Friday, January 27, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, these seriously are the best cookies I have ever had.  Everyone in my house loves them.  It is not uncommon to go through all 18 in one evening....we are a family of five, after all, and daddy is 6'3" and 220 pounds!  They make the house smell wonderful and you can be sure if someone visits they will be leaving with some to take home.  They are so simple but they must be cooked for exactly 8 minutes or the bottoms burn.  It took a few trial runs but I have it down to a science now.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/3 cup almond butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cane sugar/sucanat
1/3 cup vanilla rice milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Oil 2 baking sheets and set aside.
Wisk together first five ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets.  Leave room between the cookies because they flatten out as they cook.  Bake for exactly 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes before transferring them to a plate or they will break apart.  Makes about 18 cookies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vegan Banana Bread

When I first met my husband 5 years ago, he was a total junk addict.  I, on the other hand, am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, educated at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and very conscious of what I put into my body (and my kids' bodies) each day.  I remember the first time I made my vegan banana bread for him.  He said "um no"...meaning "not in a million years would I consider this "dessert" and please don't bother making this healthy, tasteless crap for me again."  Well, I didn't give up.  I continued to make my healthy meals and snacks because that's what I wanted to eat and that's what I wanted my daughter to eat.  Now, today, 5 years later, when he sees the bananas starting to turn brown he drops hints like "so you making banana bread anytime soon?"  I would say it is one of his top favorite "treats" that I make.  Over the years he has convinced me to add chocolate chips to it, and I do, but that is totally optional.  In order to keep it vegan, though, you need to use pure cocoa nibs or carob chips.  I should also let you know that I have made this banana bread for many people who do not necessarily eat a vegan diet, or even a healthy diet for that matter, and they all loved it.  I bring it to parties, friends houses, pot lucks and I even pack it in the kids' lunches. This recipe passes the kid test - they love it!

My recipe calls for spelt flour.  I use spelt often.  I NEVER use white flour or even whole wheat flour in any of my cooking because it is void of nutrients and can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Spelt is an "ancient grain" and is rich in fiber.  It is NOT gluten free but it is significantly higher in protein that wheat, is higher in B vitamins, and is easier to digest.  It is easily substituted for traditional white flour in most recipes.

I also use 100% organic ingredients in this recipe.  I use about 85% organic ingredients in all of my recipes and I think the key to good food is starting with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

Try this recipe.  You'll love it.  If people mock the vegan philosophy, just don't tell them...they'll never know :)

Vegan Banana Bread

2 cups spelt flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup vanilla rice milk (or soy, almond)
2 medium/large over ripe bananas

In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.  In a blender, blend together all wet ingredients until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine.  Pour into oiled loaf pan.  Use coconut oil to grease the pan for best results.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for one hour before serving.