Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Another year is upon us! 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days and billions and billions of moments are left behind.
Each moment passes so quickly.

As I reflect upon 2009 and look forward 2010, I'm overwhelmed with how grateful I am to be here at this very moment.
Even in the bleakest of times, we all have something to be thankful for.
I am thankful and most grateful for love. I have it in abundance.
We all do, but in harder times, it's more difficult to see it.

The love I've given and received is what carries me on to 2010.

Please share with me your thoughts on the New Year. What are you most grateful for and what are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Exchange

Every year for the past 3 years, we have had a cookie exchange at work.
I try to come up with a new vegan cookie each time. This time, I was so buisy working on other projects that I neglected working on a a recipe until the night before!
I decided to do a different spin on a chocolate vegan cookie I usually make and raid my spice cabinet for a chai spice cookie.
Here's what I came up with.

Chocolate Almond Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen)

4c unbleached flour
1c cocoa powder
2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1 1/2c coconut oil
2c vegan sugar or sucanat
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp almond extract
4tbs ground flax seeds
1c almond milk
whole raw almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix together first 4 ingredients
Cream together remaining ingredients, except almonds
Mix dry into wet ingredients until well combined
Roll into balls, flatten and put 1 almond in the middle of each
Bake for about 6 minutes

Chai Spice and Coconut Cookies
(makes about 3 dozen)

2 1/2c unbleached flour
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cardamom
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/4tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp ground cloves
1tsp baking soda
2/3c coconut oil
3/4c coconut powder
(be sure to purchase the kind without casein, for a pure vegan cookie)
1/2c almond milk
1c vegan sugar
4tbs corn starch
1/2c shredded coconut

Mix together first 7 ingredients
Cream together next 5 ingredients
Mix dry into wet ingredients until well combined
Roll into balls, flatten and sprinkle with coconut
Bake for about 6 minutes

Soy Aromatherapy Candles

The holidays are well upon us and I wanted to put together something useful with a homemade touch for family and friends. With baby on the way, frugality is of the utmost importance, so I decided to use what I already have. I allowed myself a couple of outside supplies. I had been holding on to some fruit jars for awhile and decided to put them to use. Looking at them gave me the idea to do a citrus aromatherapy candle.
I made these in the microwave, but you can use a stove top as well.

soy wax
essential oils- I used sweet orange, lemongrass and grapefruit.
wax dye
wicks and wick tabs

*Before I start melting my wax, I position my wicks into my jars and hold them into place with chop sticks. They sell wick holders, but you can also use whatever you have on hand.
*I also make sure that my jars are clean, dry and warm. This makes for a more uniform look to the outside of the candle.

Melt wax according to specifications. Some need to be heated in a double boiler an some are o.k for the microwave.
Remove from heat and add essential oils.
Next add dye if you are using it.
Mix with a whisk very well to incorporate oils and dye.
Pour into jars.
Let the candles cool and cure for at least 24 hours.
Trim your wicks to about 1/4 of an inch.
Approximately 5c of wax chips melts ino 20oz of liquid wax
For every 40oz of wax I melt, I use 50 drops of essential oils and 3 drops of dye.
For a stronger scent and color, use more EO's and dye.

After letting the candle cure for a couple of days, I tied a recipe card around the neck using ribbon and lace. I combined these candles with my homemade granola to make holiday gifts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Granola, a great holiday gift.

A friend gave me a case of Kerr canning jars about a month ago.
I originally planned on using them for jams and jellies, but they were too big for that. Then, I thought about making those "cake in a jar" mixes, but I wasn't too sure my friends and fam would put those to good use. So, I decided to go with something they could just pop the top on and eat up!

Granola, a tasty treat for anytime of day. They could eat as is, use for cereal, sprinkle on yogurt...

2c oats
1/2c toasted wheat berries
1c seeds and nuts- I used flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pecans
1c dried fruit- I used apples and cranberries
1/4c brown sugar
1/4c coconut oil
2tbl honey
2tbl strawberry preserves
1/4tsp sea salt
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp almond extract

Combine 1st 4 ingredients in a large bowl
Melt sugar, honey and preserves together in sauce pan. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and add oil until well combined.
Add salt and extracts, then pour over dry mixture.
Pour mix onto baking sheet covered with foil.
Bake in a preheated 350degree oven until toasty.
Let sit until completely cool.

To make it pretty, I wrote out a recipe card and tied it around the jar with some lace.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spring Rolls

So fresh, so easy and so versatile.

bean sprouts
shredded carrots
diced cucumber
spring mix or other salad greens
collard leaves
rice paper

(sometimes I add a little peanut butter or sesame oil to the sauce)
3tbl white miso
1/2tsp ginger
juice of 1 small lime
1tbl apple cider vinegar
1tbl soy sauce or nama shoyu
1 clove garlic
a dash sirachi or other chili sauce
water for thinning

To prepare sauce, mince garlic and mix with all other ingredients in a bowl.
Use water to thin out to desired consistency.

Be creative and try out different fillings and find out what you like. I've tried a number of things and these happen to be my fav.

To make assembly easier for myself, I wash and prepare all my veggies including the collards and store in a container in the fridge. I prep enough to last me for a few days. Right now I'm eating these at least every other day to help with my vitamin intake and of course because they're so delicious

Soak rice paper according to directions on your package.Layer a collard leaf on top of the paperPile up your veggies generouslyYou can either pour some sauce on the inside or just have some on the side for dipping. I like alot of sauce, so I do both.Roll it up nice and tight, tucking in the sides. Just like you would for a burrito. The rice paper keeps everything together in a neat package.If your not using rice paper, just make sure you have nice sized collard leaves to contain everything.