Sweet Cranberry Wine Sauce – gluten free + vegan

Ingredients:

1 bag cranberries (12-16 ounces)
1 750ml bottle of sweet wine (*See note*)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
pinch salt

Directions:

In a medium stock pot add your sugar. Turn your burner onto medium high. Wash your cranberries well under warm running water, shake most the water off. Add your cranberries to the pot and stir well to mix with the sugar. After about 60 seconds of stirring, lift your pot off the burner and away from the flame and slowly add some of your wine. Adding only a little at a time will help prevent boil over, when working with alcohol this is important as a boil over could produce flame (never good!). Once you get enough in the pan to coat the bottom of the pan with at-least a 1/4 inch or about a centimeter, you can return the pan to the stove and add the remaining wine. Save that wine bottle though as its a great way to serve your sauce that’ll have your guests wondering!

Bring to a boil while stirring. You want to stir your sauce mixture until all the sugar is dissolved and you no longer feel the sugar at the bottom of the pot.

Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer or just a little higher. You will want to reduce your sauce down depending on how thick you want your final product. If you want something closer to a jelly or jam, reduce it down by half. If you want something more like a slightly thickened sauce, 1/3 – 1/4 will do just fine. (I reduced by 1/4) Just make a mental note where the sauce started, so you know when you get there. Let it cook uncovered until your desired thickness, make sure to stir every 2-5 minutes just in case, other than that it doesn’t require much effort.

After your sauce is your desired consistency, use an immersion blender or transfer tinto a blender continer. Blend on high until the sauce is a very fine puree, you can optionally strain the sauce if you want.

As this sauce cools down it will thicken up a good bit due to the pectin in the cranberries, so keep this in mind while making it. If kept in a tight fitting glass container this sauce will keep up to 2 – 3 weeks. (photo was taken after sauce was 2 weeks old!)

*NOTE* Make sure you ONLY use a wine you would drink plain. Cooking this wine concentrates the flavor, so if you don’t like the wine to start with, this won’t make it better. I suggest a sweet white wine like a moscato d’asti or a riesling. A sweet red like a rose wine would also go amazingly with this.

CAUTION: If you’re making this for someone who is gluten intolerant or a vegan. Please make sure that the wine you’re using is gluten free and contains no animal products. Most wines are finished with isinglass, this is a concentrated substance from the bladder of fish. Some wines are made with wheat and wheat like products. When it doubt call the producer of this wine or choose a different brand.

Spelt & Wheat pizza crust. No Fat Added + Vegan


Spelt & Wheat pizza crust. No Fat Added + Vegan
 
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For the original version of this recipe, click HERE. The process is the same.
Author:
Serves: 1 large crust
Ingredients
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or any other glutenous flour)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¾ cup warm water (between body temp and 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • extra flour for rolling
  • 1 tsp cornmeal for dusting *optional but suggested!*
Instructions
  1. In a food process, add your flours, yeast, and sugar. Pulse a few times to combine the flours. Now take off the insert cover and with the food processor running add the water in a little bit at a time. The trick is to just add the proper amount of flour so that it is neither too hard nor soft. You will know you have the perfect amount of water when the dough starts to ball up. It will hold it’s shape and if you poke the dough it will “hold” the hole. When you get to this stage, let the food processor run for 2 minutes to activate the gluten.
  2. After two minutes, you may notice your dough got really tacky. This is from using whole grain flours or thicker milled flours like what I used. Don’t be alarmed if this happens. Scrape the dough out of your food processor container and you have a couple choices. Either take your dough and place it into a bowl covered with a damped warm cloth and place in your oven for at least 1 hour until doubled in size OR scrape the dough out of your food processor, remove the S blade and replace the dough back into the food processor container. Replace the lid and let set covered for 1 hour or until doubled.
  3. After the dough has doubled in size, scrape it out onto a floured work surface and start to roll it into your desired shape. Rub on extra flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the works surface or the rolling pin.
  4. Once you get your desired shape, rub some extra-fine ground cornmeal into the top of your dough. When you go to add toppings, flip the dough over. This small bit of cornmeal is the trick to nonstick pizza. Congratulations, you have now made a basic pizza crust!
Notes
This dough does not need to be pre-baked, so top it with sauce, veggies, and cheese and bake it. I suggest 425 for 18 minutes.

Calories are for the whole crust. Divide accordingly!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 crust Calories: 1069 Fat: 8 Saturated fat: 1 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 222 Sugar: 21 Sodium: 23 Fiber: 25 Protein: 49 Cholesterol: 0
 

Homemade Peanut Butter


Homemade Peanut Butter
 
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Author:
Serves: 16 tablespoons
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces peanuts dry roasted (unsalted is better, if you cannot find unsalted see notes**)
  • 1 teaspoon good quality olive oil or grape-seed oil
  • 1 pinch salt (see note*)
  • *Optionally* you can add 1 tablespoon sugar for sweetened peanut butter
Equipment:
  • You will need either a decent quality food processor or a high powered blender. Vitamix or Blendtec blenders are perfect for this! If you use a processor, make sure you scrap the sides down often.
Instructions
  1. Place 16 ounces of roasted peanut into your blender (or food processor). If using a vitamix, you will need the tamper otherwise you will need a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add a pinch of salt if you're using unsalted peanuts. Process on high while tamping down the peanuts, OR blend on high until you notice the peanuts "climbing" up the sides of the container, then stop the blender (or food processor) and scrape the sides down and repeat. When you're almost to your desired smoothness, add the oil and any optional sweetener. Continue to blend, repeating the scraping process until you reach your desired texture.
  2. Scrape your peanut butter into a container, I suggest glass. Place a tight fitting lid on and you're done! Homemade peanut butter will last 2 or so weeks in the fridge, however this stuff is so good, I doubt you'll make it that long!
Notes
Note: if you're using salted peanuts or do not want any salt in your peanut butter, omit the extra salt!

If you cannot find unsalted dry roasted peanuts, don't worry! You can wash half the peanuts in warm water and let air dry on a tray or cotton cloth overnight at room temperature, or in an oven at 300 for 15-30 minutes. Why should you do this? Because using salted peanuts will make the peanut butter WAY too salty. Not only will it tasted weird, we shouldn't eat all that sodium.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 tablespoon (28g) Calories: 165 Fat: 14 Saturated fat: 2 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 6 Sugar: 1 Sodium: 12 Fiber: 2 Protein: 7 Cholesterol: 0
 

Lower Fat Vegan Banana Nut Bread

Lower Fat Vegan Banana Nut Bread
 
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Author:
Serves: 24 slices (2 loaves)
Ingredients
  • 5 medium bananas, very ripe (Should be almost all brown and squishy)
  • 1 cup unpacked brown sugar (dark is better but light will work)
  • ½ cup regular sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoon ground flax + 8 tablespoons HOT water (mix well and let set 5 minutes)
  • ¼ cup grape-seed oil (you can use olive oil if you prefer)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff only please)
  • ¼ cup nondairy milk mixed with 1 teaspoon white or rice wine vinegar ***(see note)
  • 2½ cups wheat flour (you may need more or less)
  • slightly less than 1 cup nuts, chopped **(see note)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl add your ground flax seeds and HOT water (I cannot stress how important HOT water is), stir well so there are no lumps and let set aside for about 5 minutes. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius or gas mark 4).
  2. In a large bowl, combine your bananas, sugar, vanilla, salt, applesauce, baking soda, oil, and nondairy milk. Using your hands (which I did) or a potato masher; mash until the lumps are less than 1 centimeter (1/4 inch) or til desired smoothness. I like to leave tiny lumps so you get bites of banana, but this is up to you.
  3. Check your flax "eggs", if they are snotty in texture and thick; they are ready to go in the bowl. If they are not, let set another couple minutes, then add to large bowl.
  4. Mix in your flax eggs well. Now start to mix in your flour ½ cup at a time using the folding method. I suggest using a flexible spatula for this. Circle your bowl to scrap the sides down, and cut through the middle until your flour disappears and there are no huge pockets of flour in the mixture. Repeat this for 2 cups total of flour. Now look at your mixture, is it thick, kinda snotty and holds together well? If the answer is yes, then stop. If you think it needs a little more then add the remaining ½ cup of flour. If for some reason your bananas were huge and its still too moist, add ½ more flour. There really is no reason to use more than 3 cups. Once your batter looks ready, fold in slightly less than 1 cup of nuts, your choice; make sure they are evenly distributed.
  5. Get two regular sized loaf pans and spray generously with oil or grease well. Failure to do this will result in a bread you can't pry from the pan with a crowbar, you were warned.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the two pans and lightly tap on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake at 350 for about 60 - 75 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf should come out almost clean (like 90%) if you wait for it to be completely clean, the bread will be crumbly and dry. Good with milk, not so much on it's own. Mine took 65 minutes.
  7. At this point you can store them at room temperature (cool completely before putting in a container) or freeze them. My grandma used to wrap her breads in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap. Don't forget to date them. I wouldn't keep them in the freezer more than 3 months for best results. Thaw at room temperature completely before serving.
Notes
* A word on flax seeds. If you are baking for someone with an allergy you can use regular whole large sized eggs. Egg replacement powder isn't that great of an option here and extra bananas will not work either. Sorry =(


** A word on choosing nuts. I used pecans, which is all I had left. Traditional banana nut bread is made with walnuts, however you can mix and match to your taste. Try a combination of both or go for something different all together. You could also use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds if someone is your family has a tree nut allergy. Better safe than sorry!

*** A word on nondairy milk. In this recipe I used a homemade brown rice milk that was just rice and water with some vanilla, however you may use any type of nondairy milk. Be careful if choosing a strong flavored milk like mung bean or hemp milk. These will alter the flavor of the end dish. Also, coconut milk should be avoided unless you want coconut banana bread. (that does sound good though! 😉
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 154 Fat: 5 Saturated fat: 1 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 26 Sugar: 14 Sodium: 105 Fiber: 3 Protein: 2 Cholesterol: 0
 

Vegan Hot Chocolate (Carob)

So today I went to my local cupcake bakery and they had handmade marshmallows so you know I HAD to buy one. They were so freaking awesome, but who just eats marshmallows by themselves? I know I don’t! So I had to make me some hot chocolate (I used carob though) that was equally as tasty as my marshmallow. This recipe makes 1 serving, its about 200 calories (more or less depending on which ingredients you use. Plain nondairy milk will be less). Its naturally gluten free and vegan depending on the ingredients. Of course, you can use regular milk, and cocoa powder. Its just up to you. Feel free to double or triple this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa or carob powder
1 1/2 tablespoons (or more or less) sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup nondairy milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
small pinch salt
Marshmallows (optional)

Directions:

In a saucepan on medium heat add your cocoa powder (or carob), sugar, water, vanilla, and salt. Mix with a whisk until combined and it just starts to bubble. Add in your milk and mix well. Heat until just before boiling and transfer into a glass. Top with optional marshmallows and enjoy!

Alternative prep #1: This can be made in a microwave. Heat up your milk on high (700 watts) in bursts of 30 seconds until hot. Milk in rest of your ingredients and stir until combined. Reheat if necessary, and serve hot. Enjoy!

Alternative prep#2: This can be made in a blender, which will prevent any clumps of powder. You will need to warm up the milk and the water in a suacepan or use a microwave on high (700 watts) using 30 second bursts of heat, stirring after each burst until hot. Add liquid into blender first, then rest of the ingredients, blend on high until combined. This method works best for doubling or tripling this recipe. Enjoy!

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you are making this and/or cooking for someone with gluten allergies or celiacs disease. Make sure to purchase ingredients that are certified gluten free, and clean your utensils very well. Better safe than sorry.