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Archive for April, 2009

Natural Immune Boosters

Ok, with all the talk of the swine flu going around..let’s review some of the immune boosting recipes here. Don’t forget my #1 go-to herb, Elderberry! I felt the onset of a flu, drank 2 C and my fever broke..drank 2 more cups and within about 36 hours I was feeling back to normal – with only minor residual congestion! Hot water and lemon is helping with the leftover scratchy throat and congestion..

Some herbal teas that can get the job done:

Sage– can relieve a sore throat and reduce sweat, and helps to balance our hormones.
Yarrow– ease the symptoms of colds and flu, and aids digestion and circulation.
Ginger tea– settles the stomach and deactivates inflammatory hormones.
Thyme– eases congestion (1 oz in 1 C water)
Eucalyptus– eases congestion (1 oz in 1 C water)

Herbs for a sore throat:

Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus): It has astringent properties that justify it’s use as a mouthwash and gargle for mouth or throat inflammation
Mullein (Verbascum densiflorum): Relieves upper respiratory congestion in two ways. 1) its mucilage soothes injured areas of the mouth and throat; 2) contains compounds that act on the CNS to move phlegm out of the body. Mullein stimulates the cough reflex, but not hte fine hairs lining the respiratory passages, thus minimizing the risk of reinfection by cold or flu viruses lodged in the nose and throat. This herb tones the mucous membranes of the respiratory system and reduces inflammation while promoting expectoration if there is a hard cough with soreness.
Ginger, thyme, or rosemary tea and gargle, cayenne pepper gargle.

Foods known to help with cold and flu: apricots, broccoli, carrots, citrus, garlic, ginger, kale (check out the Chickpea Cauliflower and Kale Curry), kiwi fruit, mango, melon, nectarines, red bell pepper, strawberries, watercress, watermelon

Another plan of attack is garlic! Garlic is known to fight off colds. So don’t worry about garlic breath and add in an extra spoonful into your dishes, at least you can keep vampires at bay and stay healthy at the same time! 🙂

Plus, check out the smoothies I’ve already posted as a fun way to get your vitamins and minerals that are going to keep you in tip-top shape!

Cherry No-Pie Juice (antioxidants, anti-inflammatory)
Clementine-n-Mango Juice (immune system, healthy skin)
Eve’s Pink Peach (energy, immune system, healthy skin)
Pango Mango (energy, immune system, digestion, healthy skin)
Peachy Blue Monster Juice (energy, immune system)
Pineapple-Cherry Pick-Me-Up (energy, immune system)
Ruby Red Raspberry Reviver (antioxidants, energy, immune system)

You can also spritz the air with a dilution of water and eucalyptus essential oil to help purify the air – this will help prevent those air-borne nasties from attacking your healthy system!

Stay healthy!!

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Happy Earth Day!!

I’m not going to write a schpeel about how going vegan is the best proven way to reduce carbon footprints, and there’s tons of recipes already on this blog to get anyone started on eating delicious vegan food. But what I do want to get everyone to do today, is help feed animals in shelters – it won’t cost you a single cent! You don’t have to do anything but click a button…which you can do while sitting in your chair! So click the button below, and help feed a hungry pooch!

The Animal Rescue Site

Remember, we’re still going Orange for Animals…this is the simplest, yet extremely efficient way you can support shelter animals! In case you missed it…here’s the link again 😉

The Animal Rescue Site
Happy Earth Day..for all my fellow Earthlings!!

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cranberry orange muffins xsectionI found this recipe on The Crepes of Wrath blog, and it looked so delicious (one among many) I decided to veganize it. And I must say, I’m glad I did! It was super delicious, and the ladies at work seemed to love them too!! 🙂 So here’s my adapted and slightly altered version of the recipe. It makes about 12-13 regular sized muffins plus about 16-18 mini muffins. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

cupcakes
1 orange-canola egg (1/4 C 50:50 of canola and OJ)
1 scant C hemp milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar = vegan buttermilk (I was just shy of a full cup)
1 cup vegan granulated sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 C white whole wheat, plus 1/4 C more for adjusting moisture content if needed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 TBSP ground flaxseed (optional)
1/3 C canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange extract (or just use all vanilla)
2 C dried cranberries

crumb topping
1/4 C Earth Balance vegan butter, room temp
1/4 C granulated sugar
pinch salt
1/2 C white whole wheat or AP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:sugar and zest

1. Make the Cupcakes: In a 1/4 C measuring cup, fill it halfway with canola oil. Fill to top with orange juice, set aside. Mix together hemp milk plus ACV, set aside in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease and/or line your muffin tins.
2. Zest your orange and put it in a bowl with the sugar. Rub it together with your hands until the sugar is a light orange color. Add in the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the cranberries into the dry mix.
3. In medium bowl whisk together the canola egg, buttermilk, oil, and extracts and set aside. Gently pour the wet mix onto the dry mix and fold to combine just until all is wet. Do not over mix! Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter.

cranberry orange muffinscranberry orange muffins minis
4. Make the Crumb topping: Combine the room temperature butter and sugar in a bowl with your hands. Add salt, cinnamon, and the flour and mix with your hands. You will want to keep mixing until the mixture turns into little crumbs the size of rice. Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the muffins. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over that, if using.

cranberry orange muffinscranberry orange muffins minis2
5. Place muffins in the oven and bake for about 20-22 min (for regular muffins) or 15 min (for mini muffins) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the tins before removing.

cranberry orange muffins

*Aesthetic Note: If you want crested tops instead of flat tops, use 2.5 C AP flour and omit the white whole wheat flour.

Happy Baking!

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Lime & Cilantro Rice

This recipe calls for white rice, but you could use brown.  Just increase the cooking time to 40 minutes.  I don’t usually use white rice, but I wanted to recreate the rice that Chipotle makes for their burritos.  Lime and cilantro is definitely in my top 5 all time favorite flavors, and this is a very easy way to jazz up some plain rice.

Ingredients:

1 TBS canola oil

1.5 C white rice

3 C water

2 tsp salt

1/2 C fresh lime juice

1/2 C fresh chopped cilantro

Instructions:

1.  Heat the oil in a wide saute pan over med-high.  Add the rice and saute until most of the grains have turned an opaque white.

2.  Add water and salt, and cover.  When water starts to simmer, turn heat down to low / med-low and cook for 18 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, squeeze your limes and rinse and chop the cilantro.

4.  Remove rice from heat, but leave covered and untouched for 10 minutes.  

5.  Pour lime juice over rice.  Add cilantro.  Fluff with a fork.

This is a great side to Mexican food, and Indian or Thai curries.

limerice

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Anadama Bread

anadama 8This bread (adapted from The Bread Bakers Apprentice) takes 2 days to make, but on the first day you only put forth about 5 minutes of effort. Then, on the day of baking, from start to finish, you’re looking about about 3-4 hours. I like to either set up the soaker on a Friday or Saturday night, then bake on a day like Saturday or Sunday when I’ll have several hours available where I don’t have to be somewhere else. This recipe makes two 1.5 lb loaves, or three 1 lb loaves, or 4 mini loaves. The molasses taste isn’t too prominent, so if you have an aversion (this means you Nik), this bread could give you all the goodness of molasses without having to deal with the taste.

Ingredients:

soaker
1 C cornmeal
1 C water, at room temperature

dough
2.5 C unbleached bread flour
2 C white whole wheat flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 C warm water
1.5 tsp salt
6 TBSP molasses
2 TBSP Earth Balance vegan butter, room temperature
cornmeal for dusting *optional

Directions:

1. Make the Soaker: The day before making the bread, make the soaker: Mix the cornmeal and water in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight.

anadama soaker
2. Make the Bread: The next day stir together 1 C of the bread flour, 1 C white whole wheat, yeast, soaker, and water in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and ferment 1 hour, or until the sponge begins to bubble.anadama 2anadama 3

3. Add the remaining 2.5 cups of flour, salt, molasses, and butter and stir (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment) until the ingredients form a ball. Add water if necessary to make a soft, slightly sticky mass.

anadama 4anadama 5
4. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), sprinkling in more flour as needed to make a tacky, but not sticky, dough. The dough should be firm but supple and pliable and definitely not sticky. It will take about 10 minutes of kneading to accomplish this (or 6 to 8 minutes in the electric mixer). The dough should pass the windowpane test and register about 77° to 81°F.

anadama 6
5. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it waround to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment the dough at room temperature for about 60-90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces of 24 ounces, 3 pieces of about 16 ounces, or 4 equal pieces for mini-loaves. Shape the dough into loaves and place them into bread pans that have been lightly oiled or misted with spray oil (the larger loaves should go into 9X5-iunch pans, the smaller loaves into 8.5X4.5-inch pans, and the mini’s in a mini-loaf pan, obviously). Mist the tops of the loaves with spray oil (or brush lightly) and loosely cover the tops with plastic wrap.

anadama 7
7. Proof at room temp for 60-90 minutes, or until the loaves crest above the tops of the pans. (If you want to hold back any of the loaves, place them in the fridge without proofing, where they will hold for up to 2 days. Remove them from the fridge about 4 hours before baking and proof them at room temperature, or until ready.)
8. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Remove the plastic wrap. Mist the tops with a spray of water and dust with cornmeal (if dusting).
9. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, and then rotate for even baking. After rotating, bake an additional 20-30 minutes for the larger loaves, or an additional 10-15 for the mini loaves. To know if they are properly cooked through, when you pop them out of the loaf pans, thump the bottom – if you hear a hollow sound, then they are cooked thoroughly.
10. When the loaves are done, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing…ideally you want to wait 1 hour before slicing, but I’ve never been able to resist the smell of fresh baked bread that long.

anadama 9

Happy Baking!

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Almond-Cinnamon Granola and CM YogurtHere’s another granola that goes excellent with some So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt (which is, in fact, so delicious – just as it says on the label). This recipe makes about 3 C, so feel free to double if you want more. It didn’t make the big clumpy, crunchy chunks that is so good in granola, but the taste more than made up for the lack of big crunchy chunks. Mocha and I thoroughly enjoyed this granola, and I know you will too! Now that there’s no more left, I’m wishing I had doubled the recipe…so I’ll be making more this weekend, and this time, doubled for 6 C! 🙂

Ingredients:

1/4 C shredded coconut
2 C rolled oats
1/8 C oat bran or toasted wheat germ
1/2 C slivered almonds
1 TBSP ground flaxseed
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 C agave nectar
4 TBSP Earth Balance vegan butter

Directions:Almond-Cinnamon Granola

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the coconut on top. Bake until toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Reduce heat to 300°F. In a large bowl, toss together coconut, oats, oat bran or wheat germ, almonds, ground flax, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Stir together melted vegan butter and nectar, add to the oat mixture and mix thoroughly.
3. Spread onto baking sheet lined with parchment (the same as what you toasted the coconut on will be fine). Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes for even golden-goodness. Let cool, and store in an airtight container.

Almond-Cinnamon Granola

I also turned this into a bowl of cereal – pour into bowl, top with hemp/almond milk. So it can go naked – as a quick, dry snack – or in yogurt, or as a bowl of cereal.. it’s very versatile!

Happy Baking!

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Last week, I made a special birthday request cupcake for Stacy. She loves my Lemon Gems recipe that Jo gave me back in the day, so I gladly obliged for such an occasion. And for a healthy take on these..think of all that vitamin C in the fresh lemon juice – I could think of worse ways to fight scurvy 😉  …I even sprinkled them with yellow sugar jimmies for extra sparkle! This recipe makes about a baker’s dozencupcakes

Ingredients:

2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C canola oil or 6 TBSP vegan butter, softened
2/3 C plus 2 TBSP sugar
1/2+1/8 C milk substitute
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C lemon juice
1 TBSP lemon zest

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the oil or butter, sugar, hemp milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until smooth. Fill each of 12 muffin cup about 2/3 full. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Frost with lemon buttercream when cooled.

Lemon Gems: unfrosted cupcakefrosted cupcake: Lemon Gems
3. Sprinkle with sugars. Enjoy!

Lemon Gems

Happy Baking!

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