Monday, March 3, 2014

Pictures for a snow day.

Last night, we went to the Loving Hut.  It's a great, cheap dive of a vegan place.  But I love it because I can order any damn thing off the menu without thinking.  I'd been craving a burgery kind of sandwich for a few days, so the night before last, we stopped at Silver Diner where I settled on the bison burger and veggies. The diner had a large table full of screaming out of control kids whose family seemed to think they were at Chuck E Cheese, so let's just say I did not end up with a bison burger and left with my sandwich urge unscratched.  

Lent approaches, and with it, my ban of all storebought baked goods.  I wanted my sandwich, dagnabit! So Loving Hut it was, where I could have not only every single item there, but all the desserts as well.  I got my sandwich AND tiramisu! Itch scratched. 

Then I dreamed that the snowstorm fell apart, and it was just a warm rain to wash away the nasty snow, and that I woke up to blue skies and green grass and flowers. 

Reality was not nearly so idyllic.  

Because the outdoors looks like this...

Everyone is staying home.  It's my day off, anyway.  I didn't really want to go out and play, really.  

So I'm doing stuff like this- 
Those are raw squash tempura chips.  It's a buckwheat/flaxseed/spice coating.  I also tossed some tofu with this mixture, and we will see how it comes out.  I was thinking of this for snacks, when I just like something to nibble on but don't want anything greasy. Flaxseeds, like many seeds, have great healthy fats and fiber.  We will see about these! 

I also made a flaxseed cracker that is different from other recipes I've made.  I've always used whole flaxseed, and that is pretty good.  Except the seeds get stuck in your teeth and you spend lots of time cleaning little bits of seeds out.   This time, using the vitamix dry container, I ground half the flaxseed and some buckwheat into a meal, along with the larger spices, and mixed it with the remaining whole flaxseed and the small spices.  I wanted to try a different texture and see how I liked it. 

M looked doubtfully at me loading our wee little dehydrator and stated he thought the chips,  tofu, AND cracker would take a week to dry! But after two hours or so, the cracker was dry enough to peel off the cracker form and flip.  The veggies and tofu are taking longer but I think we will have snacks by tonight. Right on time. 

I also made this...
That's a coconut oil coffee.  I read about it on the Almighty Internet when I was looking for home ground grain recipes, and decided to try it. You put your brewed coffee and a small spoonful of coconut oil into a blender and whirl away. Whoosh!  It comes out really creamy and not actually tasting all that much of coconut. I don't like sugar in my coffee, so I can't speak to how added sugar would take. 

I'd heard of butter coffee before (adding a pat of unsalted butter), but this was new to me.  I've enjoyed it.  In Oregon, my fabulous doctor took a look at my diet and decided, because I make so many of my own things at home and eat so little meat, that my fat intake might actually be too low.  He suggested adding coconut oil to my smoothies or being a little more generous with my salad dressing, and to eat the nuts and seeds.  I dropped 12 pounds last summer so that obviously has some truth in it! 

(I thought I gained back 12 pounds, but as of two days ago and two days into antibiotics, I had dropped about 8 pounds again, so I think there was some mega water retention going on with the being sick.) 

I also did this. 
This bad boy is a little tub of almond butter, raw, homemade.  I've tried this before and got a mealy mess.  Some blogs had instructions to add extra oil and honey, but I didn't want to add sweetness or extra fat.  But then I checked my Cuisinart book, and it mentioned the processing time- 15 MINUTES! That was much longer than I'd been doing.   It works like a charm.  At first, you get a mealy texture.  Then it starts to clump (and that was where I'd always turned it off before). But around 10 minutes in, you start seeing it get wetter and smoother, probably as the oils are released from the almonds.  I stopped this at 13 minutes. The mixture was a little warm from the friction, but it was a processor full of smooth creamy goodness!  I think there are almond butter sandwiches in M's future! 

By the way, if you under process your butter and get a stiff mealy mess, do not pop it in the microwave hoping that the heat will make it creamy. That is not the answer.  You will burn the almonds and it will be gross.  

Finally, I did this.
Ground chickpeas for flour.  As of now, we have quinoa, chickpea, and wheat flour in our freezer, and some flaxmeal for vegan egg replacers.  I keep saying I'm not vegan (hello, bacon and attempt to eat a bison burger!) but I have found I really like the texture of the baked goods when I use the flaxmeal instead of egg.  

By the way, I haven't "gone vegan". The vegan baking has been due to the dairy allergy. I can substitute our almond milk for dairy milk, but I have just been finding more interesting recipes in the vegan end of the spectrum.  Some of them I wouldn't even know were vegan, like the Red Devil Beet Bundt cake (hat tip to Vegetarian Times where you can find the recipe.). 

So at this point, I remain slackertarian.  I eat mostly vegan these days because it's just where I'm finding the most fun and the tastiest recipes.  But I still have eggs for breakfast and the occasional piece of bacon with them.  

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