Chowvida has MOVED!

6 Aug

Hello all! I have an exciting and important announcement to make…. chowvida has officially MOVED! Huzzah!!! You can now find me at (drum roll please)….

www.chowvida.com

Yep. That’s right. My very own website!! No more WordPress. I’ve taken the step to start playing with the big kids and I so hope you will continue following me!

However, I NEED YOUR HELP! So, you see, when I made the transfer, I was not able to transfer you lovely folk, my subscribers…. so you will need to go to the new http://www.chowvida.com site and enter your email address down in the “subscribe” box on the right. I apologize for this inconvenience.

With the new move comes new looks, please feel free to give me any feedback on the new layout! It’s still a work in progress… So new features will be coming soon… but for now, it functions, and that is where I will be posting ALL my new content and yummy food stuffs. No more on here.. So please remember to go and subscribe to the new blog! :)

I’m really excited about this change, and can’t wait for what’s to come! :D

Pear Maple Spice Cake (vegan)

22 Jun

Well, fortunately and unfortunately, work has gotten busier in the past month or so…. I state it as both a positive and negative because I’m torn. I really love working, and I love my job – it’s so much fun and I’m so lucky to have a job I enjoy! But I also really enjoy my free time because that means I can do tons of stuff: go on adventures, climbing trips, long beautiful trail runs during the day, and BAKE to my hearts content!!  Needless to say, work has indeed picked up speed, which leaves less time for baking and creating new recipes.  Lately, I find myself using past recipes I’ve posted when I bake for friends (be it birthdays, potlucks, etc) .. which is ok, though, since it means I can re-test the recipe and make fun changes!  Which, as you can probably guess, is exactly what I did here.  :)

I love, LOVE my vegan chocolate cake recipe. I’ve made it on multiple occasions, and it’s always a hit.  I had just baked one, in fact, and less than a week later needed to whip up another cake for another friends birthday.  One of the things that’s great about that recipe is that it’s QUICK. No fuss. I can literally have it in the oven in less than 10 minutes, and it only takes another 20-30 to cook.  Granted, yes, I have some practice.. but it really is a quick recipe.

I decided to transform my staple vegan chocolate cake recipe into a maple spice cake.  I thought this would be a nice “outfit” for the cake… just take out the chocolate and add maple and spices! yum! right?  Yep. Right.

The cake, once again, got rave reviews. Fluffy, moist, amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (a little more if you like it on the sweeter side)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 or 2 tsp cinnamon (depending how cinnamony you like your cake!)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 medium pear, diced (dice into about 1/4″ cubes.  I used a bosc pear, other varieties would be fine too)
Frosting (optional):
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • +/- 1 tsp maple syrup (stir together until smooth, add more sugar or syrup accordingly to attain the right consistency)

Process:

    1. Heat oven to 375 F
    2. Sift together all dry ingredients (sifting is important).
    3. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil and other wet ingredients. Blend until well combined.
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir well until smooth. Add the diced pear and gently mix in.
    5. Pour into a greased cake pan (I like to use a 9″ springform bundt cake pan, but a simple 8″x8″ pan works fine too), and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done. Check often after 20 minutes by inserting a knife and seeing if it comes out clean. Clean means done! Don’t overcook it or it will become dry.
    6. Serve while it’s warm with ice cream, or let cool and drizzle with frosting.
    7. Enjoy!

Makes one cake, serves about 10-12

Simple Vegan Pie Crust

24 May

I recently discovered this pie crust, and I immediately added it to my crust repertoire.  Seriously, yum.

It’s super simple, quick, healthy and delicious… what more could you want? I can imagine using this crust for a variety of pies – chocolate, apple, pecan, pumpkin…. mmmmmm…. I can’t wait till pumpkin pie season rolls around again… but who am I kidding, pumpkin pie is an ANY season pie! I bet you’re wondering what type of pie I used this crust for? Well, I haven’t posted that post yet… but I will :) I will say this – it included chocolate!

This crust does have an underlying coconut taste/aroma, since it uses coconut oil.. so if you aren’t a fan of coconut or don’t want that flavor, I don’t recommend you use this recipe.  But I can’t really think of a pie that wouldn’t go with this crust (unless it’s a savory pie…).  The coco powder is optional, and I’ll leave that decision up to you, since it’ll probably depend on what pie you’re making if you add it or not.  Obviously, your crust will be a little lighter in color than what’s pictured here if you don’t include the coco.

I imagine it would work just fine with a gluten free flour… if you try it, please report back!

I can’t wait to use this crust for more pies! :D

 

Ingredients:

makes one 9″ pie crust

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (in solid state)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water

Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and sugar together.  Add the coconut oil and slowly combine with your fingers. (NOTE: make sure the coconut oil is in it’s solid state, the consistency of butter… place in refrigerator before adding to the flour mixture if it’s too soft).
  3. Keep mixing with your hands until it becomes a little crumbly and thoroughly combined. Then add the cold water one tbsp at a time, until it turns into dough.
  4. Place the ball of dough in the refrigerator for 20-30 mins.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and using a rolling pin, roll it into ¼ inch thickness (you might have to repair cracks as you go, just smash them together and keep rolling). Place in pie tin/plate and use your hands to even the crust out and shape the edges how you want.
  6. Use a fork to poke holes in the crust (see picture).  Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes. Let it cool completely before adding whatever your ingredients might be. :)

 

Sesame Miso Glazed Winter Squash

11 May

I know it probably seems like all I do is make and eat baked goods…(which isn’t far off)… but I do eat regular food every day, too! I eat a lot of vegetables for dinner, I love vegetables.  I often will just whip up a quick stir-fry.. so simple and delicious! And I’ve often thought about doing a post on my daily stir-fry… but it’s so routine, I wouldn’t even know where to begin writing about it… it’s like I’m on auto-pilot. Hmm… maybe one day…

Dinner parties, however, are where I like to test out new recipes (daring, I know).  I came across this one a while back, on one of my favorite food blogs, 101cookbooks.  I knew I had to try it, and I also knew I wanted to make my own modifications (of course..).  It turned out great.  The original recipe calls for just delicata squash, tofu, and the glaze…. I added not only the delicata, but also a satsuma sweet potato, kabocha squash, tofu AND broccoli! Partially, because I wanted to “bulk up” the recipe so I could use it as a hearty main dish, but also because I just loooooove kabocha squash and satsuma sweet potato, I thought they’d go swimmingly in this recipe.  I was right.  The broccoli I added just to “freshen” it up a little, add a little crunch and greenery.  Yum.

Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Blog, 101cookbooks.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6 people as a main course

  • 1 satsuma sweet potato (another kind would be fine, but these are just so delicious if you can find them)
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 1 (8 oz) package of tofu (cubed, 1/2″ cubes)
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 heaping tablespoon white or yellow miso
  • juice from 1 whole freshly squeezed orange (don’t be afraid to let some of the pulp fall in)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup water (+/-)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Peel the sweet potato, but leave the skins on the kabocha and delicata (they’re edible, and pretty!). Cut the two squashes in half and remove the seeds.
  3. Cut them however you’d like… but I cut the sweet potato into cubes, and the squashes into wedges.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato and squash with 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread them on a greased baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 40 minutes, turning over with a fork after 20 minutes. Or, until golden on both sides.
  5. In the meantime, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the molasses, tamari (or soy sauce), maple syrup, miso, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, water, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Add the tofu, toss to coat, and set aside.
  6. When the squash is deeply golden on both sides, remove from the oven.
  7. Transfer the squash to a cast iron pan (12 inch) on medium heat. Pour the tofu mixture over the squash, and gently toss. Toss in the broccoli. Cook, stirring/flipping often with a spatula, until the marinade boils off and becomes more of a glaze.
  8. Remove from heat, leave in the skillet or transfer to a bowl.  Garnish with some sesame seeds. Serve, and enjoy!

Almondjoys! (vegan, gluten free)

19 Apr

When I was 20, I went to go study in Australia for 8 months.  I was studying and living in Melbourne, which is home of the famous Queen Victoria Farmers Market. INCREDIBLE market. It was so so so fun to go to, and I bought all my produce there.  Including the most amazing raw almonds I’ve ever had.  I love tree nuts. Walnuts and almonds are my favorite, but pistachios, pecans, and peanuts are also amazing.  Anyways, I developed a sort of obsession for these Australian raw almonds….I ate many handfulls a day. Handfulls.  Little did I know, this would lead to me developing a nut intolerance. The HORROR.  I couldn’t eat any nuts anymore or they would make my stomach go wacky…painful wacky.   I was devastated.  After a year went by, I couldn’t take it anymore… I decided I would try to slowly re-introduce my favorite nuts into my diet.  It worked, kind of… I was able to eat walnuts in small portions again.. but not almonds or any other nut.  About another year later, I found out I could eat roasted almonds, but not raw… and still no other nut.  Fast forward to now…. the other day there were some raw almonds hanging around the house leftover from a dish I made (where they were cooked, so it didn’t bother me)… I stared at the bag for a minute, lusting over them, before I decided “screw it!” and grabbed a small handfull to eat. I practically inhaled them. Know what happened next?  A big smile across my face as I enjoyed the soft crunch and deliciousness of the raw almonds… Know what DIDN’T happen next?? My stomach revolting!! That’s right. I was cured!!! (well… I hope…) I was ecstatic, content, and filled with joy.  So much so that I knew I had to celebrate…. and the first thing that came to mind, was to make ALMONDJOYS!!!

no wacky stomach+almonds+coconut+dark chocolate = JOY.

These little treats are not too sweet but plenty sweet enough, so the coconut really shines through.  The rice milk really compliments the coconut well, too.  They are super healthy, have great texture, and taste way better than the brandname.  They were eaten up in minutes, and everyone demanded I make more.  I will… soon.  Seriously, they are incredible.  :)

Ingredients:

makes about 20 candies

  • 2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened. can be dried or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup unflavored rice milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or coconut butter – either will work, it acts as a binding agent when cool)
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 20 (+/-) raw almonds
  • about 8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72%)

Process:

  1. Mix coconut and rice milk together in a medium bowl, set aside and let sit for about 5 minutes so coconut softens.
  2. Meanwhile, get out your double boiler… if you dont’ have a double boiler, you can create your own using a metal bowl and a pot. The bowl should partially (not completely) fit into the pot. Fill the pot with enough water so that when the bowl rests in the pot the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer (not a boil) and place the bowl in the pot. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir occasionally until melted.  When fully melted, turn the stove off but leave the chocolate in the bowl sitting over the hot water.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave, add the melted oil and agave to the rice milk and coconut mixture. Stir well.  The coconut oil will begin to harden when placed in with the cooler milk mixture, but that’s ok.. just start to work the mixture with your hands until fully combined.
  4. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to help it set. (This is imortant!!)
  5. Line a baking sheet or tray with parchment or wax paper.  Using your hands, take a small handfull of the coconut mixture (about the size of a ping-pong ball), SQUEEZE it TIGHTLY in your fist (some juices will come out, but that’s ok) and then gently form it into a rectangular shape. Repeat.
  6. Gently press an almond into the top of each coconut rectangle (see photos).  Place each coconut rectangle on the parchment paper, and then place the whole tray into the refrigerator for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. After they’ve had time to set, it’s time to coat them in chocolate! This is a little tricky… you have to be VERY gentle.  You can find your own way of doing this, but I placed each one in the chocolate (bottom down), and then used a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the top and used the spoon to gently move the chocolate around until it was fully coated. Then gently scoop the candy out of the melted chocolate and place it back on the parchment paper…. repeat…
  8. When they’ve all been coated, place the tray BACK in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened.  Remove from the parchment paper, and enjoy!!! Store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Mini Quinoa Breakfast Muffins (vegan, gluten free)

11 Apr

Easter brunch has become an annual tradition in our family.  It’s awesome, for many reasons.  Mainly, because my family is the coolest family around and because I get to COOK and BAKE up a frenzy! yippee!!!  Honestly, it’s like Thanksgiving’s half birthday to me…. in brunch form.  This year we had a couple friends join us too, and the weather cooperated so we could gather outside to eat.. mmmmm…. love the morning sun.  I got up at 6:30, had my coffee, and started cooking for our 10am brunch.  On the menu were many tasty things including a M’hanncha (Moroccan Snake Cake – I’ll post the recipe for this one soon!), a wild mushroom and leek frittata with a rutabaga parsnip crust; a sundried tomato, spinach, and queso fresco frittata; breakfast potatoes; fruit salad, and mini quinoa muffins.  I always use the excuse of holiday gatherings or food get togethers to try out new recipe ideas… some people call this ballsy or brave, but I just consider it creative and adventurous! I guess I’m pretty confident that my recipes won’t totally fail… but often there’s room for improvement.  ;)

Anyways, for this post I’m going to tell you about these quinoa muffins that I made for brunch.  BITE SIZE quinoa muffins.  Now, I have to warn you… if you are a batter taster… beware.  I could literally eat this batter for breakfast. SO tasty! Actually, really really healthy too, so you really could eat it for breakfast! hmmm….   well either way, if you don’t eat all the batter first, they also make really good muffins.  Super healthy little tidbits, packed with protein! The quinoa taste definitely shines through but the rice milk dulls down its “earthy/nutty” flavor just the right amount to balance these muffins without having to add too much sugar.   Feel free to play around with add-ins… I added mixed dried fruit and walnuts, but just plain raisins or dried apples would be really nice, or whatever else you fancy!  :)

Ingredients:
makes about 30 mini muffins
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup quinoa (measure dry, will be more when cooked)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit (or just your favorite dried fruit or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unflavored rice milk (coconut, soy or almond would work too, but I like the rice flavor in these)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter (softened)
  • 2 flax “eggs” – 2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp water (egg replacer)

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water, set aside when all water is absorbed and it’s done cooking.
  3. Mix together flaxseed meal and water, set aside  and mix occasionally (it will become somewhat gelatinous)
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Stir in the walnuts and dried fruit.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, rice milk, vanilla and softened coconut butter.  Stir in the flax “eggs”. Blend until well combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until well combined.
  7. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin, and spoon ingredients into prepared tin. (I had to do several batches)
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until each muffin has set (should feel slightly spongy, but bounce back).  Remove from oven and enjoy!!

Citrus Peel Health Benefits

3 Apr

When this blog was started, I intended to post not only recipes, but notes about health and nutrition or things related… 2 years later, here’s my first post to add to this category!

I’m not a huge citrus fan… I mean, I like it ok, but it’s definitely not on my “always eat” or “always buy” list.  The typical orange is definitely my least favorite of all citrus, while my favorite citrus is probably grapefruit or pomello, but I also enjoy the occasional clementine.  The nice thing about them though, is they are easy. Easy to take on trips as they don’t bruise easily, go bad or over-ripen quickly.  Because of this, I often pick up a bag of clementines (otherwise commonly known as the brand “cuties”) to take with me on climbing trips.

To add to my dislike of citrus, you have to peel them.  OR so I thought.  Yesterday my dad was telling me about a recent study he read on the affects of citrus peel decreasing the risk of skin cancer.  Apparently, if you eat some of the peel, it carries a HUGE health benefit!!  GASP.  You mean, I can just bite a chunk out of the clementine without having to peel it??!!!  YES. done.  Here’s some quick notes on the study:

A 1999 study showed consuming citrus peels, but not the fruit itself or its juice, lowered the risk of skin cancer. Limonene found in the skin of citrus fruit is the probable beneficial compound. Be sure to look for organic fruit if you are planning to eat the peel. Another fruit not mentioned with a high limonene content where you are expected to eat the peel, is the kumquat.

Citrus peel use is associated with reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, by Hakim IA, Harris RB, Ritenbaugh C., Cancer Prevention and Control, Arizona Cancer Center, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA. Nutr Cancer. 2000;37(2):161-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11142088 

From the abstract, limonene has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical models of breast and colon cancers. The principal sources of d-limonene are the oils of orange, grapefruit, and lemon. The present case-control study was designed to determine the usual citrus consumption patterns of an older Southwestern USA population and to then evaluate how this citrus consumption varied with history of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin. 

In this Arizona population, 64.3% and 74.5% of the respondents reported weekly consumption of citrus fruits and citrus juices, respectively. Orange juice (78.5%), orange (74.3%), and grapefruit (65.3%) were the predominant varieties of citrus consumed. Peel consumption was not uncommon, with 34.7% of all subjects reporting citrus peel use. 

There was no association found between the overall consumption of citrus fruits or citrus juices and skin SCC. However, the most striking finding was the protection purported by citrus peel consumption. Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship between higher citrus peel in the diet and degree of skin cancer risk lowering. 

This was the first study to explore the relationship between citrus peel consumption and human cancers. The results show that peel consumption, the major source of dietary d-limonene, is not uncommon and may have a potential protective effect in relation to skin SCC.

I know you’re probably thinking “eat the peel? gross.”  And for regular orange peel, I would agree… but, clementine peel is much thinner and has kind of an interesting sweet tangy taste to it – not bad! Kind of like a kumquat…

True, your friends might look at you like you’re a caveman when you sink your teeth into the fruit whole, but maybe it’ll start a trend! ;)  You probably don’t want to eat 10 clementines peel and all, but one or two a day can be highly beneficial. Plus, citrus peel takes a long time to decompose in nature….and it’s unsightly… so next time you’re camping or hiking, eat some clementines and put the peel in your belly, not on the ground!  :)

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