Blueberry Almond Pecan Breakfast Cereal Granola

Friday, November 17th, 2017

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In one of her most recent care packages, my mom included a few boxes of hippy-dippy cereal that I totally got hooked on. It’s not exactly a cereal in the traditional sense of the word – or at least not how I think of it – but rather a mix of cereal-type flakes, nuts, dried fruit, and granola. It’s almost like a granola mix watered down with cereal. Anyway, it’s sweet and delicious and even though I extended its life by mixing it in sparingly with my bran flakes – just enough to spice them up – it was gone way too soon.

I decided to approximate the experience by making my own granola-cereal mashup. This recipe has all the regular granola ingredients – rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts – along with a few types of store-bought cereal, just for fun. Normally I go with dried cranberries or homemade apple slices for the fruit portion of the mix, but I just couldn’t resist trying out the dried blueberries gifted to me by Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit! (If you worry that your dried fruit will get a little too dry during baking, you can always mix it in at the end.)

Though this stuff takes the better part of an afternoon to make, the end result is so worth it: sweet* and savory granola, made to your own specifications, and for a fraction of the price of store-bought stuff. The cornucopia of fruit, nuts, and other goodies in this granola really make it stand out from some of the other versions I’ve made. And yes, it works wonders for ye ole boring bran flakes!

* But not too sweet: if you really want a cavity-maker, double the maple syrup, or add in a few tablespoons of brown sugar!
(More below the fold…)

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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My very first dish from Vegan Holiday Cooking! I decided to make it a practical one, so I chose a recipe that requires two of my current arch nemeses (butternut squash and apples, which are conspiring to make my fridge/freezer burst open at the seams). Seasoned with cinnamon, sage, rosemary, and chile powder, this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is topped with an almond cream, as well as pumpkin seeds toasted with lemon juice and cinnamon.

The soup is hella tasty and easy to make; no problems there. The almond cream was a little trickier; mine didn’t get terribly creamy and didn’t look much like that in the fancy gourmet food photo. Actually the difference in aesthetics isn’t terribly surprising; my almonds had their skins intact, hence the variation in color. But it also seemed a little heavier that Candle Cafe’s version, even with extra water added. When I plopped a little into the soup using an ice cream scoop, it just sank right to the bottom, with only a tiny bit staying afloat. Kind of like an iceberg! It still tasted great, though; ultimately I just blended the unused cream with the leftover soup and enjoyed them as one. Why use two containers when one will suffice?

Also, you might notice that those are not pumpkin seeds perched atop the almond cream. Right you are! I didn’t have any, so I subbed in pecans instead. I think they worked just as well.

My to-do list for Vegan Holiday Cooking is more than a dozen items long, so stay tuned for more!

Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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You guys, if I hadn’t already given The Oh She Glows Cookbook five stars, I’d do it on the merits of this recipe alone. SO GOOD! Yet so simple!

It’s basically just butternut squash (duh!), diced and roasted with garlic, parsley, kale (not pictured here; I was all out!), and a chunky parmesan mixture of nutritional yeast, almonds, and pecans. Since I omitted the kale and roasted the nuts ahead of time, I was able to skip the second, shorter round of roasting altogether.

Liddon recommends serving this with Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage to upgrade it from a side to a meal, but I found that Tofurky’s Chicken Apple flavor works just as well. Simple pan-fry it, fold into the finished squash, and enjoy!

Serves two very hungry, very gluttonous adults.

Maple & Candied Pecan Ice Cream

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

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Maple ice cream: because sometimes you just gotta have pancakes for dessert. The candied pecans are based on a recipe from Donna Klein’s The Chinese Vegan Kitchen (Chinese Sweet Walnuts) – and, while delicious, they are totally optional. For a slightly healthier dessert, swap ’em out for toasted pecans.

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Maple & Candied Pecan Ice Cream

Ingredients

(for the ice cream batter)
2 cups soy creamer
1 cup soy milk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon Mapeline or maple extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(for the candied pecans)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1. In a small mug, combine 1/4 cup of the soy milk with the arrowroot powder. Whisk well and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the soy creamer, remaining soy milk, and maple syrup; mix well. Heat on medium-high, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and add the arrowroot slurry immediately, whisking well. This should cause the milk to thicken noticeably. Add the maple and vanilla extracts and mix well.

3. Cover and transfer to a fridge to chill for six to eight hours or, better yet, overnight.

4. Next, make the candied pecans! Preheat the oven to 250F. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup and water; add the pecans ad stir well to coat. In a small bowl, mix the sugars and cinnamon; combine with the pecans and mix until evenly coated. Place the nuts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spreading them out so that they’re in a single layer. Bake at 250F for about 45 minutes (or until the nuts are toasted), stirring every 15 minutes. When done, allow to cool on the countertop. Transfer the nuts to a Tupperware container, breaking each nut apart as you do. Store in the fridge until ready for use.

5. To make the ice cream, process the batter according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Add the one cup of the pecans about seven minutes into the cycle – before the ice cream is done freezing, but after it’s thick enough that the pecans won’t fall to the bottom. Store the remaining pecans in the fridge for use as a topping.

6. Enjoy immediately or pop it in the freezer for a firmer dessert!

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Open-Faced Apple Pie with a Candied Pecan Topping

Friday, November 16th, 2012

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This might just be the tastiest “cleaning out my freezer” dish I’ve ever come up with!

I had half a batch of pie crust left over from the quiche I made for Vegan MoFo, so I decided to try an “open-faced” apple pie. (Like a regular pie, but marginally healthier!) To compensate for the missing top crust, I made some candied pecans to sprinkle on top. (Okay, maybe not so healthy after all.)

The result? Ugh, so good! I think I used more than half the dough crust for the quiche, because what I had left barely lined the pie pan (and then further retracted while baking, oy). That’s okay, though! The pie’s still super-yummy; a little messy, but totally worth the sticky fingers.

The pecans, which harden up a bit upon cooling (but soften when reheated in the microwave – consider this a pro tip), are a nice touch. If you don’t want to use them on a pie, they also make a nice candy. I may or may not have finished off a sizable portion while waiting for the pie to bake. May or may not, I’ll never tell!

 

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Open-Faced Apple Pie with a Candied Pecan Topping

Ingredients

1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade; see e.g.)

6 medium-sized apples, cut into slices 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (or a teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces

4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup pecans

Directions

1. If necessary, pre-bake the pie crust. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

3. In a large bowl, combine the apples with the lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; mix well.

4. Spoon the apple filling (including the juices!) into the pie crust. Dot with the margarine. Bake, uncovered on the center rack, at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender.

5. While the pie is baking, make the candied pecan topping. Line a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water; stir until the sugar is dissolved. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Cook, stirring all the while, for several minutes. Once the sugar water starts to resemble a syrupy sauce, add the pecans. Continue to cook until the sauce is thick and viscous. Remove from heat and spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, spreading the nuts out so that they’re in a single layer. Let cool on the countertop.

6. When the pie is done cooking, top with the candied pecans. Break the candy apart by hand if necessary.

 

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Maple Pecan Banana Ice Cream

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

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WOW. This ice cream came out even better than I expected! Rich and creamy, the taste of the titular maple syrup and roasted pecans is complemented by just the slightest hint of margarine and brown sugar. Plus it’s super-easy to make – no ice cream machine required! (Though you will have to fire up the toaster oven to roast the pecans. Boo!)

Enjoy it in a sugar cone, sweetness. You deserve it!

 

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Maple Pecan Banana Ice Cream

(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, softened
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup + extra to taste (I used 3/8 cup)
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed

Directions

1. Begin by toasted the pecans. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about five minutes, or until browned. Keep a close eye on them, as they can burn quickly! When done, set aside.

2. In a small mug or bowl, blend the brown sugar with the softened margarine. Set aside.

3. Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

4. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend.

5. Add the pecans, sugar/margarine blend, and maple syrup. Pulse until blended.

6. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).