack or meal component that taste superb with bbq sauce, marinara, gravy, etc. I made a sandwich to go with some freshly made pesto, tomatoes V picked today, and baby spinach on sprouted bread.

Other things happening in my kitchen today:

I made a double batch of Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter. YUM!

They key to making your own nut butters is definitely patience. I wanted to make coconut butter as well today, but my patience just wasn’t there.

I did make Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter though.

Coco-Cashew Hazelnut Butter

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 T maple syrup (organic grade b is best)
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • T coconut oil or coconut butter (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your nuts throughout. Roast nuts for 10-15 mins, stirring frequently to prevent burn. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Pour nuts into food processor with remaining ingredients. Process for about 10 mins, frequently scraping down sides to evenly mix.

This recipe still needs some tweaking, maybe some more cocoa. As a former nutella addict (hello, netherlands 2006), I really hope to create a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. There are a few recipes throughout the web (like this one) but they all seem to use confectioners sugar. Maybe I should just buy some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter already…

Other things:

-What is your favorite kind of quickbread? Pumpkin, banana, zucchini, etc? I’ve always been the biggest banana bread lover, but this pumpkin gingerbread by Angela looks completely drool-worthy. I am thinking that must be next and what a coincidence that miss Kelsey made it today.

-What is your favorite kind of cross-training? I am getting back to running right now and it seems like I am known for doing too much too fast. I am aiming to incorporate in more cross training but get bored with the elliptical. I did just sign up for 10 Bikram Yoga Classes and am pretty excited considering it has also been much too long since I’ve let myself go with the flow with yoga.

banana bread & bbq’s…

Posted in FOOD, VEGAN, WORK by clairedille on July 23, 2010

Oh blogging, how I’ve missed thee. This week has been anything but dull. The first week of filming always brings surprises and I’ve been running around all day (and night for the last two days) for 12 + hours. Food-wise, I have been pretty disappointed with the catering because the vegan options are limited to vegetables and bread only for the most part. When call times have been as early as 6 a.m., oatmeal is not prepared, who am I kidding? Yesterday however, our call was a little past 2 p.m. (calls are in 6 minute increments) so I made some steel cut oats to travel to set with. Since I only awoke a few hours before because of a late night/early morning, I knew I’d want breakfast to be my first meal considering it was my favorite. When arriving to the new location, our wardrobe trailer was M.I.A,. which meant I sat in a parking lot with piles of freshly altered clothes while eating my warm oatmeal in the 85 degree weather. That wasn’t so lovely but at least I had something delicious to eat. The catering truck only had turkey burgers and hot dogs and although it was past lunch in real-life schedules, it was only breakfast for us. “Lunch” was six hours later as usual and I was out picking up lots of petty cash for the entire wardrobe department. Let’s just say I didn’t feel entirely safe walking around with thousands of dollars of petty cash in downtown Detroit past sunset. But when I made my way back to set, I grabbed a plate of the veggie options on hand. After letting catering know the day before that I don’t do meat or dairy, they told me the options would be better last night and they were. I should be better at packing snacks by now though after learning that the only vegan options on Wednesday were corn (off the cob, probably canned, and white bread). Thursday’s meal had the first vegetarian protein yet, vegetarian baked beans. They also had a salad without mounds of parmesan poured on like previously, and fresh corn on the cob. I was much happier but still am worried about my lack of protein this week. I’ve only been packing raw food bars, such as Larabars and Pure bars, and been munching on all the fruit and veggies I can find at craft services near set (and bringing my own since ideally, organic would be best). I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with all the cons of eating in the film industry. Although some think it is glamorous, it really can be anything but. I was on a dock in the pouring rain until 4 a.m. this morning and when I came home, I crashed…hard. Today is the first time I’ve had a chance to come onto the computer to post and I miss blog reading like crazy.

So let’s talk a little about the good food I had last weekend.

Both nights of the weekend, we have made use of our new weber grill. Since V slept until dinner time on Saturday because of working until the a.m., I made sure to prepare a few things I know he loves. Ironically, he prefers kale chips over sweet potato fries. That is fine with me considering sweet potatoes are pretty much the ideal food in my mind.

Kale is one of the leafy greens I have in my possession most often. Spinach is the other. When our new neighbors told us they had a small garden in the city where they grow Kale, we confessed our love of the veg. We’ve been given two bunches already and used one for Kale chips Saturday night. The other simple components were sweet potato fries, chips and guac (a staple from a local mexican market nearby close to V’s heart), veggie and bison burgers, corn, and veggie kebabs. The last two were saved for the following night since we were already rather full by the time we had munched our way through the rest.

(please excuse my dirty Vans, I was running work errands all day)

The simplicity of this meal is pretty ridiculous, but sometimes it doesn’t take much to make your taste buds happy. Just give me a few of my favorite veggies, and I will usually be happy. Avocado, being a fruit, is definitely one I can eat daily. My daily apple and banana are others.

The weekend mornings involved stove-top oat making, since finding out our call times would me much too early for me to prepare oats for this week.

The plum I had bought was probably too firm, because it didn’t compare to my recent favorite peach topped oats. The blueberries were up to par, as always, as was the Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter. Into the pot went steel cut oats, coconut milk, half a banana, cinnamon, vanilla, chia seeds, and a pinch of salt.

Later, while V was still sleeping, I made banana bread with the bananas that were on their last leg.

the black hole in the center, caused by my impatience while testing its done-ness. oops.

This wasn’t just any banana bread, but Amanda’s Blissful Banana Bread. When V finally woke up from his slumber, he ate two pieces on the spot. We are both completely in love with this bread. I can’t believe the tiny amount of sweetener used either. Instead of picking up maple syrup the other day, I bought sorghum syrup by mistake. After searching my way around the internet to reassure myself it wouldn’t completely destroy Amanda’s recipe, I found it was similar to molasses. Since molasses are more potent that than maple, agave, honey, etc., I halved the amount of sweetener needed. It still was adequately sweet, dense, and tasty. Into the mix went sliced almonds and raisins. They added great flavor to the already wonderful bread that I need to make again soon. It has been eaten many nights (or early morning) after work by both of us and the loaf is long gone.

Another meal involved pizza on the grill. I’m still extremely interested in making my own dough, but the night before the first day of work, I was getting pre-shoot jitters and opted for the already prepared dough. V had two/thirds with all the same veggie toppings as myself, with extra cheese on top. I then cut off a third for myself and added the mozzarella daiya to try. It was much better than the cheddar I’ve tried previously, but I still think I prefer cheese-less pizza. Growing up, I wasn’t ever a pizza person, and would prefer focaccia, flatbreads, and even pasta when having italian carbs.

The dough was pre-cooked and then topped with Eden pizza-pasta sauce, the local company that is non-BPA and GMO free. Of course I made use of Angela’s Garlic Scape Pesto that I saved for the pizza topping and all the herbs in our little roof top garden. We had basil, rosemary, and chives that I added to the sauce  mixture. The kebab veggies from the previous night were chopped up and placed on top. There was red pepper, mushrooms (for me only), red pepper, and yellow and green squash.

The corn that was grilled the night before wasn’t the best and this is probably because we couldn’t find any local farmer’s market corn. Although organic, it was from far away and that is  not the best when it comes to corn, is it? The pizza though, was great. We both loved that the crust was chewy and crusty and the flavor of the fresh herbs and garlic scape pesto really brought it to the next level. On the side, we had a spinach salad with cucumber, carrots, avocado, and sesame seeds. On top, I later poured on Angela’s better than bottled balsamic, a favorite of both of ours.

Hopefully I can get in the kitchen more this weekend. My camera is being used by one of my coworkers so I can’t even post a few measly oats pictures today.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about some of your favorite made from scratch pizza dough recipes. If you have any recipes online, send them my way!

Oh, and I’d love to hear some of your favorite simple meals as well!

ciao for now.