With all the running around of the holiday season, comes stress, lack of sleep, and in my case, heart palpitations. (I'm actually not joking about that one!) It's difficult to find a way to relax sometimes. I usually have a cup of something hot to relax in the winter, either tea or soup or...hot chocolate! I also like to indulge in delicious baked goods around the holidays. It's sort of a family tradition. I'm a baker at heart and the only exposure to scratch baking I had when I was little was Christmas baking. That was the one time of year my mom would let my sister and I mess up the kitchen to make cookies. I loved it. I loved it so much that I made a living out of it! (I bake at work AND at home. It's a little insane.)
Since I spend all my time baking and cake decorating, I find that I have lost a taste for sugary baked goods. As I get older, the weaker my sweet tooth becomes. My mom experienced this too. When she was my age, she also decorated cakes at a mom and pop owned bakery. She liked it. A lot. She said she taste tested a little too much. =P After that, it seems that her sweet tooth has decayed away. She doesn't like anything to taste sweet, minus things like fruit. I fear that the same thing is happening to me.
Although my childhood sugar addiction is waning, I still love to eat baked goods. I think it's a texture thing. I love the dense, crumby softness of muffins and quickbreads. I also am in love with spices!!! I'm automatically drawn to anything spiced be it curry, gingerbread, chai, or carrot cake! Carrot cake is my all time favorite thing to have in December. My birthday is right after Christmas and every year (for the most part) I have a carrot cake. These past few years since turning vegan, I've made my own cake. I think the first year I got one from Whole Foods. It was delicious, but again, a little too sweet for me.
Since I have been so busy lately and unable to ground myself, I decided to jump the gun and make something carrot cake-esque for noshing during the busy weeks before Christmas. I had some bags of pre-shredded carrots on hand and I thought, I can make carrot bread...WITHOUT SHREDDING! If anyone has ever had to finely shred root vegetables by hand, they know how exciting this notion is. Shredding is like the most repetitive one-armed workout in the world. And it takes FOREVER. Luckily, my carrots decided to work with me this time. It's like I was meant to have carrot bread!
Since I am on a gluten free baking quest, this recipe is modified to be free of wheat flour as well as lower in fat and cane sugar free. Like I said, I have really lost my taste for sugar. I do, however, love coconut sugar. It's much more mild of a sweetener and has more flavor. It's very aromatic and makes my whole kitchen smell like earthy caramel. Mmmmm! This is a bread that I do not feel guilty about eating whatsoever. Of course, that doesn't mean you can eat the whole loaf. Though I have been tempted... ^_^ If you need some more sweetness, you can add a 1/4 c vegan sugar to the batter and sprinkle the top with more sugar. It will form a lovely crust on top that looks like ice crystals! So festive! <3
For optimum enjoyment, serve with your favorite hot beverage! I've included a quick little recipe for Chia Protein Hot Cocoa. If you pair this cocoa with the carrot breat for breakfast, you are going to have the best day ever. Merry Carrotmas!
Ginger Carrot Bread with Walnuts
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: 1 9x5 Loaf (Can also make muffins)
Here's a great morning drink when it's too cold to down a smoothie for breakfast. I love hot breakfasts and this can act as a meal on its own. This hot cocoa is packed with protein and is quite filling. The taste will depend on what protein powder you use and if it is sweetened or not. Mine has some stevia in it but it is not overly sweet. I upped the cocoa flavor by adding in some cocao powder. I also added a pinch more stevia to make this taste more indulgent. You can also add maple syrup, agave, or sugar to taste. If you really want to take this to the next level, melt some chocolate chips into the non-dairy milk on the stove and prepare for an amazing chocolate experience!
This is very easy to prepare if you have a high speed blender like a Vitamix. If you don't have one, and you know your chia seeds will not blend into the liquid completely, you can always leave them out so you preserve this drink's creamy texture. If you can blend them all the way though, it makes this recipe unbelievably thick and rich!
Chia Protein Hot Cocoa
Yield: 1 serving
This comes out almost like a chocolate banana milkshake in texture, minus the banana flavor. If you want banana in your hot chocolate, that would be a great substitution for the chia! I would probably add 1 small or 1/2 a medium banana to the blender.
If all goes well, I will update this weekend as my baking frenzy begins! I will also throw in some non-Christmas recipes to force myself away from eating cookies for dinner! Until next time! ^_^
I feel like Thanksgiving took forever to get here. I thought about what I was going to make during the summer months, pining away for fall foods. Now, I feel like Christmas is sneaking up on me. I'm still in my post-pumpkin reverie and eggnog is being forced down my throat.
Don't get me wrong; I love the holidays. But, I wish that our consumer culture would let these holidays speak for themselves instead of using them as a marketing tool. That is, however, a discussion for another post! =)
This post is about Thanksgiving food. It is also about an eclectic selection of finger foods that I just served up at a little potluck party the other night. After my binge-cook-a-thon before Thanksgiving (16 hour stretches of food prep will make you hear things), I decided to take it easy for this potluck. I made hors d'oeuvres and small bite desserts along with some easy kettle corn for munching. I always adore small bite foods because you can eat more of them! I also like to eat a different variety of foods when I'm socializing. It makes the night interesting and gives people something to talk about (with their mouths full)!
Before I get into what I made for the potluck, I'll go over my Thanksgiving menu. Recipes will be posted at a later time. This is due to the lack of photos that I took since I was running around like a maniac trying to prepare everything. Also, I would like to try the recipes a second time =D. You know, to ensure quality and accuracy... I mean, who's going to say "no" to stuffing in December? Not I!
Here is what the menu looked like for the big day:
I also made a loaf each of Pumpkin Nut Bread and Parsnip Spice Bread as gifts for friends. Originally, I also had a salad planned but never got around to making it. Way too much other food! I was a little bummed because I like to have at least one raw dish during Thanksgiving to balance all the other heavily cooked and baked foods. Luckily, I'm making up for it now! One way to get through a holiday food hangover is to eat as many greens as possible!
Moving on to the potluck, I had a more simplified menu with easy-to-eat foods that were lighter yet still flavorful. I made a bunch of dishes that weren't exactly tied to any theme or ethnic background. All the dishes had in common was that i liked to eat them! Like the Thanksgiving recipes, I will shed these out to you over time as well. Today I give you the hummus recipe to hold you over! It's absolutely wonderful. It will alleviate any pizza craving you may have.
I knew I wanted to make a type of hummus or dip for people to try. So often, dips are a vegan's worst nightmare: cream cheese, sour cream, some other type of dairy product, mixed with delicious things that you can eat! Take spinach and artichoke dip for instance; it could so easily be vegan. But, alas, it isn't.
Pizza flavors are synonymous with parties. I figured that infusing hummus with pizza would only lead to approval by omnivorous taste buds. I used white beans instead of chickpeas for a more creamy and mild backdrop. The marinara sauce and garlic really shine this way.
Italian "Pizza" Hummus
Serves: A crowd; About 10 people (You will probably have leftovers. Hide them!)
Take everything except the olive oil and place in blender/food processor. This is much easier if you have a food processor or a high speed blender. I used a Vitamix to puree everything until very smooth. Once the mixture is combined as much as you can get it, steam the olive oil into the machine while processing. Mix with a tamper and/or scrape down the sides often to ensure everything gets incorporated. Once the hummus is smooth and silky to your taste, you can plate it and enjoy. You can use as much or as little oil as you like. This hummus is still delicious without the oil. But, after all, it's the holidays. Treat yourself. ;)
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.