National Banana Bread Day

Chef Linda has a theme going! I’m not positive if this is a national day for Canada, or the U.S., but, either way, I like her calendar!! Here’s her post:

  
It’s National Banana Bread Day! We are featuring Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread made with organic blueberries, spelt flour and Tofutti Sour Supreme sour cream. You do not have to make separate chia eggs. Once your bananas are mashed, you add everything into the mixing bowl and stir until combined. Enjoy! 
~Chef Linda 

Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread 

Recipe Type: Sweet Bread

Cuisine: Esther Approved 

Serves: 9×5 loaf 

Prep including Bake Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients
1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt or Tofutti Sour Supreme 

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

3 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1-1/3 cup spelt or all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt 

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5 bread loaf pan with cooking spray. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a masher. 

3. Combine the remaining ingredients with the bananas. Stir until the batter is combined and moist. If you over stir the bread, it will become dense. 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

5. Bake for 50 minutes. 

6. Allow to cool and then slice.

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It’s National Sticky Bun Day!

Sharing another winning recipe from Chef Linda of Esther’s Kitchen!

  
 It’s National Sticky Bun Day!! Hooray! We’ve been looking forward to this day so we can share Esther’s Mini Sticky Buns. These buns come together in under an hour. If you have made sticky buns you will know that sometimes they are hard to get out of the pan. Our method will give you wonderful results. Enjoy! ~Chef Linda 

Esther’s Mini Sticky Buns 
Cuisine: Esther Approved 

Serves: 12 mini buns 

Prep including cook time: 1 hour 

Preheat your oven to 350F. 
Place a small mixing bowl on the top of the oven. 

Dough Ingredients 
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 

1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt

2 Tablespoons organic granulated sugar 

1 Tablespoon flax meal (do not use seeds)

1-3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1 Tablespoon for dusting work surface 

Rolling pin

1. Place the Earth Balance and 1/2 cup almond milk in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on 30 second increments until the buttery spread is melted. 

2. Pour the heated almond milk and buttery spread in a food processor or electric stand mixer with dough attachment hook. Add the remaining dough ingredients. If using a food processor, turn it on and use the dough button. Process the dough for about 3 minutes or until a dough ball forms and spins around. Turn the food processor off. If using an electric stand mixer, turn the mixer on medium and mix until a dough ball forms. Turn off the mixer. 
3. Place the dough ball into the warm mixing bowl. Wet a paper towel or cloth towel with hot water. Wring out the water and place the towel over the dough. Let the dough rise slightly while you make the filling. 
Filling Ingredients 
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans 

2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil 

1. Combine the filling ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until combined. 
Dough Roll Assembly 

1. Spread the 1 Tablespoon of flour on your work surface. 

2. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that measures 9″ x 12″. Use a ruler for accurate measuring. 

3. Sprinkle the filling evenly into the dough rectangle. Press the filling lightly into the dough. 

4. Starting from the 12″ length, tightly roll the dough into a log with the seam side down. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1″ pieces. Use a ruler for accurate measuring. 

5. Spray a 9″ round baking dish. Place the buns in the baking dish on top of the stove. Cover the buns with a warm towel while you make the Sticky Topping. 

Sticky Topping Ingredients 
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2 Tablespoons coconut oil 

1 cup pecan halves 

1 Tablespoon molasses or corn syrup 

1. Add all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat the ingredients on low heat until the sugar and coconut oil melts. Stir constantly with a metal spoon to prevent scorching. Turn off the heat and pour this sticky sauce over the buns. 
Bake the sticky buns for 15 minutes at 350F. Remove the buns from the oven. Grab 2 plates. Place one plate over the buns. Invert the buns onto the plate. Remove the baking dish. Place the second plate over the buns. Invert the plates so the sticky pecans are on top. 
This method prevents the sticky buns getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. The traditional method for making sticky buns is placing the sticky mixture on the bottom of the pan then the buns are placed over that mixture. 

Note: If you want stickier buns, double the Sticky Topping Ingredients but only use 1 cup pecan halves. Walnuts will also work for this recipe.

For more information on Esther, visit www.estherthewonderpig.com, or like her page on Facebook. Also, be sure to follow Esther’s Kitchen on Facebook for more wonderful recipes like this!!

Esther’s Friendship Cake

My blog has been defunct for quite a while, however, I have discovered a new use for it. Here, I’m sharing a recipe, so that it can be easily pinned. The recipe is from Esther’s Kitchen, and Chef Linda is amazing. They don’t yet have their website set up for sharing recipes, so maybe this will be helpful to us Pinterest fanatics! You can learn more about Esther and her inspirational life at estherthewonderpig.com.
  
Esther’s Friendship Cake – From Chef Linda of Esther’s Kitchen

Cuisine: Esther Approved  

Serves: 8×8 cake

Prep including Cook Time: 1 hour


Cake Ingredients
 

1 cup organic granulated sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt

1 (16 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained

Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.  

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a spoon. Stir until smooth.

2. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While the cake bakes, begin to evaporate your almond milk.

4. Method for frosting the cake-Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the hot frosting over the hot cake. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake. The milk will absorb into the cake. Allow to cool before slicing. Store covered in the refrigerator.


Frosting Ingredients
 

3/4 cup evaporated almond milk(see recipe below)

1/2 cup organic granulated sugar

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread

1. Once your milk has evaporated to half way below the scald line to the bottom of the pot (20 minutes), stir in the granulated sugar and Earth Balance into the milk. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut, almonds and vanilla extract. Turn the heat to warm or low to keep the frosting hot.  

2. Pour the hot frosting evenly over the cake. Use the back of a spoon to spread out the frosting.

Evaporated Almond Milk Ingredients  
1-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1. Pour the almond milk into a medium size pot. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. The milk will evaporate to a half quantity that will yield 3/4 cup evaporated milk for the frosting recipe.

Maybe later I can figure out how to share a printable!

Thanks!

Plant Manager

The humans in our household (both of us) have been following strictly plant-based nutrition for going on two months now. We are really loving the way we are feeling and even more so, the fact that no animals are harmed in the making of our food. In making the decision to do this, because of limited options where we live, we have essentially eliminated the opportunity to eat out (with very few exceptions). Therefore, I have been cooking and preparing all of our meals at home (making me the “Plant Manager”). This has led to a lot of exploration of new dishes and new ways to prepare old favorites. This past weekend, through Pinterest, I found a recipe from Sonia at The Healthy Foodie, Apple and Almond Salad. As with most recipes I attempt,  I tweaked, bringing this particular one in line with the plant-based guidelines we follow: No animal products and no added oils. (I also omitted the olives as a personal preference).

So, I present to you, my take on Sonia’s original recipe:

Image

Vegan, Zero Cholesterol, Broccoli, Apple and Almond Salad

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 heads broccoli, florets only, chopped
    • 1 large red apple, diced
    • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
    • ½ cup raisins
    • ¼ cup dates, chopped (about 10)
For the vinaigrette
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • the juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • ¼ unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  1. Steam the broccoli until tender. Rinse in icy water to stop cooking and allow to drain in colander while cooling.
  2. When the broccoli is completely cooled and dry, toast the almonds in a dry skillet set over medium heat, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a small food processor, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients plus the vinaigrette and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Serve immediately or leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow flavors to develop. This salad will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days in an airtight container.

It was a big hit in our home, served alongside Lentil Burgers on homemade whole wheat buns and oven baked French fries.

Please let me know if you try my version and how you liked it!

You can find the original (non-vegan) version at: Broccoli, Apple & Almond Salad

Thanks for reading!!

Fifteen Minutes

Hello Blogosphere! Since we last updated, life has moved forward with a consistent trajectory. The make-up of our little animal menagerie has shifted some, but we still love, care for, feed, clean up after and dote on eleven precious little souls.

In the space of time in which we haven’t written, we’ve (jointly and individually) dabbled in (experimented with, tested the waters, or completely adopted) running, bodybuilding, veganism, jewelry making, cooking (to an exhaustive degree) and juicing. Through facebook, we have reunited with old friends and kindled new friendships. Yeah, we are some of those old people who ran all the cool kids off facebook and onto Instagram or whatever is the latest phase. We’ve had birthdays, celebrated joys, mourned losses and kept our noses to the grindstone. In other words, we have lived our lives. How lucky we are to be so blessed!

Of late, I have been completely obsessed (? for lack of a better word) with Polyvore. It’s a great app that brings paper dolls into this century. If you like fashion, you should check it out. I have enjoyed building a virtual version of my wardrobe and using it to mix and match and put together outfits.

PolyvoreAnother fun time-waster I’ve discovered is Pinterest. Luckily Polyvore and Pinterest play well together.

Speaking of Pinterest, some time ago, here on the blog, we shared the building of our dog house. I was really shocked today to find out the post has been pinned on Pinterest, and better yet, re-pinned 389 times!

Dog HouseHow special is that? We are Pinterest celebrities! Looks like our “fifteen minutes” of  “fame” has begun!

 

Cuteology

Zeez ees a lesson een Cuteology. Who bett-air to teech about Cuteology zan I?
DSC01777

Here ve vill share viths you some of zee cute zings ve haf seen in zee last few days.

Zees ees me, viths my snuggle buddee, Fu. Zees has become a habeet for us!
Snuggle Buds

Snuggle Buds

I am very comforbuhls. I cannot speak for Fu.

Zees are some ov our neighbors. She ees een love viths zee babee.

Happy family

Hello there!

Soft!

Zees eez A.J. She and He met heem viths hees Mom at Bed, Bath and Beyond. A.J. vas zere shopping for hees own house. You can zee he made hees choice!

A.J. The Pom

Zee lesson to take from all zeez peectures eez zat to qualeefy for Cuteology, zee subject must pozezz cer-tain qualitees. Two ov zee most eemportant appareently are “sveet” and “fluvvy”.

Clazz deesmeesed.

Casanova
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Occupy the Dog House

Dog House

He and She have been really busy for the last couple of weekends building a dog house for us. They took special care to make sure it’s nice and warm, so on the long, cold days when they are at work and we can’t be in the house with the kitties, we will at least have a comfy place to nap. That is, between all the watch doggin’ we do!

What we now have is a double-walled, insulated, cedar, duplex apartment with wood floors and central heat. Well, technically, it’s not central heat, it’s a Hound Heater, specially designed for dog houses. The felines don’t mind that He and She put all this effort and expense into the house for us. After all, they get to lounge in the main house 24/7.

Here are some pictures from the construction. The first few were taken with her iPod, so the quality isn’t that great, but you can get an idea of what was done, at least.

First, they started with a sturdy 2×4 frame for the base:
Dog House

Gily was on hand to take care of the Quality Assurance portion of the job:
Gily doing QA

Then, framing was begun. They used treated 2x4s that were ripped down to 2×2:
Dog House

You can see here the beautiful cedar flooring and the care He took to insulate the walls well to keep that winter chill at bay:
Dog House

Here you can see the interior and exterior walls were finished out in cedar:
Dog House

This is the Hound Heater that was mounted inside to help keep us warm on the coldest of days:
Dog House

Here’s the house with a coat of stain, and put in place. There are two entrances, with Gily’s apartment being taller to accomodate his size. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention, each of the roof sections is removable for easy access and cleaning:
Dog House

You can see I am proud and pleased with my sweet new abode:
Dog House

Dog House

Dog House

However, Gily is not as impressed and has pretty much boycotted getting in the dog house. We are thinking of having a march and calling it Occupy the Dog House:
Dog House
Doesn’t he look a little like “you want me to go in what???”

I hope he will come around and join me when it gets really cold. In the meantime, I guess I’ll enjoy my deluxe two room apartment myself!

Dog House

Trix
*****