Chocolate Hazelnut Cutie Pies

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cutie Pies
Knowing you would all ask for the recipe I decided to go ahead and write it up before posting these photos. These little cuties were the dessert for our Memorial Day lunch and boy are they good! As always, they were an accident, or an afterthought, not intentional at all. At breakfast I noticed we have an abundance of hazelnuts in the freezer which needed using. I used some on the waffles this morning and decided to make a chocolate cookie in order to use more. The cookies turned out "cake-like" as they often do when you are cutting back on fat so while on our apres breakkie walk through the blueberry fields, I announced to David that I thought the cookies would make perfect little whoopie pies or ice cream sandwiches. David was surprised because he knows crisco mixed with sugar is the filling for whoopie pies, which is not on the "plan" (we refer to our low-fat, vegan way of eating as "the plan") nor is any type of ice cream... except for one; Banana Soft Serve..  The cookie recipe is a "reduced" or "low fat" variety,  not an everyday cookie by any means. But it is a holiday, right?? I'll cut right to the chase and give up the recipe without further adoo.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cutie Pies
3 dozen cookies
I had my convection oven at 325 degrees

Ingredients:
cookies
1 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 c. Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2/3 c. Cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. Canola Oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1 c. sugar
2 T ground flax meal
1/2 c. non-dairy milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract (or hazelnut if you have it, or use hazelnut liqueur)
1/2. c. vegan chocolate chips
1/2 c. toasted hazelnuts
banana soft serve
Frozen, peeled Bananas
maybe some non-dairy milk

Method:
Cookies
1. Sift flours, baking soda and cocoa together and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, blend oil, applesauce, and sugar together.
3. Add flax, milk, vanilla & almond extracts to the sugar mixture and combine well.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches and stir until a stiff dough forms.
5. Add chocolate chips and hazelnuts and stir until well incorporated, this will be a bit of a challenge with the stiff dough.
6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls (dough should be nicely shaped 1 " balls in order for the cookies to turn out similar sizes. I use a small scoop) onto parchment or silicone mat-lined sheet pans.
7.Moisten your palms and flatten each cookie dough ball out - SPLAT! to make 2" discs.
8. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to sit on sheet pan for a few minutes, because if you do not, you will loose half of the cookie. The cake-like bit comes out of the bottom if you take these off the pan too soon.
9. Transfer to a rack to cool. You can now enjoy these as cookies or proceed to make Cutie Pies out of them.
Banana Soft Serve
If you are lucky enough to own a masticating juicer or a Yonana machine, you just push the frozen banana through the chute and out comes the yummy dairy, sugar and fat free soft serve. BUT if you do not own one of these, fear not, you can still make this delicious treat in your food processor.

Cut the frozen banana into 1 - 2" chunks and place in food processor. Process for about 3 minutes or until creamy. You might need to add a tiny bit of non-dairy milk, but be sure to do so sparingly.
Cute!

To assemble:
 Use the same cookie scoop or tablespoon to dollup one scoop of banana soft serve onto a cookie then top with another cookie and EAT! I have some in the freezer right this moment to see how they fare. I'll let you know on Facebook.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Memorial Day Everyone!!!!

Sláinte!



South of the Border Meatless Loaf



South of the Canadian Border that is!

South of the Border Meatless Loaf

Ingredients: for about 10 servings – depending on…
3 c. cooked green lentils (water drained and reserved)
3 c. carrots chopped fine (works to pulse them in the food processor)
1 large onion, quartered (and pulsed in the food processor)
1 or 2 peeled, chopped beets depending on size, (and pulsed in food processor)
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 c. chopped raw walnuts
1 c. chopped mushrooms
2 c. rolled oats (pulsed in food processor)
½ c. fresh chopped cilantro
2 – 3 dried tomatoes, (not in oil) processed until fine in spice grinder or food processor
1 -2 T chipotle chili powder
2 t. ground cumin

Method: oven @ 350 or if convection, 335

  1. Mix everything in a very large bowl
  2. Pulse all ingredients alternately and  in batches in a food processor.
  3. Push it good – Mush it good! all into non-stick loaf pan (it will just barely fit)
  4. Bake it all for a very long time, about 1.5 hrs.

NOTE: you might wish to cover the loaf pan with foil for the first 45 minutes and then remove the foil for the remainder of the time.


ANOTHER NOTE: you can flavor this basic mixture with different SOB flavorings, I.E. if you are south of the Swiss border, you might use more garlic and  parsley with some  cayenne and  low-salt tomato paste on top in place of the cilantro and chipotle, leave out the cumin altogether and add some fennel seeds for that sausage-y flavor

I served this meatless loaf with two veg on a fresh tomato sauce with some Parma-non but it would go equally as nice on top of steamed Kale, Chard or Spinach!
You can use the leftovers from this loaf crumbled on a taco-type salad or in a lettuce wrap!

Can You Say "PLANT SALE"??

Just in time for Mother's Day, and a signal to the start of an all important part of life in a tough environment such as Maine, SPRING PLANTING. The fever for planting is in full swing which is one of the many reasons we love our Maine Community as much as we do. Here are some photos I snapped from the weekly local news rag, The Free Press. These articles (not ads) are in one issue, maybe it should have been called "The Plant Sale Edition". Gotta Love it!

Plant Sale to benefit Chapman Hall House

Camden Garden Club

Morris Farm Sale

First Universalist Church in Rockland

Camden Hills Regional High School

The Belfast Garden Club

AND... The St. John's Annual Plant Sale
AND, if Plant Sales are not your thing, how about FARMER"S MARKETS??? It's still a bit early, but several local Farmer's Markets are getting under way this week too!
Camden Farmer's Market  Belfast Farmer's Market


Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms, and Happy Planting!

Sláinte! and remember, like the Gorilla, you will do well to:
http://www.cafepress.com/leafycafe



Eating Plant-based Foods on the Go!

David filming a big croc in Australia
As many of you know, my husband is an award-winning Producer/Cameraman. I'm very proud of David and his many accomplishments but mostly I am so happy that David has "turned a corner", so to speak, with his food choices.  When we first met, David was an unhealthy vegetarian. The type who eats only eggs, bread and cheese - he hated most vegetables. He quickly and happily changed back in to a mostly "meat and potatoes" kind of guy for most of the years of our partnership until recently. In the last few years, as I have been cooking, teaching and eating a Whole-Food, Plant-Based diet, David has been following along, often commenting on what I'm preparing, saying such things as "excellent if you added cheese" or "nothing a little chicken wouldn't fix". He says he is just kidding. :-) thanks honey!
David travels all over the globe for work and it is really difficult for him to eat "vegan-style" which prevents him from ever getting over his food cravings but he really is trying and has become a bit of what I call a "vegangelist" now, often feeling quite disgusted by what the rest of the crew are eating. The image below is a photo D sent this morning. 

Unhealthy food choices for workers on the go
David is away for several weeks shooting a new series for National Geographic. He is sharing an apartment with a couple of other guys in the crew. The photo above was the dinner the other guys enjoyed last night and likely the breakfast they would have this morning.

Because David is really trying to "stick to the plan" (whole-foods, plants, no added oil, etc.) he requested I pack him so food to take along on the shoot. He is not always lucky enough to have an apartment with a kitchen and typically has to eat at McDonalds, Olive Garden, and other nasty fast food places so I was really happy to comply with the request.

I spent the day in Production Kitchen in order to send David off on the trip with the following yummy foods:
Sriracha Butternut Squash & Black Bean Stew 

Curried Buckwheat Groats Salad
I came up with this fancy method of making the patties look "store bought" by using canning jar lids!

YUMMY Homemade Veggie Burgers which were precooked  & frozen

These and several other frozen sauces, soups and patties were packed into a cooler. Lucky for him, the series location is only four hour drive from our home. What would he be eating without his care package?? Usually I do not even want to know. Lately he has been requesting healthier choices from the PA who buys lunches for the crew and at the restaurants where they frequently dine. I always recommend he have HUGE salads with low-fat dressing on the side or fresh lemon. Here is a great little dining-out tool from PCRM's 21 Day Kickstart:
http://pcrm.org/kickstarthome/resources/pdfs/kickstart_restaurant_card.pdf
I wish I had remembered to send one of these "cheat sheets" in his care package.

In fact, honey, if you read this post, go directly to: http://pcrm.org/kickstartHome/resources/index.cfm for all types of great information! (thanks PCRM!!)

Remember, it is easier than you think to eat healthily. Plan and prepare ahead, print out the PCRM dining out guide and don't be afraid to ASK your server at any restaurant.

Have a great day!

Betta than Feta!

Greek Salad with homemade "Feta" cubes


I saw this recipe in my latest issue of VEGNews and had to try it immediately! In fact, we had a Super New Age Fusion dinner for Cinco de Mayo last night featuring this feta in a Greek style salad along side of our delicious Enchiladas! It worked out well!

Here is the easy recipe:
Makes 2 1/2 cups


Ingredients:
1 16 oz. pkg. of extra-firm tofu (try for lite)
2 cups water
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano


Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over med. heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Drain and use in place of Feta. The longer the cubes sit in the brine, the tastier they become.


Just toss with some cukes, tomatoes, olives, capers, onion, a little lemon juice...

Herbed Feta


Sláinte!