Vegan Cornbread

Does your pup lick you incessantly?  My little boy, Shiu Mai, does.  [Yes, he is named after the pork and shrimp dumpling you find at Dim Sum restaurants.  My other pup’s name is Cha Shiu Bao.  They’re small, white, and so cute just like the Dim Sum treats.]  He sits on the bed, and waits for me to come out from my shower so that he can lick the lotion off my arms and hands.  In fact, he has spent the last 10 minutes licking off the lotion from my left arm as I type this post.  It’s as if I didn’t put on any lotion.  Why bother, I wonder sometimes.  But how can I get mad at him?  Just look at him.  Isn’t he a cutest little guy ever?  I’d like to think that this helps soothe any anxiety he has.  But who am I kidding?  I think it’s because he really likes the taste of lotion.  Animals and their idiosyncrasies.  I just love it.

He usually follows me to the kitchen as I get ready to cook.  He hovers around (im)patiently waiting for something to drop onto the floor.  He looks up and begs with his sweet brown eyes for me to “accidentally” drop something onto the floor.  And when he realizes that maybe there are no treats this time around, he traverses his way back to the couch and hunkers down on my pillow heartbroken.  

Vegan Cornbread (slightly adapted from Food)

2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1.5 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spray an 8- or 9-inch pie tin with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the ground flax seeds, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the flax seed-water mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn heat off and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Beat until just smooth, but do not overbeat.

Pour into prepared baking pan, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve.

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You Would Never Suspect These Crepes Were Eggless-cellent!

Who ever came up with a flax egg is a freaking genius! Egg substitute?! Yes, please.  I mean, this person should get an award for such a freaking brilliant and ingenious idea.  I love a good egg substitute for cooking and baking.  Don’t get wrong, I’m not an egg hater.  No, no.  I love me some eggs.   I love eggs fried, scrambled, baked, sunny side up, over-easy/medium/hard, hard-boiled, raw, pickled, poached, deviled, as a quiche, strata, fritata, a meringue, a souffle, a custard, in a dressing, and I’m sure there is many more ways to cook an egg.   But you get the point.  Eggs are egg-cellent.  Heehee, get it??   Egg-cellent, instead of excellent.  Nevermind.

Unfortunately, as I get older, my body has become less efficient at protecting me from things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many other ailments.  High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes has already been encoded into my genetic makeup.  So it’s not like I can run and hide.  And actually, I did have a bit of a scare when I was in my late 20’s and learned that I was on the verge of developing high cholesterol.   I did have a total cholesterol of 215 mg/dL (the Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines state an ideal total cholesterol level of <200 mg/dL), but my LDL-C (aka, bad cholesterol) was low, my HDL-C (aka good cholesterol) was high, and my triglycerides were also low.  So my nurse practitioner wasn’t too concerned. I was given a prescription for a “lifestyle modification” and a cholesterol panel recheck in 6 months.  I left the doctor’s office feeling somewhat defeated, but it was also the best wake-up call for me.  I started getting into cycling, and modified my diet by eating out less, cooking and eating less butter/fried foods/eggs (the latter was a huge part of my daily diet).  Six months later, my cholesterol panel was flawless.  I realized that implementing some of the littlest changes resulted in the most positive impact health-wise.

Whole Wheat Vegan Crepes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups unsweetened, almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (for sweet crepes)
1.5 tablespoons agave syrup (for sweet crepes)

In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, and mix.   Add the almond milk to the flax egg, and whisk together.   In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, and then add the flax egg mixture.   Whisk until all the ingredients have combined, resulting in a smooth and runny texture.   Let the mixture sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat a nonstick 8″ pan over medium-high heat.   Coat pan with nonstick spray.   Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly.  Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.   Cook for another 2 minutes and remove to the cutting board.  Lay them out flat so they can cool.   Continue until all batter is gone.   After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months.  When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

We served these with our favorite praline butter from Le Pain Quotidien, sliced bananas, and pistachios.  Yum.

Makes 8 crepes.

Calories per crepe: 75

Ooey, Gooey, Chewy, Chunky Chocolatey Chip Cookies with Mac Nuts

You know what’s best after a long day?  Cookies.  I came home to the smell of chocolate chip cookies after a very long, tragic, and exhausting day at work.  Work started out great, but it ended on such a sad note.  I hate those days.  It puts me in such a funk.  I usually come home looking forward to zoning out to endless, trashy, but oh so good reality TV shows to erase the day from my long-term memory.  Instead, I came home to my favorite chocolate chips cookies, and that made all the difference.

Ooey, Gooey, Chewy, Chunky Chocolatey Chip Cookies with Mac Nuts (lightly adapted from Wing-It Vegan)

Flax Egg
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons cold water

1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup almond butter
4 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the flax seeds and water.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and nuts. Beat for about 30 seconds or until a smooth dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet and slightly flatten with the back of a spoon. Leave about an inch of space in between cookies.

Bake for 13-14 minutes. Let the cookies slightly cool on the baking sheet before you transfer them to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container or a paper bag.

Makes 14 cookies.