Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gooey Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

So anyway, last night around 10:00  I realized I had nothing much to pack in a snack for the next morning. I decided instead of waiting and stressing out the next morning, I would make some muffins then. My kids really like pumpkin muffins as long as they are gooey enough. 
Of course, upon open the refrigerator the memory that I was out of eggs came flashing back. Alright, well I often find it fun to try to cook or bake minus important participating ingredients ~ it puts a whole fun twist on things. Many a time the outcome is far less than amazing, but sometimes it has the great effect of something yummy and somewhat different, or, exactly what you wanted but with the achievement of creating a new method to make it. Well, I don't know which category I would throw this into, but they came out superbly yummy! Is super short for superb?

Gooey Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
Preheat oven to 375

In a large bowl mix:
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup rice milk
1/3 cup grape-seed oil
1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl mix then add to wet ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Pour into oiled muffin pan. 
Bake 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
Careful, they are very hot when they first come out, and it takes them a while to cool. 
                                                              ~Best wishes, Marica

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pie . . . pie . . . and more pie

All right, how many pictures of pie do you think were uploaded to the internet in the last five 
days . . . ? . . . at least on American soil? Well I looked it up but there was no number or even 
anything about that on google. I thought somewhere there would be a rough tally or estimate; at 
least on flickr or facebook or something. . . ? But no such luck. We can only imagine, and 
considering Thanksgiving is like another word for pie, I would guess a lot. So here are a couple
 of  pie pictures capturing our indulgence.
We spent Thanksgiving with my parents and made apple pie from their incredibly, fabulous apples that actually taste better just picked than any pie could ever boast, but we made pie just the same : )

  This was a gluten free berry tart using left over berries in the refrigerator.
And of course Thanksgiving wouldn't be thanksgiving without pumpkin pie~
Happy Thanksgiving everyone ~Marica

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I've been day dreaming about this soup for over a year. This afternoon I decided to finally make dreams a reality : ) I'm joking, but I did want to put the potatoes in my refrigerator to use and if I may say so it was a good use.  I am putting in the measurements as best I can, but I didn't measure by the cup or ounce, so trust your instincts and taste buds.

Roasted Vegetable Soup
In a 11"x13" baking dish drizzle olive oil liberally and arrange:
5 medium new potatoes chopped
2 small red onions chopped
4-5 large carrots chopped
5 cloves garlic peeled
3 stalks celery chopped

Drizzle with more olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the carrots are decently tender
In a medium pot bring 1+1/2 cups water to a simmer.
Add:
2 teaspoons better than bouillon or 2 bouillon cubes.

Add 2/3 of the cooked vegetables. If you have one of those
blending wands, this is the time to use it. Be sure not to
over blend, you want some texture.
Add:
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
and the rest of the roasted vegetables.

I really enjoyed this soup, and I hope you do too!
                                                        ~Marica

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So much yarn . . .

No, this is not a photo in a yarn store. It is actually due to a most wonderful phone call I received a couple of weeks ago. My very close friend had come into some yarn and was in need of placing abundant amounts in a good home. Well need I explain how welcoming my home is to such a large supply of wool and silk, cotton and silk rayon blends. 
I headed over to her house with a small backpack, unsure of how much yarn she was really talking. On the phone she had excitedly explained a pick-up-truck and van full of yarn, but I had know idea she really meant a pick-up and a van load of yarn. As I stepped through the gate into her yard I saw a blanket laid out with neatly piled bunches and rows and rows of yarn. I was entirely satisfied, it never occurring to me that there would be more. As I looked through what was laid out she said she had to show me some more over on the path-walk . . . and the front porch  . . . and the back . . . Oh my gosh, she had an entire yarn store sitting in her front yard! Needless to say my backpack was of small use. I ended up with two large boxes filled with the most beautiful yarn. 
I have loads of ideas and and have only scraped the surface of the projects I want to start.
 What perfect timing as we are gaining way into fall and with the holidays coming upon us so quickly. It always takes cold weather for my fingers to itch to knit. Well I better get a-knitting!
                                                                          ~Marica

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Carrot Juice Remains Become Cake

I recently borrowed my mothers vegetable juicer and have been making a lot of carrot juice with 
celery, garlic and ginger. 
 I love it! It has such a bite to it, and is an amazing morning spark. The pulp is always so fresh and ready that I have had a hard time throwing it out. Carrot cake crosses my mind, but then I get lazy and toss it anyway. But the other morning I decided to to put the idea into a bowl and see what happens.
 Well, all could have been great, except I forgot about the garlic and celery and so I ended up with a strange aromatic cake less than desirable and tasty. The texture was muffin-like and I could see the potential minus the extra flavor, so the next morning I tried again. This time I made sure to separate the pure carrot  pulp before adding my garlic and celery. The cake was really delicious and the kids have been eating it with plain yogurt and asking for more and more. The recipe is as follows~
Carrot Pulp Cake 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl mix:
2 eggs
1/3 cup grapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups carrot pulp

In a separate bowl mix than add:
1+1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh raw cranberries 

Pour into an oiled cake pan. I used two 6" pans, but one 8" or 9"
should work fine. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
                                                                                            ~Marica

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Minute Indian Dinner

Do you ever have a night when your refrigerator and cupboard are bleak and far from over-flowith? Well last night was such an evening. Of course dinner was a nessesity considering the three hungery children and two hungry parents in this household where needing to be appease their demanding stomachs. I scoured a bit, remembered the dried black lentils my mother had recently given me, and that bag of basmati rice in the back of the cupboard. Slowly, what was scrounging became inspiration. I looked through some naan recipes and vegetable rice biryani ideas.  Then suddenly dinner became an epic affaire with black lentil dal, rice biryani, rita, chapattis, saag panier, and pomegranate chutney. I swear, I thought I had nothing in the pantry, but I guess I had just enough of all the right things to make this particular meal. The chapattis were amazing and I squealed when I nibbled a triale taste. And just to note I don't squeal. The recipes I looked at were for naan, but the way I altered it I am pretty sure these are more of a chapati now. Anyway, I highly recomend trying them.
Chapatti Recipe:
In a large bowl let sit until yeast foams:
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast (2+1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar
Once foamy add then kneed:
1 egg
1/4 cup plain yogurt
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for and hour.
Once risen knead and divide into twelve equal size balls. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Heat a skillet to medium hot. Roll out each ball until as thin as possible. Place on the skillet dry and cook for a couple minutes. Lift the edge and check underneath, when small brown spots appear on the underside, rub upside with melted butter then flip and cook again. Check for doneness, trust me, you will  know because you may squeal like I did. They look so F-ing real and just wait 'til you taste them. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the rita, but here is the recipe:
Rita Recipe:
Finely grate about 1 cup cucumber. Squeeze hard to remove the juice. There will no longer be 1 cup cucumber maybe it will even half in size. Add 1 cup plain yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream. Top with 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin.  
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The pomegranate chutney sufficed, although it didn't knock your socks off. I was just happy because pomegranates were the only fruit I had in the house.
Pomegranate Chutney Recipe
In a dry pan saute:
1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
Add in a bit of oil and saute:
3 jalapeno peppers chopped fine
Squeeze juice of 1 pomegranate into pan
add 2 teaspoons sugar
and 1 teaspoon corn starch first dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 pinch ground cloves

Continue to mix about one minute or until thick.

~~~~~~~
Anyway, happy end to an unexpected meal. 
There was even enough to send on with my parents when they stopped by so yeay!
P.S.       The rice came out good too, but I will have to make it again to figure out exactly what I did before I pass on the recipe.  Hopefully a post to come soon! 
                                                                                                                   ~Marica

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Small Gift

A quick gift for my daughter's friend . . .
In a brie box to make it more fun . . .
                                                                                                                         ~Marica

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going Away Cake





Some very close friends of ours just threw a good-bye party. They are moving far away. . . : ( As sad as it was to see them go, there was a special celebration in the air that needed some honoring.  So I baked them this going away wedding cake. I didn't realize that the girl's dad had not yet received this information. . .Ooops! But she did say she was trying to find a way to tell him, and this broke the ice.
 

Knowing that they are not the biggest fans of overly sweet, white wedding cake, I decided a brown apple cake was the way to go. Of coarse if you don't have a white wedding cake it would be silly to have little plastic people in tux and gown floating on the top . . . hence the rustic folk with paint on their trousers. 



~Marica