Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Snickerdoodles!

Sweet cinnamon-y snickerdoodles make great gifts.
I said "goodbye" to someone special tonight. Sayonara isn't easiest task, but it happens when moving onto next phase of life. I always say this in an appreciative, endearing manner- for this is someone I've known practically forever. Although there are millions of words found in dictionaries and thesauruses, kind gestures speak tons. Plus I adore baking treats for people, sharing such pleasantries. Thanks to Making Thyme For Health, I found best way to spread joyous affection- fresh from the oven snickerdoodles!
Once again, the yellow rubber duck ribbon comes out to play pretty to gift presentation. Yay!
For today's 8th Virtual Vegan Linky Party, I am happy to introduce the veganization of my favorite cookies in the whole wide world! And no- it's not chocolate chip or double chocolate chip fudge surprisingly enough. Although chocolate anything sounds epically amazing- nothing pleases me more than a fresh from the oven snickerdoodle. Some believe they're simple sugar cookies disguised in cinnamon spice. Oh no. No. They're a lot more than that. Cream of tartar alone gives snickerdoodles that distinctively unique flavor. Moist, chewy, soft with a little delicate crunch thanks to minute dough balls rolled and then baked in exterior cinnamon-sugar mixture.
With this list of ten ingredients- one isn't excluded. That's love. Makes pleasant desserts even sweeter.

Snickerdoodles Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup flour (my cookies are brown due to whole wheat flour usage)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon date syrup (or vanilla)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup almond milk

1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and sugar.
Mix in date syrup (or vanilla), coconut oil, and almond milk.
Stir evenly and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Scoop out 1 tablespoon cookie dough balls, coating them in cinnamon sugar mixture.
Place them inches apart on greased baking sheet.
Bake for 10-13 minutes.

Added just a smidgeon more of cinnamon to cooled cookies.
I love reusing old jars and containers. This Natural Delights Medjool Dates is no exception. Perfectly suited to house snickerdoodle bliss.
The best presents are homemade.
Close up of yellow ribbons and happy rubber ducks meant to brighten spirits.
Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Four Ingredient White Shea Butter Lotion

Same jar. Slightly different butter.
I have longed to see if there was a difference between yellow and white Shea butter. Turns out it's just the color. They're both from the karite tree and processed in the same way. Just make sure to use unrefined varieties of either one. There's a lot of eBay shops selling this on the cheap, etsy too. The same can be said for raw cocoa butter. If you find a local African shop (which there's plenty of in Philly!), you'll be in even better luck to get good, authentic product.
For weeks, I've used latest new batch of White Shea Butter Lotion straight after towel dried shower. Only four ingredients (no jojoba oil this time) and so simple to make. It's been offering great results. Thick, creamy application provides hydrated moisture all over. Lasts for almost twenty four hours. Feet are especially grateful and in debt forever. Fragrance smells too sweet and delicious- like yummy chocolate bar straight from the candy factory thanks to awesome raw cocoa butter. I love carrying the jar on the go (which surprisingly doesn't melt in the sun!) and using it on my hands. It's perfect for those moments when your vegan perfume disappears.

Four Ingredient White Shea Butter Lotion Preparation

2-3 cups of water will do for a medium sized steel bowl to sit in.
boiling water
1/2 pound (2 cup) unrefined white shea butter
2 oz.(1/2 cup) unrefined organic cocoa butter
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/3 cup olive oil

Close up of 4 ingredients.
Once water is boiling, put white shea butter and cocoa butter inside. Takes minutes for it all to dissolve.
Once Shea and cocoa butters have melted, add coconut and olive oils, stirring it all together. Turn off heat.
Pour hot lotion into jar. Refrigerate for 5-6 hours.
Pure solid. Yay!!!
Capped and ready to go places.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Zucchini & Chickpea Scramble

Make a belly pleasing breakfast with full-filling zucchini and chickpea scramble!
The countdown has begun.
For the last week, I've been busy packing up suitcases, Goodwill donation boxes and saying bittersweet goodbyes to hoarded items. One of life's hardest decisions is giving up on things that used to matter. Well, still excited for a new chapter. It's time for Philadelphia once again and this time it's permanent.
Thankfully, comfort food can heal pain.
I didn't have any tofu (or chocolate), but wanted something that would work perfect alongside plain brown rice. I was thinking scramble terminology. Tofu scramble is amazing. That's for sure. Yet chickpeas turned out to be an amazing consolation. With a little almond milk added and pureed inside blender, the remains are a half creamy, half firm mass of deliciousness. Zucchini brings home beautiful green color, mild sweet flavor, and crisp texture.

Zucchini & Chickpea Scramble Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 zucchini, diced
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Saute zucchini in olive oil, stirring and browning for 7-8 minutes. Puree chickpeas with almond milk.
Add chickpea puree into zucchini and mix in ingredients. Heat for 5 minutes longer. Add Daiya Cheese, letting the good stuff melt.
Perfectly paired with brown rice and seasoned tempeh strips.
Although great for breakfast, this is great any time of the day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Easy Jalapeno-Garlic Havarti Broccoli Soup

It's never too hot for soup right?
It's Wednesday! You know what that means? Virtual Vegan Potluck's 6th Linky Potluck Party.
Just in the midst of hot summer, eighteen days away from school starting, it's not uber humid around these parts. In fact, weather is rather cool at night. So cool, that I need to stock up on fall sweater cardigans earlier than usual. Plus nothing warms a body more than piping hot soup.
On a recent excursion, family members were distressed over taking this vegan to lunch. I don't particularly favor eating out as much as I used to, especially at places known to not have a satisfying plant based menu. Well, we wound up at O'Charley's. I ordered steamed broccoli and sweet potato fries. Alright meal. And plus it's always a blessing to be treated by someone else. My aunt had a rich potato soup that made me want to break out culinary hat.
Today, for the Potluck Party, I'm bringing a bowl of creamy, hot soup. I have missed cheese and broccoli together. Always a huge favorite. Restaurants like O'Charley's use chicken broth for every soup and side (even rice pilaf!), but in my cruelty free kitchen full fat coconut milk mimics cream, provides wonderful flavor, and makes for a fine soup basis. Daiya's mild Jalapeno Garlic Havarti melts beautifully and gives broccoli much needed cheesy applause. So delicious one cannot help licking bowl clean like happiest purring kitty cat.

Easy Jalapeno-Garlic Havarti Broccoli Soup Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup chopped broccoli, steamed
1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 thin slices Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti, diced
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

In a small pot, combine broccoli and coconut milk.
Once soup boils a little (5-7 minutes), add Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti chunks, stirring until melted.
Stir in garlic, Italian seasonings, salt, crushed red pepper, and white pepper.
Bring to a simmer. 
If you have an emulsifier, break down broccoli into tinier pieces. Otherwise, chopped broccoli bits are just fine and dandy, almost like traditional soup of its kind.

Pour into desired bowl. Slices of Homemade No Knead Sandwich Wheat Bread is a perfect accompaniment.
Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Post # 300: Homemade No Knead Sandwich Wheat Bread

My first attempt of homemade sandwich bread turned out very good.
Yippee!
It's finally happened! AfroVeganChick is at blog post number 300!!!! Took long enough. Celebrating this coveted milestone with bread. Yummy yummy fresh from the oven made from scratch bread. I know y'all were expecting cookies and cake, but bread, oh glorious bread, sounded appropriate.
I buy wheat bread once a week. It's reasonably priced at $2. However, it is often out. After all, my little Wayne Avenue Kroger is a small store and they're often out of the good stuff. 
Thanks to Mattie of Vegan Baking Dot Net, I found a simple bread recipe that requires no kneading at all. I was sooooo excited. Although it takes a little over 4 hours to prepare and bake (that intimated me at first), the results are above satisfying. The kitchen smells like heaven and when taken out, bread is all browned and beautiful. Didn't have oats or wheat germ, so I topped it off with cracked black pepper and Italian seasonings to give extra flavor. Goodbye $2 loaf. This saves serious dough. Heehee. So far ate peanut butter, grilled cheese, and chickpea "burger" sandwiches. The best part after using a sharp knife to cut up rustic loaf is eating it! Has a soft, moist texture and crusty top. Very good.

Homemade No Knead Sandwich Wheat Bread Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup warm water
2 tablespoon sugar (agave or maple syrup is fine too)
1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
coconut oil (optional)

Whisk water, sugar and yeast together. Let sit for 10 minutes.
In a much larger bowl, mix flour and salt together.
Combine wet with dry ingredients, stirring in a circular motion for one minute. Cover with plastic and let rise for an hour and a half.
It will double in size. Now stir again and let rise again for another hour and a half.
After it has risen again, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir dough for one last time. Place it into an oiled loaf pan and cover with a plastic bag for 40 minutes, leaving room for its rising.
Uncover plastic bag and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Rose a bit in the pan. Add black pepper and Italian seasonings if desired. Now place in the oven for 45 minutes- turning pan over at halfway mark so bread is evenly baked.
Let bread cool on the stove for about 20 minutes before removal. Use a knife at each side.
Yay! Fresh bread waiting to be cut.
Store in a plastic bag in a dark place or inside a freezer.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Raw Date Syrup

Add sweetness to pancakes, smoothies, and such with yummy date syrup.
Happy August! Let the school countdown begin. I cannot be the only one excited. Haha. (smiling big)
For now it's the final Daytonian First Friday for me. Psyched about seeing great art and sampling fruit. I Never stop sampling free fruit. One of my favorite dried fruits is a medjool date. It's especially addicting whenever stuffed with Peanut Butter & Company's amazing award-winning Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter and raw walnuts. Okay, I may have been stretching the award-winning peanut butter just a bit but everyone and their mamas know that Dark Chocolate Dreams is the best chocoholic pb lover's treat.
With medjool dates, possibilities are endless.
Thanks to Oh, Ladycakes and sticky, dried fruit goodness, we have a rich, caramel like syrup that is thick and oozing sweet. One could simply mix soaked dates and water- voila! Instant dripping sap. Additions like lemon juice, vanilla bean, and even coriander (which I used here) can bring extra flavor flare to this great simple syrup! Cannot wait for the weekend. Stacked "buttery" pancakes galore.

Raw Date Syrup Ingredients and Preparation

9 medjool dates
1 1/4 cup water
pinch of ground coriander (optional)

Soak dates for 30 minutes to an hour. Or overnight if preferred.
Drain. Place into blender with water and optional coriander. Puree well.
Pour into a jar that can be sealed tight. I used one of my old coconut oil jars.
Place into refrigerator. It keeps yum up to 2 weeks.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Glazed Banana Orange Walnut Muffins

The only fats are the walnuts which provide satisfying crunch to a delicious fruit fulfilling treat.
I still am coping with extreme guilt. A few weeks ago was a good friend's birthday. I made orange banana muffins with Valencia orange zest that turned out awful. The chunks may have been too large. Maybe I acquired a bad orange. Extremely bitter tasting zest ruined flavor of the entire muffin. Plus, I forgot the walnuts! Ugh. Such a mess. I wound up bringing sliced strawberries. Although washed and hand sliced, strawberries lacked "from the heart" sentiment.
Thus, I went back to the drawing board and naturally recreated muffins without fresh grated orange zest. Located in the spice aisle, McCormick's makes this great Valencia Orange Peel that comes out in tiny granules. It doesn't overwhelm moist, blissful muffins and strangely enough far sweeter without atrocious bitter taste.
Sweet, irresistible muffins are then topped with a simple coconut milk and orange juice glaze. Banana and walnuts provide all the oils needed. I think my friend will adore these so much more than original failed idea. Recipe makes 12 muffins. It's hard to eat just one.

Introducing something refreshing and vegan every Wednesday!
Now this post is participating in Virtual Vegan Potluck's new weekly link party as a dessert entry. I found out about this weeks ago, but just decided today to join the fun. Are you a 100% vegan, cruelty free blogger wanting to participate in sharing a recipe in one of eight courses? Well, find out all the exciting details here by vegan lady blog hostesses: An Unrefined VeganBunny Kitchen, and Canned Time.

Glazed Banana Orange Walnut Muffins Ingredients and Preparation

1 large banana, ripened
1/2 cup Tropicana No Pulp Orange Juice
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts

Orange Coconut Glaze

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/8 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix banana, orange juice, and vanilla almond milk together. (I got it all smooth in a blender).
In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel, cinnamon and salt.
Add wet to dry, stirring evenly.
Lastly, add apple cider vinegar and walnuts. Stir again.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into muffin tin.
Bake for 23-25 minutes. Fork should be clean if done.
Let cool.

Pour glaze over cooled muffins.
Sprinkle extra McCormick's Valencia Orange Peel atop.
Yummy goodness. May be hard to stop at just one.
Perfect with strawberries and a cold glass of almond milk.
Sharing is caring- makes belly happy that's for sure! However, humor aside, cannot wait to see what my friend thinks most of all.