Friday, January 20, 2012

King Arthur Cookie Mix

I've been gluten free for 6 months and we finally broke down and got a toaster (oven), since the toaster had to be quarantined. I love it! I can roast polenta for dinner, or make garlic toast, or 6 cookies!

I had sworn off baking mixes for years, for a billion reasons. They were often not vegan when you delved into those scary sounding ingredients, although the scary ingredients were enough to keep me away even if I didn't know what l-cystine is. It turns out the gluten-free mixes are less frightening. The ingredients list is recognizable and usually things I have in my pantry. Many use xanthan gum, which is not in my pantry, and I kind of hate it, but it's been in my condiments for years, so I don't get rabid about it.

King Arthur's gluten-free cookie mix uses normal ingredients and no xanthan gum. I used coconut oil for butter, and ground white chia seeds for the egg (1 tablespoon ground seeds with 3 tablespoons warm water in a little bowl to gel up), with a cup of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. They're chewy and delicious.

My only complaint about baking cookies these days is that I have
To form each cookie by hand for them to bake up properly.

I put hand pressed cookies on a sheet in the freezer, and when they froze solid, I put them in a container with baking instructions for a quick hot cookie dessert some painful evening with warmed chocolate hemp milk. <3

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Magic Peanut Butter Kisses

So... I have celiac disease. My life has been blissfully more comfortable since giving up the gluten (and the withdrawals were awful!) and I've had to relearn everything about baking. I'm still learning. But these cookies were a pretty good success for a night at home on New Year's Eve, reminiscent of the very non vegan peanut butter kiss cookies with the Hershey candy. This recipe closely follows Elana's Pantry's peanut butter cookie recipe.


2 cups almond flour*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Pinch salt, if unsalted PB
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp molasses
4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla (I used Cook's cookie vanilla)

About 1/4 cup sugar for coating uncooked cookies (I used half turbinado and half vanilla sugar).
About 24 bite sized pieces of chocolate.

*I used Bob's Red Mill blanched almond flour. In the past I had some random almond meal (from Trader Joe's?), and it was ground almonds with the skins on them, which made for kind of a gritty, bitter final product in everything I made. Blanched almonds have their skins removed, so the resulting flour is softer, sweeter, and a little more flexible in baked goods, I'm finding. I'm really impressed. I just wish it was cheaper.


Mix ingredients well (I used a stand mixer for about 2 minutes), adding a little more almond flour if too sticky to handle. Scoop tablespoonfuls into sugar and roll to coat. Flatten slightly on parchment covered cookie sheets, and bake at 350f for 8-10 minutes, until browned. Press chocolate chunk into each cookie and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

gluten freedom and buckwheat pancakes

I have been away from public blogging for awhile now, not feeling so hot and focusing on my family. I did some soul searching, listening to my body, getting frustrated with doctors, having some tests, and ultimately determining I am unable to consume or use wheat products. Wheat exacerbates and creates many unpleasant symptoms for me, from allergies and asthma, to skin troubles and chronic anemia to debilitating fibromyalgia pain. It's only been a few weeks, but I'm already feeling better. Gluten freedom hasn't (and won't) fix all my symptoms, but it's helped tremendously, and I'm convinced this has gone on a long time (I believe wheat allergy played a role in my asthma, too, which started severely when I was 18 months old). I'm also convinced my fatness (and gender) contributed to doctors not catching this. Ask me about my anger at the medical community, sometime. Or don't. You probably shouldn't.

Anyhow, my lack of energy led to a complete disinterest in cooking and baking, and I'd only been making the bare minimum. I wasn't baking much because it was really starting to make me feel awful, and the energy expended and resulting pain wasn't worth the pleasure of a baked treat. I've gone away from fresh vegetables (except for simple salads), which is especially tragic now that we live in the bay area, where there's farmers markets nearly every day of the week somewhere nearby, and there are great stores that sell delicious produce, too. Now I've got to re-commit to healthy, fresh, delicious food.

Today I made buckwheat pancakes. I was searching for gluten-free vegan recipes online, and most recipes either use a pre-made flour mix, or only use rice flour. I like rice flour, but it seems too gritty to use without something to off-set that texture. My first attempt resembled concrete. Whoops! Then I decided to think simpler. These are not as flat as crepes, but they're definitely not big and fluffy pancakes. More baking powder (and/or a little apple cider vinegar) would probably help this. Maybe next time. I think they came out pretty well, though. They're high sugar for a pancake, I don't deny.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup almond (or other nondairy) milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave)

Preheat (I used cast iron) skillet over medium (or just below medium) heat. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and dry in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Add wet to dry and mix really well with a fork. Go ahead and over-mix that bad boy, because it's the wheat gluten that makes pancakes tough. Over-mixing wheat-free flours actually develops the shorter non-wheat-gluten proteins and helps with binding and structure.

I used a quarter-cup measuring cup to scoop batter into the preheated oiled pan, making two at a time, two minutes per side. I used canola oil out of laziness, but coconut would have been a better choice in hindsight. Makes 10-12 dollar-sized pancakes. (I think I'll double it next time.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day!
Originally uploaded by jennifermf
This vegan cherry pie was my first pie attempt, from "The Joy of Vegan Baking." I used white whole wheat flour for the crust with Earth Balance (regular, in the tub), no shortening, and frozen whole pitted cherries for the filling (with vanilla paste, since I'd run out of extract).

I had quite the snafu with the crust (it was *crumbly*), so that's why there isn't a classic upper crust. I'm going to experiment with pies in the future, though. And that's exciting.

This blog has been mostly neglected (except for sharing existing recipes with folks), and it's because I haven't had the brainpower to come up with anything original (or at least moderately modified enough to feel comfortable claiming it as my own work). I blame the "fibro fog" for that. I've done a fair amount of baking (not so much cooking, though), but mostly recipes others have created.

I'm thinking about retiring this blog altogether (leaving it up for archival purposes), or perhaps I'll turn it into a blog for reviewing the recipes of others. In the meantime, now you know why there's been a bit of a hiatus.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 5 Vegan Bake Sale in SF!

(I'm sorry I haven't been blogging lately! The last SF Vegan Bakesale was SUCH a success! I hope if you live locally, you'll see this in your feeds and decide to stop buy and eat some treats for good causes! I'm still trying to decide what to make myself...)

This is from Vegansaurus's email that went out today:

Just a reminder that the SF Vegan Bakesale is happening this Saturday from 11-4 in front of Ike's (at 16th and Sanchez)! The last bakesale sold out by 3, so come early to ensure that you get your fill of treats.

Over 50 bakers will be bringing delicious sweet and savory baked goods- think cupcakes, cookies, foccacia, brownies, muffins, pecan pie, croissants, and SO much more! We'll even have gluten-free and raw treats there too! PLUS there will be bunnies up for adoption at the event!! Seriously, it doesn't get any better than this.

All proceeds will benefit 2 amazing local nonprofits: the Food Empowerment Project ( and Save A Bunny ( So please tell everyone you know to come on out, eat delicious food, and raise money for the animals!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Don't forget, Bay area vegans, tomorrow's the SF Vegan Bake Sale!! Today I'm making cupcakes (but not 100% sure what kind yet! I gotta get moving!), and I'm looking forward to it. I want to bring our own box and just stock up on goodies and freeze them for later. I don't know if I have the guts to do it and look like some kind of desperate sugar fiend or not.

I haven't been feeling so hot this week so I haven't been MoFo'ing. That makes me sad. It's been great, though, that I've been able to read new and awesome vegan blogs... I'm going to update my links at some point so everyone can find each other (I've been adding you to my blogroll, but I'm not so good at it). I'm also entertaining the idea of moving to WordPress because I really like their features and interface... but do you really care my thoughts on blog sites? I didn't think so. On to the food!

At the farmer's market this past weekend, we got these amazing Barhi dates. They're the sweetest and softest of all dates (the ripest ones were nearly liquefied!)... in hindsight, I should have taken pictures for you, since they were still on the branches, and it was awesome. I'm a terrible blogger! But we got a LOT of them (the guy wanted to get rid of his inventory, so we got over a pound for $4!), and just snacking on them was tough because they're just so amazingly sweet.

I've loved those raw date candies with coconut and nuts sold at the natural foods stores for a long time, but never thought to make my own! So I whipped up a dozen of these Barhi date candies with my food processor:

I winged the recipe, but it's pretty straightforward: In a food processor, pulse a cup of walnuts (I used a mix of walnuts and roasted almonds) until breadcrumb-like. Pull the pits out of a cup of Barhi dates and add them to the food processor, mixing well. At this point, I refrigerated the mixture in a bowl overnight, but I am sure an hour or so would have been fine. The dates were so soft, that I needed to firm up the mix a bit, and I was too tired to finish them that night. (Gimp cooking FTW.)

The next day, I rolled walnut-sized balls in unsweetened coconut (I love coconut so i tried to pack as much coconut into them as possible!), and put them in my favorite atomic leftover container to keep in the fridge for a week or so.

Also, my new food discovery is walnut butter! I've been trying to eat more walnuts for the omega fatty acids and the iron content, and we discovered this Artisana raw organic walnut butter. According to the label, it's made locally in Berkeley! I've never gotten into nut butters very much, except for the occasional treat of cashew butter on apples, or almond butter at my parents' house when we visited over the summer. I think they're great, I just don't know how to eat them without ingesting tons and tons of bread and crackers.

I put it on a bagel, but I think it'd be good on apples, carrots, soy crisps, and celery. I think it'd also be good to use in place of peanut butter in recipes, but at $8 for a tiny jar, I don't want to use anything where it's awesomeness will be masked by other ingredients. Still, though, I recommend it. It tastes similar to peanut butter, with a hint of bitterness (much like walnuts themselves, I suppose!).

These great dried apple slices were found at our local farmer's market, too, and they're fantastic. Just a few slices are great, because they're so chewy my jaw gets tired and I don't need to demolish the whole bag, unlike bags of crispy apple slices I've bought in the past, which go down like nothing.

They have lots of seeds, though, so I have to pull them out. Even though it's not technically a serious hazard, apple seeds do contain cyanide.

We broke out the popcorn popper ($5 at Walgreens!) a few nights ago. I've been on a bit of a nutritional yeast kick lately, so I covered a small bowl of it with nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika. A friend also suggests allspice! Which I'm certainly going to try next time. Parma is delicious on popcorn (and everything else you can imagine), by the way, but I was low on it so I didn't want to smother my popcorn with it. Also, Kuntrageous has an awesome-looking parma recipe I'm going to make very soon!

What are your favorite snacks?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

San Francisco Vegan Bake Sale!

Originally uploaded by jennifermf
This Saturday, October 17th, there's going to be a vegan bake sale near the Castro. And if you're in the area, you should come check it out!

The money goes to the Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue. I love kitties so much, and I'm excited to help them with cupcakes! (I have some cupcakes planned! And I'm excited to use my cupcake carrier, which doesn't get nearly enough use.)

You can follow the SF Vegan Bake Sale on twitter for more updates (it sounds like there's going to be a TON of goodies!), and check out Vegansaurus for info, too (and this handy steal-able image, and a black and white version, for plastering all over the place).

Rumor has it there will be vegan cannoli, too. And zomg, if I don't get a vegan cannoli, I will CRY. I will simply cry.

So, come to the bake sale. But save me a cannoli. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lunch musings

There aren't a lot of openly fat vegans out there. Or a lot of openly vegan fatties. Whichever.

I've been fat all my life (since I was a toddler-- all my baby pictures are chubby). Of course, I got shit for it, because everyone hates on the fatties. [I opted to remove the stories about my disordered eating when I was younger, because I'm sick of trying to convince people that it's possible to be fat while still eating next to nothing.] Everyone also assumes that fat people are fat just because they eat too much and exercise too little. While that certainly CAN be true, it's not always true. In fact, some of the caterers for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) conferences were interviewed, and half said that NAAFA attendees ate the same as any other conference they catered, and the other half said NAAFA attendees ate LESS. It's also important to realise that there are thin people who don't eat healthy or exercise, but are naturally thin. It sure seems unfair to me that fat people are treated like second-class citizens because their biology is "inferior" to that of a thin person who eats similarly and has similar activity levels.

This picture is today's lunch. Honestly, I don't often eat lunch (I usually just have a light but late breakfast), but since I have an iron infusion today, and they tire me out, I thought maybe some fresh veggies and hummus would keep me perky. If you didn't know anything about the person who ate this for lunch, what would you imagine their pants looked like?

I actually don't mind being fat. Yes, it'd be nicer if I didn't get looks of disgust for enjoying a meal in public, but that's really not MY problem, that's THEIR problem. My body has served me well all these years, and I've treated it well in return, without excessive drinking or other toxic chemicals, I avoid fast food and too much processed crap. I move around to the best of my abilities (and in the past I was very active). I try to get enough sleep, wear sunscreen, wear my seatbelt. When I actively tried to lose weight, it just didn't happen. There seems to be some assumptions that imply fat people are constantly skyrocketing up in weight, getting fatter and fatter and ZOMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC OOGA BOOGA BOOGA! until they either have their own gravitational force about them, or they explode and shower the world with their offensive fatness. But, actually, the fat people I know and love (including myself) all have very stable weights. We're not ballooning out of control like Violet from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Just like thin people whose weight stays the same over the years, many fat people are the same way. My weight's been the same for *many* years, despite healthy vegan eating and moving as much as my body allows.

That said, I'm not trying to argue about the pros and cons of being fat. Nor am I going to use this blog as a means of arguing about what science *really* says about the "obesity epidemic." But since vegans do actually tend to be much thinner (statistically) than omnivores, I'm definitely in the minority as a fat vegan. And I've experienced a LOT of fat prejudice from vegans.

I'd really like to see the majority of vegans refrain from hating on fat people. It's frustrating (and hurtful) to hear things like "i don't want to look fat!" or "if i eat this mini fat-free vegan donut, i'll get fat!" I once even heard a vegan talking about the large salad she ate for lunch and how fat it was going to make her.

[The rest of this post is addressed to "you" as in "the people who make these assumptions. I'm not making personal attacks, or assuming the awesome folks who have taken the time to read this believe or do these things. It was just easier to write this way.]

There are two things wrong with these statements and this mindset. The first is that it's not true. For one thing, I assure you, no amount of vertical stripes and dark colors are going to make me look "thin." Just like no iceberg lettuce salad with lemon juice dressing is going to make people think I don't go home and gorge myself on Twinkies and Big Macs and wallow in vats of lard. I'm fat. I look fat. You're thin. You look thin. Stop caring about what size you look.

The second problem with these statements is that it's implying being fat is bad. More specifically, it's implying that being *like me* is bad. I'm pretty sure your feelings would be hurt if you heard me say "Ugh, you wouldn't believe what I ate today. I'm going to turn into a bony, ugly vegan! GROSS!" It's up there with calling something bad or stupid "gay." It's ignorant. There's a big difference between saying "I ate so much today, I'm stuffed!" and "I ate so much today, I'm gonna get fat!" The first one gets your point across without hurting feelings, and the second one makes you look hurtful.

I can't help but wonder if the vegan community stopped hating on the fatties, more fatties would be less turned off by vegans and veganism.

Friday, October 2, 2009

oven-baked french toast

Originally uploaded by jennifermf
Perhaps this isn't the most attractive food photo ever, but I assure you, this was sicky sweet and all the sugar you could dream of in a breakfast food. Honestly, it was delicious. However, it was REALLY sweet. What's in the picture was breakfast for two days. I made this with some stale multigrain bread we bought at a farmer's market in the area. We'd gotten a free loaf (ProTip: Hit the farmer's market closer to closing time to get better deals and free stuff) in addition to the one we bought, and this one went stale. And TA-DA! oven-baked french toast was born.

Note: this recipe is great because you can make it the night before, let it sit in the fridge and then throw it in the oven the next morning. However, you don't have to let it sit overnight, and can bake it right away. Letting it sit overnight soaks the bread with the apple yummies, though.


2 apples, cored and cubed
3 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup apple juice or water
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 thick slices of day-old rustic bread


In a medium saucepan, cook apples in Earth Balance on medium heat until apples start to soften. Add cinnamon, sugar, and maple syrup and cook until apples are soft. Pour half the ingredients to the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking pan. In a bowl, whisk together apple juice (or water), soy milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Dip each slice of bread into mixture until fully covered, and arrange on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish. Pour remaining batter over the bread, as well as the remaining apple mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

To cook, heat oven to 350 degrees, bake for 35-40 min. If desired, serve with maple syrup, but it probably won't need any!

Your favorite vanilla ice cream (I love So Delicious!) might also be a great addition, although if you want to be healthier, some veggie sausage patties would balance this out nicely and add a little protein to this carb coma.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy VeganMoFo!

My poor, neglected cooking blog!

Actually, I haven't neglected you. I've had a rather rough month, despite my birthday (I turned 32, which really isn't exciting but birthdays are always good!). I was going to spare you the gory details, but I think I might subject you to a few in honor of this not-about-cooking post.

This month is, apparently, the third annual VeganMoFo (Vegan Month o' Food). I remember hearing about the first two, but I've never really felt like part of any vegan communities, even online. I love to cook, and i love to eat, and i love to share cooking and eating with loved ones (and anyone who'll listen!), but I've never been very good at fitting in. So I did my own thing. This time around, I'm using it as encouragement to really pick up the pace with blogging, for a few reasons.

First, though, in case you'd like some more mofo info, you should check out this nice VegNews interview with Isa Chandra Moskowitz, as well as this *very* comprehensive list of other vegan bloggers who are participating in VeganMoFo.

So let me tell you a little about me: I have fibromyalgia and chronic back pain (due to spina bifida occulta, spondylolisthesis, two bulging discs, and osteoarthrits), all of which interfere with my life to varying degrees, even changing from day to day. It makes me annoyingly unpredictable when it comes to making plans, including simple tasks like making dinner. (Hint: you may be seeing more Rachel Ray style "30 minute meals" here in the future.) Luckily, moving to California has been really great for me, in that I've found an amazing doctor who is sending me to specialists to answer questions that have been unanswered for many years. While there are no cures for the low back pain or fibromyalgia, they can be managed, and other previously ignored issues can be addressed.

At the beginning of the month, I had to go through the unfortunate hell of a bone marrow biopsy to try and determine the cause of my elevated platelets and white blood cells. The biopsy pain triggered a fibromyalgia flareup, so I spent a good deal of time in bed. Then I got the flu (which may or may not have been H1N1). Then I got bronchitis. Then I got the results of the bone marrow biopsy: I have low iron stores in my marrow, and will need at least 6 weekly IV infusions of ferrous gluconate (iron), and then we'll re-assess the situation. As of today, I've had two iron infusions, and developed phlebitis at the IV site. Luckily, it's improving, or I wouldn't be typing so damn much right now!

Note: One of the biggest myths about veganism is that a vegan diet is low in iron and that anemia is very common among vegans. Just to be clear, my serum iron levels are normal (which is an indicator that I actually get adequate iron in my diet), and it's the iron stores in my bone marrow that are low. This is likely a genetic problem. I've had problems with anemia since I was a child, just like my mother. A genetic problem will not be cured by eating the flesh or organs from cows or other animals. This problem has been going on for so long (at least 5 years) that in order to compensate, my bone marrow started producing whatever it could to take the place of the missing iron in there, which resulted in elevated white blood cells and platelets. Good nutrition is extremely important for everyone (no exceptions!), but it's no cure for bad genes. Once these infusions get my iron stores back up, eating a healthy vegan diet with plenty of iron-rich foods and taking a vegan iron supplement should keep me away from those evil large-bore-needle-wielding hematologists.

I've decided that September 2009 was just a craptastic month all around, and now that it's October, things MUST improve!

So I'm going to improve things by writing more here. I originally set out for this to be strictly a cooking and recipe blog, but VeganMoFo (and my determination to forgive this past month) are inspiring me to write a little bit more than usual and about more than just what goes on in my kitchen. I hope you keep checking in. I promise I have some recipes in store for this month, too!

Bay area locals, you might want to check out the World Veg Festival Weekend in San Francisco!

And here's more info about today, World Vegetarian Day, kicking off World Vegetarian Month.